Category Archives: General

I bought a house!

Another long delay between updates. Insanely busy. I’ve been taking photos though so I’ll be doing a bunch of updates in the next few days.

First up, as the title says, I bought a house! After getting back from Aus and figuring we probably wouldn’t be able to go for another five years (at least!), we decided to move into the centre of Cambridge. While looking at houses we pretty quickly came to the conclusion that everything in Cambridge is a piece of shit and about 5% of those accept pets. Rentals! We also realised that our existing lettings agent would be a massive pain in the tits and we’d probably lose our deposit and/or reference.

So we said enough was enough and decided to buy a house. We’d already looked at this last year when thinking about Aus and had considered moving to York or Newmarket. After an unsuccessful visit to York, we decided to look at Newmarket. Property in Cambridge is ridiculously over priced. Newmarket is about half the price and only about 12 miles out. Every time we have visited Newmarket, we have felt a really good vibe here. It reminds me of home and of the seaside. It also has cracking broadband!! So we made our decision to move here.

Buying a house is super boring so I’ll spare you the monotony but we looked at 6 houses. 2 were shit, 2 needed work, 1 was too small and the other we bought. An old lady lived here, then she died, then her family gutted it and did it up. It’s gorgeous!

It has a super private walled garden too, small and manageable. The best bits are that it’s clean, everything works, everything is modern. It’s like being in housing heaven! And I say this nearly two months after moving in! The cats are confused over the lack of stairs!

In other personal news, I started a new exercise regime and I’m in the best shape of my life. It’s 25 minutes every day of high intensity workouts. I have before pictures and at some point I’ll get round to taking some after pictures of my ripped abs! Seriously!

While in Aus I decided to grow my hair out. I’ve been shaving my head for about 7 years. Felt like a change. Tada!

The only problem I’m finding is that good barbers are hard to find and it’s almost impossible to get the same haircut each time. The missus has bought me a brilliant luxury male grooming voucher at a barbers that deals with all the jockeys in town for my birthday so I’ll go there in a couple of weeks and see what they can do. They use steam on your face and everything!

Finally, continuing my lifestyle of super international travelling consultant, I went to Milton Keynes on the bus. Rock and fucking roll! Currently trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. RSI will prevent me from doing IT for too much longer. I’m currently thinking about playing bowls professionally and representing England at the next Commonwealth Games in Queensland. That’d be awesome but I’m not entirely sure it’s a realistic goal!!

I’m in a really good place right now!

That’s a bold statement huh?! Especially for someone who hasn’t blogged in ages! I’ve noticed a pattern over the last 12 years I’ve been blogging, when I’m feeling good, I blog less. Now that’s not really all that great for two reasons; One, when I look back through my old journals/blogs, I often see negativity and think my life has just been a big bundle of misery and Two, it doesn’t present the best online persona as someone who’s just angry all the damn time. So, in the interest of balance, I’m writing a nice, positive blog.

So, why is being in a good place such a big deal to me? Well, anyone who’s known me for longer than a 6 month period will probably know I have depression and have done for quite some time. I’ve become quite good at hiding it and not making a big old hoohah out of it, not out of shame or anything, just trying to not let it define me and not letting people judge me for it. But I also know it’s probably never going to go away and because of that I make a really concerted effort to enjoy the good times. I’ve also become quite good at maintaining my moods and heading bad ones off when I feel them coming. I have a lot of tools in my box and I feel more on top of it than I ever have before.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll know that last summer I had a vasectomy. It was a horrible experience, the operation was a disaster and the recovery took ages. It really fucked with my head and my body. A couple of months ago, I went to see a reflexologist about my sinuses. During treatment she hit upon a sore point in my foot. I hadn’t told her about my op at this point. She mentioned it was the groin area trigger point but more specifically, the vas deferens. Reflexology works, as I understand it, by unblocking energy blocks. By releasing stuck emotions, energy, “stuff”! I don’t know how it works, but it does. It actually really does. I have felt absolutely amazing since I started monthly treatments. It feels like it’s cleared away a whole ton of crap!

