Tuesday

Jetlag

I woke up at two in the morning and just couldn’t persuade my body that it was night time despite all the evidence to the contrary. After a while a gave up even pretending to be asleep and played a few rounds of a computer game. Loved one accompanied my games with the rhythmic breathing of someone deeply asleep.

Weight

I finally got around to standing on the scales this morning for the post-pee pre-poo weigh in. I knew that it was going to be bad but I wasn’t really prepared for the full hideousness of the situation. I was now heavier that I have ever been. At least it was a pleasing round number. I feel that the diet starts today. I’m going to try the radical method of “not eating quite as much”. I’ve heard that people get good results. I may couple it with the “not drinking as much beer” and the “doing more exercise” approach as well. Hopefully that will help me lose the ten percent of my current mass that I need to discard to get back to the point I was seven months ago.

Stretches

I’ve been neglecting my stretches for the last few days but I now feel it is time to build them back into my daily routine. With a bit of luck and effort I should be able to try a short run before long.

Admin

I spent the morning doing admin, I had to get all the trivial things out of the way so that I could clear the path of the big things that I really should attend to.

Garden

The tiredness started to creep up on me in the middle of the afternoon. It started with a few yawns and then developed into a full scale long blink head nodding tiredness. I had a plan, it involved doing some tiding up in the garden. It was nothing too strenuous; removing the fallen palm fronds from the grass and sweeping the pathways. The whole point was to do something physical in the fresh air.

Bike

Loved one’s bike had too flat tyres. The back one needed pumping up but there was something seriously wrong with the front one. I pulled the tube out and discovered that the binding between the valve had failed. This was not fixable. I found a spare tube in the saddle bag. This would have been a solution if the tube had been the right size and had the correct valve. I did wonder why a totally useless tube was in the saddle bag.

Dinner

I prepared a stir fry for dinner this evening. It wasn’t hard as it came from a packet in the freezer. I’d also found a couple of skewered meat things in there so I warmed them as well. It may have taken minutes to prepare but I feel that Loved one apricated coming home to a cooked meal.

Television

We spent the rest of the evening watching reality television as one of loved one’s friends was appearing in the show. We managed to stay awake until ten but it was a bit of a struggle.

Monday

Early

Owning to the wonders of jet lag I was awake at silly o’clock in the morning. After a bit of lying in bed and wondering what to do I established that loved one was also awake. We decided to drink tea and do things rather than lie about waiting for the dawn. The only thing we really could do was to unpack. It took a while.

Forms

Once the day started properly we had a few things we felt needed attending to. High on the list was filling out health care forms and visiting the health department to register. Filling out the form was the easy bit. It turned out that my visa was the wrong one to be eligible for the registration. First, I have to fill out and apply for the next visa. I see a world of paperwork heading my way.

Sleep

The fur covered concrete block of jet lag hit me in the middle of the afternoon. I slowly transformed from a functioning human being into a dribbling mess that needed to lie down in a darkened room. I was asleep the moment I put my head on the pillow.

Dinner

We ate a pasta thing enhanced with cream and broccoli for dinner. The pasta part had been lurking in the freezer so it was a minimum effort meal. It was still very tasty.

Television

We spent the rest of the evening in front of the television. None of the programs were familiar, that’s the joy of being in another country. I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually.

Bed

Even though I’d slept for a couple of hours during the day I was still tired by the evening. It didn’t take long to go to sleep.

Sunday

Transfer

We arrived in Dubai early in the morning. We had very little time to get from our arrival gate to our departure gate. This made Loved one quite agitated as she needed to pick something up at lost property and she also wanted to see how much an upgrade was for the long leg of the flight. We almost ran to the gate, chased by the announcements that the flight was boarding. We found that the upgrade was far outside our price range and that the airport staff would endeavour to bring the lost property to the plan.

Lost

The lost property didn’t reach the plane so we had to travel without it.

Stupor

We settled into our seats and entered the travel stupor. It really is the only way to survive a long flight. Films flickered past, meals came and went, people were disturbed to go to the loo, sleep came and went, and paperwork got filled out.

