Sunny side up

I am at home alone today. Except for Lulu, who is snoozing. It is a Pooh-blustery, sunny day and I am doing paperwork. Checking visa applications, filling in export / import forms and wondering whether this time next week I can go out to play. I can’t tolerate much more of completing inventories.

With departure date racing towards us I keep looking out of the window and wondering why we are leaving here.E4wintersun

Last night there was the second attempted break-in in 3 months. Not our house but in our little compound of 18 houses. Every silver lining has its clouds. The area seems increasingly to be a target for opportunistic theft. The police failed to do much last time. This morning they are shoving crime prevention leaflets through letter boxes as an after the event gesture.

Apart from the view I also have a painting that always cheers me up. I shall need to hang it prominently when we move.


I have to decide whether to insure it as a separate item for its journey to Britain. I don’t want to lose this.

I also finished reading Border Line this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed this and recommend it without reservation. You can read more about it at Green Writing Room, Hilary Custance Green’s excellent blog. I find it odd that publishers turn down something so eminently readable. I hope it does well. It is a very thought provoking tale, an emotional roller-coaster to use a rather cliched expression.  Self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted but this is a professional work in every respect.


37 thoughts on “Sunny side up

  1. That Painting is really lovely Andrew.

    And by the way, it looks like you’re having to do many important things during this period and I wish you the best in each one of them.


  2. One of your recurring motifs, Andrew. Indelible, I suppose — the stuff of future dreams when the memories deepen.

  3. That is a very beautiful painting.
    I used to be a mover, drove an 18 wheeler over much of the U.S. Amazingly, my partner and I could pack a 3 bdrm house in 16 hours and have the truck loaded (w/aid) in another 4. I’ve moved a few times since that job. Love that I can turn on the ‘inner mover’ when I need to and they have been painless.
    I wish you the safest move ever. Seems like oddly good timing w/evil about!

  4. The painting is, indeed, nice — but I actually like the photo more, Andrew! I can see why you feel nostalgic and wonder about the whole moving-back-to-England thing. But you will survive the move! I remember a similar experience when we were moving back to Australia from Germany. Paul had already gone home and I was staying until just before Christmas to finish my teaching (which I was doing in double-time, because the German ‘winter semester’ runs from October to February). I was sitting in my study one day, gazing out of the window at the glorious display of turning leaves on the hills above the Mosel river and wondering how on earth I could possibly leave a place so beautiful and so inspiring …

    But we did – and, after six years of living in Adelaide, I’m now writing a blog about how wonderful it is to live on a farm in Tasmania. So who knows where you’ll end up? You may well decide to do something as bizarre as we have :-))

    • You are spot on. I know the feelings will fade with time. I also taught in Germany in the 1970s at the Max Planck Gymnasium in Düsseldorf. I lived in Germany again for a further 4 years in the 80s. A lovely country. We have been to Australia but didn’t reach Tasmania. I’m sure we will one day.

  5. That is indeed a cheer bringing painting, Andrew. I imagine you gaze upon it often lately as all the responsibilities of moving draw closer. Those are a lot of moving days. I hope most are for the packages and only a couple for you.
    I can think of a few serious causes for the move, but I believe you said the political situation was the last straw? As far as health goes, the pollution would make me pack my bags. You have some serious unhealthy air in HK. I’d much prefer the British fog to the Hong Kong smog. And now with break-ins to worry over. It seems time to move on despite that wonderful view.

    • The pollution is bad Steve but in some places in China it is multiple times worse. Even our semi-protected area gets grimy and hazy sometimes. We have at least 3 moves ahead besides the packed stuff but generally we will move only with suitcases until we have found our permanent resting place. Then I am putting down roots until the box arrives to take me away.

      • That was my attitude when we moved into this house. The realtor, obviously with an eye to future commishes, said it was a nice starter home. I told her I’d be leaving feet first.
        But Mary Beth is starting to think a senior housing situation may be in our future.

      • It would be too lonely here. The problem is that her meds are so expensive that we would go through our savings at light speed. Medicare won’t provide them and her work-supplied med coverage ends next September. I’ll work as long as I can to supplement my benefits and help, but I will only be able to do that for so long.
        OTOH, it would be nice to be able to watch someone else mow the lawn and shovel the snow. 🙂

      • I am sure you will do quite fine, Andrew. But nerves are natural and I’d be thinking of all kinds of reasons to delay. But in the end it will be worth it. As you have noted, it is routine and just marginally invasive. I’d be more concerned with the food. :mrgreen:

        We are all expecting to hear a glowing report from you come Friday morning.

  6. Un trasloco è sempre una gran faticaccia, ma se serve per la tua salute allora si affronta in maniera diversa, perché diventa necessario.
    Da quanto leggo ovunque ormai è tutto un rubare nelle case, non si sfugge da nessuna parte…
    Un abbraccio, Pat

  7. Wonderful painting, Andrew. I would insure it whatever way gives it the best chance of arriving safely.
    I’m sorry about all the breakins. Here, we have a rash of “pretend” delivery people who rush up to houses with empty boxes and take away the real boxes of delivered orders. One of our neighbors had his two Fed-Ex boxes stolen two days ago, and the boxes were filled with everything he’d ordered for his children’s Christmas presents.
    They were caught on security cameras, but since it was so bitterly cold, they wore ski masks and parkas and pretty much looked like everyone else.

