It’s been a long week …


I’m referring to the holiday my wife is on at the moment. As I’ve not posted for some time, I’ll get you up to speed. Around the middle of April, K****s sister and daughter, returned from a week away in Gran Canaria. She returned with an offer that K*** should join them on their next trip. There was much discussion about this, with me having a lot of misgivings about the whole thing. Firstly, it’s a ‘beach, bar and pool type of holiday, which I understood was not the type of holiday K*** enjoyed. Secondly there was R*** to consider. How would he react, coming home from respite to find his mother not at home, and not going to be home for another 4 days. Then there is the cost. K*** tells me that it’s a ‘one-off’, but isn’t that waste of all the money it cost for a new passport? And what about all the new clothes … more expense. Anyway, she is back on Tuesday. R*** and me will both be pleased, and as I say, it’s been a long week. I had a list of jobs that I wanted to get done, which I managed to do in between the rain and the wind we had here. I suppose the worst part of the experience is the lack of conversation. I went to the pub a couple of evenings, but there is only so much you can chat about with people that you don’t really know. It will be nice to get back to what we call normality.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve been a bit lazy with this blog over the past couple of months. To be honest, I’ve not really had much I wanted to say. I wanted to stay clear of politics as that is all that people have been talking about for the past month. I know from past experience, that it is one way to ‘lose friends and annoy people. That is something I can do without any external help, thank you very much.

I tend to update this blog in the late evening. I thought, that this retirement (early) would give me lots more time to do things like this blog, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. It still late at night, when K*** and R*** have gone to bed, that I think ”I must do a blog post”, and then I get distracted and end up not doing anything. I was going to look for a part-time job. That’s not happened. I signed up with a recruitment agency, but the jobs they have come up with are never appropriate. I promised myself that I would do more writing, but I don’t seem to have had any ideas that I could write about. I have done a fair bit of knitting though. A three beanie hats, five headbands, a pair of wrist warmers, a couple of scarves and I’m a quarter of the way through a sleeveless jumper. So I’ve not been sitting on my hands, so to speak.

I shall stop now as I don’t want to start rambling on about anything. I think I shall make a mental note to think about updating this effort at least once a week. I’ll put a note in my diary. See if that makes a difference!

Friends … real friends??


This is a bit of a rhetorical question I suppose, but are your FaceBook friends real? It is something I have started to think about recently. In fact as recently as 1 hour ago!

About a year ago, I came across someone I have known or been known to, for about 60 years. This person was a good friend of my parents and her daughter was a friend of mine. When we moved house in 1966 all contact was lost and it was through FaceBook that I was able to get back in contact again. We have chatted (the mother and me) on a number of occasions and it was good. However! The daughter seems to have dropped me from her friends list and I don’t know why. It has happened just recently, possibly in the last couple of weeks. It is this that makes me question the reality (if that’s the correct word) of FaceBook friends. The thing is though, I have friends from work, who are FB friends who still ‘appear’ to be friends. In fact, I have been chatting to two of them tonight. Now they may just be humouring me, I would not like to speculate on that, but from what they were saying, I get the impression that we are still friends.

Now, saying all that, I have myself just ‘unfriended’ (what a stupid word) a couple of people that I used to work with. They have not responded to any messages or posts and so I get the feeling that I’m just a number in their ‘friends’ list. I don’t want to be a number. Is that wrong?

Happy birthday to me !!!!


The ‘Big 60 +1’ today. I’m not really counting birthdays anymore, but everybody expects me to. They are just becoming different numbers rather than days to celebrate. I’ve got the the stage when I don’t really care. I’m reminded of the Tennessee Ernie Ford song Sixteen Tons, with the famous line “Another day older and deeper in debt …” which basically says it all.

No idea what we are doing today, and I don’t think I’m that bothered. Must be getting old.

Just another “One of those days”


Today, I’ve been more than a little pi**ed off.

It has nothing to do with the fact that my blood test made me lose one and a half hours of work time. Nothing to do with the idiot drivers that stay in the middle lane of the motorway then cut me up at the last minute. Nothing to do with my work computer playing up. No it’s to do with people who are asked to do something, agree to it, then fail to do it and leave it for me to do.

Me and ‘this person’ was asked to do a piece of work, between us. This was about six months ago, and the work each was supposed to do was pre-defined. My part was completed and I even managed to complete part of the other persons work. There was just two jobs for them to do.

Today I found out, that I now have to do those two jobs, and I only have three days to do them. This person seems to be denying that they had been asked to do the work, but both me and the person that asked us know the truth.

I have been used for the last time. The truth will out.

I’m not sure about this …


When I say “not sure…” I mean I’m not about why I’m posting this, but here goes.

I’ll give a bit of background first. One of the aspects of the work I’m currently on, is the need to do testing of certain pieces of computer software. The testing involves working in a ‘clean computer environment’.  This basically means that the PC’s used to test have been stripped back to the standard they were when first installed. It’s a bit of a tedious process that usually involves sitting a room with eight or nine computers and the system manager. Nobody else. That’s the background.

