D4D

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger.

MOT Passed

After the car hassles last month, it was in for its MoT test today.  I was hoping it would be OK – I wasn’t certain, because the MoT Test rules changed earlier this year, and there were a couple of bits where I wondered if it would fail.

As it turned out, though, it passed fine. One advisory (i.e. “that’ll need fixing sometime before the next test”) and that was it.

I’m glad – it means things are OK ’til next year, and at that point I may (or may not) decide to get something new.  (Or, of course, earlier on – if it fails between now and this time next year)

But at least it’s good for now.

Debtor’s Tales

This week I read the story on the BBC of a woman whose father committed suicide because of his debts. It’s an interesting piece – but, having been through that process, there’s something just Not Quite Right about it too.

I know lots of people – particularly middle-aged men – hide their heads in the sand when it comes to debts and so on, in the seeming hope that it’ll all just go away. (Spoiler Alert – It never does)

In this case, the man ended up being declared bankrupt by the local council, as he couldn’t keep up payments having missed one. (And the council behaved shockingly badly, even for local authorities – I know that if I’ve ever had a problem, I’ve got in touch and it’s all been easily sorted. But of course, you have to get in touch)

According to the story, once he missed a payment, the council billed him for the whole year at once. (Again, I’ve received that letter, but then got in touch and got it sorted down to a new monthly amount that accounted for the missed payment to be spread over the remaining payments)  He couldn’t afford the full year, so just didn’t pay anything – and kept on not paying anything.  (There is also a quite stunning degree of stupidity going on here, but I do semi-understand the mindset)

Where I get really twitchy about the story, though, is after he’s declared bankrupt.  Supposedly, the court-appointed trustees for the debt – and this is where he and I differ, in that he was declared bankrupt by someone else, where I declared myself – super-loaded the entire thing with extra charges, which is something that simply didn’t happen with my own Payments Agreement.  From the article…

Straight away he was charged £3,800 in something called “statutory interest”, which took his debt to about £15,500. But that was just the start. Over the next three years my dad actually paid £15,000 to the trustees appointed to collect the debt – the accounting and consultancy firm, BDO – but over the same period the bill from the trustees grew to £72,000.

(c) BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-45581526

Whatever was happening, that was iniquitous – but I don’t know what it was about.  When I got my agreement, it was the amount remaining from my income after all the bills and expenses had gone.  I paid that amount for three years, and that was it. No further charges, no ‘statutory interest’, nothing. The only other thing I had had to pay was the court fees, which came to £700-odd, from memory. That was it. 

Yes, I paid any extra income for three years – but that figure was set at the start of the process, and only changed if my situation did. The entire process was clean, fair, and the best thing I ever did.  Obviously I’d have preferred to not be in the situation where I needed to go through that process, but there we go – hindsight is a wonderful thing on that score.

So yes, it’s a terrible story of what happened to this man. But there’s also a lot that’s not being said, or that (in my humble opinion) needs further exploration.

But as always, the biggest thing to say about it all is that the help is there – so long as you make the effort to find it, to keep in touch, to talk to the right people.  If you just hide away then it’ll all keep on coming back, bigger, nastier and more brutal than before.  There’s no escaping this sort of shit, it just gets worse if you hide from it.

Typos

Note 1 : Owing to Muphry’s Law , there will likely be at least one typo in this post.

Note 2 : It may also induce eye-crossing rage/despair in some.

Anyway – this week I’ve had two emails containing images that include typos (or just piss off my pedantry) The first came from Cotton Traders.

For fuck’s sake

Seriously, how the hell does that make it through umpteen proof-readers, editors, and marketing twerds? #rage

The second was a promo for a novel, and I’ve trimmed it down to just the bit that grated on me.

This one is a bit more pedantic – but it grinds my gears anyway.  “A prickly woman” is fine. But crossing out the “Prickly” makes it “A Independent Woman” – which isn’t right.  Find another word for “prickly” (which they’ve chosen because the title of the book is “The Cactus”) that starts with a vowel, or a synonym for independent that starts with a consonant.  Then it works. And wouldn’t annoy pedants.

Anyway, now I’ve shared my irritation. You’re welcome.

Slow Days

This month, I’ve come to the conclusion that taking days off (or even having days of doing Not Much) are actually bad for my health. (Note : This post is slightly tongue-in-cheek)

I know I’m renowned for keeping on going, for doing lots of idiot stuff all the time and staying busy. I do also regularly think that I’m doing too much, and need to slow down a bit.  However, when I do so, I get massively hit with illness and general ill health.

