I HAVE SO MUCH CATCHING UP TO DO. So bare with me – this may be a long-winded one.
So when I left you, I was almost being murdered in my office. But just BEFORE that I was headed to Maidstone for my interview for my national insurance number. I can safely tell you that the Maidstone weekend was a bit of a flop if I’m honest. I got there too late in the afternoon on Saturday to really get ready and go anywhere, so I thought ‘That’s fine! I’ll go to the Castle on Sunday!’ Not the case, the buses don’t run out that way on a Sunday. (My own silly fault, I should have checked beforehand.) HOWEVER! There was a beautiful church across the road from my hotel. While I’m not a particularly religious person (ahemnotatallreligious) I really do love going into old churches and cathedrals – there’s nothing like the architecture and looking up at all of the old stained glass windows. I noted that the morning service didn’t start until 10:30, so I figured if I the doors were unlocked early enough I could sneak in for a little peak and make myself scarce before I interrupted anyone.
So I set my alarm and went over at nine thirty, a good hour before the service was to start. I thought I had it in the bag, guys. I thought I was a smooth bandit, church dodging like Carmen San Diego. I got through the front door – it was a piece of cake! And then there he was. The sweetest elderly gentleman, in his tweed suit, who looked at me with big brown eyes and said;
“Good morning, young lady. Welcome. Would you like a song book?”
Let me tell you. I haven’t practiced Catholicism in upwards of 15 years, but that age-old, years of ingrained Catholic guilt came RUSHING back to me like an unwelcome relative. I couldn’t say no. He was so kind and so sweet, and in that second I was so not okay with saying “oh no thanks I just want to see the windows”. So, not wanting to be rude and figuring I could make an escape when the church filled up, I said thank you and took the book, making myself as comfortable as possible on one of the old wooden pews at the back of the church.
There were a few people who came over to welcome me to the congregation, and it really did touch my heart. Like I said, I may not have practiced Catholicism in 15 years, and there are a lot of things I think are VERY wrong with the whole institution, but these were good people with a belief in something greater than themselves and I could tell that it gave them peace. So while I may have groaned internally when I couldn’t escape (being as when everyone was done getting seated, there were a whopping 12 people in the congregation) I stood up, sat down and made all of the right motions because the whole service meant something to them, and I didn’t want to disrespect them in their own house of worship, especially when they had been so kind and welcoming to me.
My interview for my national insurance number interview was on Monday morning at 9AM. I was told to bring some paperwork and prepare for a 30-45 minute interview. So that’s what I did – I even got there early, like you should when you go for an interview. I sat down at 8:45. I was calling for a cab at 8:55. Ten. Minutes. Ten minutes and a ‘we’ll send you our decision in the mail.’ Cheers, folks.
But the goods news is, I DID get my letter in the mail, they DID make their decision, and now I am officially a tax paying citizen of the UK! YAY ME!
Aside from that, everything has been going so well. Work is great, home is great, and I got to go visit my family for the long weekend last weekend, which was just amazing. I am a planner, and sometimes it can be both a blessing and a curse. Needless to say, leaving my fate in the hands of public transport was a bit of a source of anxiety for me. There were three changes on my journey, so that made things even worse. I had to go from Tunbridge Wells to Charing Cross, Charing Cross to Kings Cross, Kings Cross to Doncaster and then Doncaster to Scunthorpe. For a girl who grew up in a small town that didn’t even HAVE trains past 7pm on a weeknight and absolutely none on the weekends, you can imagine how much I was looking forward to this. But it all went off without a hitch. The people at work were so kind and reassuring, and gave me some tips and pointers on navigating my way through London between Charing Cross and Kings Cross. As it turns out, I was an hour earlier than anticipated leaving Tunbridge Wells and an hour earlier leaving London. Unfortunately we got stuck behind the slow Lincoln service so I still arrived at the scheduled ETA, but the point is I got there safe and sound. It was a quiet night on Friday, being as I got in at 22:30, but my feet hit the ground on Saturday morning and it was non-stop after that. My auntie and I went for pedicures, I popped in to say hello to my Grandma and then a few of the family and I went out to the pub before heading to a favourite local Indian restaurant and then back to the pub. We celebrated my grandma’s 91st birthday with her on Sunday (even though her actual birthday wasn’t until Monday, she wanted to make sure I was there for lunch because I had to leave early Monday afternoon) and then we all somehow ended up at the pub again. Go figure!
Grandma’s birthday was a little bittersweet, being as it was also my dad’s birthday. Of course I had sent him a card but for the last few years up north, we’ve done a party for him and it made me a little sad this year that I couldn’t give him a birthday hug or have dinner with him at OUR local pub. It sounds like he had a nice day though, and I know my mum is more than capable of handling the birthday festivities on her own.
Last night I had my first night out in Tunbridge Wells with a few of the girls from the office and we had such a good night! One of the girls and I went out for sushi, and though it was a little rushed, we had a good laugh about it. She had just finished saying that she had finally relaxed after a long, rushed week at work, when one of the staff came up to us and said “I don’t mean to rush you, but I have this table booked for seven thirty.” It was seven fifteen. The table was covered in food. Needless to say we had to make like human vacuums in the fifteen minutes we had left to finish dinner. Also needless to say, I didn’t leave a tip. From there, we met up with another one of the girls for drinks and at that point it was all cocktails and laughs. I really do work with a good group of people, I’m a very lucky girl.
Today, I am headed down to The Pantiles for a little browse around, as they have an open market every other weekend, and this is that weekend, and everyone knows how much I love open markets! I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll send pics, I promise!
Love yourselves, darlings, and take charge of your destiny. It’ll be the best thing you ever do for yourself.
⇒ please note that while I would love to claim responsibility for the badassery of the feature image used in this post, I regret to inform you that it was not taken and is not owned by me. click here for original image. ⇐