Archive for December, 2008

I owe, I owe, so off to work I go

Merry bah humbug to one and all. Well, on the bright side it’s fifty one and a half weeks to xmas. Another one out of the way.

Damn this six day working lark. OK, so I’ve not done as much as some, what with the driving test and time off sick, but it’s buggered my days off over this (not so) festive period. I should have been on my long weekend now, so it would have fallen: Thursday off for xmas Friday, Saturday, Sunday days off, then off Thursday for New Year’s day. As it is I had Thursday and Friday off, worked Saturday, off today, working Thursday and all the way through until next Tuesday or Wednesday. Big bum.

As it happens I do need the overtime, well the money, to make up for being off sick and the general impoverishment of the season. But at this time of year you can’t help but think ‘ I shouldn’t be in here grafting, I should be at home watching Wallace and Gromit, and The Great Escape’.

I’m getting cheesed off in that department already. I have to keep reminding myself I’m not in the freezer therefore I should be smiling. I have a definite feeling that I my face doesn’t fit in de-kit though. Not with the boss, so far he has been fine and dandy with me, but his lads (who think they are bosses because their dad is) are still thinking like the school bullies they so obviously recently were. If you are not a teenager who kisses their arse they don’t like you. One particularly.The other seems to try to make an effort. But they don’t get me at all, and I think they find the fact of my practising martial arts a challenge to their ego’s. Big shrug.

Anyway, it doesn’t make for a good working atmosphere. I really am thinking of looking for a driving job as soon as I get my class two license. I was going to go straight in to training for my artic license, keeping a relatively well paid and secure job, but it would not be a bad thing to get some driving experience in a rigid. We’ll see how the American biscuit crumbles. on the one hand, staying where I am I have the luxury of being able to take holidays when I need them (for further training and test -s-) and it is a safe, paying job. On the other hand, nothing would prepare me for a driving job like a driving job! And it has the potential to be better paid. See how it goes. Safer where I am, but if it’s going to become stressful…, well, time will tell. Got to pass the bloody test to have an option!

Still, I seem to be over that nasty cold, as is Wendy, we’ve got xmas out of the way and we’ve done all the socialising (not that we are anti-social. Hell, who am I trying to kid? Of course we are. But beyond that, it can be a strain when everyone around you is drinking and you’re not, and as tonight, someone you don’t really know is holding forth in the mistaken belief that they have anything to contribute to your entertainment this side of a grisly death.)

I really do need to start going to the Buddhist temple in Manchester. I find it really hard to be a nice person in the face of such provocation. That’s for my next blog: a summary of the year past, New Year resolutions, and hopes and plans for the year ahead.



What doesn’t kill you…(delays the inevitable.)

I think I’m going to live. Not forever you understand, just through this cold. I am thinking of risking going back to work tomorrow even though they have said if I go in, am too ill to work and come home again, that will be counted as two absences. Three absences in six months qualifies you for an investigatory hearing.

I really can’t see who that particular rule serves. I dare not go back until I am absolutely sure I am peachy (and this cold seems to be getting better only to return with a vengeance) which means they are going to lose at least one shift when I could have soldiered on through the fag end of the bug.

Whatever. I’ll try to go back tomorrow, even if I can’t work very fast and am a bit weakened it’s only for two days, then off for two.

Wendy’s got it also (with the cough component, from which I seem to have been spared, so far!)

I am also suffering from a creaking tendon/ buggered leg. It’s over my right shin. When I move my foot up it creaks, like tendonitis. It is going better now as I looked the symptoms up on t’interweb and the it was something I can’t remember. However the cure was; rest, ibuprofen and ice packs. Work seems to exacerbate it, but hopefully I’ve been off long enough for the healing to have taken effect.

I think I caused it by actually tearing my muscle/ tendon a bit in my stretching exercises! Go me! OK, I’ve not been able to stretch (and barely been able to walk) since, so will actually be a step backwards by the time I’ve healed, but there’s no knocking the commitment. The amount of pain stretching puts you in, it takes a fair degree of determination to actually physically damage yourself. Determination without common sense. A recipe for greatness. I think I’ll make it my motto, something like ‘no brain, no gain’.

Anyway time to limp to my snuffly bed



If you’ve not got your health…

Bummer. I’m coming down with the lurgy. I’ve been dodging that particular bullet for weeks now as all around me people have been dropping like flies. No longer I fear.

Sah bum nim was ghastly with it the weekend before last, didn’t catch it, the lads at work have been getting ill and I remained impervious, the boss succumbed and has been off for several days, but I thought I might just hang in there until after xmas, but no. I’m ill and getting iller.

Bum, bum bum!

Yesterday I came home from 6-2 and had an hour in the afternoon, got up had my tea, then felt too bad to go to, TKD (even though it was the last lesson until about the 6th of January) moped for a bit, then ended up going back to bed for 9pm. Normally I have to force myself into bed before 12. It wasn’t that I was tired, I just wanted the day to be over.

