Dreaming the dream!

So it is 3.33am as I write this, the heating is now back on after 3 days of being off and it was uncomfortable and depressing to be without it for a few days. I had to persevere with try with trying to get in contact with the right person to come and fix it, I also got some advice from a Facebook group on how to contact my landlord which was really helpful. One of the pieces of advice was to contact the team I work for in the council on Monday but luckily it is all fixed now so I should not have to worry about it for a while (fingers crossed).

I had just woke up from yet another war like dream this time it was about Russia invading and attacking Ireland and bombing the place with some kind of poisonous gas. I feel extremely sorry for those people in the Ukraine living in such a cold country at this time of year going through an invasion by their neighbour, going without electricity, gas and food on or near the front line. It’s still very unclear to see what will happen with regard to the outcome of the war and what Putin wants to happen. I do worry that it could still escalate into world was 3 in our life time and that really is a scary prospect and that worry does appear to be showing up in my subconscious as I hope for the best but fear the worst.

Oxygene Part 4 (extended) – JeanMichel Jarre.

Planning for a future

I do not normally do New Year’s resolutions but I also find that this is the time of year to reflect on what has happened in the past and where I am now and what might happen in the future.

I am now 46 I have no children or partner I am in full time work, which is relatively stable and if I am lucky I might be able to retire in say 20 years or so. The combination of these facts got me thinking that I should try and do a little financial planning in order to make sure I have a roof over my head and a meal in my belly and can buy what I need not just today but for in the future too.

First things first and I have to admit I find having any money or planning what to do with it not normal part of my life, up until the last few years I have never really had a disposable income to have as savings for years and decades I lived within my means not earning a lot and not spending a lot.

When people were settling into university life and planning how there careers would develop, I went off the rails taking illegal drugs which although my brain loved the experience and times that I had, it did me no good academically and certainly did damage my mental health and long term financial stability. But even without the drug taking I don’t think my brain is made for academic achievement. I have tried a few times trying to study and I get lost in words and tremendously forgetful during exams regarding facts and figures. I’m dyslexic which I only discovered and had diagnosed at my first stint in university and when I undertook IQ tests they would show I have a high capacity for reasoning and problem solving but a low score on such things as memory tests. I find it much easier to remember things that I have an emotional connection to rather than dry facts or quotes of ideas and opinions from others.

Though this is no poor me story as I think I would not be the person that I am pleased to be today had it not been for the long and winding road I have travelled and continue to travel upon. Although there are times in my life I regret doing what I did and I hope I learned from those situations and decisions and there are also times when I think what I have done is something good not just for myself but for others to.

Well with this years planning for the future I am actually trying to find ways to save, invest and provide for myself in the future mainly trying to make sure I have some kind of income when I retire. During the first lock down I was still in work and with not going out and working at home a lot more I had a little disposable income that I wanted to experiment with and so I started putting savings into an ISA a (savings account in the UK that does not get taxed and you try and pay a monthly amount in to accumulate savings in). I also started to look at ways of buying stocks or shares. Now I love a little gamble but the idea of gambling on life savings where you do long term investments into things that go up and down feels a little bit of an oxymoron in other words contradictory.

Small time investors like me have no easy way of saving money and making a reasonably good return on funds that goes on to beat inflation and there for increase the amount of money you have (and after loads of research trials and tribulations I am afraid this is still very much the case.

I have tried slowly saving up a few hundred pounds here or there in a stocks and shares account purchasing a few stocks (the easiest way I can describe a stock is a fund where people invest your money on your behalf in the items they believe will make the most money for you and also ideally risk losing the least amount of money for you also). I also bought a couple of shares in a gaming company in the UK called Games Workshop ( a share is like owning a small amount of a company directly). I have played their games since I was a kid and still play some of their computer games and so thought it would be a good place to buy some shares in a company that had the potential to grow.

I am no venture capitalist but do with what little means I have still invested in my future. I am not used to having savings or thinking about pensions and so trying to make my savings and pensions work harder for me is still a new concept and this is very much an ongoing new thing for me.

