Monthly Archives: January 2020

VR is not Virtual Reality, it’s AR.

A splendid (self-described) stalker – henceforth referred to as H – called up and told tales of big changes at t’mill. I pinned my ears back: “do tell…”

VR is the thing. They call it Voluntary Redundancy. I call it being given money to go away.

Naturally H is having none of it. Bright, capable, skilled, personable, loyal and with a work pattern that suits the youngsters-at-home lifestyle.

Commendable, sensible, right thinking.

Although to the modern world VR is more commonly known as Virtual Reality, right?


Can we call it something else here? Howsabout AR? Actual Reality.

The AR of the situation is that H could get another job. A good one. Take time out and do different.

The AR is don’t stay, the AR is, well, go!

Case Study of what to do with £23K.

In 2012 a family of our mutual acquaintance – The 4 Beers in point of fact – bought a quartet of tickets and spent 3 months on the road.

AKA: Sabbatical. Big Trip. Escape. Adventure.

Why… you can read about it in this very blog. It was, for want of a better term, EPIC. It educated the offspring, stimulated the grown ups and – in the best possible way – changed us.

So when I said to H “I am not the person to speak to for sensible advice”, I really meant it.


This life is not a rehearsal.

I say take the money and, if not exactly run, stride forcefully to the exit without a backward glance. Pause briefly at home to pack a small backpack and get a taxi to the nearest port.


Spend a few months truly getting to know your self, your family, your planet. It is time well spent. After all, you are being offered funds.

It cost us <£20K all in (at 2012 prices).

Its value? Priceless.

In hindsight, we should’ve kept going. With more funds and a little more chutzpah we would have. In fact, I’d advise 6 months as a reasonable duration because “Around the world in 84 days” is quite a clip. It’s like a series of breathless long weekend getaways all strung together.)

So as H painted a picture, all I could see was a gift of £23K that could be spent on enriching the family, building confidence, getting out there

H: sorrynotsorry for complicating things.


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Teeny amounts of January joy

Teeny amounts of January joy.

As a simple fellow, I take simple pleasures from simple things.

Such as? The reopening of a favoured indy’ café following a festive break?

Yes. Yes again. I’d even go as far as saying yay Bunce’s.

The familiarity of the greeting, the cosy seating arrangements, the delish’ coffee and the – illusion? – sensation that all is ohhh-kay just now.

I mean, sure, the Tories have a mandate to wreak havoc, the White House has a unstable narcissist in Office who likely has dementia, every media outlet in the known universe is hyperventilating for what they seem to think is an existential threat to the House of Windsor (which matters why exactly?), Oz is on fire, Iran…

No matter. I have coffee.

The immense privilege in which my family & I live is – of course – hidden within this. We have “survived” – ha! The dramatic language we use – Christmas, the team is back at work/school, festive-excess-bod’ is in full heft. The biggest issue, apart from all my clothes having mysteriously shrunk, is the (virtual) hefty thud of the credit card bill hitting the doormat. All things considered: how lucky are we?

Lovely flat white though.

The polar opposite to rock’n’roll/bleeding edge/startup/venture-capital? Right now, yes please.

The rest of the clientele are chatting away, excellent beverages to hand. Skilfully, I avoid thinking about anything of any importance and savour each sip. I flick through a newspaper then reconsider as it’s full of crises, urgency, stress. Ewww.

The team pause to chat consider how they’re going to play 2020:

“I’m going to be nice to my colleagues.”

“Really? Why such a big change from your behaviour last year?”

“Stick to the coffee and nobody has to get hurt” I offer helpfully.

“Don’t you start…”

I drain my cup.

[Mock offence] “Right, that’s it. I’m leaving.”


‘Suspect I’ll be back soon. Probably tomorrow.

Definitely Thursday.

They reopen the kitchen on Thursday.

As I say, yay Bunce’s.




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