Monthly Archives: September 2014

The end of a hard month

hs_belt

“Look, I’m using the original notches that came with my belt!”

September 2014 has been a trying time of my life — I’ve finally been working in IT (albeit unpaid), but I’ve also faced some serious setbacks, and run the gamut of emotions owing to weight loss combined with my love life coming to a standstill.

(So, basically a normal month other than not getting paid, right?)

On the positive side, I have been trimming my tum, and losing weight perhaps even more firmly than this time last year; this appears to be almost entirely due to dropping dessert (except on special occasions).  Who knew a Greek-style yoghurt could cause so much bother?  It followed me virtually eliminating lunch during August, and while I’m eating a bit more now that I’m not just sitting at home every day, I’m consistently below 12-and-a-half stone at long last.  Whether I’ll be able to maintain this until Christmas remains to be seen, of course…

However, it would seem that eating little during the day — and especially if the little I do eat is nut-based — is screwing with my emotional state.  As though I didn’t have enough trouble before thanks to girls I liked being more interested in chatting to people they already knew than getting to know me, last Tuesday I actually got so miserable at work through brooding that I had to go hide in the gents’ and cry, something I hadn’t done for about a year!  I know, September is the month when winter becomes apparent on the horizon, and the days get appreciably shorter — something I’m only too well aware of when I drag myself out of bed at 6:30am to make breakfast — but this is getting on my nerves now!

My yoga teacher reckons it’s down to my diet — effectively the Atkins diet, with lots of protein and minimal carbs (or at least that was the case last Tuesday) — and that I need to have more sweet things to settle my stomach.  My personal trainer thinks that’s a load of hooey, and that it’s not surprising at all that I would get depressed about my love life if I’m still single at nearly 37 (a situation not unlike the one he faced before he met his wife), and that I’m on the verge of resolving this thanks to his efforts in hunkifying me.  I, however, think the truth is somewhere between the two: diet creates the conditions for my depression, and thinking on my love life sets me off, in a way that doesn’t happen when I’m less malnutritional.

Or, we could view it figuratively, and indeed cathartically: what’s actually happening is that as I shed fat, I’m releasing all the negative emotions I originally buried there through comfort eating in the years up to 2012 (e.g. 15″ pizza followed by a tub of ice cream), and that soon I’ll be rid of it all and thus beyond depression forever… yeah, right.

The main reason I was so miserable in late 2011 and early 2012 was the necessity of having to find a new place to live, and the prospect of not finding anywhere and thus having to move back to Worthing; this is something I may face again before 2014 is out — not just because I’m technically unemployed, but because my former employer is screwing around with the money it owes me.  I only found out on the 2nd that they weren’t paying me my “discretionary” (about £1,400, which would pay for a month’s rent and living expenses) because I hadn’t sent in a document I hadn’t even known I needed to send in, which in turn I needed to get a lawyer to look over with me before I signed it!

Yeah, maybe I should have read the covering letter closely, but they weren’t clear about this aspect.  When you’re being made redundant and aren’t planning to take your former employer to court for making you redundant, you don’t automatically think of retaining a solicitor — and no-one at work who was being dropped at the same time mentioned the legal trade in any context!  But never mind, I knew still had time (thanks to an old friend in HR I’ve gone climbing with), and so I visited a nice* lawyer here in Finchley, who helped me sign the document and sent it, with his invoice, to my former employer.

(* Yes, that is the right term — there is such a thing, rare and precious though he must be!)

Alas, when I chased them up, they said they hadn’t received it… fortunately my lawyer was able to send me a scanned copy, which I forwarded to HR’s e-mail address.  But still nothing for more than a week, before FINALLY they acknowledged receipt, and posted me a badly-photocopied version of the form that someone at their end had apparently signed (not that I could tell).  It’s taken four weeks to get this far, and they still haven’t actually paid me — and barring me getting a really good job, there’s no way I can possibly stay in London even as far as December unless I get this money I’m owed!

Money troubles me like it hasn’t since my student days.  Although my agency will hopefully be paying for my travel to and from work (but they need to see my Oyster card statements in person, scans don’t suffice), and although I’m cutting down the amount of food I’m eating and thus saving pounds while dropping pounds, I still have other incidental expenses that can’t be avoided: like one of the memory modules in my computer dying last weekend.  It’s been sitting in my computer since I put it together in 2011, so unless someone snuck into my room overnight, took it out, scratched one of the gold pins and put it back again, I’d say I’ve used it up — and thus came the necessity of replacing it.

