Pauly's Soapbox


Beetle has gone back to the garage

Let's get those windscreen wipers fixed this time!

Last night I dreamt that there had been LOADS of redundancies at work. So far today nothing mentioned about that...
All packed ready for the holiday... parking booked with ACE meet and greet, who I understand are really Maple Manor,
just a bit cheaper, nice. It's 瞿80 for the ten days, we drop the car off at short stay, which is walking distance from the terminal,
so no transfers required.

I have bullied Jim into taking Clare's smaller suitcase instead of his own whopper... measured it all up the car and it all fits in fine. Even his huge suitcase would have fitted, but this way we're a bit less squeezed. Plus there's a principle involved here!
Think how much happier he'll be not lugging that huge case around that is actually half empty. I can see how I might have upset him a bit though, I am very attached to my own bag and insist on taking that instead of a case, but a) it is a lot smaller and b) I'm just right here and c) zombie invasion remember, I might have to run with it on my back and a child under each arm...

Alarm is set for TWO FIFTEEN AY-EM good grief is it really worth going to bed?
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Paul Clarke's blog - I live and work in Hythe near Folkestone, Kent. Married to Clare and father to two, I am a software engineer, and I do mostly javascript, nodejs, python, ruby, and php. I like pubs, restaurants, home automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, TV, popbitch, squirrels, pirates ☠, lego, and time travel.

Last night I dreamt there was a Helen Love childrens book

Going through the children's books I realised one of them was based on the themes of Helen Love songs. Only a dream of course, what a strange one. Generally speaking I think I slept well, we are off the diet now. And I had the best part of a bottle of wine too, that definitely helped.
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Expert level trolling from HMRC

My surprise tax demand just increased from 瞿1,300 to 瞿3,600 - this one is a mistake I'm sure that I can sort out. I wonder if other people at work got similar demands? Lots have a much higher number of shares than I. I think this new demand is either they have decided I should pay 瞿2,300 on account for next year as I will definitely be having extra income (I won't) or that they have decided I pay a different rate of tax on this dividend than expected. Either way I'm sure it's a mistake. Otherwise, it's a proper pain. about 70% of that dividend went on the new boiler, the rest went on holiday savings, I didn't get a whole lot of "fun" money out of it, and now I'm having to pay it all back...
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Wee man's last day of nursery today

After all the days of not wanting to go to nursery, not being happy there, counting down the days until he can stop going, now it's here he is sad. He's going to miss it I think, and miss his friends there. We might do some holiday club days just to ease the wrench of him leaving now. Last day today before they close for summer holidays, and then in September he'll be at school!
Also counting down excitedly to the holiday again, within 3 days we'll be there and hitting the all-inclusive bar... Been looking again on trip advisor, reviews of Agios Saranda which is the spot in Albania we can get to easily. The pictures look lovely, the reviews are patchy. I'm not expecting much of it at all, and I expect to be harrassed as a tourist, and even be a target for pickpockets. I am thinking if we can avoid taking the kids with us it might be best, and also the father-in-law as I don't think he'd enjoy it.

I will put my "pick-pocket-proof shorts" to the test then!

Got some details on how their trip to France went yesterday (he is just back from another holiday, with Dom and Dean and Kev and family and when asked how everyone had got on he said "it didn't actually come to fisticuffs"... sounds like they must have had a falling out. We noticed that Dom and Dean were not going on the day trips that the others were doing. I guess it was really two different holidays and probably no-one should have taken up Kev's invitation to join their holiday really. It did seem nice, but I think it's hard to combine two completely different holidays,
one with family (children) and one without.
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Put on your reeboks man

We are holding an open day this sunday 10-1pm and would very much appreciate you recommending any friends or family - forward this email to anyone you know who could be interested in trying tennis for FREE!

We are offering FREE Mini Tennis for 4-10 year olds, Junior Tennis for 11-18 year olds and Adult Tennis.

It's ideal for families as all ages can play in different groups at the same time. It's equally ideal for anyone new to tennis.

