So annoying …


I’m still on my quest to find the best blog editor for me. Open Live Writer was my BlogDeskpersonal favourite but it seems to have been forgotten. The last release was back in 2017 and even the copyright statement has not been updated since 2020. I have been tempted by reviews (some of them a year or two old) that BlogDesk is a very good editor and is actually used by at least one of the “Happiness Engineers”.

However (and these days, there is always a “However”) I am having real problems setting the thing up. I can get part way, then the set-up ask for my “Blog ID” with a button to automatically find the ID. This doesn’t work. So I can manually enter the ID. But where is the Blog ID on my WordPress blog? I have been through all of the settings I can find and there doesn’t appear to be anything that relates to a Blog ID. 

FrustratedI have searched the Internet and have had a few ideas thrown at me but all seem to fail. I have logged a topic on the WP support forum, but have had nothing from there. So I’m stuck.

** An update from WordPress, I am told that my site needs to be on a Business Plan to use a third party editor. Which doesn’t seem quite right as I have used third party editors before. **

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Now I’m not anti-cyclist, in fact for many years I was extremely pro-cyclist. I used always cycle to work when we lived in our previous house. Even after passing my driving test and buying a car, I often cycled to work. I have a greatcyclists deal of respect for the whole ethos that surrounds cycling. But I was really annoyed by a cyclist today, who seemed to have either no knowledge of the Highway Code or thought that it didn’t apply to him. I was driving back from the supermarket today and was approaching a bend in the road when a cyclist in front of me moved from the left-hand side of the road to the centre, indicating he was turning right. All very good you may think. but no! The road he was turning into had a No Entry sign as it is one way. He seemed oblivious of the sign and the rules. Which really winds me up. It was lucky that I have driven that way many times as it is a favourite route for horse riders, so I wasn’t going at the maximum speed limit.

Well p155ed off now …


GovThis morning I tried to do two things online with the UK Government website. Firstly, I wanted to renew my driving license before the 11 month COVID-19 extension expires. I have got until May but I thought I would get it out of the way now. I can’t do it online for one reason, which will be revealed in a short while.

The second job, I wanted to do was to check my National Insurance credits as my State Pension quote came this morning and it wasn’t as much as I had been led to expect. Again, not able to do so for the same reason as above.

The reason I am unable to perform these simple tasks (and the website says it’s simple) is that I don’t have a valid UK Passport. I don’t even have an expired one. I have not needed to go abroad for over 25 years, so why would I have/need a passport?Driving

I am now in a position whereby I will need to either post an application form, with a new passport photograph and a cheque(!) for £17.00 or I can go to a Post Office with my expired card and a payment of £21.50, which is a little extortionate in my opinion. I’m also struggling to understand where ‘simple’ comes in.

Is it that important ?


I was driving back from picking up a parcel from Argos. The road is a single carriageway and whilst not like a switch-back, there are some tightish bends. The majority of the time, the speed limit it 50mph, but for a stretch of about 2 – 2½ miles, the limit is 40mph. Many people ignore this limit as you would expect. So I was motoring along in 50mph zone when I noticed in my mirror that an Audi was tailgating me. Honestly, he was that close, I could almost smell his aftershave. He kept moving nearer the centre of the road to try and pass, but the traffic on the other side was to busy. Of course, when drivers do that to me, I tend to slow down. So now I’m travelling at 42/43mph and I can see he is getting irritated as he now has to slow down. Soon we get to a stretch of road that is a long bend. It is not tight, and he sees his chance to get past. I’m now up to the correct speed, so he has to go at least 65mph to pass me. Which of course he does.

When you get to the end of the bend, and the road begins to straighten, there is a layby and that is where the mobile speed camera usually sits. Not every day, but most days. Today was one those days. A mile further up the road and my Audi friend is waived into the next layby by the waiting police patrol car. I tried not to laugh.

So is his journey so important that he has to drive in that manner?

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Over the past year or so, I have had the tendency to ‘follow back’ most who followed my blog. But it had got the stage where I was following over 200 sites. Many of these were commercial sites trying to sell me something and many hadn’t posted anything for some time. So this morning, before I went out, I sat down and went through all those that follow me and ‘un-followed’ anyone who had not posted for more than a month. There was one follower that had not posted since 2016! I have an idea that most will not even notice and the majority of those that do notice, will not care. I’m now down to a more reasonable 103.

So if you are one of the above, it’s nothing personal.

Life goes on …


It’s been nearly a month since my last post when my short series “From then to Now…” ended, and even longer since I posted a general collection of words. For a lot of people, it’s been a very strange time and very worrying time. My youngest son, who is Autistic has been in “lock-down” at his residential placement since the middle of undefinedMarch, and we have not seen him apart from the occasional Facetime message. The main worry was him accepting the fact that he could not come home. He was used to going off at 9:30 on Monday morning and returning at around 5:00pm on Friday. But he seems to have run with it and coped really well, mainly due to his support staff, who know him really well. It was explained to him from that start that he had to stay until August, and it looks like that might be the case. But who knows?

