Back in England

Well I should have wrote this ages ago, but I didn’t so it’s back to faking dates again. To begin with this was largely because I wasn’t really doing much apart from be lazy at my parents and not doing as much work as I should have done on the papers I was meant to be writing. I’m going to organise this post by subject as it seems to make more sense than the normal chronological.

Starting with my ankle. Not long after I got back in the UK I went to a minor injuries unit to have it checked out as it had been several weeks and was still quite weak and often painful. After quite a bit of faffing I managed to get it x-rayed and was informed it wasn’t broken. I think the nurse I saw was all ready to say I hadn’t injured it that badly until she remembered had long ago I’d done it. Carol nicely reminded me that when she broke her ankle the x-ray didn’t pick it up but I decided to carry on believing it wasn’t broken! I did start swimming again and it turns out that both crawl and turns made it hurt. The turns were a little odd as it was more the twisting motion than pushing off the wall that hurt. Oh well it’s slowly getting better.

There was quite a saga about getting a Canadian work permit. First off I tried to find out when I could expect to get it processed. This was made difficult as I didn’t know what office was dealing with it – was it based on my residential address (Kansas) or my correspondence address (UK). Turns out it was the former and so was being dealt with by New York. But in finding this put New York found out I’d moved and so they apparently had to transfer it to London. Looking at London processing times I was somewhat worried that it wouldn’t get sorted by my start date. But in sorting all that out I’d also found out that, in my circumstances, I could probably apply for a work permit at the border. So I e-mailed to ask had I’d go about cancelling my current application if it got late enough that I was just going to turn up and hope. Someone misread my e-mail and simply put a note on my application that it was cancelled although this wouldn’t actually be processed until my turn come up in London. After some more faffing – including complaining to the Minister as there appeared to be no other complaint mechanism – I eventually got it all sorted. Indeed I got the work permit very soon afterwards so maybe the whole sorry saga also meant it got dealt with quicker.

I’d also decided that I’d probably need a US visa if I wanted to visit friends in the US. Although if coming from and returning to the UK I’d have been eligible for the Visa Waiver Program it seemed, at best, very debatable, if I was living in Canada. This was because you need proof of onward travel out of the US for the VWP program and the US embassy website said that if that onward travel finished in Canada you had to be a permanent resident of Canada. As I’d only be a temporary resident it seemed better safe than sorry. As it turns out getting the visa was rather easy and I was in the embassy hardly any time – in and out within about an hour and a half as opposed to three hours the last time. I also visited a few friends around my trip to London for my visa interview which was enjoyable but there’s nothing much exciting to report.

I did do some visiting more friends in this period – in part to have some time away from my parents. I went and spent the weekend with Adam and Kate. Apart from good company, food and drink, the main thing I did was go for a walk in the Peak District on Saturday. Although my ankle was still playing up I did manage a 5-mile hike which included a nice lunch at a pub! Was very enjoyable and made me realise that I definitely miss the Peak District. Unfortunately the ankle meant I didn’t get a chance to climb. :-( After seeing Adam and Kate I popped in on my friend from my MoD days, Sarah, and her two children, which was very enjoyable. On the way I’d stopped off for a short hike by Ladybower reservoir. Photos from both hikes are here. On the way back to my parents I managed to accidentally drive on the right at a deserted services. I drove up to a roundabout and thought something looked wrong so stopped and then realised what I’d done. Whoops!

I also decided that I’d visit Denver for New Year on the way to Canada to start my new job. Kim suggested the idea but I don’t think either of thought it would happen. However at the time I was meant to be working on a paper so was happy to be distracted by looking to see if it was viable. Turns out that it would cost barely any more money as transatlantic flights between New Year and the first Monday were so much more expensive than between Christmas and New Year so even after all the extra flights I’d only be about $50 more out of pocket.

Another couple of minor things that happened in this period. My parents and I visited my brother and sister-in-law for a nice evening of food, drink and playing games. And there was a big storm that hit England which was possibly meant to lead to some flooding in my area. I went to see the high tide about 1am but as the wind had dropped by then the waves weren’t very big and so no flooding. Still I’d never seen the sea that high and I got some reasonable photos that are here. Some more random photos from Clacton are here and here.

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