D4D

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Archive for the category “Business”

Slow Roads

Every so often I have a day where I just want it to be over – not in any kind of self-harm way, just when a lot of things have turned to shit, and all I want is to go home.

Unsurprisingly, today has been one of those days.

It started OK – it was cooler last night, so I actually got some sleep. I’d got a meeting down near Reading, so once I was awake at 6am, I left to get down there while avoiding the worst of the rush-hour traffic, and aiming to be down in Reading before it even really started. That mission was kind-of successful, in that I was down there by 8.30 – but still, it took two and a half hours to do a journey that I can do on a weekend in an hour, or just over.

The meeting itself went OK, and I’ve got a bundle of work to do, which will make life entertaining.

Afterwards, fortunately I checked routes home on my phone, and found that the M1 had been completely closed due to a fatal accident.  It’s an area I know pretty well, so I knew I’d got a bundle of cross-country routes I could take, and that’s what I did.

However, it seemed like every single part of that route, I was preceded by slow-moving drivers who had nowhere to go, or no desire to get there.  The entire way back was spent going at 30 or 40mph on roads where the limit was 60, and all on what turned out to be the hottest June day in more than forty years – warm to the point where even the car’s air-conditioning wasn’t really managing anything.  (I may need to look at re-gassing it, but we’ll see)

All told, the journey home took two and a half hours – most of which was just due to being so much slower than I would’ve been on quiet/non-busy roads.

So, by the end of it, I was just wanting to be home, for it all to be over and done with.

It’s going to be the first day in several months where I haven’t achieved my steps-per-day walking target – I could still have done it, but frankly, with the temperature and everything else, I just couldn’t be arsed.  In fairness, I’m already well up on the week’s target anyway, so a day off is perfectly doable (and I’m doing a bigger walk at the weekend too) but still, it’s also the first time in ages where I’ve had a day with such levels of failure to be arsed.

Changeable

The last couple of weeks – and the coming one – have been… chaotic, to say the least.  I’m used to this in general, but it’s felt like it’s been even more frenetic than usual this month, and there’ve been a lot of contributory factors that have all conspired to make it so.

Work-wise, I’ve been ending up on-site at least twice a week, rather than the usual one day a week, and that’s just disturbed things a bit. Usually I can take my work laptop on-site on a Monday, and then leave it in my own office for the rest of the week, rather than constantly lugging it around.  This month though it’s been on-site, in-office, on-site, in-office etc. etc.

Around the work stuff, there’s been a lot of other bits going on, with stuff in London on some evenings, as well as other social stuff and going to the cinema.  And it all adds up.

For example, this week has involved…

  • Monday – on site
  • Tuesday – working from home, then going to London to Mere in the evening.
  • Wednesday – in office
  • Thursday – on site, then seeing Kong: Skull Island in the evening
  • Friday – in office
  • And then just my usual idiocy in the coming weekend, another trip to London to see friends, and a social-and-food even locally on Sunday

Next week is no different really, including two London trips to the theatre, as well as all the usual work. I’m vaguely hopeful that I won’t be on-site more than once, but I’ll only find that out during the week.

Once next week is done, I’m hoping that things will be a bit quieter again. That’s certainly the plan – if nothing else, I need some downtime – but we’ll see how it goes.  In fairness, I can handle the multiple days on-site or I can handle the other stuff – it’s just when it’s both things at once that it gets somewhat harder to deal with.

What’s The Plan?

And here we are, at the start of 2017. Didn’t that come round quickly?

As with previous years, I don’t really make resolutions. It’s all pretty arbitrary, the whole resolutions thing, so I usually choose to make plans from one birthday to the next, rather than the whole “January 1st is for new starts” cobblers.

This year, I’ve got some plans for 2017 as a whole though – although they’re not much different to what I’d laid out back in November.  However, in my head, I’ve laid some of these down as being “this year” instead. I don’t quite know why, but it’ll work for me.

