This week, my flat has been fitted with new windows. That’s pretty exciting in itself, but it’s meant a few other changes around the house.

My bed was previously in the corner of my room with its headboard in front of the window.

To allow the workmen to get access to the window frame, rather than just moving the bed away from the wall, I decided to rotate it 90 degrees to now be along the long wall of the bedroom.

Apart from having to rearrange the rest of my furniture to fit around it, it’s created some big questions that I’ve been struggling with all week: Firstly, should I leave it like this? Secondly, which side of the bed should I sleep on now that I can access it from either side? Thirdly, what should I do with the massive pile of things that were dumped at the end of the bed and are now (metaphorically) floating around the room?

I’ve not slept the best since moving the bed, but sleep quality has many factors and I’m not sure I can pin it on this one change. I’ve not fully transitioned yet as I still need to optimise the new layout (my bedside reading light isn’t plugged in and I probably need to shift the whole bed slightly closer to the window), but I could easily switch it all again and get back to what I’m used to. But it’s probably only for a few months so maybe it’s not worth it and I’ll just leave it as it is for now. Or maybe I should go back to the old layout that worked better and I was used to. Let me know what you think in the comments.


Filling up

Two years ago, a new thing called “coronavirus” was appearing in the news. One by one, all in-person events got cancelled. Sometimes to be replaced with virtual alternatives, sometimes with the promise that they would return when able. I remember a particularly depressing day when I went through my calendar and deleted pretty much all future events.

This week though, I’ve been filling up my calendar again with the events and activities that I want to do this year. Some of them I’ve booked, some of them are just tentative. Some of them I’ll do, some of them won’t fit in with other plans.

Either way, it feels really good to be able to plan ahead and to have things to look forward to.


Same again, but different

Last year I ran my first marathon (I may have mentioned it).

Now, I’m training to run another one. But this time there’s a big difference… I’ve not actually signed up for another marathon yet.

So why am I doing it? Firstly, I really enjoyed training for something, and if I am to train for something, why not a marathon? Secondly, loads of people from my running club are training for marathons (but unfortunately I can’t do any of the same dates).

But as well as not actually having a target race, the other big difference is how much busier life is at the moment. I previously commented on the amount of time it took for training, but at the moment it feels like I have even less time now than last year. I’m still just as busy at work, but other events that were mostly online last year are now back to in-person as normal life has resumed. And the weather is colder, wetter and darker than in the summer which doesn’t motivate outdoor exercise.

I’m not saying I’m definitely doing another marathon, but I’m also not ruling it out either. If one came along on the right date and location and I thought I had trained enough, I may do one. This time around I’ve definitely missed more runs from my training plan than last time. But, if I’m not actually training for anything, does it even really matter?


Return to sender

One of the things about moving house fairly often (and in rented accommodation at that) is receiving post addressed to previous residents. I normally just stick it back in the post box with “return to sender” on it and eventually the post for the previous residents dries up. I’ve now lived in my current place for almost three years, so I was surprised when this week I got three pieces of post all addressed to a name I hadn’t seen before.

I do have new neighbours upstairs from me and possibly new neighbours across the corridor (this is London, of course I don’t know my neighbours). Two of the pieces of post were about over 50’s life insurance (although they were from the same company), and I’m sure that none of my (new) neighbours meet that criteria.

There have been a few times recently when takeaway delivery drivers have tried to give me food that’s meant for a neighbour, even though the address they have clearly isn’t mine (it’s the same flat number, but the next block over, which is even a different postcode). [It’s not every delivery, just some takeaways, so whatever takeaway app this is really needs to sort out their database/mapping. It’s tempting just to accept the food, but I haven’t done. Am I allowed to knowingly accept a wrong food delivery?] But these letters are definitely addressed to my flat and are being delivered by the normal postperson. They’re just not addressed to a person who currently lives here.

Which brings me to three possibilities:

  • There was a previous, previous(, previous?) resident by this name who has recently turned 50, or whatever age you have to be get letters about over 50 life insurance, and this has triggered companies sending him post again.
  • One of my (new) neighbours has put the wrong address on something they’ve signed up to and some of their items are going to me by mistake.
  • There’s a 50 year old man sharing my flat with me who I never knew about before.

