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Three years already...

Mom by a lake
Let's gloss over the part where it was a frigid mid-winter evening...

Three years.



The notables

Honestly not a lot has happened in my life. Sure, I wrote a game and blew up a pumpkin and grew potatoes a few times, but since I'm kind of boring person, there's not actually much that stands out in the categories of Lose, Gain, Fail, and Win.
But, let's do it anyway. There's at least something, right?



I have lost somebody every year since.

  • 2019 - Mom
  • 2020 - Nou
  • 2021 - Wawa
  • 2022 - Alison

No, Alison hasn't died (thankfully!), but earlier in the year she sent a text saying that she'd sold her house and was returning to the UK.
So not a choice I would have made... ☺

There are two reasons people tend to bring their overseas adventure to a crashing halt and "go back".

The first is when they get seriously ill. It's bad enough to deal with a heart attack or flu or an odd lump where a lump ought not be, but if you have to deal with that with no real comprehension of the language, it's terrifying. A local ex-pat had what she called a "heart flutter". Went to the local hospital. Spent most of the time crying her eyes out (mom and I saw them in passing as she was going for her squash-and-go breast examination). She packed and left that evening, had a neighbour handle packing up the contents and putting the house on the market.

The second is family. Perhaps as people get older, the whole international adventure thing starts to lose the sparkle. Being over here no longer has the allure, instead you have long winter nights to reflect on how you're missing out on so much time with your children, or grandchildren. Sure, they come over for holidays and it's great fun, but it's not the same thing as being a short drive away.
I think Alison missed her family. Perfectly legitimate reason to return, but when it's pretty much my only actual in-person friend, it's... a loss.

Now for a massive loss.
Let's just say "Fuck Brexit" and leave it at that.

Lockdowns. Covid. End of the world is nigh, blah blah.

Eagle '80s. No more news and info from Guildford. So instead of listening to that, I had to find something else to listen to and settled on PPN that played symphonic metal until it all went awry (I'm thinking drive failure?). So now I listen to a mix of Love '80s Manchester and Pangea (semi-symphonic metal with a more goth leaning, there's no Freedom Call here, that shit's way too happy!).
I also found a good Goth station, Gothique13, which played stuff like The Cure and Theatre of Tragedy but didn't delve into the sort of "industrial" and "thrash" scenes that so many other stations seem to want to include. Nah, I'm just aiming for straight forward depressing melodies in a minor key. Is that so hard? Anyway, G13 just died one day and hasn't ever been resurrected. Kind of fitting, I guess.



Well, I'm a homeowner now. This pile of rocks, wood, and assorted sparrows is my home. My home.
To be honest, I haven't quite gotten used to that idea yet. I mean, I could if I wanted strip the aged wallpaper and spraypaint the living room bright magenta, lime green, and cyan (no, not cerulean!).
I could, doesn't mean I will. I mean, my god, it would be like an acid trip into the heart of teletext, wouldn't it?

I'm also the owner (sort of, she would disagree) of a not particularly tame pile of fur by the name of Anna. Or Psychopathic Mini Murder Machine, depending on her mood. She seems to like being around me, but if she feels bored she has no qualms with trying to attack me with the same vigour that she aims at mice.
It's probably just as well she's locked up in my absence - dozy furball would probably wander up to a cow, cock her head sideways, then say "you're going down" before attempting to do exactly that.
I mean, Nou used to bring home pieces of hare. Or, should I say, pieces of a creature larger than he was. Pretty damn sure I'm glad I didn't witness any of that...

As you might have noticed, I'm rather political. Well, it's pretty easy to mock Tories to be honest.
It's like taking candy from a small child, eating it, and handing back the empty wrapper. Which is, I think, a rough analogy of the Tory policy towards anybody who isn't rich.
It's like shooting fish in a barrel, using a guided missile. Which is, I think, a rough analogy of the current Tory economic policy.
So it should probably come as no surprise, therefore, in that having the better half of my identity torn away by other people, I changed my site to a .eu domain and my blog's colour scheme to the colours of the EU flag. I think I already mentioned my thoughts on Brexit...
And since we have such a non-stop shitshow running Britain (May, Johnson, Truss...), there's no end of things to mock savagely. I've already said that a historical review of the 2020s would be filed in the fiction section of the library (library? wassat? it'll be tagged "fiction" on Amazon...), I don't think even a satirist could have come up with a fiscal policy such as that unveiled by whatever-the-hell-his-name-is.

The Birthday Massacre - how have they existed so long before I knew about them?

