Category: General

Walk along the river

IMG 3889

 

I’ve been thinking of writing about the pandemic, the government and the insanity of it all. But I’m just not in the mood. To sum it up: if people think this is going away quickly then they’re eejits, if people think it’s a conspiracy then they’re really feckin eejits, if people don’t want to wear a mask then they’re arseholes. In September 2001 I said the World was not going to be the same again for a long time, and that’s exactly what I think now.

That’s sums it up without too much superfluous shite.

Long COVID has me really worried. It’d not just about dying. We all have to. I think the long term impacts on public health are going to be far reaching. Not only from the virus but because of what we need to do to keep it at bay until a viable vaccine is found.

I was at the heaviest I’ve been, ever, during the full lockdown. Granted we did have a grand old time of it with wine flowing and plenty of barbecue…and not a lot of walking or exercise as we weren’t allowed. It was a novelty.

That stopped about a month and a half ago…at least. I was really starting to feel a bit ‘Urgh’ so the exercise started up again. We’re six months into this new way of living now. It’s important we don’t shrug off the toll it takes. Last weekend Herself and Myself both had a massive drop in energy and mood. It’s a bit of a slog getting back to being as productive. But we are.

I went for a massive walk on Tuesday. My goal was to walk until I was exhausted. Luckily we live on the edge of the countryside so paths could be taken without too much of a worry about social distancing. I only managed seven miles. But felt better for it. Today we drove a couple of hours to meet up with a friend for a long walk. We’ve seen her twice since March and barring shops and neighbours – she’s the person I’ve seen the most for the past six months! Crazy that.

It was a lovely walk along a river (pictured above) with her dog. Didn’t see too many people so it was very relaxing. I think the massive bouts of rain that kept rolling in helped with that – but you just have to dress appropriately.

I’m knackered – but in a good way.

I need to think about where and if I want to put photos online now I’ve got rid of the gram. Maybe my other site? Not sure.

For the Gram

I liked Instagram when it first came out. I like photography. It was a photo sharing app and normals didn’t really ‘Get it’. Flickr was shitting the bed at the time with Yahoo so it seemed a good place to go.

I was absolutely gutted when Facebook bought it. Despite the cries of ‘Oh it’ll be run independently!’ because:

a. I wasn’t born yesterday

b. That fecker would always end up destroying it, because it was successful and not his idea or execution.

I wasn’t too concerned about the data it was getting from me. Location off on the iPhone. I had my account private and had a massive cull of people who I sort of knew in real life, but never posted themselves…non technical term is stalkers.

But I knew it was always going to get worse. That the time would come to delete my stuff. It was starting to become like watching TV in the States (an ad every ten mins) and because I didn’t interact with brands it had no clue what I liked so would just serve up shite.

But the time would come when I would have to permanently delete it.

That time was tonight.

I have no presence on Facebook properties now – except WhatsApp. But it takes ages to persuade people to move elsewhere.

The World hasn’t stopped turning, I’m not a lesser person because of it. Herself was a little “Oh did you save the pictures though!” But she’s quite good at listening to me when I tell her how the internet works. So she’s not too bothered about it.

Somebody needs to build an independent app like that though. Small monthly charge to ward off the advertiser demons. People would pay for that.

Tattoos

I like tattoos. Not all tattoos though. Because I always think they should have some kind of meaning behind them.

I don’t mean as a reminder of that mad night in Thailand kind of memory either. Tribal markings on the lower back or some Chinese letters on the upper arm…nahhhh. That just doesn’t cut it.

It’s art, and art should have a meaning, make a statement and (or) invoke a feeling.

I don’t have tattoos. Purely because there’s no way I could decide on what it would be. I can be fickle. And you have to live with these buggers.

But I’m getting old and before my skin gets too saggy I want to get something. But I still wondered what the hell it would be? Then I realised I don’t have to have a picture/graphic – I can have whatever I want. So there are three things that have followed me through life that I’ve always liked:

1. “Men of few words are the best men”

2. “In vino veritas, In aqua sanitas”

3. And some Younger Futhark runes, that for obvious reasons I can’t type here.

Now I just have to stress about font’s (well except for the runes as you have little choice there).

