D4D

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10km

Over the weekend, I took part in a 10km (6 mile) walk to raise funds for Marie Curie cancer care.  They’d done it as an evening thing, round a local(ish) stately home.  In my case, that meant Boughton House, near Kettering in Northamptonshire.

As it was, I just fancied doing it – it seemed like a fun alternative to the whole ‘fun run’ (an oxymoron if ever I heard one) and just something I wanted to do, so I signed up ages back, and did some (very minimal) fundraising with friends via Facebook.  I raised enough to be able to do the walk, so there we go.

In the meantime, life conspired to make sure I had no practice or ‘training’ whatsoever – with the icing on the cake being the fact that my decent walking boots fell apart the night before the walk. Ain’t life grand?  Still, it wasn’t a major issue – I walk everywhere in boots anyway, so sod it, just use my everyday ones. At least I know I won’t get blisters!

Fortunately, Saturday evening was dry – the limit of my preparation was a vaguely waterproof jacket (well, more fleece than anything) but by halfway round I was sweating like a perv in a playground, so it got taken off and carried the rest of the way.

I wasn’t really in the mood to be sociable, so didn’t actually speak to anyone else on the walk. Chatted briefly to some of the marshals, but nothing else. I was doing it more for the walk, the fundraising, and just to be doing it – plus plenty of time for thinking/planning, of which more another time.  I could’ve strangled a few people – particularly the dog-walkers, with their extendy-leads that conspire to try and trip people at every opportunity – but for once I was fairly mellow. Mind you, one of ‘em nearly ended up with a boot up the arse.

All told, I did the 10km in 1hr 50 mins, which I was really quite pleased with. It wasn’t super-quick, but at the same time I was also surprised by how many people took a lot longer to do it. It wasn’t competitive: no names, numbers, or times, but it was still interesting. I didn’t set out to be first, or to do a blistering time, but managed to end up in the first third of finishers, if not the first quarter. Which surprised me, but anyway.

And then just the drive home. I could’ve stayed for some kind of concert and fireworks, but again, I wasn’t really in the mood.

More importantly, I was quite chuffed that I’d done it, and while my feet were sore afterwards there’s been no lasting pain, blisters, or anything. All told – and bearing in mind how little preparation I’d managed to do – it went pretty damn well.

Who knows, I might even do it again next year. After all, I’ve a time (and financial) target to beat now…

Scottish Independence

In a few day’s time, Scotland will be voting on whether they should become independent from the United Kingdom.

Personally, I don’t give much of a damn either way on this one, if I’m honest.

However, I do think it would be a more interesting referendum if it had been a UK-wide question, rather than asked just to the Scots.

Anyway – regardless of the outcome, what I hope is that there is a clear and large margin between the Yes and No votes.  I don’t want to see it being 49 to 51 or whatever – because then it’ll just end up with more fighting, that the people who are in that ‘minority’ (that’s still just under half, and thus makes for one heck of a lot of people) feel they’re being forced by the other half to do what they don’t want to.

If it’s a 75 to 25 in either direction – maybe even a 60/40 split then it’s harder to argue the toss at all.

Mind you, the cynic in me really wants to see it split 50/50, and see what happens then.

A Process of Re-assessment

This year has been absolute garbage on the job front. While I’ve never been out of work, I’ve had quite the selection of shitty employers, contracts and workplaces.

I don’t know if this is a developing theme in general, or if my quality control is currently shot to shit, but either way, it’s been making me think and reassess about whether I even truly want to stay in this industry of mine.

I’m not decided yet. Leaping out of this and into something else right now would probably be one of my dafter moves, and I know that. So I’m not going to bail overnight or anything like that.  (Although that doesn’t stop me from thinking about other roles, easier jobs – or at least jobs I perceive as easier – and wondering about whether those changes would result in less stress or more)

I don’t know. I hope it’s ‘just’ been a shit year, and that whatever comes next will be something where I just enjoy it again.

Mind you, that was the plan/hope with this one – the stuff at interview made it sound really interesting and positive, things that were up my street and really positive.  In fairness, the work itself *is* interesting, challenging, and new/fun. It’s just that the owner of the company in question is a lying, double-dealing ‘last minute dot com’ dick – which affects everything else.

Onwards and upwards, and we’ll see what comes next.

August

The last month has been a tough one – workwise at least.

There’s been a lot of stuff going on, new bits of the core business as well as ongoing new developments, and it’s been pretty fraught.  Learning a new system, figuring out what the original idea was, and finding umpteen issues with the entire thing. With all that going on – as well as some mistakes on my own part – it’s meant I’ve done one hell of a lot of hours, including a 36-hour working day this week when things went spectacularly wrong one evening.  I’ve had very little time off, been working weekends and so on. And while that’s kind-of been my choice, I’ve also been given the firm impression that it’s also expected.

The downside of it all has been a feeling that it’s all been taken for granted, that this is how things will be in this job. I’m hoping that’s not the case.

At the moment I’ve got my reservations about the whole thing. I don’t want it to be this way, but the impression I get is that it’s all about “we want this right now, and the hell with any plans you might have had”.  And that’s not an attitude that sits well with me, as we all know.

Things should calm down this month – that’s the hope, anyway – but it’s very much going through a review process in my head at the moment.

We’ll see. I’ll know more by the end of September, and just go from there.

Oncoming

On Saturday night I discovered possibly the scariest message that can be displayed on those motorway information boards.

That message is

Caution. Oncoming Vehicle.

I can tell you, it does fairly make the old backside pucker, seeing that.

 

As it was, I didn’t see the vehicle in question – I assume it either got stopped, or turned round.  But it doesn’t half make you worry.

Of course, if this were all a joke, the punchline would be

And it wasn’t just one, there were bloody hundreds of the buggers.

But it’s not a joke, and it wasn’t a funny thing…

Signage

At the moment I seem to spend far too much of my available non-work time on the road, so I notice stuff around me.

Over the last couple of weeks one of the motorway gantries on my route (the ones with speed cameras on) has been out of action, so there’s been a small – but noticeable if you pay attention – yellow sign saying

Camera not in use

Today though, I noticed that it has changed, and now says

Camera now in use

And lo, there we go, seeing it flash on speeders.

It just struck me as interesting, the simple alteration of one letter that means so much, and changes the whole thing – and I wonder how many people notice/realise.

Going Round in Circles

Yesterday I did – yet another – circumnavigation of the M25 in one day. It’s quite a childish thing, allbeit not something I do on a whim, but sometimes it amuses me.  The main difference this time was that I did it anti-clockwise, which for some reason I do less often.

Yesterday was a drive from home to parents in Oxford, collect them and drive them to Dover (they’re off on a holiday) and then back round to the M1 to go home.  It also involved a trip into the office – that’s a post for another time – so all told I covered about 350 miles in the day.

Anyway, all well and good, and I’m still alive. Just currently snowed with work-related stuff, hence the paucity of postings here.

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