Category: General

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

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.