Welcome to my final journal entry of the year. I’ve skipped several months since the last post because it’s been a very uneventful year overall. But things look set to be a lot busier in 2015, with my best mate’s wedding and other stuff. So here’s my Christmas roundup for the time being, with the usual mix of updates about home, work and friends. I know it’s short, but I hope you enjoy!
Wednesday December 31, 2014
I haven’t touched this diary for 6 months, I know. But then there still hasn’t been anything major to report, and we still haven’t moved yet. Even though our builder did various bits of work earlier in the year, the roof still isn’t fixed. He did some patching up that he and us hoped would be enough, but when we did eventually get some substantial rain after the summer to test it, it was apparent the leak was still there. So he’s going to have to lift the slates up to look at it all properly – and we need a decent spell of dry weather to do that, which we haven’t had in the last couple of autumnal months. Though we could pay for tarpaulins and scaffolding to cover it up and get the work done quicker, it’s not worth all that expense – much as we’d like to move, it’s not an emergency enough to warrant the extra costs. So we’re still waiting. Hopefully 2015 will finally be the year, but time will tell, anything could happen!
Still, Mum and I had a nice quiet Christmas. We got some nice food in from various places. I went up to Exeter and popped into M&S, of course. And we also went up to the big Sainsbury’s that’s fairly near us. It’s not close enough to do a regular weekly shop, but it’s worth the longer trek now and again, as it is a lovely store, we really like it in there. It’s massive, but surprisingly easy to get around and find things. So we’ve been there a couple of times and got goodies in for Christmas. They also have a Coinstar machine which converts your spare change into a voucher to spend in the shop, so we were able to take all the change down there that had been gathering on the shelf in the lounge for a few years, and got over £16 off! We have well over £80 worth of Nectar points now too, but we’re not intending to spend them just yet, we’ll keep saving for now. When we get up to London we may use it to treat ourselves. We did our big online shop with Sainsbury’s too, getting a lovely turkey among other stuff.
That wasn’t the only saving we made either. My employer has signed up to an employee benefit scheme, where by registering on the website you can get reloadable cards that you top-up at a discounted rate, or download vouchers, or get cashback, and so on. So I’ve got a reloadable card for Sainsbury’s, which has a 7% discount – i.e. if I want to load it up with £100 to spend, I only pay £93. There was a special offer for M&S vouchers with 10.5% discount, so I got a £100 one there for £89.50 (you could only get them in multiples of £100). And I can get discounted vouchers to spend on iTunes – which is really handy, as normally you have to pay for things one item at a time there instead of gathering them into a basket for one purchase. So I’m effectively adding credit to my iTunes account when I do that now. It’s only a 5% saving, but it’s a nice amount to get off, it all adds up.
As for work itself, Christmas dinner was nice, down at the Marina Restaurant by the harbour this time. We had plenty of wine with it, and then a couple of drinks in the pub afterwards, before I was kindly offered a lift home. I also had a couple of weeks off before Christmas, as I’m now having to use up leave days that I had been saving for our house move, so that made for a nice break. They were looking to get our new system live in my absence but, yet again, it’s been nudged back, this time to mid-January. The house move and the new system seem to be moving in tandem in terms of how close they are to getting underway and how slow it’s been taking!
We’ve now all moved around in the office though. The Printing admin staff along with the Post Room staff are now in the studio where I was. The two offices where they used to be have been knocked out to make a larger room, which is where I now am with a couple of other colleagues. It’s quite nice really. There’s no phone signal, but I don’t need one, and I’m happy in the corner doing my own thing. I’m still teaching myself Python by developing little apps for sorting out text files and other stuff, more for my own benefit than anyone else’s, and it’s fun. I will be looking for a better-paid job when I get to London – my section manager feels I should as well, even though he knows it’ll be difficult to find someone to replace me – so extra skills like that could be useful.
My friends SM & TB are still getting ready for their wedding of course. We’re doing the invites for them at work, so we should be printing them soon, now I’ve got the approval to do so. With them getting married and me (hopefully) moving, it could be a big year of change for all of us. We’ll see.
Other than that, it’s just been pretty quiet over the latter half of the year. As I say, we’ve had a nice Christmas at home, sitting in front of the TV, eating Tunis cake and mince pies and other stuff. We’ve still got a tin of biscuits I won in a raffle at work and a tub of Celebrations that we bought to get through, and two more Tunis cakes, so it’ll keep us going into the new year nicely. Here’s hoping the next year finally brings about the changes we want!