I’ve sent both modules back to Corsair for RMA purposes, hence why I needed new ones; I now have (slightly) better memory in my system, and so I’ll be selling the replacement for credit… which I’ll also be doing with my soon-to-be “old” processor, as I’ve used my existing credit at CEX to buy a “new” processor.  It was vital, the coupons were fading… is that believeable?  Well, it had better be, I could hardly afford to lose £70 due to bad printing quality, and it’s nearly my birthday, so come on!

Still on the subject of IT, the good news is that I’m finally finding my feet at my internship, even if the place where I’m working appears to be held together with string and glue (and somehow I can’t help but wonder whether it’s safe for me to access online banking there), and even if they expect a lot from me despite the fact that I’m spending three hours every day travelling to and fro, and not getting paid.  Still, they encourage me to apply for jobs, and they let me leave early or arrive late if I need to without expecting me to make up my hours, so it’s not all bad.

(That’s something I can’t abide: if you’re horribly late to work through absolutely no fault of your own, beyond having the temerity to not own a car and thus rely on public transport, why should you be penalised by having to make up the lost time?  And why are TfL so derisory as to only pay you back the cost of the journey, without any actual compensation?)

Speaking of going in late, I’ll be doing that the next couple of days — I’m registering with a local dentist tomorrow morning (well, probably “this morning” by the time you read this), and then going to a job interview on Thursday morning.  At least I won’t have to leave early on Friday, as my personal trainer’s on holiday… but all this isn’t happening until October, so pay it no heed while September lasts!  Oh, too late, it’s October now…

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Recovering from setbacks

Comic Book Guy

15/9/2014: Worst Tube journey ever.

You’re very lucky I’m writing this tonight… wait, is that right?  Yes, you’re lucky to be reading my blog, indeed privileged — but the reason you might not have been is that my PC, which has existed in more or less its current form since May 2011, today suffered a small hardware failure resulting in the loss of one of my two 4GB sticks of memory.  I was getting weird problems last night (such as Thief crashing to desktop), but thought it was down to the latest nVidia graphics drivers not being up to snuff; however, this morning, when I got a weird error instead of startup, and then repeated “blue screens of death”, I knew something was up…

Fortunately I kept my head and diagnosed the problem, and confirmed that the other stick of memory works fine (for now).  I’m thus down to 4 gigabytes, which isn’t ideal but I can survive for the time being.  Suffice to say, the broken module clearly has a scratch on one of the gold pins, which explains the problem; I don’t know what caused it, though it may explain the strange hissing noise I heard this morning.  Perhaps some ne’er-do-well snuck into my room while I was sleeping, took a memory module out of my computer, carefully scratched one of its gold terminals, and put it back again, all without waking me?

I coped with this little disaster rather better than I coped last Monday with the utter debacle of public transport in London.  I use the Northern and Central Lines to get to my internship in Greenford, and both lines were in utter chaos (as was the Victoria Line, which the other intern had to use).  I ended up having to get a bus for the last part of the journey (and then walk twice as far as I would from the Tube station), and so my 90-minute commute took THREE HOURS!

And, sadly, no-one was ecstatic to see me or thankful that I’d braved such horror and stupidity in order to get to an unpaid job.  I was also still down following last weekend’s events, and then my journey home was almost as bad as getting to work (the Northern Line hadn’t improved), and our Internet connection was down when I finally got home, and when this was restored I couldn’t remember which e-mail address and postcode I’d used to register my Oyster card (part of the hoops you have to jump through for a refund these days)…

(Yes, this was far worse than Christmas Eve — at least I had Christmas with my folks to look forward to afterwards, not a day failing to be paid followed by a similar journey within 24 hours!)

This all made me decide that I’d leave London if I ever had such a dreadful day again.  I know, I went through something similar last year, but at least I didn’t get as low as on a previous occasion, or even another previous occasion, and somehow found the strength to carry on living in London.  I get over it every time, but it keeps happening, doesn’t it?

It’s getting frustrating, having to look into the abyss at least once every year, because no amount of advice along the lines of “this too shall pass” can stop me brooding when I get going.  As someone running a spiritual meetup group told me, if you think about something for 17 seconds, it becomes harder to stop thinking about it, and this repeats every 17 seconds, like a self-reinforcing spiral into blackness… I’ve got to stop doing this, somehow — perhaps this should be my achievement for 2014: never, ever giving in to depression again!