When I started dating the missus, she was doing her yoga teacher training. As the amazing, wonderful, supportive partner I am, I read loads of the texts she had to and learned quite a lot about the body from a non science angle. The recurring theme throughout all of these things is that the feet are incredibly important. They are for grounding. They affect every part of your body. Look after them! I also have a strange obsession with the two world wars and have read tons about them. A recurring theme from the soldiers in the trenches is look after your damn feet! And I don’t think that was just to avoid trench foot!! On some weird subconscious level, they knew the feet were key to their survival.

So, yeah, if you feel like crap and the docs can’t help, try reflexology. The worst that can happen is you get to sit down for an hour and have someone massage your feet. Oh boo fucking hoo! 😉

Off the back of that, my general confidence is quite high at the moment. This is mostly brought on by work. I’m doing really well, my projects are going well, I’m doing some interesting stuff, I have a client budget ($1m) that allows me to be quite creative for the first time in ages, I’m learning some new software that I think will change the face of ERP systems for the future. I’m just really enjoying what I do at the moment. It’s fun. I stated on my LinkedIn profile that I’m probably the number 1 consultant in the UK at what I do. And I think that’s fairly accurate. That puts me quite high up the ranks for the global market too, something which has been kinda affirmed for me which I’ll go into later in this post.

Before I go on, the last thing I want to cover is the bread making. This has come to a grinding halt. One of the downsides of enjoying work is I’ve been caning the hours for the last 6 months which in turn has accelerated my RSI downfall! Basically, my wrists and shoulders are fucked. I’ve been using computers excessively for 27 years!! I basically can’t really knead dough at the moment. I’ve asked for a mixer with a dough arm for my birthday in July and then I’ll continue. In the meantime, I got this really great wrist strap that has a metal bar in it that forces my arm into the correct position. It’s amazing. It hurt like crap at first but I’ve settled into it now. I’m having regular massages, doing regular foam roller exercises and when I get back from my holiday to Spain next month, I’ll be buying a new office chair. Hopefully all of this will keep the RSI at bay for a bit longer so I can continue to work in IT. It was literally so bad I couldn’t sleep, but that seems to have gone away now which is great.

So, all of this positivity and great feeling tied in with all the treatments and the self maintenance I’m doing has helped make me feel really focused and “in the zone”. I’ve been able to look at my life objectively, especially important as my career may come to an end sooner than I would like, and I’ve made a decision that I think is one of the most important decisions of my life.

*drumroll*

We’ve decided to move to Australia!!!

Well, we’ve decided to apply for our visas to move to Australia!

Moving to Cambridge has been the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. I’ve really hated it. I’ve tried to love it, really. When we came back from Aus last time, we decided not to move there because it wasn’t the right time and things weren’t in the right place and we came back committed to making Cambridge work for us. It just hasn’t happened. The move last year certainly helped, but it’s not been enough. On top of that, I actually don’t think moving anywhere else in the UK will be all that much different. The country is full and suffering. The government sucks. I will never be able to afford a house here. My career has gone as far as it can. The weather has been appalling for the last 3 years pretty much. The cost of living keeps on rising. It’s just full of hate, hate and more hate. I’m almost ashamed to be British at the moment.

I watch a lot of those relocate down under programs. I know it’s not all fairy tales and cake, the Aussies can be quite brutal, but I’m from the North, I can take it! I’ve been looking into the visa process and everything really is lined up right now for me to apply and get a good point score and hopefully sail through independently without having to rely on sponsorship and be tied down with restrictions. I’ll be writing up the process on a dedicated page so I can track everything, as much for my own benefit as it is for clarifying it for other people should a search land them here. But what I’m hoping for is a generally better quality of life, I want to live by a beach, I want a short commute to an office, I want a good group of friends, I want some fucking hot weather and BBQ’s and to do outdoor activities. Seriously, it feels like the government have turned off the gulf stream just to keep us inside and controlled by the TV! I want to do even better work in my career, I want to have the money I spend on rent be on a fucking nice place not some utter piece of shit that’s falling apart. I want space. I want community. I want busy. I want tranquil. I’m sick of going to country parks for some peace only to find them now overrun with screaming children and their feckless fucking parents!

