Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Thank goodness for...

Radio 4.  I have been off work with labyrinthitis for too long, and daytime TV is just so appalling it is guaranteed to finish off any residual brain activity by day two.  Radio 4 however is brilliant, really amazing.  I have been learning loads, how to avoid food poisoning, how to make sure Big Ben doesn't collapse when you are building a tube line underneath it, stuff like that.  You never know when it might be useful, although the food poisoning information is more likely to be relevant to my life.  Not because I give people food poisoning, but because it is handy to know not to wash your chicken as campylobacter loves water.  I am also up to date with everything going on in parliament, and have been enjoying 'Farming Today', although confess to falling asleep during the recent episode that covered the Common Agriculture Policy (or whatever it's called).

Evening TV is also quite bad.  I haven't recovered from the mother/daughter combo in Benidorm (or similar), where they went 'on the pull' together, after downing more shots than most people would drink in a week, and that was just for starters.  While channel hopping in desperation, I happened across an obscure American cartoon, that was explaining whether cooking with alcohol burns off all the alcohol.  Something I have always wanted to know.  It doesn't.  The water and alcohol combine in an azeotropic reaction, but some residual alcohol remains, depending to some extent on whether you put the lid on or not.

There, has that impressed you?

I have also been pottering in the kitchen and doing a spot of cooking, and have realised that choux pastry isn't that hard to make after all.  I need to get better soon, as all this lying on the sofa and eating profiteroles is going to be really bad news when I try to get my work clothes back on!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Careering Around

I've found a part of the BBC website that teaches you languages.  Having time on my hands I have started to learn Spanish.  This is in case I find myself up the Amazon later in the year.  At the moment I could only cope with emergencies that require the urgent ordering of coffee with milk and a slice of toast.  I hope that by lesson ten I might be able to articulate, 'Help, there is a crocodile and it looks hungry!'.

The adventure is a possibility because, in the depths of the work intranet, I found a page excitingly entitled, 'Career Breaks'.  I blew the cobwebs off and realised it was possible to have the gap year I never had.  I started dreaming of, well, of somewhere I haven't been and was therefore rather tricky to dream about. The worrying bit was, that while the title of the webpage suggests there is a career to be continued on return from circumnavigating the world on a raft or whatever, in reality this isn't the case.  I have to effectively resign and hope something suitable will come up when I get back.

'Live life adventurously' has been rattling around in my head, and having seen other, inspirational people leading alternative lifestyles, decided it was now or never.

After hours of searching around on the internet, interviews, phone calls, letters and e-mails, I now have three months booked being a volunteer in California, three months volunteering in Scotland, and the possibility of three months working for a charity in Malawi as well as the possibility of going up the Amazon on a boat taking medical advice to remote communities.  It all seems a far cry from my safe, suburban life where everything is quite cosy and comfortably predictable.  I realised comfortably predictable isn't the life I want to lead yet.  Maybe in ten years time that will be fine, but not now.

The travelling and meeting new people and having adventures isn't the scary part.  The scary part will be packing up my house to rent out, and being effectively of no fixed abode for a year.  

I will have to get rid of as many material possessions as possible.  Having moved house twice in the last twelve months, I have already rid myself of truck loads of stuff.  I will soon have to go through everything again to ascertain whether I need or like it enough to a) pay for it to be stored, or b) clamber up into the attic with it.  It will be very interesting to see what survives the cull.