One Year On…

Last week marked one year exactly since we moved from Edinburgh to Hertfordshire, and I am pretty proud of how we are doing.

DorkySon has settled amazingly well in his new nursery – it has been an absolute delight seeing him grow in confidence, become so much more curious about the world he lives in, and spend the majority of his time as an incredibly happy wee boy. He is a lot of fun to spend time with right now.

DorkyDad is working harder than I have ever seen, learning new skills and absorbing information about a sector he hasn’t worked in before, travelling to parts of the world he never imagined visiting, and trying hard not to let the unpleasantness of a daily commute get him down.

I feel like I have whinged quite a bit about things since we moved – and it’s no secret that we don’t want to live here forever – but it has also brought some amazing opportunities for us all.

So I decided to have a read back through some of my blog posts, and reflect on ten things – big and small – that we would not have had the chance to do if we hadn’t made the move. Continue reading

A New Table

Ooh, it’s been a bit quiet on here recently, hasn’t it? Sorry about that! My blogging mojo is lying fairly dormant at the moment because I’ve been so busy trying to get everything sorted out in our new house. I don’t even want to think about how much time I’ve spent on hold to utility companies and filling in change of address forms in the last fortnight…

We’re still making good progress though! We’ve found a nursery just along the road that is absolutely lovely, so hopefully DorkySon will be starting to do a couple of mornings there in the next few weeks. It’ll be great for him to get back around other kids again and doing some fun activities – much as though we love each other, and have been trying to get out and do something interesting like go to the park every day (see above!) the hours have been passing quite slowly with just the two of us.

I’ve also been discovering the seemingly endless joys of online grocery shopping. We got a fruit and veg box and some organic eggs and meat delivered from Abel and Cole last Friday, which was absolutely brilliant. We also had a delivery of tasty American goodies from Lupe Pintos (crucial stuff like Hersheys syrup and jalapeno slices), and after discovering that Ocado sell Irn Bru, even in Hertfordshire, I think I’m going to be placing pretty regular orders with them too.

I can’t get over how much warmer it is down here, even though we’re only a few hundred miles further south. I haven’t worn a jacket since I got here, and at least half the time I’ve been able to wander round in short sleeves (leading one of our elderly neighbours to comment that I must have moved from Scotland since every time he sees me I seem to be half naked). Sigh. It seems that we are destined to attract bizarre and slightly rude people wherever we are. We definitely need to invest in some wellies though – the playgrounds are all lovely but they’re complete mudbaths.

Anyway, we are all doing grand. DorkyDad’s job is enjoying his new job (although the commute is taking a while to get used to – especially on those days when there are delays!). We are missing some of our Edinburgh buddies (and indeed our American, Canadian and Australia buddies!), but feeling happier and more at home every day. The various ways of keeping in touch – email, text, Facebook, Skype – all make the miles seem a lot shorter.

We got the spare room sorted over the weekend, in preparation for a visit from DorkyGranny, and we’ve found a new dining room table to replace the one that wouldn’t fit through the door. Now we just need some shelves to store DorkySon’s trucks, and a bookcase for the living room, and we’re sorted!

Normally at this time of year we’d been in the States for Thanksgiving, but with DorkyDad starting his new job that hasn’t been possible this year. We’re looking forward to ‘christening’ the new table with a big family Thanksgiving meal in a couple of weeks. There will be turkey. There will be pie. And there will be a very long list of things that we’re thankful for.

Settling In: a Butcher, a big pink slide and Benny plays the Blues

blues harmonica

We’ve been in our new place just over a week now, and it’s starting to really take shape. DorkyDad spent much of the weekend putting pictures up – how could we not feel at home with Benny the Blues Harmonica Player on our living room wall – and DorkySon and I took advantage of the good weather to get out and explore some more.

We are in a residential neighbourhood; it’s very quiet and feels very safe. There is a beautiful wee park right beside us, filled with crunchy autumn leaves, squirrels and dog walkers. That makes me happy. There is a petrol station across the road, so DorkySon has spent a lot of the last week standing in the window, mesmerised by the constant movement of cars, trucks and tankers. That makes him happy. And on Saturday we finally found two very important things; a wine store and a butcher right beside each other. So that’s DorkyDad happy now too.

DorkySon and I joined the library last week. It took quite a long time… while I sat trying to fill in our forms, and the very patient woman on the desk entered our details into her computer, DorkySon sat and worked his way through a copy of ‘What Car’ magazine, announcing to everyone in the library (at full volume) what his favourite car was on each page. We got there eventually though, and it was well worth the wait. All the children’s books are stored in the ‘carriages’ of a red wooden train, with little benches for sitting on between each carriage. I think we’ll be spending a lot of time in there this winter.

We also found another playground, and met up with two brilliant mums and their kids in an indoor adventure play area. DorkySon spent all morning scooting down an enormous pink slide. Graceful he was not, but his enthusiasm couldn’t be faulted. Later this week we are off to meet another mum (another Edinburgh exile) at something called the Kangaroo Club. I am assured that it doesn’t involve any actual marsupials – just lots of toys and a big space to run around, with unlimited coffee and friendly chat for the parents.

So yes, in short, DorkySon is in toddler heaven. He’s spoilt for choice with fun things to do. He’s also working hard to get his head around DorkyDad’s new job. Earlier in the week he asked if Daddy was out reading poetry all day. ‘No,’ we said. ‘He’s working in an office, asking people for money so that other children can have food and be happy like you are.’

DorkySon let this ferment in his brain for a day or two, and then over the weekend he said ‘Maybe next week I could go with Daddy to his office and meet all the children that he is looking after…’