Thursday, October 23, 2008

Four Legged Family

Ok I've just realised my worst fear about starting a blog: what, you may ask, that no-one reads it? No....that I won't get around to writing it. One posting so far, tons of stuff in my head, but always too busy, too tired or too lazy to write. Being in between jobs is a great time to try the art of blogging, so I really should stop waffling and get on with it......

So, I've given up my job and we're moving to New Zealand. When immigration say we can. If you work in NHS management, imagine preparing for an NHSLA* type assessment: on you, personally! Gather together all the evidence that says you are who you say you are, your partner is who (s)he says (s)he is, your relationship is genuine, you're in good health, you are not a criminal, etc. etc: then send it all off to London to have your life examined. Weird.
Tidy people, those who throw away all their old letters & bills & bank statements need not apply. Oh, and rule number one: don't upset your case officer. Once we've been accepted, I'll explain how I broke rule number one (don't get excited, now, it was a fairly boring mistake).

The thing that most of our friends & family have got excited about, is the question, what about the dogs? In case anyone reading this doesn't know, we have two lovable dopey lurchers who have been part of our life for a very long time. As soon as NZ became a possibility, they became our biggest issue:

The book we read said it cost about £3000 to get a dog to NZ, including vets bills etc. Well our two large hounds will cost us £5200 if we take them. Ouch. On the other hand, could we ever leave them? We are living at J's mum's and seeing more of them than ever, lots of lovely long autumnal walks......then again, Percy (the white one) is over twelve years old, and we have agonised for months over whether he will survive the flight (36 hours in a comfy crate with just water, no food and no sedation). He has a dodgy back leg too - but the way he has been bounding around recently, I think he's trying to demonstrate that he HAS to come with us.
Bonnie, incidentally, did the Five Valleys Walk with me a while back, all 21 miles on a glorious golden Sunday in aid of the Meningitis Trust. She's fat but fit.
A couple of weeks back we thought we had the perfect solution: a local lady had offered to 'foster' them for a few months until we were settled in NZ, then we could fly them out to join us. But she's now pulled out and we are back to the drawing board. One way or another they will be joining us I'm sure, but it would be nice if we could go & get settled first.

My conscience is troubled by the thought of spending five grand on shipping two dogs halfway around the world. There are far better ways to use this kind of money in the crazy, needy world we live in. But I am very attached to them and (non dog lovers may reach for the sick bowl now) they are family - they'll just have to join us.
And I'm proud of Percy. We popped not work the other day to see a few folk and he let a rather nasty fart go in J's manager's office. Splendid.

*National Health Service Litigation Authority, who audit all your policies and procedures to check that you are 'insurable'

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bad Monday

About four months ago, after a fabulous week Munro bagging in Scotland with my mate Andy, I had a bad Monday. A 'drop everything and go to this meeting' kind of Monday. The meeting was relatively high powered, and completely rubbish. Pointless. I'd never seen so many angry & depressed people in one place since my last visit to the Ricoh Arena to watch Coventry City . In the evening, I decided months of deliberation & procrastination should come to an end: I emailed a bloke who used to be one of my bosses, now happily managing Wellington Free Ambulance in New Zealand. I didn't exactly say 'gissa job', but that was the gist of it.
Four months later.....
House, car, dogs, guitars, job, colleagues, friends, family, bikes, campervan, computers, TV, hifi, kids, emotions, places.........
Everything is up for grabs when you decide to move to the other side of the world. The title of this, my first attempt at a blog, refers both to the fact that NZ is - relative to the UK - 'upside down', and to the fact that this moving business has indeed turned my whole life upside down. It's mostly aimed at friends who want to know why/when/were/how etc., but if you've browsed your way here for any other reason, I'll try not to bore you too much.
I bet your first questions is 'what are you going to do about the dogs?'