Joe Blogs



Well, the plan for becoming a bus driver has progressed one stage further. I have an interview with Travel West Midlands. Typically, it’s on my birthday (5th August for anyone who might have forgotten ;-)

I have to be there for 8.30am. I have to do a written test, driving assessment, interview and medical questionnaire. They somehow reckon that the whole lot will take about 5 hours. I don’t quite know how, because I rang up to find out what the driving assessment would entail and it’s only 20 minutes of general driving in a Toyota Previa or a small minibus. Apparently they won’t be making me do manoeuvres and stuff, so it shouldn’t be too bad. I’m hiring a car on Wednesday just to have a day of driving around to boost my confidence again.

I’m kind of looking forward to it now. I’m mugging up on the Highway Code and stuff and we’re going to go up and stay in a B&B in Brum the night before. We’re thinking about going to Cadbury World afterwards. Should be fun :-)

They teach me to drive a bus in 10 days, bit scary.

Regarding a lack of posting


Well, I don’t know how that’s happened. I could have sworn I had made more posts recently.

I haven’t been working the past two weeks, I registered with the agency but no work yet. It feels weird not going to work every day like I have been for the past year. I do find it a lot easier to get up at a time most normal people would call morning nowadays, though. Not that the same can be said for Hannah ;-) (she says she’s working and tired, lame excuse if you ask me) Hopefully I will continue to be able to get up next year, it will make commuting a lot easier.

We’ve been getting up and going for a swim before breakfast every weekday for the last two weeks. I’m noticing a bit of a difference in my fitness, but it’s slow going. I think Hannah’s toning up too, which I obviously enjoy :-)

The van driving went pretty well, I’m now looking forward to moving our stuff from Winchester to Reading. The house has been turned upside-down here, moving people around between bedrooms and decorating. We’ve been preparing for our holiday, sorting out the tent and buying new camping toys.

Well, that seems to be a pretty mundane entry, never mind. I’m too hungry to think about writing anything else.


End of an Era


My last day at IBM today. It’s a bit weird, I don’t really feel it’s sunk in yet.

I’ve been collecting a few items of memorabilia. We’re going out for lunch as a team today, after a free lunch for the whole department yesterday. I’m going through all the last-minute things I have to do. Writing down passwords,exporting things and backing up, removing illicit warez from my machine (joke) :-)

Very odd.

Driving the first van tomorrow. Should be an experience. I’ve got to finish off all my packing at home, too. I’m going to be living in Reading for the next few weeks, so my Winchester numbers won’t reach me for anyone who has them and could care less.



I had my driving lesson last night.

It was pretty fun. The instructor was a good one, friendly and encouraging but also critical. He drove me across town to a quiet residential “proving ground” where I drove around doing lots of left turns followed by lots of right turns, then basically just drove around getting exposure to as many types of road as possible. I had to do lots of “peek and creep”, as he called it, driving. Up and down hill and stuff. I got him to run me through all the manoeuvres that you have to do in the test. Apparently I probably wouldn’t pass the current driving test but it wouldn’t take much to get me there. They’ve changed some of the guidelines now. You have to block change when approaching a junction, which is silly IMHO. “Breaks slow you down, gears speed you up” apparently. He wasn’t bothered about me getting all that right, though. Apparently you don’t know what gear you will need. In my opinion, you might not know, exactly, by you probably have a good idea. There are other things which I can’t remember. He was very complimentary of my awareness and observation, which was nice. He mentioned it a number of times. I guess it’s partly because I’ve been making an effort to improve it and partly inherent as a biker. If you’re on a bike, you do all you can to avoid hitting anyone/anything. The effects are much more serious than as a car driver.

I told him why I was doing it, and he told me that he had quite a bit of experience driving vans of various types. So throughout the lesson he gave me pointers on what I might do differently if I was in whacking great Transit, rather than in a little Fiesta.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m now quite looking forward to Saturday.

In other driving news, I’m enquiring about training as a bus driver. Might sound a bit random, but I need to earn some extra money next year, and I’d rather do something unusual than sit behind a bar or a checkout. A lot of the bus companies will pay for training/qualification for the PCV licence and it would be another thing to have on my CV, as well as being able to drive minibuses and the like. I’ve contacted a couple of places in Birmingham, and one has replied and sent me an application pack, which is reasonably positive. Remains to be seen whether it’s realistic, but it could be fun. All of this interest in driving is with a possible view to becoming a driving instructor. I’m not sure IT is the right place for me. I’m going to focus on learning about security and networking in my final year, to make myself more employable, but I don’t think that long-term I’ll stay in IT.

I’m thinking that I might train as a driving instructor when I can afford it, and then try and do that at the same time as trying to get some business/management qualifications so that by the time Hannah’s all qualified and at a level to be a partner, we can set up a practice and I can be practice manager.

That’s the master-plan, it remains to be seen how realistic it is. I’ve just had enough of sitting in front of a computer all day, every day and want a bit more control over my own destiny, to make it sound grand. Ho hum.

Hannah’s been sent home from work, feeling really poorly, so I’m going to go and pick her up from the station and have lunch with her. Hope she feels better soon :-(

[Listening to: Sweet child o’mine (Virgin Radio – the home of the No Repeat 9am to 5pm, live from London, UK) – Guns N’ Roses – (0:-1)]



Really Quite Bored. That’s what that stands for. I’ve got a week and a day left working here, and I’m looking forward to finishing. I’m feeling really sleepy at the moment. I’m looking forward to my driving lesson, driving a van and starting work as a Kitchen Porter for 4 weeks. OK, so I’m not really looking forward to that last one, but it’s only 4 weeks.

I’ve started to pack up my stuff, which is fun. NOT.


Zempt 0.3


Woo, this rocks. They’ve added proxy support to Zempt: in version 0.3 (I had to download an even newer version to make it work with my proxy) So I can now post without having to faff around with my browser. Which is nice. Seems pretty nice so far.