I never could get the hang of Thursdays

The internet will be active in my new home on Thursday, assuming something in my life happens as it should for once. I will have to be living there before Thursday because I cannot stand it here any longer. Also the harpy will be getting letters soon about council tax etc, and I know what will happen then.

I have a respite in that Monday is a bank holiday so I have the weekend to move the last of the breakable things that matter to me but Tuesday’s arrival of post is the last possible moment I could survive here without gathering further blemishes. That is when things will start getting broken.

It’s not too bad, I can manage with the mobile phone connection for a couple of days although I can’t run the blog with it too well. It does mean CynaraeStMary can turn this place into a pink penguin paradise with topless (and maybe bottomless) hunky guy pics but it won’t be long before I can turn it back into a proper curmudgeon’s ranting place.

She can rant and she can digress just like me, she just doesn’t know it yet  😉 This blog will continue as before but with a little balance from my new feminine side.

The setting up of internet was not without hitch, as you’d expect. The online setup didn’t distinguish between flat numbers and house numbers in the same street and it looked like I was setting up for another house in another street in another town. There were phone calls. There were growls and there were hisses through teeth. There were apologetic operators and I could almost feel them cringe.

Eventually, three rather cowed telephone operators accepted where I lived and they made sure their records were correct so I would never have reason to call back.

Next, credit card companies. Oh that one should be interesting.


I have had a really generous mystery box from Bull Brand which I will blog about at the weekend. Tonight I am preparing for transition. It is time.

If you have my home address, delete it. It is no longer my address.

Tomorrow I get the keys to a new home and start closing down the appalling bills attached to this one. A particular harpy is in for a hell of a shock because a lot of what she’s had for free for the last 30 years isn’t going to be free next week.

It’s going to be a tight month because this month is rent plus deposit. There’ll be a little gap while I get internet installed in the new place. The new phone will keep me online in the interim but I can’t type long posts on it.

You know by now why I’m not making more money than I immediately need. This will change and it will change big time once I shed the parasite who will take at least half of it from me. ‘Take me for everything I have’… good luck. I have nothing 🙂

I am also applying for a new job. Its ambitious because it’s outside my experience range but then so was the janitor job. It’s a lecturing job so it’s far further inside my range than a shop janitor job. It’s possible…

I know Boss will be upset at my leaving, she told me so in a fit of attempted emotional blackmail. I really don’t want to let her down but I now need to increase my earnings – I have to pay law fees and they can get very nasty indeed. As could the coming months.

New home, new job, new partner, new life. I said a long time ago that I’d smash my life and start again but I didn’t really think it would be quite so complete. Yet here it is. Tomorrow I have the keys to it.

The new flat is not a permanent home. It’s a bolt hole for the next six months or so. Big enough for two but not nearly what I want for the future. There will be more and bigger changes to come – except one. There is going to be one permanence in my life and she knows who she is, and so do you. Everything else is fluid and chaotic at the moment but I have one fixed point to rely on.

That’s all I need. One focus.

Around that one focus I can put everything else in chaos and not just survive it. I will absolutely revel in it. The Gates of Hell are now nearly fully opened.

Bring it on.

Ashtray Domination

Today I drove into Aberdeen with two Samurai swords and a cattle trailer. On the way back I got stuck behind a windmill. An ordinary day, really.

Later I went in to work and got Boss to witness my signature on a lease. I’m finally doing what I should have done twenty or more years ago and it feels pretty damn good. It feels so much more than pretty damn good because I’m not doing it all on my own.

It’s pretty much a legally binding doodah now. I think the landlord has one last chance to say ‘No, fuck off you horrible little man’ but I doubt that will happen. My email saying I was interested in the flat was held up by spam for a day and I had one back saying ‘We can drop the rent by £10-20 a month if it will help’. I graciously accepted.

I’m pretty damn sure I have this flat and it’s a really nice one. The only bugbear is all the stairs but then it’s just a starting point. It’s not going to be forever. I want a little house with a garden and we’re agreed on that.

Maybe I won’t have a car for a while. The flat has a bus stop right outside the door, work would be 10 minutes away by bus and at a real pinch I could walk there in about 90 minutes. Not running a car for a few months would allow for some serious cash accumulation. Well worth considering. And my current car is pretty crap anyway.

One thing about the flat is that it’s non smoking. Well, I don’t own it. It’s the landlord’s flat so I’ll abide by his rules. It’s not a problem and it’s only for a matter of months. It’s probably too small to smoke in anyway. I’d have all my clothes smoked up. In this big house I can smoke in a couple of rooms without affecting the others but in a little flat, it could get pervasive.

