Monday, 6 January 2014

A year of change and challenges

It's been almost five months since I last blogged and in that time I have slain an albatross and moved cities.

Back in July our landlord of twelve years announced that they were putting the rent up to bring it in line with the local going rate. Although it was annoyingly untimely, as we had just saved up enough money to do our Rescue Diver Course with Dive Wimbledon, it was something that we had anticipated happening for quite some time. 
In all the years we'd only ever had one rent hike and that was back in 2006, so I guess one could argue that it was long overdue. However after fourteen years of slogging away just to pay the rent and bills in London, Mark and I decided that enough was enough, it was time to go. I felt surprisingly ready for it and Mark felt more than ready to move on.
Anyone who is familiar with my blog offerings will know that we had our work cut out with the move. 
Years and years of  religiously attending car boot sales and scouring charity shops for treasure and then squirreling it all away,  cramming and jamming stuff into every available nook and cranny in our abode.
Shifting the trash and packing treasure (not to mention deciding which was which) was a task of epic proportions. We worked like mean machines for three months to get it all done.
Six weekends of hardcore selling at the Princess May car boot sale, several motherloads of clobber, books and bits on eBay, two council collections of bulky goods, umpteen trips to the local charity shops with donations and equally as many trips to the clothing & textile recycling bank.
We got rid of heaps of stuff and I feel tremendously happy about that :)

The move took place over three weekends, we hired a big van, drove up to Glasgow overnight, off loaded the gear into storage and back down again. 
We left the flat in Finsbury Park for the last time on the 18th of October, then we stayed with a wonderful friend here in Glasgow until we found our new gaff.

 We are slowly getting settled in, reconnecting with old friends and finding new stomping grounds for ourselves.
2013 was a year of change and challenges for us, 2014 will be a year of building a solid foundation and making a new life here in Scotland, I'm looking forward to it.

....and I will be a certified rescue diver before this year is over!!!

