D4D

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Archive for the category “Thoughts”

More Travel

As I’ve said many, many times before, I can be a bit of an idiot – particularly when it comes to what I regard as ‘doable’ for travelling etc.

Today has proven that yet again.  Well, I’ve organised it all today, but it’s happening on Saturday.

Over the weekend, I saw some really good reviews and opinions about the production of King Lear that’s currently going on at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, with Don Warrington as Lear.  So today I had a look at whether there were any tickets still available.

Turns out, there were. Not many, but enough for me to book one to see it on Saturday afternoon.  And that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve also (in the name of something approaching a sensible idea) booked myself on trains to get up there and back. But I did seriously think about driving, too. A 350-mile round trip to see a play. Like I said, an absolute idiot.

The reason I’m not making a weekend of it is because I’m also in London on the Sunday – although not ’til the evening – for another hopefully epic meal.

I am indeed an idiot, and quite possibly a lunatic.

Fish, Aylesbury Waterside

Last night, once I’d finished work I drove over to Aylesbury for a gig. Fish, the ex-lead-singer from Marillion was back in their home-town, and performing one of their classic albums, Misplaced Childhood, in its entirety for the last time, on a tour called “Farewell to Childhood”, because it’s the 30th anniversary of it being released.

I’ve liked Marillion – well, I liked the Fish-era Marillion – since their start, so seeing this gig was always going to be a good one. It’s just a pity it had to be in Aylesbury. Understandable, but a pity all the same.

First of all, I’d forgotten just what a benightedly scabrous shithole Aylesbury is. By the time I got there (just before 6pm) it was pretty much all closed. It’s always been a boil on the arse of Civilisation, and never seems to improve, no matter what the planners, developers and town-centre managers do to it. It’s an unremitting dollop of shite.

I truly don’t know what kind of sins you’d have to have committed in previous lives in order to deserve living in Aylesbury, but they must be truly epic ones.

Anyway, the Waterside Theatre itself is really nice. I’d not been before, but it really impressed me, and is back on the list of places to see stuff.  Again, it would be even better if it weren’t in Aylesbury, but there we go.

The gig was thoroughly enjoyable – my brain refused to store who the support act were, which is a disappointment, as I’d like to make sure I don’t see them again by accident. But once Fish and his band came to the stage, it was all good. They started with playing a number of tracks  from Fish’s solo career (which, admittedly, I’m less familiar with – but I’ll be rectifying that) before playing the whole Misplaced Childhood album, and finally closing with a couple of other crowd favourites.

I really enjoyed it – Misplaced Childhood isn’t my favourite Marillion album by a long chalk, but it was still a good gig.

All told, a good evening – despite the location…

Going Back

When I went back to Reading over the weekend, I also took the opportunity to stop off in Bracknell.

There was a vague kind of logic/sense here, in that I expected Reading itself to be solid, through having road closures etc. going on for the half-marathon itself, plus usual Sunday shoppers and so on, so it made more sense to get to somewhere else, and then train into Reading. I knew Wokingham station’s car-park is a bit of a cluster-chuff at the moment, so I went for Bracknell instead. And as things turned out, that worked really well.

Of all the places I’ve lived, Bracknell was probably the one I liked least. (I just tried writing ‘the most least-liked’, but that’s a phrase to make eyeballs bleed) I’m not a great fan of most of the area – I don’t mind Wokingham and Windsor, but the rest I could happily never really visit  again.  So it was also a chance to see if Bracknell had improved at all, or if I still disliked it.

First things first, there’s a whole new roundabout and housing estate on the approach to Bracknell, which was quite a surprise. I’d thought I knew where I was going – and I kind of did – but that did come up as a bit of a shock. (Even more so, as it also didn’t come up on the SatNav) I can’t imagine the driven commute between Bracknell and Wokingham/Reading was any fun at all while all that was going on.

Other than that, there’s a lot of regeneration work going on in the centre of Bracknell, which I didn’t get the chance to have a proper look at.  It wasn’t that high in my priority list – mainly because I’m still pretty sure nothing short of flattening it and starting again will do anything positive for the place.

Obviously I didn’t get to see all of Bracknell, but then, nor did I massively want to. The bits I saw were more than enough to convince me it’s still a scabrous shitpit, and definitely somewhere I’d never want to go back to for anything more than a couple of hours. In that context, it’s fine – much more than that kind of timescale, though, and it just becomes some kind of self-inflicted torture…

Heavy Mileage

This weekend’s been a busy one, what with one thing and another.

Saturday was supposed to be quiet – because Sunday was already planned with a day-trip to Reading and had other stuff going on – but I wanted to do something. So, being an idiot, I opted for a day-trip to London, primarily to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year photos at the Natural History Museum, which I hadn’t been to in at least twenty years.

The idiot part is primarily that I decided to walk there – from Euston to Natural History Museum. And back. That’s 7km each way, plus whatever else I wanted to do.  I just thought “well, I can do 5km easily, so the other 2km will be easy” – forgetting that 2km is another mile-and-a-bit.

Of course, I managed it, and I enjoyed the exhibition – but I’d miscalculated a few other things along the way. I’d not realised that it was in the school holidays, and I didn’t think there’d be so many people and children going to a museum on the first really decent warm/sunny day of the year.

So, having walked there, it was then a case of moving slowly through a 40-minute queue to get in to the place, which did an excellent job of reminding me why I’ve never wanted children. The exhibition itself was good – but by then I didn’t want to spend too much more time in the area, there were just too many people and spawn around.

That decision made – and having acknowledged that I was rather more knackered than I’d expected – I opted for walking back to Euston (see, I said I was an idiot) rather than the extra bit of walking I’d planned, to go back to the South Bank as well. That’ll wait ’til I’m next in London, which is only a couple of weeks away anyway.

Another 7km did pretty much stuff me, though – I can’t deny it.

All told, Saturday involved walking no less than 21km (slightly over 13 miles) – and I knew I was planning to walk a fair bit more on Sunday (of which more in another post) which made it all even sillier.

It was a good day, and I’m glad I did it, but yeah, Saturday night was pretty painful. I just won’t learn…

 

2016 Q1

So here we are, in April already. A quarter of the year gone.

The first three months have been fairly awkward and problematic in some ways, but all told it’s still been a success – although in some ways it’s been a case of looking at grey clouds and finding a silver lining. Work and so on have stayed stable, it’s just other non-work stuff that hasn’t gone as well.

The worst (or at least most frustrating) part has been the car – thankfully that now appears to be sorted, but it’s been an expensive quarter, with repeated re-visits to the garage, along with replacement parts and so on.

I did have plans for writing more and so on, but they haven’t materialised. I’ve done a couple of things and started with some ideas and the like, but the intended plan hasn’t happened. Hopefully the next three months will let me write more, if I’ve got the time and inspiration.

Health-wise, I’ve slacked off a lot on going to the gym and so on. I’ve had a bundle of colds and coughs throughout the last few months, and every time I’ve thought “Ok, that’s finally gone”, I’ve picked up another one. That’s not been fun, but there we go.  Admittedly, a lack of gymmage hasn’t resulted in any weight gains – everything has stayed in exactly the same place it was while I was going to the gym regularly.  That’s been another thing that’s not helped on the motivational front – if it’s not making any difference one way or t’other, it becomes less important to go.

I do need to get back to it, and doing other stuff as well – because I’m a loon, and have just signed up to the NSPCC’s challenge to walk/run (OK, walk) up the 38 floors of the Gherkin on Sunday 19th June.  I must be fucking barmy. This is the kind of thing that happens when Marie Curie aren’t doing their 10km walks. I blame them. 🙂  That’s in ten weeks time, so I need to do some stuff pretty quickly…

Anyway, it’s been an interesting first three months of the year.  There’s some interesting challenges coming up – not least that bloody Gherkin challenge – in the next three months, and I just hope it’s a bit more positively motivated than the first three have been.

Time will tell…

 

Badly Worded

Just now, my local authority (Central Bedfordshire council) tweeted this, which is hilariously badly-worded…

underage_drinking

I replied, asking them if they meant that it was an event for underage drinking/drinkers, or if they meant it to be an event informing about (and/or preventing/reducing) underage drinking – as it certainly looked like the former.

In fairness, they then responded, and removed the original tweet.

But still, it made me laugh, picky and pedantic bastard that I am.

 

[UPDATED]

They then replaced that tweet with this one…

anti_community

It really isn’t a good day for Central Beds’ social-media team. But it’s a very funny one for me…

 

Security Stupidity

Every so often, I’ll see a scenario that just leaves me utterly gobsmacked. Sadly, they’re usually based around security of some sort – for whatever reason, it’s something I’m generally pretty tuned in to, and aware of.

Yesterday’s one was an absolute blinder – and caused by a complete lack of thought/awareness.

While I was walking at lunchtime, the person in front of me was paying a bill over the phone. Using hands-free, so it was all done out loud.  (I don’t quite get why some people use hands-free for conversations on mobiles while walking – particularly when they’re still holding the mouthpiece to their mouths anyway. People be weird)

That wasn’t so bad – he was entering the card details using the keypad, so in that aspect it was fairly secure. Not how I’d have chosen to do it, but hey, I’m not one to judge.

The bit where it all went tits up, though, was that the payment line then reads the numbers back to the user, as a confirmation. “If this is correct, press 1“.

It’s a scenario where the developers etc. have thought about how to confirm the card data, and it makes sense to read it back. They’ve just not seen the real-world situations where people then do these things in public, on hands-free speakers. But it meant that – were I a bad person – I’d have all of that guy’s card information (it even read back the CV2 validation number) which I could have made use of.

 

And in case anyone’s wondering, I did tap him on the shoulder when he’d finished the call, and explained that he really should get that card changed ASAP. If I could hear it, or if he does that on a regular basis, then the card is compromised, and it’s only fair to make him aware of it.

It’s up to him, of course – but the fact I told him his card number, expiry date, and CV2 (correctly – I really do need to get out more) certainly seemed to focus his mind somewhat…

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