Category: General

You can’t buy class

So last night I sent off my official resignation.

Short and polite and entirely anti climatic. What I haven’t said is my Boss hasn’t spoken one word to me since I told him. That was back in February. And he hasn’t even acknowledged the email yet (but I did include HR on it, so at least they know). This distancing thing is a bit of a tiny godsend in one respect, because I don’t have to deal with questions from everyone when I walk around the building. Word will spread far more slowly.

I’ve chucked a grenade and now I’m watching it fizz.

But not one word since February – stay classy eh?

At last…so satisfying

So as I have a tiny cough I’m now working from home. Because I’m not an idiot.

We hadn’t seen any Gulls for a week. I was quite disappointed I have to say.

“I think there’s one on the roof” says Herself “I can see it’s shadow”

[Ninja mode engaged]

I snuck out the garden door, turned around and there the little (big) bugger was. Perched on the very corner of the roof, looking the other way.

And he hadn’t seen me…

I don’t speak Gull…but I think I know what “What the actual fuck?! You twat!!” sounds like now. Sooooooo satisfying

(Context)

What a week

Well it’s been some kind of week getting a lot of people working remotely who don’t normally work remotely. Not sure I want to go though that again. I’ve done a lot of business continuity planning over the years and when you mention things like natural disasters and disease – you can see the eyes glaze over and the thinking of ‘That’ll never happen’.

Those chats will be a lot easier in the future.

I’ve worked from home a lot over the years as well. So much that I don’t see the problem with it now. Any problems I did have are long in the past and forgotten. We’ve been putting some virtual solutions on peoples personal laptops. Easiest thing from a cost and security perspective. I swear some of these feckin laptops are steam powered though. I’m waiting for the person still running Windows XP, but the lads haven’t told me if thats turned up yet. There’s got to be one. That’s been a bit of a surprise that not everyone is tecnically up to date. Walk a mile in their shoes etc etc.

I ordered a webcam for the auld fella. Had it delivered. My brother and myself then helped him remotely get it set-up. No better activity to make you drink a shed load of alcohol. But at least he won’t feel so isolated.

Back in the day I studied a bit of human toxicology and biology (I’ve had an interesting life). I enjoyed the course from a technical standpoint. Came out thinking “How utterly fascinating” but also “I’ve never been so terrified in me life”.

Ch-ch-ch-changes indeed

Very bad man

This COVID 19 stuff is awful, I don’t have anything to say about it right now.

But, sometimes, after a long day at work…

…well, we’re overdue a good culling

Easy Rider

I don’t drive.

Never got around to it. I lived in very large cities where it seemed more of a hassle with a car. Sometimes it can be a pain in the hole but I’ve never really missed it. Truth be told, I’d have probably killed myself by now if I had a car.

I do have a bike though. A Pashley Roadster which is incredibly comfortable. They’re big bikes and I’m a big guy so you can certainly see me coming. Flat cap and jacket. I love my Pashley.

Except in a head-on wind. It’s a bloody big bike with only three gears. Jayzuz.

We moved though and it’s a bit more of a trek to work. More importantly the cycle lanes are non-existent. Or are those ones that only go for four foot and disappear. A few country lane type roads as well with no pavements. Roads are mental especially during rush hour. I’m not sure who would come off worse – me or a Ford Ka. But I’m not willing to test that.

So I bought one of those foldy bikes. A Brompton. I figured I could ride to the station, hop on the train with that, and ride the rest of the way to work.

I haven’t tried it yet. This fecker folds and it takes a certain technique. I’m not standing outside a train station struggling with it like a fella with a newborns pram. So some practice is needed. It’s a lot smaller than my Pashley. But it’s okay I guess – just smaller.

“Get a helmet” says Herself

Why, says Me, I have a selection of perfectly good flat caps and I’m sure I read somewhere that wearing a helmet is debatable in a crash.

“Now you’re being a knob” says Herself, “Just buy a bloody helmet – I want you around for a bit longer”

Well I think that maybe, perhaps, you’re trying to be sweet there, says Me.

“I told you, stop being a knob”

I look good in hats. Perfectly happy to admit that. I have a good selection of them. I wasn’t going to get one of those bloody streamlined, yellow and orange ones though. You know the types – all vent. Worn by middle aged fellas who are too fond of lycra. I don’t own any Lycra. There may be some in my swimming trunks, no clue, but I don’t knowingly own any Lycra.

So I bought one that looked more like a traditional helmet. Apparently you can use it for snowboarding. I like snowboarding. I had visions of looking like something out of an extreme sports show.

The Helmet came. I tried it on. Went to show Herself. Reader, she laughed. I think she still is…

War

We live near the coast. It’s a bit bloody lovely actually. Probably a mile walk to the beaches. Lots of Gulls there. Hardy things who cling to the cliffs and try and steal discarded chips (from arseholes). I’m not a fan of Gulls.

