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.
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.
It's the end of an era for me. All my adult life, when I've wanted a job to pay the rent and put food on the table accounting has been there, ready to bail me out, like a rather crabby, demanding relative. The profession has had its pound of flesh it seems, and has now departed from my life.
Meanwhile, Tarot readings are proving to be interesting. From the feedback I've been getting my readings are genuinely helping people resolve issues in their lives. It's a privilege and a joy to be able to contribute in some small way.
As I only have a couple of weeks left in London (this time), I need to make the most of it. On Tuesday I went to Greenwich, a short bus ride from my current house sit. The bus route wound around back streets, as they tend to, but this time Google maps had not let me down. The bus stop was a couple of short blocks, through a very attractive residential area, from the huge park that houses the Observatory and many other interesting sites. It's well signposted and a detailed map near the gate provided plenty of information.
My first stop was a grass mound which is believed to be the remains of a Roman temple possibly dedicated to Diana.
I come from an island probably first settled 35,000 years ago and home to the longest continuous culture on the face of the planet, but the original inhabitants of Tasmania left little in the way of relics and no written records. From what we know, the various tribes lived in relative peace with each other and any visitors until European settlement in the nineteenth century.
Here, on the other side of the world, I see history layered on the landscape. A monolith on Bere Island, a Stone Age tomb near Carlow, a thousand year old church in Surrey, and of course the many sites and monuments in and around London. In Ireland I lived for a couple of months in a farmhouse that was built before Australia was settled by Europeans.
History is all around me, in a way it never is in Australia. You never get away from it here; it's around every corner.
History of course means different things to different people. While I have the greatest respect for Tasmanian aboriginal culture, it's not my history. My mother's family was English, my father's ancestry was Scots and Huguenot French. In the peaceful green fields I glimpse from the train my ancestors may well have fought battles against invading Romans or Saxons.
My roots are here, the bones of my forebears lie under this soil.
Back to Diana, and Greenwich. The site has been excavated at various times, and unfortunately some of the older excavations were not very professional by modern standards. It could have been some sort of hostel for travellers on Watling Street, the Roman road, with a temple attached. For those of you who want to more technical information, this article has some fascinating details about recent digs. Coins found point to the site being used for around four hundred years. Think, for a moment, what Western civilisation was like in 1615. We would have little in common, in any aspect of our lives from the clothes we wore, the food we ate to the work we did, with the people of the early 17th century. Yet the Romans had a society and all its trappings in this part of the world for the same span of time.
Leaving there I found the Flower Garden. Vast floral beds were interspersed by acres of lawn and ancient trees. This part is bordered by the deer park, an area of wilderness.
After hot chocolate and marshmallows on the mezzanine floor of the Pavilion Tea House, I went to the Royal Greenwich Observatory to see the clock. I was truly at the centre of the world! Zero degrees! One can't help but admire the sheer chutzpah of those Britons who decided this was the place where all longitude would be measured from, and where all time zones would start. (Read more about it here.)
Of course, I hadn't allowed for the sheer size of the place.
I wandered down the hill to the Queen's House, and admired the colonnades, before crossing the very busy Romney Road to the Old Royal Naval College on the banks of the Thames. The site has a long and interesting history. The current buildings were designed by Christopher Wren, and date to the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
The buildings themselves were fascinating. Each surrounds an inner courtyard, and it required little stretch of the imagination to picture young naval cadets arriving on horse back for their training. The Painted Hall was superb in sheer size and scope.
The highlight of my visit, and my day, was wandering into the Chapel, which is architecturally just as beautiful as the Painted Hall.
In one of those marvellous, serendipitous moments, a musical performance had just begun. The choir was perhaps two dozen men and women. The choirmaster was young but extremely competent. The music was entirely a cappella, and covered everything from spirituals from the deep south of America through to Benjamin Britten, with a lot of detours along the way. The music was so pure, so intensely beautiful I found tears rolling down my cheeks.
A marvellous end to a wonderful day.
I'm having trouble loading my photos onto the website again, and many of my best shots haven't made it to the site. I will load more images as galleries on my Facebook page. If you are keen on jigsaws, some will be on Jigidi.com, just search on JennieR.
And the very good news is that I've had a short story accepted by a publisher in America. I signed the contract yesterday, and will be receiving royalties - provided it sells, of course.
I did a little victory dance around the dining room, and I suspect the neighbours may have thought something funny was going on when I shouted, "Yes!" at the top of my voice, very early in the morning, when I read the email.
Only one short story, I know, but there are plenty more where that one came from. Watch this space...