Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Who would have thought?

 Who would have thought that i'd be foolish enough to work to hard?

After 6 days i've finally found out that my hours are 9-5.  Most companies in the city now work 9:30 to 5:30.  Luckily i've been working 9-5:30 so have not missed any time. 

Oh, just some dog pictures


Friday, 26 February 2021

Such a good dog

 Arwen's been on her long lead when we take her out for a few weeks ago now as all she wants to do is run over to other dogs to say hello and play.  It's quite frustrating as we'd like to let her off but when she has her mind set on it her recall has all but disappeared.

This week I brought out the ball chucker again and she's obsessed about it, it's the only thing she wants to do.  Now she's let off the lead and back in the good books.  Unfortunately she lost her first ball today when she dropped it and it rolled into the river.  Doh.  Not to worry, we have plenty more.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Finally got the laptop

 It arrived at 6:30pm on Tuesday.  With the wrong address.  FFS.

Well, all sorted now except my e-mail address is still wrong.  How's the week gone so far?  Pretty good.  Lots of reading, but i've also been able to help out with some reinsurance tasks pretty much straight away too which is good.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

I have access

 As of around 4pm I was able to log in.  Woohoo.  Still no sign of the work laptop though.

So, first day went well

  •  No work laptop (should be delivered today at lunchtime)
  • Incorrect spelling of user name and e-mail address (Clarke)
  • Managed to get me remote access but none of the needed applications like outlook
  • Still nothing this morning and waiting for my laptop
  • I'm still getting paid

Monday, 22 February 2021

No longer the fastest Clark in Tonbridge


Wait till the end, poor Florence got upset that she didn't win.  Although not on film (straight after) she sat down on the floor and cried for not winning.  

Am I working today?

 It's kind of hard to tell.  Late on Friday I was told that IT will be in touch today to get me set up, what that means I don't know but my contract starts today and I will be billing them.

I'm on a good day rate, a little more than my previous contract but this role is inside IR35 so I will not be able to benefit from putting the invoice through my company.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Contract update 301

 It's 'all' sorted, IT and payroll are going to be in touch today to finalise and organise delivery of a laptop.

Job update 300

 Still waiting for this bloody contract.  After thinking it was just a formality once my checks were complete yesterday they asked for more.  They wanted a photo of the back of my drivers licence (don't know why, i'm not applying to be a driver), and they needed me to fill in a new form that could have been sent to me 3 weeks ago!

It's very frustrating but should be all sorted.  My consultant who found me the job still thinks i'll be working on Monday, but that would mean they have the facility to log in remotely, this wasn't available at my last place and they gave me two laptops to use.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Some good news

 My reference and background checks have finally come through clear which means I should get my actual contract shortly.  Which means i'm likely to start a week later than originally planned next Monday.


Monday, 15 February 2021

Dog update

 I took Arwen to see the specialist vet again on Thursday and there's a small amount of improvement.  They actually blind folded her good eye and made her cross an obstacle course.  She managed it easily so that's good news.  

They've reduced her steroid intake now and i'm due back to see them again in 3 weeks time.

Car update 2

  Well, we have the car back now and it has a new smell, but it's better than the smell of a smoker.  We've also managed to get the hybrid part working and get it slowly charging from a normal plug.

So, we've decided to keep it.  It's a lovely car.  But I guess it should be at that price.

Interesting fact

Here's some interesting facts for you, I've been blogging on and off for 16.8 years.  And have a post for 90% of those 6,136 days.  On average I make 3 spelling or grammatical errors, and in a given month one of my posts is of interest to one of my few followers.

Although virtually pointless, it has come in handy on several occasions as most of the interesting things that have happen to me over of the years have been covered here and it's quite nice to go back and take a look at what I was up to in years gone by.

Doesn't like the big snowballs

 Took Arwen out to the Racecourse the other day and for some reason she didn't like the big snowball that someone had made.  

The day before I had to take April to A&E as she bolted and badly bruised April's hand that got jarred in by the dog lead.  It swelled up and bruised immediately so we took her in but the x-ray was clear and is only bruised.  Phew.  Can't have April shirking.

Job update 2

 It's confirmed i'm not starting today, a new start date has been pencilled in for the 22nd.  Frustrating but it is what it is.

Valentine's Day dinner by The Small Holding

We bought the Valentine's Day dinner by The Small Holding yesterday, not cheap but the quality of their food is very good.  It's the same place as where we bought our pre-prepared Christmas dinner and where I took everyone for my 40th birthday.

It all laid out

Simple instructions

First course

I think he liked it???

Something to wash it down with.

Second course
Move over Gordon Ramsey, this is how you smear squash

The main



You're as cold as Ice

Inch thick in places, thick enough for me to slide on???
Only one way to find out...


