I finally had the job interview I mentioned in passing.
I happened to meet someone a few months ago and we got chatting. She worked for a private fostering agency and she mentioned that she thought there was a vacancy coming up in one of their offices which is relatively near where I live. She took my details and then proceeded to e-mail me on a regular basis to say there was a job coming up, and that I should apply for it. All very flattering of course, but let's bear in mind the fact that she didn't know anything about me except what we chatted about at our conference.
I honestly didn't know if I was interested but I think I gave in and applied so she'd shut up about it. I thought I'd just go along if they offered me an interview and see what it was all about. If nothing else I thought going through an interview process would be good for me.
The upshot of all this anyway is that unless my references are poor I will be leaving the County Council sometime in the next few months to join the sainted private sector. A hundred plus reasons to grab it with both hands, and a couple of misgivings on the other side of the equation.
The truth is that a combination of budget cuts and a ill conceived re-organisation have left me with no prospects to progress in my present role whatsoever. And when I add to that the fact that if I stay here there will be no pay rise for the next three years at least I know I have to give this opportunity a go.
I had been unable to put it down, loved it from the first chapter and loved and recognised the two characters-Emma and Dexter (Em and Dex). I was laughing out loud at it.But then yesterday morning my sobbing woke Reidski up. Not just a silent tear but quite uncontrollable grief.
It's wonderful - but just one shocking and totally unexpected sentence is going to stay with me for a long long time.
Now I’ve never liked that moment when you first walk into a hotel restaurant of a morning. Everyone already in there looks at you and you don’t know where to sit so you hover near the door hoping that guidance will be provided as soon as possible so you can sink into the anonymity of your table for two. I know Reidski is the same. I know this because of the way he always, ever so politely, ensures I go through the door first.
We follow the directions for the dining room in a rather gorgeous Georgian house. I go through the door first (as always) and Oh The Horror! A huge table is laid out for all eight guests (maximum that can stay in the B&B accommodation there). Three seats on each side and one at each end. The end seats are both occupied, and one on each side. In other words, the two couples already installed at the table have put as much distance between the other couple as physically possible.
My first thought was that I would turn round to find that Reidski had done a runner. I know fully well how very much he was going to hate this situation. I selected a middle chair which at least meant he would only actually have one person (me) right next to him. And knowing it was entirely down to me I commenced with the small talk...or at least I tried to.
Couple the Elder were quite open to chat. TOO open to chat in Reidksi’s opinion. In fact within minutes of our acquaintance we had heard all about their crazy golf experience of Christmas Eve 2004 at Great Yarmouth. Couple the Younger however.....
It was the ‘He’ of Couple the Younger who was at the end seat and I turned to him to ask how long they had been staying at the Lodge. I swear to god he went purple and nearly choked before managing to stammer out the words ‘Just got here.’ Out of compassion – never mind out of embarrassment (mine) I decided not to give him a stroke by directing any further conversation in his direction. As for the ‘She’ of Couple the Younger: well she managed to keep her back to me the entire time we were there making it crystal clear she was not in any way whatsoever really have a communal breakfast experience with a bunch of strangers.
A fourth couple arrived. Nodded so quickly to us all that if you blinked you would have missed it, and sat down to whisper between themselves for the duration of the repast.
The owner of the place came through and said something directly to Reidski and I. Terrible moment because due to his accent I had not the faintest idea what he had asked us. At that point it was me who appeared to be without the power of speech. It turned out that he was asking us ‘Did we have a nice meal at the Unicorn?’ Reidski managed to answer him in spite of the fact that he thought the place we had eaten was called the Orchid.
Reidski who told me later he had mentally steeled himself to believe that it was possible to spend half an hour of his life in this horrendous social situation managed to contribute to the re-telling of the M5 story. He did however collapse on the bedroom floor with a panic attack when we finally made our escape. If I could have stopped laughing I would have been in a better state to administer first aid.
Should add that the breakfast itself was simply superb. Highly recommended if you are one of those rare people completely comfortable eating baked beans in front of people you have never met before in your life. But when I said to the (delightful) owners we would be back, Reidski was very clear with me as we came away that, ‘No, we would not.’
I guess it is generally the case that unless one is Iain Dale (and who would want to be Iain Dale)that most of us bloggers run out of energy and/or inspiration after 'x' number of years churning this stuff out. There is only so many times I for example can report that Reidski and I had a great night together, before any readers out there make a sharp exit in the direction of someone writing something mildly original. Not that I want Reidski and I to have a dreadful night together in order to provide you with variety you understand......
So what is actually new?
Well my garden pond is new! I am very happy about this, although I do wish I had cut the hedge before taking the photo. The pond was previously a potato patch in which potatoes never grew (they tend to need to be planted first in order to subsequently grow), but in which weeds flourished. It now looks much prettier believe me. And I have fish! Actually the main motivator for me getting this pond was the knowledge that Reidski may soon be moving from his flat where he has a pond and fish - and I was worried about those fish getting neglected. I plan to transfer them at such time as he moves out. (Although his fish would appear to have survived perfectly well on many years of neglect - we didn't know there were any fish in his pond until he'd been there over a year!)(The water could not be described as crystal clear.)
Having fish should be relaxing really, but I do have trouble chilling out by my pond until all five of my present brood have been accounted for each time I visit. I live in constant fear of abduction. The accounting for them bit isn't so easy either. They don't answer when I call them, they don't all emerge from underneath the lily pads at the same time, and they are difficult to tell apart. So it appears that I am stuck with " sitting there by the side of the pond until such time as the fish make themselves visible, independently and simultaneously" and this is no ideal solution: today it took eleven minutes. Still - it beats working.
In other news we have been to Paris. I think Reidksi has just about recovered from the nine euros for a pint of lager incident. Lucky that I am a qualified first aider.
We managed to go to places we had not explored before which was mainly great - the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg, the opulent Versailles, and the enormous Pere Lachaise cemetery. Traveller's tip: Do not go to this cemetery without purchasing a map. We did not purchase a map. La Grande Mistake. Mausoleums can all start to look alike after the first two hours of searching for dear Oscar. Not so great was the familiarity we gained with the exit of the Abbesses Metro Station which was as far as our trip to Montmartre got. The rain - the like of which we had never seen before - was so bad that after having spent god knows how long not leaving the metro station we ended up agreeing that killing over four hours in the Gard du Nord before our train was due was actually a better option than going out in that rain. (Having taken the over four hours at the Gard du Nord option, I'm not entirely sure if we were right but never mind.)
In other news we are going to Shropshire later this week. This is actually a mistake, because if I had known when booking our hotel that Ludlow (Shropshire) was not in fact Ledbury (Herefordshire) we would be going to Herefordshire. Herefordshire is where we were supposed to be going - but Ludlow looks very nice anyway.
I am sure in the immortal words of Mr Bennett that I have by now 'Delighted you long enough', so will over and out.
Coming soon (I suspect), the episode in which Jane makes a complete idiot of herself at a job interview.
Formerly known as Just Jane, but with a blog move carried out in haste I managed to end up with a blog nickname I hate..J bloody J. Oh well, too late to do anything about it now. Call me what you will. So apart from a stupid title I have three off spring, one very special bloke, lots of friends, a great family, a job I love and a rubbish football team who I love too. I also have a tendency to go on abit.....you have been warned.