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.


Into 2020

It’s been interesting (for no good reason other than that this is a year that ends in a zero) to look back at what was going on this time ten years ago.

It’s fair to say that a lot has changed in that time – albeit none of it recently.

Back then I was still in Norfolk, and working in Bury St Edmunds (and I did keep the promise to stick with the one workplace for the full year of 2010)  I’d just had the first (and still only) accident of my driving career, sliding on ice onto a set of concrete fence posts, which did a blinding job of twatting the front nearside.

So in that ten years, I’ve

  • split with Herself, had another shorter-term relationship, and been single now for much longer than either one.
  • moved four times – and been in one place (the current one) for far longer than anywhere else I’ve ever lived since leaving home
  • changed jobs more times than I care to think about (I could work it out, but truly can’t be chuffed) and been doing the current one for far longer than I ever expected
  • been through the whole bankruptcy process, and come out the other side
  • been to more plays and theatre things than I’d ever have thought I’d have been to
  • and the same for restaurants – Michelin-starred and otherwise. This time ten years ago, I’d not been to any Michelin places – that happened in mid-2010, and I wasn’t impressed at the time. Maybe I should go back there, maybe not.
  • changed car twice, and rented a bundle of others as needs directed

There’s a lot of other stuff – it’s interesting to see how a lot of the things I wanted to change then that I still want to change now, for example – and I’ll write more about that elsewhere/elsewhen.

It’s a whole new decade out there (and I can’t be arsed with the argument about whether that’s 2020 or 2021, so don’t bother) and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.


Stung

Last week, I got stung by a wasp.  Nothing major (thankfully) and not something I’ve experienced often.

Indeed, looking back, it’s nearly nine years since I got stung by a hornet, and god knows when I last got stung by a wasp.  After all, it’s not like I generally provoke the bastard things.

It was a silly thing to happen – the wasp got caught in my hair after I’d been doing a workout, so I brushed it out, it landed on my arm, and stung me. Poxy buzzy twat.

Anyway, fortunately there’ve been no negative effects – it was sore for about an hour, and has then just been itchy as fuck for the last four or five days.

All seems well now, happily. And hopefully it’ll be another bloody age until it happens again.


Seven Years

It’s seven years today that I moved to where I currently live.  That’s the longest I’ve stayed in one place since I moved out of the house I grew up in.

As I’ve said before, I never expected to stay here this long – it was a location of convenience, a house that came up at the right time, in the right place, and was affordable.

As it turned out, it was more that it was a convenient location, a place to stay that’s easy to get away from, easy to go anywhere else. For the moment it’s still that.

It’s not ideal. It’s a tiny house, which suited my needs then and now – there’s no spare bedroom for friends to stay over or anything, but that’s part of the price I pay, and it just means I go to them instead. At the same time though, I can’t deny I’d like a bit more space, so I could take my books out of their boxes, that kind of thing.

I’ve been looking at other places and so on, but there’s nothing (yet) that’s grabbed me, that’s made me think I want to be there rather than here.

There’s six months on my current tenancy (the first one was a six-month-only one, just in case I turned out to be a nightmare tenant etc., and since then they’ve been annual renewals) and I’m going to take that time to assess things, see if there’s anywhere else that would work better for me.

I might still be here in a year’s time. I might not. We’ll see.


Ten Years Back – The Changes

Having whanged on about things from Ten Years Ago, I thought I’d have a quick sum-up of what’s changed in that time as well. It might be interesting, it might not.

So anyway, since Jan 2009 I have…

  • lived in five different houses (a couple only short 6-month tenancy things, but still)
  • been a lot more settled of late, and now been in the same house for nearly seven years. Which is faintly terrifying
  • changed jobs and contracts more times than enough – by my reckoning I’ve done 17 jobs/contracts in that time, but I’ve still probably forgotten at least one.
  • been through the whole bankruptcy process from start to finish
  • gained three cats
  • lost one cat
  • changed car. Twice.
  • driven lots (and lots and lots) of miles
  • Started going to see more plays and theatre stuff
  • Been to a whole load of Michelin-starred restaurants (as well as plenty of other places) as part of that whole “solo dining” thing

There’s other stuff as well, but that seems to be the key points, at least.  All told, I’m pretty happy with that list – some of it’s not been great, but even those have been better than the alternatives.

I wonder what’ll come in the next ten?


Ten Years Back

This weekend there’s been a bit of a “ten years ago” meme going round social media, and while I won’t get involved (mainly because I don’t do photos of me, let alone photos of me from a decade ago) it did make me go back to the archives here and have a look at what was going on.  Which was quite interesting (to me, anyway)

Ten years ago, I was still with Herself, we were in the Norfolk house, and sleeping abysmally while also sick as chuff with a chest infection of sorts. So, some things never change. I was working in a local-government job I hated – and the post about that was exactly ten years ago today – and generally doing OK.

I did also find a post about my weight – and again, not much has changed. I’ve lost a bit of weight since then – which I’m happy with – but all told it’s really stayed pretty stable. (There’s another post back in Jan 2005 about the same thing, with similar figures to where I’m at now)

Of course, there have been a lot of changes in that ten years, but it’s also interesting to see what’s stayed much the same…