Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Bored to the Bone

59 weeks, 414 days, 9936 hours, 596160 seconds (give a take a few). That’s how long I have been unemployed for. And for 59 weeks, 413 days, 9912 hours and 594720 seconds I have been content, delighted in fact, by this. Last week in my new Edinburgh excitemen,t I enthusiastically searched and applied for several jobs. At the weekend, my eldest brother came to stay and we painted the town red by searching for house coats in all the charity shops (for more information on housecoats see his blog at http://nev360.blogspot.com/ and see the posting entitled ‘Updates’). We met a variety of cousins and their partners (well 2 cousins and 2 partners) for a drink and generally frivolity. I educated my youngest cousin on the delights of Tanqueray gin, my own personal favourite. I also met up with an old school friend, Laura the Artist and felt very liberal and sophisticated.

Yes, perfectly happy until yesterday when I spent yet another Monday (okay a 2nd Monday) glued to my laptop scrolling through countless jobs and applying for things I don’t particular want to do. But worse than that, after completing my fill of that for the day, I then realised I have nothing to do. I’m trying to save money so I can’t purchase books or DVDs, go to the cinema. All my friends here have jobs so I can’t play with them until the weekend. My room for the first time in my life is actually already tidy, the dishes were already done and there was nothing good on TV. So I went food shopping. Not that exciting and came home. Unpacked, rearranged a shelf. Sarah the flatmate is on nights and thus untalkable to as she is either out or sleeping.

Yes for the first time since my unemployment began, I am bored. Bored, bored, bored! Mind numbingly, finger strummingly, eye-ball grindingly bored. I mean how can there be joy in watching 3 episodes back to back of a TV series recently purchased if you could do that all day and in fact watch 4 or 5 or 6! How can there be joy in reading a book in the evening when in theory you can read all day? How can there be joy in going for a walk in the afternoon if you can walk all you bloody like to because you can’t afford a car.

Yes, dear readers, boredom and for the first ever, a true desire to get a job.

Unfortunately, job seeking is also very boring. At first I was intrigued. How do these websites work? How do I fill in an application form? Yes, the first time is interesting, but subsequent times is quite, quite dull, I assure you. Constantly re-editing and sending off your CV and having to continually remember and articulate how wonderful you are is quite tedious. So to allieve the unremitting repetition, I went to the Careers Scotland website and filled out this achingly long questionnaire to try and match me up to the prefect profession. It consists of a series of monotonous questions about whether or not you like kittens, children and fluffy bunnies. Whether or not you like filing or photocopying and laminating (I mean who doesn’t enjoy laminating, that should be a given). Questions, questions, questions. And you’ll never guess what my prefect job was?

Yep, you got it. A doctor.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Moving in, on and up.

Yes, I have finally made it. After 18 years in Dingwall, 7 in Aberdeen and 1 generally galavanting, I have finally moved to Edinburgh. And then instantly went to Glasgow. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

My last few days at home (or more accurately living with my aunt like a refugee) were spent much like the last few weeks. Getting up, going to mum's new house, standing on and occasionally hammering nails into bits of wood. What did bring a little excitement into proceedings was the socialisation of Edgar.

Edgar is my mother's cat. He a surprisingly short legged 10-year-old black and white rescue cat with the slightly unusual feature of being unable to jump. He has lived with my mother for about 2 years and during this time he has been indulged. Prior to Edgar's arrival, in my family home there were a myriad of cats and children of various ages and behaviour. However, as time goes by, children left, cats die until Nellie the final family cat died of old age. On this day, my mother swore she would wait until she got another cat and in fact prehaps not even get one. After three days she became so unbearable, my brother Ian drove her to the cat rescue centre where she acquired 'Minstrel'. Yes, that was Edgar's name before she renamed him and I can't quite decide if the previous family were stupid or racist, but prehaps both as they gave up the family pet after 8 years for no apparent reason (unless of course they were trying to train him to jump and finally became exasperated).

A curious thing then happened. My mother is quite relaxed woman who has occasional episodes of hysteria, but in the whole is relatively sensible. When I travelled around the world, a lone defenceless female- no problem. When my eldest brother (oil engineer) goes to far flung places with kidnap warnings- no worries. However, Edgar seems have stirred up some primal emotions in her and from the instant she got him she has been wildly over protective and paranoid. When I met the cat for the first time, I had come for my grandfather's funeral. We said hello and I felt a general sense of animosity from him. I went out one evening only to return to find my small floral suitcase missing from my room and a strange odour replacing it. It was then my mother appeared, quite distressed, to tell me the cat had had profuse diarrhoea in my suitcase and that 'it wasn't his fault', 'he didn't mean it' and 'oh he's not well'. I was displeased, but understanding. The cat by was all accounts, not well. Then I saw the cat. He was fine. He gave me a look of great satisfaction and I realised the intent of his action. Profuse diarrhoea in my suitcase. On my funeral clothes. On my season 7 Buffy boxset. And all done the malice afore-thought.

So as you can guess, our relationship since then has been strained so you can forgive me for not being particularly concerned about what effect the move would have on Edgar. Mum, however has been quite beside herself with worry about his welfare. This only increased when the house was not ready to move into and she then had to move in with her sister. Moira already has 3 cats. Asti- a 15 year old stunning looking long haired tabby and alpha male. Mika- a colossal black cat with an eating disorder and finally Jango a ginger neurotic wimp of a cat who rarely ventures inside. As you can tell, peculiar cats seem to be collected by my family.

