Tuesday 31 March 2020

I had this strange feeling that I was being watched

A neighbour's cat was watching me work this morning.  I think it got bored as it didn't stay long.

Monday 30 March 2020

Keeping in touch

It's very tough with everybody locked away at the moment so we've been trying to stay in touch with friends and family by using some of the various online tools.

Last week we had a remote 40th birthday cheer, a games night that only involved red wine, a quiz (which we won (5/10)) and chat with my brothers family on Sunday.  This week we've got a film night.  This will involve us all pressing play on Netflix at the same time then talking bollocks over it whilst (you've guessed it) drinking red wine.

Some sexy shots of the cat

Here's Josie rolling around trying to attract some attention.

She obviously caught my attention as I took a load of photos of her.  She's a good cat.  We were very lucky with the adoption.  Very patient with Flo, not that Flo's bad with her, she just understands that it's a necessary evil.

Lazy cat

Here's Josie on top of the conservatory asking to come in.  We have child / burglar locks on the sash windows so they only open a little bit.  She had to crawl on her belly to get in.  Poor girl.

If you look in the back ground you can see our wonderful hanging baskets...  Almost Babylonesk.  They are of course weeds growing in the guttering of our conservatory.   There is a gap between our house and our next door neighbours but not sure if I can squeeze into it to clear out the guttering.

Our long term plan is to get this knocked down and replaced with something more permanent therefore negating the need for me to do some actual work. 

Once things calm down we'll sort it out...

We're tidying up some files at the moment and I just found this

It's the x-ray of my left hand before I had the operation, check out the image on the right.  What direction is that pointing in?  Ouch!  If you search for my other finger x-ray, that's better, it looks like i'm giving someone the V.

I don't think i've seen this x-ray before.  April must have squirrelled it away in her filing cabinet.

Saturday 28 March 2020

A bit shorter than I expected...

April did it. It's basically a 6 on the top with a 4 'blended' into the back and sides. 

I'm sure it'll grow back...




Friday 27 March 2020


I was due to get my haircut this Saturday (the day before the Australia trip), but that's not going to happen now as all of the hairdressers are now shut.

I have a set of clippers for trimming my 'beard', the question is do I let April attempt to cut it for me?  I don't have a particularly complex haircut, it's basically a number two with a trim on top.  Incidentally that's the same thing i've asked for for at least the last 25 years!

I think if I get her to do a 5 or a 6 all over, then we can take it from there...  watch this space.  I mean what's the worst that could happen???

The last friend that cut my hair was Kris, when he gave me a 0.  I think he ran away for fear of a beating after that.

That's a turn up for the books

Just weighed myself for the first time in a month and i'm down to 90.5kg.  Not intentionally.  Pretty sure I was nearly 95kg before.

I've only been socially excluding for a week and a half, but have missed out on 'networking' at lunch and no watching football beers must really help with my weight.

Who would have thought there were that many calories in beer...

I've not done any real exercise since I stopped playing rugby in early Jan so it does make the above very strange.

I've got my dumbbells down from the top room and are now in my office.  I think the next time any of you see me i'll be a different man...

Thursday 26 March 2020

Queuing for Waitrose

I had to queue to get into Waitrose this morning, it was one in one out as they were limiting the number of people in store at a time.

Thankfully they were were almost back up to normal stock levels, the photos below are when I last went (Saturday) and they were completely empty.

Josie is enjoying having us all at home

Wednesday 25 March 2020

I had an video interview this evening

So I had to put a shirt and tie on.  It will start after my extension towards the end of April.  Here's me sorting out my video angle from my tablet.  I had to remove the glass skull gaming trophy from view.

Virtual meetings

The Tonbridge Massive have been great these past couple of weeks.  We've had 4-5 video calls with various sets of them just to say hello and how we're all coping. We've also had a couple of mass video conferences 12+ people.  One for a 40th birthday cheer and another just because it was a Friday.  It was good to see everybody and say hello.

Friday we're booked in for a games night.  Not entirely sure how we're going to do this remotely yet but if the last games night we had has anything to go by we won't play a single game and just drink far too much red wine.

