While parts of my blog do resemble a diary – there’s a category called Diary after all – and generally chronicle my descent into madness, I’ve never actually had a diary or written a diary-style post. So here’s my digested week-and-a bit. I’m no Pepys and yes, John Crace does it better. And shorter.


Squeezing itself in between the various Six Nations ties and Strictly we have the announcement of the new English “lockdown”. It’s not really a lockdown, as I’ve said before. No-one will be stopped on the street and asked for their identity papers. The announcement was supposed to arrive at 3pm and eventually started at 6.47pm, so you could say “Tier 4, Lockdown 2 (after extra time)”. But only if you’re really sad.

Apart from the inconvenience to the few plans I’d been able to sketch out for the next fortnight I then espied a comment that the Sainsbury’s website is down. In haste I log on, find a slot for 10 November and order lots of stuff. Bearing in mind the shelves might have been picked clean by then this might be a pointless exercise.

Leeds Station is closed overnight while the build of new Platform 0 continues. It’s a project I would have been involved with if I’d got a related job. Ho hum. I have documented elsewhere what I think of the team’s communication efforts, especially when they held a stakeholder event and closed it over 30 minutes before time (and before I got there). It’s annoying when members of the public tell you that you could be doing your job better, but in this case…


My niece’s birthday! I’ve no idea how old she is as I’m a terrible uncle; or, at least, not the uncle I’d hoped to be to the next generation when her older brother popped out almost 21 years ago. That makes me sad, as family is important to me. Not especially close, just important.

Sadly, we also took the pre-emptive decision to cancel this year’s Taylor-Musgrave Christmas lunch; while we would only be six people we would be four household/support groups, now that Dan is at University. In Manchester. Yikes. This means I’m odds-on to be spending Christmas Day on my own for the first time ever. This means Christmas Day will be exactly the same as nearly every other day of the year for me. That makes me sad. It’s also the best meal I have every year.

It’s also Backup Day. Even since my web hosting company crashed my server and had no backups to restore from (despite saying that that did) I’ve backed up my web space and laptop files on the 1st and 15th of every month. I have a better data backup regimen than some small businesses.


I had an interview last Thursday, with the result due on Monday “or after”. So today will be spent next to the phone.

I’ve been teaching myself how to use Inkscape, and have started scanning in various media formats and drawing over them to create scalable vector images to answer a question I posed myself at the start of the year. Yesterday lunchtime I scanned in a couple of 7” singles and created a master graphic in a few hours. Then I realised I’d gone wrong when trying to punch the centre hole and re-did it (pretty much only the centre label stayed the same). Then I added three variants for the centre hole (jukebox punch-out, jukebox-to-thin spindle adapter and another version I came across in the collection), added a track change so that it could be a 7” EP… et voila!

Then I did the 10” and 12” versions. Then I scanned in a couple of reel-to-reel tapes and started on those. When you’re in the groove, keep groovin’.


Still no word on the interview.

Finished off the reel-to-reel graphics, saved them as a .pdf, looked at them on the iPad… and realised I’d gone wrong in a few places. But, at least I could see where I’d gone wrong. You’re never too old to learn a new lesson.

Government has published its Bill for the English “lockdown”. A fascinating read, which makes me mostly none the wiser. For example: I was thinking of going to the cemetery to see my parents (they’re dead, they don’t live there). I’m reasonably certain that a cemetery counts as a “public outdoor space” (paragraph 7(4)(a)) but flowers might not count as “essential shopping” and the bus I need to take to get to and from the cemetery almost certainly doesn’t count as “essential travel”. So that’s that.

Other pearls of wisdom from the Bill include paragraph 7(1): “This paragraph applies for the purposes of this Act” – that’s that paragraph in its entirety. What?

But my favourite is under “Restrictions on leaving home”, paragraph 5(3): “This regulation does not apply to any person who is homeless.” Quite.


Busy day! I need to do some food shopping so into Leeds I go, walking past and through the Connecting Leeds road improvement schemes… a project I would have been involved with if I’d got the job. Either job, actually. Ho hum.

