Categories
Life

Sushi

It’s our eldest daughter’s birthday today. Somehow she is 20 years old. I still think of her as the unsure 7 year old that walked through our door thirteen years ago, after two years wading through the endless red tape of the adoption process. We have found a sushi place that delivers, so have splashed out – I can’t remember the last time we had food delivered to the house.

In other news, the country looks like it’s heading back into lockdown – driven mostly by legions of idiots that don’t seem to be able to follow simple instructions from the government. The same people are complaining that the government are clueless morons. I’ve thought more than once about quietly pointing out that three quarters of those complaining voted for those they are complaining about. I doubt that would go down very well.

Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut, and watch the deck of the ship you’re standing on get set alight by those around you. Of course it’s not everybody. The vast majority are similarly furious. It’s the old story – a small minority ruin almost everything for almost everybody.

Oh. I’ve gone back to using the Bullet Journal, after playing with a Filofax for a few weeks. It turns out if you’re working from home all the time, you don’t really need to plan anything that far ahead – but having a day-to-day record of what you did, along with thoughts and ideas is pretty useful.

Anyway. Coffee. I need a coffee. And some music. And some sushi.

Categories
Life

More Running, More Coffee

Some good friends came over last night and sat outside with us while I cooked food on the barbecue. I somehow managed to drink two thirds of a bottle of wine while talking about everything and nothing with them, and boy did I know about it this morning. It didn’t stop me going for a run though.

I’m not quite sure how my brain works with this whole running business – I guess I’m pretty good at being accountable to myself. I thought about staying in bed for an extra half hour, but something inside me stood me up, pulled on some shorts and a t-shirt, and delivered me to the doorstep.

I’m not particularly happy with how far I’m running, or how fast I’m running, but also realise that at least I’m doing it – at least I’m doing something.

I’ve already downed one coffee this morning. A second will be following in a few minutes.

In other news, lets try not to remember the huge ass spider that climbed on me while hanging washing on the line this morning. I have no idea how long he was on me, hitching a free ride around the house, before he decided to climb down my leg. It was a “false widow” – I don’t think they are particularly dangerous, but probably enough to make the kids scream.

Categories
Life

Nineteen Years

Almost exactly nineteen years ago, in about half an hour if memory serves, I stood at the business end of a church in Oxfordshire, waiting for the future Mrs Beckett to arrive. Several aunts stood outside waiting for a Rolls Royce to pull up, and didn’t quite know what to tell anybody when it drove straight past. It turned out the driver had just missed the church (it was very small, and my other half talks a lot).

An hour or so later – after forcing us through the rigmarole that Churches do (this was years before I stopped sitting on the fence, and stopped believing in any of it), I turned around and was quite shocked. While you’re facing the vicar, who is invariably quoting chapter and verse and being very solemn and sensible, you tend to forget that most of your family and friends are right behind you.

I’m just trying to think what we have spent the last nineteen years doing since. Before children arrived in our lives we visited quite a few places around the world – France, Tunisia, Corsica, Spain, North America, Turkey. We also visited the various corners of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and various places around England.

A little over fifteen years ago we started thinking about children and didn’t get very far. After a long and tortuous story that I won’t get into in this post, we finally became parents about twelve years ago – going from zero to three children overnight (four if you inclulde me as a child too). Suddenly I found myself living in a house with four women. Somehow I’m still lucid enough to tell the tale.

Twelve years on and the children are almost grown – leaving schools and colleges, getting jobs, and beginning to find their way in the world. I have no doubt their directions will vary, and that we’ll need to continually remind them that it really doesn’t matter where you’re going, how you get there, or when you get there – as long as you’re going somewhere that you’re not too unhappy about.

Has it all been perfect? Of course not. Has it always been fun? Hell no. Do I regret anything? Of course. Would I actually change anything though? No. I tend to believe we are a product of our journey – of the decisions we make, the things we do, the things we don’t do, successes, failures, and so on. Without the journey we have no story to tell – no wisdom to inform what we might do next.

Maybe the secret to putting one foot in front of the other is to not be too unhappy about where the next foot is about to land. Everything else follows.

Categories
Life

Running and Coffee

I scraped myself out of bed before 7am this morning and went for a run. I must be mad. Or feeling guilty that I haven’t been running (or done any sort of physical exercise) for weeks. I just ran a few miles around town, but it felt good. Good to be out doing something.

