(no subject)
darcy wix
darcygem
Hey there, thought I'd do an update here, as I am shocked again that I haven't updated since May!!

Plenty has happened as usual, but as I have seen most of you, it will be a summary!
  • There was a second 90th Birthday party - this time of of my volunteer friends: Stan.
  • There were 5 TREC competitions for Darcy and I (coming 1st, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th), and overall 6th in the national league - yay :)
  • Diving on the South Coast at Swanage, Weymouth and Portland - going through the Durdle Door was the highlight!
  • Many trips to Rollerworld - the most amazing cheesy place in Colchester! And several trips Ice-skating along the same theme!
  • A few trips to buffet Chinese - mmmmm
  • Long weekend at Elvedon Center Parcs - subtropical swimming paradise still amazing!
  • Several drunken nights out in Colchester with great friends :) :)
  • Extreme fundraising events: Abseiling down the side of a hospital, Bungee jumping off a HUGE crane at the pub and a 5k Fun Run
  • Extreme holiday: Cycling London - Paris in 3 days, what an experience!
  • Diving on the East Coast in Norfolk, beautiful setting, and excellent scaring of fishermen!
  • Saw many live bands (Kaisers, Scouting 4 Girls, Amy Winehouse, Zutons, Wurzels) and of course 'The Feeling' 3 times more (Newmarket, V-Festival, Southend).
  • Made lots of celebratory cakes, and received the best in return!
  • Again had a brilliant week on Isle of Arran with amazing people :)
  • Learnt that I have inherited my mum's ability to face-paint (ladybirds a speciality!)
  • Got to 2 Theme Parks - Thorpe Park & Terra Mitica
  • Holiday at the villa in Spain - great times despite the rain!
  • Many visits to many parts of the country to see friends (York, Bristol, Bournemouth, Maidenhead, Crowthorne to name a few!)
  • An amazing Diving holiday in Egypt :) :) :)
  • A great weekend in the Peak District meeting other BTCV people from across the country
  • Wearing a dress!!!
  • And of course lots and lots of time spent working to be able to afford all of the above!!
And that really takes me to where I am today......

A few things happening before the end of the year, including Christmas Parties, more birthdays, more work and moving house in my spare time!

Hope everyone else had such a great year, and is looking forward to the future.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Everybody!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Leap Day!
darcy wix
darcygem
Hello - happy 29th of February, only comes along every 4 years (bit like my journal posts!).

Well, haven't given you an update for a while, since before christmas I think, which seems a long time ago now. Had a different christmas, working in the pub, then went off to see some friends in the evening, but was good :) Then New Year in Kent was great, there was a chocolate fountain - mmmmmmm!

Since then there has been lots of BTCV, including scrub bashing, coppicing, tree felling, pond clearance and tree planting - all the winter usuals, and mostly including big bonfires, my favourite :) Of course there was Alfrick and Annette's fantastic food (some of which warranted thirds!), and catching up with people I haven't seen in years :) There has been bowling, pub, films, and food with friends closer to home. The most notable was pancake day, when I managed to have pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner - a new record! There has been scuba training for the upcoming diving season, and land rover fixing, just because it needs doing!

Two weeks ago was farewell to my brother Sam, who is off travelling with two friends around Asia/Philippines/Malaysia/Austrailia - and recent reports back sound fantastic! Last weekend was spent catching up with family in Yorkshire, which was brilliant, as haven't seen them for over a year (note to self, must visit the north more often!). This weekend I intend to spend some time with Darcy and Patch, and of course BTCV! Darcy has been to two shows so far this year, coming 1st, 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her classes, which is pretty good, and I'm very pleased about :)

Things that are planned for the coming year are a visit to Bristol to see the Feeling (yay!), Grandad's 90th birthday, Dive Trips to Swanage, Weymouth and Egypt!!!!, a surprise visit to Ireland, volunteer Stan's 90th birthday, many more horse shows, Arran holiday and Theme Park Holiday - phew! Sounds like its going to be good :) :)

so close, yet so far!
darcy helmingham hall
darcygem
Ok, I am definitely shamed that I haven't updated for so long (3 months!). Most of you know I haven't died, as I have been busy seeing you all :) So much has happened in the last few months, I won't go through it all.

The new job at the Wildlife Trust is going very well, I'm still enjoying it, and makes me feel very improtant and responsible. Although as I am spending more time at my desk being given biscuits, have noticed my tummy getting bigger, so will have to get into training methinks! Most people at the trust are very lovely and helpful, but there are a few that are resistant to change, like most workplaces.