There will, of course, be an ashtray. It will be the Bull Brand glass ashtray with the ‘no smoking’ sign in it. A delightful bit of cognitive dissonance. There has to be an ashtray. It’s the law.

It is on aeroplanes, apparently.

Aeroplanes are required to have ashtrays on board in case of something or other and they cannot take off without one. They should all fit the Bull Brand no-smoking ashtray. They only cost a pound. I hope they still make it. I have one anyway.

I was most amused by the picture of the enraged harpy raising the wrong finger at the guy with the unlit cigarette. Once, a wrinkled harridan passed me at a bus stop while I was rolling a cigarette and gave an exaggerated fake cough. I hadn’t even finished rolling. So the picture is at least accurate. The pathetically indoctrinated really do exist.

Then there is the ‘probably’ that is presented as fact.

An onboard fire probably caused by a cigarette led to the deaths of 123 people on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in the 1970s.

It could have been. Or it could have been caused by a million other things. Not one of those other things is even considered even though there is no firm evidence that a smoker caused the disaster. Even though, if there is an ashtray provided by legal diktat, why would a smoker chuck a cigarette in waste disposal? We all know how to use an ashtray. It’s a genetic thing.

I predict it won’t be long before a vaper is blamed for a plane crash. Lithium batteries have already been demonised so it’s just a matter of time before the Age of Steam takes its vengeance on modern technology.

How long before a plane crash gets blamed on the fat boy in seat 7B?

You think it’s different. It’s not. It’s the same template with the same agenda. Control.

And fat boys, for you it’s already started.

For the smoker in a hurry…

It’s been hectic here. I have fallen asleep in my chair often over the past couple of weeks and there are rooms in the house that look like a crazed eBayer’s stockroom. It’s because that’s what they are.

The day shift week was a killer. Dayshift is incredibly tedious and now that it’s a seven-day week with no end in sight, I confess to having spent some of the day browsing job pages. I don’t want to let Boss down but I can’t keep this pace up much longer. Not with all the other stuff that’s going on. When it was just me, this kind of working was no problem. It’s not like I had anything else to do, other than go home, drink whisky and rant on the blog. It’s very different now. I have to get some stability in my life and really do have to have days off.

I’ll be back on evenings soon but even so, it’s too much. I’m at work as you read this. It’s on a timer.

One of the effects of all this was that I’d had to buy shop cigarettes. Shredding and tubing just took too much time. At £7 a pack, this soon started to affect my saving rate so it had to stop.

I used to get pots of tubing baccy in most of the shops around here but now they have the doors. They also have staff who don’t know what’s behind the doors and who have never heard of tubing baccy. Ask for it and wonder how old and dried out it’s getting behind those doors. Nobody knows what it is and nobody knows if it’s there or not.

The tubes are easy. You can sometimes get Gizeh Silver Tip tubes in Poundland at 200 for a pound. They contain no tobacco so don’t have to hide. What I needed was a source of tubing baccy – a good interim measure that would save the time of shredding (and cleaning the shredder afterwards, which is important) but which also leads to a lower cost than shop-bought ones.

I found a place online called Smoke King that covers everything I need. I decided to try their Bayside Virginia blend 100g tub and bought some Mascotte menthol tubes. I’ve used those tubes before but then they became hard to find, so I thought I’d have a quick blast of menthol again.

Vapers – that site also sells a range of e-liquids. Worth a look.

I placed the order at 00:13 am on the 14th and it arrived today, the 15th. That’s pretty damn quick. So I have a cigarette case filled for work tonight and no shop-bought ones.

These are a bit more expensive than I’m used to with shredding my own leaves. They work out about £3 for 20. Still a lot cheaper than the ‘cheap’ shop ones at £7 for 20 though.

Shredding time is now freed up for eBaying, and the drain on the savings is more than halved. Also, there are far fewer smoke breaks on evening shift because there is actually something to do.

If you’re a smoker with not enough time or energy for all the shredding, and trying not to spend too heavily in order to accrue some background cash, this is a good intermediate solution. Oh I’ll be back to shredding as soon as it all calms down here but for now, this saves me from the temptation of that easy option in the shops. Yes, just buying a pack is easy, but it dents the savings attempts far too heavily.

The Bayside tobacco is pretty good. It’s rough shredded though. The shredder I have makes a finer shred. This means it’ll take a few goes to get the tubing right but that’s just a minor inconvenience.

