Game over, over!

Working days left: 0. Days till departure: 20. That's it. Elvis may not quite have left the building, but he's certainly had his exit interview. After more than a decade, I have no job. I am unemployed. I presume this means I have to spend all day tomorrow sitting on the couch watching Richard and Judy and The Teletubbies... Funnily enough, I won't be - ironically, I'll actually be going back into work! Yes, they can't keep me away -- or, at least, they can't keep me away from my presents, for tomorrow's visit is largely to acquire the gold watch or whatever it is they've got for me. My manager was sick today, and couldn't make it in yesterday, so my goodies are lurking somewhere out of reach...

Sunday night's storms had a spooky, portentous feel to them, as if the gods were saying to me, "Fine! Go on then, leave! See if we care!" -- either that, or they just wanted to provide a gentle reminder of what I'm going to miss i.e. foul weather, cancelled trains, and the armpits of my fellow commuters. Either way, it's an appropriate bookend, since my time in England has been sandwiched by tempestuous weather. These gales were the worst since October 1987 - scant weeks after I started work down South. That great storm was the day before my parents came down to visit me for the first time...and lo, my parents are about to come down once more, to visit me for the last time in this country.

Monday was certainly a strange little day, right from being woken up by the noise of rain hitting the window horizontally, with a sound like a Keith Moon solo. The office must have had only about 40% of the people in, it should normally have, and even at lunchtime, the streets were eerily quiet, the Post Office almost deserted, and Benjy's sandwich bar seriously overstocked with unwanted cheese 'n' ham rolls [That's one thing I may miss in America: cheese and ham sandwiches which contain no salad, no coleslaw, no mayonnaise. Just cheese and ham.] Mind you, it worked in my favour: I'd scheduled my leaving do for that night, and the attendance was unsurprisingly low, what with the people who hadn't made it in at all, and those who opted not to risk staying late. By 8pm, there was one other person in the pub. By 10pm, I was out of there, so there was none of the "painting the walls with Guinness and blackcurrant" which occurred the last time I changed jobs.

And so I now begin preparations for departure, which is scheduled for less than three weeks time. I suspect that the days are going to fly past between now and then - partly because any attempt to clear out my junk will likely degenerate into me sitting in the middle of a pile of magazines, reading them. Does anyone want seventy old issues of Empire magazine? I don't do the throwing out stuff thing - with the possible exception of my ties, which are going to suffer the sort of mortality rate last seen among the post-asteroid dinosaurs. Otherwise, expect lots of agonising over whether or not I should ship my LP records out: I haven't actually listened to any of them for the past five years, but...but...but...well, we're certainly talking sentimental value, if not in most cases financial! But I shall be stern. I shall be harsh. I shall undoubtedly be burdened with far too much. And I wouldn't have it any other way!

As mentioned on the home page, updates during November will be "sporadic" to say the least - there may be the odd editorial, but don't expect much more. Normal service should be resumed towards the end of the month, when the jet-lag has worn off, from my new home - how odd, yet also how wonderful that sounds - in the warmer (certainly), less windy (hopefully) climes of Phoenix, Arizona...

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