When an email suddenly appeared in my inbox from my new boss asking me to pop along to her office, without giving away any clues as to why, I did the very British thing of assuming that I’d done something wrong. However, that couldn’t have been further from the truth because she immediately asked me if they could extend my temporary contract as she was so impressed with my work! She said she’d give me time to think about it, and half a second later I replied YES! Never in a million years did I think I could begin a brand new career aged 54, and yet here I am, doing just that!
Oh my word, I didn’t see that coming. I knew that departmental contracts were currently being discussed but there was no way I was even thinking I’d be invited to stay. Of course, this happy development means that I’ve had to make some very big decisions, and I’ll now be leaving the familiarity of the self-employed position I’ve held for the past eight years so that I can fully focus on my new and exciting future. Burning bridges can be extremely scary, however, you simply can’t move forwards if you anchor yourself to the past. At times like this you just have to take a giant leap of faith, and trust that the universe will catch you…
As I’m involved in a neighbourhood project which is attempting to make the local green spaces and woodland a nicer environment for everyone to enjoy, both now and in the future, I did a bit of research to find out what was potentially on offer to groups such as ours and it turns out that The Woodland Trust offer saplings to those who meet certain criteria. After the application process we waited to see if we’d been successful and a few weeks later we’ve received the exciting news that we’re to be given 30 trees to create a lovely little copse adjacent to the existing wood.
We’re now looking forward to planting 10 silver birch, 10 rowan and 10 wild cherry trees in the hope to attract more wildlife to the area. Obviously, it’ll take many years for the trees to fully reach maturity, but hopefully the next generation will be able to appreciate our legacy to them. It really does feel good to be able to give something back to your community.
It’s one thing when your favourite famous people start dropping like flies; Lemmy (saw Motorhead in the 80s) and David Bowie (it was just a couple of weeks ago when I was watching Labyrinth for the umpteenth time) and then Harry Potter’s ‘Professor Snape’ (my ‘weird crush‘); but it’s quite another when the people you hung out with during your teens are suddenly taken far too soon. These aren’t lads and lasses who were several years older than me, but people my age for goodness sake! Even though I’m no spring chicken, I’m not exactly reaching for the zimmer frame just yet, but the sad news of old friends passing away is a very unwelcome reminder that our time on this planet is relatively brief.
With this sobering thought in mind, I’m now more determined than ever to go way out of my comfort zone from now on, cramming as much as I can into each day, each week, each month… I want to explore new places, meet new people, do exciting new things and really LIVE my life. As from today I’ll be seriously raising my game, and seeing just what this middle aged peroxide blonde is actually capable of. Bring it on!
When you’ve been a witness in a horrific murder investigation, no matter how many months or even years have passed since the tragedy you can never entirely free yourself from it. At the time, there were detectives from three different police forces, along with the Serious Crime Squad, visiting me so frequently that I was considering installing a revolving front door! There were the ‘timed walk throughs’ to do, taped and written interviews and so on, which all obviously needed to be completed as quickly as possible. Only my close friends and family knew of my involvement due to the sensitivity of the situation, especially given that the killer was still at large, although obviously the neighbours were rather intrigued.
Eventually, someone local was arrested and has admitted to it, which you’d hope would be the end of it. However, cases like this are rarely straightforward, and the wheels of the legal process will inevitably grind painfully slowly until the court case finally begins. This means the local press will now have a field day dragging up every tiny scrap of information, while those unfortunate enough to be affected by the story have to re-live that truly awful day over and over again. It all looks so ‘exciting’ on the telly, but I can assure you that the reality is very different…
As my cardiologist insists that my blood pressure drops below impending stroke range immediately (if not sooner), I’ve now been given a brand new monitor to use at home for the next eight days so that they can discover whether the figures are genuinely sky high 24/7, or if I’m simply suffering ‘white coat syndrome‘ whenever I’m within range of an NHS facility. It’s all fancy with buttons that beep – how exciting (mustn’t get too excited or the numbers will go up even higher).
The initial reading was, in fact, low (that’s a first), but I guess by this time next week I’ll be closer to finding out whether or not further cardiac intervention will be required. Just as well I didn’t have to do this last week while I was getting sozzled every night in the land of ‘all sheep and no vowels’!
After many years of shying away from hi-tec mobiles, preferring my trusty Nokia 1208 for all of my calls and texting needs, I’ve dragged myself kicking and screaming into the twenty first century and have now purchased my very first smartphone. For most people this is no big deal, however, anyone who knows me will be able to confirm that this is totally out of my comfort zone. I can write HTML code but when it comes to running my finger across a small, shiny screen I’m flummoxed.
Opening the box to my new toy I was a little thrown by the array of additional gadgetry and paperwork, but I took a deep breath and just kept on telling myself that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, and that I’ll simply have to take things one step at a time (or one app at a time!) Who’d have thought it – little old me now all caught up with the rest of the world. How exciting…!
Today I completed the on-site training for my brand new job and I’m now feeling confident that I’m well and truly up for the challenge. Finding out that I’ll have my very own company email address makes me feel very grown up, and being part of a massive organisation is very exciting indeed. Getting paid for training, during which you’re treated to unlimited supplies of freshly ground coffee and expensive biscuits, is just a yummy cherry on top of the delicious corporate cake.
There’s plenty of new things to get my head around, such as submitting weekly timesheets online and so on, but the huge handbook, which will now become my bedtime reading for the next few weeks, will help me to get to grips with everything.
I’m really looking forward to working with a large and diverse group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds, and knowing there’s real potential for promotion within my new career choice will motivate me to do the very best I can and therefore I’ll have a better chance of achieving what I’m actually capable of. The ladder is there in front of me and I now have my foot firmly placed on the bottom rung. Onwards and upwards!