Updates

It’s been a long time since I posted on here — my last post (before today’s posts) was July 17 when I had to self isolate. A lot has happened since then, so this post will be a bit of an update list


I had to take my dad into hospital for a prostrate operation (this was planned before I had to self-isolate) — he already had a PCR test and was cleared. My LFT was also clear, but I still had to self isolate. This was before the self-isolation changes happened. The operation was successful, but he needed to be held a few more days to see an ENT specialist due to them finding lumps in his throat. The concern was that they might be cancerous, but turns out it was just irritation so they gave him some Gaviscon to take after means and soothe the throat. Both my dad and I are prone to post-meal throat irritation so it might mean I might be subject to the same thing later in life.


I got a ticket after driving my dad to the hospital for taking a left turn when I was not supposed do, due to badly signposted roads. My appeal was rejected on the grounds I had paid the ticket. This is how the council screws you over — if you pay the fine to avoid the 100% charge, they will claim that admits guilt. If you don’t, they delay the response until after the 2-week window so you then have to pay the 100% charge.


I finally decided to upgrade my phone and went for a OnePlus 9 Pro. The phone is classed as a “Phablet” and much bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S5 I have been using for years:

The case on the left is for the OnePlus, the case on the right for my S5

I had problems activating the new SIM and eventually Three had to send me a new one, and soon after I got that new one, I got a message saying Three were going to be doing works on the mast in my area and ever since then I have had horrendously bad speeds at home. By bad, I mean speeds of < 1Mbps and even down to 0.2Mbps. Using 3G band sometimes helps, but only marginally.

I’ve taken my complaint up to the Ombudsman but Three are still refusing to do anything about it — even charging me to leave contract early.

I’ve been with Three many years but I will not be recommending them going forward. I will be checking other providers when my contract expires.


We’ve started to go back to the office. My team is doing three days a week in the office, and you pick which three days as long as there are a max of 8 people in the office (due to some office reorganisation, we only have 8 seats for the entire team).

Surprisingly many people have left jobs during and post lockdown (some might have been nudged due to the lockdown, and not just in my office, but generally.)


I won a Twitter completion by Curve for a swag bag. Just had to tweet them three images of their different adverts — all of which showed up on the same station, so that wasn’t too difficult.


Then we had the annoying as heck “Panic at the Pumps” causing shortages.

Driving past Alperton Sainsbury’s

This video from my dashcam shows the queue of traffic. This is the queue leading into the Alperton Sainsbury’s. I was there at around 5am and it took me 30 minutes to clear the queue even with less people in the queue. This queue will probably take 90 minutes to clear, assuming the fuel was not gone by the time they got to the front of the queue

Driving past Whetstone Esso

This video, also from my dashcam shows the queues that built up outside the petrol stations — this Esso I actually went into at 4:30am that morning and they were not open, even though there were staff in the shop (so maybe they were waiting for delivery?)

You’ll get people tooting impatiently and even people cutting the queue and then blocking the lane for the people behind (they must be luxury car drivers)


My house purchase has progressed and we have moved on and are now ready to exchange. However, one of the two sellers is unable to complete his purchase (he’s part of a chain and needs to complete his purchase before he can complete the sale on the current house).


Finally, I got a letter from Principia Law who are the ones trying to claim money back from the drunk driver who wrecked my previous car.

They want me to release my bank records for the period of time I had the hire car. But everyone I have discussed this with seems confused as to why this is required since the accident is a “no-fault” claim on my part, so they should not even need my bank details.

I asked them to call me today to discuss this. I may also speak to the office legal team for their thoughts.

Stages of Grief

Stages of Grief

I started this post over a year ago, then abandoned it and though perhaps its high time I actually finished it.

You may recall I lost my uncle to cancer in October 2017 and felt I should write down the phases of dealing with the death

Stage 0 — Normality

This is the normal day-to-day life no indication of any problems in the future

Stage 1 — Terminal

This is where you or your loved one is diagnosed with an illness that cannot (normally) be recovered from.

Stage 2 — Death & Disbelief

Immediately after death, this starts. You run through a period of “this can’t be happening”, “this has got to be a dream” and keep wanting to wake up from the nightmare, even though it isn’t one.

Stage 3 — Guilt & Denial

After you’ve gotten past the “this can’t be happening”, you get to “this isn’t happening” — you don’t want to believe this is true and refuse to believe this is true. Also, you start second-guessing yourself thinking “did I do everything I could to save them?” “could I have done something differently?” “could they still be alive had I picked up on that symptom just a day earlier?”

This stage lasts the longest, and to some, the guilt consumes their lives

Stage 4 — Acceptance

The hardest stage to reach is acceptance. You accept the death and move on. Some keep a piece of the loved one with them — a piece of jewellery, a photo, a locket, a favourite song — something that lets them remember them going forward or when they want the feeling of warm, loving memories.

Where am I on this list? Stage 4. I have photos of my uncle in Google Photos I can look back on whenever I want to remember him. I have pictures of him playing with my cousin’s children; I have fond memories of playing poker with him (and me losing :-) ); I have memories of having drinks with him — he was an alchoholic, but really was loose when drinking. I remember that I also didn’t know him as well as I thought I did. His drinking buddy took the pedestal at his funeral and told about how he donated food from his KFC-style shop to people at the pub.

I really did not know my uncle as well as I thought I did.

This one’s for you, Uncle.

Snow

It finally snowed today. And as usual, gritters were not out in time.

The roads turned into slushy, slippery dangerous skidways, but there were no accidents fortunately.

