After a good six weeks or so two factors will now contribute to a change of mood in the forthcoming weeks. I have commented before on the blog about adjusting to the lack of familiar cues and enjoying the new experiences this has engendered. Well last week with the excitement of the first Ashes test I realised that not seeing the cricket was one indulgence too far to miss on this trip. For the first test I saw it via a cheap but inefficient computer system which saw me see two great days then when the final day loomed I could not get it on the PC nor could I even listen to it on the radio. Enter VPN.
A visit last week from a friend brought VPN to my notice. This fools the computer into believing you are transmitting from the UK and this then enables you to connect to TV and radio from the UK. A frustrating day yesterday trying to get the system to work was eventually reached late evening when I succeeded with , I must say, an efficient online help system to get what I needed. Suddenly the cricket would be there for me on sky and every day. So at 7.45 am this morning cup of tea in hand I have settled down to watch the second day.
The difference between VPN and my previous attempt to get cricket is that VPN gives me access to the entire TV networks of the UK. Programmes I had put out of my mind as beyond the systems here suddenly are as easy to tap into as if I am watching at home. This will change the pattern of my evenings enabling me to catch up on my soaps, see some good drama and films and of course watch an increasing amount of sport. So the pattern of my week will now alter but after 2 hours good cricket I am not yet regretting this expense, which anyway was not large.
So the second change will be the arrival of H, my daughter. I am looking forward to seeing her and hoping she finds the visit enjoyable and relaxing. She is hoping to find work and this would be good if she does. Plenty of people here offering to help her and so she will be made welcome. It will be interesting to see how we work out our living arrangements. I have got used to my single apartment. I had the chilling insight last week that this period is giving me a glimpse of my old age – should i reach it!! Spending cautiously, having a simply routine, few possessions and just keeping things ticking over around the flat. Anyway another person will change all that so it will be challenging.
It is interesting to reflect on which indulgences you can and cannot do without. Of all my weaknesses missing the cricket rates as the one I least like to miss. I can go without alcohol, sometimes for weeks (once in 1988 for 6 years!!), I can live without my favorite soaps, I can live without some of my normal comforts but cricket is a bridge too far. The only other thing which comes close to it is certain foods – sadly for my cholesterol levels, this includes butter and bacon. Bread is one food I find hardest to leave alone though some of it is good for me, not sure I can say the same for butter!! Still its a pleasant if dangerous indulgence. Here, fruit has been such a treat – mangoes (yellow ones), papaya, pineapple, pomelo and good australian oranges – have been devoured in abundance. And I am finding ways to eat out which are cheap and nutritious so cooking is down to the odd bacon sandwich!! Maybe again when H arrives we will cook for two.
I’ve had a lot from the UK this week to do and its been fun to watch all the disruption caused by snow in the UK. Emails and social network sites full of the problems of getting to work/school/shops indeed anywhere? Some classic pics of my village(which I have put here for interest). H taking 4 days to get out of Doncaster so she can catch her plane from Heathrow on Sunday. Once again when snow falls the UK just struggles to cope.
Another of the Man Booker long list tackled this week and when I finish it tomorrow I’ll bring another review to the blog. So a pleasant weekend beckons – lots of Ashes cricket; food and alcohol with UK colleagues tonight; finish book tomorrow and a little tidy up for H’s arrival on Monday. Quite a good weekend I think oh and a chance to catch up on the soaps.