Slapping the Stupid with Stun-Guns

Archive for the category “Work-related”


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.

Ker-Fut5 – The Return

As of this morning, Saab is back in my possession.

While I was at the garage paying for the work (Car, you owe me big time. Any further breakdowns this year and you’re likely to go to the great scrapyard in the sky) they showed me the old turbo.

Wow.   When they said it had exploded, they really weren’t far wrong.

Somehow – and I don’t know at all – some of the blades within the turbo itself had shattered. Bits of metal every-sodding-where.

All now seems well. They’ve warned me there may be some smoke from the exhaust due to the amount of oil that went through the entire system, although it’s been fully cleaned out.

So we’ll see how we go. I hope all will be well for a while from now.

(And now I’ve just got to do one more run with the hire car, then return that tomorrow and get in to work. Fun)

Ker-Fut 3 – The verdict

So – as expected from Friday, the turbo had basically exploded. It doesn’t appear to have damaged anything else, and although I’ve had some other options, I’m getting it repaired/replaced. (In fairness, the garage has offered me a decent deal on the work, as I’m a regular customer etc.)

It’s been right on the edge of whether it’s worth doing or not – the car is now definitely in the “it’s cost me money” field, although in fairness it’s taken ’til now to do so, 2½ years since I bought it.

I think I detailed that at the time – and it turns out I didn’t ’til more than a year later – but I basically got an excellent price for it anyway, and then managed to get back far more than expected for Mondeo, refunded car tax etc., so all told the Saab actually cost me £300. Since then, it’s had small bits done to improve things, and we were back to just about break-even, maybe a bit over what I’d paid, but less than the Saab garage would give me for it.

With this latest development, we’re now to the point of being on a par with what they’d give me, so if it has any further significant issues, it’ll be going to the great shitheap in the sky.

I just hope Saab knows how close it’s come to being scrapped this week – and appreciates the fact I have saved that occurrence for another day…


Yesterday nearly got very interesting indeed.

I’d had to drive over to Chesham for a day in the proper office, and on the way the car had started making some very dodgy noises, although it was all running OK.  From the noises, and when they happened, I was fairly sure it was an issue with the turbo.

As a result, I rang up the Saab garage, and booked it in for a checkup on Tuesday, which was the first day they had available.

On the way home, the noises were worse, so I was driving more carefully (and a bit slower) than usual.

I got to the Leighton Buzzard bypass (having avoided the M1 on a Friday evening – can’t think why I might’ve wanted to that) and whatever had been weakening let go, dumping a shitload of smoke and gunk over the road – which must’ve been interesting for the poor bugger behind me, to say the least.

I’ve managed to nurse it home – taking it slowly, accelerating without hitting the turbo ranges etc. – so it’s parked up outside the house, and I’ll be somehow getting it to the garage over the weekend (when the traffic is quieter, in case things go horribly wrong) in order to get it sorted on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’ve also reserved a hire car for next week, and we’ll see how things go from there.

I don’t yet know whether I’ll get it repaired/replaced, or look for something new – a lot of it will depend on what the costs are for fixing it, really. So I’ll know more later in the week, and work from there.

In honesty, I could’ve done without the hassle – but it’s something I can deal with without crippling me, and that’s no bad thing.


Today is the UK’s hottest day of the year (so far) – which is quite surprising, as it’s right at the start of Wimbledon fortnight. Usually that would signify two weeks of grey/damp/wet weather, but this week so far seems to be clear,bright and – yes – warm.

Of course, I realise that people in Australia, America, and umpteen African nations (as well as a bundle of others) are laughing their socks off at us here thinking that 30° C is anything more than ‘slightly warmer than winter’, but lordy, we do like to complain about it.

The thing is, here in the UK we’re just not used to extreme weather – or even ‘more than mediocre’, really.  30°C isn’t extreme to most places, any more than -10°C is, but to us in the UK, those are extremes. Neither end is common enough for us to have created the infrastructure to deal with it – neither air-con in every building/facility, nor heating and anti-snow/ice stuff for the cold bits. Neither hits us for more than three or four weeks a year, really – and on average it’s probably even less than that.

So yes, we’re not good at dealing with weather – and some of that is just part of Being British™, I suppose. But there is also that side to be considered, that we just don’t have the equipment (whether in buildings/facilities/institutions, or just within our own bodies) to cope with it decently.

For myself, I don’t mind it.  I used to really dislike hot/warm weather, but I’m getting better at it. Today’s been spent ‘working’ at home, and it’s meant I’ve been out in the yard for most of it, now that it’s a decent place to be. Those two weekends of doing stuff here turns out to have been pretty much perfectly timed, so it’s a pleasant environment. And there’s been enough shade in general to have let me be out in the warmth without crisping myself in direct sunlight.

That’s a win all round in my book.


By the time my contract comes to its (current) end date, I’ll have been ‘working from home’ for nine months, with only one day a week in the office.  It’s fair to say I’m getting pretty used to that kind of state of affairs, where I don’t have to deal with loads of idiot colleagues all day every working day.

So I’m already wondering what’ll happen when it comes to The Next Job, which will – pretty much certainly – involve being back on-site five days a week.   It’s going to be interesting, for sure.

It’s fair to say that I’ve already become very used to working on my own schedule and workload, and it suits me nicely. Even better, I don’t also have to hear the inane banter and chatter of other people, particularly about things I’ve no interest in – soap operas, X-factor, Big Brother and the like – or fuckwitted opinions with no basis in anything like reality.  I’ve become more acclimated to peaceful offices where I can have a radio on if I want (or not) and that’s about it.  I’m less stressed because of it, and generally less ratty. (And if I could then sort out my sleep patterns, all would be rosy in the world)

In short, it turns out to have suited my personality quite well.

As a result, I may end up focusing more on further jobs where ‘working from home’ is the primary – but there’s no guarantee that they’ll happen, or come up in a timely manner.  As always with my stuff, I’ll take whatever gets offered first, and work from there.

In honesty, I can’t say I’m looking forward to any return to full-on office-based work, but it’s something I’ll face up to as and when it happens.

Changing Terms

Last week, Milton Keynes suddenly changed their parking rates. Not by a lot, all things considered – it costs me about 20p a day more now – but it didn’t seem to have been very well publicised.

(Disclaimer : There may have been notices in local papers or whatever, but I don’t get those, so didn’t see anything. But there was nothing I saw on parking meters etc., so regardless of how much it was discussed/publicised beforehand, I hadn’t seen anything. And I’m sure I can’t be the only one)

One of the other changes, though, was that now you have to pay on Bank Holidays as well. That’s not been the case up ’til this week – it’s always been free – and it’s all just a bit sneaky.

Because it’s only happened for the second bank holiday weekend in May. So anyone who’s known it was free from the first weekend would be quite within their rights to assume it would be the same this weekend.

There’s more information about that change – they’ve put stickers on the parking meters etc. – but if someone had seen three weeks ago that they didn’t need to pay, would they even go near the parking meter this time?

I don’t know – but there’s definitely a lot of parking tickets been issued today on the bit outside my office building. Which indicates that my theory may be correct on this one…

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