Fortunately, when I’m not trapped on public transport, the job itself is going fine — I may not spend literally all day solving people’s computer problems, but the gaps give me time to study and apply for “proper” jobs (both of which are entirely in line with my employer’s blessing), and at least the big, jolly Canadian guy seems to like and encourage me.  Unfortunately the area has no decent shops, unless you want “junk food”, and so it seems I’m going to have to go back to the days when I made my own lunch — something I started doing in 2012 when I was recovering from depression for the first time, and living in a new house.

Hopefully soon I’ll get a new job, and begin my career in IT; assuming it’s at least £20k, I intend to buy some new computer components, thereby enabling me to divest myself of the CPU, motherboard and memory (what’s left of it!) that I acquired in 2011.  Why, I still remember turning on this contraption’s predecessor before work that morning (24th May) and discovering that the main hard drive had failed, and deciding that since I was already planning to upgrade, instead of buying just a new hard drive, I’d get new components as well (which meant I had to take a half-day), so I wouldn’t need to install Windows twice in quick succession.  Although I’ve changed casing, graphics card, keyboard, mouse, monitor and sound system, these bits have remained constant, and have followed me from Caledonian Road to Finchley.

So you see, it’s not just depression I picked up in 2011 and want to rid myself of once and for all…

Moving forwards, looking backwards, or: Do I still need to change?

Alan Partridge: I loved your article in the Guardian, by the way.
Tony Hayers: Really?
AP: I loved that phrase you used, it was very clever: “Revolution, not evolution”.
TH: No, it was the opposite: “Evolution, not revolution”.
AP: Well, whatever.  Because that is me: I evolve, but I don’t… revolve.  Or vice-versa.
I’m Alan Partridge (S1E01, “A Room With an Alan”)

beavbuttpcRight, first of all, I should acknowledge that I’ve had a partial title and the opening quote for this article ready for over a month now; I was going to focus on just the “self-analysis” aspect, but events today have inspired a greater reach.  Don’t worry, I’ll find a way to mention Gwar as well.

Anyway, you’ll want to know about my work placement: suffice to say, it’s going all right, although it’s a gruelling 90-minute journey from home, and my shift lasts 8:30am to 5pm, which means I’m up at 6am and not home until after 6pm.  It’s necessary for me to go through this madness, however, because I’m learning how to work as an IT tech support kinda guy — gaining confidence on the phone and dealing face-to-face with students who have computer problems, and writing tickets so I can record what happened and what I’ve done.  I think I’m doing well: I had an irate woman asking me if I could get someone who knows what they’re doing, but I remained calm (oddly, this didn’t even require conscious effort on my part) and fixed her problem, and she was very nice in the end!

However, while the people there are nice (including a big, jolly Canadian who has an even longer commute than me, despite living 15 miles from campus — the M25 really does suck!), I know full well I don’t want to be there forever, as even if I were permanent, I’d have to move closer and thus be farther from the action in London.  And I’m not ready to move out of the house where I live now, because I have a decent landlady (and, until we lost him, her husband was a good landlord as well), which is like gold dust in the rental world, and I feel comfortable living here (my drummer housemate seems to trust me more, for one thing — probably because I kicked Virgin Media’s butts until they fixed our connection).  Unfortunately, a house move (the prospect which almost destroyed me in 2011-12) may not be avoidable…

Aside from work, I’m getting better at climbing (did a 6a today) and have two good friends I can go with (“best mate” and a Sri Lankan female friend I met recently, and sometimes a Harry Potter-esque guy from the Midlands comes to the Session); my personal trainer also continues to be amazed at my progress, and how quickly I went to bench-pressing 55kg from barely being able to lift 50kg.  However, it seems the reason I can’t shift that final bit of flab around my midsection is that I’m still indulging in an archaic practice called “having dessert” after dinner: even a healthy Greek-style yoghurt, it seems, isn’t good for me!  So no matter how far I’ve come — to the point that I’ve changed my breakfast and lunch beyond recognition — I still have to make sacrifices of things I enjoy.  It’s not enough that I’ve not had pizza in ages, or that I spent most of August feeling hungry because I would only allow myself to eat almonds and maybe a banana during the day: I have to reduce my evening intake as well, to purely savoury foods.

