Highlights of a sunny day

Reuben and Joshua throwing stones into a rock pool

Today has been a lovely, if exhausting day packed with friends, family and a lot of laughs. A few highlights:

  • Waking up at 06:30 and spending an hour in the cuddly company of a very smiley Isaac.
  • Washing the car with Reuben and Joshua. There I was on my knees washing a wheel when all of a sudden Reuben’s face appeared round the car. “He he he he!” he laughed before soaking me in the face with the hose.
  • Joshua finished washing the gas meter box (a project instigated at his own initiative), stood back and said “Well, that looks lovely!”
  • A walk to the pig farm to the east of Cellardyke with Reuben, Joshua, Isaac, Jane and friends Joy and Dusty, during which Reuben and Joshua spent most of their time throwing stones into a rock pool (see photo above).
  • Dinner and chat with friends.

I love my children, my wife and my friends. I’d better get to bed: I’m on child-minding duties tomorrow morning again.

Mum’s here!


This is my Mum on 12seconds.tv

Mum’s visiting us in Anstruther right now, hence the slightly quieter than usual blog. I’m being more sociable than simply sitting in front of my PC all evening … he writes on his PC, with his Mum hovering at his left shoulder!

This evening we took a walk down by the coast at Cellardyke which was lovely. Watching and listening to the waves, counting the flashes from two ‘nearby’ lighthouses and watching a couple of folks throwing stuff out of a boat.

By which I mean fishing lines or something, not like furniture!

Two visits to hospital

Stethoscope

The last couple of days have had a strong hospital theme to them. One was a planned visit, the other wasn’t.

Monday

On Monday Jane and I went over to Dundee for a meeting and more tests to try to progress us towards starting IVF. Unfortunately it’s not going to be quite as straightforward as we’d hoped. Before we can start the IVF treatment it turns out that Jane will have to be admitted for an operation to remove something — they don’t know what.

By that I don’t mean that they’ll decide what to remove when they get into theatre — “So chaps, what do you fancy removing today?” What I mean is that there is something they need to remove, but they don’t know from the scans what it is. Except that it shouldn’t be there.

We both felt quite, quite gutted. Monday was a long and emotionally painful day.

Tuesday

Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from Jane. She was being taken to hospital in Stirling having accidentally and awkwardly fallen down a flight of stairs at her work’s head office.

Thankfully Jane hadn’t broken any bones, or torn any muscles or ligaments. She was ‘just’ quite bruised and very sore, and no doubt will be for a few days to come. Our good friends Ian and Yvonne in Cellardyke drove me down to Kirkcaldy to pick up Jane and her car — both having been brought over from Stirling by colleagues of Jane. She was certainly well looked after.

Wednesday

I’m not planning on going into hospital today.

Controlled explosion?

For the last few months (for ‘few’ read ‘six’) we’ve been meaning to get around to driving all the way to Cellardyke (for ‘all the way’ read ‘less than a mile’) to pick up a few boxes that we’d left in the outhouse at Toft Terrace. There were a couple of boxes of gardening tools, a bike rack for the car and a wheel barrow.

Last night, before I went to bed, I quickly checked my e-mail: there was one from my friend Iain, to whom we used to live next door in Cellardyke. He attached this photograph:

Collapsed outhouse

Oh my!

And this brief explanation:

See attached a pic of what appears to have been a controlled explosion in Toft Terrace! The neighbouring outbuilding survived with only the loss of a few bricks.

The disaster struck at 3.00 pm on Saturday. No women, children or animals were hurt, although a bar-be-que was left with mild concussion.

The salvage operation is about to begin, but made all the harder by the uncertainty as to whom this particular outbuilding belongs.

Maybe now would be a good time to recover our belongings.

Handing back the keys

A ring of rusty keys

Today I did something that I’ve been keen to do since mid-November: I handed back the keys to 3a Toft Terrace, the rental property we moved into when we first moved to the East Neuk in April 2006.

At long last the letting agent have found a new tenant, which means that we’re now freed from the ‘luxury’ of paying £600+ per month renting and heating a flat in which we are no longer living. (We had a fixed-term lease which wouldn’t expire until April 2007, unless someone else took on the tenancy.) This has been a real answer to prayer, praise God!

I took this telephone call yesterday morning at work:

Woman: Hello, Mr Saunders, this is [insert name] at Rollo Davidson McFarlane in St Andrews. I’m just calling to say that we’ve cancelled the two viewings you had booked this evening, because … we have a new tenant for the property.

Gareth (Man): REALLY?! Excellent!

Woman: Yes, so if you could please hand back the keys on or before 8 February.

So soon! How marvellous. There was much celebration when I hung up from that telephone conversation; some of it with Jane on instant messenger.

And so for the first time since we got married we are responsible for only one house. Not one tied house and a flat. Not one tied house and a holiday cottage. Not one rented flat and a holiday cottage. Not one rented flat, a holiday cottage and a house. Just this one house in which we are now happily and comfortably living.

I have to say, I quite like it this way.

White van man

Renault Master van

This morning Jane and I drove to Cupar to pick up Van #1, which was fine. Enterprise were polite, courteous and very helpful and in no time we were driving off towards St Andrews in a newly cleaned Renault Master similar to the one in the picture above, only our one is a long wheel base (LWB) model with a higher top. It is essentially a giant kite on wheels into which you can pile loads of stuff and transport it to wherever you wish.

We wish to transport it from the harbour area at Cellardyke to somewhere about a mile away. It’s now raining, there are no fewer than 4 vans and 2 cars almost blocking the road from our house to the harbour, and George Street has now been closed to traffic by the council. How convenient!

So the only route in and out is via East Forth Street, which is even narrower than George Street (which would have been the luxurious route). And on my way to the harbour when we arrived back with the van I met two vans, three cars and a bus!

I can tell already that this is going to be an adventurous couple of days, and that my reversing of LWB vans skills are going to improve rapidly. If it is your discipline, a few prayers for wisdom, guidance, safety and good weather would be gratefully received from all concerned in the removals operation. Oh, and energy. Thanks.

3a + 14 = 45

Modem on my desk

Well, I’m clearly not blogging from my main PC this evening. My desk is now bare, apart from my BT Voyager modem (CLEARLY my WiFi modem is going to be one of the final things to be packed!). So I’m in bed on my laptop making a final blog post from 3a.

Tomorrow morning Jane and I rent our first (of two) vans for part one of the move. On Saturday we have a team of 14 helping us with part two of the move from 3a to number 45, hence the equation for a title. (Neil will be so proud of my blog title!)

I look forward to blogging from our new house very soon.