Saturday 20 September 2014

Researching Plan B in Whitstable

 This morning we made  a trip to the seaside, to 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.
 Then we had a very pleasant lunch of  fish and chips and real ale at the '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.

 Lots of inspiration - peeling paint, a nice bit of rust and Thames Barges
The reason   behind our day out is that we're in the process of developing 'Plan B' .
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.


Debbie said...

So sorry to hear the news of your job losses at Kew. It must be heart rending to leave after so long. But to look on the positive side sometimes something like this can lead to positive changes. I left my job, admittedly after only seven years due to ill health. This enabled us to consider moving, I have always had a yearning to live near water and I now live on the Severn estuary which has encouraged me to spend more time on my weaving and on the garden. I miss being close to my children and most of all I miss trees but all in all it has been a positive outcome.
I hope everything works out for you as well.

Olga Norris said...

It must feel so strange leaving Kew after so many years - like losing part of yourself and having to come to terms with that. On the bright side, thank goodness you have so much more going in life than just your paid occupation, important though I'm sure your work is to you. And Whitstable is just such an exciting choice. Do take advantage of the ridiculous house prices in London and grasp the glorious opportunities. Good luck.

Julie said...

Whitstable sounds perfect and I'm glad you are making plans. I think what's happening at Kew is scandalous and frighteningly short sighted.

Sandy said...

The first photo seemed to me to be just the place you would find endless inspiration from. I hope the best for you both as you consider options.

Texture Trail said...

Whitstable is a great choice for a new place to live. My son was at university in Canterbury, and
I always really enjoyed my visits to Whitstable, and found the atmosphere most artistic and inspiring. It is such a shame about what is happening at Kew, but moving to this part of Kent should soften the blow. Good luck with your house hunting.

Peneller said...

So sad for you Mags. It must be dreadful facing leaving a job you love. Never mind, I can thoroughly recommend living by the sea. So I hope you manage to find somewhere that will let you do that.

Susan Briscoe said...

Sorry to hear about you leaving Kew. But it is the best time to have a change of direction. Whitstable will make an excellent base for you and you will have lots of inspiration right on your doorstep - plus it will be an easy day out to visit you whenever we are in Kent! If you are thinking about retiring out of London anyway, now is the time to make the move - sooner rather than later. Good luck finding the right place, with good studio space for you. The light there will be fantastic.