You look like one of them, but talk like one of us


Back on Tuesday, I had a (pre-arranged) visit from the Landlord, needing to do the annual gas safety checks and so on.

Compared to a lot of people I see on Facebook et al., I’m pretty lucky with my landlord. We get on OK, and he always calls (or sends a text, anyway) to let me know it’s happening, and that he’ll be there to keep an eye on the person doing the checks.  He doesn’t organise unannounced random visits, take the piss, or generally do a lot of the stuff I hear about, but have never experienced from a landlord. (And that’s probably a different post entirely)

Getting the checks done is always fine with me, and if nothing else it’s good to know that everything is tested and safe.

This time though, it was a bit different. Everything passed and was all OK, but when I got home I found that they’d managed to close the cats upstairs for the best part of the day. With no food or water. Or litter tray.  So yeah, that was fun – and necessitated use of the washing machine. We’ll leave it at that.

There were a couple of other niggles as well – nothing major, just stuff that’d been moved to get to the boiler etc., and hadn’t been returned to their original places and so on – and a broken shower-head bracket, meaning the shower wasn’t working properly.

He came round again yesterday to fix the shower head, and we had a bit of a chat about the other stuff. It’s nothing major – indeed, you feel pretty petty mentioning it – but it’s my place, and it annoyed. (I know, rented etc., but still – my place in all but mortgage)

I’m pretty sure it’ll all be fine again now, but it just annoyed for a while this week. Such is life.


Parking Mad

At the moment, the BBC has a documentary series on about Traffic Wardens (Parking Agents, Collection Agents, whatever else you want to call them) called “Parking Mad” and it’s been pretty interesting.

What I find most interesting is the people who don’t pay their parking fines, then get all snotty and sweary about it when the costs for it go up and up.

No matter how paranoid you are, I think the great majority of parking wardens just give tickets to people who’ve overstayed their tickets, not bothered, or are parking like cunts in the first place. I’ve spoken to a fair few over the years (I’m a twat for talking to just about anyone) and haven’t ever really come across a bad one. I’m sure they exist, don’t get me wrong – I just don’t believe every one is a bastard, or hates every other driver.

So if you’ve got a ticket- and again I emphasise that this is In My Experience Only – the odds are that you’ve fucked up and done something wrong. The ticket is going to cost you £30 to pay in the next 28 days, or £60 after that (and with extra costs the more they have to do to recover it) – so just sodding pay it. It’s a fee for fucking up.

I think I’ve now had four parking tickets. Two in Cambridge (where I’d be the first to admit that I pushed my luck anyway, and/or forgot to renew the ticket at the end of its duration) and two in London when I was commuting, and had a brain-fart about paying the ticket. The London ones were a pain, because you couldn’t buy the ticket before 9am- not from the machine, not online. I *know* it was a plan to get more people to forget to pay it, and thus do the tickets. But in six months, I forgot a grand total of twice.

I just don’t get the point of not paying a ticket – you know you’re going to lose anyway, so you might as well get it paid while it’s cheap.  Even if I were going to protest it, I’d pay while lodging the appeal. (Unless it’s better to not do so – I don’t know, never had to do it)

The programme seems to specialise in these ball-bags who park like twats, make a mistake, and then blame everyone but themselves. Of course, they don’t pay, and then bitch even more when the bailiffs come round (or stop them in the road) and charge £500 for what could’ve been dealt with for £30.

I’ve said many times that there’s whole heaps of stuff about people that I simply don’t get. Parking tickets are just one more facet of that lack of knowledge/understanding.

Gabriel Again

Back in October, I was supposed to go and see Peter Gabriel at the O2. Tickets paid for, car-parking paid for, all prepared. And then my body rebelled, so I didn’t get to see the concert. Which was seriously bloody annoying.

Today, tickets went on sale for another concert, this time in December at Wembley Arena.

I’ve got a ticket.

I’m going to go. I am, I am.


Since updating to WordPress 3.9, D4D™ was getting thrashed with spam comments – something that hasn’t happened for a long time. Nothing else changed, so I assume that there’s an issue somewhere within 3.9 that’s opened up again.

Anyway, having seen upwards of 200 spam comments per day, I asked around for some advice on other things to block it, and on Twitter Laura came through with a suggestion to use another plugin called WP Hashcash which I’ve done.

So far, it appears to be working very nicely, and I’ve not seen any more spam comments coming through at all. Definite win.

Of course, it may be that some valid comments get blocked too – if so, email me at lyle2 at the domain name…

Safety Checks

Today I’ve got the annual safety checks going on at the house for gas, electric and the like.

It’s also the annual inspection by the landlord, so I’ve spent a bit of time sorting out the house over the Easter weekend. It hasn’t needed much, it’s just making sure that all is well and tidy.

I keep the place pretty decent anyway – it’s not big enough to be a mess – but knowing the landlord’s visiting adds extra impetus to making sure the floors are mopped and so on as well. They’re the bits I don’t bother with as much, but still do fairly regularly. And of course a visit adds motivation.

It’s also meant having to move some things around, just so that they have access to meters etc. No big thing, just a minor-league pain.

[Updated : Everything came through fine. Happy Day]

Getting Through

While the last eight weeks have been pretty tight (as written about earlier this week) with the weird and slow pay structures of the agency behind my current contract – well, current for this week, but thank God, it’ll then be over – it also has been (yet another) illustration of how far things have come.  As if I needed it.

Two years ago, this whole thing would’ve been a nightmare, and would’ve left me deeply in the shit.

Now, it’s been OK. It’s been tight, I’ve had to move some things around, and make some arrangements – but it’s been OK. Some of that has been because of being able to invoice some other clients and have smaller amounts of money coming in from other sources. Of course, at the moment I have no other safety cushion – no overdraft, minimal savings to speak of (although both of those will be changing) – but it makes things a bit shakier than I’d like. Not as shaky as they have been in the past by any means, but I’ll be happier this year to put some fiscal cushions in place as well.

Until then, obviously I’ll be happy just to actually get paid, and have money in my account again, but it’s another thing I’ve managed to get through. And really, that’s no bad thing.


Slow Progress

This year, as I’ve said before (and on many occasions) I’ve been working at getting more exercise, with an aim of losing some weight, improving health, and all that standard crap. At the same time I’ve been keeping track of food intake and so on, which has been interesting rather than overly useful.

I’ve been doing fairly well for a start- I’m tending to average walking about 3-4 miles a day, including at least a mile round the village every day. I started off just making sure I did it even on days when I wasn’t in the mood, or when the weather was vile (and lord knows we’ve had plenty of those so far this year) so that I could establish it as routine, and thus have even less excuse when the weather was good.

It’s slow-going though – which I’m not happy about. I’m eating less than the ‘recommended’ calorie count, and I’m doing more exercise. But weight has stayed fairly stable.  As it is, I’ve lost half a stone this year – which is better than it could be, but it’s still hard to monitor when it takes so sodding long.

This week has been different, because of stuffing my back last weekend (which is improving, but still insanely sore in the morning) I made the decision to lay off the walking etc. as much. It’s about halved from the usual, and I’ll actually be glad to get back to it.

Anyway, there’s been progress, it’s just been ridiculously slow. Next step, once I’m back to not hurting (pardon the pun) will be to get back on my bike again and do more work on that score as well. Maybe that’ll help things progress. We’ll see.


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