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…
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.
Following on from the post a while back about driver assistance things, I had another interesting one a few days ago.
I’d hired a Vauxhall Insignia in order to ferry people around a bit, and the weather was disgusting – heavy rain, lots of spray, and lots of idiots with no lights on.
Anyway, on the section of the M4 I was driving on, there were roadworks, and the lanes had been narrowed as a result. And that was where the problem came in.
The Insignia had the Lane Change Warning thing, which detects when the driver is drifting across lanes without indicating – and in the case of the Insignia, it also tries to push you back into the lane you’re departing. Not my favourite thing at the best of times, but in this case it was actually picking up on the wrong lane markings (because they were glossy and shiny in the rain) and so actually kept on pushing me “back” towards the crash barriers, and would have left me scraping along them if I’d not been paying attention.
I can understand why it happened, and how. It was also easy enough for me to sort things out (eventually by turning off the Lane Change completely) but I can also easily see how things could’ve gone wrong, if I were the sort of driver who relied on these aids, who didn’t pay attention, or left those aids to do things because they’re there to help.
And what would’ve happened in that situation if it were a fully autonomous (“self-driving”) vehicle with no controls, or potentially people who didn’t drive, or couldn’t understand the danger signs?
There’s still a way to go on these things, I think…
At the moment, I get a *lot* of spam about property investment – probably an average of five to ten a day. I don’t know why it’s suddenly this subject, but it’s definitely noticeable.
Student flats in Hull, Hotel rooms in Leicester, Apartments in Liverpool and Manchester, and even some overseas stuff. I don’t pay attention to it, but it does make me think.
Basically, what kind of idiot (or lunatic) is going to decide to invest in a property, based on receiving a spam/junk email? It’s a huge amount of money, however you look at it.
I mean, obviously people do fall for this crap – the spammers/scammers wouldn’t bother sending it out if they didn’t – but I can’t deny, I figure that the people who do so pretty much deserve everything they get.
It’s no secret that I tend to assume people with dashcams are usually shit drivers. Obviously that’s not always the case, but in my experience it’s predominantly true – as though there’s an attitude of “Well I’m perfect, and it’s all these other idiots on the road” or something.
I also know that it’s now far easier to upload one’s dashcam footage to report driving offences when the police haven’t been there.
What I do wonder is how many people self-incriminate on those uploads? For example, if one were to upload video of someone undertaking on a motorway, only for that footage to also show that the reporting driver had been middle-lane-hogging for the previous ten miles, and thus being at least a partial cause of said undertaking…
And no, this doesn’t involve my own driving. Just something I noticed occurring in front of me on the M1 this morning, and then started thinking about the extrapolations.
It’s that time of the year again where the roads are filthy, and all the grut ends up on cars. I’m not quite sure how it all works out – I think it’s a combination of grit/salt for expected sub-zero temperatures, plus rain lifting and loosening the daily-wear dirt off the tarmac and making it airborne.
It surprises me how dirty everything gets, and also how unaware people are of how vile their cars are – I regularly see lots with their number plates completely obscured and unreadable because of that caked-on junk.
Personally, I don’t get that – regardless of how well one drives, why draw the attention of any passing police, and give them a reason to stop you?
Admittedly, last week when I was driving home one night I did think I’d had a headlamp blow, as there was considerably less light/illumination than usual – but I checked when I got home, and it was just congealed gunk on the lenses. Easy to sort (and I took the car to the car wash the next day) but still, I don’t get why/how people leave their cars to get into a state where you could pretty much scrape off layers of dirt…
Today the UK got hit by Storm Ciara – nothing in the scale of American weather and so on, but still, enough to be entertaining
Among other things, it meant that there was a record-breaking subsonic crossing of the Atlantic – just under five hours, arriving at Heathrow a full 80 minutes ahead of schedule – because of the storm’s effect on the Jetstream.
Fortunately, the area I live in wasn’t too affected – we had several trees come down and so on, but they were all apparently cleared away pretty quickly, and a couple of trucks on the M1 were blown over, which must make life interesting. However, other areas were hit far harder, with some winds over 90mph, as well as flooding and so on.
Thankfully, I wasn’t doing much today. I had thought I was back down in London to see a play, but it turned out that is actually on a different day/weekend completely. And I can’t deny, I’m really quite pleased about that.