I spoke to a couple this weekend who asked me about the Island plans. I hadn’t seen them for a while and they wanted to know how I was progressing. I explained that my future had suffered from a postponement due to the accident and that I was still working through the fall out of that. When they asked “still the Isle of Wight” my response was an instant “yes”, for me it’s a question that requires no consideration or re evaluation it is just a given.
We chatted about different parts of the island and I noted that Ventnor, Shanklin and Totland all have current options. As we were talking I realised that there was no negative in the conversation, they had nothing but positive things to say, clearly they shared my love for all that is Wight. “Do you visit often?” I enquired only to hear that they had visited once last year. So enthusiastic were this couple that they viewed it as “better than Jersey”, high praise indeed!
The reassuring thing about this is that the island really is that enchanting, not just to me but to a whole host of people. It’s good to know that it’s not just my rose tinted glasses shaping my future. For me, walking along the road and stressing about the day, just thinking of the island makes me calmer. As I tread the slow path to resolution of the accident I constantly remind myself that I am working to my goal.
In other, more mundane, news I have spoken to Vodafone today who are sending me out a returns pack to send yet another handset back. Let me be clear here, there is nothing wrong with the handset but they are unable to network unlock it, essential if I am to leave their evil clutches. The director’s office, who now handle all of my complaints, have concluded that they need to “have a look” at my phone.
Despite being unconvinced I have agreed to send yet another handset back with one caveat. Should they have to exchange this handset they will unlock it before returning to me. This small victory took over an hour of nothing less than ranting to achieve. What I did observe of the director’s office is that they are socially equipped to deal with this, unlike their foreign call centre. They understand that they are in the wrong and that I am frustrated. I rant, they listen and at the end of the call we thank each other. Whilst it doesn’t help to resolve my situation in the least it is a relief not to be told it’s all my fault.
For other vodafone customers that cannot abide the terrible call centres the number you want is 08080 081
181 and it’s free from a vodafone handset.
Once again this weekend has reminded me how much I love the ocean. On Friday I struggled to keep up with my indoor water features, as did most of us who live directly on the coast. The price that we pay for amazing views is the lack of any obstruction to certain winds. When the wind hits us it has raced unchecked across the ocean there is nothing to slow or calm it and we catch it head on. In my case this results in rain being driven so hard that it overwhelms the drainage in my UPVC windows and uses it as access. It also overwhelms the mortar joints above the lintels and finds its way through the wall resulting in weeping walls that would make a catholic proud. On Friday evening, as I was serenaded to sleep by dripping water, I was seriously concerned that I would run out of absorption and capture methods.
Awaking on Saturday, and even more so today, I was greeted by dazzling crystal calm waters. As I write this there are people swimming in the ocean outside and dozens of people walking along the promenade in stunning sunshine. Would I pass up the view for a dry home? Hell no! Like an over empowered child the ocean tantrums and throws its rage at us with devastating effect but the next day that is all forgotten and were friends again. You just can’t hold a grudge against something so beautiful. Even on an island there are only small number of us who live at the coast and an even smaller number that are ocean facing but I don’t know of one that would swap. Those that move away will always tell you how they miss the wonder of an ocean lullaby.
I have kept a watchful eye on my beloved island and am pleased to report that it is still there. Images of Chinook helicopters ferrying in all terrain vehicles were a little disconcerting at first but a quick check confirmed that the cross solent ferries were still running. Whilst it seems rather incongruous to see vehicles flying overhead when cars are driving onto ferries it is a tribute to a service that has faltered less than the mainland railway routes in this poor weather. As always its fantastic to see the small communities on the island pulling together, can’t wait to be part of it.
Here on the east coast I am looking out at a pretty calm ocean. There was a fair whip up earlier but nothing that came anywhere near the predicted storm, but then it isn’t actually predicted to hit here for another hour. The reason that I am at home is that the rail companies had all suspended services until 09:00, I’ve just checked the site and they are now suspended until 12:00. I did think that it was odd that they intended to start services at 09:00 with the brunt of the storm predicted at 10:00, it made me think of Homer Simpson stepping out of his basement and remarking how calm it was when the eye of the storm was over the house. The good thing about planning for chaos is it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you don’t run a single train until 12:00 then more people will drive, causing road chaos and of course the 12:00 train will be solid. I have taken an American view this morning and since I am not an emergency service I will be working from home.
I had one of those moments yesterday that children are so good at, you know when a single line reminds you that you’re an idiot. A friend’s daughter had a small puppy toy which she was proudly displaying when her Dad commented “he probably doesn’t work anymore”. I enquired, in all seriousness “what noise does he make” and young Emily’s immediate response was “woof woof probably”. In 40 years you would have thought that I would have worked out what noise a dog makes wouldn’t you? apparently not. In my defence I offer a conversation from Saturday with Emily’s mum, we were talking about the impending storm. Having concluded that it would be very difficult to get to work if the storm hit I thought that we were on the same page. The public transport system would be a mess with overhead wires down and trees on the line so travel would be chaos wouldn’t it? Apparently I had taken the thought a step further than, the ever pragmatic, Helen who said “you wont be able to walk against that wind”.
The storm has given me another reason for loving living at the coast. You can keep your pictures of trees on buses, your fence panels being blown along the street, I’ll trade them all for the pictures below. Any destruction is sad but check out the before and after pictures below, we don’t count trees fallen on the coast we count helter-skelters !
For those that don’t live in the luxury of such close proximity to the sea allow me to share some of the ocean’s majesty. Last weekend I was looking out over a mill pond calm ocean at this time, so flat it looked like you could walk on it. At the end of this week the east coast has had a wintry turn and there is nothing that reminds you of the strength of the ocean better than a windy day. Despite being a sun lover I watched enthralled as the ocean was whipped into a viscous and unforgiving frenzy last night.
Near horizontal winds howling along the front gave the perfect opportunity to meet neighbours in the alleys and side roads that criss-cross the town. The brown, foaming waves spent the night smashing over the promenade, tearing at mans rude inclusion in their path. For me this mornings view is the first one of winter. There are no tourists on the beach, indeed no people at all since the dog walkers have not yet ventured out. The sand that is so gently lapped by summer seas is now bright and clean. Like some great industrial washing machine the ocean has hurled all of the beach around in a maelstrom of rage and cleaned every trace of the summer.
It is like nature is washing off the grime of the summer and refreshing itself. The sun is breaking over a much calmer see and there is little witness of the fury which whipped such waves up overnight. But there in the middle of the beach, as if to warn us of its power, the ocean has deposited an enormous tree root. This is not the driftwood that you see in shops this is the root of some great tree. I like to think that, like a tired mother, this is natures way of telling us that if she ‘has to clean our room one more time’.
I apologise for this line which will mean little to most of you but is important nonetheless. Today’s value is 4363 because I slowed at the end of the week discipline, it would seem, is a must.