D4D

Raising Rants to the Level of the Professional

Ker-fut

Yesterday nearly got very interesting indeed.

I’d had to drive over to Chesham for a day in the proper office, and on the way the car had started making some very dodgy noises, although it was all running OK.  From the noises, and when they happened, I was fairly sure it was an issue with the turbo.

As a result, I rang up the Saab garage, and booked it in for a checkup on Tuesday, which was the first day they had available.

On the way home, the noises were worse, so I was driving more carefully (and a bit slower) than usual.

I got to the Leighton Buzzard bypass (having avoided the M1 on a Friday evening – can’t think why I might’ve wanted to that) and whatever had been weakening let go, dumping a shitload of smoke and gunk over the road – which must’ve been interesting for the poor bugger behind me, to say the least.

I’ve managed to nurse it home – taking it slowly, accelerating without hitting the turbo ranges etc. – so it’s parked up outside the house, and I’ll be somehow getting it to the garage over the weekend (when the traffic is quieter, in case things go horribly wrong) in order to get it sorted on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’ve also reserved a hire car for next week, and we’ll see how things go from there.

I don’t yet know whether I’ll get it repaired/replaced, or look for something new – a lot of it will depend on what the costs are for fixing it, really. So I’ll know more later in the week, and work from there.

In honesty, I could’ve done without the hassle – but it’s something I can deal with without crippling me, and that’s no bad thing.

Reducing Available Excuses

Over the last month, I’ve been getting back into going to the gym. At first it’s been more about just adding it in to my regular routine – and that’s been fairly successful, I’m pleased to say.  I do intend to go through things with a personal trainer and so on, figure out what my goals and targets should realistically be (and there’s some other parts to that too, but more of those at another time) but for now it’s been more about just going, doing some stuff there, and just getting it back into my normal day.

With the exception of last week – where I’d twatted my foot (again) enough that it was painful to walk on, let alone do any serious exercise/workout/walking – it’s worked out fairly well, and I got in at least twice a week.

This week, with the foot back to being OK (or at least OK enough) I was back to going, even though I really wasn’t in the mood, and frankly I was too fucking hot to want to go.  But I still went.

My philosophy at the moment is to go when I don’t want to, when the conditions are crap – too wet, too windy, too hot, too whatever – to make sure that I’ve no excuses on normal days. The only time where excuses are allowed are when I’m hurting, and it’ll affect them (and possibly make them worse) by going.  That’s it.

So having been on the hottest day of the year, I’ve no real excuses any more when “it’s too hot”. Yes, it’s definitely not nice (and an extra change of clothes was a very good plan!) but it got done, and I can’t make that excuse.  (I was actually surprised by how few people were in the gym on that day – I assume ‘It’s too hot to work out’ had an effect on that, too)

So – making progress. We’ll see how things work out from here…

Weekend of Quiet – the nPower farce

As I said earlier, the only scheduled thing for the weekend was a visit from Lowri Beck,  the clowns who are nPower’s third-party partner in the area – who needed to check my electricity meter.

Supposedly they legally *have* to do this once a year – and they allege they haven’t been inside my property in four years (i.e. before I even moved in), so it’s hardly a legal requirement in the first place. Saying they haven’t had access is utter bollocks, by the way,  as someone from the company was in there to check the gas one a month ago, and I’ve had people from the same company in to do readings before (except they then lost them, due to being useless cunts)

Anyway, the guy turned up, and in his most helpful manner said “Oooh, that’s not good. How long’s it been doing that?”. To which, of course, I said “Doing what?”, as I’m not a fucking mind-reader, and couldn’t tell you one end of a meter problem from the other.  “That” he says, and points at the meter.  “Go on, give me a clue.”

Turns out, there’s a flashing light that says “I need replacing”. It wasn’t there two weeks ago when I took my own meter reading, but now the clowns are here, we get the full circus lights. *sigh*

So – I now need to get a replacement meter.

But in a fit of truly inspired crap customer service, Lowri Beck’s installers only work Monday to Friday, 9-5. So to get a new meter, I’m going to have to take time off work, costing me money for something that’s entirely not my fault. And nPower won’t offer any alternatives, compensation, or understanding. (Which is no surprise whatsoever)

I’ve got it booked in, but it looks like it may just be time for yet another fight with the asshats at nPower.  Oh goody.

The Weekend of Quiet

As planned, last weekend was fairly quiet – and much needed.

The only booked thing I had in was to get someone from nPower’s third-party partner company in to look at my electricity meter. I’m going to write about that in a different post, because it gets long-winded, and slightly farcical. (As do all things nPower)

Other than that, I didn’t do much. The total of activities was

  • Visit the cinema (twice)
  • Keep up my walking targets, so I did wander round Milton Keynes etc.
  • A bit of shopping
  • Sorting out the back yard, including buying new pots and plants, and getting them installed/planted.
  • Other very small odds and sods.