(Okay, admittedly I ate too much last week, thanks to my agency having mistakenly led me to believe I’d be paid £5 a day for my lunches during the placement — and the onion rings and milkshake I had for dinner on Tuesday probably didn’t help!)

So I’m changing my career, and I’m adapting my health — two good improvements I can make, as could anyone if they put their mind to it.  Unfortunately, the thing that matters most to me is the part of my life where I seem to have made no progress at all.  Indeed, today I feel like nothing’s changed since 2010, when I was also training for IT, and felt worthless at singles events — but I’ve changed so much, so how can this be?

Here’s what happened: after climbing with “best mate” (yes, otherwise I’d have spent the day playing StarCraft, fair enough), I ran off in order to attend a “singles yoga” event in Islington; since the Northern Line’s all but closed (hopefully for the last ever time… yeah, right), I used the Piccadilly Line to go down to Caledonian Road.  Already you’re sensing something’s wrong, I’m sure… I did indeed walk down to my old homestead (noting no changes other than the front door now being red instead of blue), in the hope of finally burying that whole part of my life — the first couple of years there were all right (especially 2008, when I started taking Japanese classes), but after that, I experienced what can only be described as a slide into darkness.

(It may interest you to know that the music I heard when I was walking was… er, the Bee Gees.  Ah, but as I was walking away on the next leg of my journey, on came the classic Gwar song, “The Years Without Light” — singularly appropriate to my time in Cally Road, don’t you think?  If nothing else, perhaps it refers to the upstairs bathroom with no windows…)

The event itself, halfway to Upper Street?  Well, it wasn’t an actual yoga session (apart from some meditation and saying “ooommmm…” — were we singing along to young Dave Lister’s anti-crypto-fascist song?), but rather an introduction to a dating site based around yoga.  Fair enough, but I’d come in a T-shirt due to thinking we were gonna be doing downward-facing dogs and such!  At least there were plenty of cute girls there (outnumbering the guys), but alas… I did manage to talk to a couple, but I felt like they weren’t interested, and that I was surplus to requirements.  This is precisely how I felt in 2010 when I went to singles events, and ended up wandering around nervously; in fact, back then there was a crazy Kiwi girl who told “good housemate” (who was there as well) that I was a “creepy guy” who was “following her around”.  On this occasion, I spoke to a red-haired Aussie and her cute American friend, but felt like they were only paying lip service to me, rather than being genuinely interested.

fg_d&g

As per Dharma & Greg, it’s always the man who needs to change — women are just fine as they are!

So it’s apparent I still need to change and get more confident.  The question I ask is: WHY?  Why am I always the one who has to change?  I still hate and resent the lie of feminism — women want all the rights of men but none of the responsibilities; even women who are confident and come onto me seem to change totally when I try to respond in kind, and although my dating coach is trying to encourage women to ask men out (which, as you know, has happened to me many times), she still thinks men should be dominant.  Female friends of mine have similarly said they want the man to be the one who decides, and basically be in control.

It’s the old love-shyness thing again: women, gay men and lesbians who are shy can always count on someone from their sexual preference to ask them out, but straight guys are expected to be the confident one 100% of the time, and if we aren’t, we’re worthless to society.  Why can’t I find a woman who will meet me halfway, why do I have to be the one to travel 99% of the distance?  And all the dates I’ve had over the past year feel like nothing, simply because none of them have led anywhere: I’m still single, and still feel like I’ll never find someone special.

Most of all, I’m sick of feeling like I don’t deserve to find love, that I’m still somehow “wrong” and need to change stuff about myself — like putting away childish things, or having more interesting things to talk about; at the same time, I’m sick of socialising all the time, especially if I’m effectively working for 12 hours a day (including commute — no, I don’t care that other people cope with that, they’re not me!), and I really wish I could stay at home in the evenings again, instead of making all these futile attempts to meet someone.  After all, which is better: to devote so much time and effort to no avail, or to not try at all and spend my time doing things I actually enjoy instead?  Hell, I wish I’d climbed for longer with “best mate” this afternoon, instead of going to a part of town I’ve long found to be, well, sinister (because I almost died there, spiritually if not biologically).

Anyway, don’t worry, I’m not giving up going to social events or being a member of dating sites: this has just been me venting, and I’m sure you’re used to that by now (if you’re still reading).  I’m sure I’ll get more confident, and that I was just having a “bad day” (the weather getting colder, too much protein, bad luck in terms of female company etc.).  My life is, in every measurable way aside from (perhaps) distance from central London, better than it was when I lived at Caledonian Road — I really have changed things, including my health and my social interactions, and soon my career.

I’ll still join this dating site, and I’ll still go to my usual yoga class on Tuesday, for the first time in several weeks (hopefully not getting onion rings and a milkshake for dinner!), but for now, I just want to get over my lousy afternoon by relaxing and not worrying.

Oh, wait, I still have to make dinner… and clean the lounge.  Argh!  Why, why, why…?

———

What’s that?  You want to hear the Gwar song I mentioned in my aside?  You are never satisfied, are you?!  Very well, I’ll make a bohab of you yet…

Be careful what you wish for

beavis_crappucino

This will be me every morning for the next week or two, and possibly beyond

I’ve received a mixed blessing: at long last I have a temporary work placement in the IT industry, so at long last I’ll be doing an actual IT job and getting some actual experience beyond turning on laptops in my old job, and building my own PC.  Moreover, it’s at a London higher educational establishment… college girls, giggity.

However, there are drawbacks: firstly, it’s unpaid, though admittedly they’ll pay for my lunch and transport costs.  They’ll really need to do the latter, as secondly, for at least the first week I’ll be commuting to Greenford; this will take me around 90 minutes and will involve travelling into central London and back out again — and if they really want me to come in at 8am, I’d have to get on the Northern Line when it starts up at 6:30am, a time I normally only know through insomnia!

And worst of all… the closest station is on the Central Line, the Underground line that has long since replaced the Northern Line as London’s official “Misery Line” (if I haven’t used the word “line” too many times in that sentence).  I’ve only had to travel on it a couple of times over the past few years, but it was undiluted HELL every time, crowded like a cattle train and excruciatingly slow.  Oh, and when I say “closest station”, I mean 20 minutes’ walk away!

But then again, pleas in mitigation: I only have to go in for 10am on my first day (tomorrow), and if I’m heading out of central London on the Central Line in the morning and into central London in the evening, I’m going in the opposite direction to the people who crowd on there way beyond capacity.  Plus, if I have a seat, I should be able to watch some anime at long last, since I’ve been neglecting my Japanese over the past year or so.

(Yes, I’m one of those people who watch anime in Japanese with subtitles — but thanks to my being OCD-ish, I end up grumbling about minor inaccuracies or dumbings-down, like translating “Smith-san” as “John”, or “oniichan” as “person’s name”.  I guess the only way to avoid translator bias is to be one’s own translator… so I need a Japanese girlfriend for more than one reason!)

Still, being so far out from London proper (I don’t care what anyone says, Greenford isn’t in London because it has an Uxbridge postcode!) may make it harder to get to evening events after work — there’s no way I can get home, make dinner, consume dinner and come back out again for any evening events, unlike when I was half-an-hour away on the Northern Line.  Admittedly I’ll have no trouble going to Japanese on Tuesday, as that starts at 7pm, but what do I do about dinner beforehand?  Eating out is expensive, not to mention fattening (the onion rings and milkshakes of Ed’s Diner at Euston station are calling me again), and I really don’t want to have to subsist on Subway sandwiches.

But hey, it’s only for the first week, or possibly two, and the rest of my time with the organisation should — should — be based at their Greenwich campus instead.  Not a much shorter journey, but at least I would get to use the DLR (or the Docklands Light Rollercoaster as I’ve come to call it)!

So here’s to my last night of freedom… I’m actually (believe it or not) glad the Northern Line will be shut next weekend, because it’ll give me the excuse not to go anywhere or do anything!

Not an august August

“Time enough at last…” (to play video games and watch Frasier every morning)

Sorry for not writing something sooner, but I’m still waiting around for my IT agency to find me something (or even to acknowledge that they’re supposed to be finding me something).  It’s annoying, since they told me I had to be unemployed so I could take on this unpaid short-term placement they say I “need” to have under my belt, so I couldn’t have a month’s notice or anything and had to see my old job through to the bitter end just to get my redundancy money.

(And, in a separate matter, my old employer is taking its sweet time paying the discretionary bonus on top of this — it’s been 35 days since my last day, what’s the deal?!  They’d better pay me, or I’ll, I’ll, I’ll NAME them here!!)