Greedy cat

 I cooked a roast chicken yesterday and the cat was pestering us whilst we were eating.  I put her outside so we could eat our lunch in peace.  She found a new vantage point.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Arthur's a wanted man

 Arthur is applying for an Australian passport so we thought we'd have a little fun.

Arwen loves the cuddles


Arwen enjoying the snow

 Arwen enjoyed the snow yesterday.

It's mostly gone today though, shame.

Channeling my inner Gandalf

 The cleaners were one cleaner down today which meant I had to take the dog out for an extra long walk whilst they were cleaning downstairs.  Arwen loved the new walk.  I think it could be a new regular walk if given the time.

It's supposed to be -9 tonight in Tonbridge.  Brrr...  I don't think it's been that cold overnight since we moved here.

Extension update

 We've just found out that our planning application for our extension has been approved.  Woo hoo!

Car update

 So, the car was valeted last week but when they returned it the smoke smell was still there, the driver took it back so we're stuck with the courtesy car whilst they try something else.  They've basically paid £500 to get a special biohazard clean.  I think this is what they use to get rid of the smell of dead bodies.

I should get our car back today, although if it still smells or smells badly of something else we'll need to swap it out for a new car or get our money back.

Job update

 I was due to start my new contract this Monday coming but there's been delays with some of the referencing and criminal record checks so it looks like it's now been postponed.  Pretty frustrating as I can't really do anything with the time off and I don't earn if I have time off.

Arwen update

 So, after the initial review by the vet we took her back in the next day for a check up.  The vet didn't think Arwen had sight in her right eye.  It was still pretty swollen, red and there were no responses to the various tests.  They recommended we go to a specialist and they managed to see her that day.

After the appointment the new vet was pretty worried and basically confirmed what our local vet was saying.  She gave her some steroids and some eye drops and told us to come back in a few days to see if there was improvement. 

Thankfully there was and she was getting a response to some of the tests.  I'm due back again tomorrow to see if there is any further treatment.

You wouldn't notice anything was wrong with Arwen in her behaviour, she's been as energetic as ever.

Stupid dog.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Poor Arwen

We were out on a walk today with Arwen and she was have a lovely time running in and out of all the bushes when suddenly we heard a yelp.

We thought she'd just snagged herself on a bush but when she came running over to us her eye was bleeding!  I wiped it away and her eye was all red.  We quickly called the vet get an emergency appointment and ran all the way there.

They gave her a check up and some anti inflammatory drugs / eye drops.  We need to take her back in tomorrow morning for a check up but thankfully they think she'll be okay.

Poor dog.

New car update

 The car smells of cigarette smoke!

I didn't really notice it when I was looking around the car as I had the doors open but when I drove off I did smell a slight whiff.  When I went out with April in it yesterday the smell was pretty strong so have spoken to the dealership and they are going to sort it out.

Pretty annoyed with them really but no point getting angry.  We can give it back within a month anyway so if after their works there is still a smell we will swap it for a different one.

Old versus new side by side


So I got the new job

They offered an me an few quid a day so I accepted.  It's not outside IR35 so can't put it through my company but is still very good money so can't really complain.  They're just going through all the paper work now.

Start date should be 15th Feb so 2 weeks holiday for me!

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

New car

We paid a deposit on a new (2020) car yesterday.  Our A3 had recently had it's service and about £1000 worth of work was recommended.  We have been thinking about getting a newer car for a while so whilst this was a little sooner than we'd originally planned it makes sense to do it now.

 We did toy with the idea of getting a Golf instead as they're a little cheaper but the seats are awful (plaid, couldn't find any with leather).  We also toyed with the idea of getting something a little bigger but with a bigger car it meant a much bigger price.

The main criteria we had was that it had to by at least hybrid.  Full electric of the size we wanted and brand (me) was just out of our budget.

We liked Audi and the last two cars from them are great so opted for another one. Basically the same car but 7 years newer and with a small electric engine with a range of about 40 miles.  Which would cover us for 95% of our driving.

I pick it up tomorrow.

New job?

Still not heard back from one agency but I was made an offer by my prefered choice yesterday.  Unfortunately this role is inside IR35 (tax regime).  That means I would be basically be paid paye instead of paying corporation tax and dividends which is much less tax efficient.

Also, they they've not upped their rate they're willing to pay me to compensate some of the difference (approx 20%), my recruiter went back to them yesterday afternoon with a small increase counter offer but i've not heard anything since.

We'll see.  

Friday, 22 January 2021

Woo hoo

 I am no longer obese!

Potentially for the first time since leaving uni!  Not entirely sure how I can get down to a BMI of 24.9.  I think i'd need to lose a limb, perhaps more.

