Showing posts from January, 2020

Happy Times

That’s me, living the life of Riley in Mexico. They were Happy Times. When the photo was taken, nine years ago next month, the happy times were about to end. Within two days, I was on a Heathrow bound British Airways flight to resume life in Blighty. Mrs P and I still have happy times. But when we refer to the Mexicans variant, I like to capitalise the words to denote that the were the Happy Times and not just your run of the mill happy times. Also, because Donald Trump has made this sort of appalling use of grammar fashionable. We’ve only once returned to Mexico since then. But we still have our plan to retire in Mexico. When exactly will this be? I’d like to say when I’m 60, if things go well. A bit later if they don’t. When I say ‘things’, I do, of course, refer to our finances. We want to have a minimum level of financial security before retiring. So that we don’t get caught short if our health should take a turn for the worse, for example. Where in Mexico will we settle

The Launderette

Mrs P and I share the household chores. That is how she would describe it. I feel that it would be more accurate to say that I am allocated chores, which must be completed in a specified manner within a specified timeframe. It is also safe to say that there are substantially more chores to do than there would be if I were in charge. But I’m not, so it’s best to just crack on and get them done. One of my chores is to take the washing out of the machine at home and take it all up to the launderette for drying. I do not personally involve myself in the washing process. I would not divide the clothes into lights and coloureds correctly. And I wouldn’t use the correct amount of detergent, conditioner and bleach. Mrs P is Mexican, so of course there is bleach. Cleaning isn’t cleaning unless there’s bleach. Our washing machine at home can also, in theory, dry the clothes too. But like any washer/dryer that I’ve ever come across, it’s next to useless at drying. It’d be quicker and m

Disconnected Railways

There's a lot wrong with the railways in Britain. I hear about it everyday from passengers. The prices are too high. The service too unreliable. The solution, I'm told, is to re-nationalise the whole system. As with politics, there's a disconnect in the publics mind as to what the cause of their complaints are. And thus the solutions they find will not likely work out for them. Most of the reliability problems sit at the door of Network Rail, who are responsible for the infrastructure. Network Rail is already a state owned enterprise. And the high prices? Tickets are already subsidised by the taxpayer. Passengers don't pay for what they get as it is. But prices can be raised or lowered as a matter of government policy through the subsidies they pay into the system. Re-nationalisation is not a necessity. Every now and then I'll engage with a passenger and offer my thoughts, if they seem genuinely interested and civil. But I know a confused look when I see o

Good Intentions

I'm not overly fixated on resolutions. Experience has taught me that they simply set you up for a fall. But still, I do start each year with good intentions and grand plans. Giving up smoking is normally one begun at midnight and bust before the first day is done. Not this year. My app tells me that it's been 1 month 18 days and 9 hours since I last had so much as a single puff. If it hadn't been for a slight hiccup, my app would boast longer still. There will be no more hiccups. I promise. And I shall report back in a years time with a screenshot from my app that I can be proud of. There are travel plans. There are always travel plans. This year I have, in alphabetical order, China, Cambodia, Canada, Croatia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan in mind. You might assume that my list of visited countries is missing ones beginning with C and U, and that I've decided 2020 is the year to knock them off. But it's just coincidence. Generally, though, my goals as I've grow

A New Decade

I was born not long after the 70s started. So I have only vague memories of that decade. I went to school through the 80s. I could refer to it as the decade of learning, but that’s a process that’s never stopped. The 90s were a decade of partying. And, if I’m to be honest, excess. I was tee-total in the 00s, spending my money on travel. And, of course, I spent half the decade living in Mexico. The photo above is from early 2010, just about ten years ago. I look a little weary, but I had just run 6kms. How have the 10s treated me. It’s been a good decade really. But I have aged. I feel it. I see it when I look in the mirror. It’s the first decade where I’ve ended it feeling a bit slower and a bit weaker that when the decade started. It struck home in September when I became stricken with glandular fever. It’s a nasty illness regardless of age. But I’m quite certain I’d have coped better a decade earlier. It’s all downhill from here I guess. Still, one hopes it will be a slow de