Thursday, 17 May 2012


Huh, I've been told off by S again. Apparently, I did not come across as happy in my last blog entry. So, just to re-iterate: I am very happy indeed and I'm glad we moved. I do miss my friends though, and Radio 4...

An update

Okay, so I've completely neglected this blog. (I actually forgot the title and had to look at past Facebook posts to find it. Huh.) I don't feel inspired; and as opposed to my previous cancer blog, I feel it doesn't really serve a purpose - except perhaps update friends and family in the UK of our goings on. Admittedly there have been many times that I have started writing but I just thought it all sounded so show-offy, and icky as a consequence. After all, why drone on about the hot weather and the weekends on the beach when the UK seems to be drowning?

But! I have been told off by S so here I am. I do promise to keep comments on the sunny weather to a minimum.

So, we're on our fifth week here and are more or less settled. We found a house to rent that we like (and is within our budget - for a third world country, housing in Manila is terribly expensive) but sadly, we cannot move in just yet. Because of said limited budget,we've had to make a couple of compromises: so the house we eventually chose needs quite a bit of cosmetic work. And sadly, they're still working on it. The advantage though is that I am in close contact with the contractor (the owner is paying for the work) so am able to direct him into what we'd like done. We have managed to move out of sister T's house though - thank you to the generosity of daughter N's godparents, who have an empty flat in a excellent part of town. Sometimes it pays to have friends in high places...

The children have settled into school and life here. All three seem to be managing very well with the slightly different curriculum and the harder Maths. E has been asked to join the school football team for an away game in Bangkok, N played quite a big role in a recent school play, whilst C is proving to be one of the more popular boys on campus. We have sadly not managed to organise Tagalog lessons for them; but that's definitely in the pipeline.

LH is enjoying his sabbatical - he is coaching football at the children's school (he is an FA-qualified coach) and has also offered to lecture at a graduate school in Manila. He has also been swimming and going to the gym. And until a couple of weeks ago, I was also on my way to getting fit. But sadly, a bunch of annoying hospital tests got in the way so it got sidelined. Hopefully, I'll find my mojo and get back into the swing of things next week.

The beach house is beautiful and we try to go every week - we pick up the children from school and head straight there. And that's all I'm saying about that. Oh, and boat's pretty cool too. Ha-ha.

Admittedly, it's not all wonderful here - there have been very hot days that I have found myself missing British weather, and the traffic is appalling. It can get very frustrating waiting for things to get done, but people just dont seem to be in any rush here. The communist system seems to be enforced when it comes to buying items and Internet shopping doesn't really exist. (I so miss Ocado.) And it can be expensive. But, I see my husband, and I see my children - and I see how much happier they are. I am less stressed as I have people helping me at home (currently a housekeeper, a cook and a driver). Which means that I find myself a more patient mother and a better partner. Oh and have I mentioned the massages?

Monday, 16 April 2012


The day before we were leaving the UK for our new life in the Philippines, the mover's van rammed into my car which was due to be sold and picked up early the next day. Naturally, I freaked.  But in a freaking scale, it was more of a 4/10.  It's been said that moving home is one of life's more stressful experiences, but I find that I've actually been pretty laid back.  Perhaps it's because I'm still on holiday mode and it will only be when the children start school tomorrow that the panic will begin; or it could be that the previous year's experiences of the motorbike accident and cancer have made the entire process of moving a doddle.  Or perhaps it's simply because I've already had three massages in the week and a half we've been here.  Whatever it is, I'm just grateful.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Baby steps

It's been a week since we landed in the Philippines, to start our new life. I know I've been quite remiss with this blog, but as can be imagined, it's been pretty hectic. The day after we arrived, we left for our beach house which we'd been building remotely for the past three years. Needless to say, it was quite an exciting event to finally stay there. Admittedly, it was quite sparse as we have not furnished it fully, but it had beds, it had a pool, and we had our boat - so we can live with that.  We arrived back in Manila and have so far: bought a new car (a very un-sexy people carrier), sorted out the children's school uniforms, ordered furniture for the beach house, and today, we found a house to rent.  So, very slowly and surely, we are getting there.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Don't judge us

(April 6)  Received a mean look from lady at immigration when we were leaving the UK when she realised that LH and I were flying business class and the three little pigs were stuck in cattle.  I'd like to think that this is a 'character building exercise'.  LH and I have certainly had our share of flying in terrible conditions (a particular TAP Airlines flight comes to mind) so we feel justified in what we have done.  Perhaps, years from now, when the children are all grown and have become uh... full of character, they will thank us.  One can but hope.

When, indeed?

(April 6) I'm writing this as we're around twenty minutes from landing in the Philippines. And for some reason, this big move has still not sunk in. I feel like we're just on one of our holidays and we'll find ourselves back in the UK in three weeks' time.  I do wonder when it's finally going to hit home that this is a permanent move; that rather than going to the Philippines for our annual holidays, we'll be going to the UK instead. Will it be when the plane touches town? Or when we first set foot on our finished beach house? Will it be when the children start school on the 17th of April? Or will it be when we find a house to live in, or all our furniture (and stuff) arrive from the UK? Who knows? Watch this space.

Friday, 30 March 2012


Here we go...!  The movers arrived last Wednesday which means that we're on day 3 of the packing and already I'm absolutely shattered. Although we're not actually doing any of the packing and carrying ourselves, it's the running around, making sure that they haven't packed something they shouldn't, that's exhausting.  Also trying to sort out our stuff:  what to throw out, give away, send to Manila or send to the beach house.  And to think that I was feeling slightly smug, as I thought I'd been pretty organised.  I'd been going through every room in the house for the past few weeks sorting things out.  But nah - it was all an illusion.

I just want this part of moving to be over now:  how I wish I could just wake up and find myself in Manila tomorrow!  But sadly we've got at least two more days of this.  Can someone just wake me when it's all over?