Sunday, 16 February 2014

Chapter Eighty Six

Hi there one and all. As you can see, I have not been near the blog for two months. I've been very distracted at the moment because of so many things. Christmas took up much of our time; Linda starting a new job; going up country to visit family; and worry about my job at St Mawes.
As most of you know...I am a postman through and through. I love my work and love my own duty. Bentley delivery was my passion and my delight for so many years and I was devastated when I left it and came down here. Don't get me wrong...I love Cornwall...I just missed my job and my people. Over the last year I have been in the temporary post of driver at St Mawes. I have been well aware that when the new duties start I will have to join in with the re-sign. I am also aware that it would be a very lucky day if I got St Mawes. 
What I did not suspect was just how very much I would grow to love the duty and the people on it. I have made some lovely friends and once more found myself giving as much to this duty as I did to Bentley. I am also well aware that the re-sign is set for the beginning of this year. The fear of losing this job has eaten away at me for most of last year and has really intensified over the last few months...hence the lack of writing.
Anyway, four days ago the new duties, resign positions, and seniority lists went up on the board. My manager was there and she spoke to me and showed me the board.
To my absolute delight...I am transferred to St Mawes as my new office. I will now stay there with the two David's and nobody can take the job off me. The rules state that each office has its own employee's and they get first refusal on their office duties. Both the boys want to keep their jobs and I get to keep mine.
One of my biggest dreams has come true. Not only have I got a job on Royal Mail working at the seaside,(something I've wanted for over forty years), but I shall be able to keep it until I decide to retire. I am beyond happy.

Its been a long old road but...YEEHAH!!!
I should return to the last couple of months though.

                       This was a very busy time of the year for us both. Linda was instructed by her company to have a week off work, so she was able to pop up country for a few days and see all the family. She had a great time and brought mum back with her to spend a few days with us. Therese, Becky, and Jamie came down a couple of days later and they stayed in a nearby holiday place. The house was all decorated as you know and so we had an early Christmas with them all.
It was great fun as we celebrated Christmas together on the Saturday. One of the beauties of living down here is that we can have several christmasses each year.
They all went back home on the 15th and Linda and I settled in to a busy work pattern right up to Christmas Eve and beyond.
Linda had to work over a part of the Christmas as well as her normal days. Thankfully the gave her Christmas Day off. However she did end up working the late shift on the 24th; the early shift on the 26th; and would you believe it...the late shift on New Years Eve and the early shift on New Years Day.
The bonus of all this was that we didn't go anywhere and got to spend a lot more time together. That was brilliant.

I worked nearly every day in December apart from the first two Sundays. I also got Christmas day and Boxing day off. I have to confess I loved every minute of it. My customers were more than generous with my Christmas boxes. I must be doing something right for them because I collected more than had ever been collected on that round before.
It was a lovely time and very much like the Christmasses I used to have on my old Bentley round.
I was unable to get into work at Truro on Christmas Eve by the direct route. The road was flooded at Tresillian and I had to find a diversionary route. This stood me in good stead in January as the bad weather over this time proved to be a harbinger of the weeks ahead.

             Finally Linda has managed to get a job doing what she does best. She is now working for a local company and is back out in the community where she belongs. This is the work she is so good at and this is the community she wishes to work with. At the same time she is hoping to promote her own business and offer a service for the help of dementia sufferers here as well. She has already started some of her shifts and we are finding that our paths are crossing over as we both go about our respective work.
Linda is also showing another side to her considerable talents. As well as the garden and the allotment, she is also showing a practical side as regards craft work. She has been collecting driftwood from the beaches and has been making driftwood models. She has a real talent for this so we shall not starve if her other work goes under.

It's funny how both of us have taken to our new lives down here. I am the postman at St Mawes and play a part over there. I am also in the NCI and playing my part in that. At the same time I am involved in a poetry group and a writing group.
Linda is now working on the Roseland and becoming a part of the general life over here. She is also in the local Samba band. Both of us in our own ways are being slowly absorbed by Cornwall. Its magical.