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Now for a bit of a rant. There are a few things that annoy me when RoundaboutI’m driving in the car. Firstly, those ‘people’ that do not acknowledge when you have given way to them, when you had the right of way. Doesn’t take much, headlamp flash, quick flick of the hand, anything like that. Then there are the ones that never indicate at junctions or roundabouts and the ones that are in the wrong lane at the roundabout. My instructor told me that in general terms, the left hand lane when approaching the roundabout is for drivers using either of the the first 2 exits with the right hand lane for all other exits. This of course only applies if there are no other indicator to the contrary.

Then we come onto the ‘cyclist’! I don’t understand why, when there is a safe cycle lane/path that the majority of cyclists choose to cycle on the road. I passed four Lightstoday riding the road next to a completely empty cycle lane. Why? I’m assuming, rightly or wrongly that it is because they have this sense of ‘green’ superiority and that they think we drivers should make way for them. Beyond me. Also, why do they all feel the need to were the full Lycra kit, when it is obvious that they don’t need to. And what happened to cycle headlamps?? All we see now is one of those little flashing LED lights that are too small to be seen until it is too late.

Is it that difficult …


I’m moaning talking about driving. Not Formula 1, Moto-Cross or one of the myriad of other motor sports, I just mean everyday driving. Commuting to work, taking the kids to school or the weekly Tailgatingshopping expedition. I would like one of those cars that do not have to obey the legitimate speed limit. I don’t mean the emergency vehicles, no the ones I’m ranting ‘talking’ about are  those cars whose driver seem to think that because their car is bigger and more expensive than mine, they should be in front of me. They tailgate so close, just waiting for the opportunity to overtake. Half the time, I will end up catching them when they get to the next traffic lights or junction. Are these people so important that they have to always be the first in the line. I tend to liken it to bullying “Get out of my way, I’m better than you!”

Then there are the ones that have not adjusted their headlights to the correct angle. They always look like they are using full beam. It can be really dazzleSpeed Humpng when they go over a speed hump. While I’m on the side-subject of speed humps, why do some people like to speed-up between humps? I may have griped mentioned about this before, but there seem to be an increasing number of drivers that have an aversion to switching their lights on when it is raining. It can be so difficult to see a dark grey Volvo on a dark grey tarmacked when the light is poor and the rain in falling. Just because they can see others does not mean the opposite is true.

But a vehicle I would like to drive, is one of those vehicle that have the ‘Highway Maintenance’ sign on the back of their vehicle. I’ve seen the sign on the back of small vans,Highway Maintenance flatbeds, transit vans and even a few cars. I may be totally wrong about them, but most of them seem to be the worse for wear and look like they have not seen a MOT test in years. Most seem to have no regard for the rules of the road and drive like complete idiots (my opinion). They also appear to be able park anywhere they like, regardless of the danger to other road users.

Now the above does not apply to all the users mentioned, but it does in my opinion, apply to a great number of them.

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So that’s motorists out of the way and I spouted  talked about cyclists some time ago, so my next road diatribe discussion may be pedestrians. Possibly the most dangerous aspect of the outdoors experience.

Bit of a chunter …


Chunter

There have been a few things that have irritated me this past week or so I’m having a bit of a mild rant today.

First up is driving in the rain. It’s not the driving that’s the problem, it’s other drivers. Not all, but Rainmany are guilty of the thing I’m moaning about. Picture this …driving along a grey road, on a grey rainy day and being closely followed by a grey car. Not so bad you may think. But he/she has no headlights on! Not even side lights! On the particular day in question, I counted three cars, two vans and a mini-bus with no lights on and that was in a one mile stretch of road. Incredulous. Do these people not know what the two functions of lights are … see and be seen. My driving instructor said that I should only put on my lights when they are needed. That was to ensure that lights were not left on accidently. But really, these days cars lights go off automatically when you lock the door, so leaving them on is not a problem. Even my little i10 turns the lights off for me.

Next up is those form you get through the post that have all your personal details already completed. Now I’m not talking Formsabout your name and address on the cover letter, that’s unavoidable, no It’s all those little boxes on the various pages that have all your details filled in. Quite often they are from banks or insurance companies and will have your details in two or three places. I reluctantly agree, that they can save you a little time when you fill the form in, but it is very annoying when you are not interested and have to spend time shredding every page. I once received a credit card application form (not requested) that had a total of 12 pages. My name and address were on both sides of six of these pages and on one side of another two pages. Fourteen different occurrences of the same details. The shredder nearly gave in!

This may be a strange one to some. It’s magazines! Or more to the point, magazine classifications. This is online and in shops. I’m currently in communication (ha…still waiting for a reply) with a magazine subscription reseller with regards to how they classify their sales. I had better explain where I am coming from. I’m a knitter. I’ve been a knitter for over 50 Magazinesyears on and off and I’m quite used to the double take when I mention this.  Now this reseller (not going to mention the name as my complaint is still on-going) has on their website a large number of magazines available for subscription. These magazines are listed in categories such as “Leisure Interests”, “Hobbies & Pastimes” and a few more. The thing that has caused this particular ‘chunter’ are the magazines that are listed in a classification called “Women’s Interests” and “Male Interests”. The Women’s list has magazines on sewing, crafting, the usual Woman’s Own type and all of the ‘chat’ types. The Men’s list has car magazines, motorbike magazines, so called ‘lad’s mags’ and heavy metal music magazines. Most of both lists are in other classifications, but it seems to me to be wrong in these times to have separate classifications for men and women. Just an opinion.

