One of the interesting (well, to me) things about Milton Keynes is that because it was all done at the same time, there are only about three types of tree (in general) lining all the roads.
The fun side of this is that everything happens all at once – in spring, all the trees are suddenly in leaf. And of course, come autumn, all those leaves fall in the space of a couple of days.
I suppose it makes things more manageable (so long as the council is organised, which is a bit of a leap, but there we go) in that the street cleaning service has a nightmare week of cleaning all the leaves up, rather than spreading it over a month or so.
Anyway, I only write this because from the look of it, this weekend will be those days. It’s started to happen already, but I reckon by Monday the trees on all the roads will be back to bare branches.
Winter is coming…
As well as all the other stuff I was doing last week, I also moved office. As you do. Because of course life wasn’t already busy enough, and all that.
As it was, it wasn’t that much of a slog – I’ve stayed in the same building, but moved three floors down, and to the other end. So why move?
Basically, the previous office (which I moved to about a year ago) suffered from the absolutely shitty combination of ridiculously thin stud walls, and being surrounded by excessively noisy and selfish people. It was tolerable for a short(ish) while, but all told it conspired to end up pissing me off.
Of the three companies around my office, I had one lot who simply operated at maximum volume all the time, and who I could hear through the ‘wall’ all day every day. I had one lot who weren’t too bad, but were a counselling organisation so you’d sometimes be able to hear people breaking down and crying etc. in the middle of a session. And the final lot were just incapable of closing their door, so again I could hear everything that they did. (And if I returned the compliment and left my door open with the radio on, would complain that I was disturbing them, while paying absolutely no heed to the fact they were doing the same consistently)
There were other bits too that ended up pissing me off – the way others would turn all the lights on, but be incapable of then turning them off again (I suspect they had partners at home who just followed them around turning stuff off, as they were so incapable of doing so) and leaving the communal toilets either stuffed full of bog roll, or completely unflushed – and doing so Every. Fucking. Day.
So all told it just got to be too much, and I wasn’t enjoying going to work. I looked at offices in other places (particularly with the added issues of the commute for the next two-ish years) However, none of the ones I looked at had the convenience of location and facilities around, and all seemed to be at least three times as expensive as where I currently am.
However, I ended up talking about that with one of the directors of the foundation that owns the current building, and it turned out that a different unit was just becoming available. Ideal. Quieter end of the building, better walls, and just generally an improvement.
It took its time happening, but the car’s now back, the broken turbo‘s been fixed and all seems well.
I actually got it back last Friday, but I’ve been travelling round like a dickhead since – I’ve covered a thousand miles already, and given the new stuff a good bedding-in along the way.
It’s not been cheap – far from it- although it’s still cheaper than getting a new car. But at least it’s now back on the road, and I’ll just have to wait and see how it does from here on.
Along the way, it’s also meant I’ve been considering what to do when it comes to getting a new car, doing some thinking and making some plans for that time. I’ll write about that some other time, though.
For now, I’m just happy to have the car back and working – now it’s just time to get it re-taxed and booked in for its MOT. Fun, fun, fun.
I wrote a while back about how I’d managed to book some time out this year, and intended to take it.
Last week was the first of those weeks, and I spent it with friends down on the south coast – which was pretty good, all things considered. I got very lucky with the weather – while it was cold and windy, that’s not unexpected in mid-February. And while we spent a lot of it walking dogs on beaches, I didn’t put a coat on once. (That’s more because I’m an idiot, and pretty warm generally. Everyone else was bundled up like an unwell Michelin man) Considering that this week is all about the snowfall and ‘Siberian weather’, I reckon the timing was pretty fortuitous.
All told, it was a good week (well, five days) away. I still ended up doing some work, because of urgency and being swamped with requests, so it was easier to just get things done while everyone else was asleep, but that was fine, and didn’t take up too much time. It would’ve taken up more headspace if I’d left things unfixed until my return today, which meant it was all a bit of a balancing act, but one I feel worked out pretty well in the end.
And now it’s back to ‘normal’ until May, when the next one comes round. And between now and then I’ve got a sod-load of stuff to do and organise, including making sure everything is in place for the May trip!
As is traditional round these D4D parts, I lay out my hopes and/or plans for the coming year on my birthday. Like New Year’s Resolutions (and as likely to be completed, it seems) but on a different arbitrary date. Because why not? It’s as good a day as any.
That list for last year (2016/17) wasn’t massively successful, mainly due to my inability to get out less, so I’m hoping to be slightly more realistic this year…
So, the plan for the coming year is…
- Keep rebuilding the finances, adding to savings and so on.
By the end of this year, I’ll have completed the whole bankruptcy process, and it should be off my credit history. (As I understand it. Some people have said it only comes off at six years from the end of the bankruptcy period, which’d make it September 2019. We’ll see)
- Exercise more, lose weight, improve health
Another ongoing process, carried over from 2016/17
- Complete September’s walking marathon
This imploded epically in 2017, so it’s another carry-over. And this year I’ll do some more training, and not destroy my feet four weeks before it…
- Write more
Actually complete some stuff, and see what to do with it from there.
I’ve also got some tech answers to this, giving me more time and space for writing (I hope)
- Do less
I’ve written about this before, but I am *really* bad at doing nothing. Lazy days do my head in, and I end up feeling stupidly guilty about “wasting” a day. But conversely, I’m acknowledging that I do need downtime for other things. So I need this as a reminder.
- Business ideas
Look at completing some of the business ideas and plans, and see what I can do with them from there.
And for now, that’s it. I’m hoping it’ll be a bit more successful than last year’s list!
This week is always a tough one for me – I find that more and more, my body is really messed up by the changing of the clocks. It leaves me slightly disoriented, particularly because daylight levels have suddenly changed according to the clock. For example, last week I was getting up in the dark to be ready for work, but evenings still had some light to them. Now, arbitrarily on one day, it’s changed so that I’m rising and going to work with daylight, but that the evenings are darker much ‘sooner’.
Because of the Seasonal Depression I get anyway, I know that my brain is aware of light levels and so on, but it’s always interesting to see what affects it. It’s not fun while I’m in that change, but it’s still interesting to see it.
All told it leaves me just out of kilter, more tired than usual, and just that nagging feeling that Something Is Not Right. It eases off – it usually takes about a week to do so, so we’re nearly there now – but it’s a tough week of being tired, demotivated, and slightly crankier than usual.
And of course it’s not helped by also a ) being very close to my birthday, and b ) having been another busy week or so. I was away last weekend, I’ve been out most evenings this week, and then it’s busy this weekend as well, although I’ll at least be home in the evenings/nights. Being out so much also means that the cats decide I’m leaving or something, and get extra clingy and annoying while I’m home – which also doesn’t improve my mood or temper. I’m not good at being In Demand – and particularly not at being In Demand And Shouted At – but there we go, that’s what this week has entailed.
It’ll all ease off again, I know. It just means that this week post-clock-change is a beast.
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…