Another week not forgotten in the countryside

by James Wallis
Updated: March 24, 2024
12 minute read
A walk in the woods near Ewhurst

We had a good week in Surrey/West Sussex doing all the things we’re now accustomed to. Each day could easily go by without remembering it as nothing too exciting or outstanding happened. However, luckily we have our journal to remember roughly what each day was like when we look back in a couple of months, years or decades. I guess that’s why we’re writing it, especially when it’s so easy to forget.

Monday 18 March 2024

Closed country roads getting in the way

Anna woke up early but we still ran out of time with getting ready to go to MSSL but luckily we have a car to get there this week. I think Anna was too busy using her binoculars to look at the wildlife from our bedroom window.

It was nice driving to MSSL to drop Anna off. We almost forgot what it was like to cycle for 3 hours rather than a 20 minute journey there and back. The only thing was that after dropping Anna off I thought I would try a different way back just to explore a different route. However, I got lost due to three closed country roads getting in the way and I refused to use Google to find my way back. It took me 45 minutes to get back which was still faster than cycling but only just.

Due to our new found time there was time to hover the house for the first time since we fully moved in.

The rest of the day involved working on database development, website design and a bit of SEO and Marketing for some of our clients. Anna spent some good time learning Python and mapping negative ions.

I think we worked at night for a bit too.

admiring the wildlife from the bedroom window
Tuesday 19 March 2024

Research with a view

Another day of driving to MSSL with an early start to get Anna safely to MSSL.

Today was a day of research for me in terms of working with Meta Business Suite (Ben Heath and Adam Erhart were the teachers as well as Wes McDowell for some of his marketing ideas). Anna had her research day yesterday and today was a day for PhD applications for long term attachments in the USA and France and applying for funding.

We spent the night working until 9pm which is pretty early for us and spent the rest of the night resting before falling asleep.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Eating Almondy Daim Chocolate Cake

Nothing too interesting happened today apart from working on our interesting work projects and PhD research.

We did go to Tesco Petrol station to fill up with a full tank of diesel petrol to get around on all our adventures for the next couple of weeks or so. We’ll see how far £65 of fuel lasts.

We did a quick tour of Tesco just because we like walking around supermarkets but we held back on getting too much because we had a delivery planned for tomorrow night.

We only got a few things including grapes and a delicious Daim cake. When Anna and I saw it we both were so happy and both immediately thought back to when we were in Singapore and we really really wanted it and even walked around with it in our hands whilst shopping but we were met with the dilemma of whether to buy it or not because out there is was priced at about £12 compared to £4 in the UK. It’s safe to say we didn’t buy it in Singapore but this time we decided we would get it.

We were really happy getting it at this value even though it’s probably still double as much as its worth. We definitely noticed that pretty much all food was so much more expensive in all other countries we visited last year, especially in Singapore, New Zealand and even Thailand and Vietnam. However, Japan was great value in terms of food prices. We even had a Sushi full meal for two for less than £5 in a really nice mom and pop business with our last cash of the country.

We enjoyed our Daim cake that night and ate it all in one go.

Thursday 21 March 2024

Delivering food to our old house

We had another day of working and researching. I spent the morning cleaning the car because the country birds sat in the tree above where I park.

Anna finished slightly early from MSSL because we were both so hungry. We both really wanted chicken kievs and mashed potato which we made immediately made when we got in.

We were also excitedly waiting for our Tesco delivery because we wanted my potato sticks and Anna’s sorbet ice cream. However, the delivery didn’t quite make it. We ordered it to our old address where our old house mate Neda delt with the delivery. It’s funny because we never once order a delivery from Tesco whilst we lived there for three years and the first time we get a delivery there we don’t actually live there anymore.

We redelivered the same order minus one or two things for tomorrow so alls good. Plus Tesco even did a partial refund which is good too.

mssl lunch time walk

Friday 22 March 2024

Forgetting things but it's okay

Anna had a shorter day than normal at MSSL but we did catch up on lots of our Website work and worked until about 20:30 that night just doing a few projects. We did realise that Anna had forgotten things at the office so we planned a walk for the next day nearby to the Lab so we could pick things up.

