166: careful K, your nerd is showing

Here I am at the end of my first week at my new job, which is pretty flipping exciting indeed.

You know sometimes when you start a new job that you spend the first few days feeling a bit lost, as everyone else is getting on with things and no one is quite sure what to do with you? Or they give you a whirlwind tour of the building and then you spend the next week trying to remember where the staff toilets are, what the coffee arrangements are and who that person is in the corner.

This week was not that week.

Tan and I flew back from Mallorca on Monday night – delayed by an hour, the M23/M25 junction was closed, so was the South Circular, so we had to detour through the wilds of south-west London (there are a lot of Specsavers and Boots stores there, I can tell you). The saving grace was that the loud idiot who had been on our flight out was not on our flight back, though the rest of the hen and stag parties were so we suspect he was either arrested or deported*. I was staying in Ealing, so I staggered into bed just after 2am (bless my brother-in-law for setting up the airbed for me before we got back!) and lurched out again at 6. The plan was to meet my bestie at 8am for a first day coffee, as we’re now working within a few minutes’ walk of each other.

The Elizabeth Line had other ideas – a 25 minute journey took more than an hour and a half, which was either due to a faulty train, someone on the track, an eddy in the space-time continuinuinuum, or possibly the software gremlin which has been causing the emergency braking system to engage randomly since they upgraded it in April. The Lizzie line starts running at full timetable this week, so let’s see how that works.

Anyway. Day one included a speedy tour of the building. We’re lodging temporarily in a comms company’s back office, while our own FABULOUS new site at New River Head is under development. It’s open and friendly, and we’re all in the same room. Hot desks again, so I’m still carrying a laptop around, but never mind. Here, the station to go home is closer than the Secretariat gate at the V&A was from the offices. Once logged in I had a whole pile of emails waiting for me, things to read, and in the afternoon we had a project team meeting at the new site. No time to feel lost! I do need to make a laptop bag though.

The rest of the week has been reading policies and strategies and plans, and delving into my London library (glad I kept that!) to find out more about the history of the New River – ah, you’re a nerd already!, said the Director. Little does she know…I’ve met my team, arranged some more meetings with various people to get up to speed on things, and generally felt useful.

*Our flight out was disturbed by him making downright offensive comments to and about the air staff, passing mothers-of-brides. He claimed he was ‘bringing the party’. I suspect someone else had dropped out and the groom had invited him to fill the numbers as they’d been at primary school together, as the rest of the stag party were nice and well-behaved. The man next to me had words with him. He made a comment about other people needing to wear headphones. I lost my cool (ha!) slightly. Yes, I called him sunshine. We were all friends by the end of the flight but still…

The rest of the week…

Our last day in Mallorca was Sal’s birthday, and we started off with an early swim at the tiny beach in Deia where we disappointed the local white van men delivering beer to the bar by keeping our tops on. We suspect they were waiting for the lithe blonde lady who appeared as we were leaving, who would have made them much happier. Breakfast on the balcony followed, with fresh pastries, oranges from the tree and Spanish hot chocolate. The ‘little stroll’ around Deia we’d decided on turned out to be just under 9k, taking in the beach again, a climb up the hill beyond the villa where we saw a black vulture circling, a wander round the town and finally tapas and a well-earned drink. We also saw a red kite or two, heard a nightingale, and discovered some really loud frogs.

On the Sunday we’d tackled a nice easy mountain (!) and scrambled over to very pretty Valdemossa, where we had well-deserved cake and a wander round the town while waiting for the bus back. The buses are a hair-raising experience at times, as the roads are long and windy and the buses are…not. They are bus-sized buses, as Jane said. The bus back from Valdemossa was slightly late, and the driver made a special effort to make up time on the way to Deia. We were sitting down but still felt the need to hold on!

Yesterday’s long walk was much less exotic, but also a lot less mountainous as it was in Essex – I did manage to find some hills to boost my elevation, though. I took the same footpath I used a few weeks ago but turned right instead of left at the bottom of the hill. I should have turned round after 6k, as a 12k was on the plan but I was enjoying the walk so I carried on. 24k later… the walk took me through Theydon Mount, Hobbs Cross, Theydon Garnon, Theydon Bois (as I’ve said before, Essex likes to make the most of a good name), past Ambresbury Banks and down into Epping, where I joined the Essex Way through Coopersale and Gernon Bushes back home. The sun was out, the glam rock playlist was on, and the pace was fine. Today there’s been a swim at the lake – the swans have one cygnet left and they are quite feisty. One bit an unwary swimmer’s foot, in fact.

There’s a 12k on the cards this afternoon, so I’d better go and fuel up!

As always, you can find out why we’re scrambling up mountains and wandering through forests at our JustGiving page. I’m £175 off my personal fundraising target, and it would be great to raise as much as we can for Parkinsons Research. Gwrachod Ar Daith translates roughly to ‘Witches on Tour’ – a long tour at 100km and now only 6 weeks or so away…

See you next week.

Kirsty x

What I’ve been reading:

Last Act in Palmyra/Time to Depart – Lindsey Davis

That Mitchell &Webb Sound – Audible

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