After nearly five and a half years at the same bank, it was time to leave and take a break over the summer. It is perfect timing for me to stop work for a few months so I can have some “me time” and be around to spend time with Harvey during the school holidays. So on June 29th I packed my laptop up for the last time, boarded the train to EC1 and had my last day at work.
I had a leaving drink on the Tuesday of my last week at the Artillery Arms, a very old London pub next to a very interesting graveyard; Bunhill Fields Burial Ground. Besides being a very tranquil and green space it is the resting place of an estimated 120,000 people including some very well known people: William Blake, Daniel Defoe, John Bunyan and Susannah Wesley. This interesting place is Grade 1 listed and is well worth a visit.
I liked these words which formed part of a large mosaic near the office.
We definitely need more kindness in the world and I particularly like this.On my last day, our division held a fund raising event which involved each team dressing up as Disney characters and following clues and taking challenges to go to 5 different pubs. We went as the Little Green Men from Toy Story. It was a really fun way to end my time at the company.
I was happy to leave because I am excited about all the things I can do with my spare time and I can easily keep in touch with friends and colleagues. Who knows, I may even return and work there again one day.
One focus of my time off is, as always, to lose weight and become fitter. I am doing yoga once a week and I want to increase that and also introduce my own yoga practice at home. I also want to walk, cycle and swim a lot. I like swimming and sea swimming is very good for you.
I swam for the first time at West St. Leonards one evening in June. The sea here is so much clearer and cleaner than I was expecting so it made my ambition to swim as often as possible even easier.On my first Monday at home, I set off to swim, but then realised I wasn’t sure where to go ! There was no one on the beach or in the water and I was anxious about swimming alone. I walked all the way to Azur in St.Leonards and went in the sea there because there were people on the promenade. It was exhilarating and I really enjoyed it. That walk and the walk I did later in the day in Sissinghurst took me to over 20,000 steps which was a great start.
Another day I took Milton and we went to Bulverhythe where dogs are allowed on the beach. We were the only ones there.The sea was very calm and I did quite a lot of swimming and then enjoyed just sitting there with my faithful hound.Monday this week was my most fun swim, mainly because I had a friend to swim with (Lucy) and also because the waves were very lively so it was great fun. Can you see the cherries at the bottom of the picture? I took a box to enjoy on the beach.Rebecca rented a cherry tree in Northiam and we helped her pick it on Friday. Since then I have eaten lots. Some fresh and I have also stoned and frozen 3 large bagfulls, made smoothies and 2 litres of cherry brandy!
Thank you Rebecca for sharing so many cherries with us – my favourite fruit.
Some other things I have enjoyed recently were listening to Jeremy Corbyn when he came to visit us in St. Leonards.Eating kohl rabi which I have been growing.It tastes similar and has a similar consistency to a radish.I have learnt I need to cover the plants with a net because they were rather popular with cabbage white butterflies and their caterpillars!I have ventured back to London a couple of times since leaving work. I enjoyed a day in Streatham with Michelle, Lucy and Sally.Another day I enjoyed lunch and then a visit to the theatre to see Annie with Lara and Harvey.It was excellent and Miranda Hart was brilliant.My favourite London day recently was with Guy, Rebecca, Ruby and Jake who visited us from New Zealand. We shopped at some of London’s most famous shops and chilled in Hyde park. It was wonderful to see them and my only wish is that it could have been for much longer.We met at Harrods and then went to a French restaurant for a very pleasant lunch. Lara took a day off work to join us which was a bonus.Lara’s bird phobia was somewhat aggravated by the walk through the park.Lovely lady.London does have some lovely shopping spots.James and Harvey met us for a Chinese in the evening. That was a day very well spent.We have enjoyed another set of visitors from New Zealand this week. Helen, Henrietta and James are visiting home and we caught up with them at Helen’s Mum Kate’s house as she very kindly put us up for a night. It was brilliant to see them all. We had a lovely dinner on the Friday (thank you Kate for finding me so much vegan food) and on Saturday enjoyed the All Blacks Vs Lions rugby match, a pub lunch and a walk in nearby woods. Kate had thoughtfully chosen a pub with an excellent vegan menu; the Fox and Hounds in Shenstone. The food was really good and we all had a good lunch.From the pub we walked along the tow path to the woods.
What a delightful walk – the woods were beautiful.
As before, we would all have liked to have seen far more of these lovely people. Thank you Kate and Rob for letting us stay, it was all hugely enjoyable.I hope its not too long before we see you all again.Harvey and I went on from Staffordshire to Derby to stay with Gini. I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos of Gini and her family !! We spent Saturday night in Derby which was very lively. I really enjoyed wandering around Derby on such a warm evening. We saw the poppies and had a drink at Hide where we could sit outside.This is part of the bigger display that was originally based at the Tower of London.We had a FAB-U-LOUS vegan meal in the Post House which is a great concept; various foodie places surround a central seating area so you can all order from different places and sit and eat (and drink !) together. The pakora was one of the best things I have eaten and the entire meal was amazing. I had the bean chilli with homemade nachos and the pakoras.It was such a warm evening we sat out until the small hours, under this huge fig tree in Gini’s garden.We had cherries and apricots for breakfast.With roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts and avocado on sourdough. All very delicious.I had a completely amazing week, catching up with some of my very dearest friends and both my God-daughters. I have, as usual, eaten and drunk too much so having got home, I have resolved (again !!!) to do better.
I had a very long drive home from Derbyshire but what a lovely sunset I enjoyed from my house when I got there.I have eaten better this week but not done enough exercise. I took the dogs to the beach at Bulverhythe on Tuesday morning but we didn’t walk far as there were too many smells for them to enjoy so I enjoyed the views and planned a long list of chores to get through this week.
Strange to see so many clouds after so much recent sunshine.This was rather a long post but I seem to have had a lot to say !