I would not invest in crypto currencies and strongly don’t believe that they have any economic grounding or long term future at all. A digital currency not supported by a country, it’s just there for the sake of making someone more money, just makes no real economic sense to me it feels more like a modern day pyramid scheme where those that create the currencies will become exceptionally rich but those that try to follow on afterwards will at some time sooner or later get burned and lose whatever savings they have in said crypto currencies. I do realise that all financial markets and products are in many ways a gamble but I also want to have at least some sort of a chance that my little gamble might at least keep up with inflation and at best make some profit I am not looking to shoot to the stars of crypto currency highs only to fall back down to earth with a bang when the latest crypto currency goes bust.

Money – Pink Floyd

Happy New Year 2023

Well we made it, another year turns to dust as a new one rises from its ashes.

I hope I’m right in writing that it is 2023! I feel like in some ways in the early hours of this morning I have woken up as a time traveler. Wanting to ask just one simple question which is ‘what year is it?’ hoping that the first random person I see will answer that it’s 2023.

As mum had to go into hospital a week before Christmas it kind of put us all out of kilt. We cancelled Christmas Dinner and dad’s partner had the flue so dad cancelled opening his presents this year, his are still under the darn Christmas tree. My dad has never really been excited about Christmas present opening though so having an excuse or reason not to open his presents in 2022 was something that he took all in his stride.

In his defence he does want to hopefully open his presents with his partner when he sees him when he is feeling better, which is fare enough but there was no way I could have the will power to keep my gifts unwrapped this long. We finally got around to cooking a Christmas lunch on new year’s eve and I am pleased to say I did most of the cooking and the food was lush even if I do say so myself.

The image above is of particular significance to me relating to many, many people I know love and respect in my life. And I wish them all a positive, prosperous and happy new year in 2023.

Friends, family, fellow bloggers and people I work with too. Sometimes I see simple random acts of kindness, courage and love from others that just show an insight into the depth of goodness in their souls that makes me happy to know that I know them and have them in some way in my life.

No one can no what tomorrow brings but built on the acts deeds and ideas of yesterday today can be another good day.

The Phoenix Foundation – Buffalo

The war on climate change – just your typical father and son small talk!

I went out for a meal with my father last week, a sort of pre-birthday pub meal for him and as so often happens we got talking about the world, democracy and climate change, you know just your typical type of small talk you might say!

The way that it came up in the conversation it really is very much like the areas of conversation were all connected. My father is an educated man, more intelligent than me by far, has a better grasp of the English language, loves to read books and also listens a lot to BBC radio 4 which is our UK radio station for informing people and educating people.

So he is well armed to have a discussion about almost any subject matter and express his views on it eloquently and to the point.

Whereas for me on the other hand I am a news junkie mostly about what is going on in the local area as well as globally the good and bad. From watching the news on the TV, reading articles on the web and also keeping an eye on social media and blogs. I am also dyslexic and struggle to read books and struggle to remember what I have read  so I don’t tend to gain information from long articles or books, my memory has evolved in a different way, where I have an emotional memory that  remembers things in relation to my emotional connection to them or from a pictorial or visual stimulus too rather than from remembering words from a page I would rather look at pictures that as they say is worth a thousand words.

There are many things that me and my Dad agree on but also it seems the longer you talk to anyone about any subject the more you find to disagree about rather than agree. We are both fearful for the future of the planet and humanity, we both in our own way try to do our own bit whether that is simply recycling consuming ethically, donating to charities and also advocating change for others when appropriate. But when it comes to our world views he is very much a pessimist and thinks we are all doomed and hopes he is wrong where as I am very much more of an optimist and hope we are not all doomed and hope I am not proven wrong.

With the recent heat waves, fires and lack of rain that have struck Europe over the last few weeks it always makes me think that although we might have it bad here its far worse in the area of the globe that have had famine, food shortages and lack of water for decades such places in Africa that are far hotter it than us for far longer too make me feel like there can never be time for a poor me attitude for how bad I might think I have ever had it in relation to how bad others have and will have it in the future.  

