James Went To Exeter

Two of my dearest advisors had concocted a birthday surprise for me at the end of February – a mystery tour of a mystery place. All that I knew was that I needed my passport.

Exciting!

We drove past enticing places such as Basingstoke, Bracknell and Salisbury, then past Stonehenge until it became clear that I was either being taken to Exeter or Newquay. What is in Exeter I wonder? What government enterprise might be of interest to me that is located there?

After a spot of lunch and a chance to listen to 6 women loudly cackling next to us, we made our way to the Met Office, for their open day.

One could imagine a tour being dumbed-down for Average Joe, however it wasn’t – the content was often explained using more detailed terms – they explained how they use the weather models (and how I use them!) and gave a generally interesting presentation. We had a tour of the building, from the Met Office library, to the instruments they use (less interesting), to the massive super-computer, and through the empty part of the office (empty on Saturdays) and outside the chief forecasters office.

Even the building itself was of interest – really spacious and calm, the kind of inspiring building where you would actually enjoy working inside. None of this basement shit like I have to cope with (albeit not for much longer). There was a stress on the building being environmentally friendly with the heat from the super-computer being recycled to heat the building, for example, and everything having a recycling bin – most companies I work at don’t even have one recycling bin.

The only downside was their insistence on global warming, and the idea that the UK will be 6.5’C warmer in 2080 than it is now. Just seemed utter bollocks.

On the positive side, they seem to appreciate my question on Sudden Stratospheric Warming – though they couldn’t answer it. I’m not sure there is an answer yet to my theory.

We stayed at this super-cute barn in the middle of nowhere, having to drive through those tiny windy one-way lanes with few passing points. We were pretty high up – the next morning the mist was beneath our level…such nice weather too. We didn’t go out in the evening – staying in to cook a pretty damn awesome steak dinner and watch a movie.

Exeter centre itself was impressive. A mix of historical buildings like the Cathedral and some wall remnants, some more upmarket shops and what looked like pretty decent pubs – alas my detox and also the lack of time meant that they weren’t visited. Also there was a harbour area which I imagine would be very pleasant in the summer for drinks and people-watching. I particularly enjoyed the font on the bus station:

On Sunday, we visited the Medieval passages under Exeter – where pipes used to bring water to the Cathedral originally, then the rest of the city later. Quite a tight squeeze, the tour guide would annoyingly stop to talk sometimes when crouched down – not something my back and knees found easy. Was a bit weird squeezing through underground tunnels, but something different.

Then it was back in the car to get back to London in time for a roast dinner.

Exeter was definitely a charming little city, a shame that we didn’t have longer to spend there.

Detox 2019: 90 Days & 90 K

If you saw me over the last few months of 2018, or just read the banal self-loathing crap that I occasionally spout, you’ll realise that I stepped up a gear from fat to obese last year.  At the end of 2018 I was 16kg heavier than at the end of my 2018 detox.

Therefore this year’s detox comes in two parts.

The first part is simply 90 days without alcohol. Though since I started, I have decided to extend this until Easter.

With an emphasis on repairing my diet during this time, which has become solely focused on my brain’s short-term desires, my lack of energy and motivation hindering attempts at good behaviour during business as usual.  Most days in the latter half of 2018 I had over 3,000 calories, which includes Red Bulls, chocolate, cakes, occasional morning sausage sandwiches.  Almost all of my good habits of old, have been replaced by bad habits, to keep me going through the day.

As well as having given up alcohol totally, I will be giving up or cutting down drastically the following:
Energy drinks
Sliced bread
Chocolate
Cakes

As I’ve said before, I know what I need to do to lose weight and be healthy – I have just totally lost the motivation over the last year, and had little time or energy.  Giving up alcohol gives me the mental space to do so, increase energy levels and allow the positive feedback loops.

Analysing my last year, I think one of my main issues was how I dealt with the pent-up demand from my three-month detox, which as soon as it was over, I went on a food and booze consumption binge, pie here, pizza there, midweek drinks here – a genie that I never put back in the bottle.

So, part two will be only having one weekend on the pop per month, until I am down to 90kg.  Which might take all year, but so be it. Not including holidays #OBS!

I have also set myself monthly goals – fail these and I’ll punish myself with vegetarian roast dinners. I have already failed my February weight goal. Expect a scathing review of a vegetarian roast dinner soon. FML.

I’m more than halfway through, absolutely not bothered at all about the lack of booze 98% of the time – I have had a couple of occasions where I’ve been pissed off and “needed” a beer, and there have been a few social occasions where I have missed it – like my weekend in Exeter last weekend…how good would a glass of red wine been with my steak dinner? Definitely not craving it like I was last detox though.

However, I don’t feel that I am feeling the benefits as much as last year, though last year I also gave up chocolate, cakes and severely limited red meat – this year I’ve just cut down from my over-consumption.

I’m getting there. I’m eating healthier again, doing a little bit of exercise where I get the time and broadly (seems to be my favourite word of 2019) feeling better. I’ve repaid some of my over-spending from last year and am progressing through some of my to-do lists, and started work improving my web development portfolio.

Once my detox is over, the challenge will be to find some form of balance, and not go back to binge-eating. Maybe I need a wife?

Slow progress, but as the saying goes – slow progress is better than no progress.

Complaint: Sainsbury’s Avocados. Again.

[From 2018]

Hi Sainsburys

How is my favourite supermarket doing?  I hear that you had pretty good Christmas results.
Alas, your avocados have been a little disappointing on occasion recently.

Twice I have bought your dual pack of ripe avocados in recent weeks (I’m stretching the definition of recent here) and ended up being disappointed.  So disappointed that I have taken to buying avocados from Tesco.

As you may understand, now that I have moved to London, I need to prove my credentials by eating as many avocados as possible – especially on toast.  And not just any toast, but the seediest, sourdoughest, wheatgermiest toast possible.  And then grow an ironic Hitler moustache.

The first occasion, both of them were just horrid – quite yah…yucky.  I don’t know how to describe them.
The second occasion, one was good, but the other had a massive gash across it – this was face down so I couldn’t see when buying it.

I appreciate that getting avocados perfect every time is not possible, but these were pretty damn disappointing.

Oh my word.  One more thing.  On my most recent delivery, I ordered some fruit yoghurts.  I saw that they had been substituted when they arrived but I didn’t look closely – I assumed for the other type of fruit yoghurt.

But no.  Toffee.  How is toffee comparable to peach?  Also vanilla, and banana.  How do any of them come close to the fruit flavours of peach, passionfruit – and whatever your other ones are?

It makes no sense.  Surely substitute for another brand of similar flavours?

Anyway, time to go make some toast with my Tesco avocado.   #sad

Kind regards
James

******

Dear James

Thanks for your recent email about the quality of our avocados of late, I’m sorry that they haven’t been up to scratch, I appreciate your need to eat so many avocados, especially as you’re living in London now.

I’ve logged your feedback with our Product Quality team so that they can work on improving our quality control for these in future.

As an apology from us I’ve popped a £5 gift card in the post for you, please allow 3-5 working days for this to arrive and a further 72 hours upon receiving it for the balance to be added.

And I’m sorry to hear about the substitutions that you received on your online order, unfortunately at Careline we are only able to handle in store and product related issues, however I have passed your feedback on to our Online Team.

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us and we hope to see you in store again soon.

Kind regards