D4D

And when there was one set of footprints, that's when I was on my pogostick.

Archive for the category “Getting Organised”

Half past 2018

Somehow, we’re nearly halfway through 2018 already. It’s been a hugely busy and eventful six months, but right now I’m hoping for a bit of a break.  (Yeah, we’ve heard it all before, I know)

At the moment, I’ve got very little scheduled in for July and August – and while I’ll still be going out and about, my current plan is to not be as hyper, at least.

There’s other things in the plan instead, which I’ll write more about as and when I get the chance (and as and when they start working out)

There’s another week of being chaotically busy to get through first, but the end is in sight, and that’s a good thing right now.

Time To Spare

I’ve written before about my tendency to be horrifically early for things – I like having time to spare, and I’m happy with being where I’m supposed to be, with a book, phone etc., and can happily while away the time.

It also, on occasion, gives me time to sort things out when I’ve sodded them up – which was the case on Sunday.

The car’s air-conditioning has been noticeably weaker this summer, so I’d decided to have it re-gassed, and see if that made a difference. I booked an appointment with Kwik-Fit to get it done on Sunday morning, and turned up (early) to where I thought I had it booked in.

Only… it wasn’t booked in there.  Knackers.  I couldn’t find the confirmation email (still no idea what happened to that) so ended up having to call their main customer centre to try and find out.  Turned out – either through my own stupidity, or some kind of system glitch – that it was actually booked on the other side of town from where I was. Knackers again.

But because I’d been horrendously early, it meant I still had the time to get across to the correct place in time for my appointment – and even had time to spare!

It all worked out fine in the end – but if I’d been punctual for the first one, I’d have been utterly kippered for getting to the proper place on time!

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. 🙂

Toronto

So, where was I last week?  To cut a long story short, Toronto.

Basically, last year I got really lucky.  CocaCola had a summer holiday promotion where the label of each Coke product was printed with a design and a code. And as I drink a lot of it, I thought “What the hell”, and kept entering codes from them.

And I won.

At the time, they were saying that you could claim the holiday at the destination on the winning label – and in my case the winning label was for Dublin. I really wasn’t overly bothered – I’ve been to Dublin, after all. But I got to the point of thinking “Sod it, might as well claim, at least it’s a break”, and then when I spoke to them they said “Which destination on the list did you want?”.  So I went back to the list, and saw that Toronto was on there, which has always been on my list.  And that’s what I did.

The prize was actually for up to four people, and included flights, half-board hotel, and transfers between the two. All told, quite a significant contribution.  I only went with one friend in the end, with a room each, so it was all good.

The run-up to the break had been fraught – it’s where a lot of the “You had one job” post came from – but the break itself went well. (It turned out that the agency in question had made fuck-ups in every single aspect of the booking, although I’d caught all but one in the run-up to the holiday, and the last one finally bit us in Toronto, where the agency had booked the transfer to the wrong hotel – same brand, different location, a $100 taxi ride apart)

All of those fuck-ups are being dealt with, and have been referred back to both the agency and to CocaCola as well, so it should be entertaining to see what crap hits the fan from that.

Anyway, the week itself was great. We had a hotel right in downtown Toronto, which meant that everything was easily available, and during the week, we covered pretty much everything we wanted to in the city. It’s a very walkable city, and we covered about 70 miles all told during the week. As well as the classic touristy stuff (CN Tower, driving to Niagara Falls etc.) we got to do culturey stuff including the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario, and also visiting most of the local districts and regions within the city. It’s been busy, but not hyper-busy.

We got back yesterday, having been awake from 6am Toronto time, flying back at 18:30 Toronto time, arriving at Heathrow at 06:30 BST, and I then beasted my way through ’til gone 10pm on Sunday before admitting defeat. Hopefully that should enable me to reset my body-clock somewhat.

It’s been well worth it though, and all told I reckon it’s pretty much balanced out a bundle of the money I’ve given to CocaCola over the years…

Old Gigs

This year seems to be another one with a lot of band revivals – and I’m happy about it.

First of all, the band “The The” announced that they were going to do their first tour in twenty-odd years.  Having been a fan for a long time, I got tickets.

The first-announced one, back at the Royal Albert Hall (where I saw them *cough* years ago) is the single most expensive gig ticket I’ve ever bought – the gig sold out in minutes, and I was in the queue, so the only ones that remained by the time I got there were ridiculously costly (but also have hospitality included, so I’ll make it pretty much work out, somehow) but fuck it, got one anyway.

Then they announced a second gig, this time at Brixton Academy on the following night. Much much cheaper. So I got one for that too.

Later, they also announced a smaller warm-up gig, in Nottingham. Yup, got that too.   (It’s ridiculous, and I just hope it’s worth it)

There are a couple of others this year as well, including Ministry and Nine Inch Nails, both of whom I’m going to see.

And then yesterday, the Cowboy Junkies announced they were coming to the UK for three concerts – in Glasgow, Manchester, and London. I think the last time I saw them was on their last visit here, although for some reason I appear to have missed one a couple of years ago – had tickets, didn’t go. I’ve been a fan of them even longer than I have of The The, so it was a no-brainer.

Glasgow and Manchester went on sale today, and I’ve got one for Manchester. The London ones don’t go on sale ’til the end of the month, but I’m already seriously considering getting one for that too. It’ll depend on the price, but it’s pretty likely, if I’m not going to see them again for another decade…

You Had One Job

[This follows on from a conversation I was having over the weekend, so I thought I’d write a bit more about it here. You lucky people]

This year so far has in many ways been an exercise in frustration.  I’ve felt like I’m keeping on having to fight things all the way, just to get people to do their sodding jobs.  It’s incredibly annoying, frustrating, and just leaves me tired and pissed off.

I know I’ve written about this kind of thing before – it seems to be a bit of a theme round here. And it’s not even like I expect miracles – all I want is for people to do their fucking jobs right. That’s not too much to ask, surely?

For example, one of the current bugbears has been a particular travel agent, who is supposed to be organising a break.  It’s been in the process now for about six months, with the travel happening next month.  I’ve given them a decent length of time and space, and absolutely nothing happened. Indeed, the only time anything started happening was once I got in touch with them about six weeks ago, to find out what was going on.  All of a sudden the tickets and so on appeared, along with acknowledgement that they’d dropped the ball, that the initial contact had left the company and there’d been no handover or successor assigned to deal with me.

The problem was that the names on all the bookings – flights, hotel and so on – *all* had spelling mistakes. I’ve raised it with them, and they’re “going to deal with it”.  But man alive, this is the job they’re supposed to be good at, that they do all day every day, and they still make mistakes like these?  I’m honestly not reassured, and won’t be until I’ve arrived at the destination and know that everything has worked out.  Which is hardly a relaxing start to a break, it’s fair to say.

The stuff with the bank, the car insurance people, and the windscreen people have also been fine examples. Along with several others I’m not in the mood to add just yet to the list here.

All I want is for people to do their jobs. Why is that so bloody difficult?

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