We had a brief respite from the heat today when a storm came over Exeter, it was only a little one but the air and coolness in that storm and rain was sweet.

Storm clouds over Exeter today

Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song

WordPress.com has listend to its customers

Earlier this year WordPress.com changed its pricing table from five to just two plans (Free and a $15/month Pro plan). At the time I was worried that this would prevent new people from joining WordPress.com as the cost or reduced service would mean that less people like myself would be able to join and experience all the benfits people on a plan liek mine could have.  

WordPress.com has now bravely in my opinion reverted back to the previous pricing model that attracted me to join when I purchased my blog. Hopefully WordPress.com appreciating that what they have now and what they had before worked just fine and as with the invention of the wheel if it’s not broken don’t fix it.

Certainly in my present work place and places I have worked in the past prior to that it is very rare to get the chief executive of any organisation to listen and adapt to circumstance in a way that benefits others let alone me and that is exactly what WordPress.com have just done so respect to them for that.

Amy MacDonald – Slow It Down

The Matrix has you!

When they learn how to plug you into a digital world, you might not ever know how to unplug and come back to the real world or even the reason why you should. They will probably start plugging in the old, disabled and poor into a new matrix of control as an act of kindness, in order to save us from ourselves.

My mum has finally sold her home in Cornwall and due to move to Devon next Wednesday; we are all really looking forward to it. Though moving during an energy crisis is not the easiest time to move if you’re trying to save money on your energy bills. Mum has spent hours over the last week on the phone to utility companies, banks and council officers trying to update her home location status with them and there are very few people left in those organisations to take her calls due to the reduction in customer services employees and a push to do everything online.

One of the key roles that I have to do in my job at the council in Exeter is answer the phone and speak to customers and as such my job is also under threat due to long term restructuring aims seeing this role as a money saving cost effective form of progress to get rid of. This so called progress has forced me to bounce in and out of work for the last 26 years of my working life, sometimes choosing to apply for new jobs prior to an organisation or role being shut down or sometimes being made redundant due to restructuring issues and businesses closing down while I am still employed at them.

I can honestly say I am a very good hardworking and dedicated employee in an area of employment that people no longer wish to employ. I know for a fact that the work that I do is hard work and still needs to be done. I solve problems that are presented to my organisations, I am always busy there is always something important that needs to be done. By sacking people like me that need to answer phones and work with customers it does not make those customers problems go away it just means those customers are either ignored now or processed via a different channel.

This job is one of the many work roles in the UK that has been rapidly phased out by many companies there is a money saving exercise to increase profits by not enabling customers to speak to staff in business and government agencies.

First that sacked the face to face staff and I did not speak out, although I too was made redundant.

Then they came for the staff that talked to customers over the phone and again I did not speak out and again I was at risk and at times made redundant or moved on.

Finally the aim will likely be to digitise the workings of staff customer service roles so that there will be none left to hire, and likely none left to speak out too!

I strongly disagree with the digitising and outsourcing to computers of employed roles within any organisations and my main reason for this is that is businesses do not need to hire people and people do not have money from working to afford to pay to put a roof over their head and feed and clothe themselves then the state will not hand them those resources on a plate.

Either so called wealthy societies such as ours learn to adapt to look after and resource their most vulnerable members of society be they pensioners, disabled or the out of work or there will be a considerable amount of damage and ongoing suffering in society to these vulnerable individuals people claim to care but often money and actions or even lack of money and lack of action speaks louder than words.

No mainstream political party in the UK grasps this nettle at present as both Labour and the Conservative parties consistently want to chase the right wing element of the voting public in this country which is why the labour party do not have my vote in the upcoming council elections and it is a labour party that is presently facilitating my next round of redundancy at the council.

I have just written to my local MP Ben Bradshaw asking him if he wholeheartedly endorse the new planned restructuring of employment roles that are going to take place at Exeter council by a labour council and merely blames the Conservative for the cuts that will be endorsed in customer services roles and can he explain to me why I should vote Labour in the next council election and vote in my own potential redundancy at the hand of a Labour lead Exeter Council?

