Month: June 2009

Yin and yang

I once heard a simple description of the yin and yang that said that even in the heart of darkness there is a little light (as a metaphor. I would suggest a sealed box in a coal mine would be pretty dark, but without observation who can tell? Discuss.)

Well that’s how today has been.

I was knackered before I started work yesterday due to poor sleeping, then I had a sweaty 2-10 shift, home, shower, wind-down, then bed for midnight. Back up at ungodly O’ clock, (six am) quick brew, then to Manchester to start my pre-test drive at seven.

Did all right on my drive to the test centre, and all apart from one hideous and frankly impossible, turn had a good drive. I wasn’t stressed, just focused. However that one turn was enough. It was impossible. There was no way you could make it round and stay in your own lane. You had to hog two lanes into the corner (which I didn’t do, it looked deceptively easy) and then sit half around the bend and wait for the oncoming traffic to stop and let you have their lane as well. I ran over the pavement with my trailer trying to make it.


That was it, my one serious mistake.


I came home and had to go straight out to do the big shop, have a quick dinner, then charge in to work. I was knackered as I said, it was boiling hot, and my heart just wasn’t in it.

Then I overheard the manager asking if one of the lads wanted to have half a day’s holiday, so I said "I will!"

That cheered me up, coming home early, only to find the letter off Cheshire Constabulary had arrived. Cheshire coppers have kindly asked me to fund their next Freemasons piss-up (under the pretence of a speeding ticket). I felt it my civic duty to oblige.

So I was down again. That’s almost certainly going to be three points.

Seven attempts at my license, probably won’t be able to get a job if I ever do pass if I do pick up six points. Pretty damn miffed.

At the last minute I decided to go to my TKD club (as Wendy was watching Wimbledon) and that has cheered me up again. I had a good lesson, but more importantly, got my grading results: ‘A’ grade pass, certificate, yellow belt, (and Bully’s star prize) a T.K. Loh (the name of the grandmaster) Tae Kwon Do badge!

I don’t know of anyone else who has one. I shall wear it with pride. I may have to buy some pyjama’s so I can wear it to bed!

That is the spot of light in the pitch blackness of today.

Soldier on, all things must pass.



Irony. Bitter ain’t it?

Goddamn it!

I have a grading at Taekwondo tomorrow so I went to my club last night to get in some much needed practise. I found, by chance, something of a short cut on the way there. On the return journey I was knackered (it’s a 6-2 week and it was about ten at night), stressing about my grading tomorrow, looking for the new found short cut, and though I saw the speed camera I just didn’t register it until I suddenly had FLASH! FLASH! in my mirror.

Bloody, bloody hell!

I was reading that new drivers now have a probationary period of two years on their license, within which time amassing six points or above automatically leads to disqualification. From what I can gather it is new drivers per se. I became a driver (well, rider) back in ’85, and passed my car test in ’05, so I’m hoping one of those will be the one that it is reckoned from. I only passed my class II in January though (gulp) and am still striving for my artic license.

If I can’t get a job for the three years that (I think) the points stay on my license I am going to be gutted. If they take away my HGV license (and I’ve wasted the worst part of five grand) I am going to be suicidal.

This time tomorrow the grading will be over and I’ll be a lot less stressed. Then I can work up to a new fever of stresed-ness for my next test, then sit around waiting to see if I have picked up the points and the fines and how that will bugger my job prospects.

I have no idea how long the fines take to come through, so I’ll be on tender hooks whenever the post arrives, for as long as it takes.


Buck. 🙁

PS, Day after, done my grading. I made one embarrassing mistake. Grand Master Loh

(the head of the whole of the U.K., eighth dan, so, no pressure) told me to go into sitting stance with a punch. Those were not his exact words (his accent makes understanding him difficult, and I flap under pressure so I’m not sure exactly what he did say) but instead of widening my stance and dropping down a little, I stepped back into a fighting stance. I knew I’d done something wrong but couldn’t think what I should be doing. Sah bum nim Caroline (who was standing next to Grand master Loh at the front of the hall) had to say it again and do it herself before I got over my flap and carried on. Also I went down onto my knuckles for press-ups, but had my hands in a vertical plane not the horizontal. Like my knuckles cared.

