Losing My Traditions

Over the last few years, I’ve always bought myself an Easter egg from Hotel Chocolat – I really like the thickness of their eggs and so on, but also the fact that each half is individually wrapped. That’s important for me, because (as I’ve said before) I can’t leave a half-pack of something – if I’ve opened it, I’ll finish it.  So with the Hotel Choc egg, it becomes four things – the two individual halves, and the two bags of chocolates inside.

The eggs also keep well – which is a good thing, because it takes me ages to get round to eating the damn thing.  I don’t mind small doses of chocolate, but I have to be in the mood for a larger dose like a half-egg.

Anyway, this year I’ve decided that I’m not going to get an egg at all, which must be the first time in at least a decade.

I had the final half of last years egg about a fortnight ago, and if I’m honest, I didn’t even enjoy it. I wanted to, but it was just blah. And I’ve looked this year, and there’s nothing that makes me want to buy it.  So, I’m not.

It feels a bit odd, really, and a bit sad. But not sad enough to make me change my mind. Maybe next year will be different, I don’t know.


Silver Linings

I don’t really need to update anyone about the current Coronavirus Lockdown and all the fun and games that entails.  (Suffice to say for now, I’m doing fine, but there’ll probably be a separate post about that some other time)  It’s generally a bit shitey, and a bit dull, but it’s OK.

However, I was also thinking this week that for me things could’ve been so much worse – and very nearly were. So as well as the shitey-and-dull bits, it’s time to look a bit at silver linings, the things that – if they’d happened – would have made things shitey-er. (That’s not a word, but in context it’ll be fine)

At the start of this year, I was looking at renting a different office – still in Milton Keynes, but with a nicer specification, some more facilities and so on. And, of course, significantly more expensive.  They were still fitting it out when I went for a look – which was perhaps a short-sighted move on the part of the company, as I’d have far rather seen things when they were a bit further along, rather than saying “This is where the walls will be” – but all the same, it looked nice, and suitable for most of my needs, along with some interesting extras for being “one of the first in”.  But for a number of reasons (primarily the cost, and that I don’t like being hassled by sales people afterwards – particularly when they then can’t even follow their script efficiently) I decided to wait and see. And if I’d taken it, I’d have moved in a month ago, and then been effectively locked out a week later, while still paying that contracted rent for a locked-in 12-month minimum.  (At my current one, if all else fails, I can now give them a month’s notice and be done and dusted)

In a similar vein, back in November I was looking at a couple of other houses I could move to instead of the current one. My tenancy was expiring on the current one, I’ve been here a scarily long time, and in many ways I’d like somewhere with more room. (That would’ve been nice in the current situation, I’d have had space to set aside a room as a home-office, which simply isn’t possible where I am now)  But again, the ones I liked were a lot more expensive, and not quite right enough to make the decision.   So again, if things had worked out differently, I’d be in a bigger house and so on, but also be paying considerably more for doing so.

There have been (and even are) some other silver linings to this whole thing, but for now, I think these two will do, to remind me that things really could be a lot worse…


Bow Time

Decades ago, I used to be highly into archery, and enjoyed it a lot, including shooting up to County level.

Then life got in the way for a while, until I was reminded (15 years ago now) that I enjoyed it when we went to Center Parcs that I went and sorted out a bow and so on and started to get back into it again, and then life got in the way again.

I’d kept the bow and so on, even though I wasn’t doing the archery, and kept on looking for local(ish) archery clubs whose schedules worked with my own. (This is actually a lot harder than you’d think – most of them are on school grounds or similar, so only open specific evenings, and usually ones where I was already doing stuff)

Anyway, about a month ago now, I found a semi-local (within about 30-40 minutes drive) club that has an outdoor range which is open to use seven days a week, which does suit me. But before I could join properly, I had to do their beginner’s course, in order to prove I could use a bow safely.

I did that a couple of weeks back, and again really enjoyed myself.

The final step was to get my bow properly checked out and serviced (it’s not been fired in eight years, I wasn’t going to try it without getting it inspected!) and that happened a week ago on Friday at a place I’d been recommended to use.  Again that was a really good – if not cheap – experience, and by the end of my time there, I was grouping my arrows (at a shorter indoor range) within the space one gets if you circle fingers into an OK gesture.

I filled in, signed and sent off the membership forms the following day, so now I’m just waiting to get my confirmation and card.

All told, I’m generally feeling pretty optimistic about it, and looking forward to seeing how things go.


Quiet

A lot has changed in the last month – not really for me personally, but for the world. As a result, I haven’t felt much like writing, but while I’m here and not doing much, I thought I’d at least update a bit, catch up on some posts, some thoughts and braindumps along the way.

But regardless of that, I’m still here.


A Flaw In The Safety

Following on from the post a while back about driver assistance things, I had another interesting one a few days ago.

I’d hired a Vauxhall Insignia in order to ferry people around a bit, and the weather was disgusting – heavy rain, lots of spray, and lots of idiots with no lights on.

Anyway, on the section of the M4 I was driving on, there were roadworks, and the lanes had been narrowed as a result. And that was where the problem came in.

The Insignia had the Lane Change Warning thing, which detects when the driver is drifting across lanes without indicating – and in the case of the Insignia, it also tries to push you back into the lane you’re departing. Not my favourite thing at the best of times, but in this case it was actually picking up on the wrong lane markings (because they were glossy and shiny in the rain) and so actually kept on pushing me “back” towards the crash barriers, and would have left me scraping along them if I’d not been paying attention.

I can understand why it happened, and how. It was also easy enough for me to sort things out (eventually by turning off the Lane Change completely) but I can also easily see how things could’ve gone wrong, if I were the sort of driver who relied on these aids, who didn’t pay attention, or left those aids to do things because they’re there to help.

And what would’ve happened in that situation if it were a fully autonomous (“self-driving”) vehicle with no controls, or potentially people who didn’t drive, or couldn’t understand the danger signs?

There’s still a way to go on these things, I think…


Levels of Stupid

At the moment, I get a *lot* of spam about property investment – probably an average of five to ten a day.  I don’t know why it’s suddenly this subject,  but it’s definitely noticeable.

Student flats in Hull, Hotel rooms in Leicester, Apartments in Liverpool and Manchester, and even some overseas stuff.  I don’t pay attention to it, but it does make me think.

Basically, what kind of idiot (or lunatic) is going to decide to invest in a property, based on receiving a spam/junk email? It’s a huge amount of money, however you look at it.

I mean, obviously people do fall for this crap – the spammers/scammers wouldn’t bother sending it out if they didn’t – but I can’t deny, I figure that the people who do so pretty much deserve everything they get.


Self-Incrimination

It’s no secret that I tend to assume people with dashcams are usually shit drivers.  Obviously that’s not always the case, but in my experience it’s predominantly true – as though there’s an attitude of “Well I’m perfect, and it’s all these other idiots on the road” or something.

I also know that it’s now far easier to upload one’s dashcam footage to report driving offences when the police haven’t been there.

What I do wonder is how many people self-incriminate on those uploads?  For example, if one were to upload video of someone undertaking on a motorway, only for that footage to also show that the reporting driver had been middle-lane-hogging for the previous ten miles, and thus being at least a partial cause of said undertaking…

And no, this doesn’t involve my own driving. Just something I noticed occurring in front of me on the M1 this morning, and then started thinking about the extrapolations.