Now for a massive medley of pics, some of my memorable moments, people and places of 2013 :)
The year was brought in with a bang on Koh Lanta in Thailand before we headed off to beautiful Langkawi in Malaysia for a week.
Langkawi - January 2013
Langkawi - January 2013
We visited Mark's cousin who works on the 42nd floor of Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and took in a few of the cities temples before returning to a snow clad London. I also managed to bag my EFR certificate last year in readiness for the Rescue Diver Course that never came to pass...GRRRRRRRRRRR!
It was fab to have snow in London :)
Lilo the beautiful little Canada Goose that we became very attached to.
The park became our second home last year. Every day we would go up to the pond (aka Finsbury Park boating lake) and feed our feathered friends.
Seed in the winter and fresh grass in the summer.
It was lovely to see the little babies grow :)
In February we took Frocktasia on the road for the very first time, selling our threads at the Can't Buy Me Love Vintage Jumble at The Boogaloo. This is were we first met Leslie and found out about her fabulous Dandy Lion Market, that also became a staple in the Frocktasia selling calender.
We met so many lovely people through doing the markets last year. Leslie was incredibly supportive and made my transition from on-line to face-to-face sales a delight. She's a true inspiration!
I miss not being able to take part in The Dandy Lion Market, so many fab & talented creative folk. If you happen to be in London on Saturday the 11th this month there's a DLM Vintage & Rummage Sale on for you to go to, fabulous!
More pics from the Dandy and two from the car booting marathon we did in the run up to the big move.
I met Sam from Tangled Wigs at one of the Dandies and when she asked if I wanted to rock up with a rail at a Wig Wednesday event that she was organizing I didn't hesitate a second. The proceeds went to the brilliant CLIC Sargent children's cancer charity.
Here's some other fabulous and talented folk that I met this year. Michael Palmer of Super Full Moon, Faith Taylor who I did a wee photo session with and Leslie's lovely son Erik Rutterford.
Mike invited Leslie & I to set up a wee vintage market at his fabulous Mini Festival at The Finsbury. Unfortunately I only got to do one of them before I had to divert all my efforts to organizing the move.
More fabby peeps that I had the pleasure to meet in 2013...Samantha from Tangled Wigs, Natasha, Camilla from Mind The Book and the very lovely Sara from Hello The Mushroom. Sara came to our first ever outing at CBML and bought this redilicious ra-ra frock :)
I feel so blessed that our last year in London was a thoroughly awesome one, talk about ending on a high note.
In June we went to Sue's 60th, which was the best party night of the year by far. Sue and Mark are truly lovely people.
The delightful Joellen of Joyatri's Adventures In Vintage hooked up with me a few times when she was over in London and we did some fun stuff together :)
Easter was spent in a very freezing Edinburgh. My sister popped over from Sweden and we had a few lovely days together. Mark bought a trusty new two-wheeled steed, beats a chocolate egg any day.
In June I had a reunion. A dear friend of mine from my school days came and stayed for a long weekend. Lots of  wine, reminiscing and laughter. I hope we can arrange another meet-up this year. Zandra's husband is one of Sweden's most highly rated tattooists and they own a studio called Heavenly Ink and my husband is gagging for more ink.
End of April saw another trip up to Scotland for mum's 70th and we took the opportunity to sneak in a couple of photo sessions while we were there.
More wine (or in my case Fraoch), reminiscing and laughter.
Like I mentioned before last year the park became our second home. I'd have the cooler bag primed with goodies and ready to go for when Mark returned from work and off we'd traipse via the pond to a nice spot to dine al fresco and laze about in the sun.
Staple diet: lots of raw stuff, marks home-made bean dips, fruit and the odd bit of pasta or cooked veggies.
We ate like vegetarian kings so we did!
Also in July more parky malarkey with Marky, a days diving at Wraysbury, we went to see two of my former workmates act in a play at the Southwark Playhouse.
We made some very special pidgy friends over the summer. Pipkin (top left) had had a close encounter with a fox or a cat and was missing all his rear feathers and couldn't use one leg when he came to us but with some TLC and plenty of sunflower seeds (his favourite) he soon made a full recovery. Squeeker (top right) liked to sneak into the kitchen when nobody was looking and would sit and squeak outside the door until he got someones attention and a handful of seeds. Speckled Jim (bottom left) is an endurance tippler pigeon that had come from someone in Birmingham, he landed on our balcony at the end of August and integrated himself with the flock. We tried to re-home him but didn't have much luck with that .By the time we left London he seemed to have fully established himself within the group. Scraggle (bottom right) would sit on the balcony ledge and make noises until someone would come and hand feed him, he was the bravest of the lot.
I really miss my pigeon friends.
What will I miss about London? The awesome people I am privileged to call my friends, the fabulous balcony overlooking overgrown gardens with the occasional fox sighting, the park and pond, some amazing sunsets from my home-office and all the lovely birds.
In the midst of moving, that mountain of books behind me all went to charity shops...that was a back breaking few days I can tell you!
Bye, Bye London...Hello Glasgow!
Mark is not so much an emigrant as a returning lost son of the old country and just in time for this years Scottish Independence Referendum...lets toast that with a skinful of Bucky.
The lovely Antonia that so very kindly put us up for our first three weeks in Glasvegas. Here we are enjoying her friends belly-dancing show at a Egyptian restaurant on Halloween. A wee pic of our new house, complete with kitschy roaring faux-fire :)
I chummed Antonia to her hometown of  Dumfries to see her mother and friends do some choral singing, they were brilliant.
A couple of weeks later we went back down to the borders to fetch Mark's mother after her stay at Kagyu Samye Ling, Tibetan Buddhist Centre.
We hooked up with Dave and Allen that we used to be in a band with last time we lived in Glasgow back in 2000...much beer and a wee living room jam at Al's house. Will hopefully do more of that this year :)
This is our new street, we live in a two bed upper cottage flat with a wee garden with a shed. Flat hunting almost did me in, there was so much absolute garbage out there but I think we landed on our feet. Our new pad is close to the great outdoors, it's quiet and the neighbours are nice. It's a lot smaller than what we left behind but it's also £500 cheaper than what we paid in London. 
Our beloved houseplants made the move with us and I am happy to say they are thriving in their new home, we'll have to get them some bigger pots again soon. Mark and I bought our two Yuccas a little brother for their Christmas...Bonkers? N'ah, in my world that is perfectly normal!
That was our 2013, a bonkers, busy & brilliant year, can't wait to see how 2014 unfolds.

We are planning to get back in the saddle with the markets this month and hopefully hook up with a diving club here in Glasgow too. I can't wait to get back into the water and try out my new Scubapro dry suit that Mark got for my Christmas.

I'll endevour to blog a wee bit more often from now on. Mark and I are planning to do some more Frocktasia photo-sessions set in the surrounding woodlands but we're just waiting for a day without blustery gale force winds or stabbing dagger rain.

If you've made it this far, well done you :)

I will love you and leave you with a wee link to a flickr set that I made of all my 2013 get-ups.
I think I did alright until July and then it just spiraled downwards into a pit of "not pic worthy" outfits, as I spent a good few months sorting and packing away in comfy cut-offs and scraggly tops.

Hope you are all well and happy.
I wish you all the best for 2014.

Loads of love,


Allen Bell said...

That was a great read, Jennie! Hope you guys are well, looking forward to seeing you both again soon!

