Sunday, 5 March 2017

A Year Of Transition

Yes, things have been a little quiet on the blog lately and an update is overdue. This post will be of most interest to friends and family living far away, and not so much to those who primarily read this blog for its cycling content. 

In the past 8 months, we somehow went from living in one family house to.... one house plus... my suddenly-empty-again London flat plus... a seaside flat that will, once probate is complete, belong to Adam. 

Our medium-to-long term plan has been to sell the house once Adam's (now grown) children fledged and find a new home of a size more appropriate to just two adults (plus approximately a <cough> number of bicycles). But the unexpected loss of my tenant and Adam's inheritance prompted a lot of re-thinking. 

The goal now is still to sell the house but, instead of buying something else, divide our time between the two flats. We can't do that immediately however because Adam still works in Harpenden, his son hasn't yet moved out (a whole 'nother story) and my flat really needs a lot of work before it can be a proper home again.

After mulling over a dizzying number of options (I can't even remember what they all were), we find ourselves nearly 3 months into a Transition Plan.

  • I "moved" (in a partial sense) into the south London flat over the Christmas holidays and now commute 12 miles to and from work in central London. I am keeping furnishings and possessions here to a minimum so I don't have too much stuff in the way of builders and decorators.
  • Adam is in the Bedfordshire house during the week, commuting to and from his office in Harpenden -- but he has given notice to his partners and will be retiring (or leaving a long term career for a more entrepreneurial occupation yet to be decided) the first of June 2018. His evenings are spent sifting and culling and bagging things up to go to charity shops or the reuse & recycle centre. 
  • Each week on Friday night, it's all change! One or both of us travels after work so that we can spend the weekend together, rotating between the house (as I still use my usual hairdresser and sports massage therapist in Bedfordshire), my flat (when we run errands, buy groceries, Adam tinkers with small repairs etc) and the Bognor Regis flat (where we try and relax a bit -- well, Adam continues to sift through his late father's things while I read or study or stare at the sea). 
  • We took the decision to purchase a vehicle, for the short term at least, to facilitate what Adam calls Operation Downsize.  For various reasons, we settled on buying a 100% electric vehicle, an ex-demonstrator model Nissan e-ENV200. It's a strange thing to have access to a vehicle again -- and I am amazed to experience the roads as a driver again with so many cyclists on the road! 
Load #1 today © Adam Bell

Besides ourselves, we have the future lifestyles of two furry creatures to consider. We embarked on our relationship with four cats between us. Sadly, we each lost our female cat and so we are now down to the two boys. Adam's daughter will likely take Mickey, now that she and her fiance are settled into their own home. And my lovely boy Bailey will move back to south London along with Adam, by which time we should have a new back door with a catflap and a cat-friendly rear garden. 

 a quiet life in the sun, is all he wants

What strikes me about this phase we are going through is: 
  • As ever, I tend to worry and fuss a bit while Adam is the problem-solver, and I prefer to focus on one thing at a time while he is the consummate multi-tasker! 
  • We value our face-to-face time together more than ever.  
  • While we spent the working week apart, we are very much a team and we remind ourselves and each other of our end goals, that the current juggling is temporary.
  • We have to be quite regimented in planning ahead and synchronising our diaries. We both have running lists of things that we need to remember to transport between each place. Sometimes it goes a bit pear-shaped, but never badly and never for too long. 
  • We seem to be using and travelling with our commuter bikes, mostly. Our other bikes are feeling quite neglected -- although that's actually normal during the winter months anyway.
  • I have identical coffee makers in all 3 homes!
One thing we very much enjoy doing together is planning bike rides! Next week is the first Friday Night Ride to the Coast of the year. We are also going on the Fridays Tour again this year, in July. 

My youngest sister (who lives in the US) is planning a vacation in Scotland in the autumn, and Adam and I are mulling over how to combine spending a few days with her in Edinburgh with some time on our bicycles. We might take the train to Northumberland and then spend 3-4 days cycling to Edinburgh and/or cycle from Edinburgh to the Lake District to see friends. 

But before all that, there is my last degree course to complete by the end of May, so that next autumn I may finally lay my hands on that law degree that I started in 2005!  (What to do with all these books?!)

Meanwhile -- in case anyone wondered about the Grumpy Knee(s) -- I have been working with a cycling-specialist physiotherapist for the past 6 weeks and am starting to see tangible improvements. With 50-60 miles per week cycle commuting and a knee rehab specific home exercise regime, I am, for the first time ever for this time of the year, cycling fit and have no doubts whatsoever about my ability to enjoy and complete next weekend's 60 mile night ride, whatever the weather. (Okay, if the forecast is for strong winds, I'm out. But so far, it's looking promising.)

In any case, it's all a bit of whirlwind at the moment but it's all good. And I hope a more regular blogging schedule will resume soon. I certainly have a few trip reports to finish and a few product reviews to share. 

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update. What a busy life, but the temporary insanity is just that, temporary and you'll eventually settle in to a new life. While I'm excited to be looking for a new home ourselves, I certainly am not looking forward to the eventual fix up and moving part, but I like to think that change makes us stronger. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Annie. It feels like a form of limbo. I am dreading the upheaval but can't wait to get on with it. It'll be worth it in the end, if I can hold on to my sanity in the meantime. Good look in your house search!

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