Things happened. I probably can't remember most of them, but we'll see. I became twenty-three; that was quite uneventful, but considering what was happening on my last two birthdays, I'm glad it was peaceful this year. Now that I think about it, I can barely believe only two years have passed - it feels like ten. I wasn't really expecting to get anything, and mostly didn't. Diana sent me some books: the complete Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
. I'd always been interested in reading some of his stories, but never actually started one. Unfortunately, I haven't got very far into one now either since I never seem to have much free time where I feel like reading, but I've read about half of the first book so far, some whilst in Germany with Diana and some on the train to see Adele, both of which I'll mention later. I was actually surprised at how good it was; my expectations hadn't been very high for some reason, but I really like his writing style, and when I finally actually get to reading I find it very enjoyable.
Mum unexpectedly bought me a chair. I had mentioned it as one of the things that I'd consider purchasing in the reasonably near future, since my current one is getting fairly old and the seat is worn to the point where it isn't really comfortable any more. The one she gave me was a very nice one, but I more suited to work than home - though very comfortable, it's designed in a way that keeps you sitting upright, and doesn't allow you to lean back. Bad for me as it may be, I do tend to slouch a lot when I'm in front of my computer at home, and I'd prefer a chair that will adapt to however I feel like sitting in it. So, we took the new one to work to replace the one I had in my office.
I went back to Bremen at the beginning of September. I'd have been going there anyway at some point to stay with Diana again, but this time the particular date was chosen so that I could help her move into her new room at the university, a process involving moving a room's worth of furniture and possessions from storage in the basement to her room on the top floor. I stayed for a week this time, which is longer than usual, but didn't seem to be. Diana is coming here for a few days this weekend, which'll be the first time that I haven't had my own house for her to stay in. My room is pretty small, but I expect we'll be out for most of the time anyway, so it won't matter much. Her birthday was a few days ago, but since I wasn't there for it, I've made some plans for this weekend instead. I can't say what we'll be doing, since she doesn't know yet either, it's a surprise :P.
I've finally started on one of my main reasons for moving back into this house: driving. After looking at a few driving schools in the area, I came to the conclusion that they all pretty much cost the same, and went with the AA instead. They're only a couple of pounds per hour more than some of the local companies, but I get (hopefully) the consistency and generally higher standards of a large company. I've had seven two-hour lessons so far, with my eighth later today, and it all seems to be going well. My parents arranged for me to be added to their insurance, provided I pay the increase in the cost, so I've been able to go out and practice with Mum for an hour or two each week, in addition to my lessons. Practice is what I need, really; I've already covered everything I need to be able to do with my instructor, and been through a few test routes, now I just need to repeat them again and again until all the actions are natural and all my attention can be on the road and what's happening, and none on actually using the controls. I have a theory test booked in two weeks, and assuming I pass and them immediately book my practical test (which has an average two to three week wait), I should be taking it in roughly five weeks. My instructor says he thinks that provided I continue getting private practice, I should definitely be ready for it by then.
Whether I'll then buy a car right away, I don't know. I suppose there isn't any really pressing need right away, and there's nowhere to park around here anyway. I'll probably wait until I've achieved the other things I came here for, and am ready to move out again. Then, having a car will give me more freedom in choosing where to live, since there'll no longer be a requirement to be near to public transport, or shops, or anything else I might need.
I think part of what motivated me to actually get on and book my first lesson, was going outside. I'd managed quite successfully to avoid it for a while, but eventually I decided one day walk into Kinson to transfer to the local doctor's surgery, and to get the bus to work from there. It was horrible. I've had a problem, a fear of being outside for quite a long time now, but it decreased a little living on a major road in Winton, and significantly
for the one and a half years in Poole. Having returned to Kinson though, it seems to be worse than ever. Even in the ten-minute walk to the doctor's I managed to meet a group of teenagers messing around on their bikes all the way up the road. They weren't going anywhere; they just kept going a little way up the road doing their stupid wheelies and things, then stopping and coming back, swerving around and generally getting in the way of traffic, before heading onwards a little again. Because of this, they accompanied me most of the way up the road. No, nothing happened of course. Nothing ever does. Logically I should recognise that and not feel this way... but I can't. I hate this place. There's probably nowhere I'd be completely happy in, or at least nowhere I can afford to live at the moment, but I felt so much better where we were in Poole.
Alan & Bath finally returned our deposit from the house, with minimal deductions thanks to Graham. We used some of it to pay off the last remaining bills, so now our last tie to the property is dealt with.
I had a call from the dentist about a week ago. I'd gone for a check-up just before I went to Bremen, and he'd told me I needed a small filling. However in the usual arrogant way I associate with dentists, he didn't ask what I wanted to do about it, just skipped straight to the question of what kind of filling I would like (as in the cheap stuff or the expensive stuff). The idea of having anything done to me at that moment, based on memories of the last time, really didn't appeal, so I told him I'd make an appointment at the later date. That idea was absolutely not acceptable to him, not the receptionist, both of which acted as if they were amazed that I would dare to defy their instructions. I did manage to escape eventually though, just paying for the check-up and not agreeing any future date. Almost a month later, I got a call from them again asking when I was going to come and have the work done. They'd woken me up with the call so I wasn't thinking clearly, and still didn't like the idea, so I told them I still didn't know. They said that unless I had it done within a month of the check-up, they would consider the course of treatment 'closed', and refuse to treat me in future unless I had another check-up to rediscover what needed to be done. I said fine, and that was that. In the end, that was probably stupid of me. If there really is something that needs doing, I may as well have just agreed to it, but... I know how it will go, and I really don't feel like dealing with it at the moment. Besides, considering that for the past two years he's been telling me that everything is absolutely fine, I doubt that whatever the problem is will deteriorate very much any time soon.
Last weekend I went up to Oxford where Adele was staying for Merlin's birthday. We went out to an animal sanctuary for the day, where the children got to pet various animals, and I got bitten by a parrot. Back at the flat we had some party food, and got Merlin a birthday caek. We realised that nobody had anything to light candles with, but Willow kept trying to blow them out anyway, which was funny. Realising Merlin was one year old brought that strange feeling where you simultaneously think "Wow, only a year? Seems like ages!" and "Wow, a year already? Feels like no time at all!". Was quite a short day, since I got the last direct train back to Bournemouth just after 8pm, but it was fun.
I've also made a start on an effort to learn Romanian. I don't know quite why - obviously it's Diana who influenced my decision, but there's no real purpose behind it. It'll take me a long time to get any good at it, and she speaks perfect English anyway, so I'll never need
it... but I guess it's interesting. I'm taking a very slow methodical approach; I decided on the first night that I would lean the table of words on one of the first few pages - eu, tu, noi, voi, el, ea, ei and ele - and that would be enough for that day, or I would try to remember too much and end up forgetting most of it. It worked; I memorised them that night and I can recall them perfectly and instantly about two weeks later. At this rate, especially considering how rarely I actually find the time to read, this is going to take a very long time, but I'll start learning bigger chunks at a time as I get more familiar with the basics, and as long as I stick to manageable pieces like this at a time, and concentrate on learning them thoroughly before moving on, I should be successful. Eventually.
That's pretty much everything up to date, except work... but I'll get to that in another post. It'll make it easier to skip over, anyway, for everyone who avoids those bits. I've stayed up much to late as usual to write this. My driving lesson is about six hours away, so I should probably get some sleep.
Oh, and there's this song, which I've been horribly overplaying lately, and is annoying me because I really love it, and yet it's just missing... something...
but that can wait until next time too.