Go big or go home…

Archive for January 2009

J’s company is putting us up in an “executive residence” called Treetops while we look for somewhere permanent to live.

This is our room:

Living room

Living room

Big bed!

Big bed!

And this is the view when we walk to our room from the lobby:

Swimming pool

Swimming pool

Have been eating mountains of fresh fruit for breakfast, swimming for 40 minutes every morning, and on Saturday J and I are booked in for a two and a half hour “jetlag package” in the spa.

It’s gonna be hard to move out!


Safe and sound and excited about the start of our new life, and the year of the ox.

Gong xi fa cai

Gong xi fa cai

Love you all!

J & L


Sunday morning. Every thing’s going well. I’ve had 6 hours’ sleep, I don’t have much of a hangover, I had a great last night.

Then as I gather up the last few odds and sods to pack, it occurs to me that our very large bag (it’s a 140 litre base camp bag) is getting very full.

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Dear Flat,

I didn’t like you when I met you. You were empty at the viewing; a big white cube. I thought you were soulless. I didn’t realise that character comes from people, not woodwork.

Fortunately J had more vision, and a checklist. You ticked everything except “Bath” so we bought you. We moved in before the furniture and ate fish & chips on the floor.

That was three and a half years ago, and those years have been some of my best. You’ve been part of that; a corner of the world that’s mine. The first roots I’ve put down since mum & dad’s.

You’ve been part of my relationship with J as well. A mortgage is as much a commitment as a marriage. The lack of doors means I’ve learned to slam them less.

You made me house proud. You made me a housewife. You’ve been the backdrop to countless dinners and parties. You’ve only locked me out twice, and managed not to burn to the ground.

I don’t know if I will ever live in you again, but I will try and get you good tenants – ones who see the beauty in a big white cube.

Yours always,


Rosie Bonita is my tortoise:



She is a Tunisian spur-thigh, she is the first birthday present J bought me, and she is the best pet I’ve ever had.

Unfortunately she is not allowed to travel.

Most (all?) tortoises are finally, sensibly, protected by CITES, which restricts their import and export.

This means that UK breeders have to be registered, and stops nefarious characters going to places like Tunisia, packing a tea chest with baby Rosies and shipping them back to pet shops in the hope that some survive.

Because of these restrictions, tortoises are now relatively scarce in the UK so it would have been easy to sell Rosie back to a good breeder, but I just couldn’t do it.

Instead she is being fostered by a friend, with a support network that includes my sister, J’s mum and another friend.

I don’t know if this is an ideal solution – I have no idea when I will be back – but the thought of never seeing her little pointy face again was just too sad.

She's teeny

She's teeny


One of the more urgent items on our to-do list is to rent out our London flat, as we’re definitely not flush enough to keep homes across the globe.

We’ve registered with an agent, and were hoping we’d find a tenant within the next few weeks.

Until we arrived home on new year’s eve. The main entrance was padlocked and chained, and the ground floor launderette was reduced to a smouldering, blackened abyss.

There are three flats above the launderette, one on each floor. Fortunately all the occupants were out – the fire brigade said no one would have survived all the smoke – but there is water and smoke damage, and the firemen were forced to kick all the doors in.

First floor hallway, at least the corrugated metal matches the wainscoting

First floor hallway, at least the corrugated metal matches the wainscoting

Our flat mostly survived. Our front door refused to explode like the others so the firemen came in through a window (meaning we are still fairly secure – the other flats have had their entrances boarded up with corrugated steel), and the smoke damage is minimal as we’re on the top floor.

Second floor hallway

Second floor hallway

A good professional cleaner and decorator should get the place sorted fairly quickly, but I think the burned out shop and padlocked street access might put off the more discerning renter before they even make it upstairs!

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