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On 12 June 2009 I announced in my blog post about a Twitter session I had presented, that I had accepted a new job in Southampton.  Since then, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, I haven’t returned to the subject here on my blog.  Yesterday I discovered that a friend had come here to find out what I was up to, having heard only the rumours – and found nothing.  So I decided to bring my eager readers right up to speed with a look back over our journey of the last 4 months.

Having decided to move, we began our search for a school, somewhere to live in Southampton and in Loughborough (it’s a long drive every day!).  We knocked off flat-hunting in 2 days (1 per place).  We found a couple of great flats (the one down south being directly opposite Waitrose, which will reduce my carbon footprint!).  Unfortunately, we’ve been caught up in the nightmare of sorting them ever since.  Still nearly there, it looks like we’ll move into both over the weekend of 16 October – hurray!  Just the small chore of finishing packing, filling /unfilling vans, unpacking and then hoping we’ve sent the right possessions to the right end of the country.  I can’t wait for the fish and chips on the evening of 19th, oh, and of course, the return of the bins not long after 🙂

Finding a school was a nightmare – remind me why we had our child at the same time as all those millennium babies: all the schools where we wanted to live were full.  All that is, except one, and it happened to be the nearest to the flat.  We loved it on the visit and Pip spent the summer months showing off her uniform and waiting to start.  So, she was the first of us to make the transfer to her new life.  She started in early September.  She loves it: she was elected onto school council and is a member of the journalism club who write the school newspaper – she’s got a great future ahead of her one way or another.

I started the new job on 21 September.  What a privilege to be General Manager of Southampton Univeristy Students’ Union.  It’s a dream of a Union: we enjoy enormous student participation, work with a great bunch of people (staff and students) and are located mainly on a leafy campus complete with a babbling brook and students sitting on the grass chatting.  This really is the SU job of my dreams.  I’ve loved the first couple of weeks getting to know my colleagues and I am looking forward to working with them to do the best we can to give our students the greatest university experience we can.

So that’s a relief!  I had a massive feeling of trepidation driving in on the first day: what if I hated it?  My fabulous husband and delightful daughter have agreed to support me on this big life adventure and relocate our lives.  We are all massively rooted in Birmingham – all 3 born there and mostly lived all our life there.  It was a big ask, so it needed to be worthwhile.  Phew.

We’ve been living a travelling life.  For the first 3 weeks, each was in a different B&B, hotel and apartment.  My parents joned us for my first week at work, which was great.  The last few weeks of waiting for our flat are being whiled away in the incredibly welcoming home of our old friend Dave and his family in Winchester.  Dave coincidentally, welcomed me and my brothers to Birmingham when we moved back there in 1977.

We made friends with a great family, who relocated from Dorset in the summer and their youngest daughter started new in Pip’s class at the same time.  They’ve regularly saved my childcare bacon and provided a cuppa and comfy sofa during those first few weeks when we lived in B&Bs.  I’ve also met a couple of women who work at the University of Southampton, thanks to Twitter where a friend in Brum put us in touch.  I even managed to go to a Tweet Up.  That was such a great place to meet people and I will do all I can to be at the next one.

So all in all a lot to take in.  The location is great; it’s not like Brum, but I don’t think anywhere can be quite as comforting as the place you’ve called home for the last 32 years.  We’re saying goodbye to so many special people: friends and family.  I will miss some of you dreadfully – I already do.  But life is for living and just sometimes it’s invigorating to step right out of a comfort zone.

So, we’re still driving back up to Brum every Friday (I’d strongly advise against the A34 north round Oxford on Friday evening btw)!  But hey, we get to pack more boxes every weekend and share time with our good friends.  We’re gonna miss you lots, but not quite yet – which reminds me, it’s Thursday night, I should go and pack our bags…

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I set up this blog post way back in 2008 (autumn) and began by contemplating what I found as I rambled round the interwebs.  It occurred to me the other day that this had been quite a journey.  I have never been scared of IT, or nervous of the internet – I got a Computing O Level in 1979, so I know my stuff!  What I hadn’t really realised was how much control I could have on the interwebs.  So what’s happened since I set up this blog?

  • Attended a Birmingham bloggers meet (December at the Frankfurt Farmers Market)
  • Attended the Birmingham Twestival (12 February in the Arcadian)
  • Set up and hosted a B’ham City University Tweetup (January, with about 15 attendees)
  • Set up and about to host the next one (19 March, over lunch, Bar 42)
  • Was in at the concept and helped deliver #wxwm (the antidote to SwSWi, March Kings Heath)
  • defined a hashtag @tagref and @tagalus
  • had over 2,640 views on this site since November
  • Created a brand new website celebrating great Brummie Women
  • Had a couple of impromptu social media lunches in the Fighting Cocks on Moseley Farmers Market Days
  • Instigated a late night snow hunt with 6 other people in Cannon Hill Park (url available on request)
  • Crowd-sourced ideas for Modern Day Plagues and found 10
  • created a tumblr website with my dort – and lost it!
  • posted photos on twitpic
  • become an iphone addict (thanks to our uni)
  • made so many new friends, I’ve lost count

Some say the social media world in Birmingham is a clique.  Well, I have to say it’s a very easy clique to break into.  I don’t know where else a newbie like me would have been allowed to get away with quite so much.

So, one of the categories I’ve been filing blog posts under is “the ramblings of a novice interwebs adventurer“.  As we know, my newbie days were not very long ago.  But what I also know, is that if I met someone with that list I would not think them a newbie.  So I’ve decided it’s time for a new category.  I’m thinking “the further adventures of an interwebs adventurer

So what next, I do want to start embedding this into our work more.  Our website is coming along, but we need to be having conversations with our stakeholders through the internet.  Meanwhile, thanks for reading my first term report.  I look forward to stumblin’ over you in the ether sometime soon…

My daughter is 9 next week.  I want her to be 9.  I work hard to keep the child in her alive and defer her teenage years until she is at least, oh I don’t know, let’s say thirteen.  So that can’t be so hard?

You’d hope not, but this is a great example of the kind of thing which sets me off: ‘Boob-Job piggy bank’.  I was going to link to the original site, but don’t want to give them the pleasure of the page views…  Thanks to Karmadillo for sending that one through.

Why ever would you present that as a purchase for a child?  Or frankly an adult, but that’s a whole different blog post.

This article gives some good clues; Kids Today are growing up way too fast.  “Marketeers call them “tweens”: kids between eight and 12, midway between childhood and adolescence. But tweens are becoming more like teens, leaning more and more toward teen styles, teen attitudes and teen behavior at its most troubling” 

And the striking findings reported in that article place a large part of the solution firmly at my door:  “Kids are on their own, goes the premise”.  Parental absence (they suggest through parents working long hours without reference to full time absenteeism) is a major factor in this.  

Phew, so glad I work for an organisation that gets it: one which allows me to reduce my working hours and do them flexibly, so I can pick her up from school and take her to her activities – or just flop in front of a film together.

So ironic though, that I should be the one sitting at home alone, with no real plans for the day whilst I write this.  An absent child… My daughter, out all day acting her heart out with a bunch of creative tweens.  Her peers are where, why “up town” of course indulging in the “fad-crazed marketplace” of the greedy marketeers.

And me, well I think I’ll just pop up town, see you later…

 

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