Welcome to the Anti-Twunt Front

What Comes Next

This week I’ve secured and extended my current contract through ’til the end of the year – which is a pretty decent situation to be in.

However, I know that at some point in 2016 I’ll be looking for something new, and it’s making me think a bit about how it’ll work out.

The thing is, I’ve now been working in the current one for a year, and I’ve very much become used to working in my own office, at my own speed, with my own company. One day a week of on-site work, which has been enough on the whole workplace socialising thing for me, and the rest of the time I’ve been able to avoid general inanity and bullshit – which has been lovely.

I’m convinced it’s one of the things that has resulted in my general equanimity and contentment this year (as written about recently) so in some ways I’m really not looking forward to a return to four or five days a week on-site – which is the likelihood for the next contract, unless I can get very lucky and another ‘working from home’ contract – but we’ll just have to see how it all works out.

I’m not going to borrow trouble, though. It’s just something I thought about while looking at the contract extension and so on.

And really, only time will tell how things work out in the new year.

Situationally Unaware

As regular readers (what few there are) know by now, this year I’ve been renting a small office in a big building. On each floor there’s ten or so small to medium-sized businesses, so there’s a fair number of things going on at any given time, and deliveries are just par for the course.

What surprises me (still) though is how unaware so many of the people in those companies are. It’s a regular occurrence for delivery people to come up and not find a business, so ask another one where the recipient business is.  And it seems like hardly anyone else knows even who’s on this floor, let alone the others in the building.

All of which strikes me as pretty strange. After all, the people at this end of the building walk past all the other businesses/offices on the way here. Yet they obviously haven’t paid attention to the signs outside the other offices, saying who’s in each one.

I know the names of all the companies – not the employees, obviously, that’d be stalkery – and where they are on this floor. Come to that, I’ve a pretty good idea of all the businesses in the building – if not a precise direction then at least to the point of which floor, and which way to go out of the lifts to get to them.

Surely I’m not the only person who does this? It’s only a basic awareness of stuff around me, after all…

Stasis – At Peace

While I was wandering around London last weekend, I had the time to do some thinking about the whole ‘not feeling the need to move on’ thing, which was much-needed.

There’s a lot of reasons for not feeling the need to move on at the moment, as I’ve written about already. I won’t bother with all those again, because this one is actually something else, something I hadn’t really looked into massively.

Basically, at the moment I’m really quite content with life and how it’s shaping up.

That has it’s good and bad aspects, for sure. Obviously it’s good that I’m content, that I’m at peace with things, and not yearning for change. It’s not something I’m massively familiar with, it’s all quite new, but I’m not going to complain.

On the downside, it also means I’m not feeling a huge level of urgency about things – certainly not for moving, but also with life in general. It’s kind-of all steady at the moment, which is fine for the time being. I don’t know that I want it to stay like that long-term though.

I am a lot less angry and irritable, though – and that’s primarily a good thing. I’ve noticed, looking back, how much D4D™ has changed over that time, looking back to when I started vs now. Life’s a lot calmer – but it’s also quite a lot duller.

Sure, people still piss me off. Life still pisses me off. But it seems (at the moment) to wash off again pretty quickly. I don’t feel the need to rant, to vent things out when I do get pissed off. (Well, not as much, anyway) But that also makes D4D™ less ranty, less annoyed, and somehow less amusing – both for me, and for anyone else still reading this rubbish.

It also goes some way to explaining (I realised) why I’m having problems getting going on some of the writing ideas. I’m not angry enough, not needing to vent out onto keyboard/paper. I need to find another way to do things, which may take time. We’ll see.

All told it’s a good thing, a sign of positive change – but it’s also going to have some knock-on effects, requiring some though and some further changes. That’ll take some time, and some sounding out of options. But it’s all good, and all entertaining.

London – Parking and Walking

I’ve written before about my discovery that London’s Barbican Centre is bloody great for visiting London on a weekend – and the weekend just gone reinforced that for me.

Again, I drove in early-ish on both days (I was at Barbican by 9.30 on both occasions) and the run in was easy.

Parking was worse on the Saturday than I’d seen it before – but I still found plenty of spaces, albeit on the next level up, rather than the one I usually use.  (It turned out that Barbican was hosting a graduation ceremony thing for the Open University, which explained why it was so busy) Still not a problem though.

In this case, I was walking down to Tobacco Dock – roughly 5km away – as the weather was great, and I had plenty of time to do it. (The venue doors didn’t open ’til 11.30 on both days – so I knew I was OK, regardless) So I got time to explore a bit, wander around, see stuff, and generally enjoy early-ish mornings in City of London.

The best (for me) was wandering down, turning a corner, and unexpectedly seeing the Tower of London, with the Shard behind it…

London TowersAll told, it meant I got to explore some bits I didn’t know all that well, cover a decent amount of kilometres, and still do everything I wanted to at Meatopia – so just a win all round, really.

Even better, once I got home yesterday I filled up the car with what’d been used over the weekend. £30 of fuel, £18 for parking (Barbican put up their prices at the start of September by a whole pound – shocking!) – so it cost me less to do things that way than one day’s train and Underground fares would’ve been. Not bad, not bad at all.

Meatopia – A weekend of meat (and walking)

The weekend just gone was primarily spent in London, as it was the weekend of Meatopia, a festival of barbecue, meat, and music. Now in its third year, and I’ve been to each one.

I like the Grillstock festival (which is similar) but it’s still not a par on Meatopia, which really does bring in some of the star chefs in the barbecue/steak/brisket/burger sector of the industry, and there’s always some spectacular stuff on the list.

Meatopia is also more about smaller dishes – it’s more like a set of courses on a tasting menu, and you get to try a bundle of things. Grillstock’s stuff tends to be more meal-sized, so you don’t have as many, although there are also less/fewer (whichever) stands/cooks, so it kind-of balances out.

