Last up against the wall when the revolution comes

Archive for the category “Travel”

Still Not Moving

Come November, I’ll have been in my current house for 4½ years. For me, that’s pretty scary – it’s already the longest I’ve stayed in one house since I left home.  (For long-term readers, I lived in Manchester for longer, but that was split between three houses)

I’m also now signed up for another year, so that’s even scarier.

As I’m sure I’ve said before, my current location (between Milton Keynes and Bedford) isn’t my dream place by any stretch. It’s suited my needs, but that’s been more by luck than judgement.

There’s been two key reasons for staying here (and a subsidiary third) which are pretty simple to explain.

The main reason is how easy it is to get away from here. I’m on the crux of two major roads – the M1 North-to-South, and the A421 for East-to-West. Plus I’ve got two easy rail routes for London and the like. It opens things up for social and fun stuff, but also work-wise, gives me a lot more variety/locations than I would’ve thought.  (Of course, the irony is that for two years of that, I’ve been working from home, or on my shortest commute in decades!)  An hour’s drive (which I still consider as an ‘easy’ commute) covers a massive distance – and a two-hour drive covers a huge dollop of the country.

Secondary to that is that I simply haven’t found anywhere that I more want to be.  There’s some places I’d move to, but there’s no real desire or urge to do so. (Also known as the “Yeah, it’s nice. But…” verdict)  Previously, there’s usually been a good reason (or at least a reason) to move, and at the moment there’s just not. So I don’t bother.

Connected to that is also the increase of credit-checking when it comes to new rental agreements. I don’t think it now would cause me any great problems, and my current landlord would provide a decent reference  – but equally, if I don’t have to test the theory, why bother?


So here I am, and signed up ’til November 2017. No real plans to move – and even more bizarrely, I’m actually OK with that.

Holiday Thoughts

As I said before, I’m away at the end of the month on a break to Cornwall.  And as usual, it makes me do a bundle of thinking.

I am, I totally acknowledge, utterly shit at taking proper holidays. Always have been, and I suspect always will be. I want to do more of it and see how things go, but it’s about balancing that with work and so on.  I need to be stricter with myself on it too – there’s two options really.

Basically, I either book dates at the start of the year so they’re a fait accompli, or I’m stricter with myself about taking holidays between contracts by forcing a delay on looking for new ones by taking time between jobs.  Honestly, I don’t know which option works best for me, so that’ll be something to work on next year.

As it is, I’m just seeing how stuff goes this time. I want to see how everything works out with this break. There’s been a fair amount of preparation going on, as I’ve said before – but it’s also about seeing how I feel with taking the break, and also how the cats handle it.  This week away will be the longest they’ve not had me around, and I want to see how they deal with it, and with my return.  They’ll probably be OK, but if they descend into vileness and retribution, I’ll have to rethink.

So all told, it’s going to be a bit interesting. I’m looking forward to it, but also somewhat anticipatory. It’ll be interesting to see how it all goes.

A Sort-Of Slowdown

This is the last of my properly busy September weekends – next week I’m driving a lot, but it’s not properly idiotic. Indeed, even this weekend is a bit more sensible than the last few – still busy, but with a big dollop of domestic sorting, rather than being out’n’about quite as much.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean it’s sensible – indeed, it’s just the finale of a fairly mad week.  I’m back in London today and tonight, for food and another theatre visit.  This week I’ve already been to the cinema after work on Monday, been to see friends in London on Tuesday, and to the theatre for Little Shop of Horrors on Wednesday. Safe to say, I’ve been busy, and got a lot done.

After this, it’s a bit quieter.  The coming week is less frantic (well, until Friday) and the rest of the year, while busy, isn’t quite as hyper as the last three months have been. Indeed, I’ve still got things booked for pretty much every week, but it still feels like a kind-of slowdown.

Note, I’m not complaining. It’s been a hugely busy and hectic year through my own decisions, and I’m enjoying it loads, but some quieter time is also sounding pretty bloody great right now…

Holiday Prep

At the end of the month, for the first time in years, I’m taking a week off, and going down to Cornwall.  Being self-employed, it’s not a cheap option, and I seem to be doing a ton of preparation in order for it to happen, but it’s all paid for and so on, so it’s definitely happening.

I’ve been spending time organising everything in the last couple of weeks – booking in a delivery of shopping/food for once I’ve arrived, sorting out a carer for the cats while I’m away, paying off some of my domestic bills early (rent etc.) so that it’s all going to be smooth, and I’m not stressing while away about things I’ve forgotten. It’s been a mess of to-do lists and so on, but I do feel like I’m on top of things.