So what do they mean? Well for the first it’s a snippet from Henry V by Shakespeare. It’s from a speech by ‘Boy’ who claims Corporal Nym “he hath heard that men of few words are the best men, and therefore he scorns to say his prayers, lest he should be thought a coward”. Now Nym isn’t a great character in the plays where he crops up. A corporal who eventually get’s hanged in France for looting. It’s not like I want to pull a quote from Henry himself. But I’ve always liked that part of the quote…because I really don’t like gobshites.

I can be a simple soul.

As for the next one. Well theres the danger of it being an ultimate cliche, but I have always judged people how they act when they drink. You can be quiet, you can be loud, you can be funny (or think you are when you’re not) but don’t be an arsehole. To me drink brings out peoples true nature. There’s also a toast I like, “Raise a glass to those merry souls who make drinking a pleasure, who achieve contentment before capacity and who, whatever they may drink, prove able to carry it and remain gentlemen”. But ‘In Vino’ covers it for me.

The third is just for me. And if I was going to get a picture it would be accompanied by a small boars head. Heritage.

Nasty and Despicable

I needed a separate phone number for Business. I want to protect my personal number as much as I can. So a PAYG SIM and a trip to eBay solved that problem.

I have had Apple products for centuries. I trust them (as much as you can) with my data. I don’t need a second Apple account and I didn’t want the business number to be connected in any way. So I got an Android phone. Samsung Galaxy S9.

It is horrible.

You have to be really careful setting it up. I’ll not go into the nitty gritty – but at EVERY opportunity it will pressure and trick you into giving up access and data. After initial setup I had to check everything else to ensure it didn’t have access to anything I didn’t want it to.

Awful experience and I don’t trust it one bit but it solves a bigger problem and will only be used for business.

I’m thinking of watching the ‘Social Dillema’ movie, but I fear I may get shouty and grumpy.

Happy in the bubble

There have been a good number of times over the past months where I’ve looked at the news and thought “Am I the mad one?” As it seems like a large proportion of the World is thinking and acting in the same crazy way.

It’s probably (hopefully) not the majority. I’ll write about things like that in a later post.

Herself and Myself are still sort of locked down. Lockdown wasn’t too bad for us at all. It helps to have the garden. No children so no worry there. We just have to keep ourselves sane. We’re both now quite worried about so-called long COVID. It’s not a massive surprise that a novel virus keeps throwing up little surprises – like long term heart conditions and cognitive issues.

One of Herself’s colleagues had a mild dose of COVID right at the start. They recovered from the initial ‘flu’ but haven’t felt the same since. Has trouble remembering the simplest things. Now this is a person who has worked many years to get to the top of their field. It’s a scientific/engineering discipline. It could be career ending as they are in a senior position – people (including Herself) are covering for now. But whilst we are still in the middle of the pandemic there is not a lot of medical attention going to be focused on that. That person (along with countless others) has to live with it for a good few years yet – and whatever consequences it brings.

And they’re a bloody lovely person apparently.

Life isn’t fair. We just have to deal with it.

In other news I’m still enjoying unemployment. I can’t believe it’s only been a couple of months – it feels like such a long time. I’ve been very productive though. The house was a mess. If you have ever moved into a new home – and that moment in time when you have only unpacked 15% of the boxes? Well that’s what our existence was like. Three houses trying to be merged into one. The sentimental nature of Her parents belongings was just something she couldn’t get to grips with, and as we were working very long hours it didn’t get tackled.

So I started to tackle it.

A good portion of the house is now grand. I could see the stress level drop in Herself the more it was done. I’ve slowed down on that a bit as the next stage is to start packing a lot away so we can get the renovations done next year.

I also tackled the gardens where it was a bit neglected. I like a good garden, but I don’t like the extended effort it takes to get anything done. But needs must. Before we lost the Summer weather it was really nice to just sit out on an evening – and I’ve become quite a dab hand at cooking over the open fire.

We also bought a water rower. Herself raced for her University team back in the day and I messed about and raced in another from dragon boats to gig racing. So we both enjoy it. It’s providing much needed cardio!

I have to get back into the habit of writing. I don’t have the excuse of having to go through hundreds of emails a day – but it’s nice to not be on the computer all day.

