Saturday, 17 May 2014

A New Chapter

The last few months have been very hard and extremely stressful due to work.  At one point I didn't know whether I had a job or not, then it turned out I did, sort of.  I have been running the Education Centre for the last year (actually longer, but we won't go in to that one here) but now they are about to advertise for an official manager.  It used to be a military post but is now going to be a civilian post, but in typical military/civil service fashion, there has been absolutely no thought or planning as to how this is going to work.

They asked me to apply but it meant at least a £4k per year pay cut (maybe £10k!), it mucked up my pension so instead of retiring at 60 I would get my pension at 65, I would lose some of my leave and other T & Cs were considerably worse.  The new job is actually at the same grade as I am now, but I have been told that the new person will be superior to me, although I will be expected to train them up and pass on my 9 years of corporate knowledge.  All this and I should be happy to play second in command.  WHAT the F.....!!!!  What sort of organisation works this way?  Why would anyone expect me to take on the role under those circumstances and when I don't they effectively demote me.

I have spent the last year being back stabbed by various military personnel who hold very definite ideas about civvies being equivalent to something they have trodden in.  Where does this military arrogance come from?   A lot of the officers/Sgt Majors I have met wouldn't stand a chance in real life.  Their man management skills seriously leave a lot to be desired and if they ran a private company it would very quickly go out of business. I have gone from absolutely loving my job, to dreading going in every day, purely down to very bad management.

But there comes a time when enough is enough.  I have given a month's notice and the relief is unbelievable.  When I first made the decision I felt relieved but then the last six month's of sleepless nights hit me and I slept for England.  I cannot believe how well I feel.  I also cannot believe how unwell I have felt for a seriously long time and how it was all obviously down to stress.  Now they will have to advertise for a Manager and another one of me. There is a certain satisfaction that I am leaving them in a bit of a sticky predicament, but hey, they really didn't care one hoot about me.   I will be sorry to leave the young soldiers/sailors and airmen who I have been responsible for and I have made some very good friends among both the civilian staff and military staff, but it is time for a new chapter in my life and as soon as things are confirmed I will bring you up to date.

Up The Gunners!!!!

Oh, the tension, the choice language, the disappointment and then finally the relief and the ecstasy!!!!
Well done Arsenal, come on you Gunners!

Monday, 12 May 2014

At Last - problem Solved (And a Lovely Gift)

Look at these two pictures, these two little boxes have solved a problem that has plagued me for months now - my internet and mobile phone signal.  They are all part of a 3G booster signal and has made such a difference to the strength of my signal.  I have gone from nothing to a great connection.
And as a bonus I also get a mobile phone signal.  Not having a signal below decks has been a real problem.  I worried that Mum and Dad or the kids could not get hold of me in the case of an emergency.  However, it does have its downside - now I cannot pretend that I didn't get calls when I deliberately wanted to ignore them (ie work!)

I won a lovely book from Jo at The Good Life.  Jo grows vegetables and has the most beautiful garden.  She puts in a lot of work and puts me to shame, but this book has given me the push to dedicate a bed to flowers.  I love having vases of flowers around, especially when they smell sweet.  But they are too expensive to buy willy nilly, so I have to wait for the odd occasion that Pete buys me some.  Jo also documents her monthly visits to various gardens that are open to the public.  Some of my friends over the pond might like to pay her a visit to see some lovely examples of English gardens.  Jo can be found here.

Another Light Relief Post

I have blatantly nicked the idea for this post from by blogging pal Val who also lives on a barge in Rotterdam.  You can read her very humourous post about the necessity of light and the ways she has overcome the restrictions of living on a historic barge here.
We are lucky that we can put windows pretty much where we like, but you actually have to put the windows in to get the light!  When we first moved to our home berth we only had windows down one side of the bedroom.  Our poor neighbour, Sue,  complained that it was lovely to have a neighbour at last, but once darkness came she could not even see a glimmer of light from our boat, so still felt totally alone!  Even with his stubbornness, Pete could not hold out on two nagging women, so he put the windows in the other side of the bedroom.  They are not yet finished but they do let in an amazing amount of light.  Only problem is that now with the lighter nights and mornings I am going to have to think of something to block out the light whilst we sleep.  I am thinking shutters rather than curtains, what do you think?

We were very lucky with window frames, in that we got them from the local salvage yard.  They were brand new and exactly the right size.  We added double glazed glass to the frames and hey presto, lovely windows at a quarter of the price we had been quoted.  We also have enough frames for the wheelhouse, although they need a little bit of playing around with to make them fit. He has now also put most of the windows in the galley except one which is going to be an opener.  Still in the meantime, it makes a handy shelf!

When Pete first put the roof on the barge, he built in a large hatch that was big enough to get most things down.  It was through this that the washing machine, fridge/freezer etc was craned in.  Eventually it is going to have a beautiful domed window that opens out to the skies.  But that is going to cost a fair bit, so in the meantime it is covered by a wooden hatch, which restricts the light in the snug area.  I don't like always having to have a light on, so he is putting a piece of Perspex in for the time being.  It will be a lot nicer to have some natural light.

The last photo is supposedly to show you the darkness in the snug, but really it is to show off my latest eBay purchase - a lovely sofa bed.  So now the snug is our lounge, dining room and spare bedroom (and sometimes laundry drying room). Amazing what you can get in a small area.