Darcy is happy, as she is getting an easy life at the moment, as with my other committments, she is being ridden less. However we have been able to get out to a few shows, and been successful. Two weeks ago a few of us from the yard went to Burghley Horse Trials, for the friday & saturday. There was much horse related shopping, much watching of the water jumps (not as good as the badminton ones!), and good company. Was lovley to get away for a couple of days, and introduce some of my friends to the concept of camping (not sure they appreciated it!).

I have now finished my scuba-diving training, and am awaiting my first open water dives in just over a weeks time - scary! Going to an old quarry called Gildenburgh, where apparently they have sunk lots of interesting things to look at: double decker bus, airoplane, cars etc. Am a bit scared, but am sure it will be good, will be nice to be out of the swimming pool at last! Patch (my land rover) is going strong, no breakdowns yet, am very impressed with his performance, and hope to do some more modifications soon (winch, roll cage, rock sliders etc.)

I have got two holidays coming up, the first in 8 days time, with my friend David, we are going on a bit of a road trip/theme park tour! Planning on visiting Alton Towers, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, then on to Thorpe Park with everyone for Ruths birthday weekend. I'm really excited, I hope David can put up with my car singing (He already said i'm not allowed to bring Disney, but I'll find a way to sneak it in!). Then in october I'm leading a BTCV natural break in the Lake District, near Windermere. In charge of volunteers doing usual conservationy stuff: coppicing, fencing, path building etc. I made sure the accommodation had a log burning fire beforehand, so plenty of marshmallows will be packed!

There is lots of other stuff going on in my life, am still working in the pub a few nights a week, and still going out with BTCV whenever I can. This weekend I am co-driving for my land rove mechanic in an off-road challenge in sussex somewhere, so won't get much rest and relaxation - never mind, you have to live life! The only other news is that my family's house in Birch is on the market at the moment, bit sad to see it go, its seen some good times, and it means I won't have a bolt hole if everything goes wrong, but it had to be done. In case you didn't know my parents split up about three months ago, things seem to be getting easier for everyone now, but it was a bit of a shock. I just want both of them to be happy.

Anyway, must get off to work now, hours are quite flexible, so I won't get into trouble, but best not to push the boundaries while I'm still in probabtionary period.

Bye for now :)

much that is good....
darcy helmingham hall
darcygem
Well, my first week in a new job is good! Have spent lots of time meeting people, and visiting the reserves, which has been great! I know it won't be like this all the time, but the small amount of information I have gained about the actual job sounds very interesting, and quite powerful - ooooh! I have my office all set up now, and my computer is all singing all dancing.
The Land rover has been behaving too - no breakdowns yet! There are a few glitches that hopefully I can fix tomorrow, but nothing major :) Diving was good this week, I was 1 to 1 with an instructor, so got lots of practice, and got more confident. I also went out with people from my old work for leaving drinks, had a great night, and I will be sad to leave all of them behind. But lots of exciting new things are just around the corner :)
I've just got home from working in the pub, and as you can probably gather, can't sleep yet, it always takes a while to wind down. I have a busy weekend ahead, lots of running around to do yesterday for car and horse, then going out with friends for dinner and drinks to celebrate new job! Sunday I am taking Darcy to a horse show, which should be fun.
Anyway, must sleep now - night night.

YAY YAY YAY !!!
darcy helmingham hall
darcygem
Hello - I had to write another entry this week, as I can't contain myself! My Landy passed its MOT today, so now I have a car that works!! I'm picking it up tomorrow :) Also got a letter from Natwest today, with a rather large cheque attached (claiming back penalty charges), so am very excited, as I can pay my bills now!

The first aid course had been going well, lots to remember for the assessment tomorrow, but apparently the pass rate is 99.9%, so unles I do something completely random, I should get my shiny certificate.

Just come home from the pub shift, it was good tonight to see everyone (I've had 2 weeks off!), and they're all looking forward to seeing my new form of transport tomorrow! Diving on tuesday night was excellent to, I joined a different group, with a different instructor, who was much better, and made everything fun, not so serious as the last one, so I enjoyed it more :)

Anyway must go and get some sleep now, to get up for the early train tomorrow.

Its all coming together.......
darcy helmingham hall
darcygem
Hello,

Busy as usual lately, but I'll try and update you on the happenings!