No sport

I find it really strange without having any sport at the moment.  I know there are more important things to think about and I know those that read these posts generally don't give a shit.  But it's a fairly big chunk of my escapism and without it there does seem to be a fair amount of void.

Obviously my main concern in the future of the Premier League and the impact on whether Liverpool  will finally win the league or not.  I hate this fucking virus.

Working from home with Flo

So far this week we've had 2/3 days that we've managed to get Flo to have a nap after lunch.

It really helps as we're basically time sharing our jobs at the minute.  I'm basically starting work shortly after 7am, with April looking after Flo for a bit.  We're then trying to do as much as we can at work whilst the other looks after Flo, then in the afternoon / evenings when half of April's company wakes up (US) April has priority.

It's going to be tough but we'll get through it. We've also just subscribed to Disney+ so I think that will help too.

Working from home update

It's a weird feeling constantly working from home.  I've done a fair bit over the past couple of months with appointments for my back and random things to do with the house but it is very odd being isolated from your team for such prolonged periods.

It's odd anyway as i'm a contractor who doesn't really have a team.  In fact my current team consists of one person who only joined a couple of weeks ago.  It seems to be working so far and that's with having Flo to look after between us during the day as she's home from the nursery.

I'm sure there will be conflict between April's and my work schedules but hopefully both of our employers understand the issues.  I think they will as they're probably in the same boat.

All stop

All work on our house renovation has stopped.  It's annoying as we were very nearly there, just some radiators refitted, a new one put in, new carpet for our stairs and hallways, painting of the front door and rehanging of Flo's new room, but it makes sense to stop.  There's absolutely no point in chancing an infection.  The work sounds a lot but can probably all be done in a day or two.

Fingers crossed we're all sorted in a couple of months time.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Tip day

With all the IKEA furniture that we're (April) busy making I've had to take a couple of trips to the tip.

Yesterday Flo decided to join me.  I don't think it was quite as interesting as she expected.

Mother's Day

Here's Flo and April making pancakes in their new Mother's Day aprons and hat.

Top score

The internet's been a bit iffy recently (keeps cutting out) so decided to play the google game that pops up.  I beat my previous top score of 1661 by a mile!

Beat that chumps!

Friday 20 March 2020


This is the vegetable aisle at our Waitrose.  Why do people stockpile perishable goods?  There's no way they will eat it all before it goes off.  Fuckers.  The meat section isn't much better.  I'm going to pop out to a farm shop later to get some veg for the weekend.

Post op check up cancelled

I was due to see the doctor that operated on my back in May but I had a call yesterday to say that he had to cancel as he's been called up by the NHS.

I'm going to possibly go out for a run later to see how my back feels. I'll preemptively take some ibuprofen and see how it goes.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Well that's potentially good news

My contact is due to end on Friday next week, this was mainly down to the new IR35 rules around disguised employees not paying employee and employer nation insurance.  With all the uncertainty around how this was due to get implemented, most companies in the city decided to create a blanket ban on outside IR35 contractors forcing them to either find work elsewhere or operate under an umbrella company which you would in effect loose many of the benefits of contracting anyway.

Anyway, due to the scary shit going on with the corona-virus, the government has decided to postpone this till next year.  That means I can continue to work as a contractor for my current company.  I e-mailed the manager I effectively work for now (long boring story) the news and she came back within 20 mins asking if I can do another 4 weeks.  4 weeks isn't much but beggars can't be choosers.  They're recruiting for a couple of pricing analysts / actuaries at the moment but this is understandably going to be a little more tricky.  My boss only joined 3 weeks ago and will need help in doing her day job as she's the only member of her team.

It's not confirmed yet, but hopefully we can get a deal done before the end of the week.

Well here it is in (not quite) full glory

Here it is.  My new office.
 Where I will do some actual work

The stereo fits, but I might move it more central with the speakers a little further apart.  Problem is the power lead is integral so would have to rewire it.  I haven't done that since a 1st year  (year 7) technology class.

What this does tell me however, is I do not have enough shit.  I must buy more shit.

I'm very please with the work the guys have done, I think they're quite chuffed too.  They were about to leave when I mentioned that they're also supposed to build me three floating shelves above the desk.  They'll be back next week to install them.