So when mum moved in with my aunt, they were both concerned about socialising him. Would the other cats accept him? Would he get bullied? Initally it seemed to go well. Edgar gave a bit of hiss and a shaky tail to Mika and Asti, while Jango ran away at the sight of him. We thought fine, they won't be best friends, but they won't tear each other limb from limb. Especially there was a general consensus of joy at Asti's reaction to him. As the alpha male, there was concern he would be very reluctant to accept another male cat, but he completely ignored Edgar's presence. Or that was at first. As the days went by, Asti seemed to realise that this peculiar non-jumping cat wasn't going anywhere and decided enough was enough. When I left on Saturday, the battle has progressed to Asti sitting outside by the cat flap not allowing Edgar to pass resulting in another suitcase type episode. However, things have escalated since my departure and I have since learnt there was an all mightly cat rammie on Saturday night that resulted in my aunt having to place hersel in great personal danger to seperate the fighting males and end the battle. Oh, the torment and distress of war, will the suffering never cease? I'll keep you updated on how things progress and of Edgar (nee Minstral) ever makes it to mum's new house.

Anyway back to human affairs and moving. I caught the train on Saturday was met at station by Sarah, my new landlord and flatmate. I had every intention of unpacking that afternoon, but of course the best laid plans are always broken and instead we had cups of tea and chatted before another friend (but not flatmate, there can be only one) Jenny arrived and we chatted some more and had more tea. I then realised that Glasgow is actually quite far away from Edinburgh so I best start getting ready to go there as I was attending an evening to farewell a dear friend, Dominic, before he set off for Malawi to do the unthinkable- charity work. Yes, work without pay, quite unfathomable. I caught the train for the second time that day and was somewhat alarmed when it appeared to go the wrong direction , but then learned due to engineering works, we were having to go a peculiar route to reach the destination. On my arrival I was met by Elaine (another uni friend, they all seem to have migrated to the central belt, how I have conformed!) and we promptly got lost looking for Dominic's house, taking an impressive near hour to go on an apparently 15 minute journey. We did eventually arrive and were met by Dominic's mother who had laid on the most magnificant feast of food and drink that I must confess I did indulge in to quite an alarming degree. I spent the night along with some other uni friends and we were quite delighted by the weather on Sunday morning. We sat outside in the garden gently sunning ourselves and trying to drink copious amounts of tea to lessen out hangovers, thinking how lovely Scotland is. Then I bade farewell to Dominic wishing him luck and telling him to beware all Americans on public transportation (see my other blog- Morag's Year in the Sun and go to April/May to read about my adventures with a yank in New Zealand).

I then returned to Edinburgh to try and sort out my belongings and do the dreaded task of getting a job. But as you can probably guess from the lenght of this blog, that I am procrastinating somewhat. I haven't had a job in 14 months and before that it was all bascially done for me by the NHS. Striking out on my own seems terribly complicated and hard. I actually have to show initiative. It's all very distressing. Fortunately, to abate my increasing concerns, I can now after so many months of being a dirty traveller (and refugee latterly), I can lean back on my bed and look around me, seeing for a change, not a mass of bunk beds or storage boxes, but my things in the place that I put then without any conern of them getting stolen or going missing. And that is an encouraging thought.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A New Dawn

Welcome faithful bloggers and new readers alike to the beginning of a new journey. A story as old as time, but the classic tales are never grow tiresome and are worth retelling.

My tale is a simple one of girl gets good grades. Girl gets to university and becomes a doctor. Girl decides being a doctor is far too difficult and not anything like ER. Girl jacks in good job, all future financial security and respect of society and goes travelling. Girl runs out of money and has to come home. Girl now has to get a job.

This is where my tale begins.

Now some back story. For ye faithful few who followed my previous blog, you will know I returned a few weeks ago, but why I hear you ask haven't you got a job yet? Well, since my return I have been living at home with my dear mother helping her move out of the family home and into a new smaller cottage. The move sounds simple on paper- she has gone from the top of the hill to the bottom, however there have been snags. Her fancy man, who I affectionally call Roger Home for reasons not that interesting in the telling, but I assure you were hilarous at the time, is renovating the new house, but it has been dogged with delays- literally. He has 5 dogs and that combined with the appalling weather and unexpected problems have set the project back somewhat. So much in fact that when the keys were finally handed over a few days ago and the era of 25 years in the family dwelling place came to an end, mum (and myself by default) had to move in with her sister. However, delays aside the house is coming along and should be inhabitable in the next 10-15 years (if she's lucky).

So due to all this drama and seemingly unending amount of work, I kept delaying my move until I finally realised, I had to leave, house be damned! And so I am. In 4 days, I move to Edinburgh to the flat of a uni friend, Sarah, who foolishly whilst having a dinner party shortly before I left on my trip (and one suspects mildly intoxicated from a few glasses of genache) offered me a room to rent. It's all terribly exciting, the flat is very close to Princes (apostrophy or not?) Street and thus being the impoverished person that I am, my lack of car shouldn't be too much of an issue.

With the move date imminent, it occured to me that I should prehaps start thinking about getting a job. This may sound ridiculous, but I haven't a clue. I left school, went to uni, was told to fill a form out and was given a job for two years. Prior to that the only other employment I had was at the local cake shop and the applicaton process for that was a brief chat with the mangeress and hey presto at the tender age of 14 (yes, a child worker, a slave of society's growing pressure on the young to suceed) I had a job.

So the question is now, where to start? How to get a job? What to do? Why? (Well, the latter question is easy- MONEY). This is the quest, this is the challenge, this is the future. Join me friends, family, countrymen and random people who accidently click on the site. Join me in the telling of this epic tale, one that has yet to be written!
Join me for the most thrilling journey of all- the journey of life!!!!!!!

(too much?)