Lockdowns, Covid. As an introvert (or maybe some sort of autistic?), I actually found the lockdowns didn't really change much in my life. I couldn't go to Big Town because it was in a different region (a rule totally useless because it was okay to cross regions for work so everybody mingled anyway), and I had to have annoying paperwork filled out for every visit to the supermarket.
But asides from that - which was not unexpected, France is enamoured with paperwork, if anything happens, there's a form to fill out. Hit on the head by an aileron that fell off the side of a Boeing 737-Max? I bet there's a form for it.
Anyway, asides from that, by and large, the lockdowns (which were quite harsh in France) were akin to saying to the everybody "welcome to my world". This is how I live. Like, on purpose.

But, oh my god it was nice driving on empty roads. I pushed the pedal a little, opened her up, cruised along at 30mph! 😂



Let's face it, I've done practically nothing inside the house. Mom's bedroom has only been touched in so much as placing the contents of a drawer on her bed in order to find an important bit of paper. I still don't go in there, like at all.
There are piles of things around. Mom's things. I've pretty much left them.

I think I probably need to hire a skip and have a huge clear out. Maybe also see if my RiscPC is functional or if the battery has made it landfill. But, you know, if I've not felt ready to do anything with mom's belongings in three years, when will I feel ready?

Another fail is abandoning driving lessons. I didn't get as far as signing up, simply got the book and access (now expired) to an on-line test for the theoretical part. I did have some difficulties with that because the questions are asked in spoken form, not written. So by the time I'd worked out what the question was, there was barely time to think about the correct answer.
But that's not the reason I've let it drop. The reason for that is the illegitimate conflict being waged by a Russian bastard against Ukraine. This caused the already high fuel prices to shoot up. I see people putting seventy, eighty, a hundred euros into their cars.
Me? Ten days, ten euros (and twenty centimes). Going to work and back is about a euro a day. Okay, granted, it's a dinky car that goes nowhere slowly, but it takes me to where I want to go and given the price of fuel with my general dislike of driving, plus the difficulties with the test... it just didn't seem like a good time to continue with plans to have a driving licence.

Two words: Burger King.

My novel(la). In PET scanner waiting rooms and the summer holiday mom was in hospital, I wrote something like 97 pages. And haven't progressed any further. Always something else to do. Like writing this crap. ☺

I figured out the MEMC CAM table for memory allocations, and even wrote a little tool to dump the table.
Why a fail? Because I was only thirty three years late...



Being handed the keys to a car, driving myself home from work on a rainy November night with no previous experience and not falling off the road or dying in other bizarre ways.
And then three days later going to Châteaubriant.

I suppose the fact that I've had zero accidents and have neither crashed nor died (even a little) probably ought to count as a win.

Two words: Burger King. Whatever that was, it was straight up the worst food poisoning I've ever had in my life. I thought puking a solid ten times was off the scale. But I hadn't finished...
You're probably wondering why this is a win. Well, it was an event so awful that it has pretty much brought an abrupt halt to any desire to engage in any form of fast food. Which is probably better for my health and is certainly better for my bank account.

Getting a ride-on mower. Even a capricious heap such as Marte is, the difference between the old walky mower and the ride-on cannot be overstated. It's given me a vast amount of additional free time, which I have used to lay in to brambles.

Which means, it's pretty much obligatory to include "the potato patch" as a win. Using the time gained by the big mower and the time available due to part time working during the first lockdown, I took a mass of brambles taller than myself and... with a dimension of eleven paces by twenty five... and cleared it, removed an old crappy barbed wire fence, and have turned it into a place to grow veg.
And then did much the same thing along the edge of the driveway to be this year's potato patch.

The Birthday Massacre - how have they existed so long before I knew about them?

Sorting out my residency permit, by myself, entirely in French. I very specifically chose not to do any of it in English. It included two trips to Rennes... on public transport.

Big win - going to Nantes. On purpose. And looking at a giant mechanical elephant. If I go again, I'm going to have to take a town map so I can get on the right trams, because "that's the right direction" doesn't mean a thing when it veers off somewhere completely different!

Fixing an old washing machine. Fixing the fridge too.



Like I said, I'm not interesting. I didn't buy a company, make a million, kill a million, get elected, or invade Russia. Ho hum.

I guess I'll go put the kettle on and, I dunno, make pancakes?



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Jeff Doggett, 29th September 2022, 20:53
Hmmm, the picture at the top reminds me of Eleven looking into the water at her ruined wig.
Anon, 29th September 2022, 23:40
Fuel prices... relatable. 
I drive a mid-size saloon car which I'm not going to name (it's German and has a name that sounds like the most common size of paper in the UK). It's a diesel, but it has a 65 litre fuel tank. 
I let the tank run down to the red a few weeks back (still 50 miles left according to the computer). Went to fill up. The Shell app authorises up to £100 on a transaction. 
Problem - with fuel prices as they are, I managed to draw just over 3/4 of a tank before it cut off. I had to reset the pump, re-authorise the app and finish filling up. 
Yes. £130 to fill the tank. 
On the plus side that will get me nearly 600 miles before it needs filling up again. But it all comes in one big hit.

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