In the meantime, I’m also writing some bits for here that’ll auto-post while I’m away, and organising a bundle of other bits too.

I’ve only been to Cornwall once before, and that was before I was driving at all, so it’s going to be interesting this time – and covering a lot of miles.  There’s a list of things I want to see/do, although that’s *not* a to-do list where I feel I have to check off everything – I’m pretty sure I’ll be going back again, so that’s all fine.

So yeah, while you wouldn’t necessarily notice it, I’m going to be away for a while.  Enjoy.

A busy week

Suddenly, it’s a week since I last updated anything here – and there’s a good reason (or ten) for that.

Mainly, the good reason is that I’ve been sodding busy.

Since last I wrote here, there’s been (in no particular order)

  • Driving to Marlow for a late lunch at the Hand and Flowers
  • Driving to London (Saturday at ungodly o’clock)
  • Visiting Meatopia – on the Saturday, along with several friends
  • Seeing The The’s “Infected” film at the ICA in London on the Saturday evening
  • Staying overnight in London
  • Visiting Meatopia on the Sunday, just me, but ended up meeting several other people, as well as starting some business discussions (Win!)
  • Driving home from London, having walked 20 miles over the two days
  • A vaguely normal Monday, with added shopping and faffery
  • A normal Tuesday working, then meeting friends and going to the cinema to see Hell or High Water – heartily recommended
  • A semi-standard Wednesday, and then cinema to see Morgan – also recommended, for different reasons, and thoughts on both films will follow
  • And tonight, being at the Milton Keynes Geek Night, just to top things off.

So yes, not much going on at all.

It’s been pretty positive all round, but it has left me feeling like a stunned monkey. So there’ll be more writing as and when I get round to it.  I’m back in London this weekend, but look like having one day that’s (currently) quiet, so that’s at least vaguely promising…

2016’s Smaller Target

Following on from my decision about next year, and doing the Shine Moonlight Marathon (which is a much better name than the Night Walk, IMHO) I’ve also set myself a smaller challenge for completion by the end of 2016.

You guessed it, I’m going to walk a half-marathon distance. Not sponsored or owt (although if I do it, I might just chuck some money Cancer Research’s way anyway) but a bit of a reality check, a “can I do this?”.  I know the answer to that is “yes”, but it’ll be interesting to have some quantifiable evidence of it before I plunge into doing the full 26-and-a-bit miles.

I’ve certainly done days with more than 13 miles of walking, so this plan should be utterly doable. Indeed, it might even be easier than usual, if it’s done in one dollop rather than two 5-ish mile walks interspersed with breaks, food, stopping/starting, standing in queues etc.  I don’t know – and that’s why I want to find out.

It’ll also hopefully give me a rough outline of the time to aim for on the full event.  I’ve got a target time in mind, but again want to check whether that’s even vaguely feasible when faced with reality.

I’ll write more about it once it’s been done, but it’s definitely a goal for now…

2017’s Big Target

This year, I’ve missed out on having a big thing to aim at. (Oooer, missus)  The last couple of years, I’ve done Marie Curie’s “Walk to Remember”, an evening 10km walk around a random local-ish stately home, which have been fun, and suited me really well.  However, this year they decided to not organise them.

I did sign up this year for the challenge to climb the stairs of the Gherkin in London, but I ended up chickening out of it in the fact of saner voices and already-dodgy knees (No, not dodgyknees the Greek philosopher)

Anyway, although I’ve been doing a lot of walking this year, I’ve missed having a target, a thing to aim for at some point.  So I’ve pretty much decided on what my plan will be for 2017. It’s a big one, so there’ll actually be some preparation in the meantime.

So – my challenge for 2017 will be Shine’s Night Walk – an overnight walk of marathon distance in Central London. That’s 26.25 miles, or 41 km, so it’s significantly longer than the distances I usually walk.  I can (and do) easily cover 20km in a day when I’m in London or whatever, but I will be aiming at doing more (and longer) walks between now and then, getting used to the durations and distances.  I’m pretty sure I could do the walk right now, but I think I’d hurt quite a bit the day after, and I don’t want that to be the case in a year’s time.

So yes, that’s the plan. I can’t sign up for it yet (this year’s one hasn’t been done yet) but will do as soon as I can. In the meantime, I can start getting my ass in gear, now I’ve got a plan in mind.

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