I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.

Archive for the category “Thoughts”


Over the last month, the car has had a complete set of new tyres (admittedly, bought two at a time) as it was definitely That Time Of Year when it’s a good plan., with the onset of winter with added rain, snow and ice. It’s been at least a year since the front ones were changed, and longer since I did the rears, and while they’re still well within the legal limits, I know they were nowhere near as good as they could/should be.

The front ones got changed a couple of weeks back – something I was really pleased about while I was driving last weekend. At that point, the road conditions were vile – heavy rain, standing water, and one particular section of motorway surface that could best be described as interesting – and the car stayed solid on the road, which is something that some others certainly weren’t.

I avoided using eTyres this time – partly because I’m not convinced of their services etc., but also because they didn’t stock the tyres I’d decided I wanted to try out.

Having looked around, I opted this time for Michelin Cross-Climate tyres, which seem to be a good option for going across the full range of road/weather conditions I’m likely to hit in the coming months. I’ve also never had a full set of the same tyres on a car, so it seems like it should be interesting.

The rears got changed today, and the change has been significant, even in the short time I’ve driven on them today. I’m pretty sure it’s not just a psychosomatic thing, the whole vehicle felt more rooted to the road, more stable.

We’ll see how things go. This morning was also the first serious frost of the year – I was driving through snow on the M1 yesterday –  and I’m pretty sure we’ll have a few more days like it in the coming weeks. I’ve got the best part of a thousand miles to cover over the next couple of weekends (not including the usual weekly travel) so by the end of that, I’ll know a lot more about how the car feels with the new setup.

2015/16 – Business and Work

At some point in the coming year, I’ll be changing contracts. That’s just par for the course (although I’ve been in the current one for a year now) so it’s not a worry.  I’ve mentioned it before in relation to finances and so on, but this post is going to be more focused on the work side of things.

One of the bigger changes within this year was that I’ve also gone back to working through my own limited company, instead of through PAYE Umbrella companies, which means I’ll be better off in the long run.

I’m pretty much sure that I’ll be sticking with contracting for the coming year at least. There *may* be a perm role somewhere out there with my name on it – but I’m not convinced, and not looking for it.

In fairness, I have had some good perm roles (or as they’re sometimes known, “proper jobs”) along the way. However, it’s also valid that every single role I’ve fucking hated (or has involved working for an utter shitwhistle) has been a perm role. The last couple in particular have left me not wanting to go back down that route for the moment.  (And yes, that could come back to bite me on the arse, I know)

So for now, I’m aiming to stick with the contracting.  Along the way I’m also looking at developing some of my own stuff properly – like the writing post, I’ve got a huge number of ideas on the go, but unlike the writing post, I’ve got a goal, a target, and a particular product/concept to focus on.

There’s a timeline for that, which is the end of this 2015/16 process. At that point, there’s a conference and exhibition going on, where I want to be able to have a product I can launch and discuss with the target market.

That’s the goal, and the plan. Things may arise to change those aims, but for now it’s looking promising.


2015/16 – Writing

This post has been nagging me – I’d written the title and post-dated it for publication, but been stuck on what to actually, you know, write.  And then I did it again.

It’s somewhat ironic that the post about my plans for the coming year’s writing has been published blank/empty not once, but twice.

So – third time lucky.

I’m not honestly sure what will happen with my writing plans over the next twelve months. There’s a couple of options (as well as the fallback point, of “do nowt” or “fail”) which is never a good start, as it leaves me in a quandary from the beginning.

The thing is, I’ve got lots of ideas. Loads. I just haven’t yet clicked on how they could stick together. Or even if they could adhere at all. I’m missing that bigger picture, the whole that all these parts could/should/might fit into.  Or maybe each one is a different tale, and I need to focus on one or two of the better concepts, and just develop those. Maybe that will allow the others to rest, or maybe to develop along in their own timelines. Maybe.

I’ve definitely got two concepts which are kind-of similar, but separate. They fit into different moulds, different methods, so I could do both at the same time. Or I could focus on one and then the other. Or. Or. Or.

And that’s what’s sticking me up at the moment. Too many ideas, not enough drive.