                                          We paid a flying visit up country a week ago to see family. Because I could get no time off in December we turned it partly into a mini christmas as well. Both Fiona and Lucy looked gorgeous; never mind 'biased' I hear you cry; they did. I hope they can visit us again this year.
All of our children are settled and living their lives. We are both very proud of all five of them. Although three of them will always be Linda's own children and two of them will always be my own, we both find ourselves pleased and anxious about all five.
They'll never be the 'Brady Bunch', but at least they all get on and like each other.
Anyway; we had a fine time seeing everyone and we had a lovely mini Christmas at Fiona's house with all my gang. This Christmas has been a little bit special for us all, with the amount of 'home-made' gifts, and the amount of gifts that showed caring and thoughtfulness in their choosing. It was good.
We also spent a little time with Oscar who recognised his grandma and Grandpa straight away...thankyou SKYPE...and wasted no time in coming to us for 'play and chat.' He is looking forward to the birth of his new brother or sister soon. Katrina has not long to go before the due date.
We managed to see Roxanne and Ian for an hour or so before we came home. That boy has certainly shot further up in height. He towers over me. Roxanne is looking fit and is taking part in some of these 'brutal' runs. I think Woody and Jon do some of those as well. Roxanne is different as she also does them linked to one of the dogs. I seem to have grown more fond of just sitting quietly and cheering these fit people on.
It was also nice to catch up with Grahame and Julie. We had a meal with them and even got to see Alexander and Emily for a brief moment. We also saw Therese , Becky, and Brendan. Although we had seen them recently. we had not seen Brendan for a year or more. It was good to catch up. We also managed to see both mums as well. Not much of a rest but great fun.
I was also able to catch up with, and introduce Linda to Susie. Susie is a long standing friend of mine from Bentley. I have watched her boys grow up into fine young men and we have shared much over the years. I was also delighted to meet up with Helen, who was my tutor and mentor for writing. She taught me much and gave me great encouragement. She and her family were down in Cornwall for a week and we met up for a meal together.
Friends from abroad have also featured more and more. I am back in touch with Chris who I worked with years ago and has since moved to Canada. I am also back in touch with brother and sister, Malcolm and Maureen Shackleton. We grew up as kids together back in the sixties. Looking forward to seeing them when they come over from Australia this year.

                         This has been the main talking point; not only in this country; but all over the world. The North American continent has been frozen almost over the entire landmass. Bitter cold temperatures left them struggling for some considerable time.
Australia has been burning up with temperatures that I have on my oven as settings for making dinner's. There have been Typhoons, Hurricanes, Cyclones, Tornado's, and giant storms as well in other parts of the world.
Here in the British Isles, we have had snow, wind, and rain...but it seems to have been in biblical proportions.
The South West and Wales has contended with high tides, driving rain, and strong winds that have brought destruction and misery in their wake.Thankfullywe have been relatively unscathed at our house. The tide comes across the road on a high spring tide anyway, although it has come in a little further recently. Fortunately no properties have been flooded.
  This was the tide out and below was six hours later.

The high winds and gales don't quite reach us down here in the valley and so we have managed to avoid any damage. The odd tree across the road or the odd bit of road flooding with run-off from the fields has been the main problem. We've been lucky.
However, St Mawes has taken a battering. The biggest hotel was damaged by flying stones in the waves and flooded out. The harbour wall took some damage and shifted four inches. The flag poles and rubbish bins are somewhere out in the Carrick Roads I think. Even the trusty old mail van has had two cracked windscreens in as many months. Both caused by wave damage. I had no idea such big stones could fly up in the waves.
In the rest of Cornwall there has been much shifting of sand off the beaches. Some have now got to much...others have none.
Cliff falls have been wide spread and places have had to be fenced off. Its been a nightmare for some victims who have been flooded for over six weeks. There is no railway line into Cornwall either until they fix the huge damage at Dawlish. We only walked along there a few years ago.
This is a view of the road below us at high tide.

                 Life has taken on new meaning for me, now that I know my job is secure. I feel invigorated and ready to get back to some serious writing again. I still send off two stories a week to the Western Morning News. I sent a couple of stories to Ian Hislop to read and he kindly gave me a small critique on them. I have  two books of stories ready to be pushed out as well. Each week I go to a small writing group consisting of just me, Paula, and Sarah. Both of them are good writers and keep me focussed on my own work. All and is good and I can't wait to see what this year brings.