I was very disappointed and sad to have to miss Fawlty Towers in Grantham, I had to stay in the workshop on the saturday to continue fixing my land rover, as it becomes ever closer to the deadline, then I went on a cross-country riding clinic (water jump very exciting!). Then sunday I had to drive the conservation bus. We were putting in some waymarker posts, the weather was awful, and it was very difficult to get people motivated to go back out into the rain to finish after lunch! So even if I had made it to Grantham I would probably have been late to the show, then have to leave early to make it home again. So I sent my stand-ins (mum and her sister), who very much enjoyed the performance!!

Bank holiday monday was spent in the workshop again, this time Dad was helping me, and we managed to sort out the brakes, some of the interior, and get the vehicle out of the workshop and onto a trailer ready to take to the garage the next day. So it was delivered to the 4x4 garage (run by an off-roading friend of mine), where it still resides. It was the best decision to get it finished off properly, I don't have the time or expertise to complete the project, and I desperately need a vehicle asap for the impending new job! I have been up there to help with it almost every day since it went, so I'm not completely out of the loop, but it gives me confidence to know that a professional eye is being cast, and it will work, and be safe!

Tuesday evening I was given a trade ticket to the Colchester Beer Festival, and not one to turn down something for free, I went with a friend. I had 1.5 pints of various Ciders and Perries, which were surprisingly yummy! Although they made me a bit drunk, me not being used to alcohol!

Then wednesday last week I went on a conservation residential leadership course, so now I can officially lead BTCV holidays all over the country, and therefore go on them for free! yay! Then thursday was the big wedding day of my best friend Christine, and David. It was a fantastic day and night, and I wore a dress for most of it! Highlights were playing 'my little ponies' with the other bridesmaid (5 years old), Pimms on arrival at the reception, being stuffed with delicious food and dancing to many favourites such as 'build me up buttercup' and 'footloose' !!

Saturday I woke early to get Darcy ready for a show, we got a 1st, 4th and 6th in various classes, and had a lovely photo (see new userpic!). Then saturday night I drove up to Corby, to meet with off-roading peoples, camped out on a hotel room floor, then sunday watched a challenge event that some friends were competing in. (I had 5 things booked in to do at home on sunday, so decided to escape for once, and relax!). My friends came 11th, bout halfway up the points table, not too bad, but they had fun, and I managed to get covered in mub just spectating!

Today I have been sorting Darcy out, going up to the garage to help with the car, washing up (2 weeks worth was piled high!), washing clothes and buying food. All things that have been forgotten lately, so now my life is in slightly more order. Now I must get to sleep (I would say bed, but I'm already in it!), as for the next 4 days I am joining the commuters to London, as I'm going on a first aid course at BTCV in Kings Cross, so I have the sweaty busy underground to look forward to - joy :)

p.s. Starting new job a week today - yipee!! Also landy should be going for its MOT on wednesday - double yipee!!

(no subject)
darcy wix
darcygem
Well, I've been a busy bee lately (no surprise there then!), but am very happy with my new job to look forward to! I even signed the contract on friday :) so no going back! I have been frantically working on my land rover, as my new job doesn't come with a car, so the option of least money (which is the most preferable) is to finish my project, which has been going for about a year now. It's almost there, just the fiddly little things to finish off, like electrics, I was very happy when the engine went brum on wednesday :) and can't wait to ride in my pride and joy, although it won't be much to look at for a while, as paint job is not top of the priority list! (there are patches of blue, yellow, black and white so far!)

I have been spending so much time on the car, that I'm afraid Darcy has had a bit of a holiday. She got moved onto her new summer field on saturday, and is now knee high in grass - mmmmmmm! Must give her some work this week, as I'm going to a cross-country training lesson on saturday pre-fawlty towers! Last sunday at BTCV was wet! Got absolutely soaked whilst building a boardwalk, but was fun anyway! Then today we planted lots of wildflowers in the sunshine :) I'm starving hungry right now, (not eating since yesterday tea not a good idea), so am looking forward to dinner at mum's house, which is home-made pizza (dough by me!(well - my breadmaker!)). Then I think I shall collapse into bed for a well deserved sleep.

Last night was my friend Christine's hen night. We went to danbury outdoor centre for the afternoon, (assault course, high ropes and mountain biking), then a take-away picnic at her house, and onto Escape nightclub afterwards. I'm not usually one for clubs, too loud to talk, but there were some male pole dancers, which made things more acceptable! Although I could have done without the 3.30am bedtime. Never mind, I wasn't drinking (well - only red bull!) as I offered to be taxi, so didn't have too much trouble getting up this morning. But I wasn't helped as my discovery decided to get a flat tyre on the way to Colchester this morning, so I had to change the tyre at the side of the road, which made me late picking up the minibus and volunteers, but they didn't notice too much!