So – what are they?  Well, in no particular order…

  • Finances
    • Add a significant amount into the savings
  • Work
    • Figure out what comes next after the current contract (I’m sure that’ll happen at some point in the coming year)
    • Learn some new stuff, because why not?
    • Launch at least one of the projects that’ve been in my head for way too long
  • Writing
    • Complete at least one of the screenplay ideas I’ve started in 2016
    • and then figure out what the hell to do with it/them
    • Complete a book idea I’ve got, and publish it (for Kindle)
  • Health
    • Lose weight (I’ve put some on over the Festering Season, and want to lose that, plus a bit more)
    • Do some training/practice walks for that walking marathon in September
    • and then complete it on the day

And really that’s it. There might be a couple of other projects along the way, but that’s the main objectives, all in one place.

Whether or not they happen, I don’t know. (Obviously, as we’re only on Day One)  But I’m going to give it a damn good go.

 

First Impressions

It’s funny, sometimes, how a first impression – and sometimes even just a single word – can colour one’s judgement and feelings about something.

While geeking about yesterday, I did a google search for ‘Zucchini’ – a programme on TV was showing zucchini (courgettes) that were very different to the ones I recognise as courgettes, so I had a look.

And there on that results page, the second result was for Zucchini Restaurant in Batley, Yorkshire. It looks like this…

Yep – the first word of text on the site contains a spelling mistake. On an Italian word. For an Italian restaurant.

And just like that, I know I don’t want to go. If that’s their attention to detail, I’m out. Simple as that.

Replacement Card

On Friday evening, while I was out for a meal, I paid using the card for one of my Barclays accounts.  That transaction, while all went OK, had traits that felt… odd. Wrong. Or at least just Not Quite Right.

So I called the bank straight after, and cancelled the card with immediate effect. That took a bit of explanation, as “I want to cancel the card from right now, no more transactions” apparently still needs discussion, and a whole bit of scripted text from the bank about “With the card cancelled, you won’t be able to use it”. (Well yeah, that’s why I’ve cancelled the cocking thing.)  But I assume they’ve had to deal with morons in the past who’ve cancelled the card and then complained they couldn’t use it for something.

Anyway, they told me my replacement card would be sent out as soon as possible, and all that jazz – all fine, I’m just happier knowing that I’ve handled it to the best of my abilities, should that transaction have turned out to be as dodgy as it felt like it could’ve been.

When I got home last night, there was the new card.

And I can’t deny, I’m impressed with that – a card that’s been requested in the late evening (10pm-ish) on a Friday, and is delivered on the Monday? Not bad going at all.

While Barclays have their moments of driving me absolutely crackers – and that’s still going through the Financial Ombudsman, so I assume Barclays are being dicks with the Ombudsman as well – I can’t deny that some of their systems are also pretty bloody good.

[Updated to mention : Having looked back, it turns out it’s not the first time I’ve been impressed by this replacement card system]

Apprentice Thoughts

Once again, the BBC has a series of the Apprentice running. And yet again, every single contestant currently appears to be an inveterate fuckknuckle with all the business skills of a bundle of second-hand scrotum skin.

What I don’t understand about the competitors (more even than being so massively underprepared and underqualified) is what think will happen afterwards.  This year, there’s 18 competitors, and that means that 17 are going to lose, and go back to reality.

But anyone who has seen the programme will know that they’re insufferable, incompetent, and in most cases utterly vile human beings who couldn’t truly run a business if their lives depended on it.

So – what happens when they look for new work? Or even just return to the job where they’ve managed to negotiate a break or sabbatical? (Come to think of it, that situation might be even worse, with the added weight of expectations etc.)

I know that if, regardless of whether I were interviewing or being interviewed, any single one of them were in the room, I’d know they’re (at best) useless, gobby, opinionated, and shit at their supposed job; and wouldn’t work with them.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d do the same.

All told, pretty mind-boggling.

Reduced Insomnia

During the week in Cornwall, I slept better than I have in absolutely years – to the tune of about 2 hours more sleep per night. It’s the first time since I started recording my sleep times with the Fitbit that I’ve had more than four hours in a night – and it happened all week.

So, it looks like the possible cure (or at least improvement) in my insomnia is :

  • Move to Cornwall (or somewhere with equally remote areas)
  • Walk at least six miles a day
  • Sleep in a house miles from anywhere, in absolute pitch-black darkness and silence.

At the moment, none of that is massively feasible. But in the future, it may well be. I need to look at how things work, what I do and what I want to do, and how to get to where that kind of plan might be possible.

So, that’ll be fun.

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