Paul and Margaret
Until 20 December 2003:
15 Kentings, Comberton,
Tel 01223 263232
From 28 December 2003:
1400 Barton Rd - Apt 2416,
92373, CA., USA
Tel +1 (909) 856 8300
was made redundant in June after 28 years at Laser-Scan - less than a
month after having a glowing appraisal report. It came with no warning,
and no notice nor redundancy pay because the company was in the hands of
administrators as insolvent. This didn’t stop the directors continuing to
receive their pay before effecting a management buy-out a few weeks later.
It’s apparently not illegal - just immoral.
next two months were spent worrying and job-hunting, resulting in
interviews in Aylesbury, Taunton, Dublin and California - all of which
resulted in job offers! Taunton was out because of the salary, and Dublin
and Aylesbury marked down because of house prices. The deciding factor was
that the job in California promised to be the most interesting.
some weeks of negotiations by e-mail and phone and two days of interviews
on-site, Paul was offered the post of ‘Product Manager for Cartography’ by
ESRI (Environment Systems Research Institute), the company which currently
has the largest share of the world mapping software market. It’s based
in Redlands, south east of Los Angeles. So we’re off to live in
California at the end of December!
- In the
interim, Paul is currently working on a temporary consultancy contract
with ESRI (UK), which involves spending time in Aylesbury and Dublin.
our planned celebration of Paul’s 50th birthday, a trip to
Peru, had to be cancelled, as did our Xmas trip to Sri Lanka. They won’t
be easy to rearrange, as leave is a lot less generous in the States than
in the UK. 10 days a year is not uncommon. I guess we’re lucky that Paul
will get 15, but it won’t give much time for globe-trotting!
leave England for a new life in America immediately after Christmas. We’re
going to let our bungalow in Comberton as we intend to return to England
‘one day’. We will come back in the meantime to visit friends and family,
but we’re hoping that lots of you will come and visit us in California.
Redlands has a population of 60,000 (half the size of Cambridge), a little
history and more culture than most American towns of similar size. Within
an hour we can be in the high mountains (above the snow line in winter) or
on the beach. The desert is less than two hours. Redlands is situated next
to the San Bernadino mountains (unfortunately the site of one of the
recent big forest fires), and 5 miles from the San Andreas fault!
we’re renting an apartment at the Redlands Lawn & Tennis Club. It has
2 bedrooms - so we can accommodate up to two visitors right
away. The complex has tennis courts, swimming pools, a gym and a racket
(squash) court, but sadly no badminton court. Margaret may have to take up
tennis again (after a 30 year break!). We hope to rent or buy a house once
we’ve found our feet, as we can’t envisage life without a garden.
will be taking an unexpectedly early retirement, as she won’t have a work
permit in the States. She will have the dubious status of ‘an accompanying
alien spouse’, but prefers the title of ‘a kept woman’. At least she feels
she is ‘hanging her boots up’ after achieving some success - and
appreciation - as Professional Development Officer for ISA (Independent
Schools Association). She will need to find something to do to keep her
out of mischief. There seem to be armies of volunteers (probably mostly
alien ‘spice’). There are even volunteer police! Despite the ‘natty’
uniform, Margaret isn’t too tempted in view of the American gun culture.
She has her sights on the Forestry Service - and given the current state
of the San Bernadino Forest (after 6 years of drought and the recent
fires), she could be kept very busy! She has decided we’re going to be the
only one car family in Redlands and that she’s going to cycle round town
(complete with shopping basket on the front!)
Despite the traumas of redundancy and relocation there have
been many good times during the year:
- We saw
in the New Year in Valencia, where we were on a walking holiday based in
the village of Quatretondeta. We returned home fitter but fatter due to
the wonderful meals.
spent Easter walking on our favourite island of Majorca, based in Sant Elm
in the south west corner of the island - lovely walks with
magnificent views of coast and mountains.
last walking holiday was in May in the Picos de Europa in northern Spain -
a contrast of high alps and attractive valleys, notable for the masses of
spring flowers. It was possibly the best European walking holiday we’ve
our foster son, got married at Easter on a glorious sunny day, so we have
gained a daughter-in-law and a step granddaughter and grandson, aged 3 and
mother’s 90th birthday in July was celebrated with a lunch for
42 friends and family members followed by champagne and cake in her garden
celebrated our wedding anniversary in California. This wasn’t planned, but
ESRI invited Paul to Redlands for two days of interviews in the week of
our anniversary, so Margaret got an unexpected (and rather expensive)
present of a week in California. We spent 4 days on ‘vacation’ in which we
‘hiked’ in the forest, did the Rim of the World drive with magnificent
views on both sides (before the forest fires!), went to the beach, and
visited Joshua Tree National Park (the Joshua tree is actually a yucca) in
the desert - where it rained!
cousin and wife celebrated their sapphire (45th) wedding
anniversary in September giving her the opportunity to spend a weekend
with members of her family.
also enjoyed a weekend in our twin French village of Le Vaudreuil
with wonderful weather and hospitality (Paul couldn’t get away from work
in time). She will treasure memories of a crazy dinner party (where the
French learned that Conkers is not an indoor game!) and a cruise on the
Seine with jazz band, before an outdoor lunch on the riverbank.
unexpected bonus of Paul’s redundancy was that we had more time to visit
family and friends, to do local walks and to enjoy the incredible summer
in our garden.
Canadian friends Lois and Ron (met on a walking holiday in Sicily) paid an
unexpected visit to England (driven from France by intense heat). We met
them in Lavenham and introduced them to the delights of Suffolk. It
transpired that Lois has a cousin in Redlands, who is now exchanging
e-mails with Margaret. She has also received an e-mail from an ESRI wife
who used to live in Cambridge with a cousin in Comberton, which shows what
a small world it is!
You may have noticed a ‘missing week’ between the date we
plan to leave Comberton and the date we expect to arrive in the States. We’ve
decided to spend our last week in Europe on a walking holiday in Spain!
(Friends have commented that only we could contemplate such a mad idea!) If you
wish to send us a letter or card, please post early as our mail will be
redirected to the US after 19th December.
Do come and visit us in Redlands and sample some of the
delights of Southern California.
Wishing you a Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year,