Interesting days …


Yesterday was a day I was a little apprehensive about. I was meeting up with an old school friend for lunch. We have met a couple of times over the past few years, but I seem to have School daysbeen trying to avoid meeting again. I can’t say why. We both get on together. We have similar interests and both enjoy reminiscing our school days. However, whether it is an age thing we always seem to talk about the same thing … teachers, school-mates, punishments and the general high-jinx we can remember getting up to. We did chat about our current respective jobs, but not much of anything else. Now the problem is, for both of us is a memory thing. He remembers many of the people we were with at school, and I only a few. But then again, I remember things that happened that he can’t remember. So it makes for an interesting lunchtime. We have both promised to ‘do it again, soon’ but I’m not sure it will happen.

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Today was K***s birthday. I did mention earlier that she was having a family break with her sister and father. I was going for the day to celebrate her birthday and have a nice lunch. That was the plan, and to all intense and purpose that plan was successful. The only downside was the location of the lunch venue. It was The Horseshoe Inn, in Levisham and was only 15 minutes away from the cottage Lunchthey were staying at. The place itself was great, and the food was mostly very good. I had Haddock and Chips. The fish was well cooked, but the chips seemed to be in the fashion of triple cooked chips. I’m not a fan really. They tend to be really dark, over cooked looking and not the golden brown chips I was brought up on. Always seem a little bit greasy to me. But back to the down side. The ride to get there was tortuous. It was all narrow, windy country lanes, but the worst part was the inclines and declines. At one stage the road sign said that the incline was 1 in 5 (an old sign which is usually replaced by one saying 20%) which is quite steep at the best of times, but when you factor in the twists and turns of the road, it was a bit of a nightmare. I drove most of the way without getting out of third gear and on the 1 in 5 stage, I was forced to drop to second gear. One of the most scarier drives I have taken, and then I had to drive back.

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K*** is back at some point tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it. I mentioned before about the noises, but not about the silence in between. I do like my own company, but I often find that I talk to myself as if there was another person there. I explain things that I know about, as if there is somebody with me that knows a lot less than me. Sounds a bit weird, but my doctor tells me that it can be quite a normal thing. To cap it all, there is nothing on the televisionTelly that I want to watch. I can’t watch the few programs we watch together, as they are being recorded for when K*** gets home, so if the telly goes on, it is usually and old comedy show or the news. the comedy shows I have watched before, and these days the news is so full of doom and gloom, that it is positively depressive. Still it does give me a little time to write a new blog post.

Road Bullies


This is going to be a bit of a rant, so if you’re not interested then look away now!

I have a small car. It’s a Hyundai i10 Classic. It has a small engine (1000cc) but it is ideal for short to medium journeys, which is all I do these days. Top speed is 85 miles an hour and that is with the wind behind me. I tend to mostly not exceed the speed limits when driving, but sometimes  I drift over slightly. So it really annoys me when big cars pass me by exceeding the limit. Today was no exception. The road was a single carriage way, with the National Speed Limit (60mph for those not familiar with UK speed limits) and I was motoring along at around 50 – 53 mph. The reason being was that it was a mainly twisty road with many sharp bends. Now I remember my driving instructor telling me that I “… must drive to the conditions of the road …” which basically means that on roads like the one I was on, the 60mph limit is an aspiration not a mandatory fact.

To get to the point, still driving at around 50mph, I had in my rear mirror a large passenger vehicle. A discovery I think, but he was that close to me, that if I had to brake hard he would have completely written my small machine off. He was that close, that I could tell where the sandwich he had on his dashboard, was purchased. He kept pulling towards the centre of the lane as if to pass, then dropping back as he realised there was not enough room. Eventually, he did pass and pull in front of me, only to maintain the same speed as before due to the vehicles in front do the same speed I was doing.

What he was basically trying to tell me and anyone else is that, as he had a bigger, more expensive car then he ought to be in front of the cheaper, smaller car(s). I call that a form of Bullying. It is the same as when you were in the dinner queue at school and the bigger, older kids pushed in front of you. Bullying!

Rant over.

It finally hit …


I refer to the so named “Beast From The East” weather event. Up to last night, the bad weather was more like a “Wimp From The P1020182West” as it had not been as we ha been advised by the TV weather gurus. But from about 22:30 it started to snow a little heavier than before. This morning we awoke to this. Must be about 10cm or 4” in old money. We’ve had some heavy bursts and some lighter ones, but it hasn’t really stopped. R*** has not gone to his day services today. S**** had told K*** that the motorway was quite bad, so we decided it would be better if he stayed at home. He is not good when it comes to traffic holdups and can get quite aggressive if there is any kind of delay. Its one of the main reasons he get transported in a mini-bus. He knows he has to have his seatbelt fastened and from the middle seat of the bus, he is not able to reach either the escort or the driver.

K*** has an appointment at the eye clinic today, and with the problems she has been having, decided that should keep the appointment. I would have tried to cancel it. It’s not a good driving day.

It’s been a while …


It’s been a few weeks since my last post. No particular reason except laziness really! I tend to post when I have something I want to get off my chest and usually wait until there are a couple of things that rile me. Well there has been some things that have ‘annoyed’ me somewhat, but I’m wanting to break away from the rant style post which may account for the ‘laziness’ I just mentioned. But until then …

I just about survived Christmas, as usual. Saying that, I wasn’t well from Boxing Day to the 29th. I had what I thought was a variation of the Norovirus. I did not have the sickness, but had all the rest. The one thing that seemed to floor me was the lack of energy. On the Friday, I spent the whole day in bed, most of it asleep, which is unusual for me. Lost about 8 pound in weight (sadly not permanent), but by New Years Eve I seemed to be a lot better and by the 2nd I was nearly up to my pre-Christmas weight again!

K*** and me had a trip out to the Designer Outlet at York on Friday. R*** was on respite and was due home that day, so K*** wanted to get out whilst we could. The weather was terrible. One minute it was raining, and the next it was foggy. K*** was driving as I had driven to Harrogate on Wednesday and wanted a rest from it. You know I lost count of the number of cars/vans/lorries that did not have any lights on. Many didn’t even have sidelights switched on. It’s no exaggeration to say that most of them were grey vehicles. So that’s a grey vehicle on a grey road on a grey day! I was told by my driving instructor that those types of day need headlights. I saw one police-car on the whole 25 minute journey and he was at the side of the road eating some food. What cay I say to that?

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K*** (or more accurately, me) has been having issues with her email. She does all her stuff on her iPad which suits her as she has not been much of a fan of my laptops. So ever since the latest update the iPad Mail App has been playing up. Emails have not been showing up when they arrive (as they did before) and I have tried to get it sorted. The problem is that I’m not an Apple expert so I have had to hit Google a lot. The problem was exasperated by the fact that her email client is Sky.com or the be more precise Yahoo! It did used to be Gmail until a couple of years ago and it’s not been the same since. Don’t get me wrong, when Yahoo works, it is very good, but when it doesn’t work there is noting worse. It seems to be a little better now, but she now has to refresh the app and wait until the emails appear now instead of them being there when she opened the app. It also does not help that she never deletes any emails. Still, Yahoo tells us that she space for another 54 million emails, so ‘she’ is not too worried. I may have to do a clear out for her at some point.

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So, in the spirit of blog posts to come (hopefully). Happy New Year

All going along nicely …


The hospital appointment went well. The doctor has always had a knack of being ‘a little behind’ as the nurse politely put it. So it was no surprise when the appointment was delayed by about 30 minutes. I had blood pressure taken and the (same) nurse observed that the ‘bottom half’ was a little high, but nothing to worry about. I put it down to driving through the centre of York. Why is it, that visitors to that grand city seem to like wandering into the road for no apparent reason?

Anyway, the ultra-sound scan I had the previous week was just what the doctor was expecting. He listened to my heart, and that was fine, and he never even mentioned my blood pressure. We had a chat about how I was feeling as opposed to before the operation, and what was going to happen in the future. That was it! In his words, it was ‘all going along nicely!’

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That is about it really. I’m on leave for a week and I don’t really know whether anyone will pick up the work I do. My line manager (gnash, growl, spit) should do it, but I can’t see it happening unless she is forced. I would say I don’t care, but I do! I know I will be checking my emails every day, and I’ll try not to answer any of them, but for the past ten years, I always have kept in touch while on leave. It’s just something I do.

Back home …..


Well, back home. Yesterday in fact. It was a pretty uneventful day. The weather, whilst not bad, was not as good as it had been. It was going home weather. We stopped off at a gift centre for a look around. My god, these place do depress me at times. Here we are at the start of November and the place was full of Christmas decorations and gift ideas. I don’t know about you, but I think it is far too early. Some of these places have had Christmas stuff for sale since mid-October! Most stores have been planning for the Christmas period from around the end of May. Takes all the symbolism out of the occasion if you ask me. I remember when I was young, there was a department store in the centre of Leeds called “Lewis’s”. On the top floor, at Christmas time, there was Santa’s Grotto and Santa used to arrive on the 1st Wednesday in December, with the Grotto opening the following Friday. Christmas time started in December not November or October. How times have changed.

I digress. I was going to start this post by talking about what I call the “Twat Gap”. How big should the Twat Gap be? Should its size depend on certain conditions? Should there be a minimum size? Maybe a maximum size? What about penalties for abusing the Twat Gap. Now I know some of you will be wondering what a Twat Gap is. Well, you know when you’re driving, you leave a space between the front of your car and the back of the car in front. That is the Twat Gap! Why is it called the Twat Gap? It’s because it does not matter how small that gap is, some twat will try and squeeze into it when they overtake. The Twat Gap!

All going rather well …..


