Glimmers of Life

Archive for June 2010

There’s no contest really.

This weekend we took a trip down south, first to Brighton to visit friends. Then to Portsmouth to explore the maritime history, and then to Bristol for a bit of an arts fix.

The Portsmouth part was well planned, with me booking the Hilton using our hard earned Tesco vouchers. The Bristol bit – less so, with me just booking the day before we left. The moral of the story is that the hurried hare won the race.

I was so looking forward to staying in the Hilton. We’re not all that posh – so staying at a Hilton is a bit of a treat. You expect a bit of class and it basically felt like a Travelodge with nice sheets and posh shower gel.  The gym doesn’t have a pool, and looked more like a store room as I walked passed. And it was £5 to use the internet for half an hour! Not what you expect for the price.

Whereas the Future Inn in Bristol (Cabot Circus) was great. It was £49 for a King size room that had plenty of space for our travel cot. The bed was big, the shower was nice (with the taps in the centre of the bath so you don’t get your hair wet turn it on), and it had free internet access and free ice.  The parkign was free and it is really close to a shopping centre which has a Starbucks and a Costa coffee for your morning coffee treat. This hotel made me happy!

Well to be honest the job hunt began in earnest a month ago… but now it’s serious. Last week I was told I was being made redundant and this week it all becomes official. How do I feel? Fine…(ish).

It’s something I’d suspected, especially after the long off-site meeting the Directors had, and then nothing…. obviously the calm before the storm. I thought I’d feel a little free… a little relief, a little excited. I thought it might spur me on to come up with my own business idea – which I’ve been hoping for for a while now. Ever since I read an article about loads of mums starting businesses after spotting a gap in the market following the birth of their babies. But no…nothing has come of that seed.

So what now? Well I’ve been applying for jobs – I guess now I’ll be a little less selective. I’ve got in touch with the agencies – and they seem positive which keeps my spirits up.

The worst part is going into work and feeling a potent combination of embarrassment and pointlessness – because I still have to “work” my notice without really having any purpose. Why is that?

When I was younger we used to cross the Channel all the time. Back then there was no tunnel, no trains just good old fashioned boats. What I do remember is the boat being cool (i think we still said that back then!) and that standing on the deck with the extremely chilly wind trying to penetrate my afro felt fantastic. But travelling by boat is not something I’ve done in a while. But earlier this month I had the chance to venture to Dublin on the ferry – mainly because my husband didn’t want to brave public transport even if it was in another country and likely to be a much better experience than he’s had here, in England.

Getting to Holyhead was straightforward, although the signs once you got to the port weren’t that clear. Getting onto the Irish Ferry seemed way too easy. The security check pretty much consisted of one question. The serious looking man peered into the car, saw me, my husband, my daughter and two of my in-laws, sitting clutching passports, booking forms, proof of address documents and much more, and he simply asked, “Is this a car?” and waved us through.

Once on the ferry we left the car, went upstairs and sat in our ready positions and waited for Ireland to come to us.

I took the chance to explore – to reconnect with my youth and rush round the boat in an excited flurry – except this time I did use the opportunity to find where the loos and the baby change areas were – something that never seemed important when I was 12.  To my  delight they still have a shop on board, and there was clothing on sale – what joy! They also had a two screen cinema, games area (like the ones you find in bowling alleys) and a play area with big bits of coloured plastic to entertain the younger kids.

We had taken the 2pm ferry on the way there and that seemed to be quite busy, with school groups, families and a few random collections of people who I couldn’t pigeon hole with a glance. There did seem to be plenty of space though – the toilets were never full, and despite the numbers of people stretched out for an afternoon snooze there were lots of empty seats. On the way back on the 8.55pm ferry it seemed, as they say in the trade, dead. Maybe it was because most people were snoozing, maybe it was because I was no longer excited about ferry travel and just wanted to get home but it seemed very quiet. We sat in the bar and over in the corner one of the  staff efficiently unpacked the blackjack table and patiently stood there ‘tempting’ passengers to part with their money. Despite impressively making the effort to not look bored the whole time – there were no takers… I almost wish I had even the slighted desire to play.

Irish Ferries got us to Dublin and back without event – it was a smooth ride, no travel sickness and while the 6 hour ride (3 hours each way) didn’t fly by it had everything we needed. It was just a little lacklustre. It had none of the wow of a plane ride, and none of the coziness of a car journey – it did the job. That’s that.