Archive for March, 2012

The fish pie’s snoek, got it? Snoek.*

So, I think possibly I just panic bought fuel. That’s a bit disappointing.

I legitimately needed fuel, mind: since mostly Isis just commutes back and forth round the ring road for work and shopping I tend to keep less than a quarter of a tank in at any one time (because otherwise, it feels like I’m driving past two filling stations in four miles and burning fuel for no reason other than to carry the weight of extra diesel that I don’t need).

Normally I fill up all the way if I’m actually going off somewhere. But my warning light came on this morning, and I need to get to Reading in good time on Monday, which I could do by public transport, but I’m going for an interview for what is possibly the most awesome job for me in the entire South and I’d rather not risk my arriving on time to the tender mercies of First Great Western. So I figured I’d pop back out this evening and stick 20 quid or so in the tank, to tide me over.

We’re lucky, in Oxford, because you actually can get places by public transport: we’ve got awesome buses to London, and trains that aren’t as bad as others I’ve seen, and just about everything is flat so you can cycle. (I’ve been off cycling with my busted wrist, but helpfully got the green light from the physio just today so I can cycle in to work tomorrow, which is probably wise. Add to that the fact that Isis is pretty damn fuel efficient, and my expectation that things will be back to normal once the distribution infrastructure recovers from the beasting Maude lovingly doled out to it, and I figured twenty quid would see me right enough.

Which, probably, it would. But by the time I’d sat listening to the whole of Bottom Line, and the 9 o’clock news, and most of an interesting programme about whether or not rooks are as intelligent as apes, slowly creeping forward from Cowley junction to the Tesco filling station at what I genuinely believed would be a quiet point in the day, I rather thought I’d better fill up after all. Isis only has a 40 litre tank, and I put 39.11 litres into her, so I think I’m probably being more rational than someone who, say, sits with their 4×4’s engine idling for just as long as I did, and then drives away having only put in a tenner’s worth of unleaded, but I still feel bad about it.

However, I got to Tesco by way of Sainsbury’s, where the forecourt was closed for a tanker to unload, and when I got in and popped into the shop over the way I had a very nice chat with the guy who runs it (interrupting his stressed debate with the woman manning the till about whether or not they were going to have to charge VAT on some of their baked goods or not), and was able to clue them in to the possibility that they might have some fuel at Sainsbury’s, if the tanker had finished re-supplying them. That pleased me because apart from giving me the chance to Be Useful it felt reassuringly like the Shropshire grapevine where you might find out that Mr Pope was slaughtering a pig and maybe there’d be sausages in the offing, or perhaps a few cuts of lamb. All pull together, and what-not. Very Home Front, very sweet.**


Sigh. Like I say, bike tomorrow.


* Yeah, that’s a pretty obscure reference.

**That one too, probably.

I think it’s only fair to warn you…

Well, this past month has just been all over the place. What with the whole broken wrist thing, and then Peter’s being killed February turned out pretty appallingly.

March, on the other hand, is going kinda well. For starters, I’m almost better: I’ve not got my full range of movement back in my wrist, yet, and it’s still a struggle to bear weight on it for things like shoving doors or getting in and out of chairs, but I can type and use a mouse and write and hold a straight razor without severing anything essential. That’s pretty cool.

Then HMRC wrote to me and apologised for overtaxing me not just for the last two tax years, but also for an unspecified tax year back in the past, and sent me a cheque which I can now use to clear all of my overdraft, which will save me plugging away at it in small, ill-affordable chunks each paycheque. That overdraft has been sneaking along behind me pretty much since I was first a student, so I’ll be glad to see it sling it’s unecessarily barbed hook.

Plus, as a confusingly-right-in-the-middle-of-funeral-preparation bonus, I got my results from the Masters (I handed the Diss in way back in August, but had to wait for an Examinations Board meeting before they could confirm the results not-quite-three-years after I set off along this route). Apparently I never troubled to blog very much whilst I was doing either the course or the Diss, probably because I was stupidly busy with a combination of either coursework and two part-time jobs and two voluntary jobs, or just coursework and one full-time job and two voluntary jobs. But, anyway, pretend there’s a link here to me saying that it seems to be going well but I’m nervous about results.

Well, boy, was I wrong. I’ve passed with a Merit. Which has a pleasing symmetry, because it was getting a Merit in the Scholarships that took me to Aberystwyth in the first place. If I had any use for business cards I could now get ones with “BA (Hons), MSc (Econ)” written on them, which is very snazzy.

I am slightly self-conscious about being pleased over this, but I think on reflection I’m entitled to be. It hasn’t actually been easy all the way along, and apart from the screamingly painful errors in the Diss – like the bit where I moronically say “staple” twice in as many sentences, and which nearly makes my eyes bleed – I am actually pretty pleased with how well it reads.

So, aye. I am, in fact, a Librarian. Awesome!