In the office

Whilst I was going through the data for last week’s post, I noticed that most of my journeys where travelling to or from work, particularly in 2020 when travelling for fun wasn’t allowed. It seems quite obvious that I’m now working from home more often. But in previous years I would have had more days out of the office: on training courses, on business trips, on leave (yes, I have taken some in 2020, but not as much as before). So just how many days do I normally spend in the office each year? To be clear, this is just talking about how many days I’ve been *in the office*, not how many days I’ve been *working*.

Some days it’s easy to tell when I went to the office, I made a morning peak journey in one direction, and an evening peak journey back in the other direction. Some days it’s more complicated as I come back a different route, or get off at a different station to walk a bit further, but it’s still generally obvious that I’ve been into the office. Other days it’s more complex as I’ve gone somewhere else after work, but I generally always head home afterwards. Although strangely I have travelled to work more times than I’ve come home, mainly as a result of occasionally running home instead. There’s also the possibility that I’ve travelled into the office and then gone elsewhere for the bulk of the day, and there’s a number of half days which I didn’t count specifically, but hopefully it should all balance out. Suffice it to say, these values are all very approximate.

I think there should be 222 possible days in the office per year (365 – 52 Saturdays – 52 Sundays – 8 bank holidays – 31 days leave). Yes, I’m ignoring leap years and that some years may have extra weekends or bank holidays. As I said this is approximate.

So, counting up all my journeys, here’s what I get:

YearDays in
% of working
days in office

And whilst 2020 is lower than 2019, it’s not dramatically lower. But is quite a bit lower when compared to the high of 2014. It’s hard to tell if this is a general downwards trend, or is just related to some jobs/time periods having more business travel. For 2021 I’m currently at about 61% in the office, but given that we’re only six weeks into the year this could obviously go up or down before the end of the year.

And coming back to my initial reason for looking into this, I spent approximately 25% less last year on travel around London than in 2019, but I was only in the office 14% less than than the previous year. I’m not sure what the point behind those calculations is – I’m sure I could draw something else out, but that seems like enough for now.

But with a dataset of all my journeys for the last seven years there must be more that I can discover. What else would be interesting to know? My longest journey? My day with the most journeys? How many stations I’ve been to? Let me know in the comments.


Spirit Animals

I was at a group (online) event yesterday, and the ice-breaker question at the start was:

“What animal best represents you?”

Other people in the group came out as meerkats, dolphins, octopuses and bears. Having only had a minute to think about it, I could only come up with “Mountain goat”.

My rationale behind this was mountain goats are hardy creatures and don’t mind being outdoors in all weathers. They’re happy climbing up steep mountains and jumping between rocks.

Maybe I could have come up with something better if I’d thought about it more. Today I found an online quiz that aims to find your spirit animal in only 10 questions. This suggested my spirit animal is a condor, but it’s likely they don’t even have mountain goat as a possible answer.

So do you think either a mountain goat or a condor represents me? Is there something better? What animal best represents you? Let me know in the comments.


Full Speed Ahead

Over the last few weeks, there’s been a series of roadworks at the bottom of my road to do with the sewers (I’m not sure exactly what, but they keep appearing and disappearing without any notice). What it has meant is that they’ve completely closed off the road part-way along with ROAD AHEAD CLOSED ACCESS ONLY signs at either end.

Whilst it can probably only save about a minute, quite a few cars seem to use my road as a shortcut as it cuts out a whole junction with a set of traffic lights. I hadn’t ever really noticed that before as it’s still a relatively quiet road. But the road closure is definitely inconveniencing some drivers as I have now noticed quite a few cars speeding past the ROAD AHEAD CLOSED sign until they actually find they can’t go any further and are forced to turn back and go all the way round.

Today I saw a car get to the first ROAD AHEAD CLOSED sign, slow down as he read the sign but still carry on driving past. He then must have realised he might not get through so did a 180 degree turn in a side road before clearly deciding to change his mind and turning another 180 degrees. He then drove another 50 metres further down the road until he was forced to turn around (rather more awkwardly) at the ROAD CLOSED sign and leave back the way he had come.

At the weekend I had to drive to another part of London. Knowing there was also roadworks on one of the railway bridges, I would have to detour down to the next bridge that crossed the railway line. But unexpectedly my detour route also had roadworks! Fortunately this was just temporary traffic lights and not a full road closure and barely added any extra time to my journey.

