D4D

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Archive for the category “Driving”

Calling 101

Every so often, I decide to play the role of “responsible human being”. Today, it turned out, was one of those days.

When I got in to work, I could see that three cars in the vicinity had been broken into (or at least had their windows smashed) so opted to do the ‘responsible human’ thing, and called 101 – the UK Police’s non-emergency number.  No point in doing an emergency 999, as no-one else was visible, and the damages could’ve happened any time overnight.

So 101 it was.  And while I get that it’s for non-urgent stuff and so on, but man alive, what an absolute faff.

The call goes through, and starts off with “Which police force do you require?”.  (Probably because I called on my mobile – calling from a landline would’ve localised things. I assume)  That’s fine, if you know who you need to speak to.  But if I hadn’t known that Milton Keynes is covered by Thames Valley Police, I’d have been knackered from stage one.

Then we go on to a recorded message from the chief of Thames Valley. Why? No idea.  I assume it’s part of the script of 101 – I’ve heard similar on other calls to different forces – but it seems (to me) to be utterly pointless.

And then we get the voice-response asking what you want to do. If you know the name/number you want to speak to, type it now, or press [whatever] to report a crime.

And then we get some piece of crap recorded message about victim support.

And finally, finally, when all that’s done, I finally spoke to someone – who was helpful, and made sense.  But what a horrific fucking faff in order to do something I didn’t even need to.

All told, it certainly makes it easy to see why people prefer to call 999, even for non-emergency stuff.  At least the response to it is quicker, and gets rid of all that recorded bullshit.

 

Lead Developer 2018

This week I was in London during the week, attending the 2018 Lead Developer conference.  I’ve been before, both in 2016 and 2017 (so I’ve only missed the first one, back in 2015) and this year was as good as the previous ones. It’s gone from size to size, and this year had 1,100 delegates – which also meant that it’s outgrown the QEII centre, so this time we were at the theatre in the Barbican centre instead.

I had decided this year that I couldn’t be arsed with frantic travelling, so instead went down to London on Tuesday afternoon, checked into a hotel in Islington (so I had plenty of opportunity to keep up with walking and so on as well) and stayed for two nights.  On the Tuesday I also darkened the doors of Mac and Wild, where I had a truly ridiculous (and rather excellent) off-menu burger. Following the first day of the conference I also walked to Mere (again – and I hadn’t remembered I’d done much the same thing last year until I re-read the post from then) and back.

On the Thursday, once the conference was done, I walked up to where I’d parked the car, and had dinner in Wahaca up there before driving home.  This had been planned, as it meant I left London just at the time that England started their kickyball match in the World Cup, which meant that the roads were comparatively much quieter than usual, and that the drive home was pretty easy.

Along the way, I’ve also been able to complete a full working week, allbeit crammed into three days rather than five. It’s been pretty tough, but at least it’s all done now.

After this weekend, things calm down a lot – and I honestly can’t wait.

Hamilton

Last Friday, I went to see the musical Hamilton in London, and loved it.  I knew very little about it beforehand – my preferred way of going to plays and so on – and found it thoroughly enjoyable.  It’s incredibly fast, and a lot of the lyrics failed to stick in my head, so I also ordered the original Broadway cast recording/soundtrack.

I listened to the entire thing while driving to and from London this week (each disc was just the same length as the drive, by happy coincidence) and some of the tunes and lyrics have then lasted all week as well.

I’m aiming to go and see Hamilton again, probably at the end of the year, and in the meantime I’m pretty sure I’m going to have listened to the soundtrack a lot in the meantime.

 

Busy Busy

I slacked off from writing posts last week – primarily just because I was ridiculously busy, and didn’t get round to it.

The week before had already been daftly busy, including travel to Newcastle for a couple of days, and then social and busy bits on both weekend days.

I can’t even remember now what I did on the Monday – I know I was out, I just can’t recall where/why. That can’t be a good sign.

Then Tuesday evening I was seeing The The at the Royal Albert Hall, and on Wednesday evening seeing them at Brixton Academy, as I may have mentioned before (on more than one occasion)  Both nights were great, but on neither occasion was I home before 1am, nor in bed before 3am. And also working during the day.

Thursday was no better, although at least it was more local, by going to the local Geek Night for a bundle of presentations and connections.

