Trying to plan/not to plan for the future

We are saving. We are saving. La la la lah, la la laaaaa.

Sad but true.

We are being very busy not spending money. Apart from living costs. And rent. And Vin’s livery fees.

But there is much much not spending going on.

For two reasons really.

The first is that being self-employed I sleep so much easier at night with a wodge of capital in the bank. And my contract is due to conclude with the delivery of this project – around the end of January.

The second is that we may just take a bit of a break next year; go somewhere… different. Just for us. But see above comment regarding wodge of capital.

But it’s good, all this saving stuff. It means the banks are paying us money. Even if what they’re paying us is a small portion of our money that our government has just given away to, erm, the banks.

It’s a kind of reverse arbitrage really, a credit default swap gone tits up (to use the technical phrase).

The interesting thing about all this financial tits uppery (to use the technical phrase again) is that when I was a currency dealer (just over 10 years experience of trading before I got out quickly) ever major financial institution employed people who we called limits clerks. It was the job of every limits clerk to check a proposed trade against:

* geographical limit (i.e. country!),
* financial limit (i.e. who is the party on the other side of this trade and how much are they already in to us for) and
* recovery limit (if this goes tits up, how much can we recover before we call it a dead loss).

And if any of the results of those limit searches came back negative the trade didn’t go ahead.

It seems that some simple credit protection measures we had in place once upon a time have been relaxed a little too well.

Anyway, back to the point.

We are busy not spending.

And Soph starts work in her new job on Monday.

Which will bring in more lovely money for us to stash in our bank accounts for the banks to pay us interest on with our money before the planned/not planned excursion arrives and we empty the banks of all our lolly.

Anyway, point is…

I think we (will) deserve a little break. Around Christmas, if we can juggle our time off to correspond.

But I’m fresh out of ideas and inspiration, so I thought I’d throw myself on the mercy of the court, so to speak, and see if you’ve got any helpful ideas for a short Christmas-time break for the two of us that would be to somewhere different, but isn’t going to make a significant impact on our savings.



MMG (More Morning Grumpiness)

So my friends.

Do you remember the sour-faced old boot I told you about yesterday?

Ah, let’s just pause for a moment and drink in the deliciousness of her grumpy demeanour as the memories return to tickle the taste buds of irony once more.

She was the person who, in no uncertain terms, indicated I should sit somewhere else rather than next to her because she didn’t want to move her stuff and yet, at the very next stop… She had to move her stuff because the coach got so full?. And how I smirked periodically at her for the rest of the journey in to London village?

Yes indeed.

The hatched-faced harridan has returned.

Or, to be more correct, I have returned to sit beside the hatchet-faced harridan. This time she was unable to deflect the aim of my bottom as it zeroed in on that seat next to her.

Yet to show her displeasure at having to sit next to the guy she verbally repulsed yesterday morning…

Elbows were deployed.

Yep, just like a Multi-Role Combat Aircraft she went for the subsonic grump and widened her elbows away from her body in an attempt to take up just that little bit more space.

And a newspaper was read (The Independent) and she made sure she held her hands as far apart as possible, to incur as much of my physical space as she could.

But la la la! I’m a morning person so she didn’t bother me. Oh no, I just got on with selecting audio files, editing the playlist for tomorrow’s podcast and generally did very busy-making things that needed to be done. And listened to much music.

And I may – just may – have started writing this post, and may possibly have got as far as ‘The hatchet-faced harridan has returned’ and may possibly (again) have made much of a meal of finding the correct spelling for the word ‘harridan’.

And yes, I am soooo aware that she was reading the draft post over my shoulder.

The interesting thing is… Beneath this fine layer of mickey-taking, I quite like her really. There’s something, some indefinable quality of her character that is quite attractive and interesting.

Anyway, and then the coach broke down (which I’ve already blogged about) and when we all transferred to the next coach in the line of service (which was 10 minutes behind – and therefore rather throwing out any excuses for log-jamming traffic at 05.30) guess what?

