Blogging Off

I guess I owe everyone an explanation of some sort, don’t I?

As you remember, I came back to the UK in September and started a new job on a Monday. On the Wednesday I was called into an office by my new boss and found the head of HR waiting for me. What the hell have I done now, I thought. It’s too early for me to have upset anyone; maybe they’ve found the blog? So when they told me they’d had a reorganisation and were making me redundant, I was actually quite relieved. In fact, the situation was so preposterous I laughed. Rather grateful I’d not made any serious commitments such as selling a house, quitting a job, or moving a family to join them (I’d basically loaded up my car with a few suitcases and drove from Annecy to Cambridge), I asked them whether I should come in tomorrow or go back to France. They told me my redundancy period was 3 months, and so I said I might as well make myself useful during that time. After a year off for my MBA, any work was better than none. As it turned out there was plenty to do, and I was well placed to do it. So for the next ten weeks or so I kept myself busy doing project management and writing procedures, to the point they were good enough to offer me a permanent position in the new organisation chart. So here I am: not doing the job I came to do, but another well within my capabilities on the same terms and conditions.

I rather like it here. The average employee in my previous company, were he to meet an ancient carpet weaver in Tashkent, would immediately tell him how to do his job properly. My previous boss used to talk to me as if I’d just floated down the river on a raft full of cow shit. This wouldn’t have been so bad if what he knew about the oil industry couldn’t be written in the margins of a Paris metro ticket. Here I am actually consulted on stuff and, generally, people listen if not agree. Also, the work I am doing has some purpose. By contrast, I spent much of my time between 2014-18 entering obviously incorrect data into spreadsheets and then deleting the spreadsheets. I am also rather busy as, this not being the oil industry, things move a little faster than a glacier. I once thought oil companies spent so long making decisions that the reservoir grew a little thanks to the continuous exertion of geological forces on the dead dinosaurs. In my last company I started to think that was an actual strategy.

Readers may recall my original intention had been to live near King’s Cross and then commute to Cambridge. Then I’d decided that was too expensive and lived in Cambridge in the company-provided serviced apartment. Well, Cambridge sucked. I found it cold, wet, and uninteresting, possibly because I was on my own. I had to drive 14 miles each way to get to work which took 40 minutes going and between an hour and an hour and a half on the way home. The problem was insane traffic and forests of traffic lights spaced 20m apart which weren’t synchronised. Whoever designed the traffic system in and around Cambridge was obviously paid by the Fresnel lens, and he needs dragging into the Cam and drowning. By the end of a sixth week of sitting in a line watching a trail of twin red lights stretch into the distance in front of me, I’d had enough.

While all this was going on I was enjoying the occasional company and a lot of telephone conversations with someone I’d met in London when I’d come over for my interview. She’d felt a little guilty that she had to go to Hong Kong on business for three weeks a few days after we’d met. However, I’d had to first confess I was living in Annecy and not London, then I was going to live in Cambridge and not Kings Cross, and finally that my new company was giving me the boot before I’d even seen a dress-down Friday. I was partway through my sorry tale when she boarded a plane for Hong Kong again, from which she returned almost a month later and we both decided we’d spent quite enough time apart. This, coupled with my unhappiness with Cambridge and the commute, drove me to move to London. So here I am, living near Wapping.

This is made possible by one of the major changes in the British workplace which has taken place since I left: flexible working. When I joined my new company I discovered I didn’t have a desk. Everyone just comes in, finds an empty desk, and plugs their laptop into a docking station. Nobody has a phone any more, and instead all calls are routed to Skype installed on your laptop. You can phone into any meeting, meaning you don’t need to be there in person. All this means you can work from pretty much anywhere, and don’t need to be 9-5 in the office every day like we did back in 2003. So I can catch the Brighton to Cambridge train each morning by walking 15 mins to London Bridge, wait for it to empty at Farringdon and St Pancras, then sit down in a deserted carriage, connect to the wifi, and do about an hour’s admin and emails until I arrive. It’s a bit expensive, but much easier and a hell of a lot less stressful than that damned drive I used to do (I ditched the car back in Annecy a few weeks ago).

In short, I am busy at work and I’ve met someone rather nice who I’m spending a lot of time with. This leaves me with little time for blogging, but it goes a bit deeper than that. Firstly, my new companion is not a former mail-order bride from Russia with a collection of children and divorces, nor a nutjob with nose piercings and a penchant for polyamory. Sadly for my blog and my readers, but happily for my mental health, she is a native English speaker (of a sort) and about as sane as you can expect from someone living in London. Secondly, if I’m being honest, I’ve lost the fire in my belly to churn out 2-4 posts per day. It’s getting harder and harder to write something without repeating what I’ve already said. When I first started writing about polyamory it was a new and interesting topic for me, and learning about the lunatics who practice it was as amusing as it was informative as to just who walk among us. But there’s a new article every second week and I’ve nothing original to say. The same is true for carrier bags, Brexit, Trump, and most other subjects I weigh in on: nothing changes, the stories stay the same, and my blog gets dull and repetitive. At least, the writing part feels that way.

