Month: March 2012

Packing packing and more packing

Oh wow…. it is all finally beginning to hit home… WE’RE ACTUALLY LEAVING FOR GOOD!! I am trying to pack and failing miserably, mainly because Miri is at the stage of enjoying Putting Things In Boxes – and then taking them out again.
Lots of my friends are coming over this week for final saunas and final goodbyes, and Miri has her last Rhymetime and Cookie Tots sessions this week and EVERYTHING IS COMPLETELY INSANE!

In the last three months, I’ve sold 64 things on Ebay, recycled 35kg of clothes, given away 3 bags & 1 box of stuff on Freecycle, handed down three bags of Miri’s clothes to Luke and Nyx, regailed my friends with shoes and books from “Second-Hand Santa”, made small profits at one car boot sale and one baby fair & STILL THERE’S CLUTTER!!!


I will never understand the physics of moving house.

And how do I even begin to decide what books I can’t live without?????

It’s not even that simple. It’s not just deciding what stuff I can possibly bring out now, it’s also packing up the stuff I want Carl to ship over for me later when he comes out finally as well, and then deciding what stuff can be donated to charity/sold/recycled/thrown out so Carl doesn’t have to go through all my stuff by himself. It is quite liberating in a way, but also immensely hard. I have resorted to leaving little stickers on everything with instructions for Carl!


On another note, I can bring 46kg of STUFF with me to Canada… This means after packing clothes and other essentials, I am reduced to ONE cake tin, 4 cupcake moulds, 2 cookbooks, my manual egg whisk and my favourite spatula.

This is either devastating or brilliant – how Ugly are my cakes going to be now?


“Tweet away – LMO is approved!”

I am now at liberty to “blog my head off!!”

I do feel a little like my head has fallen off actually. That sensation is a welcome relief from the stress of the last few months where my head has felt like it was trying to curl in on itself and implode. I was contemplating trephination, but a positive Labour Market Opinion is possibly a less risky solution…


A mere FIFTEEN WEEKS AND FOUR DAYS after we applied for it… talk about backlog!!

Emma seems highly relieved too, can’t wait to meet up with them both again!

What this means in a practical terms is that we can now fly out, and get my work permit stamped at the port of entry, ie: Calgary airport. There are some advantages of the Commonwealth and being a UK national after all. If I were coming from anywhere else in Europe I’d be stuck waiting another few months for the work permits to be approved by the Canadian embassy at home! From then on, I am legally allowed to work (and pay taxes!) at the coffee shop in Regina.  It is employer-specific, so I have to stay at 13th Avenue for a year at least. Fine by me!! The best bit is though, as Carl is my spouse, he gets to come with me and automatically gets an Open work permit, so when he finds a job over there, he doesn’t have to go through this whole LMO process himself! Lucky sod.

We’re all official!! And today I booked the flights. (was intending to do it earlier but we had to see how long Carl could get off work… he’s coming out for just over 2 weeks this time, then unfortunately he has to come back, and carry on working until September when his redundancy comes through! Waa!!)

So I actually have a One Way Ticket!!!

I’ve never owned a one way flight ticket before. EEEP!!

I am sure there are plenty of jokesl to be made out of “I’ve got a ticket for Regina” or “single entry only”… I’ll await the blog comments from the usual suspects….

I am somewhere in between knicker-wettingly excited to gibbering-in-the-corner with nerves now.

Of course, we needed to celebrate. We cracked open an eleven year old bottle of wine that has been gathering dust in the corner of the kitchen. We bought it for under £5 from the Kwiksave supermarket behind our old house in Chester-le-Street in 2001. It’s Chilean cab sav and says it ages well, so we kept it “for a special occasion”. We could never decide on what occasion would warrent its opening (not the birth of our daughter, the opening of my coffee shop nor handing in my PhD thesis!) so it has sat there, rejected,ever since, and even moved house with us in 2004. Aging it definitely improved it – it is incredibly strong tasting now, almost smokey!! But its one of the last bottles we’ll be able to pick up for under a fiver in a supermarket – from now on, it’ll all have to come from a Liquor Store. Hmm!

We first started talking about moving to Canada more than eleven years ago, before we bought that bottle anyway, so I think it is very fitting that we glugged the stuff on the eve of finally doing it!


Here’s some pictures of us getting excited, in case you’d missed the general vibe of this post.

With the aforementioned Old Wine.
"Mother, you are embarrassing me!"
I missed Carl, but then he hates being in photos anyway! He is excited too. Just in a quieter way than me.