Also, our food shopping arrived which was great because Sorbet and potato sticks were here. We ended up falling asleep not watching any shows or films by about 22:30. I think we were both pretty tired.

james and anna in the mirror
Saturday 23 March 2024

Our weekend walk in the woods

We set off on our walk in the Surrey Hills woods near Annas Space Laboratory (We picked up all of the things forgotten in the office on Friday including charging cables and printouts).

On our drive towards our walk every type of weather was showing itself to us putting doubt in our minds whether the walk was a good idea or not.

Luckily by the time we got there the sun had come out and we were greeted by lots of mountain bikers on their adventures. It seems like this wooded walk was perfect for mountain bikers. There were hundreds.

Anna and I set off on our walk with an intended route to follow, however, our phones had no signal so we just had to pick a direction and go for it. On our walk into the woods we were talking and laughing that people don’t say hi as easily when walking in Surrey, and I mentioned to Anna that it’s a known fact that the further north you go up the UK the more people say hello when you’re passing by.

After being slightly ignored by the first couple of walkers we actually didn’t see anyone else for a good hour. I think we took a unique route into the woods. By now the sun was shining and we bumped into a nice lady (Melia) and her cocker spaniel (Winnie) who said hi to us. We bumped into them again a few minutes later and got talking about all sorts including how her English husband got her wedding ring from Russia and it had some engravings on it which Anna translated to confirm there was a lovely message on there (something about love). It turned out this lady was from Ohio, USA and had lived here for 21 years. Maybe that’s why she stopped and said hi to us.

Our walk led us to some nice views of Surrey where we could see our old cycle ride from a birds eye view from Cranleigh to Ewhurst and then around to MSSL.

One thing we don’t quite understand was that the route through the woods was quite restricted due to lots of private land signs. Who owns all this land? And why are we not allowed on it? It’s a bit like when some says you’re not allowed that was… it’s the farmers land? Who is this farmer and why do they have so much land that we’re not allowed through when we don’t have any?

At the end of our walk we realised there used to be an old World War 2 training base for secret agents at Winterfold house just nearby. We joked that Anna is really a secret agent and she doesn’t really go to MSSL each day, she actually goes to secret agent training because that’s what she wanted to be growing up. Also many of Anna’s family members had been parachutists at some point which was the symbol on this Secret WW2 Learning Network logo.

going on a walk in the woods with anna
Sunday 24 March 2024

Lazy Sunday

It’s such a pleasant relief to know that all previous days were written throughout the week to make writing our journal for this week much easier.

Our Sunday was a lazy, relaxing Sunday. It reminds me of some 60’s songs called Lazy Sunday by The Small Faces (1968) and Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks (1966). It’s funny how much of a repertoire the human mind picks up throughout the years, especially with music from decades way before your time.

It was nice to see our next door neighbour that we met earlier in the week mowing his garden with his Romanian rescue dog Shadow. I say with, Shadow was just sunbathing in the early Spring Sun watching the human work.

I also say it was relaxing and a lazy Sunday but we did tidy the house and do a little bit of work. Also, Anna practised her barber skills on me too.

earth moon and tree

All in all it was a good week with lots of activities, work and research in progress and going in the right direction. It’s funny how nothing ever feels complete but I guess it’s the journey that matters and it’s probably best if there’s always something to be done.

If you are curious, here are our living costs for this week 12 of the year (18 March – 24 March 2024).

18 Mar – 24 Mar 2024
One week rent of a one bedroom house in West Sussex near Surrey Hills
Not really £0 because we still have energy, water, broadband, mobile phones, TV licence, council tax, waste removal and other miscellaneous bills spread across the month.
Almost full tank of petrol but only used about £22 this week. However, there is still the other monthly cost of Annual Car Tax and Monthly Insurance the PCP lease still to pay and MOT’s and Breakdown and Maintenance still to be covered during the month. No other transport was needed this week.
Some shopping and snacks.
Amazon purchases and household items
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