D4D

I don't know anything about saints, but I have an uncanny instinct for sniffing out a son of a bitch.

Archive for the category “Thoughts”

Situation Standard

Yet again, I appear to now be idiotically busy over the next few weeks – well, really ’til the end of the year, what with one thing and another.  I still don’t quite know how I end up doing this to myself, but it’s pretty much standard behaviour these days.

I’m not complaining – in general I like being busy, and prefer it to days doing nothing  – but every so often I look at the calendar, and the board that holds all my upcoming tickets, and think “Lyle, you really are a bloody idiot“.

So, just in the next six weeks, and in no particular order, I will be…

  • Seeing Sir Ian McKellen as King Lear in Chichester (and staying overnight, possibly stopping off in Oxford on the way back)
  • A one-day conference in Birmingham, which may or may not happen, depending on other work commitments/stuff
  • A day-trip blitz run to Sheffield
  • A day in London doing a food festival in the morning, and a play in the evening
  • followed the next day by a day-trip run to Middlesbrough and Durham (for reasons I won’t go into now, as it’d identify the dates I’m away)
  • a weekend in Newcastle (which is, of course, not the same one as being up in Middlesbrough, despite proximity and so on)
  • A day trip to Cambridge
  • An evening in London, via Oxford (there’s reasons, but yeah, still idiotic)
  • And at least two other visits to London (with another one in early December)

Not just those travels, but somewhere in there also needs to be

  • Finally getting the starter motor on my car replaced (a hassle/fight that’s taken way too long, and will get written about some other time)
  • Seeing a number of films, which I’ve already got tickets for
  • other (more local) food things
  • Working (of course)
  • And finishing off two other projects.

In short, all a bit mad.

I know I’ve said it before – but for next year I need to start doing a little bit less, not being so booked up, and allocate some downtime for myself.  I just need to get some perspective on it all – because ‘downtime’ for me is also car-time and driving-time, it’s time where I can just float a bit, figure things out and so on.

Mind you, that’s also what I’ll be doing over the next six weeks, so I can figure bits out and what I want to do (and how) in 2018…

Repeatedly Breaking – an Update

Following on from Friday’s post about the pain I was getting in my ankle and leg, it all sorted itself out over the weekend.

From the speed of the recovery – going from walking with serious pain and limping at 9am to being able to walk fine, with just residual soreness by 2pm – I suspect that it was some kind of reaction to something I’d eaten, rather than a ‘proper’ muscle or tendon strain.

I’ve had gout attacks before – although I haven’t written about them here (or at least, not using the word ‘gout’!) – affecting the big toe on my left foot. They’re usually related to a food reaction, that I’ve either eaten or drunk something to levels that aggravate things. Some of those things are ‘standard’ – too much beef and ham, for example – and some are downright weird – such as swapping my usual Diet Coke for something like Sprite Zero. That’s what triggered my first attack, back while I was still in Norfolk.

Last week’s one, though, was different. Similar levels of pain – but on a slightly greater scale, as it was my ankle joint rather than a toe, and thus there was a lot more that hurt.  I don’t honestly know whether it was gout but in an ankle, or whether it was something gout-esque. Regardless, it bloody hurt.  It felt more like it was muscle/ligament-based than joint-based, but I simply don’t know enough.

I’m pretty sure of what triggered it this time, so I might research it a bit more, and try things out a bit. But doing so would, by definition, result in more pain, so that’s currently not striking me as a great idea.  Frankly, I’ve had enough of hurting for the moment, so I’m firstly hoping for just a few weeks where I don’t get any more shit to deal with.

It won’t happen, but hey, a boy can dream.

Repeatedly Breaking

I don’t know why, but at the moment I seem to keep on getting damage to myself, and particularly to my feet.

While all the wreckage from excessive walking recently now appears to have healed, this week I’ve instead done something stupid (and remarkably painful) to the achilles tendon and/or calf muscle of one leg. What’s annoying is that I have no idea what I’ve actually done, or how.

Instead, it just hurts – particularly when I stand, and even more when I walk down stairs. It eases up as I walk on it, but not enough to actually be pain-free. It just lessens off a bit.

I’m hoping that it’ll ease off for the weekend – right now, though, all it’s doing is making me swear even more than usual.