On Friday I was to do the usual testing and arrived at the test room as expected. I was then told that there would be someone else testing. I got on with my work and paid little attention to what was going on. Someone came into the room and they were welcomed by system manager with “Hi there Helen. Can you sit at your usual seat?” Helen is not her real name.

Helen answered, and the voice she had sounded a little strange. Not a woman’s voice I felt. I was then introduced and I turned to say hello. It then became obvious, that Helen was actually a transgender person.

Now this is where I worry about this post. I sat there trying to understand how I felt about this person. The conclusion I came to, was that there was no feeling apart from the fact that they were testing like me. I didn’t feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, intrigued, worried, disgusted or anything like that. It was the first transgender person I had met (at least I think it was) and it felt strangely normal, whatever ‘normal’ means. Should I have had one or more of the feelings I mentioned? At the end of the day, Helen was simply a human being that had decided what they wish to look like, what they wanted to be called and how they wanted to live their life.

On reflection, I think I must have made the mental decision that on this occasion, I’m not entitled to have any opinions. It is what it is and they are what they choose to be. I have no right to approve or disapprove.

=========

Talking of decisions, I think I’m going to stick with Open Live Writer for my blog editor, well at least for the time being. It doesn’t seem to work too well with images as my entry into the Weekly Photo Challenge shows. I could not get the images to show how I wanted them too, and it looks a little like a rushed job. The blog template in Word seems to be better and so does the WordPress editor. Both appear to have better options for working with images.

A recent idea (as recent as five minutes ago) flashed across my mind. That was, I wonder if I could create an Infographic image of the pictures I wanted to post. I have seen a lot of Infographics floating around on the internet, and have been wondering for a while on using the idea. Not sure if it will work for a collection of images, but I think it will make positioning of the pictures a little easier.

I have that “must test this out” feeling coming over me again, so expect some more ‘quick’ posting over the next week or so.

Annoying Mailshots


One of the things I find a little difficult on occasions, is finding a title for my post. As I don’t have a particular theme for my blog (yet!) it can be hard to give a post a title that refers to anything within that post. So this time, I’m titling this post with the first main topic, and I will see how that develops over time.

==========

Today is ‘Shredding Day’. The recycling bin was emptied during the week and I can now have a go at shredding all the junk that we have received. I’m not allowed to simply put shredded paper directly into the bin (it causes the sorting machine at the waste depot to jam) so I shred and dump into a bin liner. Some of it can go into the hot composter but most will have to go int the bin.

Now the thing that really annoys me, is the amount of documents that have personal details on them. I’m not talking about documents that I have requested such as bank statements and receipts and the like. no i mean the unsolicitated junk mail that drops through the letter box on a regular basis. For example, one of the pieces of junk was a six sided, a4 document from a bank that I am not a customer of , or in fact want to be a customer of. This document was inviting me to apply for a loan, to ‘see me over the festive period‘ as the accompanying letter (another a4 page) explained. The big issue with the application form was that my personal details ie name and postal address, had been completed for me … on every page! In fact on two of the pages, the details were recorded twice. So that means four pages to shred. Do they really think that I am so stupid, that I cannot fill my own name and address or do they actually think it is helpful? How many people respond to this type of unsolicited mail? If I was considering applying for a loan, I certainly would not wait for some junk mail to arrive to save me time completing the form.

==========

The hoped for job interview did not materialise. I really though I was in with a chance of getting the job, but I did not even get an interview! I was more than a bit disappointed, but I am only allowing myself to think that either the other applicants were more qualified for the position or that I completely messed up my application form. I think it was probably both. I don’t want to get into the senario that the someone was lined up for the job, even if that were the case. So I’m sticking to my original theory.

This leads me on to a decision I need to make. Last week, I saw G*****, the head of our service team for a chat about the new rules for Local Government pensions. It was a very informative meeting, but I think he really wanted to know my feelings on taking early retirement. The Council that I work for has this programme that they call ‘ELI’ or Early Leavers Initiative. It gives staff who are within a certain age band the opportunity to retire from Local Government early without a loss of pension. I applied before, some four/five years ago and was turned down . I told him that I wasn’t interested, citing financial reasons. My main reason was that I though I was in with a chance of the above  mention job.

Anyway, I have to the end of January to let him know in writing, my final decision. I now feel, that I should take a fresh look at the whole ‘ELI’ issue again. So I am now composing (in my head at the moment) an email to him advising of my change of heart. I’m not sure if I should mention all my reasons for this change, or simply wait for him to ask why. I think I will mention the disappointing job application, but I will probably leave it at that.

Start as I mean to go on


Work tomorrow. First day back after our enforced  Christmas break. Well, official first day back. This ‘enforced’ break has come about by the need for Local Government to save money. What happens is that non-critical services are shut-down between Christmas Eve and the first working day after New Years day. Staff take either time out of their annual leave or apply for  unpaid leave. It is an attempt to save on heating and lighting costs, and apparently it is working. However the nameless internet trolls that frequent the comment pages of the Yorkshire Evening Post have a different take on it. A couple of ‘people’ seem to think that if some services can be shut for ten days, then why do we need them at all. But when you look at what leave people are actually taking, it is only really shutting down for three days. It just means that the offices will not be lit-up and heated for ten days.

