Category Archives: Life

How to run 5 km (aging, overweight people edition)

[A quick break from the Heavy Metal Timeline series. We’ll get right back to that after this announcement.]

I am no kind of athlete. Even as a kid, I was a slow runner. I loved football, but I was never a good player. Humiliatingly, I could never think quickly on the pitch, to spot the pass others miss — the one thing I might legitimately have expected to be good at.

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And now I’m 46 years old, I weigh 104 kg, I have a BMI of 31.3 which makes me clinically obese, and my job is the most sedentary imaginable: I walk the five meters from my bed to my desk every morning and spend all day sitting in front of a computer.

That means that if I can run 5 km, so can you!

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Consider driving a hire-car home from the airport

Here’s a handy travel tip if, like me, you live out in the countryside. Getting home from airports on public transport can be cumbersome, time-consuming and risk-prone: one delayed train early in a sequence can badger up your whole journey. I’ve found it useful to hire a car for a one-way journey.

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Several times on business trips, my inbound flight has dumped me at the airport at a time when there’s no good public transport to get me home, so I have rented cars in advance, picked them up from the airport, driven home, and had the rental company pick the car up from there. Continue reading

Replacement plate for Daewoo microwave

Wo own a cheap Daewoo-brand microwave oven, which I picked up at Lidl one time for (probably) £19.99. A few days ago, the glass plate that revolves in the middle of it broke. So Fiona phoned them up to see if we could order a replacement.

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“Sure”, they said, “It’ll be with you on 17th October”.

Which is four months away.

??!

 

 

Some insurers just can’t take a hint

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Don’t you get it, Direct Line? I’m through insuring my car with you.

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Seriously: shop around for your car insurance

The insurance renewal for our main car (a 2005 Saab 9-5 estate) came through yesterday. I was about to pick up the phone and renew when I was struck that the premium seemed higher than I expected – £823.62 for the year (plus the extra 10% they charge you for paying monthly instead of up front). Sure enough, when I checked last year’s renewal, I found it had been only £569.22. So they’d tried to slip a 45% increase past us.

The insurance company in question, in case you want to know to avoid them, was Direct Line.

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The Once and Future King on compromise and disillusionment in middle age

This is from T. H. White’s absolutely brilliant book The Once and Future King – Book III (The Ill-made Knight), chapter XII (page 374 in my edition):

There is a thing called knowledge of the world, which people do not have until they are middle-aged. It is something which cannot be taught to younger people, because it is not logical and does not obey laws which are constant. It has no rules. Only, in the long years which bring women to the middle of life, a sense of balance develops. You can’t teach a baby to walk by explaining the matter to her logically — she has to learn the strange poise of walking by experience. In some way like that, you cannot teach a young woman to have knowledge of the world. She has to be left to the experience of the years. Continue reading

My response to the Privacy and Security inquiry

I found out only today that The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament is soliciting evidence for its Privacy and Security Inquiry. As this is one of the most important issues facing the UK at the moment, I made time to write a response, and if you’re British then I encourage you to do so as well. See also this excellent response from Glyn Moody.

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