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s half-way through September. After spending most of the weekend in a t-shirt and shorts, I retrieved the reflective waterproof I usually wear for evening runs from the depths of the closet, and hoped for the best.

During the height of lockdown you would see people out exercising every morning. That’s all stopped. I ran right through the middle of town, and didn’t see a single person. Nobody. I started to wonder if everybody had left town and not told me about some sort of impending doom.

I’m now killing the last half an hour before work starts. I just noticed an OpenReach van parked outside – they work on broadband network infrastructure. I have a call open about our continuing internet problems – fingers crossed they are here to help (cue exasperated look as they drive off without apparently doing anything).

It’s my wedding anniversary tomorrow. We’ve somehow made it through nineteen years without killing each other. I think we’re inviting some friends over to celebrate with us (read: we will feed some friends and make idiotic conversation – mainly to avoid killing each other).

I think perhaps a second cup of coffee might be a good way to start the day.

Categories
Life

Drama Queens

It’s Sunday afternoon, and the sun is shining. I expect the rest of the family will expect me to wander out into the back garden soon and start the barbecue. I’m wondering where the weekend went.

I’ve recently found myself thinking about this whole blogging escapade again. I’ve been writing at WordPress for years, and cross-posting into Tumblr. While doing so, WordPress has been slowly pivoting towards becoming a publishing platform – great for running a company website, but perhaps not quite so good at being a personal journal. If I’m right, Automattic’s acquisition of Tumblr makes a lot of sense.

The social internet itself is changing too (if indeed it ever was social).

The internet has become a lot less open and accepting than it once was. Cancel culture has to shoulder much of the blame for that. Rather than embrace differences, and celebrate diversity of thought and opinion, too many people have joined forces in a weaponised rampage of destruction – racing to the bottom as fast as they can. It’s a shame.

I’m reminded of a ridiculous comedy movie many years ago where the staff of a factory repeatedly downed tools and went on strike for the most innocuous of reasons – if transposed into the social internet, it’s the same as somebody noticing a slight perceived injustice while wandering along a street, setting up a soap-box, attracting a crowd, and handing out sub-machine-guns to anybody that might want to join in the “take down”.

The distortion of “Black Lives Matter” has proven that a militant minority will attach itself to any populist cause in order to quietly further their real aim, or bring down the cause they are pretending to support.

This got a bit deep, didn’t it.

Shall we just agree that on the whole, people are great – but also that a small number of people ruin everything for everybody else. I think the Celestine Prophecy described it in terms of energy transactions – where some would create dramas to draw energy from others. Drama queens. The world needs a few less drama queens.

Shall we also agree that I need to stop thinking so much ?

Categories
Life

I’m Coming Too

I meant to write something late last night. I got as far as writing “it’s half past midnight”, but somehow didn’t get any further.

My mental batteries are drained. I’ve been working on software development projects for the last week. It’s not easy to switch off – you turn over problems in the back of your mind late at night – or at least I do.

I need to get out of the house tomorrow – perhaps an early morning run. Anything really.

The world around us is slowly locking down again – caused by the legions of idiots that surround us. My other half forgot to take her lunch to work this morning, so I wandered up to the school via a service station that has a bakery on-site. While standing in the socially distanced queue with my mask on, I noticed the elderly man in front of me was not wearing a mask. There were signs everywhere instructing everybody to wear masks. He took no notice.

The internet connection is still dropping out all the time at home – we have had little or no internet for a week now. I’m relying on my work phone acting as a hot-spot to check email. There is a call open with our internet service provider, but no news so far. The kids are going out of their mind – deprived of YouTube and Tiktok.

Tomorrow may be all about books, cups of tea, and board games. If the weather is nice, perhaps a long walk away from everybody and everything – well, apart from the kids. I’m pretty sure if I announced “I’m going for a walk – I need some space for a bit”, at least two of them would shout “I’m coming too”…

Categories
Life

People Ruin Everything

Slowly but surely, we’re headed back towards lockdown – because some people think they know better than everybody else. And yes, I’m absolutely talking about the people who flew to overseas holidays this summer, or travelled long distances over land. Idiots.

“Oh, but the rules say…”

Yes, we all know what the rules say. And most people abide by them. Unfortunately a small number of people in all places don’t – and then you visit those places, and if you’re unlucky you cross paths with them – and you become a Darwin Award winner too.

There’s a lot of ignorance, selfishness, and thoughtlessness going on.