Well, when I say “All going rather well…” I’m referring to my return to work and I mean the physical side to the return. I working on a phased return over four weeks.  As I say, I mean the physical side is going well. The actual work side is a little different. Although I was assured that I would not be disadvantaged during my absence, I feel I am little bit left out of things. My ‘team’ colleagues (if you can call them that) have integrated into the wider team a great deal more than I have, and I’m beginning to feel a bit like an outsider. Even more of an outsider than I felt before. I just don’t know what my role is any more. My line manager is back next week (at least I think she is still my line manager) and I’ll try and broach the issue with her. Although that may not be as easy as I would hope. She has a few problems in her personal life, and I may get the sharp end of that when she gets back.

I’m now working in the city centre, and as such I have to use a mutli-storey car park. It’s an expense that I wish I did not have, but it is not the expense that is the real problem. The car park get really full and there are very few spaces left by 9am. Normally this would not be an issue, but on the days when I have to have my blood test (currently every two weeks) I end up going in late. The thing that really annoys me is when people reverse park their cars into the parking bay. Because of the limited driving space, reverse parking holds everyone else up. I have no idea why they do it! It is just as easy to reverse out of the parking bay as it is to drive out forwards. I think they are just showing off.

The problems I’ve had with my memory, seems to gradually improving. I was trying to update a report yesterday, and was not having much luck with it at all. Then this morning I tried again and it suddenly came to me what I needed to do. Another report I’ve been working on is starting to look like it should, although I’m not getting the results I should, my line manager will know where I’m going wrong.

Struggling for a title …..


The title of this post actually says quite a bit. My postings are just about me and mine. There is nothing of any importance here … no themes … no political agenda … just general rants. So often when I come to add a post title, I do struggle.

Well it’s the Bank Holiday, and of course the weather is up to its usual tricks. One minute it’s dry and sunny, next minute it’s pouring with rain. We have the Leeds Festival here this weekend and if it is anything like the 2nd year I went, it will be a mud bath again! Still 99% of the fans that go have a great time. With living local to Bramham Park we are entitled to apply for a limited number what they call “Guest” tickets at a discounted rate. I’m thinking that me and K*** may apply for next year if we can get R*** on respite that weekend. Not too sure if K*** will enjoy it much, but who knows?

The Out-Patients appointment was less than interesting. I don’t really know what I expected …. maybe a chest X-ray, an EEG, an ECG, blood pressure check, weight check and maybe even a blood test! It was nothing like that at all! For a start, two of the registrars were on holiday so that left only one to take the clinic. That of course meant delays all round of about 1 ½ hours. Finally got in to see him and the conversation went along these lines:

Him: “Hello, how do you feel?”

Me: “Okay, really good. Better than before.”

Him: “Good.”

Me: “I am getting a bit of backache around my shoulders.”

Him: “That is normal. Anything you would like to ask me?”

Me: “Erm ….. can I drive now?”

Him: “Yes, but you need to tell your insurance company.”

Me: “The white stockings, can they come off now?”

Him: “Yes of course.”

He then listened to my heart and told me that the sound was good and asked if there was anything else we needed to know. Neither of us could think of anything and we came away feeling rather deflated and disappointed with the whole meeting. Apart from using the stethoscope, there was no other ‘medical’ things done. To both of us, it seemed a waste of both our time and the hospital time/resources. It could have easily been done at the GP’s surgery. I’m supposed to have a 2nd appointment in about 6 months time and then a further one a year later. Based on this last one, I don’t really see the point. I have to see my GP sometime this month as one of my medications needs a review, so I might mention this to him and see what he has to say about it.

I emailed to car insurance company yesterday morning. Nothing has come back yet, so I will telephone them on Monday morning and find out what is happening. K*** rang her insurers (I’m a named driver) and they did not seem to take any notice at all, so it may be the same with my insurers.

* * * Update * * * Received the following email from the insurance company:

Thank you for your email.

This is to confirm that there are no driving restrictions on your policy. Providing you have not been told not to drive by your Doctor or GP and you feel fit and well enough to drive.

It’s been a while


It’s been a month or so since my last post, and a few things have happened since then. The video change that I mentioned last time worked, thankfully. Which was more than we hoped for. Both K*** and I had this fear that it might cause a problem for the driver on his way in the morning. Fortunately that issue did not arise. We now think that so long as R*** knows what is happening and so long as it happens, he is more or less fine with it.

Two weeks ago, I had to go into work to have a chat with my line manager. Because I have had more than four week continuous sick leave, I have hit a ‘trigger’ in our attendance management policy that requires me to be interviewed about how they can support my return to work. My line manager was furious about this and I understand that she had a few choice words with our HR department. Now I understand the need for the policy, however there needs to be some form of flexibility built in that allows for the fact that some people are not at work for a damn good reason. In my case, recovering from heart surgery and being told by the surgeon that I would not be able to work for three months after to operation. It does not matter that some system in HR has hit a flag, it’s down to the medical staff when I’m fit to return, not some piece of computer software. Rant over!!!

