Friday, 2 October 2009

Car cleaning, a farewell and a haircut

It's been a busy week since my last post - as you can imagine I've found lots of things to sort out before I can leave the country safe in the knowledge that various financial institutions and government heavies won't be chasing my trail across Europe.

My last weekend in England was relaxing (but nonetheless enjoyable) as my mum and I finished off the jigsaw I mentioned in my last post - which was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be - went for a bit of shopping in Stevenage, a town I won't be particularly sad to leave behind, watched "GAMER" at the cinema with my dad (I'd give it 3/5), and enjoyed a hearty meal at the fantastic Indian restaurant in Knebworth high street, the Raja Tandoori.

I tried to convince the staff there to open a restaurant in Lausanne as they would make a lot of money out of hungry Swiss people, although my alterior motive was the fact that I will miss English-style Indian food when I move to Switzerland.
As good as new - as long as
you don't inspect the engine

I also spent a large part of Sunday giving my car the best cleaning of it's entire life. Seriously, I don't think it was that clean when I bought it fresh off the production line! It now shines a resplendent blue whereas before it looked more like the murky water that laps against the banks of Stanborough Lakes in Welwyn Garden City, but with a few less discarded beer cans and crisp packets.

If you didn't know any better, you might even think this car has been well looked after by someone who likes cars. The reality is that it has been treated so badly that I would be on the Most Wanted List of any "Prevention of Cruelty to Cars" societies, if they existed - I'm presuming they don't exist, although if this blog results in some kind of car-abuse-related summons then I will only have myself to blame.

That is one shiny, crappy Peugeot
I gave the inside of the car a damn good sprucing up too, I even went as far as applying a dashboard shine product to the trims to try to cover up the scratches (and displace the layers of dust that have built up over the 3 or so years since it's last clean).

This bit of "detail therapy" was a welcome distraction from the task of packing and preparing what I can take with me on Saturday, which I spent the whole of Sunday afternoon doing with my mum. "Fun" wouldn't be the right word to describe it, but it was good to spend some time with my mum before I leave. 
The week was a little bit hectic at some points, as I had to trawl through all the paper documents I have and decide which ones I need to bring with me to Switzerland, and which can be safely discarded. The result was a whole hour of shredding old credit card bills and bank statements, which I did whilst watching my beloved Liverpool capitulate against Fiorentina in the Champions League. Not the most fun I have ever had in my life, but at least I got to use a shredder and make little jokes to myself about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

As I left the house to go to work on Wednesday morning, I watched my car's odometer flick to 60,000 miles and had the feeling that it would be a day of significance that I would look back on in years to come with a mixture of sadness and fond memories.

Goodbye TNS...

The reason? It was my final day of work at Transaction Network Services (UK) Ltd, where I had spent the last two and a half years of my life working alongside a fantastic group of people, colleagues who I also have the pleasure of calling friends.

These people made my time at the company something special, and never failed to put a smile on my face to help ease the daily drudge through work. I would be lying if I said I would miss the work, but not when I say I will miss my friends at TNS - when it got to the end of the day I found it very hard to actually leave, and each person who wished me good luck only increased my sadness at leaving.

I take with me some great memories, some good friends, and also a Liverpool home shirt that they gave me as a leaving present (possibly ironic given the previous night's performance?). Farewell my friends, I hope we can keep in touch.

Thursday morning came and with it my last chance to spend a full day with my mum and dad - we made good use of it, as we went for a marathon session of 10 pin bowling at the Hollywood Bowl in Stevenage; 6 games played, of which I won 5 - yes, I was awesome and they were terrible. My glorious triumph (hot on the heels of the stunning 3 sets to 1 tennis win I had over Adam just a couple of weeks ago) was made even sweeter as we went for a nice KFC meal afterwards.

A Boneless Banquet helped to ease my hunger, and actually left me feeling pretty stuffed. I waddled off to the car afterwards and went about trying to revive my dying PC when I arrived at home, sadly to no avail. After four and a half years of faithful (if incredibly slow) service, my home computer is no more. So, I'm writing this on a laptop instead - I couldn't let a whole week pass without a blog entry now, could I? 

I rounded off the evening by getting an emergency haircut from my mum, something I had meant to do a lot earlier in the week but always seemed to find other things to do that meant delaying the trim until later, but as I only have one day left in England I finally set some time aside to get my ears lowered. I'm pleased with the result - my mum should turn professional, it's been years since she last cut my ear by mistake!

Friday is my last whole day in England before I say aurevoir - and I think I am finally starting to get used to the idea that I won't be living here soon. It will be with a very heavy heart that I leave good old Blighty, and all the people that I love (apart from Chris and her family, of course).

All I can do is to try to keep a positive outlook on my new life in Switzerland, and make sure I stay in touch with all the people who have made my life such a happy one until this point - I'll be back to visit as often as possible, bringing various Swiss-themed gifts back with me (everyone will be sick to death of cheese and chocolate before long!).

Chris' dad, Bernard, arrives at Luton Airport at 10:30am, and I plan to treat him to a few real English ales at the Lytton Arms in Old Knebworth as a small thank you to him for coming over to England just to help me with the long drive this weekend. I am truly grateful to him that he would so readily give up his time to help me out, and I hope that I can show him the same kindness and generosity at some point in the future.

Well, I should probably go get some rest now - I doubt I will be able to sleep much tomorrow night with all the thoughts and anxiety that will be floating around my mind, so I will try to get a few hours in tonight. It's also my mum's birthday tomorrow (or technically today, 2nd October), so I'll just wish her a very happy birthday now (she might read this during the day) and get up early to give her my presents.

Hopefully I'll get round to putting another post on here before I leave, but if I don't have time then I would just like to say thanks again to everyone in England for making me laugh, think and feel loved. Please send your positive thoughts towards my car for the journey on Saturday, as I'm sure it will need all the help it can get!

See you all (hopefully very) soon,



Anonymous said...

OH honey... I know it will be hard, I know how you can feel as I went through that in 2007! But I will be here to help you and make your days hopefully as happy as they can be! My family and friends will also be here to welcome you and help you to settle down in Switzerland... plus hopefully you will meet some English people to keep in touch with your country!!

Regarding my dad... you have already done a lot for them and that's only because of that, because of all your generosity, your love and just because of who you are that my dad is coming... as he said, you are the son he has never had!

GOOD LUCK to you but also to your family as I know it won't be easy for them too! But you know that if you need to go to see them, we will make this happen and the same for them!

Love you and can't wait to welcome you in Switzerland tomorrow evening (hopefully)!!



Anonymous said...

Farewell old chap! No doubt we'll keep in touch - and good luck to your little car on the long journey over there. Aurevior
Andy (aka Caveman)

Anonymous said...

The latest news is that Paul is safely in France and thankfull that he doesn't have to use a French toilet. I'm guessing he must have made it through customs without incident.

I wish him good luck with the rest of the journey - there wasn't much room left in that old car of his.