Cover Image for Beating The Promotion

Beating The Promotion


I was reminded of this exchange with recently, and realised that I had never posted it. Basically, back when I thought I was vaguely dateable, circa 2017 (and I didn’t even own property back then), I came across a special offer from which was that if I didn’t have a girlfriend by Valentine’s Day, then I’d get a full refund. Challenge accepted! How hard could it be to still be single 6 months after signing up? Refund Request to Dear Match I succumbed during a weak moment of loneliness around a year ago into signing up for I …

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Welcome to Croydon


Another one of those posts that I meant to write a long time ago – like 4 months ago, but hey, Welcome to Croydon. I arrived in November, after living in the south of Spain for nearly a month. Once the initial wonder of actually having my own place settled in, albeit I’d had my own place(s) in Spain for the previous month, I was wondering around in the cold and dark, wondering what kind of place Croydon was. I was a little unnerved – appreciating the M&S within walking distance, but really missing Spain. Christ, what am I doing …

Detox is over…long live retox. The feeling is a bit like moving into my flat…phew…it’s over. What took it so long? Yet it officially ended on Monday, and it took me two days to celebrate it. At first I really wasn’t feeling it. The first few weeks of January I was pretty miserable – memories of 4 weeks in Spain were long gone, the weather was cold and crap, bills were flooding in, I didn’t do as much as usual – little in the way of trips to theatre, etc – and I couldn’t have a beer. It almost put …

Cover Image for How Many Holidays Could I Have In A Year?

How Many Holidays Could I Have In A Year?


Back in September, when I was on the beach in Gandia, I started to think how nice it would be to have one week’s holiday every single month. Alas, 5*12 does not go into the 25 days’ holiday allowance that M&S offers. So how many holidays could I have in a year? Definition Of A Holiday I guess we need to start by defining a holiday. I think it needs to be some stay away from home, which isn’t my parents home, for a minimum of 2 nights.. So a weekend in Devon, staying Friday and Saturday night is a …

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2024 Goals


Yay it’s one of my favourite blog posts of the year – that of my 2024 Goals. I try to ensure that I can track every one of these goals, yes I do have too many spreadsheets and keep too much data. I should get out more, but also I now have an expensive flat so I shall go out less. There’s only so much I can do in a year – this is to try to ensure that I get maximum enjoyment out of life, but also improve my conditions so that I can continue to enjoy life even …

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Review Of 2023 Goals


So in 2022 I managed a 61.6% success rate in terms of reaching my goals – could I beat it in 2023? Time to review and see how I did: Health Lose 12kg. Well I actually lost weight in 2022. Not quite 12kg, but 6kg. Happy with that. 50% success. Do 3 forms of exercise that are not walking. Lol, maybe in 2024. 0% success. Get some data on my health. Well I’ve started measuring my blood pressure. 33% success. Find out what sorting my teeth out will cost. I did send an e-mail to a private dentist but didn’t …

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23 Moments Of 2023


Welcome to my moments of 2023 – as usual these are not highlights, though most of them are. They are the most important moments of 2023 in my life. I achieved some pretty whopping things in 2023 – bought a flat, left Harrow, spent 6 weeks in foreign countries including living there. And I damn well enjoyed quite a lot of it. However, it all has to be taken into context with the first of the 23 moments, and pretty much the first thing that happened in 2023. 23. Heart failure So my sister took herself to hospital on New …

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Favourite Things Of 2023


So I thought I’d do a little collection of my favourite things from 2023. Starting with food, because, well, it’s like the most super important thing ever. It really is. Believe it or not, I need food more than I need holidays. Favourite Restaurant Meal I’ve ticked off quite a few restaurants this year, not as many as I’d like to as my socialising tends to be focused around the Sunday roast. Some of them are pretty ordinary yet good, like Honest Burgers, Brindisa, Ceviche, others a little disappointing like Steak & Co or German Gymnasium. Butchie’s did some amazing …

Cover Image for James Went To Benalmádena (on the Costa Del Sol)

James Went To Benalmádena (on the Costa Del Sol)


It feels like ages ago, though was only towards the end of October, in the week before the clocks went back, that I went to Benalmádena. Why Benalmádena? Well, I needed somewhere fairly cheap to stay as I was being evicted from my old place, and the flat I was buying in Croydon was still 2, 3, 4, 178, fuck knows weeks away from completion. An Airbnb in London was like £100 a night, an Airbnb on the Costa Del Sol was £40 a night. I expected to be 3-4 weeks in Spain at a minimum, so I needed somewhere …

Cover Image for The Limbo In Spain Means I’m Mainly Avoiding The Rain – My Spanish Limbo

The Limbo In Spain Means I’m Mainly Avoiding The Rain – My Spanish Limbo


Well I thought I might be completing on the flat today, but c’est la vie or whatever the Spanish translation is – esta la vida? Instead I’m stuck in my Spanish limbo for a little longer. Oh no, hot Spanish women, glorious sunshine and 21’C, you may think. And you are right. But it hasn’t all been full of joy. I keep having to remind myself – I’m still doing my 9-5 – I occasionally start getting carried away with excitement then have to stop myself. Plus I was on call one week, and we were on high alert too …

