Saturday, 30 December 2006
I started this page on a whim. I was bored. But had no real idea where it was going. Having decided that I need to start somewhere, I decided to use the old formula of new diary writers everywhere. What about a review of the old year. OK, I know that technically 2006 has not ended yet, but it is feeling like a new year now. The shop is closed till 2nd January, and apart from having to go and take out the Christmas window before then, my time is still my own. 2006 has been a mixed year, but by no stretch of the imagination has it been boring. Early in the year meant the end of an ECDL course started shortly after my arrival up here. I now have 3 certificats to my name, and a warm glow from finishing something quite taxing at my age. Oh that I had applied myself so well at school all those years ago. Things might have been very different in the intervening years. But this is not a time for regrets. After 2 years of living in a grotty rented house, I now am the proud owner of a 2 bed terraced house at the south end of Withernsea. As with all house moves this was not without its ups and downs. The boiler never worked and it took 2 months to get a phone line installed and working. The kitchen was a nightmare and the front garden a positive jungle of weeds - and I am no gardener. Never mind it was all my own. Time to settle down and take it easy? No way. The kitchen had to go., and why not add a wet room while I am at it. Planning permission was the easy part of this project, though not without its own problems. But getting a builder proved nearly impossible. 3 sets of plans where distributed to 3 builders for their quotes. Not one of them even bothered to get back to me. I put off replacing the boiler until the work was done, but this meant getting it finished before winter when I would certainly need some heating in the house. Though getting it finished was a long way down the line. First I needed the work started. Eventually a friend gave me the name and number of a builder. I called. He made a date to come and look at the kitchen. He took away the plans and promised a quote in 1 week. I did not hold my breath. But Tony was as good as his word. The signs were promising. 2 weeks later he arrived to dig out the foundations. 12 weeks later my new kitchen and wet room were fully operational and looking great. Thanks Tony for restoring my faith in human nature, and a very big thank you for a job well done. Not satisfied with having my house knocked about and remoulded, I started thinking about the future. I needed to work. Having been doing voluntary work for a couple of years, I knew it was time to start thinking of making some money. But how, at my age and with no qualifications (apart from my ECDL), it was not going to be easy. This is a small seaside town on the East coast, and apart from some seasonal work for a few weeks a year, there was little on offer. My love of knitting, and other crafts, meant a lot of time spent in the local wool shop. I became friends with the owner. When she decided that she wanted to move on, she suggested I take over. A crazy notion, but one that deserved serious thought. Not having done anything like this before, I wondered if I was even up to the task. Its one thing knitting baby jackets and helping behind the counter, quite another to take charge. 3 months later I am still wondering if I am up to it. But its too late now. I am the owner and will sink or swim by my own efforts.