As I approached my destination though, I saw another sign saying ROAD AHEAD CLOSED. I had no idea where this road was actually closed, but the diversion sign said to turn off. My plan was to park my car on the next road following the diversion sign, but instead I parked on the road before. As I walked to my destination and past the ROAD AHEAD CLOSED sign, it was obvious that the road wasn’t closed and I could have parked where I had originally planned. It’s possible the road was closed further ahead, but I just couldn’t see where. Plenty of cars were still just driving straight past.

So that’s really the question for this week: Do you take the risk and drive past a ROAD AHEAD CLOSED sign only to get forced to turn around, or do you take an alternative route even though the road might still be open? And why are there so many roadworks at the moment?


Personalities (Revisited)

Ten and a half years ago, my two brothers, my sister-in-law and I wrote co-ordinated blog posts looking at our Myers-Briggs personalities. My older brother was an ISTJ [Blog no longer available], his wife was an ENFP [Link] and my younger brother was an ESFJ [Again, blog no longer available]. I too was an ISTJ, a “reliable realist” [Link].

Since then, I’ve had various jobs, lived in various places and had various life experiences, so why not see how my personality has changed since then? In order to keep things the same, I did the same personality quiz from 41Q.

As a reminder, here’s how I came out last time:

And here’s what I got now:

So slightly less introverted, slightly more sensing, slightly less thinking and quite a bit more judging. But considering there are only 41 questions to work out the personality, one slight difference in response is probably going to have a fairly substantial change in outcome. But putting it all together, I still come out with the same overall outcome of “reliable realist”!

I could post what that actually means, but I’ve already done that ten years ago (and it still describes me pretty well).



My aim when I restarted blogging was to post something once a week on a Wednesday evening. However, this week I’ve again been too busy to write anything.

A couple of months ago, I had a small stockpile of posts so I always had something ready to go each week, but now I’m just down to a handful of ideas.

Once a week seems like a sensible level to blog at. Not too frequent, but still on a regular schedule. I could reduce the frequency to once every two weeks, or even once a month which would be much easier for coming up with content, but would make blogging much less routine. I could post on an ad-hoc basis, but that’s even more likely to make me not do it.

So that’s the options: a. Weekly posts where a substantial number are short/not very interesting, or b. Less regular posts but there’s a strong possibility they just stop at some point. Vote now! [I would put an actual voting thing in but I can’t because I’m doing this on my phone]


High Rise Living

Sorry, this is a quite a conceptual post this week. I’ll try to be more interesting next time.

I was lying in bed the other night and I realised that I lived in a block of flats. That’s not a new thing and something I was already aware of – I’ve lived in several flats since I moved to London. What I realised though was that the flat above me and the flat below me have the same room layout. And the ones the other side of them do too. That means that there’s several bedrooms directly above and below mine. If my neighbours have their beds in the same positions as me, there are several people all sleeping in a parallel orientation, separated only by a couple of metres and a solid concrete floor. In mathematical terms, we’re at the same x and y coordinates, but differing in the z-axis.

Additionally, I have neighbours on either side of me. And although one is two kitchens away, the nearest is only the other side of a concrete wall. Possibly even closer than the two metres recommended for social distancing.

But what’s happening in their parallel flats? Do they have the same internal room layouts? What decorations do they have? What do they get up to in their flats? What are their lives like?

I live in London so of course I don’t actually know any of my neighbours. I think the new couple downstairs have young children, possibly including a new baby. And the people upstairs may also have a young baby. But who knows? I’ve never met any of them other than in passing.

The other day I received this letter (and I’m assuming all my neighbours did too):

I don’t normally hear my neighbours, although I do often have music playing or the TV on. I’ve never noticed a noisy neighbour. Does that mean that I’m the problem? I feel like my volumes are kept at a “moderate level”, plus I’m normally in bed between 10pm and 7am. And is it saying that they’ve had *complaints* from a number of flats, or that they’ve had *noise disturbances* from a number of flats?

Either way, it has made me wonder what my neighbours can hear of me. I can sometimes hear their activities but can never make out anything distinctively. So can my neighbours hear me? Maybe sometimes, but probably nothing significant. But Alexa, she hears everything.