Expensive

For a number of reasons, the last month has been idiotically expensive.  Some of it has been voluntary, some of it has been necessary. All of it has added up.

In the last month or so, it’s included…

  • Four new tyres for the car (Necessary, as all four were getting close to their wear limits)
  • MOT for the car (Necessary!) – thankfully, it only needed two new bulbs, so the MOT itself wasn’t all that expensive
  • Car Insurance – (Necessary, but also Voluntary – I paid the entire lot at once, rather than monthly, which saved about £60)
  • Tickets to see a band called The The in London next year (Entirely voluntary, of course)
  • Tickets to see Macbeth at the RSC in Stratford-on-Avon next year (Also entirely voluntary)
  • Tickets to see Titus Andronicus at the Barbican in London early next year (Voluntary)
  • New walking boots (Necessary, considering the damage I sustained from the broken old ones)

And that doesn’t include all the usual stuff.

So yeah, fairly expensive. It’s all still within my budgets and limits, and the majority will be paid off this month – but all the same, it’ll be nice if I can have a quieter October and November, with less outgoings!

King of the Air

Today, the news is full of the ‘shocking’ news of Monarch Airlines ceasing to trade.  I’m more surprised that anyone’s surprised, to be honest.

Now OK, Monarch are (semi) local to me, I know people who work(ed) there – but no-one who was in key positions, finance etc.  However, it’s no shock to me at all that they’ve gone under – in many ways I’ve been more surprised that they’ve gone on as long as they have.

The Wikipedia page contains a summary of it – but it’s stuff I was aware of anyway, having watched the news and so on.

Three years ago, they were nearly bankrupt. They got a last-minute bailout/buyout by Greybull Capital, which was all that allowed them to keep trading. Three years ago.

This time last year, rumours came up about their potential bankruptcy. They got a last-minute extension to their ATOL licence (similar to the activities of last weekend) after another £160-odd million fund injection from Greybull and other investors.

Between those warnings, the drop in customers in markets that were key to them (tourism to Tunisia and Egypt, primarily) and other competition, and the general atmosphere post-Brexit, it was no surprise at all.  I fully expect a couple of others to collapse as well.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a shitty situation – for the people who work there, and for the passengers and customers who are currently wondering what’s going to happen.  But it still shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Personally, I know that I wouldn’t have booked anything with them, regardless.

Of course, every cloud has a silver lining – I suspect RyanAir are ecstatic about all those extra Monarch pilots and crew suddenly becoming available (and without even needing expensive relocation packages) that can fill the gaps in their current schedule.  Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if RyanAir didn’t aim to buy up a lot of the Monarch stuff – planes, staff, routes etc., and make money off the misfortune of Monarch.

Re-covered

Somehow, it’s already nearly a year since I got the latest car. Which, of course, means it’s also time for my insurance renewal to come through.

As usual, the current company have massively taken the piss, nearly doubling my premium this time round.  For some reason, rather than having a number of different under-writers, they’ve recently decided to stick with just the one – and that one happens to be nothing short of extortionate.

Still, that’s fine, they can fuck off.

As a result, I’ve already sorted out a new policy with a different company. It’s got all the cover and options I wanted, and is cheaper than what I’ve paid this year, let alone the ridiculous renewal price.

I truly don’t understand the business model of the insurance industry, this attitude of “keep on charging more ’til people leave”. Surely if someone’s been with a company for [x] years, and established a record of being safe, not claiming etc., then it should be easier/cheaper/better to keep them, rather than letting them sod off somewhere else?

I suppose it might be the law of diminshing returns, an expectation the customers will claim eventually. Using that it kind-of makes sense, if all the customers are paying up, and if we can get rid of them before they cost us, then we’ve made money out of it, and it’s cost “some other company”.

But it all seems pretty flawed to me, and pretty bloody dumb. Hey ho. Their loss, not mine.

Offering A Service

Every few days, I go past this office, and re-notice the window…

It’s a solicitor’s office, and I still can’t figure out whether they’re offering Abduction as a service to their clients (along with Domestic Violence!) or whether they actually mean they offer services based around Abduction and recovery of Abductees.

Either way, it always strikes me as an odd one to advertise – and even more so when it’s not clear what they’re actually doing.

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