Click this link to see more info and book a place:
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A letter from HMRC, about a mistake in my tax

This could have gone either way really couldn't it? It could be a good thing "oh you have paid too much here is a rebate". But it did not. A bill, which is accruing interest already, splendid. It has forced my hand, I am definitely going to sell shares at work now, or rather take that interest free loan now and sell later. I'm going to get enough money to pay this off, and pay back what I had borrowed from other pots to pay for the holiday.
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Super sports day

Went to the rescheduled sports day this afternoon and it was great, really hot and sunny. Their school field is in a lovely position too with a view of the sea. It's no wonder THE MAN wants to build houses on it.
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Super weekend

Friday night I got back to the Inn Doors for the first time in a couple of weeks. Missed my regular Friday there first because of the PTA summer barbecue and then because of Bulgaria, but nice to be back, even though it is only briefly.

Awesome day on Saturday, up and out early and off to Drusilla's to meet Mum and Dad, who are fresh back off a holiday of their own. They had a marvellous time and were full of tales of Strictly Come Dancing. They very kindly paid for us all into the park - it feels a bit expensive, though there's lots of good stuff in side for just the right age group we need... we saw all the animals, went on the rides, revisited all the fun things we remembered from last year, ate our picnic lunch, had a disgusting cup of coffee, and went in the indoor soft play area this time round. Weather not quite as good on Saturday as it has been recently.

It was a strictly cruise, they saw and met Craig Revel Horwood and some of the dancers, had a really good time. They're lining up their next cruise already I think, for July next year, hope it doesn't clash with our planned trip to New York!

Had a day entertaining ourselves on Sunday, went to a great boot fair at Hythe Cricket Club, bought lots of books, a game, a dvd, some NERF guns, and even something for me; a t-shirt. Yes a second hand t-shirt, one that someone else is about ready to throw out, that's the time I'm about ready to start wearing things. New clothes though, for a pound can't argue with that. OK not exactly new, but new to me, and good quality and great condition. It has a VW camper on it. Would be good to wear, say, on a holiday.

Really counting down to the holiday now, actually getting excited for it. We're in the final week of course,
4 more sleeps, 3 more full working days, 2 of those in the office, probably 1 more swimming lesson, getting all sorts of close.

We have started the packing, sort of, pushing things towards the bags anyway. Pre-packing. Clare has bought new cases, she was determined. I am equally determined to take my same old bag I always take! If we have to run from zombies at a foreign airport then I'm not doing it with a case, the case will get left behind, but my stuff will be on my back. I will of course be offering space in my back pack for others essentials; the boys are not taking a case at all, it must be shared between the two of us. They are allowed a full sized case each, but we don't need it, we can surely travel quite light.

Tried out the cases in the car yesterday, making sure we can fit them all in one car and not have to borrow Dom's Sharan. It's very kind of him to offer it but it's yet another example of the routine of holidays that I'd like to disrupt a bit. We don't need to do exactly what you did last time, just because you did it last time. We have a car,
we can fit in our own car, let's use our own car. I may be wrong on this, and if so I may learn my lesson, but I think we'll be OK. I'll be ok this way anyway I'm driving, it will be Grandpa who is squeezed in the back between the child seats I suppose with his giant suitcase on his lap...

There are other examples of the routine that have been mentioned that have annoyed me, the assumption that everyone is going to get eaten to death by mosquitos every day, just because it happened to the mother-in-law when she went to Greece once upon a time. Also there was talk of a daily routine of going to get huge tanks of drinking water, because that's what they always do on holiday ("they" being the Mahon families). 1. It's all inclusive, surely there will be water in the rooms. We are not going to a remote villa or anything. 2) I'm not planning on drinking a lot of water, it's ALL INCLUSIVE!

I have vented a bit there.

I'm not able to pack quite as lightly as I might, for one I have birthday cards and very small token gifts to take out, we both have a birthday while we're out there. Also I found out I have to dress for dinner! No shorts in the restaurants! I'm taking one pair of light Rohan trousers and will see how strictly they enforce this. I'm taking my nice looking scottevest shorts, and my big travelling ones from clothing arts, both are well pocketed, but the scottevest ones are more formal looking. I've also got some new clothes I have to take, got a couple of shirts already as birthday gifts, nice.
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Paul Clarke's blog - I work and live in Seabrook near Folkestone, Kent. married to Clare and father to two, I am a software engineer, and I do mostly javascript, nodejs, python, ruby, and php. I like pubbing, restaurants, home automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, TV, popbitch, squirrels, pirates ☠, lego, and time travel.

Paul Clarke


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