Yesterday morning I woke up to this

 We put our paper and cardboard recycling out for collection the next day on Wednesday night.  The storm blew all of the old green party leaflets all over the street.  I had to go and collect them all up for taking the kids to the nursery.  Urgh.  Just what I wanted to do.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

That's it

My latest contract has ended. On the plus side I've have a second interview at my preferred choice tomorrow.

Fingers crossed. 

For flying fuck sake!

 Arthur had another half day settling in day at the nursary this morning so I went to pick him up.  I popped into a local turkish takeaway (posh kebab shop) on the way and put in an order for a chicken shish wrap for pick up 10 minutes later when I was on the way home.

All was going to plan till I got home.  Somehow it had fallen out of the bottom of the pram on my way home.  Argh!!!!  I'm not going back to order a new one so have to make do with this.  That's £5 i'll never get back.

Maybe we'll order takeaway from the local Turkish restaurant (Havat) tonight to make up for it.  Grrr!

Season 3: Klarpp's journey

 With a heavy heart German manager Sturgen Klarpp walked into his chairman's office to hand in his resignation Nordsjælland, he had been headhunted by Bundesliga side Wolfsburg and the opportunity to return to the motherland and test his skills at a higher level was too strong.

Klarpp had to hit the ground running, preseason had already began and he needed to assess the team's strengths and weaknesses quickly and bring in any new additions.

The young first choice goalkeeper at his old club Nordsjælland was top of the list, although not quite ready for 1st team action for Wolfsburg Klarpp saw the potential in Sigurd Hansen and immediatley loaned him back to Nordsjælland.  Klarpp knew the facilities and staff at his old club but suit his development perfectly.

Other notable signings where the re-signing on loan of Taylor Harwood-Bellis from Man City, £10m for Right back Louis Beyer, £11.5m for young  Czech starlet Adam Hlozek, £15.75m for the Man Utd winger Daniel James, £12m for Faitout Maouassa and the biggest signing the experienced Tottenham winger Lucas Moura.

Surplus to requirements at the Volkswagen Arena where right back Kevin Mbabu for £8.5m, Marvin Stefaniak for £5m, Brazilian right back William for a health £16.5m, £10.5m for Brekalo and finally John Brookes a centre back to division rivals Dortmund.  Wage heavy Mesut Özil was also loaned out to free up more cash.

After the poor previous season Klarpp was given the target of a top half finish, given a bit of luck and everyone pulling the weight Klarpp knew he could achieve more.

 Klarpp then set his focus on the training ground, the players needed to work hard to get to grips with the new season and also get to know their new team mates.  Klarpp kept his trusted 4-3-3 formation from his previous club but also introduced two new variants, a more defencive 4-1-2-2-1 using a defensive midfielder in a holding role and also a more attacking version swapping the defensive midfielder with an attacking midfielder further up the field.

Klarpp's first competitive match was a cup game against lowly ASV Cham.  Wolfsburg gave the travelling away fans a treat with a resounding 9-0 victory.  The first half of the season had mixed results but left Wolfsburg in a decent 6th place with half the season left to play.  They also progressed to the next round of the cup.

January is never a great time to sign new players, it can take some players time to get to grips with the new training and playing styles and also fit in with their new team mates, but Klarpp knew if he was to push higher his team would once more need to be strengthened.

In came Bisseck, Gabbia and Palacios for a combined £26m, although Klarpp didn't want to sell talented central defender Pongracic, a release clause in his contract meant Wolfsburg were unable to keep him at the club.  Bayern Munich paid £19.5m

Despite going out of the cup in the quarter final, Wolfsburg's results continued to improve, in the remaining 12 matches Wolfsburg won x, drew 3 times and only lost twice.  With the other larger sides also having to play in Europe this left Klarpp's side able to leapfrog more established sides, Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Hertha Berlin into 2nd place.  

Once again Klarpp was awarded the German manager of the year.  What will happen next season?  Klarpp set his sights on the title!

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Last day of work tomorrow

 It's my last day of my latest contract tomorrow.  And my boss has probably worked me harder this week that the entire last 3 months.  That said i've not been overly busy!

I've had 2 interviews for two new roles this week and they both went well.  Or at least I think they did... Watch this space.  Neither would be starting before February so looks like i'm going to get a little time off.  

Thursday, 14 January 2021

New look?

A bit short

April cut my hair yesterday and it's a bit short...  We got the number wrong on the clippers and it's a little shorter that i'd like.  Oh well, let's hope it grows back.

3 interviews

 My current contract may only have 5 days left but i've now got 3 interviews lined up.  One is this afternoon, another on Monday and the third has yet to be finalised will be next week too.

