Having finished About me I come round to the what next question. Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music assures us that the very beginning “is a very good place to start” but the very beginning is a very long time ago (well, not that long; I am only 35) and details, feelings and motivations have faded in the pages of my memory.
So let’s start at the real beginning instead.
One day I found myself made redundant. This was a shock to me. Not because I loved my job; I liked it well enough but, after many changes in my departmental manager and a lot of miscommunication, it was really just a job by that stage. Possibly because of the number of changes within the department I had started to feel complacent, almost indispensable which, of course, no-one ever really is.
They were not very kind when they got rid of me and it crossed my mind to stand my ground and fight but, considering a recent house move meant my commute to work had increased from a ten minute drive along country lanes to a 40 minute slog around the motorway followed by a ten minute drive along country lanes, I decided to take the pay-off and go with the flow – there was a better job out there.
I found it eight days later. It came with a 30% pay rise but required working in London.
Working in London was something I had previously said I would never do but, with no job and two small children, I felt I needed to relax this rule. I looked at the stations served directly by trains from my local station and informed agents I would work within five minutes’ walk of London Bridge, Waterloo East or Charing Cross. An agent approached me with two interviews one day; one near Charing Cross, one near Kings Cross. I said yes to Charing Cross, no to Kings Cross but I guess she got it a little mixed up as I found myself attending an interview the far side of London and accepting the resulting offer.
After a couple of months of taking the Underground across London I bought a folding bike, as mentioned in my previous post. I was delighted to discover that cycling the distance from London Bridge or Waterloo to Kings Cross took almost exactly the same time as taking the tube or significantly less if there are delays getting through the barriers, but how often does that happen? Around once a week. In addition to this, it was much faster to ride from the childminders to the station than it was to walk. Folding and unfolding my bike was easy and I was soon an expert.
Then my bike broke. I was just leaving the childminders, heading for the station when I heard a “twoing” noise. I slammed on my brakes only to discover that by doing this I had stripped a considerable amount of rubber from my brake pad where the rim of my rear wheel had cracked. Long story short my bike spent the next six weeks back at the shop from whence it came while I used my mountain bike to get to and from the station, leaving it chained up nearby, and started an experiment with Boris Bikes.
But I think that is another story.