Mug shot

I wish I could say it’s all finally happening! Flights are going to get booked this weekend (we hope), and after various dramas, we sat up til 1.45am talking to Canadians on Skype the other night. As always, it isn’t quite working out in the way we’d planned or expected, but then, nothing ever does. But the wait is soooo nearly over, and it was an enormous relief to actually talk to Emma properly. It helped me to appreciate this is actually happening: via email seems so remote!

However, there is still a ridiculous amount of stuff to sort out at both ends, not least Miranda and our house. So, with the exception of the “light relief” in form of ghastly pictures below, this will be my last blog post for a while – just waaaay too much to worry about at the moment!!

Here’s the light relief: I’ve got to send ID photos off, “endorsed” by someone who ‘works in one of the listed occupations’ and has known me for two years. Right now, I cannot think of a single person who fits that description – in Darlington at least. We are all unemployed or perma-students. This is part of the reason why I want to leave!!

Mind you, who would actually want to endorse this?!

Bloody awful isn’t it?

Another Emo moment

Yes, it’s Florence and the Machine. No, I can’t think of anything original tonight. I like the lyrics and the sentiment is very apt at the moment.

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around
And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off

And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but its left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me…

p.s. Dear Florence, re: Track 10 (Say my name) “FLORENCE WELCH” Now give it a rest, will you?

Of Lolcats, bread and (de)motivation

I have quit Facebook.

In many ways this is quite liberating. I spent far, far too much time faffing around on it, I had nearly 300 friends on there but only ever talked to the handful of friends that I saw locally anyway, and frankly it got too annoying. I am not a fan of “kittehz”, ‘cyoot’ or otherwise, and having a timeline full of Lolcats drove me quietly insane. However, my main qualms about leaving facebook were because if I ever do get to emigrate, Facebook is the method of choice for the vast majority of people to keep in contact internationally. By deactivating my account, I risk losing touch with a great many people.

But then I asked myself, who is on there that I would really be completely unable to contact without it? Only the people who I never talk to on there anyway. If I really want to talk to my friends, or if they want to talk to me, we can find a way. (and given recent events which I will spare the public airing, my enthusiasm for keeping in touch with one or two “friends” has been severely curbed anyway, but that is a different story.)

This is not to say that I am puritanically shunning all forms of social media – a fact made acutely obvious by this blog and my shameless promotion of it. I have discovered the wondrous simplicity of Google+ and my Twitter addiction is getting worse by the hour. Google+ is an odd one though – it is not a direct replacement for Facebook because it allows and actively encourages you to converse with total strangers. It is not just ‘boast-by-post’ popularity contest like facebook, and I’ve got into some very interesting discussions on there. However, it also gives rise to all manner of well-meaning but slightly nauseating motivational memes, more bloody lolcats and “epic lolz” videos of people falling over. I now have a ‘circle’ for all people who I normally like, but who post cute kitten pictures, so that they can be censored before perusal. Sound harsh? Well you’ll never know if you’re in the circle, so go swing a cat! 😛

The sort of motivational memes are sometimes sentimentally inspiring, but mostly just toe-curlingly insipid. I give you an example:

Believe it or not, that is one of the less cringe-worthy ones.

I’d argue that anyone who designs these things, anyone who advocates the carpe diem, ‘chase your dreams’ or ‘reach for the stars’ or ‘just do it’ attitudes has obviously never dealt with international migration bureaucracy. I would dearly love to ‘follow my heart’ and jump into the unknown and ‘never stop believing’ or whatever little soundbyte you care to mention, but it is never as simple as that!! I posted a rhetorical question on Twitter the other day: “why can’t life be cheaper and less complicated?” I got one response: “because then it wouldn’t be life, it would be, erm… BREAD.” I like this metaphor. Bread is simple to make and relatively cheap. It is also quite dull unless you add things to it. It takes a long time, to, erm, (im)prove.  And the more you beat the crap out of it, the better it gets. Yep, I could do with Life being more like Bread.

But back to real life: my lovely new employers have been busting their proverbial guts to satisfy the immigration office’s requirements, continually phoning to see how long the application will take and so on. But the standard answer is still “12-15 weeks from 9th December” (when, apparently, they received the application. Or at least, when they opened the letter a week after we’d sent it). It has now been 12 weeks since then.

So it can’t be long now.

Can it?

It could still get rejected, too…..


I have escaped for the weekend to my parents house with Miri, just to chill out for a bit. This wait is depressing me so much, I really cannot stand Darlington now, there is nothing there for me any more, and I don’t want Miranda to be in such a depressing, grey, unpleasant place any more than she has to be.

Being here has given me time to mess around too, so I’ve made my own pastiche meme in my favourite style, the Demotivational Poster. I fully expect it to go viral and find its way all over teh interwebz. Service Canada take note, here is the world’s first “LolMiri”: