D4D

No, not D&D

Archive for the category “Thoughts”

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…

All Lit Up

In the office building I share with a bundle of other companies, I find I have my irritations. I know, shocking.

One that regularly annoys me is the way people shove on all the lights – even in public spaces where they’re not necessary – and completely fail to then turn them off again.

At the start of the day, people come in and just automatically turn on every sodding light – regardless of the conditions outside, the time of year, or of anyone else in any other offices.  In short, the entire place is lit up like fucking fairyland – even in the height of summer, when you don’t need the lights on at all.

The same applies in the toilets – again, an area that at this time of year really doesn’t need any illumination other than daylight. But no, on go the lights, and then no other fucker turns them off again.

Of course, I don’t mind people turning on the lights when they need them. What bugs me is that they then don’t bother to turn them off when they leave the rooms/facilities.

But the thing is, everyone pays a piece of the electricity bill. You’d think that would encourage some responsibility, some desire to only use what’s necessary. But of course that’d require some vague sense of altruism, of being interested in something other than self, of just giving a shit about things.  And that’s what’s missing.

Grrrr.

Ten

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…

Thirteen

Today, D4D™ is celebrating its thirteenth birthday.

Way back in 2002, when I wrote D4D™’s first post in Blogger, things were very different…

And despite having slowed down and slacked off for periods over that time, it has to be said that D4D has outlasted

  • No less than eight houses (or at least my tenancies in those houses) – I’m still in the ninth place, so we don’t know which will win on that score
  • Four relationships
  • Two cars
  • Countless jobs and contracts – I’ve come up with a rough figure of 22, but I’m sure I’ve missed at least two
  • Oodles of other stuff I’m not going to rehash

There have been pauses, and things have definitely slowed down when it comes to writing here. But it’s still going, and we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds

Into August

Somehow, we’re into August already. The year’s racing by (as usual) and here we are. August.

August is a funny (as in ‘odd’, not as in ‘ho ho’) month for me – for some reason it’s always been rather more eventful than others. It seems to be generally a month of change for me, in ways both negative and positive.

It’s definitely the month I get twitchy about, more than any other. I’m sure that’s because my parents first pointed out what a consistently change-laden month it was (which may have also gone some way to making it a bit more self-fulfilling) but I try to not focus on it. By that, I mean that I don’t consciously go “oh, I’ll do that in August”.  August just seems to happen.

As examples…

  • D4D™ got started in August. Not intentionally (well obviously it got started intentionally) in August – that was just when everything came together for it to happen
  • My bankruptcy was in August. Again, that’s just when it came about.
  • I finally passed my driving test in August.
  • I’ve had *lots* of job changes in August, contracts ending and so on.

This time round, it looks (so far) like things will be a lot calmer.

I was a bit twitchy, as my current work contract had an end date next week – and even though I was 99% sure it would extend again, there’s always that “But it’s August, and thus could bite me on the bum” nagging doubt. However, it’s been confirmed this week that it’ll extend again, through to October (which will mean I’ve been doing this one for a year) so that’s all good.

To the best of my knowledge I’ll be staying in the current house for at least another year. That’s the plan (and renewal isn’t ’til November, so not a concern) and I see no current reason to change it.

There’s currently nothing else of major import and change looking like it’ll happen.  I’ve got stuff planned for the month, but nothing change-laden.   All the same, during August I’ll be…

  • Doing a 10Km sponsored walk for Marie Curie
  • Seeing Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet (a happy surprise instance, brought about by a friend of a friend not being able to go)
  • Possibly another London visit, or alternative Day Trip
  • Sorting out (renewing) car insurance again

And there’s a bundle of other stuff as well, alongside the weekly working normality.

So with any luck, this August won’t be too eventful and change-laden. We’ll see.

Fridays

This year, I’ve been renting an office in a building in Milton Keynes – it’s been a good deal, and is suiting me pretty well.  There’s lots of other small and medium businesses in the building, and my floor contains quite a diverse range.

However, Fridays are invariably odd here.

I don’t know why/how, but a significant number of the companies and businesses here just don’t seem to come in on Fridays. It means my floor of the building is like a ghost-town, and it’s just a bit weird.

I don’t mind, it’s just something I’ve noticed that seems strange.

Where There’s A Will

In the news today, there’s a lot going on about the person who’s managed to get her mother’s will overturned, and thus inherit a third of the money from it, despite the mother’s written explanation of why she didn’t want her daughter to get anything.

Personally, I find this kind of thing deeply unpleasant – not least for the greed it shows, and the all-round contempt for final wishes in this case. I think if a will has been made out with certain intent and intentions, that’s what should happen.

As it is, in this case the person is going to use the proceeds (although what’ll be left after legal costs is another question) to purchase their house from the local authority, which appears to have ‘always been what was intended’.

And – again, personally – that’s what drives me crackers, that expectation of (and reliance on) inheriting money, and even making plans for the money that will come when parents die. I’ve known a few people of similar mindsets over the years, and it always leaves me cold, that whole “Well, when they’ve died we’ll be able to [x]” attitude. It’s just unpleasant.

I know parents die – it’s a logical assumption that they will do so.  But counting down the days ’til it happens, effectively looking forward to them dying, that’s just wrong. (Again, and as always, in my opinion)

As and when my folks go, I would hope that their will says “We’ve spent the lot, and anything else can go to the cats home”. I’d be fine with that – and you can be damn sure I wouldn’t be fighting through the courts because it was “unfair”.

 

Grrrr, People. They really do piss me off sometimes.

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