Happy times

Monday May 22, 2006

It turned decidedly chilly today, reminding me of the ne’er cast a clout ’til May’s well out approach to the walking wardrobe my mother forced on me when I was a kid. These days I generally cast as many clothes as I can, as fast as I can. In the interests of my monthly power bills as well as wanting to do my bit for the environment, I’ve abandoned the practice of turning up the heating so’s I can slop around indoors in shorts and t-shirt all through the winter. Other than that I follow another of my mother’s injuctions—to get the air and light to your skin.

Mother’s rules and remedies are good to remember, and not a bad thing to follow. Just so long as you retain enough free will to be selective when it comes to conflicts and advances in thinking.

One thing I was taught that serves me well now that I’m on a pensioner’s fixed income is neither a borrower nor a lender be. It’s entirely different when you’re working and can expect a steadily increasing income; then you can safely borrow against your future.

As you get older it’s better to be more careful with your future. So I conserve what I have, and save what I can until I have the funds to buy what I haven’t.

My conservation instincts were grossly offended today when I received the first Vodaphone bill for my Internet usage here in the caravan. Now, let’s be clear. I’ve budgeted for it, and I have the cash set aside to pay for it. Even so, it’s a charge out of all proportion to the service rendered and, in normal times, I’d never tolerate it.

I really don’t like this aspect of life in the caravan. I hate to be restricted in my online activities. I especially dislike the way I have to be so sparing in posting the photographs I’m taking now that I’m sufficiently settled here in Somerset to start snapping my new world. When I’m back on broadband I shall go on a real photographic record spree. Can’t wait.

Judging by the progress reported by Sally our solicitor when I visited her office this morning, I may not have to wait too long. She’s already had the draft contract and preliminary papers from the seller’s solicitors, and she started the routine searches and inquiries today. Unless there are any hidden snags, we could be ready to exchange contracts by the end of next week. If that happens it’ll be up to the sellers to set the interval between exchange and completion but it’s unlikely to be a period of more than four weeks after exchange before we pick up the keys. Again, we can’t wait.

The sooner we have access to the house the better it’ll suit Graham’s workload, which picks up slowly but surely as the season progresses, leaving him with no more than one day a week free to help with painting and cleaning and then moving our stuff in. He’s planning to take a two-day break for the actual move but from then on and until the end of the season in October, it’ll be up to Dolly and me to get books and stuff unpacked and keep the house in good order until he’s free to pitch in full time over the late Autumn, Winter and early Spring. I don’t envy him. Living on the job is all very well, and I’ve done that, many times, but your heart is always left at home and, when there’s work to be done there, your hands and shoulders want desperately to join it.

Our initial thinking is that, when the house is ready to get our furniture and stuff installed, Dolly and I shall move in permanently to look after the joint and trickle feed the projects through the season. Graham oftentimes doesn’t finish work until the wee small hours, and will lodge in the caravan, returning home as often as he can gather enough time together to make it worth me driving over to pick him up. Between visits, when I’m in need of human company and comfort I can drive here in no more than twenty minutes. It’ll be strange but it’ll work until we can team up for a winter of hard work in house and garden and a non-stop spree of human interaction. One more time—we can’t wait.

A shift to the house, and garden, will be good for Dolly. She loves life here in the caravan but the limited space and equally limited exercise possibilities are beginning to show in what passes for her waistline. Those stairs will help both of us trim down a bit and a patch of temporarily enclosed garden patio outside the kitchen door will help, too.

All three of use are enjoying the way we’re being carried along by changing events. Graham is revelling in it. I’m holding on tight so as not to be left behind, and Dolly has no option but to come along because I keep a close hold on her. Both Dolly and I are having fun with it, though, in our different ways. It’s a happy time.



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