I had to head into Chinatown to pickup my contact lenses from the opticians. While waiting for the bus, two cars got stuck trying to climb the hill (it’s a notorious hill that has caused problems in the past during snowy, icy conditions, even the police got stuck the last time it snowed heavily)

Since the cars were now blocking the road going up, I decided to go and take a different route to Chinatown, and went via the Northern Line instead of the Piccadilly Line like I was originally planning.

The pavements were slushy and there was not even any sign of gritting. The station pavements were gritted, but presumably by the station staff, and not the council.

Even while coming home and trying to climb the hill to my house, my shoes were not gripping well, and had to take small steps to make sure I wouldn’t fall.

Dangerously incompetent, that’s what my local council are.

Heater Repairs

We got the replacement heater installed today, mostly fine, the heat of the water is now very high, since the plumber had to replace the piping near the heater, and had to mount a plank of wood on the wall to provide additional support for the heater as the bracket where the heater will be mounted would be too high.

This heater requires electricity, compared to the previous one which did not. Meaning without power, we won’t have hot water.

The plumber had to add cement around the exit flue of the heater and a few hours later I could see a crack in the cement, probably from it contracting and cracking while drying.

The plumber also had to remove an entire cupboard from the kitchen where the heater is and we’ll have to remount that some other time.

2006

Google Photos reminded me of some photos I took in 2006, reminding of how incompetent Barnet Council are.

The landlord in the flat above us decided to get plumbing done by people who were likely not qualified and ended up compromising the floor between flats, and causing electricity arcs in our ceiling, we had to pop the breakers manually to prevent any short circuits.

Attempts to communicate with the landlord all went to voice mail, attempts to get entry to the flat to stop the water were ignored, attempts to contact the council to get help were refused.

Eventually the water leaked through OUR floor into the floor below, and the OAP who lived there called us. We told her to call the council since they refused to help us, and lo and behold, 30 minutes later, we had the council banging on our door.

Now, due to the council’s refusal to help, instead of one flat being damaged, you now have TWO.

The following day, the police and fire brigade were called to gain entrance, because the landlord STILL did not answer his phone.

After this incident, we had to redo our bathroom, toilet, and front bedroom.

We had to rip out the carpets, wallpaper and replaster the ceilings.

We had to also rewire the ENTIRE flat.

But that’s not the end part of it. Several years later, the damage caused by the landlord, carried over and the ceiling started leaking again. And again, the council didn’t help. The tenant who lived in the flat above (the original landlord had since sold the flat on) was a construction worker, who knew what he was doing — mostly, I guess.

Over the course of two years we were subject to more ceiling leaks, including leads into our cloakroom where we store our coats, until he finally found the leaking pipe — one which was severed during the time of the previous landlord and was still dripping.

He’s also sound the house on now, and to the council, and now Brent Council and Barnet Council have combined and we now have new tenants who are probably worse than the previous two combined — they sleep all day, talk loudly until around 2am in the morning, smoke pot and guess what, Barnet Council won’t do anything about it.

When I escalated to the counsellors of the area, they passed the query on to the council and the council claimed I never contacted them. Well, that’s BS since I have an email chain AND a case reference.

Barnet Council have done nothing but drag their feet for the past 14 years whenever there’s been any complaints. They like to claim they are listening to people with things like “You Said.. We Did” but that’s only for things that are easy to do.

I know the likelihood of Barnet Council reading this post are low, but I need to vent…

Grief

I came across this article on FailBlog, but it was actually something that hit home quite hard. It’s a thread that talks about grief.

In case you didn’t know, I lost my uncle to cancer in 2017 and sat on a blog entry talking about dealing with loss for months, not wanting to publish it (it wasn’t this entry, mind you) — but I knew that writing about it helps deal with it.

The article on FailBlog links to an old thread by Lauren Herschel, an unrolled version is here:

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/946887540732149760.html

It talks about grief as a “Ball in a box with a pain button” and the ball fills the box, hitting the button near-constantly right after the incident or loss.

The ball deflates over time, meaning it doesn’t hit the button as much, but when it does, it hurts just as bad, and damn, this is right on the button.

McDonalds & Tesco

So I went to the local McDonalds to pick up a coffee and light breakfast and they were doing takeaway only, and only providing seating for delivery partners, like Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

My normal local cafe has turned into a KFC-like chicken shop and now opens at 10am instead of the usual 6am. Disappointed, but I can understand why.

At McDs, I placed my order just as the manager was asking a customer to leave. As he was, I noticed he had a bottle in his hand. Originally I thought it was a Maker’s Mark bottle, but actually looked more like a Courvoisier 1L bottle, which retails for around £35-£40.

This guy was nearing the end of the bottle when I arrived. Had he finished an entire 1L, 40% ABV bottle of Cognac at 6am in the morning? No wonder the boss asked him to leave. The boss was then on the phone, not sure who to, though. I waited for my breakfast outside, monitoring the display screen.

I’ve decided to put the McDs app on my phone in case that helps for the next time I’m ordering.

After my breakfast, I went to Tesco for the weekly shop.

I parked up and then noticed nearby (like three spaces away) was another Yaris. It was a black Yaris Hybrid, like mine, with a 68 plate (mine is a 67 plate). I thought “that’s ironic”, and went to do my shopping.

Came back after shopping, loaded up my boot, then sat in the car and tried to get phone paired with my car’s Bluetooth so I can listen to my Spotify music on the journey back.

Just then I felt my car’s back shaking. Looked in the rear view mirror and found someone trying to get into the boot. I’d already central locked the car, which means the boot won’t open. So I opened the window and said “Wrong Car”. The guy realised immediately what had happened, and so did I. He’s the driver of the _other_ black Yaris Hybrid, parked but three spaces away!

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