Trees said...

Wow! Epic post - I'm so happy to see you back and see what adventures you have in your new home :D

Panty Buns said...

Wow indeed! Well done you!!! What a pleasure seeing and reading all this and getting this fabulous update! When you and Mark do things you really go all out! Your moments and photographs of scenery, creatures, events, people, real life story and adventures from year 2013 are spectacular, amazing and captivating. You and Mark did a lot of hard work and experienced things I would never have even dreamt of attempting. Adding your previous posts to this one would make a marvelous set of books, perhaps with much of your post "I can see clearly now" in the preface? Congratulations in advance for when you become a certified rescue diver later in the year! That vegetarian cuisine looks delicious (I'm a vegetarian). Even for me your photos provoke recollections of what you shared here on your blog, so for you and Mark the memories must be vivid and detailed. I have a terrible time bringing myself to part with my lifetime of accumulated clobber and clutter, the quality of which pales in comparison to the treasures and gorgeous frocks you and Mark dealt with, managed to sell, dispose of or move in such a short length of time. For a post as wonderful and detailed as yours, which covers so much, this comment of mine is woefully short and inadequate. If I did comment on each of the photos and experiences you posted and referred to the comment would have to be would be huge.
I'll look forward to, with luck, reading of your adventures in and around Glasgow.
You and Mark have all my best wishes for a brilliant, even happier, healthy and successful year 2014!

pastcaring said...

Goodness, a post of epic proportions, as befits an epic year of change, Jennie! Well done to you and Mark, for successfully packing up and clearing out and relocating to Glasgow. Hope 2014 brings you much joy in your new home. xxx

Carina Rosenholm said...

Härligt att se dig igen ! Underbart positivt inlägg och super härligt att det har blivit så bra för er !
Best of luck !

Kelly Jackson said...

Welcome back, Jennie, and Happy New Year! Wow, lots of changes for you! Change is good, once you get through the stress of packing and moving. All the best in your new home. Xo

Joyatri said...

That post is quite a saga! I've nothing but admiration for you and Mark. There's no settling or being complacent about what you want to do with your lives. It was wonderful spending time with you in London and I've missed you on this trip. Will definitely make it to Glasgow next time. xxx

Connie said...

Oh Jennie! I have missed you and your little birds. What a big deal move! I wish you all the best in GlasVegas! Though with you living there it should be called GlasGLOW! Xxxxxooooo
BTW I am falling all over myself about your outfit pics. Super Gorgeous!

thorne garnet said...

What a year! Glad to hear the move went smoothly. You scored on that sweet place to live.

Leslie Wilson-Rutterford said...

Oh Jennie! A very special read indeed, and so honoured to be featured and counted as a friend. You and Marky are sorely missed, and I'm working my brain around how to get up to you. I need to psyche myself up for stuff like that. I've got a window In summer when Matt goes to Ireland! Wink wink. I'm so glad it has all worked out, getting set up in Scotland, with a lovely location, home, neighbourhood and nice locals. I have no doubt you will imprint your specialness in permanent ink, such as you did here, and I look forward to hearing about your pursuits and shenanigans in equal measure. Hope to be able to add to it this year! Love ya!! xxx

Mrs. D said...

Yay, you';re back! Loved seeing all your photos, so cool! And I'm very happy to have met you too! It's great to meet people irl every now and then and you're amazing!
I hope you like what I did with the fab red dress x

Krista Gassib said...

So many cool and exciting things for 2014 indeed. I think your new place looks like home already. I admire you for getting rid of so much and starting fresh that is always difficult and girl you have handled it so well.
Can't wait to see what you find in Glasgow and how you really make it all yours.

Indigo Violet said...

You must have great willpower - I would have been tempted to pack everything up and cart it to Scotland. I haven't been there for a couple of decades but I love the place, as it is where most of my ancestors came from. All the best for the new year and please do keep blogging, you have a real talent.

Emalina said...

Welcome back Jennie, and here's to a great new life for you in Glasgow! Scotland's great isn't it, my big brother lives with his family in Dunblane and they love it, would never consider moving back to England now.

Underemployed1 said...

Wonderful to have you back!

Vanessa said...

I've missed you! Congratulations on your move and best wishes for the new year.

Penny-Rose said...

wow 2013 was a busy year for you both - hope you are settling in well to Scotland, I love all your photos of the birds and hope you find some Scottish ones soon!!

Olga Rani said...

Nice to see you back, Jennie! 2013 seems to be a great year for your, full of interesting events and people. Best wishes for the new 2014 and good luck in your new place!

Sharon S said...

Hi there! Happy New year to you and wishing you a wonderful life in your new home! xx