So I’m not going to be posting anywhere near as much as I was. I live a different life now, probably a more boring life, but one that I hope will make me a bit happier. I don’t know where blogging will fit into it, but it won’t be like before. I will definitely keep it online and write posts from time to time, because I still love writing and have things to say. If ever I get time in future there’s a good chance I’ll ramp it back up again, provided I have something new and interesting to write about. And I still want to finish my second book, the first having been such a roaring success. Ahem. This one is a murder mystery set on Sakhalin Island, loosely based on my experiences, and a very different story from the first but written in similar style. I have no idea when I’ll be able to continue with it, let alone finish it.

So please check back here every now and again, because I wouldn’t like to lose all of you. You’ve been a wonderful, brilliant, tremendous set of readers who have helped, encouraged, criticised, and kept me on the straight and narrow without ever letting up, and I love you all for it. I am always up for a drink, which should be easy to arrange now I live in London. You can find my email address here, so drop me a line if you’re bored. As I said, the blog isn’t dead, nor is it on hiatus. It’s just kinda plodding for a while. I’ll see you in the near future.

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63 thoughts on “Blogging Off

  1. Well Tim, it has been a pleasure reading your thoughts for these many years now, my morning ritual is make a coffee and see it there is a new posting on this site!

    Best wishes from a parched, burnt and smokey NSW!

  2. So happy life is treating you well. I’ve missed reading new posts every day but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. Enjoy! Merry Christmas and continued success in life (and love)!

  3. Been interesting, following you. Pleased for your current status. Regretfully most all of the lads I’ve followed this past 15 or more years have, one by one, dropped off the radar – family and work commitments. All the best for the future.

  4. Wish you all the best.

    Always found your posts interesting/informative & look forward to more (perhaps) in future.

    Kind regards

  5. Overall great news, Tim. We’re backing you in your new UK life. Interesting to think how many of us arrived here ten years ago to read you skewering the oil industry and bureaucracies everywhere, and then ended up coming along for quite another journey.

    Of course, you can always repurpose your blog, nothing stopping you from writing on new things once you’ve comfortably settled into the current swing of things. I’m sure that with your HR and flexible work experiences, before long you’ll have a lot of interesting ideas to share. Maybe a book, maybe a business, who knows?

    Meanwhile, may I suggest bunging a regular monthly update into your calendar to keep RSS readers and the search engines gently ticking over.

    Again, all the best. If ever in London, will be in touch for a pint.

  6. Your interesting and well written blogs will not be less of a joy by being less frequent.

    Best wishes, TMB

  7. To be honest, Tim, I was a bit worried she’d dumped you and you were drowning your sorrows, so that’s excellent news.

    Take care of yourself and don’t worry about us misserable old fuckers. Have a happy and prosperous New Year.

  8. Over the years, I have heard (& met) several people who have had your experience of — Welcome to the organization; now, there’s the door. Your story has a happier ending than most, which shows the value of keeping on smiling and being willing to make a contribution. But keep your eyes open for other opportunities — you have been around the oil industry long enough to know that reorganizations are like crack cocaine for management: one hit is never enough!

    Since you are in a relationship now, maybe it would be an idea to let your lady friend post a few items from time to time? I for one would be fascinated to get her perspective on what is happening in Hong Kong, based on her recent visits.

    All the best to you & yours for Christmas, New Year, and the Great Beyond.

  9. When I first frequented here, your blog posts were sparing but good, so a reduction in frequency of the current posting rate is really a reverting back to the norm, the high frequency posting may have been the exception.

    I can understand that your motivation level to blog on the same subject that you hold a strong and well known view on, would start to wane. Better that you post on changes to the subject or your stance on it or a view that is in the minority including with that of your readers in an effort to change their view. The risk that you ran with this blog is that it became a group think echo chamber.

    And the very best of luck to you with your new career and relationship.

    Your timing is good as I think that there is definite chance that things could pick up in Mud Island following the general election result. I done exceptionally well loading up my UK investments pre-election, although I did get a little nervous in the end and sold down two of my three UK positions on the back of strong capital gains and a strong pound. The risk of a non-majority government would have crashed their value and the pound and was not worth taking. l will keep a hold of the one that I have left for the foreseeable as it has every chance of continuing to increase in value now that Labour and Brexit are sorted and the UK economy at long last has a strong tailwind pushing it along.

