I am sick as a dog, but warm memories and good news is keeping the old tail wagging.
But first, I met up with an old friend, H, on Saturday. It was only for a couple of hours but we had a great time catching up on our lives1. She had also come bearing delectable and delightful gifts: bak chang2, a really beautiful jacket for Plate, a sarong for me3, bak kwa4, a selection of Chinese lanterns5, mosquito coils and a jar of incomparable Tiger Balm.
H herself was looking well- she was all svelte and she looked happy, despite having broken her arm not too long ago. It was really good to see her. And Plate liked her too!
We walked up Cherry Hill, where we paused for breath and Plate had a great time testing how far she could get away from me, stopped for coffee in town6, trundled around Ely market - H was delighted by her finds of authentic homemade sausage roll and pie from our local rare breeds pig farm - and finally strolled down the riverbank back to the station.
A lovely time was had by all!
On Sunday, a nasty cold knocked me for six and Monday was spent pretty much prone. But we managed to get the house into decent shape for SEA and his magic estate agent camera. I think we pulled it off. We just had to get on the City Council's shared equity scheme and then it's down to the SEA, the negotiators and the people who are destined to buy our house.
So FBB and I spent most of today stressing... me at work, him at home. We were emotionally jiggling our leg. (Plate, on the other hand, spent a great deal of it having fun and sleeping.) By 4pm, I crashed and FBB collected the pieces and drove us home. I was glued back together with food, paracetamol and tea, and we swiftly put together a "what-if" pack7 for our interview.
At 6.45pm, we had our interview at the City Council... and walked it! The two lovely ladies loved us! I don't know if it was my copywriting skills8, FBB's charm or Plate's irresistible cuteness that won it for us, but we are on their list! Yippee! Hurdle hurdled, next obstacle: finding a buyer and getting a mortgage, both of which are so nearly there.
I am still sniffly snuffly and my throat is ouchy, but I am filled with happy vibes. Good things are coming!
1 After all, when we last met in 2010, about nine months later, Plate arrived!
2 Rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. They're like little edible pyramids, and deep inside the secret chamber is deliciously seasoned belly of pork, mushrooms, chestnuts and sometimes, a salted egg yolk. "Bak" means meat and "chang" means dumpling. There is a legendary story associated with them and you can read about it here: http://www.deliciousasianfood.com/2008/06/07/teaser-bak-chang-filling/
3 Or FBB if he fancies it.
4 Sheets of sweet barbecued pork. Just thinking about it gets me salivating! Here is a home-made version: http://www.justasdelish.com/homemade-bak-kwa-dried-meat/
5 I plan on holding a little party on 30th of September, traditionally the Mooncake Festival. In Singapore, we have a Lantern and Mooncake Festival. The idea is to come together to celebrate and admire the Mid-Autumn new moon. Will write more about it as the time approaches.
6 Where Plate's enthusiasm for exploration jostled a customer's elbow and spilled his coffee. Oops! Time for sharp exit.
7 Proof I worked in Ely, proof FBB was ill, proof that I could live in England, proof that we were married etc. Plus a mini pity pack for good measure: letters from CAB, creditors, medical stuff etc.
8 We had to submit a form and a supporting letter. I thought I might have overcooked it but it seems not.