I’ve been doing a lot of investigating and I think Melbourne is the place for us. Sydney is too hot, expensive and busy. Tasmania is too isolated, economically stagnant and cold! Melbourne, and particularly St Kilda, gives me beach and city, cafes, culture, retail, people. More importantly, it’s an absolute breeding ground for the type of work I do. It’s incredibly specialised and whilst the software I support is used heavily in Aus, the main area of the business partners is around this area of Melbourne. I got in touch with one of them and was given an incredible recommendation following the work I’ve done with them over the last 5 years. As I mentioned above, my global reputation is clearly doing quite well. So I’m trying to arrange a couple of interviews when we go on holiday there in January.

In the meantime I’ve got a lot to arrange to apply for the visa. I need to pass the English test with a high score and I need to get my skills certified as I don’t have a degree. All that takes 6 months but should be done when I get back in Feb. Then I can file for my visa and if invited, it’s another 4-6 months for the approval. Once approved, I think we’re going to go and activate it so it’s good for five years and then really have a good hard think about it. I just figure that as now is the best time for the visa application, it makes sense to apply and get it. Then make the final decision later. No point planning for something so incredibly uncertain. Of course, if one of these companies decides to offer me a sponsorship/immediate job offer then I’ll go straight away! We’ll see…

It’s a really slow application process but I’ll keep the blog updated as it progresses. I’ve told everyone I think needs to know and now it’s a case of fingers crosses while I fill in the paperwork and jump the hoops. Wish me luck!

Overdue Update

Hello! It’s been a long time. I have been super busy the last couple of months but I figured it was time for an update. So, what have I been up to?

Cambridge Big Bike Ride

You may have seen the banner on the bottom of the site for the Cambridge Big Bike Ride. It was essentially a sponsored ride with two routes, an easy one and a hard one. I decided I’d give the easy one a go and see how quickly I could do it. Then the missus decided she wanted to give it a go too. Then we decided we’d do it for our own charity. We chose Action For M.E. They sent us bibs!!

We were quite excited in the days leading up to it and then when we woke up, it was raining. So we set out in our his and hers macs!



It was a really interesting course, mostly because Cambridge is a weird town with a bizarre star shaped infrastructure. We went through Milton Country Park which was very muddy and I totally trashed my bike! It got caked in mud! I wasn’t much better off. It just kept on raining. As is the case with wearing a mac and doing anything remotely energetic, you get a right sweat on so off it came and I ended up just being soaked to the bone. Eventually though, you get over yourself and it’s just funny. Evident by my picture crossing the finishing line!



On the way round I had my GPS tracker enabled. Go here to see the route. You can even view a 3D flythrough which is quite exciting! GPS data fly’s all over the place in some areas, presumably because it can be so fucking remote in this town there’s often no signal. Initially I wanted to blast my way round, I think I could’ve done it in about 45 minutes but cycling with the missus was way more fun and we just took it slowly and gently. It was very enjoyable and I’m keeping my eye open for more rides. In the end we raised over £300 for the charity which is a fantastic result!

My Vasectomy

Whilst verging on the boundary of TMI, I decided to write about this to offer support to anyone else who might need it. I decided at a very young age that I didn’t want kids. I’ve been waiting a hell of a long time to get a vasectomy on the NHS. I was told I had to be over 30. So I waited! Earlier this year my brother got one and he’s only 24! So I signed up for one too, as you do! A few days after the bike ride I went into the surgery. I was told they were trialling a new keyhole surgery, no stitches, quicker healing, less pain. It was so new the doctor was still training. I was his last sign off. It was a very brutal operation. He clearly didn’t know what he was doing. What should’ve been 15 minutes took an hour and I think I just went into shock by the end of it.

Following the op I was expecting the usual feelings of regret that a lot of people talk about. The sudden realisation that I can’t have children. I’m now less of a man. Etc, etc! I haven’t had any of that. For the last 7 weeks I’ve just been struggling with the trauma of the initial pain and the healing. About two weeks after the op I got a haematoma, which is like a bruising on the testes. That hurt like hell! To make that worse, I was due to move house but was ruled out of doing any heavy lifting for another month. See below for how that turned out! I was also told not to cycle or exercise for a month too.

