So, here we are; it’s Friday, and 6 months since last time we spoke. I’m sat outside my nearest Costa, sipping a medium Americano with skinny milk. I’m feeling quite pleased FB Costa entrywith myself, having walked 4000 steps so far today, and will complete the trip by walking home shortly.

“Why are you there?” I hear you ask. Read on!

 

What’s the Story?

You may know that I started my Finding the Time blog this time last year, when I dropped from working full time to 4 days a week. Fridays were reserved for Kimtime! I did loads of stuff and walked loads of steps, starting with 19240 Shrouds of the Somme

Over the weeks, I really enjoyed myself – I got creative, walked to the tip of Brean Down, rambled along the Jurassic coast to Exmouth and visited the Bristol Christmas markets, among many other activities. It was amazing to find the time!

NHS logoIf you followed my weekly blogs, you may remember that, back in March this year, I left my job, having worked part time for a few months, and started work full time back in a fairly local NHS Trust. It was a project manager role of the type I last did over 10 years ago. I was quite excited to be back in the NHS – a 2 year contract, with a project to get my teeth into, before retiring a little early in 2 years’ time.

 

At the time, there was a risk or two in the back of my mind. Going back is generally not a good idea, but my need to be busy outweighed this worry. Also, I’d worked all over the country over the last 5 years as well as working from home, so pinning myself down to a single hospital with a 60 mile round-trip every day was banal by comparison and might narrow my view of the world. Still, it would mean not needing to stay away from home, so would be fine. Besides, they wanted me for my experience and expertise, and I was happy to oblige.

Swings and roundabouts then…

Slide pic

However, I wasn’t expecting the slide!

In short, although the people I worked with were individually all really nice, friendly and fun, the work did not live up to my expectations. After a couple of months, it began to feel more like punishment rather than reward – old feelings of stress resurfaced and deja vu was a daily event. In the end, I decided that I did not need to put myself through it and, after a particularly upsetting episode of micromanagement, I handed in my notice.

Yes! Freedom! I’ve not looked back for a second since I left about 3 weeks ago.

Tightening our belts

I like to think that I’ve retired for good from the project and programme management world I’ve been in over the last 15 to 20 years. I just don’t want to do it any more. Trouble is, it paid well……

So.

Now we are living on part time, minimum wage. Whoops!

Although we are on the breadline, we are coming from a good place in that we are debt-free and have our savings, our house and our cars. The old fella has done pretty well over the last few months in switching and swapping, scrimping and saving and in doing so, reducing our expenditure to not much.

I’ve now taken on the challenge of living on fresh air. It’s quite stimulating, working out ways to be creative at no cost. I’m an avid watcher of Eat Well for Less, if only to bask in the glory of already doing everything that the programme suggests is done to save money.

Sadly, we no longer have our wonderful cleaner who was with us for 9 years. On the other hand, it’s strangely satisfying to keep the house clean again.

And the good news is….. I’ve got a job! It’s completely different and involves looking after people.

I’m going to be driving a non-emergency ambulance in and around Weston, ferrying people to and from hospital. I’ve chosen to work ‘on the bank’ so that be in charge of the hours I want to work. Perfect!

I’m also doing a bit of freelance writing as and when I feel the urge.

I have one more week until I start my training, so I’m finding the time to count steps, blog, continue with my Marie Curie volunteer helper role and, above, all, enjoy life.

Back to the story

So, there it is – the long and rambling explanation of why I walked to Costa on a Friday. I would have taken the dogs, but Bailey is getting on a bit. He’s got arthritis and over a few months has turned from a bouncing puppy into a podgy old boy. He can just about manage one slow stroll a day.

Bailey_Oct_2017[1]
All of a sudden, he’s allowed on the sofa!
 I left Harvey at home so that he could keep Bailey company. My step total for today, having walked to Costa and back, is

Fitbit reading

Finally….

There wasn’t much to see between Locking village and my destination, but as I wandered, I pondered the meaning of life and I came up with one or two metaphors;

  • Always be ready for take-off. You never know what will happen next!Runway sign

 

  • Don’t relax for too long or life will overtake you Overgrown barrier

 

  • If you do choose to park yourself in a thorny situation, watch out for pricks!Parking sign (2)

Thanks for reading. Hopefully, I’ll see you again next week.