Leeds is about as busy as a quiet Saturday, which is to say very busy. I miss April, when I could do my shopping and take the back roads home without meeting another soul. Now I’m stuck behind hand-holding couples ambling along, or stopping suddenly in the middle of the street and changing direction. Hopefully they didn’t drive to get here.

Back home to find that I didn’t get the job I was interviewed for, and that I was rejected pre-interview for another post. Two of October’s applications are still open, none of them seem to be in a hurry to short-list. Or perhaps they are, and they haven’t told me because I’m not on it. Hm. Still, I’ve been offered feedback on the two rejections so might as well ask.

Ironically, I’ve been getting emails from an agency offering me several roles, all south of the Watford Gap and requiring lots of previous NHS experience. I have six weeks-worth of NHS experience and live in Leeds, but still they send me these roles. Have told them to remove me from their distribution lists; if they still come in some naming and shaming on LinkedIn will be in order. It’s been that sort of day, and I’m in that sort of mood now.

One of the reel-to-reel drawings is done. It turns out that if you add a drop shadow to part of a drawing and then save it as a .pdf, the whole image becomes blurred. The trick is to create a separate object for the drop shadow with only the shadow. Et voila. Unfortunately I’ve gone wrong on the smaller version, so that’s going to need some surgery. Well, there’s nothing else to do. After that I can try to create a whole tape recorder. Well, there’s nothing else to do.

Oh – messaged a friend about Christmas, just in case.


I find when I wake up in the morning that I have to concentrate really hard to work out what day it is. Fortunately, when it get to having breakfast I have a couple of clues, as Thursday is the day when I start a new blister pack of statins (one per day) and a new box of Metformin (two, twice a day). I hate taking tablets because they often get stuck in the corner of my mouth while I’m trying to swallow them. But at least the statins have seven per sheet, with the days of the week printed on them.

It turns out that today is Thursday, which means… well, it must mean something. It’s not like Tuesdays, when there’s a new David Squires cartoon in The Guardian.

This Tuesday also saw the elections in the US. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it? They elect one President, but use 50 different sets of rules to do so. I will never complain about CIPR elections again. Probably.

As if to counterpoint the realism of the underlying metaphor, The Guardian’s interactive map updates itself every 15 seconds. The actual data updates about once every six hours.

One more pre-interview rejection, and the feedback I was offered on the two I asked for will come in next week. Or the week after.


I don’t like Fridays.

It’s so… quiet now on Fridays, even on the socials. Friday is the new Sunday. Sunday is the new Saturday, which is why only one top-flight football match kicks off at 3pm on Saturdays at the moment. Saturday is the new Bank Holiday Monday. As for Wednesdays… don’t ask.

Some relief comes from the fact that WH Smith is still open at Leeds Station so I can buy some Christmas cards. All I have to do now is find some people to send them to. The list has been dwindling over the years; partly as people have died, partly as people have moved on and not left a forwarding address. And some have forgotten about me. Sob.

Good news comes in the form of my scales; I’m finally back down to 12st. I’d like to say that this is down to exercise and healthy living, but it’s probably due to the Metformin tablets making me not want to eat. Then again, it’s 2020 so I might have some deadly disease and only weeks to live. I might yet cheat extinction by asteroid, which is what 2021 undoubtedly has in store for us. We all thought 2016 was a crap year what with all of the celebrity deaths and Trump being elected. Now we have 2020 with even more celebrity deaths, and Baby Trump with the nuclear codes.

Oh: and one more pre-interview rejection.


There are only two things on the agenda this weekend (three if you count tomorrow’s MotoGP).

The weekends are when I do my job applications. Time to get the rest of November’s in. I usually start the month with four of five in, which are gradually rejected until there are none.

Secondly, I have to watch lots of programmes queued up on my TiVo as I’ve cancelled my Virgin Media TV contract. Partly this is to save money (quite a bit of money) but also because I just don’t watch that much TV these days. There’s only so many times you can watch repeats of all versions of the Star Trek and Stargate franchise. Seventeen times, it turn out. But I’ve got so much remaining to plough through I might have to – gasp! horror! – start watching them during the daytime. Oh, the decadence…

Anyway: what do you think? Perhaps I should do a Month in Review section, or tag? I’ve got the rest of the month to think about it, I guess.