I have depression. I’ve had it for many, many years. The best aid I’ve found for it isn’t popping pills but to exercise. I do this a lot. Regular walks, gym exercise, bike riding. I have had to sit on my arse for 7 looooooong weeks. Add to that the stress of moving. It has not been fun. Yesterday I went on my first bike ride. I was very nervous and scared of injuring myself again. It was ok though. Today I feel fine. I’m going to start lengthening my routes and I’ll be taking up more exercise during the week and just getting back on track. I was caught completely off guard with how much this was going to affect me the way it did but hopefully it’s all moving forward from now on.

My advice for anyone who is interested. Don’t get seen to by a fucking trainee! Don’t get it done when you have other things to do in the following two months. Don’t do it if you’re not very good at doing nothing. However, if you’re really convinced it’s the right thing for you to do, then go ahead and do it. The world needs to stop the fucking endless over population!

Summer of Grunge

If you read this blog regularly you will remember this post where I talked about getting back into grunge. This summer we were lucky enough to get tickets to see both Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder solo in Manchester. It was two fun road trips and we also managed to squeeze in a visit to see my brother and hang out with my niece and nephew, who are, in my opinion, cute as fucking buttons!

Anyway, both gigs were amazing. Pearl Jam came out to Release Me and right from the very first “Ooooh” I knew it was going to be a good gig. As I said in the previous post, I’m getting a bit sick of seeing bands who can’t play or sing live even though the record is good. Ed can fucking wail! We got some really great seats to see Eddie Vedder solo and he was note perfect!

Surrounding all of that we’ve been listening to some really old CD’s from that time, all the PJ stuff, the SG stuff, Alice In Chains, Nirvana. It’s been a great summer!

My Birthday

I had a birthday. I am now 31. It is shit! I appear to aging at an alarming rate! I feel like I should be doing grown up things like getting a mortgage, having a corporate career, investing. Nah, fuck that!

Moving House

As I mentioned above, I had to move house. I was planning on doing everything myself. Then the doc signed me off. I put a Twitter request shout out thing and we got some fantastic helpers over two days who came and helped us move all our crap out of a big house into a smaller house that costs more. Go figure! The house is lovely, the lettings agents are not. Finickity bastards! It wasn’t clean when we moved in. There were pubes on the bathroom floor. When reporting this to the agents, we were told our standards were clearly higher than theirs. I’ll say it again, PUBES!!!! FROM SOME OTHER DUDE!!!! Jesus! Cambridge is a filthy place full of some really filthy people. After 3 years here I still don’t really like it. I miss London.

The Botanical Gardens – We finally went to the Botanical Gardens. It’s been awful weather this summer but the sun came out for the day. I have some pictures that I will post later this week.

Future Projects

I think I’ve got my writing bug back. As you can see! I’ve had some ideas for things I want to do over the coming months.

Bread – I love making bread. I bought a book with 70 recipes from around the world. I’m going to make them all. I’ve just ordered 11kg of assorted bread flour. I’ll be blogging my journey!
Gaming – I really need to finish this so look out for parts 3 and 4 by the end of the year!
Her Fearful Symmetry – Remember I blogged about The Time Traveler’s Wife? Well, I’ll be doing the same for this book. Starting to read it this weekend.
Photography – I’ve cancelled my subscription to a photo mag I was reading. It was stifling my creativity. I hope to get back to actually taking pics and blogging them.

That should keep me on for now I reckon! Suggestions welcome!

Do Something Amazing…Give Blood!

You may remember this post where I tried and failed spectacularly to give blood. Well, I sorted that all out in November and was able to give blood for the first time. Yay! I even got a sticker! I probably should’ve written about it but you know, busy busy busy!

It was all very exciting at the time, you join one queue, they stab your finger, test your iron, you join another queue, they call you over, you sit in a chair, they stick a needle in you, you sit looking bored and miserable for 45 minutes (well I do and it’s probably only about 5 minutes but it seems like ages!) and then you get up and you go and sit at the table you’ve had your eye on since you walked in. The refreshments table! Free biscuits and a cuppa FTW! Then you go home, maybe a bit woozy.

