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Archive for the category “Domestic”

Shoe Issues

Since doing the 10km walk for Marie Curie, my feet have been having some issues, which have been no fun.

In the preparation for the walk, my feet had gained some hard skin areas, which – like a twat – I’d picked apart. To stop them from hurting or getting worse on the walk, I put on a couple of blister plasters – whose glue melted off during the walk, and actually caused the blisters I ended up with. Oops.

The blisters cleared up and healed quickly, but left some weaker spots of skin, which have then been a bit of an issue.

Basically, the Cat boots I’ve had this year haven’t been anywhere near as good as usual, and the lining had dissolved in places – again, causing blisters in the bits that rubbed, and those weaker spots of skin.  Because I’d bought them from Schuh, I was able to take them back to the store, and they’ve exchanged them for a new pair without question – which is pretty stunning customer service, in my opinion.  However, because they’d died, I had worn an older pair for the day – and that exacerbated the problem tenfold.

Because I’m an idiot – so I’d walked a lot in those old, old boots, with their worse wear. I didn’t think anything of it ’til the end of the day, when I got home – at which point I had blood-filled blisters on blisters.  Pretty skanky, and very sore.  As a result, yesterday I spent the day doing amazingly little, and just giving my feet some recovery time. Which seems to have been a fairly good plan, all things considered. I didn’t even do half my normal walking for the day – which I feel bad about, but at least it was for a vaguely good reason.

All this has been within a couple of weeks – it’ll all heal, but it’s been a painful time because of my own stupidity (and some ropy build quality along the way).

So really this post is just a reminder to future me to not be such a fucking idiot, and to take more damn care of my own feet.

And that’s it.

New(ish) Places

As has been noted many many times here, I’m a bit of an idiot when it comes to travel, and think nothing of doing a two-hour-each-way drive for a day trip.  Somewhere in my head, I don’t really think “locally” for exploring and finding new places. As a result, I’m sometimes surprised by locations when I’m doing other stuff.

This weekend I was helping the Uborkans with a bit of taxi-work to make their lives easier. That involved nipping up to Stoke Bruerne to collect them, and dropping them off in Linslade – a dead easy journey, and not at all far for me.

I’d been to Stoke Bruerne a few times as a kid – school trips and the like – to the canal museum and so on, and I’d never realised how close it actually is to my current location.  We’re talking less than half an hour’s drive – it’s really close. Because it was a nice day, I got there early, and had a wander along a decent-sized length of the canal too, for fun – definitely somewhere I’ll return to.

Once I’d dropped them off at destination, I also finally discovered a pub I remembered from years ago, when I worked and lived in the area. So I’ll have to give that a go at some point – we never visited it the first time round, I just remember going past it on a regular basis, but didn’t remember the roads properly for how to get to it – I’d actually decided it was a different pub that I have tried and not been impressed by, which is in a similar location.  So yeah, that’s on the list.

And finally, in the evening the Uborkans had come back up to the edges of Milton Keynes, so we arranged to meet at a pub. It was in Simpson, an area I’ve been past on the main roads several times, but not actually been into at all – and it’s really nice, to the degree that you wouldn’t believe you were in Milton Keynes at all.  Indeed, it’s nice enough that it’s been added to the “yeah, I could live there” list, for if/when I decide to leave the current location.

It’s just interesting, how you (OK, how I) can still find new places in an area you’ve lived in for a number of years. I regularly bugger off far and wide, but I haven’t really explored a lot of the local area. Maybe that needs to change a bit…

London – Hamlet

Following on from yesterday’s post about London, Burgers and Hamlet, I thought I’d add some thoughts about the actual presentation of Hamlet.

The basic version is that I enjoyed it, and thought it was bloody good – although I’ve also got no solid reference points to compare it against. Technically it was still in the previews when I saw it – although paying full price for the tickets when it’s still in previews is a bit of a piss-take.  But it was worth seeing, and thoroughly enjoyed.

Happily, by the time we saw it, they’d put the ‘To be or not to be’ speech back in its proper place, rather than done as a speech at the start, and for that I’m thankful.

The staging is spectacular – as per previous reviews and thoughts, I’m a real geek for the technical side of shows, gigs and plays – and absorbing.

The play itself is, of course, equally absorbing, and interestingly done. I was surprised by how many lines and expressions from it are now in common usage – not something I’d realised at all. I thought Cumberbatch himself was good (but perhaps not excellent? I don’t know, with nothing to compare to, but he didn’t strike me as having that absolute star quality) and the rest of the cast were equally good, although at least one could’ve done with having a microphone arrangement, as his voice didn’t really carry at all.

That aside, I did enjoy the entire thing, and would happily go again, should the opportunity arise. (I doubt it will, but you know, it’s still something I’d be content to see again)  And now I need to see more Shakespeare stuff – as well as read more of it – and get a better grip on these things.

London – Meat and Hamlet

Last weekend, I was very lucky.  A friend had gained tickets for Hamlet (with Benedict Cumberbatch) at the Barbican for herself and a few others. As it turned out, one of those people couldn’t go, so the ticket was up for grabs. And I thought “Yeah, OK, go for that”. So I did.

I have to be honest, it’s not something I was eagerly wanting to see. I’m a bit of a philistine, and don’t really know Shakespeare’s stuff as much as I could/should.  Yes, I know Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet – plus bits of Tempest, but only because I’ve seen Return To Forbidden Planet.  I’d never been to see a Shakespeare play at the theatre, and really had no idea what to expect.