    Having said that the UK economy is at a long time low now, which means that the number of insolvencies and the need for business rescue will increase and remain strong. I am therefore loading up on a little known Manchester firm, that are expanding rapidly both organically and by acquisition and are spitting out profits left right and centre. If you decided to look for another role in the UK, maybe give them a shout as they are up to 76 offices and rising.

    https://www.begbies-traynorgroup.com/

  10. I monitor your blog automatically, so I am sure not to miss your future posts. Until we cyber-meet again, enjoy life and love!l

  11. Great to hear that things are going the way they are. Enjoy the ride and may it be a long one!

  12. Less involvement in the internet usually signals good things happening in someones life. Great news.

    Wapping, nice location. From there walking along the river to canary wharf can be nice and a drink at the end:
    https://www.timeout.com/london/blog/a-39thfloor-rooftop-terrace-has-opened-in-canary-wharf-072017

    Depending on how far you want to go you can then walk all the way down to greenwich (crossing with the foot tunnel – boats take you back to st kath dock), all the way up to islington (from limehouse walk along regents canal), or use the boat at canary wharf to hop from north to south bank and return on the other side.

    Happy Christmas

  13. Great to hear that you’ve settled in…
    Going to miss your regular blogging but better a few original Tims than the opposite.
    Happy holidays Padi….

  14. Good to see things are working out for you, Tim. I suppose spending more time with the new lady in your life also means that work on the “second difficult” novel has also ground to a halt.

    Your blog is in my RSS feed. Although you may be gone for a while you won’t be forgotten.

    PS, stay safe. I hear London can be a bit stabby of late.

  15. I’ve always enjoyed your musings. I’ll miss the regular comments but enjoy the infrequent ones even more as they will be rarer.

    Good luck in the future and let me assure you that you will never be stuck for material as your new role will be full of new and exciting head banging rules and regs for you to be aware of.

    Big companies though are very PC are run by SJWs nowadays so be careful that you separate your work from your blog so you don’t get into trouble. The wrong word can have you into HR faster than you can blink.

  16. Couldn’t be happier for you with the way things have turned out.

    It has been excellent to have had the chance to read your blog these last few years; you write well……Clearly, with passion and strength, but never with hysteria or hyperbole. You have a nice line in sarcastic humour and a sharp and practical intellect.

    As a fellow denizen of the Great Wen, I think you’ll enjoy life here more than Paris – Annecy is a good enough getaway from both. London has an overdose of Grade A, ocean-going prats, but it has always seemed to me to be a more optimistic and energetic place and less of a cynical museum compared to Paris.

    If sh’s a keeper, do your best to keep her. If that means not entertaining us, it’s a price worth paying for us.

    Godd luck and a very Happy Christmas.

  17. Ok, obviously, Tim’s mail-order Russian bride has kidnapped him in the basement of her polyamorous quartet, and this post is just to allay our suspicions. We must scour it for clues as to his location!

    But seriously. Best of luck with all the new things in your life, and I’m sure you’ll come roaring back when fractional trans-species ex-utero pregnancies become prime-time news in a couple of months.

  18. “she is a native English speaker (of a sort)”

    Brummagem? Newcastle? :^)

    Glad things are going so well – look forward to the next post (whenever it may be).

  19. Good to hear that life is improving and that you’re concentrating on matters of real importance to you (if not to your avid readers). All the best for the future: I’ll look forward to rarer (but even more thoughtful?) postings.

    BTW, while I’m on, why are the timings of contributions on Paris time rather than GMT?

  20. What everyone said above, especially that a reduction in posting frequency is a sign that you actually have a real life attendance to whose attention is more alluring.

    Netvibes RSS reader, so will see posts as and when. I would refer, possibly even liken, you to Jason Reeves at Squander Two. He used to post quite frequently back in the days of the EU Constitution nonsense in 2005 – remember that?

    He went quiet, but just every now and then posts something of immense importance, made more noticeable and forceful by the fact that his posts are rare. This, for example:
    http://blog.squandertwo.net/2019/12/the-gathering-storm.html
    is a good case in point.

    Happy Christmas Tim!

  21. Glad your life’s improving. Cambridge is entirely unfit for vehicles now, so your commute is ideal (except perhaps for Thameslink’s erratic service). I’ll miss your perceptive posts and the laugh-out-loud “Poly” moments!

  22. I rarely comment, but your blog is one of my favourite reads. Good luck! Hope you have a nice life and I’ll look forward to the odd post popping up

  23. Tim comes back from hiatus and immediately makes us readers redundant. =)

    Best of luck, sir, and thanks for the thoroughly enjoyable blog!

