Showing posts from August, 2011

A week off. And I mean REALLY off

I am off work next week. In fact, slightly more than that. I am officially unemployed. Well, given I'm being strict in what I say, I should say - I am officially under contract with my old employer until next Wednesday but have a couple of days holiday booked. Then the contract with my new employer kicks in a week on Monday. A week off between two jobs is the ultimate in relaxation. With the old job behind you, there's no stress about what will be waiting in the inbox when you return. With the new job not yet started, there's only the excitement of a new job and no stress yet. Last time I tried this, a year-and-a-bit ago, fate intervened and my Dad died at the start of the week and I spent the week organising his funeral (and other paperwork) then made a dash to London at the end of the week and drove back to London just 36 hours before starting work in the new job. But this next week I intend to relax completely. Of course there are people and places I&

Bats in the cemetery

This evening we went up to Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park for one of their bat walks. The park itself was, until 1966, one of London's big cemeteries to rival Highgate and Brompton. But with no burials since the mid sixties, and years of greenery growing over the gravestones, the park is now the archetypal cemetery typical of any 80s goth music video. I must admit, until today, I didn't even really know the park existed - let alone just how interesting it is. This evening, after reading about it on the park's Facebook page we decided to go along for one of the organised bat walks. I have to say, it has been one of the most fun evenings I've spent in London. The cemetery takes on quite a spooky feeling after dark - if I believed in mad things like ghosts, then it'd probably be a fairly scary place to be. As it is, it feels like walking through the set of a horror B-movie. And that's without the bats. After a short talk from Ken (the ever-enthusi

Homeward Bound

Over the past year and a bit, my job has taken me to and from Manchester on a regular basis. I've grown rather used to the sight of Euston station at 7am and standing around waiting for the shops and the lounge to open so I can grab a cup of coffee to rid me of my slumber before falling onto the train and shaking myself to life before I get to Stockport and need to give directions to the cab driver. I've spent time in Manchester before. A previous job used to bring me to Birchwood, taking a taxi from Warrington Bank Quay, on many an occassion. This time, it's been a cab picking me up from Stockport and taking me over to Ashton Under Lyne. But it feels the same. In both cases, I would repeatedly switch between staying at a hotel close to the office, and a hotel in the centre of town. I'd stay close to the office, and then be sitting in the hotel thinking to myself "this is boring" and so next time I'd get myself booked into a hotel in the centre

A step too far...

This morning, I was in the First Class Lounge at Euston station ("ooo, get me!" etc) and popped to the bathroom before my train was due to leave. I opened the door, and the gents was dark. So, I thought, maybe it's one of those "motion detector" arrangements where the lights come on in response to somebody jiggling about in front of a little magic eye. So I gingerly stepped into the gents and flung my arms around trying to get the lights to come on. I didn't want to move so far away from the door that it would close behind me, as I wasn't sure I'd be able to find it again in the dark. Still nothing. So I wandered around to the front desk, and asked if they could switch the lights on. I was told to walk in there, and the lights would magically come on. In fact, the guy from the front desk came around with me and walked boldly in. He had to walk in at least 10ft away from the door before the lights came on - did they really expect anyone v

Why I'm not running the marathon

If you follow me on Twitter, then you’re probably familiar with my frequent tweets about running. I was never much of a runner until recently, but in the past year or so, it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that I’ve become addicted to running. I aim to do a 20 mile+ run every Sunday, and try to squeeze in a couple of gentle 10km jogs during the week, too. Almost every time I write something on Twitter after one of my long Sunday runs at least one person will ask if I’m training for a marathon – and if not, why I don’t consider doing one. The answer to the first question is a simple “no”; the answer to the second is a little more complex. A few years ago, I did consider entering the London Marathon for charity. I told family and friends I was going to enter and then never did. At the time, I think a lack of self-belief that I could ever run that distance was a large factor – but looming equally large over my decision not to enter was the knowledge that people would be