Sunday, March 04, 2007

10000 steps

I'm finally getting properly settled into the village now. Have you ever noticed how long it takes to find your feet when you've moved somewhere new? I usually reckon on 6-9 months to feel properly part of something, getting to the stage when you meet people you recognise and stop for a chat whilst walking down the street or in the local shops. This is the fifth town/city I've lived in (and the eighth house/flat!) in nine years, and it always takes this long. Which was kind of interesting in places like Exeter where I was only there for a year anyway. You just finally get to know people, and it's time to move on. I don't think I appreciated how easy it was when I first went to university, where everyone is in the same boat and there are loads of opportunities laid on to get to know people. It got harder when I moved to Exeter to work, as there were so few of us in a similar situation. Similarly with starting a part-time postgrad. degree in London, because everyone assumes that part-timers were so busy with the rest of their lives they wouldn't want to meet other people! And the latest move has been very odd, as I didn't know anyone locally at all when I moved here and my work isn't in the local area, and takes me away for most week nights. I've reached the conclusion that anyone retired or with small children must have a fantastic social life in my village, as the place is stuffed full of coffee mornings, OAP whist drives, breastfeeding get togethers and toddler clubs.

But hardly anything is at a time when anyone who works can go to things. There is one evening Pilates class, otherwise everything else takes place during the day. However, this week things finally came together. I've been helping out with Guides when I can, but it's been difficult to fit it in with working miles away, but I made it this week, and I also joined the Lent group at church (which, good heavens, takes place in the evening!). Work this week in Cambridge got cancelled at the last minute (i.e Monday morning!), which is one of the hazards of being freelance, so I've spent the week working from home. It did mean missing out on tea with Anne's family, going to the Cambridge KTog and meeting up with friends in Bedford and meeting their baby (for whom I'd made some little socks), which is a complete bummer. See, I do have a social life, just not where I live!
(yarn is leftovers of Trekking XXL from my Hedera socks).

But it was nice that things are coming together here. How have you found moving to a new area, or a new country? And how long has it taken you to get to know people locally? It was a bit more problematic this time round as normally I'd go along to as many things as possible locally as soon as possible to get to know people, but a combination of semi-permanent tonsillitis and being away all week made that impossible for my first six months here.

I really enjoyed the Lent course. We're following the York course, "Can We Build a Better World?" , which consists of listening to a CD of various people on a panel (John Sentamu, Wendy Craig and Leslie Griffiths, among others) and then having a discussion about it over a cup of tea (in the obligatory Anglican blue teacups. Although some Anglican churches have the same teacups in green, and one I went to even had yellow ones!). This week's session was: Slavery, then and now, looking at when the slave trade was abolished in 1807 and comparing attitudes then and now towards modern day slaves - eg sex slaves, bonded labour, child labour, forced marriages and illegal labour. And how people in the West (often unwittingly) exploit workers in the developing world, and how the Fairtrade movement is aiming to conteract that. Our discussion turned into what we are prepared to tolerate, and what we could do about something (ie it's unlikely that individually we could do anything to stop the human sex trafficking trade, but maybe collectively it is possible). The discussion turned into what we could do about things locally, and it was interesting hearing some of the perspectives of the older residents there. Many of them have lived in the village for 40+ years and felt that it has grown too big and is unfriendly, with gangs of teenagers handing around in the evening. I compared it to living in the east end of London and said that I found it small, and friendly as you do bump into the same people regularly, and they hardly have any marauding teenagers here, certainly not as many as I've seen on the loose in London/Exeter/Lincoln/Sleaford! Certainly I've never felt intimidated here wandering around on my own after dark, which wouldn't have been the case in London.

So, why 10000 steps? Well, partly it seemed an appropriate title as it seems to have taken a lot to get settled in here, and partly because doing something about modern day slavery is a very big thing to tackle. But also because I haven't given anything up for Lent, but I have decided to aim to walk 10000 steps a day. I used to be reasonably fit, and six years ago could cycle up the hill at Royal Holloway without even thinking about it, now I'd probably keel over if I tried it! It doesn't help that I have a sedentary job/lifestyle, with lots of driving. When I first got my pedometer I was averaging about 3000 steps a day. I'm now up to 7000-8000. The idea behind 10000 steps a day, is that that is the amount you need to do to keep fit and healthy without doing any additional exercise. So you fit the steps into your normal life and think up ways to do a bit extra. My local shops/library/church/Guides are all within 20 minutes walk so I've stopped taking the car to them (that really was a bit pathetic, but I'd got into the habit when it was raining....) Of course, it also has the additional benefit of being around on the village streets so you get the opportunity to bump into people!

Think that's all for now. I have no idea where I'm working for the next few weeks so maybe I'll be writing more often, maybe not! The square above is my Skip North charity afghan square. The pattern is from Simply Knitting, January 2007, and the yarn is some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran I had in my stash...