I was going to visit my parents late in the autumn for a week. There’s no way that can happen now. Next spring if we’re lucky. It’s not worth putting ourselves or them at risk.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read a book, or fly a pretend aeroplane, because it doesn’t involve dealing with people.

Categories
Life

Priorities

I just got back from a walk through the warm evening air to the supermarket and back. It was intended as a mental health walk of sorts – I’ve been going increasingly stir crazy working from home. Of course then “people” intervened to ruin it, but I’ll get back to that.

While wandering around the supermarket, picking up all the exciting things – lightbulbs, dishwashing sponges, deodorant, and so on – I happened upon all the “back to school” things that are now being sold at a huge discount. I came home with two stationery sets I don’t really need – filled with notebooks, rulers, pens, pencils, and so on. I showed my other half, and she rolled her eyes.

“But they were on offer!”

I laughed at myself, and remembered a girl I used to work with – who once commented that her Mum would buy dog food if it was on offer, and they didn’t even have a dog.

I also bought nice coffee. If I’m going to be hunched over this desk for days on end, I’m going to damn well have nice coffee to give me higher quality shakes.

In other news we received some bad news tonight – a friend of my Dad – a fellow flight simulator enthusiast that he has virtually flown with countless times, made friends with, and visited for meals and nights out – died unexpectedly. He was a virtual air traffic controller for many of the flights my daughter has taken part in – I told her a little while after she came home from college tonight. Everything seems very sombre now.

While walking into town, I thought about those that knew the guy that passed away – and if they might be changed by it. None of us is here forever – there’s a saying about not getting a second go at this life business, isn’t there.

I suppose this brings me neatly to the ass-hats that ruined my quiet walk to the supermarket. While waiting at the checkout, 2 metres away from the next customer, an older gentleman walked up right behind me, well within the markings on the floor. While being quietly annoyed with him, the middle-aged women at the checkout couldn’t find her bank card, so pulled her face covering off to tell the girl on the checkout that she was looking for it – and didn’t put her mask back on.

What is it with older people not caring about the lockdown rules? Is it any surprise that a second wave is sweeping the world? I keep reading about people going on foreign holidays, and wondering “WHAT THE F*CK?”. Nobody seems to have any understanding at all about combinatorial explosion, or the potentially devastating consequences of not know you were spreading anything for the several week gestation period of the virus.

Why are people so frustrating?

Anyway.

Deep breaths.

I’ve switched back to writing in a text editor. I’m rocking Windows Notepad, and saving the text files into OneDrive. It requires very little effort indeed. Not having the daily car-crash news from the US a tab click away helps keep me on track.

p.s. Miss 16 loved her first day at college.

Categories
Life

Mostly Offline

I was going to to title this post “Working from Home”, but this is my life now – working from home.

I’m glad I still have a job, and I don’t really miss the office environment – but a few things have started to happen that I’m not too happy about. It’s interesting to see how different people deal with the impersonal and disconnected nature of home working – I hadn’t anticipated that some would take advantage of it. I guess we’re all learning and adapting though, so it would be wrong to call anybody out. Lets just say it seems some are adapting more quickly than others.

While doing chores at the weekend I realised I haven’t left the house for a couple of weeks. I get up, work, eat dinner, wash up, play video games or watch TV, and go to bed – again, and again. I have found myself playing chess late in the evenings just recently. I used to play years ago, and the internet has pretty much solved “finding people to play with” – just as it has solved so many other things. It’s not quite the same as sitting across a board from a real person though, and emptying your head while pretending to care about the board game in front of you.

I wonder how many other games are really just excuses to spend time together? I know sometimes I offer to play board games late at night with my other half – purely because we haven’t spent any time together recently. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve lost at Trivial Pursuit against her – and scrabble. She lulls me into a false sense of security – like a cat playing with a mouse – lets me feel quite clever, and then ruins everything with some stupid word that scores more than my total score.

For the last several days disaster has befallen our house – our internet connection has been intermittent at best. This evening it appears to have given up entirely (we were told at the end of last week that engineers would work on it today – I’m not holding out much hope). The children are going out of their mind – deprived of Tiktok and YouTube, they don’t know what to do with themselves. I asked if they might go and read a book, and they looked at me like something they had just trodden in.

If the internet continues to bless us with it’s absence, I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to continue working, or how our eldest daughter is going to do her college work (she is going to be working from home a couple of days a week via Google Classrooms).

Anyway. I’m sure there are bigger problems in the world than not having an internet connection. Probably.