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James Went To Gandia


There’s going to be a few of these. James went to Gandia. James went to Valencia. James went to Benalmádena. James went to Malaga. Who knows, I might even get some more places ticked off by time my solicitors and the management company decide that I can buy the flat that I put an offer in for 7 MONTHS AGO. Firstly, don’t go to Gandia. The city, that is. I had a wander through Google Street View before we went on holiday, and crowned Gandia as the “Slough of Spain”. And then I found out a TV programme that was …

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Two Flights Cancelled & An Eviction


This is Watford County Court. You have been evicted from Harrow. Please leave the damp, grotty house. I had a great September. Honest. I really enjoyed it – had some gorgeous tapas before I even went to Spain, a fun day out in London for my sister’s birthday, a fun and drunken work do, visits from the parents, watched Crazy For You in theatre, had one excellent roast dinner, a long walk in the gorgeous summer sunshine (wasn’t the weather great to start the month) and went to see the only politician I can stand nowadays, Rory Stewart, at the …

Cover Image for James Went To Paris (Again)

James Went To Paris (Again)


Third time’s a charm, right? I think this was my third trip to Paris anyway, though possibly fourth if I’ve forgotten one. And it was kind of special to be going there with my sister after the challenges of this year – if you know, you know. Eurostar was the choice – I had 23 year’s worth of Nectar points that I could use, so that covered most of the ticket price. Our hotel was a CitizenM – a compact room but with air conditioning that you control, lighting, a really comfortable bed, a powerful shower – and was designed …

Cover Image for Could I Vote Conservative In The Next General Election?

Could I Vote Conservative In The Next General Election?


Could I vote Conservative in the next general election? No. Blog over. Thanks for reading. Firstly, I’ve not changed politically, at least not much over the last 10 years or so. I still believe that Margaret Thatcher was the best Prime Minister this country had, at least since Winston Churchill – my knowledge of Prime Ministers before then is limited. I still believe in prudent financial management of the economy – I believe in lower deficits (remember that?!), lower debt – and having more money in the long-term to spend on whatever the priorities become. I still believe in individual …

I am needy. Did you know that? Firstly I need some sunshine. What has happened to our summer? It promised so much, at least for June and July – June delivered, wow – it was glorious. All the long-range models and most background signals pointed to July being hot, often sunny though they did point to reasonable amounts of rain – from occasional thundery outbreaks. Yet…it is autumn instead. So it has started me on the hunt for holidays – well, not just the lack of sunshine but also the soul evisceration of house-sharing, which I know is coming to …

Cover Image for Summer Fortunes To Spending Fortunes

Summer Fortunes To Spending Fortunes


I love May and June – late spring, early summer is where I always seem to get the most enjoyment out of life, the best feeling. The weather is potentially at its best – not quite peak heat of summer, there can be long spells of glorious weather, as there was this year, there are good chances of thunderstorms – though of course not with my storm shield deflecting them. The trees are blooming (albeit hayfever can sting), flowers looking gorgeous – I love passing by wild flower hedges, ducklings will have hatched – life is blooming once more. My …

Cover Image for Fucking Banks.  Part 1 (Probably)

Fucking Banks. Part 1 (Probably)


So I got the news today that the bank that I was expecting to get a mortgage with have responded that “the valuer currently has advised Accord that he doesn’t deem the property to suitable security at this present time as they are over exposed on the block”. Fuck off. Fucking banks. Appreciate that I’m 15 years behind the trend here and everyone was way ahead of me on fucking off banks. It took a while for my mortgage broker to find this place as most banks will no longer lend on blocks of flats that high due to the …

Cover Image for 2017 – Debt Repayment Plan

2017 – Debt Repayment Plan


Another old series of e-mails that I wanted to publish but never got around to it – regarding my debt to Reading Council from 2010. I wanted to try to reduce my payments when I was unemployed in 2017. My Original Request Dear Sir I have been repaying a debt from your over-payments to me for some time now. I called last week to check how much was left to pay, and was advised that the sum remaining was £75.00. Part of the reason for my call was also to advise that I am currently unable to make any more …

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Complaints From 2017: Hull Trains


Another old complaint that I thought I’d post, seeing as a whole 2 people read the last one. This time to Hull Trains. Me: Good afternoon I have just been through the trauma of purchasing tickets on your website. I wanted to purchase three tickets, however there were only two tickets at the price. One would have thought that one would have been able to buy all three at the same time, with one of them in the next price band. Alas, no, the website would instead try to charge me the next price band for all three tickets. Were …

Cover Image for Where To Go On Holiday Next?

Where To Go On Holiday Next?


So I’ve reached the “I need a holiday stage” of year, given that it is a whole two months since I was on an aeroplane, and am wondering where to go next. I have a big list of places that I want to go to, so I don’t need any recommendations. You want the list? Fine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. GothenburgLuxembourghGranadaValenciaSan SebastianCordobaRondaBilbaoAthensNaplesFlorenceSaltzbergSarajevoOdessaFareo IslesKotorTallinnPortoVilniusDubrovnikOslo to BergenMontpellier KrakówČeský KrumlovLjubljanaSofiaPragueSicilyBuenos AiresMontrealMarrakechMedellínChicagoIstanbulBariSardiniaTel AvivMadeiraTiranaTbilisi Plus I want to go to every single European Capital Of Culture. Spain So I have to go back to España. There’s a few Spanish things that I find rather …

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