I made it through work today by dosing myself up with paracetamol (although I was late for work, even after all that sleep, as I’d forgotten to change the alarm back to my time of 5am, and it was still on Wendy’s time of 7! Bum, again.) but it was hard going, by the end I was weak and sweaty, and just wanted it over.

Then I had to attend a family gathering tonight, as my uncle had come up from ‘darn sarf’ for a flying visit to exchange xmas prezzies, and have a quick get-together.

It was in a pub (Wendy and I don’t drink) with predominantly omnivorous fare (I’m a veggie) and everything was to the standard of oven chips. I bravely and resignedly plumpled for a veggie lasagne. Dear god, how do these people sleep at night? It was a best edible, at a push tolerable.

Obviously whilst there I smiled and said it was not bad, but here in the privacy of my own rantings let me own it was bad. Deeply bad. It didn’t even pretend to be making the effort to be adequate. It was fare aimed at people who had drunk so much they would have rolled up the beer mats and complimented the chef on the tortilla’s. To add insult to injury, they charge about the same as a pub we found in the lake district where every mouthful was a celebration of the culinary art, where epicures could be seen swooning in their rapture, and oven chip salesmen were regularly burnt at the stake.

Still we got through it, nobles oblige -ed, and now I just have to worry about the fact that I have until xmas day before I have a day off. If it doesn’t get any worse this is controllably unpleasant. Alas I fear this is just the prelude.

Right, enough whinging, time for bed.



Kung Fu fighting

Just a quickie, details to follow. I had to go up town today to get a xmas tree, in the market I saw two flyers, one for Liu Gar Kung Fu, the other for Wing Chun. I rang about the Liu Gar, but it’s not as I thought Lau Gar (Gar just being Chinese for "Family") style Kung Fu, but a distinct style. And mainly full of kids.

The Wing Chun, on the other hand, is adult only, and the one I was going to start next year anyhow. It is, famously, the style taught to Bruce Lee, and is pretty damn awesome, just not as flashy as the older styles such as Lau Gar.

Anyway it is the same guy who is teaching both styles, and he has a class tonight. I’m off to try it in about one minute.


More anon.


… Later. (Meanwhile, back at the Buckcave…)

Well that was a huge anti-climax. It is all about the punching, blocking and generally hand work. It is a weight-on-back-leg, not flashy, workaday fight- winning martial art. A complete opposite to the weight-on-front-leg, head kicking, competition orientated, so flash and cool (yet real world, fight-losing) style of Taekwondo. 

Worse, it’s a class and Sifu (Chinese for instructor. You get to be a polygot in phrases such as instructor/master, training hall, and bitch-slap with martial arts!) where and by whom I have previously trained and been trained. (That last sentence doesn’t really work, but once I’d started it I was determined to finish!)

He didn’t recognise me.

I only left because of the getting drunk and lack of discipline issues, both of which I have in hand now. It looks to be a fair boring discipline (one of the chaps was saying Bruce Lee was bigging it up for the cameras in his films, the real art is small movements, carried out at lightning fast speed, just designed to win a fight, not to showboat at all. Bum.) but if I combine it with the TKD, the world is my lobster. Control the fight with Wing Chun, look cool with the Taekwondo.

So not exciting, but to be confident in a street fight situation, necessary.


Bedtime for Bucky.



Here’s something to illustrate (wrongly) what I alluded to in my last entry, i.e. the glumness of being, the malaise of the mind, (the pretentiousness of) the ennui of existence.

My November Guest

MY Sorrow, when she’s here with me,

  Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

Are beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

  She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.

  She talks and I am fain to list:

She’s glad the birds are gone away,

She’s glad her simple worsted gray

  Is silver now with clinging mist.

The desolate, deserted trees,

  The faded earth, the heavy sky,

The beauties she so truly sees,

She thinks I have no eye for these,

  And vexes me for reason why.

Not yesterday I learned to know

  The love of bare November days

Before the coming of the snow,

But it were vain to tell her so,

  And they are better for her praise.

– Robert Frost

This I took to be a reference to depression, and the way it colours your whole perception. Or rather drains of colour. Until all that’s left is  grey, unremitting, interminable and devoid of even the hope of cessation.

Turns out it’s nothing of the sort. It’s a tale of the poet going for a walk with his wife (his sorrow? Never heard of divorce?) and her taking pleasure in the season, and berating him for failing to appreciate it, whereas he was enjoying it just as much, but letting her extol it’s virtues to share the frission.

Also, while we wax lyrical here is my favourite, and only memorised poem

A Last Word

by Ernest Dowson

Let us go hence: the night is now at hand;

The day is overworn, the birds all flown;

And we have reaped the crops the gods have sown;

Despair and death; deep darkness o’er the land,

Broods like an owl; we cannot understand

Laughter or tears, for we have only known

Surpassing vanity: vain things alone

Have driven our perverse and aimless band.

Let us go hence, somewhither strange and cold,

To Hollow Lands where just men and unjust

Find end of labour, where’s rest for the old,

Freedom to all from love and fear and lust.

Twine our torn hands! O pray the earth enfold

Our life-sick hearts and turn them into dust.

Not bad for 1899.

