This week is the (sort of) official start to the new way of life in the WithaY household.
Mr WithaY finished his job last week - although today is the last formal paid working day for him - and had a leaving party on Friday lunchtime at the pub. It was very pleasant, a lot of his colleagues came to join him, some travelled some distance to be there, which was very touching. There were the traditional semi-embarrassing speeches, the giving of gifts and cards, and then it was home for tea and medals.
Twenty eight years and one day, he's done. It's a long time, and a lot of memories. But now it's all change, moving forward with the new life and all that. We're both still feeling positive about it all, despite the facts that:
a) We are no longer earning any money
b) The world economy seems to be doomed. DOOOOOOOMED
c) Winter is coming
Hey, what's the worst that can happen? Frankly, given the amount of shite* that we have coped with together over the last few years, I think we can handle it, whatever it is.
So. Today. Dawning of a new era etcetera etcetera etcetera.
We began by getting up at a reasonable hour, drinking tea, eating porridge and listening to Radio 4 Extra, a radio station I like more and more. All very domestic.
Then Kevin the Decorator arrived. He's great. He's fixing the huge unsightly crack across the bedroom ceiling, repainting the (cracked) bathroom ceiling, repainting the water-stained patch on my study ceiling, and replacing the broken front doorstep in our porch. He can do anything.
Mr WithaY made him a cup of tea, then headed off to see his mate Josh in Somerset. They are both on the bushcraft training course, and he handily lives nearby**. Josh is having our hideously uncomfortable futon for his house (although the more I hear about the house the more it sounds like a shelter made from brash in the forest) and in return he is helping Mr WithaY make a knife. For bushcrafting.
Mr WithaY has lately also been making lengths of cord out of nettle fibres. It was the homework he was given after the last bushcraft course instalment. The mice set up home in the bundles of cord-making and fire-lighting vegetation he has been garnering, hence his determination to remove them at all costs. Well, peanut butter doesn't grow on trees. Unlike the bark he needs for kindling.
He is thoroughly enthusiastic about his new career choice, which is excellent. I am going to have to learn to tolerate the seemingly endless collections of twigs, bark, reeds, plant seeds and Interesting Bits Of Wood that are accumulating around him. He's like Saint Francis of Assisi, but for woodland detritus.
I've been sorting out stuff around the house, hence Kevin the Decorator's visit, partly in preparation for the winter, partly to try and kick start myself a bit as I have got lazy over the last couple of weeks. In fact, once I finish this, I am going to cut out a load of cushion covers that I have been meaning to do for about 3 weeks now.
Later on this week we are off to Gloucestershire for our lovely mates' wedding, which I am very much looking forward to. I am hoping their mad spaniels will be dressed as bridesmaids, with baskets of rose petals around their necks but I fear I may be in for disappointment.
The hen party I went to last week was interesting. I'd never been to a hen party before, which for a woman in her mid-40s is remiss. It was at a "Spa Hotel" near Bath***, and whist the hotel part was mostly ok, the spa wasn't great. Perhaps I am spoilt by having been to Ragdale Hall a couple of times. However, I don't think that having to walk across a car park and a fairly busy road in your robe and slippers to get to the treatment rooms is very nice, or wait in the lobby of the block while guests and conference attendees squeeze past you. Not classy.
The treatments themselves were fine; I had a sparkly manicure:
It lasted approximately 36 hours before I'd mangled the polish to such an extent that I had to take it all off again.
We had Champagne and nibbles and balloons and all sorts in one of the rooms before dinner, everyone dolled up in their party finery:
The photo is blurred due to Champagne. Note the straws with plastic cocks on. Niiiiice.
We ate a pleasant dinner in the restaurant, in a little side room that was semi-private so our laughing didn't (I hope) disturb too many other guests. However, after dinner we went back to one of the rooms and had more Champagne, and I suspect we may have been a tad noisy. But bugger it, I'll not be going back there, so it doesn't matter, eh?
The hotel could be really lovely, but they consistently failed to get things right - everyone's bill was wrong, so we had to get them all recalculated, and even then they didn't seem to charge us for all the wine we had, despite being asked several times to check the numbers. The bedroom I was in was clean and comfy, despite one or two issues with the bathroom****, and the food was (mostly) good, if a bit chaotic and disorganised. It was ok for a one night "party" awayday. I'd have been very disappointed if I'd booked it as a spa weekend break.
I had a two day hangover afterwards, which I am blaming on lack of sleep.
Right. Cushion time.
*See multiple previous posts about ill health, various family crises, the Shitstorm From Hades, many and varied tiresome work hassles, yadda yadda yadda...
**Within 50 miles.
***We went here...the reviews are a fair reflection of my own experience.
****The shower head was hanging on by a thread from a large ragged hole in the ceiling, and the sink drain stank of sewage. Not nice when brushing your teeth with a hangover.