Customs

I was expecting to have to answer tricky questions at customs as I was entering the country with no intention of leaving. That was obvious from the boarding pass. It didn’t come to pass, instead our cases were waiting for us and we were waved through without a word. It was all very pleasing.

Tea

We took a taxi home and made a cup of tea. I felt that I’d arrived at my new home and a cup of tea sealed the deal. I was immensely tired but had to pen a quick e-mail to tell everyone that I’d arrived safe and sound before falling into a deep sleep.

Saturday

Breakfast

We took a stroll through the fields and wood to a local café for a proper breakfast. We sat on a platform over a lake and ate a full English breakfast. It was good to have a walk, we would be doing a lot of sitting down over the next two days

Airport

My brother gave us a lift to the airport. It was all getting very real, I was going to move in with loved one overseas. We decided that for one time in our lives we should sample how the other half lived so we paid for an upgrade to business class.

Lounge

I phoned my mother from the lounge to say goodbye. It was an emotional moment, Mum was crying and I was close to it. I had to take a little walk round the lounge to clear my head. I came back to my seat and took a call from my sister; the emotions ran high again.

Beer

We always have a drink before a flight, it’s rapidly becoming a tradition.

Upgrade

Paying for business class was a good move. It was so much more comfortable than the usual economy class. The seat was bigger and reclined into a proper bed, the food was served on a plate rather than in tin foil and the drinks were served from a proper bar. We took full advantage of the whole experience as we may never have it again.

Friday

Early

I knew that I had a lot to do this morning so I got up relatively early to get everything done. It all took a lot less time than I expected.

Waiting

The problem with everything taking less time was that I had nothing to do until the people arrived. I sat there at a loose end playing silly computer games.

Clearance

Two you men arrived to take the rest of my furniture. I couldn’t take it with me so I’d donated it to charity. Once they had finished their work the house looked very empty. I made it even worse by taking everything that was left to the dump.

Goodbyes

Before leaving for the last time I popped into both my neighbours to say goodbye. Both of them had helped me immensely over the years, I felt I owed them a lot.

Chickens

I had to feed some chickens on the way to my brothers. They looked quite hungry, the food solved that.

Meal

My brother was putting me up tonight as I no longer had a bed. He also offered to feed me.

Television

I spent my last evening in front of the television watching athletics and drinking whisky until I started yawning.

Thursday

Plan

We were going to visit Oxford today to meet a friend of Loved one. We planned to get up at six and leave early so that we could clear the motorway before the traffic got too bad. It would have worked too if I hadn’t turned the alarm off and gone back to sleep. We eventually got going at a much more respectable time.

Parking

The motorway wasn’t as hideous as usual so we made good time. We started calling the friend about twenty minutes away from the centre of the city, eventually she replied. She had been on a boat in the English Channel the day before for many hours, she had only got to bed at five in the morning. We waited in a car parking space without paying and displaying. I sat there waiting for the friend to arrive whilst keeping an eye out for the parking police and marvelling at the number of ill-fitting bike that where be cycled past. Most of them had the saddle far too low.

Christchurch

Once we had sorted out the illegality of our parking we went for a wander around the perimeter of Christchurch collage via a small coffee shop. The stroll took a route along the outside of the collage and then along the river foot path to see where all the rowing was done. During the stroll, we friend explained the concept of bumps. As far as I could work out rowing at Oxford was more akin to ram raiding than racing.

Hogwarts

We paid a quick visit to the refectory that was used in the Harry Potter films. It was packed with tourists’ hell bent on taking as many photographs as possible. It wasn’t fun, we beat a retreat.

Relocation

We had to get back to the car as we could only pay for one hours parking. We moved it to an obscure place outside the city and returned by taxi. This way we didn’t need to worry about returning to the car on a regular basis.

Worcester

We popped into Worcester collage to have a look at the impressive gardens and the lake. The collage was closed to tourists but as our friend had the access all areas student card we just bowled in as if we owned the place. This resulted in us being chased by a porter to check our credentials. We spent the rest of our visit being amazed at the gardens. The words “high maintenance” don’t even start to describe the amount of work that must go into them.

Jesus

Loved one’s friend then deployed the card to give us a guided tour of Jesus collage. She pointed out a large painting of Queen Elizabeth that had been found in a dusty attic. It was apparently a very important piece.