Filling my time

I’ve been using my BBQ/Smoker a lot this past year. Something about being able to cook with fire pleases me immensely. You have to judge a lot of things – and sometimes you make mistakes. I like that aspect of it.

After all the smoking and grilling is done, it’s also really very nice to be able to sit by a fire and sip a splosh of something. Just to watch the flames. Good for the soul.

Of course that all depends on whether it’s lashing down with rain or not. So May was great, June not so much, so far.

The other thing about lockdown is I’ve been reading a lot more. Really enjoying the Kindle rather than a paperback. I’ve been making my way through the Lee Child ‘Jack Ryan’ series – although I’ve got stuck on one in the series as I have it in a physical book. Much harder to read at night in bed.

I’ve also been using DuoLingo to try and learn another language. I’m just not great at them. Did give German a go and finished Level 1 after one lesson a day. So I’m on about a 600 day streak. Although I’ve gone back to learning Italian as at least my accent isn’t terrible

So I’m spending a lot of my time in shorts and smelling of woodsmoke while learning things. It’s not too bad so far.

Apart from my waistline. My cardio exercise has plummeted. I easily did 15K steps a day, and now I’m lucky to break 6-7K. So something needs to be done about that. The problem is avoiding people as I don’t fancy a dose of COVID. My neighbourhood seems to have a lot of old people doing a lot of exercise.

One big task does need to be done before I return to Corporate life though. When Herself’s Mum died just over two years ago – she decided we would live in the family home. Okay by me. We were house hunting anyway and it’s in a nice area by the coast. She just couldn’t face selling it.

Her parents travelled Africa and the Middle East a lot, and brought a LOT back with them, so the house is quite full (I’m not sure I can put Ivory on eBay…). We moved two other houses into this one (mine and half of hers) so it’s a bit…cluttered. We’re keeping her house for now as it’s a lot cheaper to pay the mortgage on that than to pay for long term storage. Just until we work out what to do.

Herself is very sentimental. An only child who adored her parents. She’s also very into recycling and upcycling – there is to be no waste in her world.

So how do you think that goes with ‘thinning down’ the clutter?

Exactly.

I have a giant trunk of Tupperware from the 70s (you can tell by the colour) sitting in the garage because it reminds her of her mum and it ‘Might come in handy’.

I have to find the right way of saying “We’re never going to use it, nobody else would want it, try and list on eBay but if not then it goes in the bin”

All without tears and tantrums.

Multiplied by every single thing in the house…

We’ve both worked really hard, and travelled a lot, so this is probably going to be the only time one of us can get it done. We need to do some renovations on the house and I’ve gently explained that to do that, the builders need to not have stuff everywhere.

I’m not looking forward to it, but needs must. It’s why I’m going to have a few weeks of doing nothing first.

I also bought a keyboard for my iPad (typing this on it). It’s okay. Hopefully I write more often to get back into the groove. Wish Marsedit was on the iPad though (this is the WordPress app).

Man of Leisure

Officially I’m still employed. Officially I’m just using up whats left of my holiday. I think I have a few days left but I’m not sure because, in my head, I’ve already moved on.

Leaving during a Pandemic is a bit weird. There’s no leaving card or leaving drinks. I just instructed the lads to delete my accounts and that was it – think I went to pour a glass of wine. I never really heard from my boss in Europe since the day I resigned. I’d caused a problem and they were not happy. I did have a couple of chats with the CEO and a couple of other Directors in this country though – sorry to see me go etc etc.

But it’s all done now. A bit of a rest and onto whatever is next. [Looks at calendar] In about a week and a bit half the business is going to grind to a halt or boss is going to have to find seven figures to keep things going. I did say many times last year and gave my advice…oh well 🙂

Whats next? Don’t know. Not thinking about it too much right now. Just getting through lockdown. It hasn’t been too bad. Having a garden is invaluable. I’m really worried there is going to be a second wave, but seems like most of the World thinks it’s all over, back to normal. Terrifying.

I bought myself a hammock. May was a glorious month so I had visions of spending my newly found free time lying in the garden.

Rained a lot in June hasn’t it?…

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