But then comes the best bit. You get a letter from the NHS saying thanks. Not only does it say thanks, but you also get a bunch of leaflets and a donor card. My donor card is red. This is for people who have donated 1-4 times. Apparently, for donating a second time you get a nifty little key fob with your blood type on it. As you progress up the ranks (as if it were a computer game) they give you all kinds of shit as a reward. Check out the swag here! That’s pretty rad huh?!

So then I did the math. You can only donate once every 16 weeks I believe. I reckon if I do every single one from now until I’m 65, I should be able to get my mitts on that decanter! Most definitely the crystal plate. Hehe!

But, am I really motivated by some crystal stuff? No, not particularly. I got quite a big shock when I got my letter. I’m not sure why it shocked me so much but it did. I’ve been lucky enough to have never been in a major accident or ever needed a transfusion. I’m touching wood here! I don’t believe I’ve even known anyone who has needed one either. Touching wood again! This means I’ve never had my blood type brought up as an issue. I have this old baby book thing from when I was a kid. It’s pretty much the only thing I have from my childhood. In it, it says blood group O and I’ve just believed it, filled in all my forms putting down O. I have no idea why it says O but I am actually A RH NEGATIVE which is apparently an incredibly rare type of blood and is in demand. Oh super exciting right?!

Had I known this from an earlier age, I wouldn’t have left it so damn late to give blood. I could’ve (and probably would’ve) contributed for most of the last 10 years or so. And it is this that makes me all the more determind to give blood regularly now and if you can give blood, then you absolutely should. You never know when you or a relative or a close friend will need a transfusion. I’m touching all of your woods!

So what are you waiting for? Go here and find your nearest centre and do something amazing…give blood!

Apparently I have learned stuff!

Hi there hey there ho there!

What a catchphrase, good old Bob!

I have updated my site to PHP5 and WordPress 3.2.1. You won’t notice anything but for me, my life just got a whole load easier.

What’s new?

Well, in conjunction with getting old/turning 30, the missus decided it would be fun to interview me and asked me to come up with a list of 5 things I have learned in my 30 years of living. Discussed over a lovely bottle of Italian white wine and recorded on my super awesome Samsung Galaxy S2, we had a blast!

Check it out here: SuburbanYogini.com

I may have already told you this but I recently took up driving lessons again. I had 60 when I was 17 and 5 when I was 25. I used to suck! I decided enough was enough and am taking it seriously. I’m driving purely automatic now and it’s a lot easier. Yesterday, I took my Theory and Hazard Perception test. Nailed it! Got my driving test booked in October.

Finally, we have adopted a new cat or rather he has adopted us. We’ve called him Dave. It’s such an everyman’s name. He’s a stray that we’ve noticed hanging around a lot for the last 12 months but lately he’s been looking really unwell and very skinny. Presume he has been manipulating us. The other day I decided to feed him and now he keeps coming back, he loiters on our lawn and on the garden bench and just yesterday he gave me a welcoming meow! Awwwww! The other two cats are pissed!

So, meet Dave:

He looks like Aurora. She’s all uppity about it and keeps braying on the glass whenever he comes around. Mr Park can’t understand why there are two black and white cats and is having an identity crisis and skulking about the place.

Ah cats!

Hope you’re enjoying the summer, I’m off to BBQ some steaks!

I can haz a birthday!

That’s right and not just any old birthday for today I’m 30! Whenever I’ve thought of turning 30 it’s been with the same horror and disgust as Baby Spice in the Spice World movie.

Now, if you’ve been around a while, you will remember this post. My bucket list of Fings To Do Before I’m Firty! So, how did I get on?

Well, firstly, and this isn’t an excuse, well it is, but y’know, in the last year my career took a rather unexpected but pleasant turn. I became a Senior Consultant at my firm. The Most Senior Consultant in fact, if you listen to my boss. Essentially I’ve been incredibly busy and therefore incredibly lame at completing this list. That said, in the last year I’ve felt an incredible sense of personal growth. Certainly more than in the last five years I reckon.

1) Australia. Yup, we did that. It was amazing! I can’t wait to go again.