Sue H said...

I have had numerous moves over the years, but most from when my children were children, and that certainly helps in the getting to know folk area. Since my youngest was born, although we've moved house, it was only to another suburb in the same area, so nothing really changed. We still shop and socialise in the same area of course.
I think the same is happening in many villages around UK. My aunt and uncle are over here visiting, and they tell me that my little village is now besieged by gangs etc. I hail from a little village outside of Manchester called Cadishead, and I'm told I would hardly recognise it now.......and some call that progress????

Seahorse said...

I'm glad you're feeling part of the community now! I'm rubbish at that sort of thing - you're one of the few people I've met 'by choice' (other than through work, school etc) since moving here about 15 years ago, lol!

The square is gorgeous.

artyfartykat said...

I'm pleased you are settling in and feeling part of the community now.
Those baby socks are sooo cute!

nanatoo said...

I've moved around a lot but I must say I am the type to force myself on people so it's been quite quick ;) And as Sue says, children make it quicker.
I love those blue teacups, if it's the same as canteen ones. They are sort of 'safe' and comfy, hehe.
Good luck with the fitness.
Lovely little socks and afghan square.

Mary Anne said...

When I was young my family moved 11 times in 20 years. It was difficult to establish friendships at that pace. In the last 36 years I've moved twice, both times in Richmond. It's home, even though the little town is now a big city. We always run into people we know when we're shopping or walking about.

re the building a better world course, good for you. I think we can all make a difference, even in the smallest ways, if we look for the opportunity.

Love the charity square cable design.

acrylik said...

I'm another who has moved far too many times, so far 22 times! This place is the longest I've lived anywhere since I was 13, it's good to have been able to put down roots again. I'm glad you're getting settled in to your local community now.

The little socks are just adorable.

Heather said...

I love your square for the Skip North afghan!

I think it takes me about 5 years to feel like I have got the hang of a place. I am beginning to feel like we know a few people here now and have settled in, and it is now 6 1/2 years!

Kat said...

From experience, and having been married for 3 years to Michael, who is in the RAF, moving is the most difficult thing to do. I lived in Peterborough for 9 years before my mum moved us to Norfolk when I was 14. I was very lucky and settled into school quickly, then went to Uni to do nursing for a year where we were all in the same boat and again made lots of new friends, even though I still lived in norfolk. Then I married and we were automatically posted to Northumberland, a beautiful area of the country. I was v.lucky here too as two other families who I knew in the RAF moved at the same time. Just 7 months later I move to Lincoln, again, I new 3 families who also moved at the same time. I suppose I could say I am very lcky, and if I hadn't worked as a community carer for 18 months, I wouldnt know my way anywhere!

Nic said...

Ooh its a good job I couldn't find that issue of SK because that is what I was going to do...I have done another cable instead but I needs blocking again because the edges are curling loads and I swear its shrinking!
Glad you are feeling more settled. It is sooo easy to make friends when you have a newborn but toddlers?? everyone have already made their cliques. We have been here nearly a year and don't really know anyone in our local area to talk to because they are all so insular. I was so happy the other week because the man across the road has started saying 'hello' to me instead of scowling and looking in the opposite direction.
See you on FRiday!!

sue said...

Love the little baby socks, too cute. The square looks quite nice too. I hope you get to meet some new people soon. Do you ever get outside to meet your neighbours when they are out too, as they have probably been there longer and know some people in the village.

Riggwelter said...

I have moved countless times over the year and as you say it's easy when you're a student. I found moving to Wales much easier than moving to anywhere else because people are so, well I was going to say "nice", but it's probably closer to "nosey".

Those socks are gorgeous btw!

dreamcatcher said...

The socks are very sweet! Love the cabled square too.

We have been in this house for almost 10 years now but I would say we hardly know anyone nearby, just the near neighbours really. We don't nosey around (I'd hate anyone doing tha to me!) and we're out at work in the week. We don't socialise much unles it's our friends coming round or us going to them, but we're happy doing that, definitely not party animals :-D

Rain said...

Those little socks are adorable.

I moved around a lot a few years ago and it was always a but hard at first and took a month or two to feel settled. Once you start getting involved in groups and clubs it gets easier.

DianeM said...

We don't even know the people in our own building yet! We've been here 5 months and the only evidence that there are several other people here is the disappearance of mail from the hall.

I'm finding it slow making friends since moving here from oz, my sister in law said it took her about 3 years to build a social circle! But then, she doesn't knit ;-)

DianeM said...

P.S. Nice cables!

See you Friday :-)

blueadt said...

I find that it helps having dogs as people always stop to cuddle them. We're moving in a couple of weeks (awkward buyer permitting)but it's only 4 miles away from where we are now so we'll be able to stay in touch with friends etc without any problem.

Hope you managed to get some sleep this weekend at Skip North - I had a snorer last year in my room & I felt like a zombie by the Sunday :(