How fast does a year go by….

Today is the second anniversary with a week that marked a substantial change to my life; a year ago on the 7th I left a job and a group of friends whom I had worked with for over 10 years; on 10th I left a city that had been home for almost 22 years and a flat that been my humble abode for almost 18 of those years. You may surmise that I can be a creature of habit and comfort.

However today is my first anniversary on my new job in a new city and a celebration of a year of commuting!

The former is good; yes it is a crazy place that needs some serious sitting out in termed of it’s priorities, but it (and the people) are generally up for it and are very open.

The middle thing is challenge to me; I know next to nothing about the city I commute to every day. I know how to get from the station to office, and I know a couple of good pubs, but that is it. What is actually in this city? I don’t know and with a hour to travel there and back again the prospect of finding out any time soon is not really there. I just wanna get home at the end of a day.

The latter aspect is the biggest surprise to me; I don’t mind the commute! From being an Owl in those 22 previous years (up late and to bed late), my working week has turned me, without to many tears and tantrums, into a Lark. I use my train time to study, read, write this blog and other such nonsense. Yes the spring, summer and autumn are far better than the darkness of winter, but there has been no SAD this year and I think that is partly due to the commute as an activity.

So all these anniversaries also mean that it has been a year of co-habiting; that has been a year of big changes as well bit it has been “survived” very well by both of us. We have moved on from that commuter relationship to house buying, cat adopting and weekly Tesco shops in an easy stride that I have loved and adapted to with easy. That maybe down to the Other Half and their adapting to me.

But for a year I do have some regrets; I have not seen some good friends in the North and do miss them and my family is that much further away and, though I was never the most regular visitor, it is now even more infrequent. More effort must be made on my part.

And for a year I am amazed how fast it has gone. Whirlwind!

The final time

So this weekend is my final trip to Glasgow to finish off the flat before the tenants move in on Monday. My last “free” weekend in my wee flat.

I know I am going to have mixed feelings. It has been upgraded to a nice standard, I do wonder why I didn’t do it for myself years ago.

It is also another last for me, a last trip to Scotland before the independence vote. Now that I am Yorkshire man I don’t get a vote; something I am mild disappointed in. However I have a greater fear for the post vote days, no matter which way it goes. This referendum has been polarising across Scotland, between family and friends and the morning after is not going to heal the hard words that have passed between some. Also, with a vote this close, and it will be close, there is not going to be a clear mandate either way. Yes there will be a legal victory, but if the losing side gets 40-49% of the vote, then whilst the matter will be settled, it will not be gone. There will still be a significant proportion of the Scottish electorate who thought the other way. This will benefit Yes, if it loses; there can be another referendum in 15 years time. There will never be a referendum to reunify…..

So I hope for a clear result; a +60% one way or the other, but I don’t think it will happen. On the 19th September, if it was a win either way by a few percentage points, then no one should be crowing, they should be working out how to reunify Scotland.

In the meantime, I will enjoy my criuse up the M6/M74 with, for the last time for at least a couple of years, the destination of St Vincent Street.

This Way Up

Image

Just to prove that I am not just procrastinating about this whole new job, new city, new cat thing, and to prove that I am doing something, today I took receipt of enough packing boxes to shift a 2 to 3 bedroom house!

For those that know I live in a one bedroom flat, well you will also know the amount of utter hording I have completed in by 19 years in this place and will therefore know that I need to shift the equivalent of a 3 bedroom house.

With all that said I am drafting in a couple of very carefully selected friends to help with this task; Firstly we have “My Gracie”, she is efficient, streamlined and will get me in order; secondly there is “The Artist”, she understands attachment to ‘things and stuff’ better than anyone I know. These to wonderful women are going to make sure I don’t take all my crap (get ready Oxfam!) but ensure that I do take all the things that mean something. I know that if left to my own devices, like the pharaohs of old did in their tombs, I would crap every piece of everything in.