    • That’s so sad, Marylin, that people would stoop so low. We have 8 CCTV cameras, including infra-red for night. It is bad that we need them but we feel we do. Of course our best deterrent is Lulu. She may be 5lb but she sounds like a 100lb guard dog. She is going to Britain on Feb 17th and doesn’t need a visa.

  8. That’s a stunning painting, I loved the quilted effect of the distant fields and the warmth of the foreground. I do hope the move and the op go as smoothly as possible and the New Year finds you revived in every way.

    Thank you so much for the kind words about Border Line. As my husband said, reading over my shoulder, ‘What an intelligent person!’ I never got as far as publishers, I sent it to about 20 agents over three years, and several read the MS, one of them got really excited and said if I rewrote it, it could be a bestseller. I did my best, but did not take enough of the discussion out for her; after a single read she decided against it. Several said it would be a difficult topic to sell to a publisher.

    • Just think of all the turn downs in the past, Hilary. Someone turned down the Beatles. I disagree profoundly that it would be a difficult topic to sell. It explores an area of the human mind that is rarely visible and the consequences are evident only after the event. What I especially liked was the joy the group found on their journey, which for some was enough, for others fell short. This is entirely consistent with depression, which is not always characterised by consistent deep mental suffering. People grappling with deep seated issues often experience disproportionate peaks and troughs. There is rarely a ‘normal’ point – the peaks get shorter and the troughs get longer and deeper. Some go over the edge. What seems a trivial reason to the observer is very sharply different in the mind of the sufferer. The perspective is different. I see no reason why a publisher would steer clear of this.

  9. LOVE the painting, but HATE the thought of you having so much to do and so many imminent moves to deal with. It’s a shame that you can’t delegate some of the work to Lulu – I’ve heard that many paws make light work…..;) Hold your nerve dear Andrew, it shall all be worth it in the end and I’m sure that 2015 will be a splendid year for you.

    Since you mentioned that it was a ‘Pooh-blustery day’, I’ve found a couple of quotes from Pooh himself to hopefully cheer you – The first I thought apt since I know that leaving that view will be hard and the second, well, tea and honey is the answer to most of life’s problems! 🙂

    “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

    “I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,” said Pooh.

    “There there,” said Piglet. “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”


  10. The painting is beautiful. You are moving out at the right time. I’ll be praying and sending the best positive karma that I can your way on the 18th. What time of the day is your procedure?

    I hope your spirits are good. The move will be a good one. I just know you and Ms Ha will be glad to get out of there. It does not sound safe at all.

    • 13.30 we kick off Yvonne. Should be done in max 6 hours the cardio said. Interesting discussion with him over costs. He said the insurers kick up so much that some surgeons don’t have a separate anaesthetist to save on the bill for the patient. I find that very, very scary. I have 2 surgeons and an anaesthetist. Fingers crossed. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  11. Beautiful painting. I can see how looking at that would raise the spirits.
    When is the move?
    Thanks for the link to Border Line and the Green Writing Room. Will definitely have a look.
    At least with the inventories you aren’t so list-less 🙂

  12. Oh, the drudgery of inventory lists! No fun whatsoever. Your view is lovely, I would be sad too if I was moving.
    Sounds like you are leaving at the right moment.
    Your painting is very beautiful.
    I certainly hope you’ll be well enough to play outside this time next week! All the best for a quick recovery.

    • I loathe inventory lists. They have to be done for insurance but how I deal with my books I don’t know. Hospital will be a more relaxed time, I hope. 6 hours of GA. Lucky me.

  13. Don’t go to water, Andrew: this is a decision that took time, and you have to give it due honour for that, at least.
    As for Hilary’s book, I am SO GLAD you have read and enjoyed it. I wish to all the gods that I could do the same – with her first book ! But until I can manage to change whatever has happened to prevent me from being able to read a book (after all these years of reading an incalculable number of them), I am unable to do her justice. I disappoint myself enormously.

  14. Gerard asked the question on my mind. Much turmoil and melancholy in the air. I hope the grass becomes greener for you on the other side. I like the picture too.

  15. I envy you that painting, it’s beautiful – who is the artist? I dont envy you the move, all the upheaval and all. Hope it goes as smoothly as possible. If you’re coming back to Blighty I take it that we’ll be in for a treat of UK photographs? Hurrah!

  16. Moving house can be traumatic . Thanks to Lulu, things are being kept in perspective. A snooze the logical thing to indulge in. Nice sunny painting with gold leaf frame. I don’t envy your move. I remember it well. All in turmoil and upheaval. Not easy. Tempers flared with us with much shouting and bouts of intolerance.

    It seems you are now going to the UK, back to Wales perhaps? Your old stomping grounds.

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