The new work structure has been issued, and it does nothing to suppress any worries I have. We’ve been told that there are enough jobs to go around, with some spare, but are those positions at the same grade that staff are at now? Will there be enough grades at my level for all those at the same grade? Without knowing what grades we currently have, it’s impossible to know what the changes might be. The meeting was only held on Friday, so those questions may have been answered. I will wait until the minutes come out, before I start asking any questions.

Talking about work, K*** and I are in the process of changing S****s old room into more of an office, than a bedroom. We had decided that it would be a good idea, when I work from home, for me to utilise this now spare room, to work from. But we have taken it a step further, and although the bed is still in there, my work computer is all set up.

On Tuesday, I am going for my 1st Out Patients appointment since being discharged from the hospital. This is where I find out that I can drive again and can remove these ‘anti-embolism’ stockings for good. It is also the date when I should be told when I can go back to work. I’ve started making some plans, but cannot be more definite until after this appointment. I fear driving will be a bit of an issue. I have to inform the insurance company about my operation and I think it will mean a large hike in the premiums. I don’t see why it should be a problem, but we shall see. You know what insurance companies are like.

And now me! I feel a thousand time better than I did this time in June. It is hard to believe that such a small piece of hardware can make such a difference, but I can assure you it does! I still have a chest that aches like I have run into a brick wall, but there has never been the pain that others appear to have had. My problem seems to be one of backache. It comes on around half four in the morning and makes sleeping very uncomfortable. I’ve been told that backache is one of the side effects of the operation and that it does go away in time. Hopefully that is true. The valve seems to be working fine and as expected, it can be heard. It sounds different and different time, but mainly seems to be a clicking noise on the left hand side of the scar. Most people can hear it, and S**** seems to think it is quite cool!! I found a picture of the thing they used and I was very surprised how simple it looked. I don’t know what I was expecting though.

I think that is about all, except that K*** has decided that we need new PVC windows and doors. Groan!! That is happening in just under a fortnight, and we have been told that it will all be done in a day!! Will let you know on that one after the event!

Life changer – “T” minus 11


Just to change the mood, only eleven more sleeps until I’m admitted. To be honest, at the moment, I have no worries about this. I say ‘at the moment’ because I’m not sure what the next ten days will bring. I have another appointment at the hospital on Tuesday (note to self – print the proper route!!) the eight days later, I’ll be in and waiting.

I finished the nasal cream last night. There is still nearly a quarter of a tube left, so why on earth I needed two tubes of the vile stuff, I’ll never know. It may sound okay to squirt two match-head size drops of cream up each nostril, four times a day, but take it from me, it’s not much fun. For example, the first thing that happens is you get a persistent urge to sneeze. Then as time passes, you begin to think that the cream is running down your nose ready to drop off your top lip on to your work. Of course, that is not the case, but the feeling is real.

The thing I’m trying to do now, is cut down on the amount of food I’m eating. The hospital information tells me that they will try and ensure I get plenty to eat after the operation. However, I worked in hospital catering for fifteen years and I know the portions are not the same size as home portion. So I need to try and cut down on the volume. I’m also trying to cut out extra sugar, salt and bad fats, but that is a lot easier that not eating when you feel a bit ‘peckish’.

Less than a week has passed …..


    So it has only been six days since post ‘500‘ and quite a bit has happened. One of my colleagues worked out the extra cost, for changing offices to £720.00 per year. In his email to the manager, he stated that this was the extra cost ‘….for each of us…‘ which is not quite accurate. For me, even if I worked at the City office every day my driving would be shortened by 70 miles a week. Working from home one day, would reduce it by another 30 miles per week. Taking it all into consideration, including a £15.00 per week parking cost, by extra cost would be £132.00 pa or £3.30 pw. I think I can manage that.

    What annoys me a lot, is the assumption that we all ‘have a problem’ with this new working practice. There are at least two of us that just seem to want to get on with it. It’s not as if we have any choice! We just have to make the best of it. Change affects people differently. At the end of the day, we will still have a job. We may be put out a little, but in the current economic climate in Britain, having a paid job is something to be thankful for. Of course, the Trades Union is involved at a high level, but we also have a local convenor in our office and his views (right or wrong) seem to be getting some attention. I tend not to take any notice of this person, as I think that his attitude sometimes shows that he is still living in the 1970’s.

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    Another problem cropped up with R*** on Friday. We live on the outskirts of Leeds. Our doctors, however is in Tadcaster. This means we receive our health care from North Yorkshire, and although it calls itself the National Health Service, effectively it is a localised service. So the problem is that R*** needs specialist dental care, because of his condition. Many dentists are very wary of treating people with special needs and Autism can be very scary if you are not fully aware of the issues autistic people face. He had to visit the Community Dental Practice on Friday. They examined him, and found his teeth to be doing okay, but then they dropped the bombshell. They told us, that because of recent changes by Government, they were no longer ‘allowed’ to treat him in Leeds as it was out of the catchment area. We would have to find another specialised dentist in North Yorkshire. It seems that there is one in Selby or York. This will have a serious effect with transport on his days at college and will mean whenever he has a dental appointment he would have to miss a day. We are not happy to say the least.