Carpet in

The carpenter / joiners are due any minute!  Looks like i'll get my office this morning.

After that we only have the stairs to carpet and the front door left to paint.

And the 350kgs of Ikea stuff to get built and carried up to the top floor.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Day three in the Clark house

Everything seems to be going okay.  Painters finished yesterday and it's looking great. We had a call this morning and the carpeters are ready to make a start, unfortunately, the carpenter is also here.  And are working on the same space.  Eek.  The carpenter's fixing a few floorboards whilst the carpeters are doing heir best to work around him They seem to be getting on fine.

Top two bedrooms are getting carpeted first, then the upstairs toilet (lino), then my study, then the stairs.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Painting's finished*

*The painters have finished (they still need to paint the front did but apparently they need a warm day) three days early! And the house looks lovely. If we're lucky we can get the carpet in early.

We've got a carpenter in tomorrow to do a couple of odd jobs but it shouldn't take him the whole day. The other carpenters are storing all of my new office furniture and they want to move it in as soon as possible so as soon as the carpets are in they're ready to go.

We can also move the IKEA shit upstairs as it's clogging up front room and flo's play room. That might be important if the nursery gets forced to close.

Back update

I think my back is about the same as it was before the injections.  On-line it says up to a couple of weeks, the doctor said up to 2 months.  We'll see.  Lifting 300kg of IKEA boxes into the house yesterday didn't help.

Some people stockpile pasta, some bog roll.  I stock piled wine.  April stockpiled card board boxes.

This is stuff for Flo's new bedroom, and for April's new office / day room.  Once the carpets are in I have to get the lot upstairs.  And try not to bash the newly painted walls in the process.

Sleepy cat

Josie stayed up to watch the latest episode of the Walking Dead with me last night.  She lasted 5 minutes before falling asleep and began to snore.

Day 2: Still bored

But getting out of the house at any opportunity.

So far today i've dropped Flo off at the nursery, posted a parcel for April and collected / dropped off my dry cleaning.

Painting should finish today

It's been a long 6 weeks but the end is in sight.  It may even be done by the end of next week, which is the original estimate.  We'll see.

Monday 16 March 2020

Well, that's more or less ruined my Wfh plans!

Boris has more or less told people to avoid pubs!  Grrr.  Great WiFi and very quiet during the day.

Still struggling

They've just got to the Prancing Pony and had to skip a song that lasted more than 2 and a half minutes!  The crowd even asked for it again.  I guess things are different in fantasy pubs when compared to something now.  If you get bored you just look at your phone.

Day 1: Bored already

Day 1 of working from home.  Urgh.  Bored already. 

I was even looking forward to a webex call later today but that's now been postponed till tomorrow now.

I'm waiting on a file from some underwriters at the minute, not a tremendous amount I can do apart from checking what I have already done and that doesn't really appeal.

Sunday 15 March 2020

Poo, that's a shame

It was definitely on the cards to get cancelled but now that Australia is enforcing a two week self isolation for incoming tourists it no longer becomes an option.  Looks like we can either get full refunds or no charge for transferring the date so at least that's a bonus.  We'll have to go later in the year when it all calms down.  Unfortunately that means it will be with a new born baby!!!

Friday 13 March 2020

Well, that's a turn up for the books

Ignoring the obvious seriousness of the pandemic currently hitting the world, 80%+ of my company has been told to work from home for the foreseeable future.  Only having two weeks left on my contract means this is effectively my last day in the office!  I think I have half of the classes of businesses that i'm due to parameterise more or less done.  The others are 50% done but need underwriter input before I can progress.  In summary, get in!  I don't mind going into work but it will save over 2 hours a day in commuting.

I'll also be able to claim back a few quid on transport, and not pay for future transport going forward.

My wife and my brother have the same and I know of at least another two Lloyd's market companies that are doing similar.  Either 100% or the majority like the above.

Unfortunately there's obviously the highly likely chance that our trip to Australia straight after may also get cancelled.  We'll be able to claim some of that back but a lot will just be net cost to us.  Plus we'll have to head over at some point which means I may then be back in a contract so would hit me financially that way too.  If I don't work I don't get paid.

Set back

Looks like the carpet won't get fitted until next Friday now.  So the built in furniture will have to wait till probably the week after.