If you don’t want to spend time shredding leaves and you’re still smarting at shop prices, get to an online tobacconist and order tubing baccy, tubes and a machine. The simple tubing machines work well enough (I currently use a Bull Brand one from Poundland). I haven’t found the fancier machines to be all that much better, really.

Well, I have to go to work. Then try to convince a landlord that my random income is a safe bet for the rent and also get stuff ready to load up eBay again to keep that income random.

Maybe I should get a 9 to 5 job with a fixed salary and do it the easy way.

I’ll consider it…


The bog wine miscreant is apprehended

A good and bad week. I am on 10-4 shift. I thought that would be okay but it’s terrible. I am too tired in the evening to load eBay, I have to package delicate things I’ve already sold, I can’t arrange couriers for big items because they won’t guarantee to pick up before 9:30 or after 4:30 and I can’t get to their office and back in time for work.

Next week I am back on my normal 3-9 pm shift, thankfully. There is the back end of sod all to do on the day shift. It’s not so bad for Boss, she has all her paperwork. I took a notebook in to write a bit of storyline but nobody believes I’m doing work paperwork.

Not that that matters. Boss isn’t going to fire me unless I hang, draw and quarter a customer (which I won’t rule out entirely). Everything that needs to be done is always done and I’ve done a few things that weren’t really my job but I was bored.

The post office continues to be an eternal irritant in my life. On Tuesday I took the Queen of the Wolves trailer to be posted. All packaged with bubble wrap and foam blocks, a challenge for the parcel-smashing arm of  the postal service. They measured the box. 63 cm long.

Oh no! The limit is 61 cm! As it’s going to a non-EU place they wanted to charge £33 to send it by ParcelFarce. That’s more than I got for it. My only recourse was to carry the damn thing to work and shorten the box by 2 cm. I hope this didn’t affect the integrity of the package but there was no other option. Suitably shortened it went for £5.99 postage.

There is a guy in that post office with the most incredible skill. No matter how happy you are on the way in, he can fill your mind with abject misery just by talking to you. He just exudes gloom. It’s not what he says, it’s just his presence. I try to time it so I get one of the cheery women cashiers instead. They seem to be immune to him.

Tonight I’m packing two more trailers and paying attention to that 61 cm madness this time.

The potential new home is showing signs of progress. If I can get the paperwork sorted I might be moving in a week. There is a lot of paperwork these days. If this one fails I know of two more.

Tomorrow is another early start. Another long and tedious day shift. The weekend sees me back on the evening shift where there is stuff to do.

Today was a day of high drama. The Bog Wine Miscreant has finally been caught. For a long time now, we have been finding empty wine bottles in the toilet bins. Ranging from those little children’s portion ones to full-size litre bottles. Always empty.

Now, the one-glass sized ones I can understand. Someone could swig one down and nobody would know. The litre ones though – if someone drank a litre of wine in a matter of minutes, surely they’d never find their way out of the shop? We’d have CCTV of them bouncing off the shelves.

One of the managers explained it to me. They take the bottle of wine and a litre bottle of, say, apple juice. They pour the apple juice down the toilet, decant the wine into the apple juice bottle, dump the bottle and then go and pay for the ‘apple juice’. Quite a scam.

It’s been going on for a long time so we’ve been checking the bins hourly and if we find a bottle, the store guys go back over the last hour of CCTV to see who picked up wine and then went to the toilets. Someone was repeatedly identified and watched out for at their regular wine-stealing time.

Today the bog wine miscreant was finally caught. In the act. Properly arrested too.

I doubt it will be the end of it. I still suspect kids are involved in the occasional empty small bottles, the cans of gin and tonic and other small stuff. They can’t buy it so they just drink it in the toilets. It might not all be kids – could be anyone. The small fry might be harder to catch since they might be occasional swipers and there could be quite a few of them.

Still, one of the local Master Criminals has now been put out of action. I know, pinching wine one bottle at a time isn’t exactly the crime of the century but it’s pretty much as exciting as it gets in these parts.

The Bog Wine Miscreant is about as close as we’ll ever get to having our own Lex Luthor. I kind of like it that way.


A restricted reveal

Nisakiman had it right.

I can’t go into detail, I am advised that would be a bad idea at this stage so it’s outline only.

Thirty years ago, I married someone I thought actually cared about me. There were signs, in retrospect, but as the Americans say, hindsight is always 20/20. Anyway, then there were children and that meant I couldn’t leave, then the kids grew up and I thought ‘hell, I’m over 50 now, I’m stuck’.

