Saturday 20 September 2014
Researching Plan B in Whitstable
Whitstable on the North Kent Coast. Unlike other outings we've made to Bexhill, Margate and Weymouth, I set out on this one with butterflies in my stomach as this wasn't just a pleasant day out or holiday but potentially the place we're going to live.
I'd made a list of properties within our potential budget within 1 mile of the train station and marked them on a map and then we wandered around the areas concerned , several helpful people asking whether they could help us, whether we knew where we were going! Anything near the beach ( including this 'des res' of an old fishermans hut) is definitely beyond us but there's a surprising amount of ordinary houses that might fit the bill.
'Old Neptune' which reminded us very much the' Cove House Inn' at Chiswell on Portland to cogitate on our findings before doing more touristy stuff walking along the beach to the harbour.
As I said in an earlier post, there is no job for me in the new structure for science at Kew Gardens and after some heart searching have decided to apply for voluntary redundancy. The time table for this has not yet been confirmed but I will probably be leaving in January and I've got my work cut out over the next few months winding up the projects I'm involved with.
We're fortunate that Ian has the potential in his job to work more from home and the value of properties in our road has increased markedly since new developments have shot up near us ( I never thought I'd live in a house worth in excess of 1/2 Million pounds! ). If we sell up and buy a house in a cheaper area within commutable distance of London we can be mortgage free which gives me some breathing space to find a job more locally.
Whitstable seemed to fit the bill for us with fast 'Javelin' trains to Kings Cross in the morning and evening, good local buses to Canterbury.There's a thriving arts scene ( we intend to go back in a few weeks for the artists house trail) and potential for jobs in the area for me - conservation consultancy, lab work, who knows. Most of all it's by the sea , our dream for retirement- we're just moving a bit earlier while we're still working. In any case I intend to have at least 6 months creative time to recover from moving house and for grieving. I've worked at Kew for nearly 25 years and am desperately sad to leave my colleagues who are currently in a great state of uncertainty about their future. I'm doing all I can to provide constructive feedback as part of the consultation process, the fight is not yet over: our Prospect Union rep Julie Flanaghan continues to be absolutely committed to continuing the fight against loss of jobs and expertise.