One of my photos

The invisible man

February 21st, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

One thing that nobody warned me about when I decided to become a scooterist was that you become a non-person as far as traffic lights are concerned.  A couple of times I have been sitting at a red light that just never changes because the bike does not get detected by the induction loop under the road. You just have to sit there like an idiot until a car comes along behind you and then the lights will change. This is a real issue if you are going through Manor Royal at night when you can sit for 10 minutes or more without a car coming along, and even 5 minutes feels like an hour when you are at a red light on an empty road. [Read more →]

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All you can eat statistics

February 21st, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

One of the good things that the UK government does is to make piles of its datasets available on the internet. I find it quite easy to get lost in piles of data, making odd connections or discovering unexpected things. This evening I have been looking at vehicle statistics, which are here. [Read more →]

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Obligatory summary of 2017

January 22nd, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

Come the end of the year I believe it is customary to post a round up of the previous 12 months, or they take your blogging licence away or something, but I never really got round to it and now that 2018 is three weeks old already it is probably too late. [Read more →]

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Broom Broom

January 22nd, 2018 · Posted by Skuds in Life

The nippy little Peugeot Kisbee

This weekend I added to my list of travel options for getting around town, by buying a scooter. I intend to keep the mighty Vulcan for cycling, and and intend to walk into the town centre some of the time, but its nice to have a bit more choice, especially when I am in a hurry.

Yes it probably is a bit midlife crisis, but in a sensible sort of way. [Read more →]

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And pigs might fly

December 16th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I was watching the news today and they had a royal expert on there. Incidentally, that must surely be one of the most pointless jobs in the world, along with royal corresponant. Anyway, they were talking about wedding of whichever prince it is that is getting married next year – I am being vague because I keep getting them mixed up – and how it clashed with the FA Cup final.

The issue being that the prince who isn’t getting married is the chair of the FA. The news anchor asked the royal expert how the prince would feel if ‘his beloved Aston Villa’ was playing in the final and he had to miss it. At first I thought the expert was doing a good job of keeping a straight face and then realised that he actually didn’t realise what a ridiculous question it was and that Aston Villa getting to the FA Cup final is about as likely as me beating Michael Van Gerwen in the PDC World Championship.

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Songs of 2017

December 15th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Another new feature on Spotify is a play list called “Your top songs 2017” which I assume is tracks I have lisened to the most during the year. If that is the case then I am quite surprised by some of the items on it. [Read more →]

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I am not a nerd, but…

December 4th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life

After a full day (0930 to 1930) doing interviewing for the local Labour party, and after getting a late dinner and going out for a walk with the dogs, it was time to unwind, reading a bit of the book I just started. I turned the page and the top of the next page started with the line “Libertarian paternalism, we think, is a promising foundation for bipartisanship“.

I think that may be the point I had a few nagging doubts about my ability to enjoy myself properly. I’m sure I used to be a bit more exciting than this.


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Golden arches over London

November 23rd, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I have spent the last couple of days visiting London for some meetings. On Tuesday I was in Stratford, practically in the shadow of West Ham’s stadium and on Wednesday I was at St Katherine’ Dock. So much has changed since I was last in London and compared to when I used to live there a lot of it is almost unrecognisable, especially London Bridge station, which I used to pass through a couple of times a day.

I have to admit that the travelling just tired me out because I am not used to it any more. I seemed natural and normal when I was doing it every day for years, but seven years of having a 5-minute commute give me a different perspective and I can’t imagine going back to all that hassle – and paying five grand a year for it, or whatever it is now.

But it was good to be able to stroll around and see all the landmarks like the Tower of London, the Shard, HMS Belfast, the London stadium and the ArcelorMittal Orbit, City Hall, Tower Bridge and all the rest.

Coming home today I had a long wait for the next train so I got a coffee and pastry at one of the many snack kiosks in the station. I think it was a Delice de France and it came to nearly a fiver. Yesterday I was a bit early and had breakfast in McDonalds in Stratford: it cost less than £2.50 for pancakes and sausage with coffee which is less than just coffee in any of the coffee shops. It is easy to be snobbish about McDonalds, but give me choice of pain au raisin or a pancackes for half the price I know which one I would go for every time.

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Kindness of strangers

October 30th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life

With all the doom, gloom, mayhem, and atrocity in the world at the moment It is worth pointing out that not everybody is bad.

Last week our boy lost his wallet in the leisure park. He only realised when he was sat down to eat with his kids and assumed he dropped it in the arcade, perhaps putting it on top of a machine, but a search of the bowling alley and arcade turned up nothing. He called the bank to get his debit card cancelled and wrote of the forty quid of cash.

Fast forward a day and he gets a call from Santander. They have somebody who has brought his wallet into the bank, but they can’t touch it because it has cash in it, which seems a bit strange. What happened was that somebody found the wallet, but the only ID in there had an out-of-date address on it. They went to that address in Broadfield, twice, to try and give the wallet back, but when it was obvious our boy didn’t live there, they went to the police station, where they couldn’t or wouldn’t help. After all that, they tried the bank that issued the debit card as a last resort.

So Jayne rushed the boy into town where he was reunited with his wallet. All the cash was still in it, and the finder would not take anything as a thank you, despite the amount of effort he went to. He just asked our atheist son to pray for him and didn’t even give his name so all we know is that he is a muslim who works at the leisure park.

I’m sure the Daily Mail would take this as yet another example of foreigners not integrating into our culture and treating it as a £40 bonus, but we were all very chuffed.

Oh, and the wallet was not in the bowling alley but outside, very probably dropped when he popped outside for a smoke so maybe it is just another example of how smoking is bad for you.

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The car in front

September 13th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I think I remember that there used to be a series of adverts with the punchline “the car in front is a Toyota”.

Yesterday I drove about 250 miles, mostly on motorways, which is about 250 miles more than I would normally drive in a day and I realised that the old adverts were actually pretty true. Most times the car in front was a Toyota. To be precise it was a Toyota Yaris and the reason it was in front was because it was doing 60mph in the third lane and it was impossible to get past it.

I hope they reprise the adverts but change them to “the car in front is a bloody Yaris. Again.”

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