Today however I have been brave, I thought I better pack a few boxes on my own to get over the feeling of it all. It is odd seeing empty shelves…..

so things are changing

It is fair to say that I never got to finish the holiday blogging; I wanted to tell about all the things I like about NZ and the comparisons that I could draw with life in the UK, I wanted to tell about a rather disastrous stop over in London and the absolute horror that is British Airways customer service, however when we were in Singapore I got a phone call that has but me and @maccagraeme in something of a spin.

So back in May 2013 I applied for a new job, down in Yorkshire with the plan to relocate and set up home in York. After some long delays in July I was told that the job was on hold due to a merge and restructure and by that time we had agreed on NZ so I thought it was a bit pointless looking for a job and then asking for a month off! In October I got a call from the Company; “Was I still interested and would I like to attend an interview?”. OK, yeah I went down and it was one of the oddest interviews of my life. It appeared that there was a mix up of who was interviewing whom and generally I got the feeling it wasn’t planned out very well. Still I thought it was a good chat with guy I could work for.

Then it went quiet again, for almost 2 months before the call at Changi Airport; would I be free for a second interview. Yes, but it will have to wait a week or so while k get home and sort stuff out.

So home I got, back into the frantic world of catching up at work, listening to the stories of issues and incidents, cover ups and near misses. Then I get the call; “Can you do a telephone interview?”. OH, to me that didn’t sound great, to me that sounded like they had someone and just wanted to finish a process of me as the ‘near miss’. Perhaps the ‘heir and the spare’ thing?

So second week of December I call in for a hour of telephone competency-based questioning. It went ok, when you cannot see their faces you have no real idea of what is going on.

As you might have guessed from this whole post, a week later I get the offer and went for it. It hasn’t been plain sailing form there; Xmas holidays delayed a formal offer and I the end I resigned on the 6th January.

So here I am, start of February with an impending change to everything. I have lived in Glasgow for 21 years, in my flat for almost 19 of those years. My entire life is up here in Glasgow and frankly I am so looking forward to jacking it all in to live with @maccagraeme, but it terrifies me.

So the next few months worth of blogs are going to be dominated by this event; The Move. I predict moments of utter joy, terrifying apprehensions, heart breaking goodbyes and lots of decorating.

Hold on… I know I will be!

QE2

A friend of mine is very much “in to” the QE2, in fact he uses the word awesomealot when describing the ship (it is not a boat; as I have been told many time ;o).

When he heard that the last of the Clyde built ocean liners was being retired to life as a floating hotel off one of the palms in Dubai he was a little distraught and immediantly jumped on to Cunard’s website to book a cruise (or 2!). It was at that time he asked me if I wanted to go on one and, interested, I said yup.

To put it (and him) in context a bit, my friends dad used to be one of the people who would have to fly out around the world when a QE2 engine/turbine started to play up. So he was brought up with liners, and you could say it is in his blood.

I understood the majesty of the QE2, rather than being an ocean going hotel she was the last of the liners and she was Clyde built at John Brown’s, so there is a degree of history with her.

This was all fine and dandy until she started her 40th birthday lap of Britain. I had never seen the her with my own eyes so I booked up, with my friend, to take the Balmoral down the Clyde to escort her out of port and down the Firth of Clyde. A couple of days before we went to see her on the Forth and I was impressed. She was larger than I though and with the black hull and bright white decks looked good, but this trip down the Clyde made me understand a bit more about his “thing” with this liner.

Our first views were from up the Clyde as she was still docked at Gourock, just seeing the height of her against the cranes gave me a some kind of yard stick as to how bit this ship was. I am sure I could easily ask how long and how high, but suffice to say that in my eyes she was big, impressively big, but at the same time very stylish and proper. It is difficult to explain; maybe to say she was not big in the ostentatious or OTT way, there was a dignity and grace that I started to understand.

When she pulled away from the quayside and the floatila of boats were heading down the firth we got exteremly close and she was awe inspiring (have I just fallen head first into the awesome trap?). To hear the horn blow, it was one of those sounds that reverbarates in your chest; a sound you can feel, and that is always something.

I now can’t wait until December and my first (and most probably last) trip on the QE2, now I just wish it was transatlantic and not a weekend of the North Sea!

More pictures of the day are on my flickr