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Well. That was a whirlwind couple of months. We are now pretty well ensconced in a rental place in Didcot while they finish building our new house, and the Brighton house is sold. Jobs have started, I'm remembering the joy of a regular payday, and I still haven't quite finished the thesis. It's a little bit like the end of the Masters, and I'll probably feel much the same way when I do get it done (although I won't spend time in the garden afterwards).

The funny thing about what we've just had to do is that I sort of knew it was pending. My student registration is up at the end of September, so I couldn't keep going the way I had been. It's just been really hard to keep that in mind whilst not being able to do anything to prepare for the next steps. I've already steamed past at least 3 (somewhat unrealistic in hindsight) self-imposed deadlines, and I really did think I'd get the thesis done before I looked for work.

Still, these things happen. But the blur that the summer has become has not left a lot of space for contemplation. I've been asked what I'd miss from Brighton, and I honestly couldn't think.

I have never fallen for Brighton. That's ok, there are plenty of people who have, it won't miss me. But it seems I'm an inland kind of girl. The things that I enjoyed on my ride home over the hill were watching the wheat ripple in the wind, seeing the swifts (I think) playing over the top of it, and the rabbits scampering back across the path as I disturbed their nibbling at the field edges. Although when I used to commute along the sea edge I did enjoy the odd sunset, by and large the section I looked forward to was the field of horses and rabbits once I got inland a bit.


Although I've enjoyed the views I get of Falmer and over the fields to Lewes, I won't miss the hill that provides me with those views for an instant. It's made me much stronger, but it's come close to killing me on occasion too! I might miss my garden, but I've made big mistakes that need a fair bit of work to rectify, and every single time I carried my bike up those steps I end up with new bruises. Again, I've learnt a lot from doing it. Interestingly, one of the things I've learnt is that if I want to keep doing all my other hobbies and have to keep going to work then that garden was slightly too big. I never expected to say that!

Front garden

I will miss our fire. But I'm hoping that the house we're eventually moving to will be properly insulated and warm, and we won't need one. We're getting a conservatory instead, so hopefully I can lift my winter spirits by getting some light in that (at the weekends, anyway).

The thing I will miss the most is the people. The networks we've built up. More than just friends, all those weak ties too. The people at parkrun who know us just to smile at, or have a brief chat with. The people who turn up to knitting once in a blue moon. But the wonders of social media mean there's a good chance that the best will remain in touch even if we don't see each other so often, and with just a few exceptions we've actually moved closer to a great many of our friends.

Fingers crossed, but this might just work.


Here we go!

So, the big things happening that I mentioned in my last post. I'm pretty sure I've now told the people who really needed to hear from me directly, so I can share it on the blog.

I got a job. I'm still writing up my PhD, and I will be for a while yet, but I have a job that starts middle of June. I'm leaving academia again and going back to PHP development. There are a few different reasons for this to do with priorities and lifestyle choices and so on. I've dropped in and out of academia a couple of times now, and I feel that this time I have a really strong understanding of what I'm doing and why it's the right thing for me, so if the PhD has given me nothing else (and I do feel it's given me plenty, don't worry) that's not a bad thing.

The catch is that the job is just outside of Didcot, and we live around 2, 2.5 hours from there at the moment. So we're moving. Which in turn means that Clarkie needed to find a new job... Which she has, in Oxford. It appears we're both kind of employable, so that's nice.

So now we 'just' have to sell our house and find somewhere to live.

for sale

Our house is on the market but not on the website yet - waiting for the photos. Those have been taken though. The house is so unbelievably tidy right now. It's amazing. I'm a little scared to move in it. (The garden really isn't, but hey, can't win them all.) We've filled out a bunch of solicitor documentation and we have an open house booked for May 31st, so that's all nicely on the go.

At the other end, we've made a reservation for a new build house in Didcot. Again, lots of documentation has been gone through, we're looking to pick options, all whizzing along quite happily. The only catch with that is that it won't be built until maybe March, maybe a little earlier if we're lucky. So we need to rent somewhere in the meantime. With a little bit of luck we'll get that in progress this coming weekend.

So yeah, busy busy busy. Oh, and did I mention I'm still writing up a PhD thesis?!


In the kingdom of the blind

Whoops, bit of a lull again. Things are afoot, but I need to keep them under my hat for a little while longer, so instead I just look a bit rubbish. Such is life. 

First things first, I did finish Clarkie's top. Just rather later than the Monday. Somehow when the deadline was already past it felt like the pressure was off. Still, it fits rather well, and I think we are both quite pleased with it. 

CBJ 14

She has even asked for another, so it's a good job that I wrote down full and detailed instructions for this one! No, for once I really did. She can have as many of these as she likes. 

Today I have had a sewing epiphany. I mentioned recently that I am short, and have to shorten all my trousers. Well, today I had a pair to do that I wasn't looking forward to. One of those smarter types, with the hidden hem thing going on. The kind of hem that I've always done by hand because I didn't know how to do them on the machine which is tedious and I've never been really happy with the finished result. But needs must, so I sat myself down to the task today when suddenly it occurred to me that there had to be a better way. So I googled. 

I discovered that that kind of hem is called a 'blind hem'. I discovered that you can do those on the machine, if you have a 'blind hem foot'. I found a tutorial that made it sound easy. And best of all I discovered that included in the many random sewing machine feet that I haven't worked out what to do with that came with my sewing machine is a blind hem foot. 

Blind hem foot

I need fear those hems no more. I have conquered them. This has been a very good day. 

I can't help wonder why (given that I've always been short) my home economics teacher didn't see fit to teach me this. I'm giving Mum the benefit of the doubt and assuming that this is news to her too. Seriously, if you are also short, or have trousers to turn up for someone else, have a read of that link. 

Makes me wonder what the other random feet do...



I think this is it. I think I'm finally admitting that I will not get this finished by tomorrow. 

Not enough diamonds

I am just 32 rows off starting the v. That doesn't sound like an awful lot, but I'm only getting through around 4 rows in 30 minutes, what with untangling and whatnot. So that's still 4 hours of knitting. Stupid little things like eating, work and sleep have conspired against me. It should never have come down to this, I know. I bought the wool at Christmas, which is loads of time to knit a vest top.  Still, progress made, and I should have it blocking by Monday evening. 

Today is a little bit exciting, because it is my last day of writing code for the African Farmer Game. Need to iron out as many kinks as I can before hometime. Might be a late one...



Today's progress shot is nearly far enough off to get me to throw in the towel. Nearly.

Argyle progress

I've laid it out on the back, to illustrate how much further there is to go. The only thing stopping me declaring this impossible is that once I get to the armpits I start decreasing rapidly, and I start the V at the same time which simplifies the colourwork as well as reducing the stitches. 

The problem I had last night was that my wool kept getting tangled. See, for those that don't knit, this effect is achieved by having multiple balls of yarn on the go. One per colour block. For me, that's 4 blocks of dark grey, 2 blocks of black and 1 of light grey, plus the 6 for the thin lines of colour. That is 13 bits of yarn. On each row, each two adjacent yarns need to be twisted together. I've heard there are ways to be ever so careful and keep things neat, but I am not that kind of knitter. This is the outcome: 

Tangled argyle

And actually, that's the improved, recently sorted out look. I probably lost 20-30 minutes last night, just sorting out tangles. Dammit! Still, ever onwards...