Sunday 27 May 2012

Moving on - I have a new blog. Please read

Breaking News! I have a new blog.

To all the lovely people who stop by Home Office Mum - or HOM HOM HOM as it's latterly been known, please can I ask you to all redirect your RSS feeds, blog rolls and general visits to my new blog  as that is where my new blogging home will be.

Home Office Mum will probably always be my blogging name, but it's time for me to move on. My new blog - Talk About York - will track our imminent move to the North, life in a northern city, city living vs country living, reviews of places to go and things to do in York. I hope it will be a mix of my normal ramblings coupled with actual useful content for anyone wanting to visit the city.

Starting a new blog is hard and probably stupid as it means building followers from scratch but it was time. So please, please, please can you add my new blog to your blog rolls and come visit my new home on the web. Help me spread the word. I've even created a Facebook page for it (I know, get me) so you can like me on that too if you. I am still tinkering with and tweaking the new blog, so bare with me. But it's up and ready for readers.

Thanks to everyone who has followed HOM and posted comments over these last few years. You have been lovely.

And to my first ever little blog, thanks for all the evenings you kept me and a glass of wine company. You were a thing I could open my heart to. You didn't mind if I spoke nonsense. You didn't judge. You seemed perfectly content being neglected from time to time, always waiting for me when I was ready to return. You've been a friend I could turn to at times I felt alone. I'll come back and visit often. Because you hold so much of my history.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Write to remember

Something has happened to me over the last few days. I've wanted to write again. I went off blogging for a while. I'm not sure why. I just didn't feel like I had anything to say. Or rather I did, but I could compress it all into a Facebook status or Twitter update. I'm a sharer. I have thoughts and I share them. Not everyone is like this I've come to realise. I've also come to realise that just because I am, doesn't make it wrong. But I felt for a while that perhaps blogging was wrong. And it was time consuming. So I stopped.

Anyway I started writing this month. Nothing sexy. Just work stuff. But as I started to write, I felt the dust on the writing cogs start to waft up, spiderwebs softly easing away. 

I began to reread my blog. I realised how incredibly grateful I am that I have this amazingly thorough and emotional diary of such a specific time in my life. I began wishing, as I read it, that I had written down how I felt directly after the birth of my children, their baby years (which I cannot remember any of), pregnancy, life before parenthood (I recently found some old emails written from that time - how different and selfish it was), that period in my life before I met my husband when I was lost, the heartbreak of a first love break up, my first ever travels around the world with the wonder and awe that it brought on, the joy of freedom at leaving school and all the turmoil of teenage years and childhood. How insightful and useful it would be to read now what I was going through then. 

I then went to look at my sailing blog and discovered that it was gone. It was self-hosted rather than a free bloggger site and I'd stopped paying for hosting. I don't know if there's some way to get it back. But I felt heartbroken that it was gone. It captured all I felt at a very specific time of my life. And now it's lost to the ether, leaving me with what I think I felt, rather than what I actually felt.

I realised (belatedly) that I am going through a really big thing right now. We're moving. Again. I'm leaving behind all the friendships and networks that it's taken me six years to build up. I don't know if what we're doing is right but, us being us, we're doing it. I should be capturing how I feel, what I'm doing. My life right now is blog-fodder-tastic. And yet I've shied away from writing any of it. 

I don't even know if I will keep writing as voraciously as I did. But I do know that a blog is something worth cherishing. I want to find the time to write it, even if no-one in the world reads it. I say that, but it's someone else reading it that lead me to write this post. 

I received today an email from a lady who I don't know, but who read a blog post of mine from 2010. She took the time out of her day to email me to thank me for writing the post as it helped her. How awesome is that? She didn't need to do that. She could have read my blog, taking what she needed from it and gone on her way. But she didn't. She stopped to say thank you. And even though I don't know her, nor she me, I felt a connection with a complete stranger on the other side of the world. Perhaps I'm odd, but it's little things like that which fill me with an 'everything is all right with the world' feeling.

