As most of you know, I always support the Sharks. When in South Africa, I support the Natal Sharks. So it obviously follows that here I follow the Sale Sharks. I have to mention though, that Sale are my local team. We have been season ticket holders for the last few years, and will probably renew our tickets for next year’s season, in spite of the fact that Sale were a bit disappointing this year, and that a number of our best players are leaving at the end of the season. Speaking of which, it is the end of the season. Sale played Northampton Saints yesterday afternoon in the last game of the season. Thank goodness we won, but I don’t think that even the bonus point the earned has helped them to get into the play-offs.
Walking and jogging
For those of you who know me relatively well, you’ll probably be shocked that not only have I started walking recently, but I have started jogging too. I think I am probably the one most surprised of all. I was converted to walking whilst on the Ilha Grande, Brazil. I never thought I could do it, but that holiday proved to me that not only can I do it, but I quite enjoy it too, as long as it feels like an ‘adventure’. Walking to the shops to buy a pint of milk just doesn’t make the grade, I am afraid. But the last few weeks we did the Precipice Walk in Wales (name should say it all), last weekend we did a very hard 7-mile walk in Macclesfield Forest (we should not have gone straight in for a ‘hard’ walk!) and today we did about 6.5 miles in and around Sandbach in Cheshire.
Wow, you might say. Well, add to that wow that I also started jogging 3 weeks ago. (Pigs do fly!) I tried jogging about 5 years ago, but really struggled with my knees, so gave it up. This time, I got proper advice, proper shoes, a proper programme and hopefully I can maintain it. The programme, incidentally, is called ‘couch to 5k’, and I do feel like I am still closer to ‘couch’ than I am to 5k, but I am improving each time I go out. The first few times I came back in, Tim thought I was about to combust any minute. Now I am still knackered, but it is bearable and I don’t looks like I am ready to expire.
I started jogging as a stress reliever. Unlike normal people, I don’t lose weight when I am stressed out. In spite of no change in diet, I just start putting weight on – and quickly! It’s terrible! But hopefully the exercise will counter some of that.
Reading my blog
Recently I have received a few comments from people who read my blog. I know when I write it, that anyone in the entire world have access to it, but never did I think that anyone who doesn’t actually know me, would read it! But it seems people do. I wonder if they find it strange, reading a stranger’s blog, in the same way that I find it odd that they would want to read it?
The Hermolle-Hesketh household is considering getting SKY (satellite TV). We have resisted until now, but we do miss watching sport. There really isn’t much sport on terrestrial telly, and when there is, it is usually just football. Tim is hoping we can get it before the Ashes start …
Family visits
I was so looking forward to my sister and family’s visit in June. However, it is looking quite likely that they will be unable to come. Really disappointing, but so goes life. As I have planned both projects I am working on around their visit, and scheduled the time off already, I have decided that if they can’t come here, I shall go there. The good news is, I have just checked the price of airfares for the period in June I am planning to go, and it is the lowest airfare I have ever seen! £380 from Manchester to Johannesburg. Not too shabby at all! But hopefully Rochelle can let me know this week whether their trip is definitely off.
The recession
We have come to understand that the recession definitely does not discriminate, as Tim has finally become one of its casualties. I try to remind him that it is no bad thing – he had considered leaving some time ago, but now he is paid to leave! And they are paying for his expensive, intensive Prince2 Project Management course, which starts tomorrow. I did this course last year. The first thing they say to you is: “if you thought you were going to have a life this week, cancel it …”! The week after his course, he needs to start looking for a new job in earnest. He is hoping to go back to the contracting market, but I think as things stand right now, beggars can’t be choosers. Jobs definitely are scarcer than they have been since I came to the UK.
As much as I am loving my one project, I am not enjoying the other. I find this hard and stressful. Both projects are under-resourced and it is taking its toll.
I hate commuting. I commute on average 2 hours per day, which adds up to 10 hours per week. That is the equivalent of working more than an extra day per week! And just to make it a little more difficult, there is a 6-month tram upgrade project in Manchester which means trams don’t run through Manchester. They only run as far as St Peter’s Square from Altrincham/Eccles and as far as Victoria from Bury. The following stations are closed: Mosely Street, Market Street, Shudehill, Piccadilly and Piccadilly Gardens. And trains only run every 12 minutes instead of every 6 minutes. They have put on double carriages, but they are still very, very busy. Sometimes you can’t get on the first tram, so you have to wait another 12 minutes for the next one. And as I don’t like crowds, I usually opt to wait for the next tram instead of squeezing onto a jam-packed tram where my face ends up trapped under someone else’s armpit!
I have been very homesick of late. It is rather strange – my first few years abroad, I hardly ever felt homesick. These days I am becoming more and more so. I think it also has something to do with my parents growing older. My sister’s father-in-law had a nasty health scare on the weekend. He’s about the same age as my dad, and I just couldn’t stop thinking about how I would have reacted had it indeed happened to my father instead. The reality of old age is that the older we get, the more chance that something will go wrong. Not a nice thought, but a reality of life.
The week / weekend ahead
I couldn’t end on such a terrible note, so we’ll rather talk about something we are looking forward to: next weekend is a nice long weekend again. Tim is having his official leaving ‘do’ and we’re all going into town on Saturday night. We start the evening at Cloud 23 Bar in the Hilton Tower, before we are due to have dinner at Try Thai in China Town. The night will no doubt end up at Canal Street by which time I will probably be so weary I will be falling on a heap! I just can’t do late nights anymore.
Tuesday evening I think I will be working late, but Thursday evening I am meeting up with some of my favourite people from a previous project. Should be fun!