Yep, she choose to sit next to… somebody else.

Oh well.

Too bad she didn’t wait until I’d got to the bit where I’d said I quite liked her, isn’t it?


Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit

The two oriental-looking-but-eastern-european-speaking girls sitting behind me haven’t stopped yammering since we got on the coach in Victoria.

We’re now in Buckinghamshire.

I’ve got no issue with them yammering non-stop at each other in a tongue I don’t understand. No. My problem is nothing to do with the language.

My problem is everything to do with the non-stop yammering. And the simpering girly voices.

I want to turn round and say ‘Shut The Fuck Up!’

I want to do it in a mean and threatening way.

I don’t want to have to take refuge in the ear-bud world that I usually enjoy because today – being Friday afternoon/evening and also being the end of the week – I want to sleep.

I dozed off a couple of times on the way out of London but on both occasions I was dragged from the arms of Mary Morpheus by the incessant yammer yammer and girly simpering with accompanying giggling.


Guess how old they are.

No, go on. Guess.

They’re both in the 24-26 bracket.

Fuck me, I’d like to do something with them and a bracket.

Hang them from the wall of the bus. On the outside. In a ‘stitch that you bitches’ kind of way.


I’m not normally grumpy when I’ve been woken up.

At least I don’t think I am; a little lower in the vocals, sure, but not grumpy at all.


This has nothing to do with being woken up.

It’s everything to do with being kept awake – and that’s a serious crime.

They’re at it again – and we’re nearly in Oxfordshire!

Now then, where did I put that bracket?


Servicing the normals will be resumed as soon as

That just sounds so wrong now, but it was really funny in my head ten minutes ago!

We went out last night, the Soph and I, to a Significant Barbecue (even though it wasn’t really barbecue weather).

The significance may get explained in the near future. Maybe.

Anyway it was a late night.

And now an early morning, for I am whisking Soph off to a secret place for an overnight stay. Well, it’s not secret to me, just her.

But first, an en-route visit to… Little Chef!

Where the All Day Vegetarian Breakfast may be pressed in to service.

Not, you understand, as a hangover cure because not that much alcohol was drunk last night. Not by us anyway.

But our hostess was incredibly well oiled even when we turned up at 20.00.

No, this All Day Vegetarian Breakfast is just because we can, just because we fancy it.

So we’ll be back, Monday evening-ish or Tuesday morning-ish but until then…



Chiltern Ramblings: 01

An occasional series of blog posts from the weekly journey to/from London Marylebone

Damn. The cleaner – no, not cleaner – the conductor just came along asking to see my ticket.

And in so doing she blew right out of my head the most excellent post that I’d started to compose.



No, it’s gone.


Bloody hell, look at that field of Linseed!

It’s bright purple.

Looks kind of alien against the rich greenness of the Oxfordshire countryside.

Yes, I’m on the train; London-bound.


Two matching grey ponies standing in their paddock; dressed in matching navy blue lightweight rugs.

Which is where – and how – Vin will be right now; it’s too early for breakfast.

He’ll probably be standing up – fast asleep – with that expression on his face, the one he adopts when the lights are on but no-one’s home.

On this journey so far I’ve read a chapter of my current book, copied this weekend’s podcast playlist over to the master list and reset the playlist ready for the contents that will make up next weekend’s playlist.

Whatever that (or they) may be.

Hang on a minute, here comes the lady with the refreshment trolley.

And Dan Klass is talking in my ears.

This is one of those moments when the females who tune in say, “Awwww the poor man. Completely unable to multi-task”.

Actually I can multi-task.

I do it all the time.

But I’ll get back to you in a couple of minutes, OK?


Right, I’m back.

Where was I?

Oh yeah.

Bicester North.

Hahahaha, so funny.

Bloody hell it’s chucking it down out there.