And then Friday was supposed to be quieter, “just popping out” for food at a local event, that then meeting friends and chatting, meaning I didn’t actually leave ’til gone 11pm.

Saturday was a day in London, starting with cocktails and lunch at one of my favourite places, The Alchemist in Bevis Marks (near the base of the Gherkin) followed by a play called “Sancho – An Act of Remembrance” at Wilton’s Theatre.

And today was another food event in Milton Keynes, and this evening I’ve finally stopped and been able to relax a bit.

So. That’s my reasons for not updating over the last week.   I think it’s a pretty good list, but other opinions may differ. 🙂

 

One Job – Admitting Mistakes

As a corollary to the whole “You Had One Job” post from earlier in the month, it’s only fair for me to also admit my own errors (on occasion)

I left for the airport last Saturday at Ungodly-O’Clock – an 08:30 flight required arriving at Heathrow by 05:30, so I left the house at 03:30 for an hour’s drive.  However, what I didn’t do was check Google Maps or whatever before I left, to check the traffic. “Half-three in the morning?“, I thought, “There won’t be any issues“.  What a fucking idiot.

So I got to Junction 13 (Southbound) of the M1, and – with no warning – the junction’s closed. Bugger.  But if it’s only the junction, that’ll be fine. Up the few miles to J14 (Northbound), go round the roundabout there, and come back down the M1 Southbound, past the closed junction.

Except. Except.  It turns out that it’s not just J13 that’s closed. It’s the whole stretch from 14 down to 11. So that’s helpful.

And then it also turns out that – completely unannounced or warned, even on the matrix signs in the run-up – J14 Northbound is also shut.

Cock.

So I ended up driving up to J15 at Northampton in order to come round that roundabout, down to J14, across to the diversion route, and down to J11 of the M1 where everything re-opened.

More galling in all this is that if I’d just looked at the map and seen that the M1 was closed, I could’ve done my own diversion that would’ve cut out all the hassle, and cut right through to the diversion route without anywhere near the hassle.

On the other hand, because I’m still also pathologically early on these things, I still managed to get to the airport on schedule. A little bit more stressed than I could’ve been, but still in plenty of time and all good.

So yeah, I do make mistakes. And admit to them. So there. 🙂

More Sorted

Following on from last week’s “One of Those weeks” post, things did end up working out OK, I’m pleased to say.

The car windscreen got replaced first thing yesterday morning, and the whole process was pretty painless (once I’d got the appointment organised and so on).  The crack itself had definitely grown during the week, so leaving it another two weeks would’ve almost certainly ended up with it being a lot more serious. Considering that I was doing a fair amount of driving through the rest of yesterday, I was much happier to have had it sorted.

The bank issues also got sorted pretty efficiently, once I’d escalated the problem a couple of times. They still can’t explain why the auto-systems didn’t trigger for this – although I’ve heard some interesting bullshit along the way – but at least it’s all sorted, I’ve had the card cancelled and replaced, had some compensation for the hassle and lack of information, and the money was refunded immediately. So I can’t complain too much.  I’d rather none of it had happened in the first place, obviously, but at least it’s all handled now.  And as a happy side-effect it’s also shown the bank that I’m more on top of things than they are, and that’s now on-the-record.

So all things considered, the week has ended up in a much better place than the one it started in.  Yes, it would’ve made life a lot easier if none of it had happened in the first place, but as it had happened, at least it’s done and dusted.

 

Staying In

Today, I chose to stay home rather than driving in what was supposed to be terrible weather. I made the choice when I was about to leave for the office, and there was a significant amount of snow coming down, at which “Sod that!” became the decision.  (This is also related to the fact that all roads from my place to work are uphill, and last time it was like this, the roads were paralysed because dickheads couldn’t drive up them safely)

As it turned out, the warnings – for this area, at least – were unfounded. I could have got in OK, and got home.  We’re an exception to the rule, admittedly – but I would’ve been OK.

All the same, I’m glad I stayed home. I’m happier to have been here, rather than the regular checking for weather changes, and wondering whether I’d get home or not (with the news having been suitably hysterical about the entire thing all day)  so all told it’s been a lot easier on the mind than doing the travelling.

I’ll almost certainly go in as usual tomorrow and Friday, although we’ll see what happens on each overnight, and re-assess based on that.

 

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