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.
In the town where I live, one of the major roads in has a roundabout at the end of it. It’s busy, but that’s generally fine.
Anyway, the weird thing is that in the last week, two cars have come off that roundabout into the verges/ditches. Going in different directions (they’re on opposite sides of the roundabout) but both somehow off the road.
It’s weird because I’ve not seen any other accidents on that roundabout in the seven-plus years I’ve lived here.
The road’s safe – I’ve been over that roundabout at least twice a day every day, and I’ve been using it during the time of these accidents without any problems. It’s just it’s had two accidents in seven days, for some reason.
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.
Last week, I upgraded my internet connection to an “Ultrafast” one – known by BT / Openreach as G.Fast. Apparently they’re slowing down the roll-out of this in favour of full FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) roll-out, but for now it’s the best speed I can get.
G.Fast offers a guaranteed 100Mbps download – and I’ll get compensation if it dips below that – which is amusingly ridiculous. When I moved here six-and-a-bit years ago, I was only just able to get ADSL and a 2Mbps connection. It was painfully slow, although it did enough for the necessary at the time. When FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) came here, I got it, and went from 2Mbps to 75 overnight. At that point I could do streaming TV and so on with no problem at all. And now I’ve doubled even that. Truly insane.
I wasn’t actually aware that this tech had been installed in my area, but BT sent me a promotional mail about it at the start of November, and I’d dragged my feet on it a bit. But then I got a “Black Friday” promotional letter about it as well, where I could also get it installed for free, for an extra £1 a month on what I pay already. Well OK then.
(As an aside, it’s the only “Black Friday” deal I bothered with at all – and only because it saved me money on a product I was actually interested in)
The engineer came round on Friday to do the installation – it needs some changes at the cabinet, and as it’s still new stuff, they’re doing it with engineers rather than self-install. This had a happy side-effect, in that he also appears to have finally fixed the line problem that’s been plaguing me for more years than I care to mention. (And has cost me the price of an engineer visit on one visit out of the five, because they worded the ‘fix’ badly, but that’s a dead issue now)
Ever since I moved in, the line has been dodgy on occasion, and it’s just got worse over time. The broadband connection has been fine in general – unless I have to make or receive a phone call. At that point the crackles on the line were enough to knock out the broadband connection. BT insisted this wasn’t possible, and that all the options I suggested were Just Wrong. (Because obviously I don’t work for them, so what could I possibly know?) In that time, I’ve had five master sockets, and swapped from ADSL to FTTC for broadband, so I knew it was nothing in the house. It was always either going to be a fault in the line (“Oh no, sir, that’s not possible, more people would be complaining if that were the case”) or in the cabinet itself (also apparently “impossible”)
Anyway, this time the engineer could hear the problem, and tested to find where the problem was. Surprise surprise, it was in the cabinet. So while he was redoing connections for my new broadband, he had a look round the cab, and the terminators on my line (I dunno) in the cab were “worryingly loose, I could just pull them off, didn’t even need pliers“. When he came back to the house, oooh look, what a surprise, no crackle on the line.
So, I’m now working with a 150Mbps download connection, and a lovely crackle-free phone line. All told, bit of a win.
Last week, I noticed signs around Milton Keynes pointing to a new development of homes, called Shakespeare Park.
I’d really hoped that they would make a big thing of puns/content based on Shakespeare stuff, but no, it’s all very dull.
OK, they’ve named most of the house types after Shakespearean characters – but still, there’s so much more they could’ve done
“Shakespeare Park – ”
- it’s no ordinary hamlet
- Your home, as you like it
- Your midsummer night’s dream
And that’s just off the top of my head. I could probably come up with a bundle more.
I just think it’s a bit sad that Taylor Wimpey don’t seem to have tried…
As part of my whole weight/fitness thing, I’ve been going once a week to a programme called Gutless for the last twelve weeks.
It’s been an interesting programme, basically one two hour evening session a week, which consists of one hour of physical exercise, and one of information and chat about food and nutrition.
For me, the exercise has been of more use and interest than the food and nutrition stuff (as I learned more for exercise techniques etc. than I did for the food/nutrition) but it’s all been a generally positive programme.
As with other things I’ve been trying this year, it hasn’t been as successful as I’d have hoped – for me, at least – but in general it appears to have worked well for the other members of the group.
For me, it’s given me extra ideas and stuff to do, as well as knowledge of better workouts and so on, I’ll take that knowledge and go forwards with it as well, so it has been a positive process.
I’m glad I’ve done the course – and the workout/exercise side is going to be continuing on as a separate programme we’ve worked out with the instructor from the programme – and we’ll see how things work out going forwards.
All told, I’m happy with how it’s been. I’d be happier if the weight loss had been better and so on, but I know that it’s also helped me make other positive changes, and right now that’ll do me.