Whilst I have not actually done any work since Christmas Eve, I have logged on the work network and checked emails and the like. I always have done. It means I can get rid of the rubbish before I start work. I have seen people spend the first few hours of the day, after a break ‘dealing with emails’, most of which can be dumped as they are no longer valid. A colleague once told me to just “delete any email that are more than two days old. If it (the email) is important, then they will email again.” To be honest, I have never had the courage to do it, but it does kind of make sense.

Also tomorrow is the start of wondering if I will get an interview for the job I applied for. I think I should hear within a couple of weeks, then the worrying about the interview should start. Although I’m quite determined not to let it worry me, it probably will.

– – – – – – –

This is the first of my intended weekly posting. I’m still trying to find some kind of ‘theme’ to post about, but until  then, it is just going to be the usual ramblings and occasional rants that I usually post.

So until then …….

The Next 12 Months


New Year Resolutions. Do you make them? Do you keep them? Should I make some? More to the point, will I keep them if I do? I have never really bothered with them before, as I always knew that they wouldn’t last beyond they second week in January. With that in mind, I have decided to make some New Year Intentions instead. I like to think that these are similar to resolutions, but there is no guilt if I don’t happen to complete them.

So here goes:

  1. Write a blog post every week (at least)
  2. Identify a ‘theme’ for some blog posts
  3. Lose some weight (at last)
  4. Get a new job (already started)
  5. Eat better (cut down on the chocolate bicuits for a start)
  6. Drink less alcohol
  7. Take more exercise (or more exact – take some exercise)
  8. Learn how to crochet
  9. Write more, including planning my writing better
  10. Read more
  11. Complete my ‘Intentions’
  12. Learn how to knit with circular needles

There we are. Twelve intentions for the twelve months of 2016. Some of them are going to be harder than others, and some of them should only take a little will power. But with this post, I’ve at least begun with number one on the list.

When I started this post, I was struggling to get past six ideas (getting tired of calling them intentions now) but by the  time I reached number twelve, I had thought of another two, but I’m going to leave the list as it is with the ‘extra’ two in reserve.

 

So this is Christmas (cue song)


Well, it’s Christmas Eve, and I’m at work. Nothing much happening and I’m beginning to wish I had taken a leave day. I don’t think anybo1229694269493111958sheikh_tuhin_Christmas_svg_meddy would have minded as it is not as if anything could have been fixed if there had been a problem. Although saying that, someone needed to be onsite.

There are very few colleagues in today and of course, being Britain it’s raining. A quick check of the support email inbox shows that as yet, nobody has forgotten their password/login name/own name (there is still plenty of time) and nobody has asked for a new user to be created.

Disappointed that the snack van did not turn up this morning. Had a feeling that it wouldn’t, so feeling more than a little peckish.

=+=+=+=+=+=+=

What will the New Year bring? Well I’m tempted to try and take at least one day a month where I work from home. Then maybe build it up to two days a month. Others in the wider team seem to do it without any issue. Mind yhappy-new-year-mdou, I may not be in the same team this time next month. I put in my application form in for the job in the team I’m working with at the moment, and today is the cut-off date. I should hear by the middle of next month if I have got an interview. The interview will be the big test. I have not had a proper interview for about 10 years. All the job changes over the past few years have been ‘slot-in’ interviews which are just meetings to see if you are interested in the job. However, I’m not going to worry about it. If I succeed I succeed and if I don’t, I haven’t really lost anything.

=+=+=+=+=+=+=

I suppose I should consider where this blog is going. Do I want it to be more specific? Should I have a theme? Should I have a set target for posting? Or should I just carry the way I am doing, with random posts on random themes? All things I need to consider over the festive period. I will also have to consider if I’m going take up one the many excellent WordPress blogging courses that will be on offer next year. Only time and commitment will answer that one.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – #Ornate


Aha, I thought. This should be easy. Then I looked through my library. Oh! Oh dear! I was struggling. Could I use a close up picture of a Dahlia, or is that not ornate? What about that picture of the formal gardens? No, I’ve used that one before. Then I remembered this one. Taken on our few days at the Beamish open air museum, in the Masonic Hall.

P1010773

 

Just a query


Sorry if this posting this is ‘out of order’ but do any of you guys use or have any experience of the Android App called Wattpad? Been told by a friend, that it it a great place to read free stories and a great place to write your own. Anyone any advice please?

How do you like your posts?


I have always liked to show the full post when I write, which goes a long way in explaining the type of themes I like to choose. I’m not really a fan of those themes that show a snippet of the post, with a ‘read more…‘ link to the rest of the work.

I feel that unless you get the point of the post, in the first line or two, readers may move on to something/one else. I suppose it is the sign of a good writer, if they can ‘hook’ their readers in the first line. When I looked at the posts I have made in the past, the point of the post tends to be towards the middle, and that is where the impact is.

Over the nest few weeks, my goal will be to write better posts with a more persuasive catch line at the start.

But what about you …….?