All are a little different but hopefully i'll get one of them.

I'm not a massive fan of interviews (I had one last week which i've not heard back from yet) but they are a necessary evil to get work.  Being a contractor I will have to get used to it as rather than every 4-5 years they're now every 6 months and more of them.  Urgh.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Florence's latest art work

 Can you tell what they are?  Clue:  Animals you might find in a zoo, number 2 is tricky.

Answers: 1 Lama, 2 Giraffe, 3 Elephant, 4 Lion

Highlight the line black line above to reveal the answers. I think 1 and 4 are quite good and not sure if I could have bettered them.

Sleep over

 Flo and Arthur woke early the other day so Flo and Daddy had a sleep over in Arthur's room to give mum, a few more minutes rest.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

It's official

 My contract is not getting renewed.  I'm not surprised really as there has been barely anything for me to do for at least 6 weeks.  With that said i'll be glad to leave, I have enjoyed parts of it and enjoy getting paid far too much for doing very little but I need a little more challenge.  

On a plus note the market has really picked up recently and I have two interviews this week for new roles.  Watch this space.

Bloody dog

With me working upstairs and April out today with various tasks meant Arwen got a little bored this morning.

She managed to pull down some kitchen roll and distribute it all over the kitchen.  Bloody dog!

Season 2: Klarpp's journey

After a successful first season at FC Nordsjælland what lay ahead in year two?

Two young stars with a view of playing at bigger clubs left for a combined £20m. Abu Francis o Borussia MG and Magnus Kofod Aston Villa.  The club didn't really need the money but didn't want fully committed players near the first team so with a reluctant heard Klopp let them go.

Although not at the same scale as the outgoings the new signings helped bulk out the squad for the long season ahead.  There was the potential for additional games (and revenue) if they passed the qualification stages of the Champions cup so they needed any additional support that was going.

3 new centre backs where brought in all for around the £1m mark, plus the renewed lown of Man City starlet Taylor-Harwood-Belis meant that there was plenty of protection at the back.

The season began with a 3-2 home win against OB, but quickly attentions were drawn to Champions League qualification.  They were drawn against Viktora Plzen of the Czech Republic, a win here would leave them a tie away from the Champions League proper.  A 2-1 loss in the first leg meant it was all to play for back at home and the home fans celebrated a resounding 4-0 win to pit the Danish second place side the dauting task of over turning the vastly superior Ajax.

Ajax were beaten 2-1 but with the away goal that Ajax scored in the last 5 minutes meant all was to play for in the return leg.  With the score at regulation full time equal at 3-3 the game entered extra time.  New signing Opoku was fouled in the box and young German midfielder Zaiser stepped up with the winning penalty.  Final score 4-3 to Nordsjælland.

The champions League draw saw Nordsjælland given the extremely difficult fixtures against Inter, Barcelona and toughest of all Bayern Munich.  It started poorly with a 1-0 loss to inter but was followed by a surprising 1-0 win at home against Barcelona.  That followed 2 heavy defeats by Bayern.

Odds were still against Nordsjælland but everything was to play for.  With Bayern seemily running away with the league a cheeky draw or two might be all that was needed.  Luck was with Nordsjælland who played an injury weakened Inter and came away with a well deserved 2-1 win at home.  Any result against Barcelona in the last game would see them through.  Nobody saw what came next.  Nordsjælland  won 4-1.  Finishing 2nd on 9 pts, 1 ahead of rivals Inter. The win gave Nordsjælland the joy of facing Italian Juventus in the first knock out round.

 And back to the league, with the new signings getting to grips with the style of the league quickly Nordsjælland got off to a blistering start and finished the preliminary phase with 52pts from 32 games, 2nd place was 8pts behind.  Key results were an extraordinary 6-4 win against OB and 5-1 with against Amager and Brondby.

Champions League progress was never likely to progress and the talented youthful side went out in the first round 5-1 against Ju ventus.

With no more Europe to play for Klarpp set his sights on the Danish cup and getting his hands on the coveted league trophy.  Despite a couple of bumps along the way Nordsjælland finished top with 77 pts from 32 games, and a total of only one loss.  GD of 38.  The team also beat Brondby 2-1 in the cup final.

Another successful season for Klarpp meant he managed to win both the German manager of the year the best manager of the year award in Denmark.  

Will Klarpp stay in Denmark to see his young stars flourish or will he set his sights higher and move abroad to a higher league???  Watch this space...

Thursday, 7 January 2021

I cooked a steak the other day

I think it turned out alright.

I'm very pleased with myself.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Back to work

 And it's as quiet as ever.  I have a team meeting at 11 so at least I can let people know i'm still alive.

I've been off since 18th and it feels like an age.