Though I cannot stop the world from spinning even when it appears to be spinning out of control, I can at least look to make sense of the madness and express my disapproval in my own way to my political representatives at the very least.  

Turned my light down low

Simon & Garfunkel – The sound of Silence

Well as I write this its 18:10 and my brain in the last few days has become more silent. I am not saying that less horrible things are happening in this world or that I could not quickly find something terrible to tell you or terribly good for that matter.

But as for my ability or will to write about them now has diminished (for now). I have been working in my day job since lock down and am due to start my new job on the 13th July.

I have been preparing for this next chapter of my life. By walking into the city, shopping in the city and wearing my mask when I get the bus. But throughout all this preparation my will and ability to express myself on here has decreased.

It would be nice if the job goes well, covid-19 is defeated and politicians do the right thing by the whole of humanity and not just for their own pockets of supporters or potential supporters. I tend to criticise those in power the most because they are ultimately the ones that can actually save lives and make sh*t happen. The ones out of power are just peeing in the wind waiting for their next chance to get into office normally or at least that is how it seems to work in the UK from a shallow perspective.

I hope if you have got this far in reading this that you are well and continue to be well. I really have enjoyed writing every darn word and if you get bored anytime I dare you to look over old posts there is a lot of my heart and soul that has gone into making this thing.

I will try and continue to post on here but like I say my mind has become more silent of late and I don’t yet know what that means but it feels like a positive necessity to heal or recharge my batteries.

God bless us everyone.

Florence + The Machine – Shake it Out

Well maybe tomorrow?

Before I went to bed yesterday I knew I was struggling and looking for guidance and so I picked up two books looking for help but with the views that I hold and the hopes that mean so much to me I could find no inspiration from the pages that I turned to.

I feel a little burnt out at the moment running on an emptying can of gas. Not quite arrived at my destination but knowing that in order to get anywhere now there is no turning back. I have no idea about my final destination it’s rumoured it might be nice. But so long as it gives me comfort and a rest I know I will be fine.

So I have the start date of my new job now July baby here I come. I am trying to set things straight in my old job and make sure my colleagues know how to do the job I have been doing before I leave.

I am very nervous about what lies ahead not just for me and whether I will be able to do the new job (as I feel a little damaged from what has happened this year). But also nervous about the whole Covin-19 future and how that will shape out.   

I always hope that each day the world gets a little kinder, a little bit of a better place for souls to be born into and live and die. But sometimes you just don’t know if that is a mirage or really happening.

That kind of sums up where I am too at the moment don’t know if it really is getting better or just a mirage in which I am waiting for the next thing to happen.  

Stereophonics – Maybe Tomorrow

A time of rebirth

I have become obsessed and passionate about ecocide and rewilding since lockdown in my bubble. Globally there are many areas of wildlife that can be rewilded and enable the eco-defence shield and buffering of Mother Nature or earth, but the re-establishment of wildlife areas and prevention of the dismantlement of what is still left is in no way a certainty. It must be advocated for, worked for and potentially managed. The costs of not doing this are far greater than any cost spent to achieve it.

I strongly believe that by protecting the future of the land and seas we protect the future of man and without the land and seas there is no future.

There is a strong rebirth at the moment into looking to re-evaluate the recent and long-term history of humanity and more specifically an acknowledgment of the slave trade and injustice to ethnic minorities. People are now seekers of truth and justice and wish for a new vision of history and the right to a new and fairer future and society.

Though this change of perspective, thought shift or acknowledgment of pain and a need for healing has come about due to great personal hurt, anger and tragedy. I hope that there is potential for a greater positivity and good to be achieved from this moment in time.

I also feel that as well as looking to the scars and bloodied past of human history we should also look to the scars and bloodied past of the land and sea hence my focus on ecocide and rewilding.

We must though endeavour not to be haunted by our pasts but enlightened by it.

Song – Times Like these