Then it transpired that what she really loved was money and prestige and I didn’t have those when I became a janitor. That was when I really hit the bottle hard. Barely wrote a word and hardly touched model-making work. I’d already been convinced by daily reminders that I was fat and ugly and useless and I’d believed it. Then the final blow flattened me. Not any more.

What else could I do? I had no money. Never did. Not even when I was on a damn good salary as a researcher and lecturer and not even in the year I paid 40% tax. In the two years with no income at all, I sold a lot on eBay to pay the bills. Stuff I’ll never get back because some of it was stuff I’d made with younger eyes.

For the past nearly-three years I have been trying to run a house, alone, that a janitor simply can’t afford. The mortgage is so far on I thought that if I can just hang on till the pension kicks in, I’ll be fine. No. It’s too much. I won’t do it any more.

Oh she works. A professional job. She has investments, I have bills. Now she can take on the house or let the bank have it back. I no longer care because I realised that I’ll never fix this one. The best I can do is walk away from it all and start again somewhere else. With that someone else I didn’t think could ever exist.

I still like a whisky but lately I’ve been drinking it by the glass, not by the bottle. I now know I don’t really need it after recently not touching a drop for over a week. There was only one moment in that week when I did feel like cracking open that bottle on the kitchen table. One moment of bad memories in the night. I didn’t open the bottle. There’s no longer any need.

There were arguments, but those Righteous techniques I’ve described here before won them for her. Also the standard threats ‘You’ll never see the kids again’ and ‘I’ll take you for everything you’ve got’ were routine. Well the kids are grown up now and I have nothing, so there are no valid threats any more.

I have the house but I don’t want it. I’ll be happy to lose it for a quick exit. All that mortgage, all that interest, all those bills, it’s only money. It isn’t even real.

Now the gates of Hell are open but the demons are yet to emerge. I’ve faced the ‘denial’ Righteous trick before but didn’t expect it this time. I should have. The Righteous one talks over you, counters arguments wilth irrelevancies and ignores facts. The Righteous stays calm while you descend into a frenzy of frustration and eventually give up trying. Well, not this time. This time I shrugged and stopped talking. I relayed the information, I don’t even care any more if it’s listened to or not.

She’s beaten me down so far that she doesn’t think I have the guts to go through with it. If she pretends it isn’t happening I’ll just quietly let it go and she can taunt me with it later. That always worked in the past.

Not this time. All this trick does now is buy me a little extra time, but not much.

I am photographing things to list on eBay. There is too much stuff here. Power tools I bought for one specific job (mostly jobs I didn’t want done) and which are in near-pristine condition still. An excess of railway and other models – there are a few I won’t part with but all the replaceable stuff is going up for sale. There is more, quite a lot more, and even then there is some that really should just be thrown in a skip.

Also I still have my lab. Not in current use, it can be a storage room for a while.

When things start disappearing it will sink in that it’s really happening and then the demons will come out in force. By that time it will be too late. Hell, it’s already too late. Nothing can stop me now.

I have given myself no more than three weeks to leave here. Before another round of house bills trashes me again. When that happens I might not be able to get online much for a while although I do have a contingency plan for that.

Where will I go? I’m working on it – again, I have a contingency plan in case it doesn’t work as I’d hoped. If you have my address it soon won’t be valid. There might be a few temporary ones for a time.

Locally, only Boss knows it all and she doesn’t really know all that much. Enough that she is fully supportive and it only took a few sample incidents to get to that stage. Not the kitchen one, for the two people who know about that one. Even my kids don’t know about that and I’d prefer it stays that way. She is their mother and I want the kids to stay neutral throughout.

There are thirty years of it so relating it would take thirty years. My brother knows it all, my parents so far have hints although there are other reasons why they won’t be surprised.

You don’t know it all. Not by a long way. Some things I might never make public. Things even my children don’t know about. This is an escape, not a vendetta.

The kids have, I think, worked out what is happening and that this time, Dad isn’t going to give in. I don’t know if they’ve ever seen me this sober. Maybe not. Even when not actually drunk I was often hungover or tipsy. But never violent or abusive. I’m pleased to relate that no matter how far I was pushed, I never lashed out and never took it out on the kids. In fact, I spent a lot of time defending them.

I’ve been alone for a long time and effectively alone for a hell of a lot longer. In the abyss, in the cold darkness of the oubliette, just waiting for it to end.

I’m out of that dark place now and I couldn’t have done that alone. I wouldn’t even have tried on my own. Sober and slim and fit and ready to take on Satan himself. Not quite fully fixed yet but well on the way.

A broken girl fixed me. I hope, one day, I can return the favour.