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    On a lighter note, the mini keyboard for tablet came. It is a lot smaller than I anticipated, and I’m yet to get it to actually work. The accompanying manual seems to have been converted/translated from the original Japanese and some of the words and phrases do not make much sense. Still I suppose you get what you pay for, as I found out with the cheap 32gb SD memory card, I bought. That does not work at all with the tablet. So ‘cheap and cheerful’ does not always pay off in the long run.

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.

So what was all the fuss about ……


I shall reveal all. For the past few days, Mrs H, S**** and his girlfriend, A****, have been at a family get together in Northumberland. The occasion, the Mother-In-Law’s 80th birthday. Lots of people being very nice to each other. That is the last I shall say about it. So what was the fuss that I The old carmentioned? Well, we have a new family car, and it is another Volvo. The one on the right (the green one) is a Volvo C30, and I may have mentioned in passing, that I did not like driving it. I found it very uncomfortable to drive and even just sitting in the passenger seat gave me problems. I think it was because the seats seemed to be rather low down, compared to my Ford Ka. The new one on the left (the red one) is The new carthe new Volvo V40. This is a completely different car. Nothing in drivers place is the same as before, which was a bit daunting, but at least it was a lot more comfortable. But I’m waffling, you want an explanation of the ‘fuss.’

So, on Monday, Mrs H drove all the way to the place we were all staying in. A good 2 ½ hours’ drive. The reason Mrs H drove, was because I had only driven the beast once before, a total of 8 miles. Now, R*** was on respite until Thursday, and was due home at around 5pm. Here’s the crux, Mrs H was staying on until the Saturday! S****, A**** and me had to be home to meet R*** when his taxi dropped him off. Which meant ……. I had to drive home!!! A trip of over 150 miles, with just 8 miles experience (of this car) under my belt. So you can possibly see my dilemma and concern. To add more to the issue, S**** asked if they could go to the nearest town to pick up a present! My head was spinning all Thursday morning. When the time came, I had a few deep breaths and just went for it. I had no problems at all!! Well apart from not being able to find the Air-Con, until we were half way home. I think I will get used to this car a lot quicker than the last one. I have a bit of a niggle with the clutch, but I’ve been told that it is just because it is different. I have even managed to reverse the car up the drive, which Mrs H has not done yet.

Why does snow make people silly


It’s the silly drivers that really get my back up. I drove my son, who’s not been driving too long, to Wetherby this morning. The side roads in the village were, as expected, about 4 inches deep with the snow. The main road, which is a bus route was much better, but still tricky as the cleared snow had packed down before the salt had time to do its job. Once up on the access road things were a little better, but that’s when you met up with the stupid people. It is only about 4 miles to Wetherby, but in that space of time I saw a Private Hire car, a white van, a mini-bus and two other cars and not one had their headlights on. Amazing. Coming back I saw another white van, same again, no lights only this time, the driver had only cleared the driver’s side of the windscreen. The passenger side was still covered in snow.

It’s not only drivers that are bewildering sometimes. The number of pedestrians that were walking in the road, rather than on the pavement was astonishing. Everyone of them were wearing either Wellington’s or other kinds of boots. I had to ask myself why. Why put yourself in danger, walking  on the road, where vehicles could be slipping and sliding, when you could simply walk on the pavement. Are you worried that your boots might get wet? Do you think it safer?

Top 10 Driving hates


I enjoy driving, and consider myself an average driver. I’m not the best driver in the world and certainly not the worst, so the word ‘average’ is probably the best description I can offer. Like most people I hate the way some other motorists drive, and I would like to share my Top Ten moans.

  1. Drivers who will not move out of lane one, on the motorway, when I am trying to join;
  2. Those who move into lane one when approaching  the joining lane of the motorway;
  3. Drivers who drive in lane two or three under the speed limit, when lane one and two are free;
  4. Heavy goods vehicle drivers, who wait until they get to an incline and then try to overtake, usually going at the same speed as the vehicle they are trying to overtake;
  5. Drivers who pass you, then pull in front of you and immediately slow down;
  6. Vehicles that have ‘Baby on Board’ signs in the back of their car, but don’t have a baby on board;
  7. Non Volvo drivers that have their headlights on all the time – just buy a Volvo !!!!!;
  8. Vehicles that have a faulty headlight and use full beam to compensate;
  9. Drivers that have their front fog lights on when it’s not foggy;
    and finally
  10. Drivers of grey vehicles, who drive on grey roads on grey days with no lights on.

Theses are in no particular order, because they should all be at number one, depending on the circumstances. I do have a lot more driving hates, but the list would go on forever.

What are yours?

Cold !!!!!


I’ve given up…the heating is on. I don’t usually put it on during the day, but I have succumb this once. It’s been really cold over the past two days. The ground frost never cleared at all yesterday, and it was quite P1010286eerie driving, early this morning, through the frost laden mist. Still hasn’t cleared yet. Just been out (14:30) P1010283and took a couple of photos in the fields. Should have gone first thing when I got back.

