A little bit more ranting …


     I’ve just spent the past half hour posting replies to comments on our local online newspaper. I use the term ‘newspaper’ lightly in this case. I have stopped buying and even reading, physical editions of the press. To me it seems a little one way. With a hard copy, or paper copy if you prefer, the only way to have your voice heard is to write to the editor. He or she, then may or may not publish your letter/email when ever they see fit. With the online version, I can post or reply to a comment and it appears almost instantaneously. That is providing it complies within the terms and conditions. This to me, seems to be a far more interactive way of expressing ones feelings. I have to admit though, it can lead to my comments being ridiculed and attacked by some of the other people that contribute to the site. Like many online newspapers, there are a large number of people with right-wing tendencies, that seem to take delight in posting negative political and almost racist comments. I occasionally try and redress the balance.

     Work took an interesting turn on Friday. Our service manager called in at the end of the day, and asked to have a private word with me. The way things are going in the Council at the moment, it made me a little apprehensive. However, and I’m not supposed to say anything yet, she explained that that there might be an opportunity coming up in the next couple of weeks and that she wanted me to consider it carefully. Without going into any detail, it is an area that I did not think I have any experience in. I downloaded lots of information, and I may be doing myself down too much. I may just have enough limited knowledge to pass this off. If I get my head down and start reading all this information, who knows what may happen. Just hope I don’t tread on anybody’s toes!!

     The new car is living up to expectations. Now I’ve had it a couple of months, it’s getting more and more difficult to remember the old one. The mileage is better, although I’m not getting the 60mpg that i was led to believe. It’s more 48mpg, which is better than the 42mpg I was getting with the Ford, so it is an improvement, and with the low tax band, I will be saving. It still looks strange to see my car and S****’s car side by side in the car park. Especially as they have consecutive number plates!

     On a completely different track, I’m starting an online course on Monday 25th. I saw an article in the Guardian online, that explained a little about these ‘free’ courses. It is an organisation called Futurelearn and the quote from it’s website says:

“At FutureLearn, we want to inspire learning for life. We offer a diverse selection of free, high quality online courses from some of the world’s leading universities and other outstanding cultural institutions.”

     I’ve signed up for a course about King Richard III. It is not something I know much about, but the discovery of his remains and the recent television drama about The White Queen, stirred my interest somewhat. It is free, so I have nothing to lose, and it may just benefit me should I attempt to go on Mastermind !!!! I’ve also signed up for a course in programming apps for smart phones, but that does not start until February 2014.

     A couple of post’s back, I mentioned a story idea that I had been planning. Well it is now into it’s fourth chapter, and the story will start to take a different direction. I will not say any more, but I may put an excerpt on here sometime. In fact, I have considered posting the whole story as weekly chapters, but I’ve not decided yet.

So what’s new …..


      Well, after a lot of persuasion from Mrs H, I’m getting a new car. Yes my trusty and slightly rusty old Ford Ka is being consigned to the “part-exchangesphere”. On Wednesday I will take ownership of a brand spanking new Hyundai i10. To be more accurate, both S**** and I are getting new cars. Both getting the same model just different colours.

      My Ford has done a great job over the past eight years, but with S**** needing transport on a regular basis, it has had an effect on my work time. I’ve not had a flexi day for over a year. I just seem to get a little time built up and then S**** has a 9:00 start and the time is used up. It has also had an effect on the mileage. I had been thinking about a new car for a couple of month and what finally convinced me was what is happening at work.

      One of the things that has happened over the past couple of years is a move to asking staff to take early retirement, or ‘Early Leavers Initiative (ELI)’ as it had been called. I had looked into this and was working on the notion that I could retire at 60, with not too much of a loss of pension. I had put the application in and received my quote and we were coming around to the idea, and of course I would not need a car then. I just needed to wait for confirmation from the service head. But…… a couple of weeks ago, my manager dropped a bombshell! It appears that certain staff would are classed as essential, and are not eligible for early ELI and this includes ICT staff which is the area I now work. Hence I would have to work until 65 or 66, (I’m not sure what the government has decided) and hence I would still need a car.