In our garden we have a lot of Blackbirds (I thought they were territorial – family?). I’ve seen Robins over the winter. I good few Coal Tits (endangered I think). A couple of Crows. Some Starlings (like a juvenile gang that lot) and once a Hawk rested in the garden (I missed that – annoying, Herself was amazed by it).

We also have a couple of Gulls who hang around the street. I call them Hipster Gulls. Can’t hack it with their Brethren on the cliffs, so come inland a bit to be safe and try and have a chill life.

They are annoying fecks.

The entire street starts keeping an eye out around this time of year to stop them nesting on the roof. If you don’t get to the nest quick enough and remove it – before they lay – well you’re legally not allowed to touch it then. Woe betide anyone who lets a pair nest on their roof. They will probably bumble on through life, unknowing that the rest of the street hates them.

They are REALLY annoying fecks.

Hot Summers evening? Want to sleep with the window open a little? Prepare to be woken very, VERY early with not the dawn chorus but Vera Duckworth with a throat infection, on karaoke, out of tune, at 500 decibels.

I am not fond of them.

So it’s War.

I’m not allowed to do what I’d prefer to do, because it’s very not legal. So I bought a super soaker thing from Amazon. It’s basically a long plastic tube with a plunger. Stick it in a bucket of water, pull the plunger back and with a bit of strength I can shoot a jet of water that reaches the roof (not accurately but it does the job). Our neighbours took collection of it and wrapped up it looks a little shotgun-like. So that started a bit of gossip, until Herself collected it from them and said it was my water blaster for the Gulls ‘Oh bloody brilliant! Make sure he gets the ones that sit on our roof’

Mad Zero to Hero in a matter of seconds

Now Herself loves wildlife so we have two little birdhouses hanging off the trees in various parts of the garden and she’ll throw in stuff for the birds. This does not help in time of War. As the Gulls see the birds flocking and think “Must be some grub there” and land in the garden to have a root around.

Herself does not understand that feeding the little birds is undermining the War effort on the Gulls

‘Stop buying bloody bird stuff and putting it out!’

‘But the birds…’

‘Will be fine!’

It’s a bone of contention.

The Gulls know to run from me. I head out of the back door and they’re off. They used to just sit on the roofs until I went away, but now they get a shot of water heading their way – and they don’t like it. I’m having the time of my life. Can’t wait to hit one right in the gob with a jet. They don’t run from Herself. She goes out in the garden and they just stand there with a ‘You’re no threat’ look on their gobs.

And then I got the water soaker.

It sits at the backdoor so she picked it up, went out and a Gull looked at her with disdain…so she shot it in the gob with a jet of water. She said she laughed for an hour.

Well done, said me…absolutely seething inside with jealously.

It’s War after all and she got the good bit.

Craving

I like a bit of Sourdough. Quite fond of a Baguette. Quite fond of bread full stop really.

But I’ve had a massive craving for a plain, white, sliced loaf lately. Must be a nostalgia thing. Or the male menopause, who knows. I’ve just had two rounds of hot toast with proper butter on them. Bit bloody blissful that.

It’s also good to remember when you’re trying to get back into the habit of writing…that each and every post does not have to be witty and/or insightful.

Could just be about how bloody good hot buttered toast is.

Work and changes

I took a job at a medium sized company. Not a Global player. Not publicly listed. They can be quite interesting places. You can get a lot more done, quite quickly. I took a pay cut compared to the past as it was, in my mind, only for a short time while I figured things out.

The other thing about medium sized companies is they can have some quite insane people work in them. By work in them I mean lead them. And so it was with this one. It took me less than three days to think “Mistakes, have been made”. But the teams were very young and had a lot of potential. I liked them. I’m an old hand at dealing with madness and difficult people, I’m also very good at what I do so I decided to hang around.

Leadership has gone, more arrived, only to go as well and now we are part of a very large Global company. They gave me a small amount of money as a bonus if I stayed for x amount of time. That time passed in December.

When people ask me what I do in the pub, I say I’m the one with common sense. The one to say “Sounds good, but have you thought about x and y” or “We can’t because of a so we need to look at b”.

I honestly sometimes think it’s a sham of a career because surely everybody should be thinking things like this. But they don’t so I have a job.

My current boss is old skool in more ways than one. A bit of a political charmer but not so up to speed on anything technical or modern. That’s fine if you take advice. My mantra is to employ people who are specialists in things I know only a bit about, and to listen to them. There’s also a lot of change going on and sometimes you have to move quickly. People don’t like change, so when you need to do it – do it quick and show the benefits. I find that people can cope with change when they see progress.

One of the big things we are changing is heading towards being a year delayed. Not good.