But if the two were ever to run on the same weekend, Grillstock would lose. For me, it’s that simple.

Because I knew I’d be eating a fair quantity of meat, I was (vaguely) sensible about it, and parked at the Barbican Centre (my new favourite parking in London) and walked to the venue at Tobacco Dock – about a 5km walk – which I really enjoyed. I know most people don’t see 5km each way as “a stroll” but for me that’s what it was – and improved by fun things along the way, like turning a corner and seeing the Tower of London, with the Shard directly behind it, which was a nice surprise.

As for the food, we did well. In no particular order, I had…


  • Kid Shwarma (Shwarma from Goat Kid)
  • Chargrilled Herdwick Lamb with Smoked Cream Potato
  • Picanha (cut of beef)
  • Smoked Shortrib Sandwich with Pickles and Sriracha Cocktail Sauce (awesome)
  • A fistful of pigs (pig cooked different ways)
  • One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer (Beef, Bourbon-braised peppercorns, beer cheese) – awesome
  • Anatolian Spiced FlatIron Steak with Babaganoush
  • Chicky Chicky Bang Bang (Barbecued Chicken in a bun, but with extra burger because the chef decided it wasn’t meaty enough)
  • Hawksmoor’s ‘Spitalfields Burger’ with braise short rib (excellent)
  • Bourbon-glazed Tomahawk steak surf’n’turf
  • Oh, and ice-cream, and a cider

Being a bad, bad person, I think also stopped of at Honest in Liverpool Street (it was kind-of on my route back to Barbican) to have their new Oktoberfest special burger, which was also ace. Although I couldn’t face the chips that came with it…


  • Dirty Jerk Ribeye on Beef Dripping New Potatoes (Amazing)
  • Pit-roast Middlewhite Pigs, Yorkshire Pudding, Onion Gravy
  • DuckHearts with Apple and Kohlrabi salad (my least-liked of the weekend)
  • Aged Venison Shoulder, Leek and Potato (Excellent – Joint Favourite of the weekend)
  • Herdwick Lamb Chop with Lamb Fat Hollandaise (Mega)
  • BBQ Chicken Shawarma, Garlic Tahini, Dill Pickle, Chilli Sauce (Joint Favourite of the weekend)
  • Spicy Old Cow (48-58 (opinions varied) day aged beef, chillis, beef dripping, sourdough roll)
  • Hawksmoor Tomahawk Steak with Bulgogi (I don’t know) Hollandaise.
  • And ice-cream and cider again

All told, an excellent weekend, with a total of 30km walked over the two days – which balances out a lot of the food intake!

Stasis – Weight and Health

It seems to be the season for stasis – and for thinking about it, which is kind of odd. But there we go.

Anyway, one of my goals for this year was to lose more weight – I lost two stone in 2014, and wanted to do a similar thing this year.

Well, that hasn’t happened.

(At this point I know I have to remind myself that there’s still three-and-a-bit months to go of the year, blah blah – but still, two stone in three months is less-than-likely)

It’s annoying in some ways, but in others it’s been an interesting process.

I have definitely, and visibly, lost inches. My strength and muscle have improved significantly, particularly since getting to do regular gym visits.  But the weight has stayed the same.

In general, I’m OK with that. I know I’ve improved, and have reduced body fat by about 20% (although there’s a way to go still) over the last eighteen months. I know I can beast through a 10Km walk in 100mins (an average speed of 6Kph) and I’m content with that. I know I can also do more on weight machines at the gym than the majority of the other users I see.

There’s still a good way to go – I’ve got my own targets, both short- and long-term, and I hope to get there. But I know I’ve made progress, I can see it and I can feel it.

I do wish that those bloody scales would show it though. I step on most mornings, so I know it’s not some weird coincidence that only sees me measure when I’m that weight. It varies by a pound or two either way – but that’s it.

I suppose I should be happy that my body is in some kind of balance/stasis, that it’s managing to replace fat with denser (note, not heavier, just denser – that’s a bugbear that I’ll write about some other time) muscle in a balanced way. And in most ways I’m content with it, with knowing there are changes that just don’t show on the scales.

But I’d still like to actually weigh less…

Stasis – Locationally Static

It’s somewhat scary, and horrifically organised, but I’ve just signed another tenancy agreement for the current house, so I’ll now be here ’til at least November 2016.

That will make it the longest time I’ve lived in one place since I left home a long time ago. No-one is more surprised about this than me.

In fairness, there’s a few reasons to stay – and not enough to move on.  Reasons for staying again include

  • It’s well-located, and easy to get to anywhere else (which helps negate the travelling itch)
  • It’s a decent enough place, and suits me for 95% of the time, as well as facilitating my anti-social side
  • I’m kind-of settled for a while (and so are the cats)
  • There’s nowhere else I particularly think “*That* is where I want to be living – let’s go!

This time next year, things may be different.  There’s a couple of significant change things happening over the next twelve months, which will make moving a bit easier in a years’ time (assuming I want to) and which contribute to staying put this year.

Not least among those is the simple fact of time passing. This time next year, my bankruptcy will have been cleared for three years, which puts it an ‘acceptable’ time in the past for credit checks. Still another two years before it disappears completely, but there appears to be a ‘wisdom’ that if someone has kept their fiscal nose clean for three years afterwards, it’s more likely that they’ll continue to do so in the future.

At the same time, I’ll have been done with the repayments plan (that expires in January) and will instead be putting the same amount directly into savings, which will be helping on building things up decently.

So yes, for the next year-and-a-bit I’m staying in the same place. And I’m surprisingly OK and non-twitchy about it…

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