Keep smiling!


Work means freedom

Hi again, this really is to be a quick one (Heroes is on in 25 minutes!). Had to commit this to pseudo paper though.

Of late I’ve been struggling with the Taekwondo. If I’m on 2-10 shift I can’t go because I’m working, and 6-2 I’m so tired I just can’t drag myself to go. Then there was missing the grading due to my HGV lesson , and I didn’t go to one lesson I could have made last week as it was the final one before grading and we’d have just been going through the stuff we needed for it. Which I do every time I exercise (most days on 2-10).

So all in all I was losing it. I had to force myself to go tonight or I felt I might just quit. And then there was tonight’s lesson. I am buzzing off it. Sure I’m tired now, and will be worse tomorrow (I am too wired to go straight to bed now even if I didn’t want to watch Heroes), but for the first time in what seems like ages I am invigorated, chipper to the point of cheerful and focused again. I want to learn, to strive, to master the damn painful discipline.

I have been down. Low of mood and spirit.

If the simple expedient of sweating blood and stretching till you cry keeps me charged and breaks the cycle of work/ sleep/ work, I’ll have to force myself to go to lessons. Another point in the class’s detriment on 6-2 is this, you come in at 9.15 or so, have a shower, want to talk about it for ages, and are buzzing for ages afterwards. Not conducive to a good nights sleep.

Well, Wendy’s going to bed and watching Heroes later, so I’ll try and get some extra kip.

By the by, went out to the mighty Micra this morning at 5.30 and because of the rain yesterday, and it freezing overnight, it was like a little Micra-shaped ice-cube. An igloo, indeed. I hit the central locking button, the doors unlocked but were frozen into position!

I ended up forcing the key into the hatchback lock, heaving that open, then clambering in the back and knocking the door open from the inside! I was late. Overnight we are forecast tons of snow, the roads are already iced over, so it’s going to be fun.



My struggle (mein kampf, as some would say.)

Well, guess what? I failed. Again. 🙁

I had to get up at ungodly o’clock on my days holiday to get to the training place for 7am, and could not get to sleep last night through thinking about my test and worrying.

I made a few mistakes on the way to the test centre, nothing major, but not what you want to be doing on the way to a test. When we pulled up at the centre an instructor from a different school shouted to my instructor to tell him some hot news, the content of which I missed by going to the loo. Then when another instructor from my place pulled in my instructor was straight up to him to tell him the gossip. Apparently someone called M*** B****** was there at the test centre. I wasn’t really paying attention as they discussed it amongst themselves, saying he was a menace, that they had no regard for him, that he was here now because they had got rid of him somewhere else, etc.

Then some chap walked in and shouted my name, shook my hand and said he’d be examining me, pleased to meet me, his name was M*** B*****!

Oh the delicious irony. How I laughed.

So I set off thinking I was going to fail no matter what. I did my first exercise, a very simple manoeuvre, just a reverse into a coned area with the arse end snug at the simulated dock. To do this they have fitted a bulldog clip to one of the mudguards, you just line that up with a pre-selected spot on the pre-dock area and you know you are spot-on. I can do this every time. I was out in one truck on Saturday, a different one today, and the bulldog clip is in a different place!

Lined it up spot-on, inches short. Failed (though I didn’t know it) on the first exercise, before I’d even got on the road for my test!  If that had of been all I’d have failed on I would have been having very serious words with my trainers. A frank exchange of views, and possibly feet.

However, I managed to fail on my own (de) merit. The valuable and unforgettable lesson I learnt today is traffic lights come in two kinds. Round red, orange, green, and round red and orange but arrowed green. This I was previously aware of, on some level. What I am fully horrifically conscious of now is the fact that if it is the latter, arrowed green, it means there is more than one set of lights in play. I was travelling along a road, he said take the next turn on the right, I indicated, changed lane, saw the light was green (arrow) and proceeded. He said "Stop! It’s a red light"

I said "where?" Looking straight at a green light, and then he pointed out the other set of lights next to it, which were indeed on red! FAIL!

There were two other incidents. Straight after the red light fracas he reckons I clipped a kerb. I’m not sure I did, but not sure I didn’t either. And gears, again.

When I took the fail sheet back they had a look at it and said that considering it was him, that was a remarkably clean sheet for minor faults, and that I obviously don’t need more lessons, just back in for another test.

That is a mercy. Can’t afford to keep lashing out more dosh, yet ironically, can’t afford to stop now!

On the bright side, there was only the gears issue that I don’t feel confident I could be totally on top of, next time. Everything else was just really momentary lapses of concentration. Even with himself as an examiner I had a really confident and competent drive. On the drive home in the Micra I had a revelation. I’ve been dreading (when I finally get my licenses and a job) the first drive. But I realised today, if someone asked me to drive one of the trucks I’ve been training in, I would be OK with it now. Cautious, but not frightened.

As always there is more to say, but it’s getting on, and I have to be up shortly. I’m tired. Quite a portion of which is down to me being a tad miserable. Still, a good sleep, regroup my joi de vivre (however the French write it) and I should be back on top. :’(