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Hastings, Peckham and Streatham – Weeknotes 3

February 28, 2011

From April on, I’m going to be working for Skills Matter, out in Clerkenwell, as a Community Manager. Which means I no longer need a home office. Which means we can convert the 2nd downstairs room into a family room. It is a warm, light room with a garden-facing window and a radiator that keeps the place snug, so it will be a great room to hang out.

At present, the room works very hard to free up the rest of the house. It houses all our CDs, DVDs, videos, my four guitars, a 3-seat sofa, the high-backed armchair that matches the chaise longue, all our paperwork and stationery, umpteen year’s worth of print photos, paper back-ups of all my writing, the printer, the old iMac, all our electronic gear, the telephone and wireless router, our back-up software, the lad’s toys, three shelves’ worth of O’Reilly samples accumulated over the years, the shredder, a dozen years’ worth of receipts and all manner of crap we should have chucked out years ago. And it’s the room we spend most time in, so it generally has two deck chairs taking up the middle of the floor.

Our carpenter Chris Aldridge, who has built us bookcases, wardrobes, and who fixed the fence for us the year before last, which in itself was the catalyst for the great garden revival, fitted us a floor-to-ceiling shelf unit in the alcove by the window on Tuesday, and measured up for more shelving and a desk for the opposite alcove. This unit will house the CDs, DVDs and a home recording studio for me – the 4-octave keyboard and monitors arrived midweek. As pretty much all the music we listen to in the house is played via iTunes and Spotify these days, we don’t need all the CDs around, so we’re pairing them down to just those we might play in the car – the rest will go in the loft, though I’m sure at sometime we’ll ditch them. As far as videos go, we went through the ones we watch most regularly, eg Bowfinger, and ordered them on DVD from Amazon. The rest, but for a few which are unavailable, like Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure, are going into the loft. And we’ll pair down the DVDs to just those we need ready access to.

We’re going to order a new flatscreen tv to go over the fireplace, which might or might not get ripped out, depending on whether we can find a plasterer to patch it up if I pull it out. We’re going to get a small desk for the lad to sit at when he’s a little older, and a box for his toys. Et voila, a family room, carpeted and with interesting pictures on the wall. The TV in the front room will go, which means there will be room for the high-backed armchair in there, making it a real sitting room.

We spent a cathartic Sunday chucking out and shredding old bank statements, O’Reilly documents, catalogues etc, 12 bags of rubbish/recycling all told. That felt good. A lot of the box files with stuff we probably won’t need for a long time, like stuff relating to previous house sales etc, can go in the loft, which is dry and out of the way. We still have to figure out where the iMac is going to go, though the temptation is to buy an iPad when the new one is announced.

This week was half term, and Allyson joined Fi, Mike and myself in work-free, carefree revellry. Monday we went to Hastings for the day, which was just lovely. We ate outside at the same fish and chip shop, The Mermaid, where early last year I was hit by a fish-head thrown by a gull as we were eating. No such incident happened this time, fortunately.

Thursday, we took the train to Peckham Rye to see Lyndon Hayes and Jo Smith. Lyndon did The Scaremongers covers and is doing a drawing of the boy for his Mum’s Christmas present. We had a lovely lunch in Peckham Rye Park and then walked back via Dulwich and Tulse Hill. It was the first gorgeous day of the year, in fact since the boy was born in November, so we got him out of the pram and into his Baby Bjorn. For the first time, we had him facing out toward the world, (rather than in toward my chest) and I think he liked it. He’s such an alert kid with a strong neck, and it seems cruel to keep him pegged in if the weather allows.

Friday, Fi took him off to Balham to see one of his pals, so I got the house to myself for a few hours. I got a *lot* done. In the garden, I planted Jasmine to go around the summerhouse, crocuses and tulips, and I weeded. I need to plant the meadow, which will be all I intended to do out there this summer, I think I’m going to be too busy.

Back inside, I built a small website at, (which at present looks shamefully like Tom Taylor’s site, as I’m leaching his css – sorry, Tom, but yours is exactly how I want mine to look. I *will* change it, but I’m not sure how) and arranged for to point at this blog. I answered a lot of email, and ordered a new mobile phone, did my washing, which had been piling up. I contacted two venues for Ignite Music, as we are going to have way too many people for the Horse and Groom.

I worry that my 2 month break from work will result in nothing, that I won’t have created anything new, won’t have built anything new, organised anything, finished off any existing projects etc. This is probably the one time in my life where I’m going to get a lump of time like this, and it’s going to break my heart if I waste it. These weeknotes are my way to tell myself I’m doing alright, that there are things I’m doing which I’ll be pleased with myself for doing. It’ll never be enough for me, obviously, but something is better than nothing, and I’m doing a lot more than something.

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