awareness, be here now, change, cost of living, Great Yarmouth, GY, Moving, staying positive, there is no better than here
And just like that, everything changes.
23rd November 2022- I’m writing this from the boat, it’s past eight in the evening, a World Cup group stage game, Belgium vs Canada, is coming to an end. The wood burner is thoroughly going, and the boat is warm (except for the loo area). I’m wearing two pairs of socks, sweat pants, three vests, a long sleeved top and a jumper (and a hoody when I go to the loo!) I got home from work, ate strange week-before-payday economy foods (a stale white roll briefly soaked in oat milk, and drizzled with agave nectar (vegan honey), delicious, eaten in my coat before even starting the fire, and later a bowl of curry super noodles in lots of water, functional, warm and filling. This is more as an exercise rather than absolute necessity; I still have money in the bank, and savings. I acknowledge the privilege of my position. But when I’m here alone I often prefer to eat toast and cereal or a Pot Noodle, enjoying the freedom of not cooking or eating a proper meal.
I also enjoy eating out of the cupboards, which are stocked with packets of lentil dahl, rice and various tins. I still remember a before-pay-day cupboard meal of well over a decade ago: saffron rice followed by big bowls of custard, absolutely wonderful; the expensive saffron bought for some recipe and then left languishing, the tin of custard powder probably similarly gathering dust. Nowadays we usually buy ready to pour soya cream or cartons of vegan custard.** After I’d eaten I had a mug of tea, the pleasure of a hot cup of tea in winter.
It might not seem like the best time to be buying a house, taking on the responsibility of a mortgage and bills, being as I am in the UK, it is Winter, and I’m fifty-two years old, but I feel absolutely at peace with it. I’ve just put a few things into bags/piles at the bottom of the wardrobe; being a boat it’s not like there’s anywhere to pile things up ready to take. On Friday we are driving over with two car loads. On Saturday we are hiring a van and collecting various pieces of furniture and household items which have been given to us by family, friends and acquaintances, and which are currently in various locations around the area where the house is (a three-four hour drive away from the boat.)
We got the keys on 30th September, moved in 15th December and I started work 19th December. In between, we went to Great Yarmouth every other weekend and stayed at The St George Hotel, a beautiful old hotel with wooden bannisters, an original old lift and chandeliers. The rooms very clean, usually with extra beds as well as a tv, a fridge and a microwave. It is being used to house people in need, on occasion it was noisy, twice the fire alarms went off with people smoking in their room. We ate Indian takeaway carefully in the room with a teaspoon, we microwaved ready meals. We miss it sometimes, as it was a second home.
Arriving at dusk and parking up, looking out to see Wellington Pier glowing its different colours. The feeling of gratitude when I paused outside after going out to the car: Tonight we have three places to sleep, the hotel room, the house, the boat. Plus family and friends who would take us in. In sharp relief to the people in need at the hotel.
The electricity didn’t work. I had my interview for my new job upstairs in the cold house sitting on a folding chair; the interview was 10am, checkout time at the hotel, I charged everything up before, hoping the portable internet and the charge would hold out. My husband, spending several days waiting in a cold house (British Gas refused to help at first, eventually they sent an engineer to replace their faulty meter), and then another waiting at the side of the road; both cars broke, one after another and had to be replaced. Then the boiler. We spent one very uncomfortable night on an airbed which went flat. Then we got a bed delivered, then a sofa and armchair both from a local charity furniture shop.
Hanging up our Indian parasols in my room beside a simple clothes rail with a few vintage summer clothes items on it, waiting.
Space. Eight compartments where a door can be shut. Thick carpet in the bathroom. Warmth. The lights and heat on when I got home, after going for a walk; it was warmer outside than in the house.
** now we have a tub of original custard powder again, (accidentally vegan), we have had to economise a lot; and a couple of months in realised we really didn’t have enough money coming in. In a great example of Cosmic Ordering, the very next day I got an extra day at work, and John applied for two substantive senior jobs and got them both.
Even though stressful, we pulled together, not apart. John got really into making soups and stews with soup mix, pearl barley and loads of vegetables. He would joke about ‘here is your gruel,’ but it was really tasty. I am taking porridge oats and a few sultanas to work in a nutribullet container, I add boiling water and put the lid on and it cooks into porridge for lunch, with bananas and bread and butter for snacks.
The house in which I am writing this right now, with the net curtains which I love so much: butterflies, these are everywhere, in quaint guesthouses and people’s homes, alongside korus, which I considered but don’t want to deliberately get, more just like to spot accidentally. We have 1970s or early 80s décor, a brick bench/storage area in the living room, old fashioned light fittings, all things to criticise but which I love and I will defend their honour until I am hoarse. Like GY.
No one can criticise GY to us.
*Not being pedantic, just interested in language: I always thought of this as ‘Over there is no better than here where you are.’ But it could also be, ‘There isn’t anywhere that is better than here.’
My Instagram @always_evolving_ever-real
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My husband’s Instagram @travelswithanthony
My husband’s GY Instagram @love_4_GY
12 RULES FOR BEING HUMAN HANDED DOWN FROM ANCIENT SANSKRIT
1. You will receive a body
2. You will learn lessons
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons
4. A lesson will be repeated until it is learned
5. Learning lessons does not end
6. ‘There’ is no better than ‘here’
7. Others are merely mirrors of you
8. What you make of your life is up to you
9. Life is exactly what you think it is
10. Your answers lie inside of you
11. You will forget all of this
12. You can remember it whenever you want