  24. I have a feeling that quality is in inverse proportion to frequency of posting (unless you do a Fat Bigot and make the gaps three years!) Au revoir.

  25. First time I’ve ever posted, but I’ve been reading everything here for over a year. Darn, I’ll miss the regular posts. I’ve always liked the surreal, dreamy, paradise-pure image seen at the top of the blog. Made me believe that the world still has a little mystery and intrigue left in it.

    Good luck to you, and I hope the relationship provides you with another exciting journey. Best from Barry.

  26. Thanks for letting us know the situation. Although I will miss your punny headlines… Hope your new friend and you are happy … Just remember, a man’s calling has gotta be central to him, to make him and his woman happy in the long run 🙂

  27. Fantastic news that life is going well for you. I wish you great happiness. If you BLOG occasionally I’m sure it will be well worth the read.

    Good luck , I hope it continues to go well for you.

  28. Thank you for what you do.
    Always interesting and thought provoking.
    I will keep an eye out for your issues.
    Quality rather than quantity.
    Happy Christmas, and a Guid New Year.

  29. Thank you Tim.

    I found a similar thing happened to me: I lived abroad and wrote a blog, typically daily, but when I moved back to blighty it stopped. For me I think it was because I got to express my thoughts in English verbally, and frequently, during the day, so I didn’t need to write as much to achieve the same feeling. Perhaps it is the same for you, although it reads like you just don’t have as much time now?

    A question for you, and the other commentators: where elsewhere would you recommend to read & interact instead? I quite like https://davidthompson.typepad.com/ (and in fact see he’s commented above).

    Can you do something with your readership here? You’ll know your own stats, but let’s say you have 1,000 frequent readers, and 30 frequent commentators. That’s not nothing. What could you convert that to?

    Or what if you said you’d make a new post on the 5th of each month, and we all came back for that?

    Just some thoughts. All the best, and I’ll probably randomly ping you to suggest a beer in 2020 as I live in London 🙂

    (btw, check out https://comedyunleashed.co.uk/ in East London, I think you’ll like it).

  30. Really glad to hear things have worked out for you.

    I’ll miss your regular blogging – didn’t comment much but enjoyed both your writing and the replies and arguments it spawned. But, one reason I’ve never done it myself is realising how much time and effort it takes to keep alive and moving – if you’ve got real life being pleasant to take your time, enjoy that!

    Like yourself, I’ve found myself in an outfit that does “smart working” – it’s a thirty-mile commute to the office, but it’s a rarity rhat I have to be there often (usually try to be there a day a week to stay in touch & be sociable) – usually I can work from home or I’m on supplier or customer sites.

    It’s a big change that I’ll be spending the first half of January actually in the office at a desk for the job I’m running – no hardship (I’d thought I’d be doing it routinely, turns out I didn’t have to) but an amusing change from even ten years ago where if you weren’t in the office at your desk you didn’t exist and weren’t doing anything useful…

  31. What’s the saying?
    Life is what happens to you while you were making other plans.
    Good luck, thanks for the excellent essays.
    Looking forward to new posts once you escape your mail order Russian bride’s basement dungeon.

  32. Glad to hear all is going well.

    Bit of a shame that one of the 3 blogs that are on my daily “check for new postings as soon as i get home” list will be so much less frequent, but the reason is a good one.

    Merry Christmas and i hope life is so good that you don’t post for a month.

  33. Yeah, we’re all fully conversant with the rule against blogging on trains. Who else am I going to read now, tearing apart the ridiculous with a chisel-sharp sledgehammer? Where else am I going to find a non-political commentator unashamed of his biological sex and melanin content? What other links am I going to provide when someone asks for illustrations of the meaning of the words cutting, mordant and trenchant? Good luck, buddy.

    THE FIVE MAJOR LIFE PROBLEMS

    Solving these problems will lead to a more satisfying life

    1. Meeting The Opposite Sex
    2. Money
    3. Health
    4. A Good Job
    5. Friends, Family and Community

  34. Have enjoyed the blog massively for some time on an almost entirely passive basis. Glad that things have turned out so well and wish you all the best while hoping to see the odd post* from time to time.

    *Ambiguity deliberate

  35. Have been following your blog since your days in the Middle East.

    Will miss the regular posts but will look forward to the occasional updates. As a fellow long term expat, would be interested in hearing your thoughts and frustrations (or maybe enjoyment) with being back in the uk.

    Wish you all the best in your new career and hope you and the new Mrs can be happy ever after. Let’s just hope she doesn’t get to know the real you or you are fooked 😀

    All the best

  36. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your sharp wit and insight. I also enjoy the discussion in the comments.
    Thank you so much for what you’ve done. I wish you every happiness.

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