2) Skydiving. Fail! Just haven’t got round to it and didn’t see an opportunity for it in Aus. I did contemplate hot air ballooning over the MCG but we didn’t have time. Went on the Neighbours tour instead!!

3) Get a tattoo. Fail! I got as far as deciding what I want. I was supposed to go yesterday but the studio couldn’t get their shit together via email so I will have to go in and see them. They’re in London so it’s not like I can just walk in and I refuse to go anywhere else. They really are the best.

4) Give blood. Fail! But oh dear Lord have I tried! First time I booked I ended up with flu on the day so had to cancel. Second time they came I was in Aus and then had to wait 2 months after getting back. I went on Tuesday thinking I’d make it just in time. But then it went horribly wrong. I got through the assessment and sat in the chair. The nurse did all the prep, in goes the needle and suddenly “Oh dear, I need some help over here!” and cue two other nurses rushing over. Not really sure what actually happened but I left with a big bandage:

and now I have some crazy bruising!

This has not put me off trying, I’ll go when this has healed.

5) Buy a digital SLR. Score! I’d actually already done this but I’ve definitely kept up to this as a hobby and even launched my first exhibition.

6) Take a picture of myself every day. Score! I’m also creating an art piece from it as I found it became a really interesting project. As I mentioned, it has been useful to track my mood swings. You can tell when I’m normal, genuinely happy, faking the happy and even whe I’m down. It’s all the eyes. For that reason, I think it’s worthy of the Saatchi gallery!!

7) Go on a photography course. Score! Well, I went but it didn’t pan out. The college was useless so I quit and got my money back.

8 ) Ride a motorbike. I used the money from the photo course and rather spontaneously booked my CBT. That was a fun day!

So not a bad end to my twenties. On the final day, I had bacon butties for brekkie on the BBQ, bacon fajitas for lunch and pigs in blankets for tea. Score!

New Design

A New Year brings a new design!

Style wise, it’s finished. I have a few more things to do with the content and I’ve got some new pages to add. When I started this site, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I think I’m going to be almost entirely blog based rather than having static content and will use categories/tags for navigation. I *think* that will work best.

Stay tuned for more updates…

Fings I Like Friday (11)

It’s here again!

1) The open top Cambridge tour bus. I’ve wanted to go on this for ages. We are doing it tomorrow!

2) Tomato Plants. We have grown our own tomato plants from seed. They are now huge!

3) Today my Australian travel visa was approved. This brings us one step closer to going in April next year.

4) BBC’s Walk on the Wild Side. Saw this for the first time at the weekend. It’s hilarious! Check out these marmots:

5) The missus. For always smiling in the face of adversity. She’s had an awful week and mine hasn’t been much better but she’s kept us both in good spirits. Mainly Jack Daniels and caramelised Vodka! *hiccup*

In other news, I am 29 in exactly two weeks. There’s a ton of stuff I haven’t done and probably should’ve before I turn 30. I am therefore compiling a list of Fings To Do Before I’m Firty! Suggestions welcome! Final list will be announced on my birthday.

Fings I Love Friday (4)

Here we go again…

1) Sunshine. When the sun shines I can dry the washing outside and get it all done in a day!

2) My Virgin V+ HD box. It allows me to get HD TV which is particularly good for sport. It also allows me to not worry about making myself regularly available for TV. Remember when Friends first aired on Channel 4? For me, it was a whole Friday night line up. There was Frasier and I think Eurotrash too. The latter had boobies. I’d have been about 14. Now though, there’s no way I can guarantee regular viewing of anything so V+ is really helpful and when I have time, I catch up on a whole bunch of stuff at once.

3) Ladyhawke. Oh I love her! Apparently she is making a new album. I can’t wait! If you haven’t listened to her first album, do so NOW!

4) Again it’s the sunshine lol! This morning I went for a lovely bike ride to the shops and the sun was beaming down and all the people in their cars looked like they were spiflocating and I was FREEEE! Yeah, it was that good.

5) The missus. I swear this isn’t just a cop out to fill up five points. She is awesome and deserves to be mentioned daily but I’ll stick to weekly 🙂