D4D

When the revolution comes, my friends...

Archive for the category “Change”

Changing Plants

Over the weekend, I spent some time changing the plants and pots I’ve got in the yard of my house.

Some of the things from last year had died off, most having only been expected to live a year, a couple of others just needed to be changed and a one needed to be replaced as the poxy cat had decided that pot was a spare litter tray.  Additionally, I’d changed a bit on what I wanted to try out this year.

For example, last year I had a couple of small apple trees in patio pots. One had done OK, but ended the year overtaken by wooly aphid things that made it look like it was covered in frost/snow/cotton-wool, while the other hadn’t taken at all.  So they were candidates for going as well.

This time, I went to a proper garden centre, and got a bundle of new things – two types of raspberry, a blueberry bush, and a couple of flowering currants.  Once I’d got home, I emptied out the old pots, putting all the residue into garden sacks. Then all the new things got planted, and so far it’s all worked out pretty well.

The final stage was taking all the garden sacks to the local tip, and getting rid of them all in the garden waste.

So all told, quite the successful day – a near-complete change of the plants, and all the rubbish dealt with, leaving the place looking pretty much how it did before, just with new plants.  I class that as a success.

A Decade

For a number of reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about time past, so I had a look back at what was going on here ten years ago.

Man, there’s been a lot of change in that time.

Back then, I was newly in Norfolk, living with Herself (and Hound and Psycho Cat, of course), still in the rented place and in the process of buying the Norfolk place. Working in Cambridge, and generally settled for the time.

How time flies, and all that piss.  Food for thought, etc etc

2017 Inspirations – Photography

As things change for me in 2017 – well, as I do new stuff, or restart old stuff – I’m hoping/intending/planning to write more about it here on D4D as well, along with things about what’s driving those choices.  So there’s a new subject/category to cover it all.  And this is where it all starts.

As long-term readers know, I was into photography for a long time, did pretty well at it, and even ended up taking a course while I was in Norfolk in order to better understand what the hell I was trying to do.

But since Norfolk and Suffolk, I’ve been doing a lot less photography. Some of that is due to my mobile phone, where the pixel count is higher than the SLR I still have. It’s also about faff – lugging an SLR around for the day (particularly when doing anything else, like one of my idiotically long walks) is a hefty job anyway, and it’s simply never ready for a quick photo. Using the SLR is a much bigger commitment in many ways, and over the last four years, I really haven’t been making that commitment.

This year, I want to change that, and do more where I actually go out with the SLR, with the intention of taking photos.

The first real inspiration for that has been this story on the BBC, of Dean Saunderson’s photos of a deserted Nottingham on Christmas morning. It’s something that works for me, having been to many places at ungodly-o’clock, and seeing them with very few people around. Oxford, for example, is beautiful at 5am on a summer Sunday morning – and the same applies for many other cities. So this is a theme/topic/idea I could get into, and will probably have a few goes at over this year.

We’ll see at the end of the year how I do on these inspirations. It’s going to be a year where I (hopefully) figure out more about the things I want to continue doing, and which ones I’ll be happier to leave by the wayside in order to do other things.

2016/17 – What’s Next? The Coming Year

As usual, following on from my posts about what’s happened over the last year, it’s time to think about – and write about – what I want to do over the coming year.

Similar to last year, I’m going to keep it fairly simple and open, rather than being too detailed. I’ve got better details in my head, but they’re not going to be written down.

The basic goals are going to be :

  1. Continue rebuilding the finances, and keep boosting the savings
  2. Exercise, improve health, lose weight
  3. Complete September’s walking marathon – ideally in under seven hours. (My target is more ambitious than that, but I’ll be happy with 7 hours)
  4. Write more. (And ideally complete/publish some)
  5. Do more of the ideas around my own business
  6. Get out less.  Ideally, some kind of middle-ground between being ultra-quiet/sensible, and the idiocy of the last year
  7. Look more at some political ideas, and see how that goes. (This one’s the random ‘maybe’ one, I don’ tknow if anything will happen with it or not)

I could go into more detail – although that’s handled more in my notebook of to-do lists and ideas – but for now this’ll cover things.

On first viewings, it should be an interesting year.

 

An Expensive Week – Part Two

Following on from the whole car kerfuffle last week, I’ve made a decision – it’s time to get rid of the Saab. It’s been decidedly iffy this year, and with the latest issue, I just can’t rely on it when I need to. I’ve still got a thousand-ish miles to do by the end of this month, let alone the stuff for the rest of the year, so need something I can trust will get me from A to B without the need for recovery, garages and the like.  Basically, that’s it.

The Saab no longer fits that bill, so it’s time for it to go.  I know I still won’t qualify for a car finance agreement etc., so it’s been a case of sorting out a transfer of funds from the savings account. It means a fixed budget, and see what fits that bill and those funds.

I spent some of the weekend looking at new (to me) cars, and have one sorted, to be collected on Wednesday.

It’s a diesel Kia Ceed, so fairly crap. But it’s only 70,000 miles, and came in well under budget. I’ve wangled a service and a year’s MOT out of the dealer, as well as a parts guarantee for a year (or 20,000 miles, whichever comes sooner)  The deposit has been paid with a credit card, which covers me under Section75 for the full price of the car, should it turn out to be a lemon. (That’s something I didn’t know ’til recently – so long as you pay more than £100 on a credit card, S75 covers the whole amount, not just whatever was paid by the card) In short, I’m as covered as it’s possible to be.

In all, it’s not a bad deal. The price is good, and having checked further since, I reckon it’s going to be saving me about £100 per month. Yeah, per month.  The road tax is £30 for the year, rather than the £25 a month I was paying for the Saab. (It fell just outside the newer emissions regulations, which I didn’t know at the time I got it) and the insurance is £30 less a month.  With the reduction in fuel costs as well – diesel vs. petrol, and so on – it stands to be a significant saving.

Then there’s what I got for the Saab – I took that back to the Saab garage on Monday, transferred the ownership, and basically got back what I initially paid for it. It’s still cost me money over the three years, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been.

I’ll see how things go with the new car – I’m not expecting lots from it, just to be reliable and to do what it should. It’s going to have a busy couple of weeks once I’ve got it, including longer runs to Dorset and Manchester, so by the end of the month I’ll know more about how it fits my requirements, and hopefully that it’s generally reliable.

Adding to Savings

About six weeks ago, I wrote about the changes to my intended savings plans for this year, and how it was affecting things.

Basically, I’d had a plan of how much I wanted to put into my savings account this year, and that hasn’t happened. There’s been a lot of other stuff going on instead, but all the same, it’s been a bit annoying to have not managed that target.

Since then, though, I’ve been adding in to the savings account, and making progress. I won’t get to the original target figure for this year – but putting some in is better than putting none in. So since that first post, I’ve put in the full amounts of a couple of invoices for work I’d done, but also a bit more than 10% of each piece of income has gone straight back out to the savings, so I don’t even really notice it’s gone.

In honesty, that’s what I should’ve been doing all of this year, but I was looking at it from a flawed perspective. (I can’t be bothered to explain that right now, but may do some other time)  I’m intending to keep doing the same for the rest of this year, and do the same but with more money next year, and see how we go.

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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