Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Reviewing the Twelve - Numbers One and Two

I am still revelling in our connection to the internet; the easy access to information and communication is delighting me anew. We are thinking through our use of, and time spent on, the web and are planning to find a way to keep the space we have found through not having constant access while being clear and focussed about what it is we can use it for.

One thing that I have wanted to do since the end of January is to properly review the goals I set for myself - my 12x12. I wanted these to be a tool to guide what I put first in my plannning- "prompts to remember how I want to live." I could, of course, have reviewed this without needed to blog but I find the process of blogging helfpul and clarifying and the blog provides a space to record my thoughts.
My first goal was to host local neighbours to eat at the house once per month. This has proved easy so far, easy and natural. The friends whose house provided the base from which we grew to love and dare to think we might be able to live in this beautiful Dale have been over for lunch. Our next-door neighbours (who own the attached holiday cottage and actually live in Liverpool) have had dinner here: an evening full of laughter, wine, games and competitions to see who could hold a quiz card to their face by sucking for the longest! It was relaxed and fun. The friend who has taken us caving and helped us out with advice and practical jobs has had coffee and cake, lunch and dinner a good few times and is becoming a much loved and always welcome visitor. Somehow I find myself more relaxed, more outgoing, more willing to stop and spend time chatting. It is a change that I welcome and hoped for. It is how I want to live.

The next goal was to run 12 times per month. With a place in Run Northumbria- a half-marathon in just less that two weeks time- and the Swaledale Marathon in June, I am running habitally again and the need to count runs seems superfluous. I did manage a few more than 12 in January but not quite in Febuary: a week away, a nasty virus and fewer days than a usual month mean that I've only just reached double figures. But I'm fit and getting fitter and looking forward to a race and that's good enough.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Hello world!

We arrived home after our weekend working in London to find that we still  had no internet. We had been told, promised and assured that it would be connected on 13th February. It was not. On Tuesday to spoke to a Customer Options Manager at BT who asked for 48 hours to look into the problem and to get it sorted out. Thursday, she said, we should have internet. We told her we had had enough and that we wanted to cancel our contract. 48 hours she asked for. We waited. We also began to explore the option of signing up with the local community internet provider. Thursday came, Thursday went. We had an answerphone message to say that internet wouldn't be switched on, she was very sorry, but it would be next Tuesday. We didn't get back to her. We made an appointment for a site survey to find out if we would be able to get Reeth Rural Radio.
We popped out this morning to run some errands. We came home to find a new blue light on our home hub. Internet? Surely not! But yes, connection! It took some believing. We checked on our phones,we checked on our computers. We are indeed connected! Hello world!
Being without internet has been irritating and time-comsuming and expensive in drinks in pubs using free wi-fi. E-mails have built up in my in-box, chatty messages to friends have been too fussy to send, blog posts have been unwritten, Spanish pronunciation has been guess-work and little admin jobs have assumed enormous proportions. But the children have played together more imaginatively, books have been read and work has stayed outside the house. A number of peopls have asked us if we really do want the internet back in our home. I do, without a doubt, but I have enjoyed aspects of the wi-fi free life. Before tide sweeps back in, it is time to review what has been good about our enforced break and to build firm boundaries to preserve the space we have found.

Friday, 8 February 2013


My head is spinning. The plumber came to move our gas bottles from the front of the house to the back, and cheerily let us know that we had used almost all the gas. All four bottles. £300 worth of gas. Since December! We knew bottled gas was expensive and the house difficult to heat, but we weren't quite expecting that!
He switched that boiler off to reconnect it to the new pipes. He switched it back on. Nothing happened. Nothing at all. So, next week, we are having a new boiler fitted. It's quite cold in the house right now!
Hopefully the new boiler will be more efficient and we'll use less gas. Hopefully.
In the mean time, we have had the most beautiful sand-stone hearth laid in our living room, ready for our new log-burner. The idea being that this beautiful feature will heat not only the lounge but the bedroom above and cut down on our need for heating, which is good considering the cost of the gas.
The sandstone slab was probably "dressed" two hundred years ago, and laid down in the local hills I-don't-know-how-many million years ago.
It puts our life into context, something to ponder as I will be sitting, toasty warm, on my sofa in a couple of weeks. For now though, it's an extra jumper!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Not the broadband (latest ETA is next Tuesday, and I got a £50 bill from BT today!), me. I am on my first two-day visit down south to do 12 hours of teaching and head home. We are tweaking things a little and have bought a new car, just a 3-door Citroen, which works out around the same price as the trains but so much more flexible, and are finding our feet with the on/off pattern. Lack of Internet continues to more than frustrate me but we are making do and I was pleased to see that I had almost achieved my goal of 12 posts in January despite the technical obstacles. I achieved nearly all my goals (having changed the baking to 12 x in the year which seemed a whole load more realistic , especially with a son who loves to cook) but I didn't make the Breastfeeding one. I suspect that this too has its roots in wi-fi absence but we shall see ...