Union

We dropped into the Oxford union to have a look at the debating hall, I’ve heard it referred to so many times on the television in the context of such and such famous person was speaking there. It was just as I imagined it. A little like the house of commons but with an air of studied neglect.

Fireplace

There is a fireplace in the library that has an inverted chimney. I couldn’t quite see how it worked but according to the information board by the side the smoke was sucked out somehow. There are only two other examples, one of which is in a pub. This fact made me smile.

Pies

According to our guide no visit to Oxford is complete without a visit to the covered market. I have a feeling that the impending rain had something to do with this statement. Inside the market was a pie and mash shop. Needless to say, this is where we had lunch. We all selected a different flavour of pie. I went for the beef and blue cheese and accompanied it with mash and mushy peas for the full pie experience. It was astoundingly good.

Exeter

After the pies, we needed a digestive so we visited Exeter Collage. We strolled to a park bench via a small and rather disappointing pond. We sat on the bench and looked down on the Radcliffe Camera and All-Souls Collage whilst discussing the finer point of long distance swimming.

Magdalen

Our last collage of the day was Magdalen. I feel that our guide had left the best for last. The cloisters in surrounding the quad were absolutely astounding. The centre piece was a finely manicured lawn surrounded by cream hydrangeas. We then walked past more high maintenance flower beds to a river and then on to the fellows’ garden.

Traffic

The return journey wasn’t quite as smooth as the morning trip. It took almost an hour than I was expecting owning to people getting in my way and queueing up behind accidents.

Paella

We visited a local Spanish restaurant with my parents this evening. I like a good Paella and this restaurant does a good paella, I had to tell them yesterday that we wanted paella so that they could take the right amount of time to cook it. This was going to be the last time that I would see my parents for a very long time so there was a hint of sadness over the whole meal. Mum was almost I tears as we left.

Wednesday

Early

In comparison to recent days I had to get up early. It still wasn’t too early.

Van

I’d hired a van for the day to transport furniture around the county. It’s been a while since I have driven a White van but it didn’t take long to get into the swing of things. Driving a White van gives a whole different perspective on other road users. Suddenly commercial vehicles give you more respect and cars do not.

Delivery

The first stop was mum and dads. Mum wanted a bed, some bedside cabinets and a few other bits for the recently redecorated spare room. Dad wanted my very solid coffee table so that he could put his feet up on it whilst watching television. Mum wasn’t happy about that.

Storage

My sister wanted a set of shelves and a few bits for the garage that hadn’t been built yet. My brother has a large shed full of things that might be useful in the future. It was a match made in heaven.

Shower

After a day of moving things about and driving I was small I g rather masculine. I needed a shower as we had people coming around.

Agent

Our agent has pulled out all the stops to market our property. She was very unhappy with the previous people pulling out and had put the word out that they were unreliable. I feel they are going to have difficulty find a property in their price range

Viewing

The couple that came around were impressed with my house. They asked all the usual questions and then a few more because they owned a dog. We negotiated over the rent and sealed the deal on a handshake. This all felt much better than last time.

Catch

The cat knew something was wrong. We have tried be behave as if nothing was happening but she knew. We aren’t letting her out and the window that she normally uses go get in and out hat been closed. Her suspicions were confirmed when the cat box appeared. She has not been in a cat box for years and if she had her way she would not be in one again. That was a lot of fluff, hissing and scratching but eventually she was persuaded into the box.

Drive

The noise from the cat box made for a very guilt laden ride to the cat’s new home. It tore on my heart strings.

Home

I told them that I wouldn’t stay for long. You are not owned by a cat for 15 years without forming some sort of attachment. I let her out in their front room. At first she was nervous but soon she became a little more confident, to the point of letting me stroke her. I tried to keep it together but inside I was being torn apart. I know she has a good home. They were doting over her as soon as we left. It didn’t stop me feeling bad.

Thai

We have run out of food and had no desire to cook this evening so we went to a local Thai restaurant with my neighbours. I have been past the restaurant many times but never been in. It was really quite pleasant but the work and the emotions of the day caught up with me. I was very tired. I needed my bed.