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Monday, 4 March 2013

Thursday 21st February

Having finished the Icelandic book (the 8th in a series by the same author) almost as soon as I got here, I am now halfway through a book set in Malaysia, about a troubled Indian family. The weather it seems has been almost as changeable as my reading.

My arrival on Monday heralded beautiful blue skies with very little wind and temperatures in what felt like double digits, and it stayed this way for most of Tuesday as well. On the first day I was so tired after a sleepless night in the Premier Inn (I never sleep well the night before I go anywhere, least of all here), that I spent most of the afternoon in bed. Tuesday though once again brought the blue skies back, and so it was a trek down to the Pyramid to scramble halfway down that giant rock and lie recumbent basking in the early spring sunshine.
Wandering back later in the afternoon across Acklands Moor, I ran into two of the islanders on their way out for an afternoon stroll, no doubt on their way to The Battery, and together we reminisced about past times on the island, the ghosts if you like of times past. I do still wonder even now what may have happened had I been offered and taken that job. Good though can come from bad, as in the end it led me to finding the work I am in now – although lately I have been wondering once again whether it is the vocation I thought that it was. That job is of course as a housekeeper in the care industry.

Until recently I worked in a three star nursing home – arguably one of the best in the area. It was for the residents without a doubt, but one thing I learnt as the years rolled by, is that three stars for the residents does not necessarily mean three stars for the staff. It was not the Manager (and we had a whole succession of these) who was the problem, or even (and we had some of these too who were less than amenable) the staff, no, the problem was the Director; a former investment banker who was in it for the money and had no idea as to how the industry worked or what was really involved in our jobs. After three and a half years of his shenanigans I finally had enough and went to work for a care rather than nursing home run by a larger chain. Although on the surface it seems better with much less stress, somehow it isn’t really the same. Since I got here I have trying to figure out why that is, and I am a little closer to a resolution than I was.
I think a lot of it is to do with the fact that I have still not let the old place go – you see, there were a lot of good things about being there than suited me very well – yes the hours were crap, and I had to put up crap from him and some of the carers too, health and safety was a joke, and, and this is the biggest and, I was permanently tired, but there were goods things too. The good things were being closer to home, being able to take breaks when it suited me, being able to control what I ate (I could snack on fruit all morning), carry my water with me (not allowed here, although there are plenty of fountains), and the fact that it paid more (to add insult to injury he has finally after four years given the staff a pay rise) with longer hours, and the fact that he contributed towards my pension.

I know, I know that all of this sounds trite, and I had to, despite all of this get out of a place that was affecting my health, but I miss it. There I have said it. I miss the place. I miss the residents, but most of all, I miss the drama. It sounds crazy I know, but that’s the truth – I miss the drama, and the stress and the strife and having something other than myself to worry about. I think in that last sentence I may have finally hit the nail on the head.
Last night I was dreaming about the place – dreaming of all things about doing the washing up. Once a week (every Wednesday) I used to work in the kitchen, operating a big industrial dishwasher. Anyway, for some reason it had got backed up, and there were dirty dishes everywhere – piled up high in both sinks and all over the worktops – just like it used to get at one of the biannual parties. I was doing my best not to panic (and not succeeding) and the water was getting dirtier and dirtier but somehow I got it under control and the kitchen was eventually left sparkling and clean.

It occurred to me as I came to after that dream, that that had been part of the final letting go. I knew when I came here to Lundy that this was one of the reasons for my stay, for it always does have that effect, and I guess then that this is the start.
For the moment though, the sun is out, the wind continues to howl outside, and my coffee is getting cold, so it is time to shut this netbook down, and get on with the rest of my day. I am sure there will be much more musing to come.

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