Talking of eerie, it was very strange picking S**** up last night. It was his friends birthday yesterday, and S**** had been invited to do what is colloquially called ‘The Garforth Gallon’. Basically, a pub crawl, where you have a pint of beer/ale/lager in each of eight pubs in the town of Garforth. For those who may not know, a ‘pub crawl’ is an expression used when you visit a number of public houses in one session. Anyway, he went out around 1pm, and was out all day and evening. I went to pick him up at around 10:30pm. It is not far, only about 10 minutes from home, but the motorway (M1) was quite spooky and quiet. I have not driven in that direction, at that time of night before, so it was an experience. When I got to Garforth though, it was very different ….busy, noisy even rowdy, with a police presence, larger than I’ve seen outside Leeds City centre. The police presence may have had something to do with the alleged murder that had taken place in the afternoon http://preview.tinyurl.com/7kj7u7a. Still he had had a good time, was able to get up for work this morning.

I have just finished reading ‘Little 15’ by Stephanie Saye and did a review on Amazon (UK) you can find it here http://amzn.to/xiNTLX. I very much enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to anyone. It is the only book, I have actually bought for the Kindle, and it was well worth it.

All went well ….


The weekend in The Lakes went quite well, although, I’m not sure how you can spend nearly three days in the souThe hillsthern lakes area, and only visit Bowness !!!! The ‘Lodge’ was better then expected. You see, from the brochure, it all looked a little bit … ‘up-market’ would be an appropriate phrase. However, when we got there, it was a lot more homely than we thought. The weather was excellent, and could not have P1010126been better. The views were amazing, as we seemed to be situated, half way up the side of one of the hills. There were some really beautiful sky views in the evening. I quite enjoy taking photos of the cloud formations in the evening. Especially when the sun is quite red. The colours can be quite stunning.

R*** coped very well, considering that we left within minutes of him getting back from school. It was lucky, that the place had free Wi-Fi, and we were able to set up his laptop. He spent most of the time sat at his computer !!! Only had one blip, and I’m afraid, that was probably our fault. We were having dinner on Sunday evening. R*** was at his computer, in another room (he doesn’t eat what we eat and generally does not eat with us. It is too stressful for him.) He kept popping into the dining room, and asking to play his game ‘Hide and Seek’. Everyone kept telling him, that we would play after we had finished. So what happened ?? We finished dinner, and almost everyone disappeared before he could start his game !!!! No wonder he got upset. So would I!!

The travelling was a bit of a nightmare. Google Maps (good old Google) told us it would take us about two and a half hours, which is what we expected. However, given that we were setting off at around 4pm, we were expecting a bit of slow heavy traffic. What we did not expect, was that a journey that would normally take 25 minutes, took us nearly an hour. Then we had to detour into Settle, as the bypass was closed because of an accident. So all in all, the journey took over three and a half hours. Coming back was not much different. Slow traffic and road closures, not to mention the idiot that thought it was okay to drive around narrow country roads at over 30 mph and clip the wing mirror. They claimed it was our fault, and that we were in the middle of the road (we were on a blind bend doing about 20mph if that). They were still going too fast for the conditions.

Finished ….


   Well, that’s it for 12 days. Seems funny taking holiday at the stat of the new year, but with our family situation, I have to book all leave well in advance. This week has been booked since January at least.

   Work was a bit of a pain today. I got the reports done, but there was no comments, so hopefully, they are okay. Mind you, there’s not a lot I can do about it now.

   Not looking forward to tomorrow. Youngest is going to the dental hospital for an extraction. Because of his condition, he will need a general. We have our fingers crossed that he does not wake too early, as he cannot have anything to eat from now, and nothing to drink from 06:30am. It’s going to be difficult. Especially as he seems to have a thing about waking between 04:00am and 05:00am.

   I think I’ll be driving the new car tomorrow. I’ve only driven it once, and that was only a couple of miles. It will be a bit of a tester, driving into Leeds centre at 08:00am !!!! Still, no worse than driving across the North Yorkshire Moors, which is what I’ll be doing on Saturday. Exciting days.

Weekend comes early ….


   A couple of days off straddling the weekend, comes as a welcome break. Although more decorating is on the cards. This Dining room time its the dining room, and  aDining rooms you may be able to see, the colours are very strong to say the least. another problem, is the amount of furniture in this room. Against the other wall in here, is a drinks cabinet and a sideboard. Both of these will need to be moved, when I come to do that side of the room. This room poses many problems.

   I’m often quite amazed at the so called driving skills of some people. Three incidents, over the past three days have left me quite angry. On Tuesday, when I was turning right into the village, some half-wit decided to cut me up, by undertaking me on the turn. Tonight, the same idiot, passed me and another two cars, on the access road. We were doing at least 60 mph, when the clown decided to pass all three of us. He must have been doing at least 80mph. This morning, whilst travelling in the centre lane on the M1, I had left a two vehicle space, between me and the Mazda in front. This gap was then filled by another idiot, in one of those hybrid eco cars, who then proceeded to slow down quickly. I nearly had his battery in the front of my car, had I not had my wits about me. How on earth did these fools manage to pass any form of driving test ??? Or did they ? I read somewhere, that at anyone time, 17% of the vehicles on the road are either untaxed, unlicensed, or have uninsured or unqualified/banned drivers. Apparently that is a very conservative number.