What're we expectin' to find here that equals the worth of a turd?

Archive for the category “Domestic”


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.

Staying Still

This coming weekend is my first one fully ‘at home’ in about three months. As such, I’m looking forward to it for downtime and some peace and quiet.

However, I feel almost guilty about staying home, and doing Not Much.

My brain keeps on saying “Oh, but you could do a day-trip to [x], [y] or [z]“.  And it’s right, I could. But I don’t really want to – except my brain doesn’t believe it.

It’s odd. One part of me wants to just have a down-weekend, a time of not doing a lot, and most emphatically not driving any significant distances. But the other part obviously does want me to do all of those things.

It’s a bit schizoid, so I guess I’ll have to wait and see which side wins out in the end. All very strange.


By the time my contract comes to its (current) end date, I’ll have been ‘working from home’ for nine months, with only one day a week in the office.  It’s fair to say I’m getting pretty used to that kind of state of affairs, where I don’t have to deal with loads of idiot colleagues all day every working day.

So I’m already wondering what’ll happen when it comes to The Next Job, which will – pretty much certainly – involve being back on-site five days a week.   It’s going to be interesting, for sure.

It’s fair to say that I’ve already become very used to working on my own schedule and workload, and it suits me nicely. Even better, I don’t also have to hear the inane banter and chatter of other people, particularly about things I’ve no interest in – soap operas, X-factor, Big Brother and the like – or fuckwitted opinions with no basis in anything like reality.  I’ve become more acclimated to peaceful offices where I can have a radio on if I want (or not) and that’s about it.  I’m less stressed because of it, and generally less ratty. (And if I could then sort out my sleep patterns, all would be rosy in the world)

In short, it turns out to have suited my personality quite well.

As a result, I may end up focusing more on further jobs where ‘working from home’ is the primary – but there’s no guarantee that they’ll happen, or come up in a timely manner.  As always with my stuff, I’ll take whatever gets offered first, and work from there.

In honesty, I can’t say I’m looking forward to any return to full-on office-based work, but it’s something I’ll face up to as and when it happens.

Sleeping Places

Following on from the insomnia attacks of late, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the things that do work for me when it comes to sleep.

Because I’ve also been doing a lot of travelling and visiting, it’s given me a wide range of reference points, which always makes things more interesting.

One oddity I have noticed is that I seem to sleep better on sofas than I do in bed.  It’s strange, but true.  I’ve also had a few occasions of coming home in the afternoon and getting a nap on my own sofa, but that’s more for catch-ups when they’re absolutely needed, rather than becoming a routine.

It’s been true for a long time though – certainly right back to the Norfolk house, where I’d sleep on the sofa-bed when we had bad weather and I had to take Hound in to the smaller bedroom to stop her being an arse.  When I think about it, it’s also applied a lot of times over the years, when going to see friends and so on, and preferring to crash on sofas rather than spare beds.

As a result, I’m doing a lot of thinking about whether I change my bedroom and bed, investing instead in a decent sofa-bed.  It’s food for thought at the moment, but not going to be a change I make quickly. After all, if I make the change and don’t sleep any better, then it’s been a loss/waste of a bed and so on.

It may be that I leave it until I move house again – which is something that’s on the agenda, but not any time imminently. That’ll definitely be to a bigger place – hell, it’d be a challenge to find anywhere smaller – so I can look at it seriously at that point.

I’ll think about it more – there’s other factors in that kind of decision-  but we’ll see where things go, I think.



While life’s been busy over the last few months, it’s also been a rotten period for my insomnia.

Well, the insomnia’s been doing really well – it’s just that what’s good for insomnia is (by definition) fucking bollocks for my sleep. So I’m knackered, and have been for a fair while now.

Obviously it varies – and to a degree I’m used to rotten sleep – but it’s been pretty cruddy of late, even by my own standards.  I’m used to – and pretty much fine with – around 4 hours a night, and can even get by for a while on 3 a night.  But recently I’ve been lucky to get two.

This, from last night, is the best night I’ve had in ages…


Frankly, that’s just messed up.

The thing is, no matter what goes on, nothing changes it significantly. I can go to bed early, I can go to bed late. I can drink coffee and diet coke, or I can cut out caffeine – either from sometime during the day, or completely. Eating early, eating late. Reading, not reading. Temperature, clothing, bedding (i.e. on the quilt or under it) – i’ve tried changing all of those things.

And none of it affects whether I sleep badly or not. When it was really bad a while back, I cut out caffeine totally for a couple of weeks. Even by the end of that period, I was sleeping even worse than usual.

All told, it’s just a pain in the bits. I’m hoping it’ll settle a bit more now, but well, we’ll see.

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