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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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


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.


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.


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.



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


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.


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.


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


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



We got up late as we didn’t really have too much to do today. We decided on a late breakfast that could also be called an early lunch, mainly because all we had in the fridge was eggs, bacon and mushroom


I got impatient and called the agent. She said that she was on the phone to the perspective tenants. Ten minutes later she phoned back asking me to ring them. They seemed to have an issue with the wall in the small room.

Phone call

I rang him and explained about the wall and he seemed happy. In fact, he went as far as to say that he was looking forward to moving in and would take the cat. I was, understandably, happy: the house had people, the cat had a home.


I received an e-mail from the agent. It wasn’t the news I wanted to hear. Despite all his nice words and platitudes, the couple had pulled out. There is nothing like swinging from a high to a low in a couple of hours. I was incandescent with rage and annoyance. I retreated into my own world and sort solace in my happy place but there was none to be found. My biggest concern was the cat. Now she had no home to go to.


A woman had offered to look after the cat last week, I’d explained about the tenants and said that I’d get back to her if it all went wrong. I dropped her a message in the hope that she was still as willing as last week; she wasn’t. In the meantime, “friends” had counselled here on the perils of old cats and vet bills and made her rather wary. I can understand it but it didn’t mean I had to like it.


I had one last chance. I had an email address of someone a friend had met in a farm shop. I sent the mail and hoped.


They rang fifteen minutes later. This was a good sign. They asked us to come over and see if the place was suitable. This was an even better sign.


We found the house and settled in to a cup of tea and conversation. They were an array couple looking for an elder cat. The house had an air of designed neglect, it looked ideal. I felt down the side of the sofa and felt the tell-tale signs of cat damage. I knew in an instant that my cat would be at home here. We organised to drop her off the next day.


We returned home via the supermarket to buy some cat food and a small treat for her new slaves.