Boss also likes long meetings – VERY long meetings that don’t really go anywhere or achieve anything. As others are leaving the organisation they are being replaced with very young and inexperienced people. Which is great if you’re focusing on development…but it feels more like they have the stamina to sit in very long meetings and say “Yes. Wonderful idea” at the end of them.

There are not a lot of wonderful ideas.

Back at Christmas I was working. I needed to give teams a break so I said I’d look after things. I did a lot of thinking around that time as well. I’m getting better at knowing what’s good for me in life. So I decided to make a change. If I really thought I was good at what I did – and sometimes I don’t because we all have a bit of imposter syndrome – then I wouldn’t have an issue with getting another job. Of course the absolute nonsense going on in this Country at the moment might make that a little bit more difficult. But sometimes you need to have faith in yourself.

So I told Boss that the reorganisation meeting we were planning needed to happen, but it also needed to take into account that I wasn’t going to be here beyond the Summer. I was leaving.

I don’t think it’s sunk in for Boss yet. I haven’t handed in my notice as I’ve given him extra unofficial time to work things out. We met for the meeting – lots of conversation, absolutely no solutions.

It’s a shame really. But I’m not going to work 12-14 hours a day to keep things together. Somebody else will pay me more money to do that. Or the same money and I get a bit of my life back.

I’m secretly looking forward to handing my notice in. There will be ructions (great word) when word get’s out.

Its it scary? Well yeah obviously. But I keep thinking about it, and it feels good and right. I have a plan, I have time.

And time will tell.

I sometimes wish my younger self had the wherewithal to think and plan like this.

But I’m not sure life would have been as interesting 🙂

Special

Had to clean my ears a little bit this evening. Which is always a little dramatic. Why? Well because I have this strange thing to do with Arnold’s Nerve (part of the Vagus nerve) in my ears, so if I try and clean them then I have an absolute coughing fit. Apparently less than 2% of the population have it. Less than 0.6% in both ears.

I have it in both ears…brill

Coupled with the fact that I have B- blood as well. Again less than 2% of the population.

Man, I’m special.

I keep telling Herself that…but I have a feeling she’s taking it in an entirely different context ?

Sod.

I’m getting better at remembering life is good

A while ago, in another country, I thought I was a bit mad. That I was on the spectrum or something. I was convinced of it. It’s only when you get through something – when you get out the other side, that you can look back more clearly.

I wasn’t mad. I was just really, really very depressed.

If anybody had suggested I was depressed I would have said ‘Nonsense’. I’ve read about it, it’s an awful thing. It’s clinical. I couldn’t be depressed. But looking back I was in a situation I was trying to keep together. That deep down I knew wasn’t good for me. But I didn’t want to make the change that, again, deep down I needed to make. I tried my best and it wasn’t working. I was lost. Years passed.

When I made the change. I felt twelve tonnes lighter. Not at first obviously. But gradually and quickly. It was like the sun had come out. Don’t get me wrong. It was bloody scary for many, many reasons. At one point my savings were getting very, very low and anyone is only a few bad decisions or turns of bad luck from being homeless and on the street. I’m not a young man anymore either. That reduces options. But I felt lighter, more positive and energised for the first time in a long time.

Roll on a few more years and I’m in a good place. Better off than a lot of people as I haven’t had debt for many years. I hate debt as it traps you. Credit agencies love it though so I’ve learned over the past couple of years to carefully manage a credit card. Just so I can get a phone contract – madness. But what money I have is mine and I’m not too extravagant. So in a very short time, with hard work and a bit of luck I’m back in the same(ish) position I was in that other country – but with a much healthy life.

I feel lucky.

I try and help others as well.

We have a friend who is not happy with work or her lot in life. Herself tells me about the chats they’ve had and I recognised things. Lack of sleep, being down on everything, not wanting to go out…lots of things. I told Herself to invite our friend round. That we’d help her go through her CV. Give advice etc.

It’s amazing how you could see the clouds lift from her as the evening went on. That there were possibilities and options. Not everybody has the strength or can get the distance from their issues to do something about it.

When work is getting on top of Herself I try and gently remind her of the good aspects. She said the other day it actually helped her a lot – to remember context. Everybody has a bad day. I always try and remember the good parts. We’ve gone to a very relaxing place in Crete for the past couple of years. I’ve seen nothing of Crete. I sit by the pool, read books and relax. While I’m there I do that awful sounding thing of ‘Living in the moment’. I remember bad times, and remind myself that I’m beyond them, that this is lovely, and to remember it and appreciate it.

I use those memories throughout the year.

But to be honest it’s the same if I’m sitting in our garden on a Summers day. I appreciate it. There and then. I don’t think about anything annoying going on in life. Don’t dwell on problems. Just enjoy those little golden moments.

I’m also going to try and remember to change things that could make me unhappy before they become ‘massive things’. To try and have a plan and to act on it.

So I’m making a change…I’ll write about that next time.