As a result, I’ve just spent the whole of August unemployed, playing games and watching Frasier and The Big Bang Theory every weekday morning.  Even during the drought of 2005 I had a few bits of work, such as audio typing at St. Anne’s hospital (for the kind of pedantic doctors who consider commas in dates, or the absence thereof, to be worth sending an appointment letter back for “amendments”).  In fact, I think 2002 was the last year that I didn’t work for the whole of August, but I was at least living at home with my folks, and thought I’d be going to university in September (in the event I deferred entry for another year due to lack of housing, and the rest is history, e.g. me ultimately sharing a flat with “female best friend”).  Even though I’ve never used my MSc, it enabled me to come to London and begin a new life, so I don’t regret anything… well, except inasmuch as I regret everything since 1998, when I wish I’d made things work with the one woman in my past.

Which brings me to the subject of my ten aims for 2014.  It’s time for a status report — but I don’t seem to be doing very well…

  1. I’m still no closer to getting a girlfriend — of either the long-term or harem variety — and although I still occasionally get dates, it seems I need more advice from my dating coach, so that instead of waiting to be asked out (admittedly I came third at the website in the men’s category for this!), I can take the initiative and start something myself.  Trouble is, she’s expensive…
  2. As above, I’m still waiting for my IT career to begin — though again, I’ve decided to start applying directly (and my agency would still support me through the difficult early stages, as that’s part of their service).
  3. Short of pulping (or worse, donating to a charity shop where they’ll just sit on the shelf for all eternity), I have no way of disposing of all my paperbacks, though I only buy new novels in e-book format nowadays.  Thus, my old novels sit in a stack of cardboard boxes.  In more general terms, however, I’ve been decluttering as much as possible, including selling old games that aren’t registered online (and which I can rebuy in electronic form during the next big Steam sale), and I’m wondering whether I should destroy the boxes of my existing games and just keep the discs, in order to save space.
  4. Although my personal trainer believes I’m (literally) going from strength to strength, I still have this unshiftable spare tyre — and this in spite of my current diet, which involves muesli/yoghurt/fruit for breakfast, a few nuts and a piece of fruit during the day, and then a “proper dinner” in the evening.  Fortunately, linseed oil capsules are giving me some Omega-3, and thus my weight finally seems to be decreasing slowly.
  5. In climbing I’m just about improving: I can climb a 6a now, huzzah!  Maybe we could consider this one to be 80% complete.
  6. I’ve got two more Gwar albums to get, and I’m asking my mother to buy them for my birthday.  However, Beyond Hell remains my favourite of the ones I’ve listened to for the first time this year, perhaps because it’s a continuous story (more or less).  Again, this one’s almost complete — but since it requires simply buying stuff, it’s hardly an achievement!
  7. I still have my guitar, and I know how to tune it, and how to do a D-chord and an A-chord, and sort of switch between them, but I really need lessons if I’m ever going to jam with Gwar!
  8. There’s no way I’ll have time to study for driving lessons before the end of this year, and no way I’ll be able to afford a car anyway, so this one’s null and void!
  9. I don’t even know where to begin searching for my father, and I’ve not discussed the matter with my mother, so I wonder how I should begin.  Maybe I should save this for when I’ve learned to drive, so I don’t need “best mate” to drive me to wherever…
  10. I’m not so eager to move out of this place nowadays: my drummer housemate is a better bloke, and really the only reason to go somewhere else would be to save money and be closer to work — and since I don’t know where “work” is yet, it’s on hold.  However, if I haven’t got a new job by Christmas, I’ll be going back to Worthing, barring a miracle (and indeed, getting an IT job that I could live on without having to move to a slum would itself be a miracle).  My landlady’s also very nice (she’s willing to sort out blocking the chimney in my room so I don’t get so cold in winter), and we’ve finally replaced Schrödinger’s Fridge (we didn’t even need to pay for it to be taken away, thanks to leaving it outside for locals to nick), so for now at least, I don’t want to have to leave a place that’s been good to me.

Still, I’m sure we can write August off as a “holiday”, and consider September to be the month where things finally begin moving.  After all, people will have been away last month, but be back and ready to recruit now that autumn’s beginning.  It was, after all, in September 2005 that I got a two-week job at a certain London borough council, which ended up being permanent…