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I'm leaving London tomorrow. My stay here has been interesting, not so much for the tourist attractions I've visited (very few), but for the milestones I've achieved on a personal level (many).

Flying into KL
Flying into KL in the late afternoon.

As I wrote last week, I've recently sold a short story to an American publisher. I've since read that this publisher accepts maybe 5% of manuscripts submitted. When I ran my magazine, Reid's Magazine, many years ago, my acceptance rate was similar. It's rather gratifying to know that I'm at last, after so many years of trying, in that small percentage. ...continue reading "The Meaning of Home"

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Last week I wrote about getting bogged down in the job hunting process, and how destructive and demoralising it has been on a personal level.

Flower Garden
The Flower Garden, Greenwich. It was a dull day, but the flowers made up for it.

The good news is that I've found paid employment which starts on Monday, 7th September in Bournemouth. More on that later, once I get used to being gainfully employed again. For now though, I can tell you that it's not accounting or in any way related to it. Of course, after turning off all the job alerts I've been contacted five times in three days by agencies wanting to put me forward for quite lucrative positions, all of which I've had the great joy of declining. ...continue reading "The Good News & the Very Good News"

You'd be forgiven for thinking I'd disappeared off the face of the planet these last few weeks. My posts have been getting further and further apart, until they stopped altogether.

Orchids
Orchids on the window sill. I'm not much of a gardener, but I seem to do just fine with pot plants. This plant has produced six blooms since I've been here.

What went wrong?

I knew, from the state of the coffers, that when I got back to England I'd have to find work. The bulk of my energy over the last six weeks has gone into applying for jobs. I estimate I've applied for over 100 positions. I've had some interviews, and was even offered a job on the other side of London, which proved to be too difficult to get to as I don't have a car. ...continue reading "A Few Words from Woolwich"

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It's Sunday evening, and I'm writing this at my new house sit in Woolwich in the Greater London area. Tomorrow morning I'll return to the increasingly familiar routine of job hunting. Tonight I can afford a couple of hours to review photos and write.

On Friday afternoon I took what could well be my last opportunity to walk from Chelmsford to the village of Writtle in Essex. Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, and Writtle, while only a mile or two from it, is a completely separate village, with its own separate history.

Writtle
Cottages in Writtle

My walk took me along the banks of the River Can and through the rose gold barley fields of the agricultural college. Soon I was amongst ancient cottages and walking up the main street, past the village green (complete with duck pond) to the pub. Food had finished by the time I arrived, so I had a snack at the village tea room instead.

All delightful, then a shorter walk back along the main road to Chelmsford, and once again I was in a twenty first century city. ...continue reading "Grieving for the “Good Old Days”"

On Saturday the weather was beautiful - mid twenties and a gentle breeze - so I packed the camera and caught a coach to the coast. Having been born on an island, if I don't see the sea for a while, I miss it.

Beach at Southend
Beaches are the same everywhere - families and ice creams - but the striped deck chairs made this one seem particularly English. The pier is in the distance.

The nearest open water to Chelmsford is Southend-on-Sea. I'd been warned I might find it tacky, but I was up for something new, a contrast perhaps to the wild Irish coastline. ...continue reading "Beside the Seaside"