The Good News & the Very Good News

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.

Flowers
A wonderful combination of colours and textures

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.

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Lawns
The end of the summer, and grass is drying out in patches. Almost like Australia!

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.

The Pavilion Tea House
The Pavilion Tea House

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.

Arches
Perfectly shaped arches at the Queen's House

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.

The Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark, surrounded by its museum like a glass ocean. To me, seeing a ship as majestic as this out of water was like seeing a bird in a cage. This is not what ships are for. Still, it is beautifully preserved.

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 Painted Hall
Detail of an arch in the Painted Hall. The size of the hall and paintings took my breath away.

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.

Greenwich
Looking down from the Observatory. The skyscrapers are at Canary Wharf, the City of London is to the left of the photo and further away. The O2 is on the right. The Queen's House is the centre, with the Old Royal Naval College behind it. Click on the image to see a better quality photo.

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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.

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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...

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “The Good News & the Very Good News

  1. Mira

    I knew things would work out!
    So glad to hear things are working out finally! And nothing to do with numbers...added bonus!
    Looking forward to the new stories from the new path in life 🙂

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    1. Jennie Reid

      I doubt if I will teach either, but CELTA left me with a deep understanding of the English language, and had a huge effect on my writing. J K Rowling taught ESL! And of course, CELTA left me with some wonderful friends too.

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