There was one other reason for writing this blog post. I have had a glass of wine (that's not the reason although may be the lubricating factor). I had the glass of wine in honour of a man I seldom think of because I never knew him. My grandfather. He would have been 100 years old today. Except he died when he was a lot younger than that. I want to say he was 43 but I'm probably wrong. He died when my father was a young boy. I've always thought about him as my father's father, my poor father who didn't have a father when he needed one. But I've rarely thought about him as my grandfather. Much less my children's great grandfather.  But today I want him remembered. Even if it's just on this tiny corner of the internet.  I want it noted and remembered in writing. Lest we forget. Here's to Arthur Charles Collier the 1st. 

And while I'm making's to writing. 


Friday 24 February 2012

A rolling stone gathers no moss

I can't promise I'm back in the blogosphere for long but I felt an update was long overdue. If you have followed my blog for some time, you will know that in Home Office Mum world, things seldom stay settled for long.

This time last year we were making a major decision about whether to move to Seattle. We decided against. We decided to bloom where we were planted and make the most of where we lived. So we did. We got stuck into all manner of local initiatives and events and good causes, from being cricket club treasurer to PTA fundraiser to allotment sub-committee member. Then I decided that I needed a new career. So I sold my PR business and went on a (brief) journey to decide what I wanted to do next.

And I chose a new career - buying a franchise covering the area in which we live. If anything was going to keep us rooted, that was. Right?

Then on Boxing Day, my husband and I went for a walk across the fields. We looked at the beautiful countryside and I commented that I absolutely loved it but it would never be home to me, as home is in South Africa. I asked my husband where home was for him. He's from Barnsley. Hardly the most appealing town in Britain. He was quick to reply that it wasn't Barnsley. But after a few more quiet strides over the bumpy tracks, he said: 'But Yorkshire is.'

We continued walking along mulling our own thoughts quietly in our heads.

A few days later we went for another walk. This time my husband announced that he'd been thinking about the idea of Yorkshire again and felt he'd actually really quite like to return there.

Seriously? Further North? Even colder? Not even by the sea? But when my husband gets a bee in his bonnet, he doesn't rest until the problem is sorted. By the second week of January we were visiting schools, strolling around suburbs and walking the city walls of York.

After one flying visit, we agreed, we shall follow in the footsteps of that Grand Old Duke and move to York. Within a month, our eldest son had written entrance exams for his selected school (and been accepted), our house put on the market and moving plans put in place. What I shall do workwise is still a bit of a quandary.

Come summer, we will be swapping the rural countryside of West Berkshire for bustling city living in York. At the time of making the decision it seemed like a good idea. It still does in theory.

But when you have a perfectly lovely life, walking away from it for something which is completely different is terrifying. I have to start from scratch making friends. I won't be able to walk out my door and be in beautiful countryside. My children won't be one of 40 kids in a school, they'll be one of 400. I'll have to start building business contacts from scratch. We'll live in a far smaller house, probably with no garden vs our lovely house we have now. I'll be living in the North where people say ey up and ta luv!

Yet we had a our reasons. We'd be closer to my husband's elderly mum. We get to live in a beautiful city, renowned for its friendly people, a trait many southerners seem to have lost. We can afford private schooling there and the school is great. It's two hours to London, two hours to Edinburgh, 45 minutes to the North Yorkshire Moors, 45 minutes to the sea.

Most importantly, we just couldn't see ourselves growing old where we live. I don't know why, but we've been restless since we got here. Maybe we will always be restless. Maybe we'll never put down roots - which flies in the face of my wanting a sense of belonging. But part of me loves that we have a new adventure, with new places to explore and new people to meet.

I imagine as this year rolls on and the decision becomes more real and we have to say farewell to friends and our home, rich with memories of our children turning from babies to boys, it's going to get tough. Possibly involving tears.

But life for us is not about sitting comfortably in a spectator seat watching as the view very gradually changes over time. It's about taking risks, making our own motion picture, so that by the time the end credits roll up, it's been some fascinating viewing.