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...