      So Mrs H had been looking for a small car for me (I don’t anything large, it’s just to get me to and from work) with the view to giving S**** my old one. But things are starting to go wrong and we both thought that if we could get a good deal, then he should have a new car also. We got a reasonable deal, and so I’m getting a Red one and his is Black.

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      So what else? Work is still a bit of a worry. Although I won’t get to retire early, it still concerns me as to where I will fit, in the new structure. My manager tells me I have nothing to worry about, and her manager says more or less the same, but with more enthusiasm, but I just don’t know. There are people a lot more qualified than me, and that is the big worry.

      R*** continues to do well at his college. Of course there are good days, okay days and bad days. This weekend has been ‘good days’, but who knows what will happen tomorrow. It can feel like you’re living on a knife edge.

      Because of the success he has had with the local drama group, S**** has been approached, to work with a group that take drama into schools. They quite keen on having him on board, and he is equally as keen about the idea. His worry, I think is the financial aspect. It is not a full time job, and he would be self-employed. We are under the impression, that he wants to move out of the family home and into his own place, with his girlfriend. He does not know how he can do this, without a full time job. We’ve told him we would support him if needed, but he is still in two minds about it. He has another workshop style interview to do at the beginning of October, so we will see what happens then.

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      I think that’s about it for now, although, as soon as this is posted, I’ll think of something I wanted to add.

Stressful day


I think the interview went well. I did not get as tongue tied as I usually do. I don’t think they asked me any questions that I could not answer, but I didn’t seem to be talking a lot. I will find out on Friday. I got a bit of a surprise though. I thought I was applying for a specific job. However, it would seem that, I was applying for a position at the same grade, and only ‘preferencing’ (their term, not mine) the job I would like to do. If I do not fit their matrix, then I could end up doing something completely different. How do I feel about that? I don’t know really. I think, so long as it pays the same, and it is a job I can do, then what the hell, let’s go for it. I tell you something, it would be a right smack in the face to the smug bugger, who thinks I should be at his ‘beck and call’. Do you know, I have had more good wishes about this job from contacts on Twitter than I have from the people I work with!!!!! My service manager wished me good luck, but he has an ulterior motive, he does not want anyone else to do my job…I’m cheaper. My line manager, who has been my line manager for over 10 years, did not say good luck. At least he could have sent a txt. Nothing. What does that say to me? How valued do I feel, if my direct supervisor cannot bring himself to wish me luck? I am too annoyed to really vent my anger about this, so I will stop now.

On another note. I just bought a ‘caddy’ or enclosure for S****s old laptop hard drive. The motherboard gave in, and he was so pissed off about it that he paid about £160.0 to get the data off it and onto a USB portable drive. There was a lot of work he had done for his drama group, and he did not want to lose it again. So now he has three 500gb portable hard drives. Job done. I was quite amazed, at how cheap these hard drive caddies are. It cost me £7.49 inc, which I thought was very cheap. I remember looking at one a few years ago, when I changed computers, and I was looking at £50.00 at least. I have a couple of old hard drives in the loft (never throw them out, can’t be too careful), so I may have a look at getting a caddy for one of them.

Random post …..


So what has happened since the last time. Well not much really. I finally got a reply from Yorkshire Life magazine in answer to their appeal for bloggers about ‘Village Life’. I am hopefully going to write a monthly blog for the magazine (think it is the online version) about the village I live in. It has taken a while for them to get back to me !!! At least three emails to the various editors with no reply. But yesterday the reply came. I posted off a quick introduction about me, along with a couple of (scary) photos, so we will see what happens. Quite excited really.