Anyway, things being as they are, I decided to make a day of it – and then both Honest and Blues Kitchen revealed new specials on their menus.  Well, it’d be rude not to, wouldn’t it?

The new special at Blues Kitchen

It turns out, you can park at the Barbican for the whole day on weekends for £8. That’s not far short of remarkable – and something I’ll definitely be taking advantage of again in the future.  I figured it would be ridiculously busy later in the day, so went up early, when the entire place was virtually empty.  (I’m glad I did, because the parking spaces are… entertaining, to say the least)

From Barbican, I could easily walk to everywhere else I wanted to be that day – bearing in mind, that’s “easily walk” in my terms, not necessarily those of anyone else/sane – so it was an easy day. A long one, as it turned out, but pretty easy.

I got to Barbican, parked up, and wandered. I knew where I was heading – but hadn’t actually clocked how close things were. It was about a mile, so not a long walk at all. (As always, for my values, not necessarily those of anyone else)  As a result, I was there far earlier than expected, and well before they actually opened. So – a further walk and explore was the result.

Once they opened, and I’d ordered, the Blues Kitchen burger was absolutely stonking. Best I’ve had in a long time…

The Pig KahunaThen a walk down to Honest – again, about a mile, maybe a bit further – and more of the same. I wasn’t overly taken with that special – it was still good, but not actually all that special.

From there, I had quite the wander – bits I didn’t know all that well, so spent some time mooching around, making discoveries, connecting parts of my mental map of London, and all that kind of thing.

post_burger_walkAnd then eventually back to Barbican, where I spent a very relaxed time on the Lakeside Terrace, reading and people-watching.

I’ll comment about Hamlet in another post – but safe to say, thoroughly enjoyed it.

Getting back was a doddle too – I’d expected the car park to fill up for the evening, which didn’t happen. So the performance finished at about 10.30, and I was home just after midnight. All told, a very civilised way to do a Saturday…


This one’s not quite on the actual anniversary of it happening – mainly because there was a small matter of D4D™’s birthday happening on the same day – but it’s close enough that it’s all good.

Anyway, it’s now three years since I was declared bankrupt, and it’s been a long old road.

I’m happy with where things are, and it’s all looking positive. There’s still a way to go – the next stage comes at the end of this year, but really from here on it’s all about rebuilding. Much the same as it has been for the last couple of years, but it’s a continuing process. Long may it continue to be so.

Changing Meters

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been – again – having issues with nPower and their circus-clown cohorts, Lowri Beck. I’ve written about this before, where they had said they hadn’t been in my house for four years, despite being supposed to be checking things at least once a year.  (And having supplied meter readings to nPower – so fuck knows how they managed that without having been in the house!)

Anyway, when they did come round back at the start of July, it turned out the electricity meter was fucked faulty, and so needed replacing. Fortuitous timing, as it’d been OK two weeks previously, when I took a reading from the damn thing.

The problem – as usual, with Lowri Beck – is that their meter replacement teams don’t work weekends. And nPower won’t do anything to compensate their customers for having to take time off to replace a meter (or anything else), even when it’s at nPower’s behest. All of which left us at a bit of a standoff.

Eventually, having progressed through the layers of nPower’s customer services section, I finally got to speak to someone who had the power/rank to be able to book in a job for a Saturday.  It was still a bit random, as more urgent jobs would take precedence over a lowly meter reading – but it got done. And only one cancellation before the person came out to do the job.

Because Lowri Beck couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery, the fitter had actually come from… London. All the way up to Milton Keynes – so was only able to do one other job on the same day.  It does make you wonder just how Lowri Beck stay in business, when they’re that disorganised and cretinous.

Anyway, an hour later, I’ve got a new – well, new to me – meter, and we can hopefully start seeing something approaching account normality.

Mind you, they did still manage to mis-enter the supplied readings from the new meter, and would’ve over-charged me quite significantly if I hadn’t been keeping an eye on the account…


Clowns, the lot of ’em.


Ten years ago today, I finally passed my driving test. How time flies when you’re blatting round the country, and all that.

Prior to passing, driving had never really bothered me – I’d usually lived in places with decent public transport links, and when I hadn’t there’d always been friends, or lifts.  It also helped to own very little for a lot of that time – there were a few occasions where I moved by train, and could still do it in one journey, albeit with three or four bags.

However, now I wouldn’t be without my driving licence (and car, naturally – or at worst the ability to rent one whenever needed) and would hate to lose it. If something were to happen that made me lose my licence, I’d have to change everything – house, job, life in general. It would emphatically not be fun.

It still surprises me, though, how much I’ve changed in that ten years, and how much my attitude to driving has changed too.

Because I was such a late adopter of it – pretty close to mid-thirties – I thought I’d stay with using public transport, and that I wouldn’t drive much. Oh, how wrong I was.

In that ten years, I’ve covered *at least* 180,000 miles. That’s just a calculation based on the two cars I’ve owned, and doesn’t include hire cars, Herself’s car when we were together, or any other journeys. With all that included, it’s probably damn close to 200,000 miles in ten years.  Considering I’ve had some years (like this one) where I’ve been working far closer to home than others, that’s still quite an average to have been covering.

As I’ve said before, I really don’t think anything of a day trip involving two hours driving each way – one of those can add 4 to 500 miles to my total on its own.

Oddly, the general attitude to driving and miles seems to be a family trait – my brother covers even more miles than I do, Dad always used to cover a fair amount too, and none of us think anything of doing journeys that most people class as “too far”. Or maybe it’s just being daft that’s a family trait…

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