Sunday, 19 April 2015

And so we move a little further along in the quest..

Friday 17th April to Saturday 18th April 2015

At the end of the last blog I wrote that "Tomorrow will be a busy and eventful day." but I was not, at that stage aware of just how busy we would become.

We did have a couple of important things planned for the day.

About 6 weeks ago we managed to organise two events for today (Friday) - one being an eye test for Diane - to test for glaucoma, but it is a special one and usually involves a specific date, whilst for me, I had my "Life in the UK test" to occupy me.
At that time we had not planned on coming south and we would have needed to hire a car, so being here on the boat should in theory have made it easier.
Trouble is that after Diane's test, she cannot really see at all and takes and hour or so see clearly again; my test time meant that I could not be with her as the transport times didn't fit well - having a car would have been a lot easier.

Step in Maggie who offered to pick Diane up allowing me to head off to Canon's Park.

So part one was dealt with well and she will find out the results in a week or so.

There is no doubt that our time in the general London area over whatever period that happens to be will allow us to familiarise ourselves with many aspects of the overall system, but we have not generally had to worry about being in a certain place at a certain time.

Travelling to unknown areas always gives a bit of apprehension as you just never know what to expect, but the trip out to Canon's Park via Wembley Park station went smoothly as did the walk to the test centre.

The staff checked off the identification papers that I needed to take.

Despite all of the reading and all of the trial tests (48 trial tests of 24 questions each) that I had done, it is still a nervous time to have to wait - eventually the group of us (9 in total) were allowed in - each in front of their own screen, to do a unique set of questions for each person; no talking; no phones (of course); recheck of the identification; read the instructions - then we were allowed to start.
Read the question carefully and all of the alternative answers given and click on the one that you think is correct.
Eventually after answering all 24 questions; rechecking each question and answer - twice; I felt confidant enough to end the test - time elapsed - 9 minutes - seemed like an hour.
You then move to another (secure room) and get your result - fortunately it was a pass - they don't give you the score unless you fail the test, but looking at the book for the only one I was not fully sure of (and found it was correct), I am calling it 100%.

By the time I was back on the boat, Diane's eyesight had fully restored and she was enjoying the sunshine - it was a bright sunny day, made brighter for having the test out of the way.

But things were to get even better - we received from George and Carol from wb Still Rockin' - they were just down at Rickmansworth and asked where we were and were we available to catch up with them.
So I phoned and George answered - I told him where we were and we agreed to meet the following day - we hadn't seen them in 3 years, but that is a relative thing anyway - with reading blogs you keep in contact that way as to what is happening and we have had a few messages back and forth over that time anyway.
So Saturday was all set.

Not long after hanging up with George, another phone call came through -this time from a job agency - "Are you able to work tonight - midnight to 10am?" - after saying No to previous mid-week requests and saying that I was OK for Friday I answered yes.

So now it was a case of finding out how to get there - there was a bus trip from Watford to Radlett, which punctuated a 2-mile walk at either end; timing, in the end meant that I got there about an hour early.
It was at UKMail - a parcel and package distribution centre - sorting through thousands into the drivers runs for the following day - fairly basic manual labour at minimum rates, but now I have started the process of working in the UK, which is the last thing needed for the application for my Indefinite Leave to Remain.

A nice 10-hour shift after a full day of other things - the work was physically demanding for someone who is not used to it.

In the end I got through it, a little bit sore (well, a lot sore) and very tired. We finished early and I found myself back on the boat around 8:30 am thanks to a lift back to Watford.

It was a case of straight to bed and seems straight to sleep for a decent 3 and 1/2 hours; but woke up very sore.
Still it was at a suitable time - George and Carol had moored just up from us not long before, Diane had spoken with them in the interim.

We spent a very enjoyable afternoon with them and then returned after dinner for some more story telling of past experiences, but also about family, the Thames, London and what we can expect in our new area of exploration.
We hadn't seen their new boat before, so we received the full guided tour - it is a lovely boat with plenty of room and enough room to swing not just one, but two cats.
It is like a full-sized one-bedroom apartment - that happens to be on water.

from right - Carol,George and Molly
Molly - she is such a cute dog and had us captivated with her antics

For anyone wanting to view it should visit the blog Still Rockin
It was quite simply the most wonderful way to finish off a this couple of days.

No travel

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