Eldest son has got a job !!! Well done him !! He dropped off a CV at the Costa WetherbyCosta Coffee in Wetherby, just after Leeds Festival. Had an interview just over a week ago, then a trial day on Sunday last, when they offered him the job. To say he was pleased would be an understatement !!! He had his first day on Wednesday. A bit tiring he told me and his mum. Then yesterday, they told him that after a month or so, they will train him to be a manager !!! He could not believe it.

The drama group have started their rehearsals for the pantomime in earnest now. They are doing Cinderella, and the eldest has got a comedy part, as Norris the Gnome. I will may be asked to to do the tickets again, but I may decline this time. I quite enjoy designing them, but I really like a free hand, and there were so many ‘want this/that’ requests, that it kind of took some of the fun away. We shall see.

I have signed up for some kind of free email course on creative writing. I will get an email every day for about 10 days, which I have to work through. It looked quite reasonable, and there seemed to be a lot of links to the site, from various ‘e-learning’ sites, so I though I would give it a go. It is a website called Email College. Nothing to lose I suppose. I will let you know what happens. If it is any good, then I have have a bash as one of the others.

The prodigal returns


Well, the eldest returned home on Saturday. Me and Mrs H, have been bringing bits and pieces back from his flat since early last week. Saturday was the ‘move’ day. It took three trips to shift everything home and by the end of the day, I was completely shattered !!!! However, it is quite amazing how much ‘stuff’ you can get in the back of a 2005 Ford Ka !!! With the back seats dropped, it turns into a small van, but I did struggle when we come to put in a ‘put-me-up-bed’. I just have to locate the coach screws for his TV wall bracket and he will be sorted.

Mrs K decided that It would be good for him (and me) to go to the pub on Saturday night, so that made the day even longer ! We met up with one of his drama friends, so it was quite a good evening. I can see though, that he will be wanting to go out on more evenings, which as he has no income yet, could prove a bit expensive. I’m only used to going out on Tuesday and Fridays. Still it must be strange coming home after 2 years of living more or less as you please.

Youngest has been a bit up and down since the school holidays started. He frets about things and this leads to him being a bit aggressive at times. At the moment he is fretting about the summer play scheme at school. He will enjoy it, he always does, it is just that he will say he does not want to go, and this will become a theme with him. His latest thing, is having his laptop and TV/video running all night. Problems this morning, when his laptop crashed with an ‘out of memory’ error. It would appear that he had 4 or 5 YouTube videos running on automatic reply, whilst recording the sound with sound recorder. Six hours later I turned the sound recorder off !!

Work is going quite well for the time being. The latest initiative is set to go live next week, so there is plenty to keep me occupied. I’m trying to make some of the reports more accessible to others, which on the one hand keeps me working, but on the other hand somewhat negates the need for me at times. It is a difficult balancing act.

Something new ……..


For the past 18 months or so, I have been using Windows Live Writer (WLW) as my blogging client. Why ???? Well it was free, it was easy to use and many people say it is the best client, working with WordPress (ya……shout out for WordPress.) However, since Monday or maybe Sunday, WLW has been giving me problems. Serious pain in the arse !!!! What was happening, was that I would be hammering away on the keyboard, and suddenly WLW was no longer running. It shut down !!!! There was no warnings, no request to save, no ‘are you sure…’ just disappeared. A frantic Google search, hinted that the problem lie with IE8. So off I trotted to the Microsoft website and I re-installed IE8, together with all it’s updates and such. Did it work ????? Well if I say, that I’m now blogging via a desktop client called “BlogDesk“, then I think that the answer may be obvious. I have a strong suspicion, that the problems may be Firefox 5 related. I updated to FF5 around the same time !!! Hmmmmm.

At first glance (and I will know more when this post has been uploaded), it is striking similar to WLW. So it will not take too much getting used to, which is a blessing. Seeing is believing !!!!

Holidays start tomorrow. I have a half day, and then all the next week offImage. We are having a ‘family’ weekend away to the Lake District from tomorrow. That should be interesting. There will be fourteen of us in, what they call ‘A Lodge’. This is basically a seven bedded house with six double beds, and two twin beds. The sleeping arrangements are going to be ‘fun’ to say the least.