So it was decent.  It would’ve been better if I’d actually been able to sleep well too, but there we go, that’d be pushing my luck too far.

Warm

Today is the UK’s hottest day of the year (so far) – which is quite surprising, as it’s right at the start of Wimbledon fortnight. Usually that would signify two weeks of grey/damp/wet weather, but this week so far seems to be clear,bright and – yes – warm.

Of course, I realise that people in Australia, America, and umpteen African nations (as well as a bundle of others) are laughing their socks off at us here thinking that 30° C is anything more than ‘slightly warmer than winter’, but lordy, we do like to complain about it.

The thing is, here in the UK we’re just not used to extreme weather – or even ‘more than mediocre’, really.  30°C isn’t extreme to most places, any more than -10°C is, but to us in the UK, those are extremes. Neither end is common enough for us to have created the infrastructure to deal with it – neither air-con in every building/facility, nor heating and anti-snow/ice stuff for the cold bits. Neither hits us for more than three or four weeks a year, really – and on average it’s probably even less than that.

So yes, we’re not good at dealing with weather – and some of that is just part of Being British™, I suppose. But there is also that side to be considered, that we just don’t have the equipment (whether in buildings/facilities/institutions, or just within our own bodies) to cope with it decently.

For myself, I don’t mind it.  I used to really dislike hot/warm weather, but I’m getting better at it. Today’s been spent ‘working’ at home, and it’s meant I’ve been out in the yard for most of it, now that it’s a decent place to be. Those two weekends of doing stuff here turns out to have been pretty much perfectly timed, so it’s a pleasant environment. And there’s been enough shade in general to have let me be out in the warmth without crisping myself in direct sunlight.

That’s a win all round in my book.

More Practical Stuff

Following on from previous posts, the yard project was something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

Last summer, I saw some wooden decking tiles in Ikea, and thought they’d look good in my yard. I didn’t bother at the time, as there were other things to do, and I was more than slightly mired in dealing with a particular shitbag employer (I griped about them at the time, and can’t be chuffed to do so again) so it went on the back-burner and I didn’t get round to it.

Anyway, it’s stayed in my mind since then.  Once I’d done the fence last weekend, I started thinking about it again, decided “Nuts to it”, and went to Ikea on Friday after work. (It’s not bad directly after work, although admittedly I left earlier than standard working hours, and with only one thing in mind to purchase)  In the spirit of being organised, I also bought some weed-proof membrane to go under the tiles, which should help keep it looking better.

Purchase successful, I got home and decided that I’d make a start.

Less than two hours later, I was done.  Admittedly, it’s not a huge yard, but everything went together so easily and worked so nicely, I was really pleased with the entire thing.

Yard TilesI’m really pleased with it. And for an all-in price of less than £200 (including the weed-proof membrane) I can’t really fault it at all.

The final bits of the project now will be some pots and plants, although I’m yet to decide what stuff I actually want. That’s the next stage though.

Domestic Simplicity (Again)

A while back, I wrote about not being practical, yet still getting stuff done when the need arose.  A similar thing happened last week, and I’m equally chuffed with how it’s worked out so far.

Basically, the fence panels around my back yard haven’t been treated in a long time – since the cottages got revamped, at a guess, which is probably about ten years now. I’ve been in mine for three years, so I know for sure it hasn’t had any treatment in that time.

So basically, I decided to do the whole wood-painting thing, and sorted it all out.  Basic preparations got done – purchase of supplies, and cleaning off the fence etc. of all dust, spiderwebs and general grut.  The paint is ‘woodland green’ – I kind of like it, and if the landlord doesn’t then I can paint over it easily with something darker when it comes time to move on/out.

And on Sunday, because I was up horrifically early, I just got on with it. I’m really pleased with the results, too. Even better, I didn’t cover myself, and didn’t cover the rest of the yard with it either.  Some small specks, but nothing major.

I’ve got a couple of bits still to do – one of the fences also has a lagged water-pipe against it (don’t ask, I’ve no idea) and I still need to do under/below it. (I hadn’t bought any small brushes to get into those tight spots, but I’ve got some now)  And it all dried nicely, to a decent colour – and without being trampled through the house by the bloody cats.

I’ve got some other ideas for the yard, for doing some extra stuff with it in the next couple of weeks – once I get ideas in my head, I like to get on with them – but all told it’s been remarkably positive, and I’m deeply cheered with how it’s gone so far.

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