The weekend before last, I took a day off, doing very little (still maintaining my step count, but not much else) which was much needed.  However, that kind of day lets me relax, and my resistance becomes massively lowered – so this time I went down with a stinking rotten cold that hit me like a hammer. which lasted into this week.

This weekend, I did very very little on the Sunday (after a significantly hectic week) and came out of it with the start of a gout attack (happily now faded) and a whole set of aching bones, and an even worse night than usual.

The gout in particular was absolutely my own fault, due to the excesses of the weekend and the fact I hadn’t really planned of prepared for it at all in the ways I normally would. I’ve been able to recover from it quickly this time, because I do know what works and what I need to do.

But all told, I’m pretty sure that days off are just bad things for me.

[NOTE : I actually do know I should slow down more so that things aren’t quite as hyper and exhausting in general. It’s just that I’m incredibly bad at doing so, and this year’s showing no real signs of letting up on that score)

More (and Less) Walking

The weekend just past is the one where I was supposed to be doing that walked Night Marathon in London.  I failed to complete it last year (as I’ve written about elsewhere) and this year didn’t start it – primarily because I just hadn’t been able to get in the practice and preparation that would’ve made it easily doable, so I’d made the decision to not take it on at the last minute.

So it should’ve been this weekend that I did it, and as it turns out, I’m actually quite glad I made that decision.  First and foremost, the weather was vile, and doing it while being cold and wet really doesn’t appeal.

Additionally, I’ve picked up a vicious cold (I really should stop having quiet days – they totally kill me) and been feeling rougher than a badger’s backside. To top it off, this week also involved a couple of foodie events (although I’d have rethought at least one of those if I’d still been doing the walk)

All told, I’m still (mostly) happy with the choice to not do the walk this year. I’m annoyed with myself for having let the time slip past, and for not doing the training and preparation I could have done.  But there we go, I didn’t do them, and while I probably could have just rocked up and completed it, I wanted to be better prepared this time.

I’m signed up to do next year’s one though, so we’ll see how we go from here to there.  And if I don’t do that one either, then I’ll most likely sack off trying again.

Bo Bech at Bibendum

Last week, Claude Bosi (one of the chefs I follow on Twitter) announced that one of his good friends, Bo Bech of Copenhagen’s Geist would be cooking at Bosi’s restaurant at Bibendum in Michelin House in London for one night only, in support of Bech’s new book, published that day. And I was lucky/early enough to get myself a table.

The event was last night, and it was epic.

Me being me, I turned up a bit early – I’m always happy to sit at the bar or whatever – which meant I also got to go into the kitchen, meet Chef Bech and his crew, and have a quick chat. Pretty impressive in and of itself!

As part of the price of the meal, all diners also got a signed copy of the new book “In My Blood” (which is beautiful, and brilliant) which added to the event as well.

And the food itself was spectacular.  Things that just shouldn’t go together (Duck, Pumpkin and Coffee? Shouldn’t work. Does.)

All told, it was one of the best meals I’ve had – and that potato mash with caviar is definitely the most decadent course! – and it was just spectacular.

So now I need to organise a city break to Copenhagen and go to the place itself.  And there’s a couple of other restaurants there I want to try as well. That could be a very expensive weekend…

Brian Blessed, Cambridge Corn Exchange

On Monday night, I trolled over to Cambridge to see Brian Blessed on stage doing his “An Evening With” tour. Safe to say, it was a fun night.

I’ve been a fan of Blessed since his turn on Flash Gordon – which is now a very long time ago – which also gave him his most recognised phrase (and with which he opened the show) of “Gordon is Alive!

The entire show was kind of ramshackle and rambling, certainly nothing like the far slicker comedians and musicians that the audience was obviously more used to. I saw a few people with expressions of “What the fuck?!?” as it went on, because the were very few coherent stories, it appeared to be all more of a shotgun approach, as and when he remembered stuff.  (Without seeing the show again I have no way of knowing whether it’s intentionally shambolic, or that it’s just the way Blessed is)

For me though, I’d pretty much expected that, and it didn’t disappoint or disconcert me at all.

I thought the entire thing was a lot of fun (and also very loud, and sometimes sweary – also things I’m OK with) and would happily go and see it/him again.

I think the final note to leave on, though, is this notice on the doors.

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