We come back on Monday, and R*** is then on respite until the following Monday. I don’t know how he is going to deal with that at all. I have to go into work for an hour on Friday (sodding IT) and Mrs H is at a meeting on Tuesday, so the week is a bit split up really. What with that and the fact that S**** has got drama rehearsals all week, the holiday is going to be different.

Well here goes. Let me know what you think.

Another late one …..zzzzzzzzzzzz


Another late night, last night. Or to be accurate, early morning !!! Eldest lad was up for his drama rehearsal and with R*** still on respite until Friday, Mrs H was up for going out to the pub again. We got back in around 23:45, had a coffee and a drink, then Mrs H went to bed. I stayed up with S**** for a bit longer before crawling up to bed at 01:45. Did not seem to be in bed for long !!

Dentist today. It will probably be just a check and clean, but you never can tell. My appointment is at 12:20, so lunch will have to be a late one today. I have some spare time.

I need to have a look at R***’s laptop tonight. His drive is separated in to two partitions, both the same size. However, he does not separate data from program files (he doesn’t really need to), so one of the partitions, named ‘D’ is barely used. This will be the one I will shrink down to about 75gb. I can then expand the main partition by another 100gb or so. Wish me luck !!

So….it’s now the weekend


     The ‘no drink in the house’ project went as well as could be expected. We both did four days. I did go out on Wednesday for a couple, when S**** came up for his drama rehearsal and had a whiskey when we got back, but nothing in the the house until Friday. Did I feel any better for it ?????? To be honest, I did not feel any different really. I missed it, but it wasn’t a problem. I was fully expecting to see a bit of weight loss …. no chance. In fact I may have put on a pound or two during the week. Don’t know what we will do next week. R*** is on respite, and Mrs H likes to go socialise when he’s away. So it could be that we go out on Tuesday (quiz nite) and Wednesday (drama night) too.

     My appraisal went okay. No problems. It’s not like real appraisals, whereby your performance is linked to your pay increase. It’s basically a ‘this is what you’re going to do this year’ type of meeting. It’s proper name is ‘Personal Development Review’, so you see what mean. It’s supposed to identify training needs and the like. It has yet to do so.

     The issues I am having with the colleague at work continue. One minute the person is stabbing me in the back, then the next, they are chatting to me as if nothing has happened. I don’t hold grudges, but I don’t forget !!! And it would appear, that the whole office is in my corner (which makes a change.) To be continued……

Goodbye Slovenia …. hello Germany !!!!


   Well we seem to have been here before !!!!  I cannot see a repeat of the 2001 qualifier, but ……… a win would be nice. A win over Germany is always nice ! But did you see the tennis (never thought I would say that). The epic struggle between Inser and Mahut was amazing to watch. There was no give on either side at all. Inser was looking dead on his feet, but still delivered the winning shots. Mahut looked, until the last few games, as if he was playing his second set !!!

   Guess what !!! We won the quiz last night. Granted, the team consisted of nine players or so, but a win is still a win. So there is £20.00, behind the bar, ready for next week. A late night last night, and then of course, is was drama night tonight. Everything appears to be going ok’ish. S**** is starting to worry that it will all go tits-up. I don’t think it will though. I think, that at the end of the day, it will all come together. It all means, another late night. 00:30 last night, and even later tonight. I’m getting a little too old for all this.

A new era (or any other cliche)


So here we are. A new Government and a ‘new’ type of politics. For my money, it has been clear from the very start, that Nick would be Dave’s stooge, and dance to any tune. It most probably will be different at national level, but Leeds has had a Tory/Lib-Dem coalition for the past few years, and you only have to look at how they handled the refuse dispute to see the way things could go.

Enough of politics. Well enough from me for the time being.

I just noted, in the local press, that a group of ‘angry residents’ are complaining that a phone company have put a temporary phone mast close to their gardens. I have to ask myself, how many of these people have mobile phones of their own, and how many of their kids have them !!!!