Right, anyway; update on what’s been going on here.

The lady with the refreshment trolley (hereafter called Julie) and I had what is becoming our customary Monday morning chat.

Julie asks if I want tea or coffee, I make a decision and while she prepares my beverage she asks about Vin, and I update her on what’s new and what’s in the next stage of our plan for the domination of the equestrian world.

So no girls, I can’t multi-task to that extent.

I can’t have a conversation with Julie of the refreshment trolley and listen to Dan Klass and bang out blog entries all at the same time.

And you can stop looking quite so smug because I bet you can’t do those things at the same time – not effectively.

OMG, I just giggled aloud.

Dan did that to me.

It’s not that I’ve just been sitting here and I suddenly burst in to a fit of giggles for no reason.

It’s all your fault Danny boy.

The trouble is, the guy sitting next to me?

He thinks I’m a mentalist.

Dan’s telling us about his daughter’s existentialist sense of humour which, as well as making me giggle aloud gives me a large degree of satisfaction to know that I’m not the only father in the world with a daughter who has an existentialist sense of humour.

The example he used was when his daughter said:
‘Knock knock’
‘Who’s there?’
‘Microphone who?’
‘The microphone forgot to open the door!’


Get your head around that one you poor parents of non-existentialist children.

Fuck me, there’s a fly in here.

Can you believe this?

Did it pay full fare or does it get a discount because it’s not going to occupy a seat?

Yeah, there’s not a great deal of need to answer that one.


Writing update.

Chapter 4 of The New Novel continues despite the pitchy, patchy effort I’m putting in to the book.

The degree of effort of input seems directly related to my mental state.

Christ, that’s this book doomed!

[long pause]

I’m now wondering if half of the people on this train understand their commitments under the Data Protection Act?

Yeah, that’s a big rhetorical one.

Ah, but the things I could tell you that my sharp little eyes have gleaned!

It’s so fucking wrong that twats have such a diminished sense of their place in the world that they feel the need to open up electronic or hardcopy information and ‘work on it’ on the train.

Pathetic little egos needing a public boost.

Sad gits.

A really good ISO would have most – if not all – of these practices stopped dead in its tracks (and the staff involved disciplined harshly).

Case in point: guy sitting next to me.

He works (or is involved in some professional capacity) with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The DWP is a very large, important, central government department.

And the guy sitting next to me – I have his name, easily culled from from the many email hardcopies he has previously printed out and is now scrawling ‘To Do’ things on – is ‘working on the train’ on many sensitive pieces of information.

Several of them are so sensitive that they carry a security classification – across the top of them and threaded sideways across the page is the word R E S T R I C T E D.

How would this guy – let’s call him, ummm, Tony – even begin to think that the inside of a Chiltern Trains rail carriage is a place where working on classified is appropriate?

Does Tony, I wonder, even have permission from his ISO – or his line manager – to remove classified documents from his office?

By the way Tony, I’ve just googled you.

I now have your telephone number to add to your forename, surname, email address and – get this – the name of the government committee whose papers you were reading.

Are you real Tony?

Do you honestly believe that this is acceptable behaviour for a public servant?

Because let’s get this straight Tony, you are a public servant.

You work for us.

Yet your professional standards fall far short of my expectations.

So as your employer Tony let me give you a quick message.

Don’t forget to collect your P45 on the way out.

What you’re doing is not safe.

If you can’t get your work done in your allotted time in the office, you’re either ineffective or your workload needs reprioritising.

[long pause]

High Wycombe looks nice from the train.

Can’t comment on how it is from any other perspective, obv.

Damn you and your catchy abbreviation of the word ‘obviously’, Anna Pickard.

Too clever by half you are.

Oh no, I’ve slipped in to Jedi mode.

07.23 – about half an hour until arrival in Marylebone.

Soph’s still in bed – she’s on leave today.

Time to knock this on the head.

Have a good day, people.