Hallway stairs coming along

My office, where the fitted bookshelves will go.

2nd floor first coat

Thursday 12 March 2020


First blood

Josie brought in her first stick yesterday.  Good girl.  Some way to go to catch up on our old cat Poppet.  She must have brought us hundreds of sticks over the years.

Test working from home day

90% of my company is working from home today, it's a test run to see if our infrastructure can cope with the real chance that we may need a period of sustained self isolation.

It's great for me as I definitely like not having to get into work, it's a shame my office isn't ready yet, as working on my small laptop is not ideal.

Current update is the painting's getting done today and possibly tomorrow.  The carpet fitters are in Monday, then the fitted furniture goes in.  There's a chance I might be up and running by Tuesday.

Monday 9 March 2020

Back op

I've got the pain relief injections in my back today. Boree here waiting in gowns since 12:30. Grr... 

Office update

My new office is potentially getting painted this week, there's carpeting that we need fitted first but I may have it ready at some point next week.

Here are some photos of the finish they've managed to get on my shelves.

Friday 6 March 2020

Blood donation 49

Nearly got the half century.

Upstairs this time in Bishopsgate Hall.  Nice tiling.  The same nutter Venezuelan nutter lady took my blood.  For some reason she's done it the last 3 times.  I would describe her as an extrovert times 10.  Although i'm not a complete opposite of that i'm always on edge whenever I have to deal with her.  Maybe it's a ploy to get me to donate quicker.  I guess if my heart is pumping quicker so too the blood pack will fill.  I'm happy to take my time.  I'm only missing work. 

Thursday 5 March 2020


Just as we've started to see real progress with the house some of the plastering has cracked and blown.  The plasters have comeback this afternoon and have started to scrap the effected bits off.  It's really shit as the painters are in now so everything is going to be set back.  I can't see us getting it all done by the end of the month now.  And that's a pain as that's when we fly to Australia for two weeks.

I remember why I lost interest

I've tired to read the Lord of the Rings 3 times and just couldn't get past the first 10 chapters.  I had no problem reading the Game of Thrones books, all about as thick as LOTR but for some reason I could never persevere.  This time i'm attempting to get through it by listening to the audiobook. 

I've just got to the same stumbling block that has thwarted me previously.  When the fuckers start singing!  They've just met Tom Bombadil.  They don't stop.  I surprised they ever get to Mordor.

Luckily with the audiobook I can just skip forward 30 seconds and pray that they stop.

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Blaster storage idea

Things are moving on with the house renovations.  The plasterers have finally left and the painting has begun in earnest. The top floor has seen three coats of paint on the ceiling and the photos of the first coat in the top front room look great.  My room will follow shortly.

I've been thinking about what posters i'd like framed and what light fittings I need.  I can't have too many firm ideas regarding sizes until things get made (desk, shelves and bookcase), but it got me thinking.  Where will I put the Han Solo blaster?

I was thinking a hook on one of the walls, but then I thought, what about a holster attached to the underside of the desk???  It's not ideal as for it to work perfectly i'd have a huge open office with clients sitting opposite.  I'm in a small box room facing a wall. 

But then who would ever see the blaster anyway, other than the cleaners, I would be the only one that ever goes in there.  I think it would tickle me more to tuck it away in secret.  Watch this space...

Monday 2 March 2020

Painters start work today

The plasterers are due to finish their work today after they slightly overran.  Today the painters started work, they're in for the next 3 weeks.  In addition to this we've got some carpenters round to do some final measurements and a plumber to measure up getting a new radiator fitted.  I asked April how it was going (she's working from home), she replied "Busy".

Ikea face

April dragged me kicking and screaming to Ikea yesterday.

I vow to never go again!

We're moving Florence's bedroom to the top back room (April's old office) to make room for the new arrival in June (ish) and need to get her some new furniture.  April had pretty much decided what to get her anyway but wanted Flo to have a look for herself.

We're going to be ordering all of it online so at least I didn't have to walk around the warehouse section but we did buy a couple of things.  Florence got a new blanket and a new fleece rug.  April got a long shoe horn (she's struggling putting on her shoes at the minute) and I bought a mini cactus.