I’d love to be ironic (or meta) enough to be able to write about a writer that is stuck on the writing, so that it’s turtles all the way down. But that’s beyond me.

I think the plan for the coming year will be to do just one project, focus on it, see if it works. If it doesn’t there are others waiting in the wings. If it does, there are others waiting in the wings.

Between now and 2016, some of it is just going to be brain-dumping stuff onto paper/keyboard as a record – perhaps that’ll help too.

So yes, I think that’s the plan. But now, which to choose as the first one. Which to choose…


2015/16 – Getting Out More

As things stabilise more here, I’m looking at what I want to do in 2016 – and in particular towards taking some breaks. This year has ripped past, and I’m renownedly shit at taking holidays at the best of times.

So part of the plan will be to do some weekends away, as well as a couple of longer breaks.  I’m looking at places/destinations at the moment, so that I can book them before the end of this year. That way I can have them as immovable events when it comes to going to a new contract in 2016.

I’ve already booked up a couple of weekends away, and it’s all looking pretty promising. And continuing on from last year’s side-project about being more comfortable with eating on my own, there’s more places booked and going to be booked on that score too. Details of those will follow as and when through the year though…


As people should have gathered, I’m currently doing a bundle of plans for the coming year, as well as continuing to make changes to my general life, health, fitness and so on.

One of those changes is – yet again – cutting down a lot on my caffeine intake, and seeing how things go.

My caffeine intake is highly cyclic, I cut it down (and sometimes out) for a while, and then it slowly goes back up again. And lo, another cycle continues.

Anyway, this time round I’m working on it again, and so far it’s fairly successful. I’m drinking a lot more water, and the Diet Coke intake is commensurately much, much lower.

What’s annoying, though, is that even with a massively reduced intake, it hasn’t affected my insomnia at all. It’s annoying because just about every person who has ever pointed out I drink too much Diet Coke (or caffeine in any other format) has said it explains my insomnia.

But nope, even when I’m just drinking water – and have been for a couple of weeks – my sleep is still atrocious. Indeed, sometimes even worse than usual.

It really is bloody annoying.

2015/16 – Health and Weight

Over the last year, I’ve worked on both health and weight with some success – albeit not as much as I’d have liked to.

A lot of the actual progress has happened over the last three or four months, once I’d changed gyms to one that was better located to fit in with my times and work life. That’s enabled me to go more often and more regularly, which has helped things immensely.

As a result, I’ve definitely lost inches, and gained muscle mass. That’s meant that I’ve pretty much stayed at the same weight – although it’s started coming off properly in the last month or so – which I suppose is good, if frustrating.

The plan for the coming year is likely to be more of the same. Some of it will depend on what happens for the next contract, and wherever I’m based at that point. If I’m based in London and commuting by train, the gym will still be perfectly placed. If I’m going to be based somewhere else, I’ll have to reassess and see what works.

Ideally, I’d like to lose a couple of stone over the next 12 months. That’s a feasible goal, assuming I can maintain the progress of the last few months, and keep doing more as I go on.

My other target/plan – albeit one that’s slightly less achievable – is to do another of the Marie Curie 10Km walks, and to do it in 60-70 minutes. That’s pushing it – although I’ve done other, shorted walks at that kind of pace, so it’s also feasible. It just might require a bit more training than the last two have…

For Your Safety

You know, I for one am getting really tired of the government phrases “It’s for your safety” and “it’s for your security”, which are getting bandied around more and more.

This week it’s been used about blocking flights to and from Sharm El-Sheikh because of an alleged – but unproven – bomb in the hold of the plane that crashed in the Sinai desert last week. It’s also been used in discussions about monitoring everyone’s internet traffic and holding those records for at least a year, and in revelations about MI5 monitoring every domestic phone-call in the UK for the last ten years.

Governments like people to be scared – and more and more, we seem to be happy to let the government take these measures ‘because it makes us safer’. It doesn’t, it just gives up more information to the government – and all in the name of ‘safety’.

Basically, it’s shit.

[I know, I need to think more about this and write more. But it’s a phrase that bugs me every time it’s used]

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