Anyway, I must go and see to the dough, and try and find Charlie, as he seems to have gone on his own adventure somewhere, and isn't back for his tea yet!

New Job !!!
darcy wix
darcygem
Hiya,

I have a new job!!! yay!!! Had the interview yesterday morning, which seemed to go well, then I was rewarded and was offered it today!!! Its with Essex Wildlife Trust, the title is Haven Gateway / M11 officer. It involves maintaining green spaces in the area, consulting with planners, developers and councillors about any new wildlife areas that could be created, and basically campaigning for the environment! There is a fair amount of travelling involved, so am going to have to get my arse in gear to get my defender finished so I have transport! I'm soooooooo excited (as Ruth would say!), its sounds like a really interesting challenge, and I get a pay rise :)

Other than that news, have been pretty busy with newt survey work, and pub work. Had a brilliant time at Badminton Horse Trials on saturday, a lovely day on conservation sunday, then an early morning monday to listen to the dawn chorus at 4am! Then onto a horseshow, where we got a 5th rosette, then working in the pub. Spent most of tuesday sleeping, as I was severely lacking!

Anyway, I must go in to work now, some newts need counting tonight, and I have to sort out giving in my notice etc. YAY!!

Great Crested Newts are evil........
darcy wix
darcygem
Hiya,

Yet again I've been too busy to eat and sleep, let alone update journal! Well never mind, this is my first night in for two weeks, and it was meant to be an early one, but things never turn out how you intend! I am now part of the ecology department at work so I am deployed to carry out surveys, which is more interesting than landfill sites, but the hours are a lot worse! Nasty newts have decided to be nocturnal, so surveys/trapping has to take place last thing at night (4pm-11pm) and first thing in the morning (6am-9am), which doesn't leave much time for eating or sleeping, or having a life! And of course we are working nice and close to home (not), in Sussex near Tunbridge Wells, so that involves staying away from tuesday to thursday - doh! The pub has also been very busy lately, so nothing is very restful!

Never mind, I have lots of lovely things to look forward to - have booked tickets for fawlty towers, badminton horse trials and the feeling gig in westonbirt arboretum! Also got some horse shows planned for Darcy to look forward to. I am doing a cross-country competition on sunday, although we're not quite up to badminton standard :) I will be happy if we get around clear. I have also written to my bank asking for my money back from nasty charges, and I have done some work on my land rover project (all brake pipes finished and rear tub on!) so its closer to completion - yay! However I haven't been on on task with BTCV since before easter, so feeling a bit guilty about that, but think I just need some time to do the things I want for a bit. I have 2 job applications to fill in tomorrow morning with essex wildlife trust, not sure if I'll have a chance, but its worth a try!

Anyway, enough for now :)

(no subject)
darcy wix
darcygem
Well, I;m back, and I'm burned!! Skiing was great, there was snow blizzards on the first day, which made trying to relearn how not to fall over more difficult, but the next 4 days were all beautiful sunshine :) Therefore my face burned, and is only just feeling more human again! There was much snow, pizza, crepes, chocolat chaud and baguettes. But I'm very glad to be home again, and so was Darcy :)
Mum cooked a roast dinner tonight, my first one since christmas, and it went down very well. Followed by apple and strawberry crumble and custard - mmmmmmmm! It went some way to make up for the presentation I had to endure at work, about the company who has just bought up the one I work for. I am really not interested in how many billions of pounds they intend to make, and how many far flung countries we could work in, all I know for sure at the moment is that they are stopping the use of company cars for private mileage, and they gave us a fleece jacket. I'd say that was a pretty poor swap, considering how much the car means to me - living in the middle of nowhere! So needless to say I was pretty annoyed when they kept stating how much they value their employees. I really dislike the anonymity and profit-driven motivations of large multinationals, give me a small local company to work for any day (except now I have no choice). Maybe it will get better, but I will still be scouring the job market for other opportunities.
Anyway, I've got work in the pub on thursday and friday nights, then working on my land rover project saturday, then out with friends saturday night, dressage at the stables on sunday, then maybe meeting with some BTCVers sunday night, to apologise for not volunteering during the day! Then back to work monday - at least no car means I have to get on my bike, so pray there will be no rain!

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