One of my photos

August 2023

September 1st, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Life

The sling came off at the beginning of the month, so it was back to work. This meant a lot less time for reading, but I did still manage to read 10 books in the month, 2 of them non-fiction. There was also a lot less time spent watching television, but I did watch the second season of The Lincoln Lawyer, the limited series Who Is Erin Carter?, and re-watched the first two series of The IT Crowd. I also watched the Heart of Stone film which must have been a bit underwhelming because I can’t remember anything about it, though maybe that is because I had a large pina colada while watching it – only the fifth time I have had an alcoholic drink this year.

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July 2023

August 1st, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Life

July was a month of mixed fortunes. A month of profit and pain.

After June broke my run of three months in a row of Premium Bond wins, I bounced right back in July with three wins that came to £175 in total. I was still glowing from that when I received a big gold envelope in the post that turned out to be notification of a £1000 win with the Postcode Lottery! I had won a tenner in June and considered stopping it, but never got round to it, so I feel I have been rewarded well for my procrastination. I also had a decent refund from Ovo energy who I had been running a surplus balance with, so it was a very profitable month. I celebrated by getting two new tyres for the car (which I still haven’t really driven this year), and treating our son and his new girlfriend to a meal , which cost nearly as much.

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June 2023

July 5th, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

After months of dreary rain, cold, and high winds, I finally found some days suitable for flying my drone. The first attempt was just me on my own, down at Wytch Cross to get the hang of it. As I managed that without any disasters, I went down to Arundel to meet up with our daughter and her drone, so she could give me some flying tips. It was OK, but a very hot day so I was only wearing a summer mesh jacket on my bike and the heavens opened when it was time to go home, so I ended up soaked.

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Avoidable deaths

June 26th, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Politics

This story caught my attention on the radio news this morning (“UK’s high rate of avoidable deaths linked to NHS woes”) and I think the headline is more than a bit misleading.

Read a bit further and it says “The UK had one of the lowest levels of life expectancy – although the study acknowledged this would be affected by many factors, aside from the quality of NHS care” but the NHS is the only factor mentioned in the headline, and what these ‘other factors’ might be is not expanded on at all in the story on the BBC website.

The brief story on the radio news focussed on cancer survival rates, of which I have a little experience. I don’t deny that having sufficient trained doctors, oncologists, nurses, beds and facilities is important. Also I am sure that having more scanners so we can have more screening and earlier diagnosis would help greatly, but I really started wondering about some of these other factors.

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King of Glastonbury

June 26th, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Music

Last night I watched Elton John’s Glastonbury set with a big grin and moist eyes. It was absolutely monumental. Yes he is getting on a bit, and everybody moaning about his voice is missing the point. He knows very well that he does not have the range that he used to have, hence the adjustments to the tunes. He is a lot more self-aware than the armchair critics give him credit for. (Contrast with Axl Rose the night before!) His piano playing has not diminished at all though.

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Flying High

June 4th, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology

Photo of Skuds taken by a drone hovering 2 feet away
Close-up selfie taken by the drone

Well I finally got round to getting my drone off the ground today. My drone app said that it was not good to fly, because of the wind speed, especially the gusts, but I just couldn’t wait any longer.

Because of the no-fly zone around Gatwick I can’t fly in the back garden or over the local playing fields, which would have been my first choice for getting the hang of the controls, so I hopped on the bike and went down to Ashdown Forest, making sure to get to a secluded area so nobody would see if I completely cocked up.

It was only once I had everything plugged in and ready to go that I realised it is at least six months since I read the manual and have forgotten everything, particularly the various camera controls, but I did manage to take a few pictures and videos.

One thing I am sure of: I really do live in the wrong place if I want to make this a hobby!

Photo of Skuds taken by the drone from a lot further away
Longer-range selfie

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May 2023

June 3rd, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I really should try to find the mental energy to write here more than once a month, but meanwhile here is a summary of the recently-finished May. It was a good month. Any month with three bank holidays in it can’t be anything other than a good month!

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April 2023

May 1st, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Life

With the days getting noticeably longer and it feeling like there were a few days without rain, I can only blame laziness for the fact that I walked a lot less in April than in March – nearly 60,000 few steps overall and only reached 10,000 steps on 3 days. As I only even got in the car three times and only went out on the bike three times, it sounds like I spent a lot of time indoors during April.

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March 2023

April 1st, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Apparently the wettest March for a long time, and it felt like it. It was a relentlessly depressing dampness all the way through, but with sufficient breaks in the weather for me to get out a bit more – and at least it has been getting a bit warmer.

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Not shopping locally

March 8th, 2023 · Posted by Skuds in Life

The other day I realised that my slippers were falling apart. With all this working from home, combined with trying to stay in the warm as much as possible means that I get a lot more use out of slippers than in the past.

After work yesterday I decided to go out and buy some new slippers and I visited three shops within walking distance: TK Maxx, Next and Sainsburys but came home empty handed. In the whole of Sainsburys’ clothes section there were just two pairs of slippers, one in size 7 and the other size 12, so no use for my size 9 feet. TK Maxx was no better and Next was even worse.

So I returned home and ordered a pair of slippers online for delivery today, then thought for a while about cause and effect. Are the shops’ inventories so poor because so many people are getting everything online or are people going online because the choice in the shops is so poor? Or is it a bit of both in a constant, escalating feedback loop? Or is it just bad weather in Morocco like it is for tomatoes? (Allegedly. Nothing to do with Brexit obviously)

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