Hey ho, done now for another few months. Seventeenth of October to be precise.

Hopefully I will have passed. My poomse (kata in Karate; a sequence of set moves) was right, and showed good spirit, my kicks were higher than some of the most senior grades there (which is more to their detriment than my credit to be honest) and apart from the two simple mistakes above I thought I did alright.

Grand master Loh was not in a good mood though.

Lots of people were told to sit down before they had even completed their moves. It was quite brutal. If all of them failed there will not be many people getting new belts from this grading.

On the bright side, when a pair of the senior grades were grading, they were told to execute Kwon moves (fist, or punch) and some of the blocks and counter attacks were actually good, effective moves. Very reminiscent of the Karate from which Taekwondo is alleged by some to have originated (though not by anyone from Korea, and not within hearing range of anyone who is, I would suggest). Stick at it then. I have always maintained that a black belt in any martial art is more than a match for your average untrained lager lout, but I was concerned that being virtually solely kick based TKD was purely a sport form of a martial art. Looks like it just appears that way to us junior grades. Cool.

Done now. The driving stuff is a distant threat, so I can relax for today.

By the by, I forgot to mention; since I’ve been back from my jolly hols I’ve been trying to set up Freenet, a P2P network that is secure and censorship (and government spying)  resistant. In doing so I have successfully forwarded a port all by my little ol’ self. I don’t know what that means, and I was following instructions from a specialist site, but I did it! Go I.T. techie me!

Still not got the Freemail (secure email section of the site) up and running, and to be honest unless you want to overthrow the government in bloody jihad, or join the Animal Liberation Front’s sabotage campaign, it doesn’t seem that good a network.

I approve of the principle though, so I’ll try it out for a while. Damn the government and their control of information. Rise up, you have nothing to lose but your chains!



Socialising my arse!


We have just returned from Wendy’s sister’s (Gail). That was eventful.

Wendy’s brother and his wife (Peter and Emma) came with us in the mighty Micra to the outskirts of Brum. Some people claim that Daventry, being a further fifty miles down the country, is not actually in Birmingham. To these geographical pedants we merely say: well you’re not going to admit you live in Brum, are you?

So, first the journey there. Four of us in the Micra. It’s only a 1000cc engine, with 90,000 miles on the clock, no air conditioning, the mechanism on one of the windows is knackered and it was a mad hot day. A recipe for joy in that simple description.

Also, unbeknownst to us when we arranged it, we had chosen to go on the same weekend  they were hosting the flower show at Birmingham NEC, which was plugged ceaselessly on (may I say in passing, the best for a long time) Gardeners World the night before.

When we finally got clear of the weirdness of the jams (come to a complete stop, then speed up to.., seventy miles an hour, m’lud. Yet at no point did we come across a cause for the stopping.) obviously I put the Micra into the sports setting (I shut the drivers door window) and went for it. You’ll believe a Micra can fly.

That was a relief.

Then they closed the road, sending us on a huge diversion that left us in the middle of nowhere. The Bullring is lovely at this time of year so we whiled away the time waiting for Gail to send her beau to come and find us.

When we got there there were all the usual antics of family get-togethers; the beer, the small talk to partners you don’t know, the herds of kids, etc.

It went quite well (there were no fights, nobody died, we are all still talking to each other) and Gail, bless her, pulled out all the stops to accommodate us, and trying to make bbq food for a veggie is, to be honest, about as far as sanity and civility can be pushed.

But you know how it is, you want your own bed and a complete absence of noise, social interaction and children. (Or is that just me?) To be fair, Gail’s young ‘un, Brett, was fine, a sterling youth. I expect the others were, individually, upstanding pillars of juvenile rectitude, but en masse they blend into a mob, one video game short of barbarity, anarchy and possibly cannibalism. (Again, it is possible that that is just my non-paternal impression.) We made it, none the less.

Also it strikes me; perchance I should adopt a personal pronoun (to avoid erroneous inference being drawn from my ramblings.) Me. myself, and I.

In other news, I am back on the pick now. I have my rota (every other weekend off, woo-hoo!) and am achieving my pick figure without any problems. If I can just stay out of the freezer it will do until that far off day when I finally get around to passing my bleeding test and getting a driving job.

In summary; job not so bad, Gail’s: nobles oblige –d!