November Update

After the October excitements, November was a bit quieter. Early in the month, Claire did a 6-day training course, so we helped with babysitting. Ironically, the course was to learn how to crew the A380 jet – just as they were all grounded.

On the 6th we went to the Wycombe firework display with Charlie and Claire and one of Claire’s friends. The bonfire was enormous and the fireworks were good, and Charlie enjoyed it all.

The 9th was the last day of Claire’s course; we spent the day in London (mainly in art galleries and shops, because the weather was awful) and met up with her in the evening. We went to see the musical ‘Jersey Boys’, about the Four Seasons, which was very good.

There was a panic a few days later, when Charlie started vomiting and wouldn’t stop. He was sent round to three different hospitals, had lots of tests, and there was talk of an operation. He got the all-clear, however, after a traumatic night for Claire and a lot of hanging around the next day. The following weekend, while Claire was away, we took him to Faversham to visit Andrew, Ellie and his cousins.

Hope, Isobel & Charlie share a book

A few days later we met up with an old friend and colleague of ours, and went for a pub walk along the Grand Union canal at Marsworth, near Tring. It was cold and a bit grey, but we enjoyed chewing the fat about old times in the pub afterwards. That evening we went with Claire to a brand-new theatre in Aylesbury (the Waterside) to see ‘Calendar Girls’, which was quite good but not (in our view) up to the film.

Walking the Grand Union

At the end of November we had a weekend in Loughborough, helping friends there to celebrate their 60th birthdays and Jacqui’s mother’s 90th. There was a barn dance one evening and a lunch the next day. We took the opportunity for a nostalgic walk up to the Outwoods, overlooking the town, although it was extremely cold and frosty.

Cutting the birthday cake

Blowing bubbles at the Birthday Bash

Loughborough from the Outwoods

Two other things have occupied us during November. One was pursuing our claim against the agents (IPS) who trashed our flat in Slough last year and removed most of the furniture. We compiled an impressive heap of evidence, and submitted the claim as soon as we arrived back in the UK in July. IPS failed to file a defence, so we got judgement in our favour, with a court date set for Dec 8th to determine the amount of compensation. Then IPS filed to have the judgement set aside, and we had a hearing about that on Nov 18th. The judge agreed to set it aside, providing they file a defence and pay £2000 into court by 2nd December, so we’re waiting to see what happens next. Don’t miss the next episode in this courtroom drama!

Our main concern has been with plans for the future. After being turned down by VSO in September, we started work on Plan B – a tour of South America. But we were still keen to work abroad, so we simultaneously looked for opportunities. We were put in touch with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (supposedly desperate for people with Ian’s skills), and had a very promising email exchange. This was supposed to be followed up with a phone conversation after our return from Italy, but by then our contact had gone on sick leave. So for weeks our South America plans were on hold, while we waited for her return. She is back at last, but we’ve now been told that they want to fill permanent posts; we are too old, so they are not interested in us. It looks like we’ll be off to South America after all!


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