We went to Chester last weekend. I've wanted to visit for years and many months ago entered the marathon and put M in for the metric marathon as an excuse for a weekend there. I'm still off running so only M competed, leaving me with a couple of hours to amble about the town while he raced through the countryside. I loved every second and found a beautiful old watercolour of the Thames in one of the galleries which I bought as compensation for not running the marathon. The lovely owner kindly gave it to me with a hefty discount too, which was just as well!
It's a really beautiful, fascinating place, steeped in history with wonderful old buildings and the most amazing city wall which is 2000 years old (Roman) in places and encircles the town, as well as the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre which you can walk round. We walked more or less the length of the walls on Saturday and it gives a great perspective on the town. The river Dee passes to one side of the town and the bridge that spans it dates from 1387 and looks and feels as sturdy as if it were brand new.
We stayed in a nice hotel outside the city because I'd left booking it late and everywhere in the city was full. The room was dark with only two lamps and an overhead light when we arrived at dusk. One of the lamp bulbs went out as I turned it on, so we rang down to reception, and waited and waited and waited for the replacement. In the end M went down to hurry them up and as he shut the door the other bulb went out. Dinner was equally amusing. The main courses arrived ahead of the starters. The mains went back with me prophesying to M that they'd sit in the kitchen getting cold while we ate the starters (which were very nice). Sure enough, the same plates reappeared with cold main meals on them. Mine was stone cold, M's warmish, so he elected to hold on to his while I sent mine back. Mistake, as mine then took twenty minutes to arrive by which time his was cold. They forgot the puddings entirely and then when the teenage lad who cleared the plates away dropped the cutlery on the floor he proceeded to kick the knives and forks across the floor back to the kitchen instead of picking them up. The background to this was the thumping beat of a wedding party next door. M was crying with laughter by the time we finished eating. Having consumed half a bottle of bubbles with the meal I was also inclined to see the funny side. Had the food been horrid I don't think it would have seemed quite so funny.
Back home and I am starting to get interviews and offers for the job apps I've been sending off. It's an interesting process when you've worked for yourself for twenty years, not least the question of employer references, which for me don't exist. Three of my lovely Hampshire Hares have offered to be my referees instead, (although given that this Tuesday I was cycling along beside them shouting at them to Keep Running! as they all slowed to a walk on a seven-mile run I'm not quite sure how praiseworthy the references will be :o)).
As a process, it's nerve-wracking and exciting in equal measure. Which offers to accept, which to say no to. Sometimes there seems no rhyme or reason as to why you get one interview but not another. For example, this week I didn't get an interview for a job I could do standing on my head with one arm tied behind my back, which annoyed me and kicked my confidence a little, but the next day I got one for a job that, on paper at least, I am not completely qualified for, which shocked me. M says the paper stuff is irrelevant, it's meeting the person that matters so I'm holding on to that.
There is much more to be taken into account than merely myself with these role choices too: family commitments, volunteer commitments, doggy-people commitments, existing work commitments, Hampshire Hares commitments, so the choice of job needs to be carefully considered, rather than leapt at from sheer relief of being offered anything at all.
I think it's good to step outside your comfort zone every now and then and try something new. It's good to test your bravery and give your courage a chance to carry you along for a bit. I'm sure all of this will seem easier when I can start running again too.
Hope you're all well? It's just started raining here.
PS- a lovely lady gave me a peanut for the squirrel, who came up and carefully took it out of my hand before sitting down to nibble it thoughtfully beside me.