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A few years ago I decided to start a new career as a performer. I used to be a biology teacher but couldn't face walking around in a white coat all day teaching children who didn't want to learn. Actually it wasn't so much the children as the system cause I think all children want to learn - they just don't all want to learn in schools. Anyway I now work as a Life and Executive coach. Work is perhaps not the right word because it never feels like work. I just love to see people grow and change. I love it when they peel of the layers of limiting beliefs and find their true self. And I make some great frends in the process. I've re-discovered my writing and have published two poetry books and now working on 2 CDs, a novel, a book of short stories and talking to someone about a collaoration on a film script. That should keep me busy for a whild. Oh and I do bellydance.
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Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Letting go

The constant packing is beginning to take its toll. Today I have a cold - loads of sneezing and coughing and blowing of nose. Maybe its the change in weather or maybe its breathing in years of dust. I cleared a bookshelf in my son's room that hasn't been touched in 7 years. Did I need to keep any book that hasn't been looked at in 7 years? There were a couple of novels I've put aside to read again (in another 7 years maybe). My son has outgrown most of his books and yet it was still hard to put them into the charity bag. I even found myself thinking I could save them for the grandchildren. No Predencia NO. Let go. If I ever do another HMO I'm sure it will take a fraction of the time because there wont be any of the emotional attachment to clearing rooms - no looking through past school reports; through music concert programmes; no reminiscing about the pride I felt when son number one was selected to play basketball for England, no welling up at the thought that it was all 10 years ago, no reflection on whether I've been a good enough parent. No doubt about whether I'm handling son number three's concerns that his home is being turned into a business. Sometimes if feels like this is more exhausing than the acutal work.

Today the application form to have the gas pipe in the kitchen moved came. Yesterday it took me 15 minutes and 5 calls to get through to the right department of Nationalgrid. I was even transferred to BT Glasgow by a Nationalgrid employee in the Midlands. It really pisses me off when this happens when I'm on an 0870 number. Not only are they charging an arm and a leg to do the pipework but they're making money out of my phone calls too. We're having second thoughts about paying over £1000.00 to move the meter. Does anyone know of a lightweight fridge/freezer that could sit on a plinth about two feet off the ground?

I've nearly done all the bedrooms now and the loft is looking pretty fat (where did all that space go?) Tomorrow I start on the bathroom - not only is there an airing cupboard to be emptied but there's a bit storage cupboard almost to the ceiling full of suitcases and travel bags. That wonderful week in La Tour de France just two weeks ago is beginning to feel like a distant memory.
Monday, 29 September 2008

Courting the builders

I'm working my way round the bedrooms and already the loft is looking full - despite the mountain of paper I took to the recycle centre and the copiously filled black bags that went to various Charity shops. I like to give to Barnardos; not only because I believe in their cause but because it is on the corner of the High St in Erdington and if I get there early enough there're places to park.

The clearing is hard work physically, emotionally and spiritually. But much more challenging is getting workmen to give quotes or respond to phone messages and turn up when they say they are going to. I was under the impression that due to the down turn in the building trade that there were a fair few buildiers just waiting to jump at the chance to work. Why then have we got the only ones that seem too busy to return phone calls - or can't start till March? I would like to think it is because they are bloody good and have loads of work on despite the looming depression that we keep being told is on the way. We've finally got a start date from a builder we have been courting. Please dear God let him turn up on Saturday and please let him be good.
Friday, 26 September 2008

An attic full of memories

I'd set myself 4 days to clear out the loft. It took 8. Whereas the shed involved throwing out old bikes, trikes, the Kettecar Marlon got for his 3rd birthday, my Nephew's books that went into the shed 5 years ago (my way of holding on to some momentos of his life), and black bags full of comics - the loft was mostly paper. True there was an old pair of speakers, (a fine bit of mahagony furniture), a few chairs, old off cuts of wood, rusted tools, old shower gubbings and the like, but the bulk of what filled my loft was paper. It would be to cliched to say there were several forrests in there but it was pretty damned close.

Of course the reason it took double the allocated time is because I hadn't allowed for the fact that I'd get side tracted into reading old diaries and journals. I found one from 1974 which was a real page turner. What I found amazing from reading that diary was how I had managed to reconfigure events in my memory. Things I remembered as happening sequentially were actually concurrent. How could I have forgotton people who had featured so prominently in my life? Makes me wonder who I will no longer remember in 10/20 years time.

I found hundreds of photographs, old letters, birthday and Christmas cards, gifts, momentos, and papers from just about every course I've ever done. Drafts for all my publications, drafts from other people's publications - God what a hoarder. Not to mention the clothes. The plus side with the clothes is that most of them would still fit -though I wouldn't be caught wearing them now (well - maybe as costume in a play or something).

Everything had to be cleared out so the floor could be strengthened and shelves and lights put in - then what I was keeping had to be put into storage boxes, labelled and moved back again. This is certainly an incentive to lose the hoarding instinct.
The intention is to use the loft (which is quite a big room) as storage and workshop space. Somewhere to keep the spare bulbs, irons, kettles, chairs, duvets and anything else a tennant may need in an emergency. Somewhere to keep tools and do repairs. With this hive of activity the Fire Service has advised that we will need to fit a fire door and a heat detector in the loft. This brings to 13 the number of smoke/heat detectors we have to fit whch brings with it a few challenges as the system we were hoping to use will only take 12.
Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The conversion begins

Work on my house to convert it from a family dwelling to a HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) got underway properly today. It was a bit of a milestone and a huge relief after months of clearing and chucking out. It's amazing how much stuff a family can accumulate in 17 years.

It began in June with clearing the garden, some heavy pruning, lopping and digging to make the garden as low maintenence as possible. I suppose we could have just gone for concreting the lot (all 150 feet) but what with the current flooding problems being linked to the amount of land paved and unable to allow water to drain away - not to mention the expense - it seemed more sensible and cost effective to just get my head down and do it myself. It was great during those few weeks of sunshine we got in June to be out there doing battle with the ivy. I think I may have won a few battles where that is concerned but there is still a war on at the bottom of the garden. The shed is still partially clad in the damned thing and each time I ripped a chunk of ivy it took a chunk of the felt roof with it.

We have a plan. Clear out shed at bottom of garden, then out houses, loft, bedrooms 2,3 and lounge. Begin work on all of above then when complete tackle bedroom 4 and kitchen, and finally the biggie - the kitchen. Bedrooms 1 and 5 would be last as they needed least doing to them. I'll let you know in the next blog how the plan is working.