Quiz-night last night. We did quite well for a change. Still no win, but it was our highest score. Eldest is at home with us for a few days. He was supposed to be directing the village play this year, but has been let down by people who say yes then say no. He emailed everyone last week to say he was going to have to cancel the play. Everyone who had committed were disappointed, so a meeting has been arranged to see what can be pulled out of the fire. I have a strong suspicion, that he will not be directing again.

Late nights …..


Two late nights in a row !!!! I’m getting too old for this. Tuesday was, as usual, quiz-night. I had no intentions of going, as I sometimes feel a little out of place. Don’t know why, as I’m always made very welcome. No wins on anything though, and the quiz was quite difficult. P** bought me another pint. She got me one on my birthday. I think I need to buy a round next week. In the end, it was gone midnight, when I got in.

Last night, the eldest was up for his drama rehearsal. The usual pub was closed, apparently, Sam Smith’s pubs around here have to close one day a week. The Red Lion is usually closed on Mondays, but with the Bank Holiday, they opened, and closed on Wednesday. So we ended up in the other pub. Quite a bit more expensive, and a little bit clique. Still, it was a very enjoyable evening. We got in about twenty past twelve. S**** wanted to use the PC, so we had a small whiskey, which made it around one o’clock when I went to bed. He stayed up a little longer, and I think he was listening to an audio tape in his room for a while afterwards.

Work blog


A slight deviation from the norm. I am writing this whilst at work ! It not something I do often, but there is not a lot of point starting anything fresh at the moment. Another late night last night. Eldest had his first talk though of his play last night. After a few bumpy moments, I think everything settled down, and it seemed to go quite well.

Mrs H and me joined him at the pub, when they finished, which was about 10:00pm. We arrived back home at about 11:50pm, after a very pleasant evening. I fancied another drink, so S**** and I decided to have a small whiskey before I went to bed. Ended up chatting until gone 01:15am. Mrs H and me had been out the night before. As the youngest is on respite this week, we went to the quiz-nite. We got back just after 11:30pm that night. So this morning, I was a little bit tired, to say the least. S**** however, was still up at 03:00am!!!! There will not be a late night tonight (probably.)

Expected


   The backlash came as expected. He seems to keep things in his mind, pondering or worrying over them, until the bubble bursts. In this case, he woke up at 01:00am on Wednesday morning!! Now usually, he puts his TV on, with the sound turned right down, and goes back to sleep. This time, did did not go straight back to sleep, and was up and down until about 04:30 am, when he did seem to drift off. However he was back awake at around 08:30 am. Both Mrs H and me were complete wrecks. To cap it all, the eldest was coming across for a drama meeting (did I mention he was directing the local group play this year?), which results in a trip to the pub at 09:30pm. It was gone midnight, when we finally left, so not much sleep last night either.

   This evening, we had another bad do with him. All stemmed from him wanting to download a video from the internet. He had found a Japanese site, similar to YouTube, and wanted me to download from there. It could not be done, not with any of the download tools I have. Not a good night.

… and so to the end of another week


   It seems to have been a long week. Usually there are days when I struggle to fill the working days, and then other days, I struggle to fit all the work in. But this week, every day has been busy. Well, steady anyway.

   Youngest home from his adventure week today. From all accounts, he has had a good time. His photos look good, and he has done quite a lot of activities.

   Back on the decorating tomorrow. hopefully, I can get the bits of painting done in one day. That will leave me free to do the wallpapering on Sunday. House looks a tip though. The next stage, is the one I’m dreading. The staircase !!!! It’s not the fact that it will be tricky painting, it’s just that the walls there are even darker.

    Eldest is due home for the night tomorrow. One of his drama friends is having a birthday party, and he is invited. So it could be late when he gets in, if in fact he does sleep here. There has been many occasions, when he has slept elsewhere after night out. We shall see !!