Hot-tubs, Articles, Bussiness plans & Christmas

A lot of things have happened since I last really sat down and wrote an update.. Not least of course finishing my footnotes, binding and submitting my thesis.
But in addition I took a much needed break with B which involved the luxury of a hot-tub, realised that the festive madness had very much snuck up on me and I started some more serious contemplation of the future.

At the moment this forward-looking has 2 phases – firstly the adaption of my thesis for publication and secondly looking into the purchase of a pub.
With regard to publication – although ultimately I feel that it would make a good monograph I want some more guidance on suitable publishers and of course it seems pointless to move too far down that line whilst waiting for my examiners’ comments. On the other hand I want to improve my publication profile so journal articles are an absolute requirement. At this stage my plan is to rewrite some of the conclusions/key ideas into papers for each of the 2 disciplines that I was working with. Cornish Studies is easy enough to plan an article for  and pick a journal but Classics… not so much; since it was the discipline I did my initial studies in I am more nervous of getting it wrong and it it is tricky to find the right journal for the topic.
With regard to the pub – well thats a more complex beasty all round.
I have now been a barmaid for nearly a decade (Gods save us all) and a pub has come in the local area. Its not a particularly successful pub but I believe it could be and I think I could make it work. Trouble is: a) money [I’d need to borrow a fair bit] b) the in-laws [tee-total and inclined to make W a little nervous] and c) time [I worry that I wouldn’t be fairly considering W & B if I made this move]. However, just as boldly as I move into the realms of academic publish I must also look for a real job and so I am drawing up a business plan even as I type.

Wish me luck

Dear Student Finance

Why do I have to fill in a full application form including my nationality and address for the 3 years prior to starting my course when I have already given you this information (hint I’m required to notify you if I change my nationality and the address I lived in 04-07 is still the one for those years)?
Why make me struggle through the piles of paperwork when I’m tired and stressed already?
Why do I have to sign a ‘loan declaration’ when I’m not applying for a loan just a payment for my mentor..? Are you going to hound me to pay back money that was supposed to be supporting me?
Why do I have to send all the paperwork through to the uni again when I (and they) are required to notify you if I drop out?
Why is it so damn difficult? Is this designed to just make me give up?
Yours sincerely
A tearful, anxious, stressed and confused student

Stillages and Cephelobopping

This weekend its been all about beer and music.
Kitten has decided that father’s day is to be our annual beer festival – a decision nearly jeopardised by the failure of head-office to send us an insurance document for 4 weeks…and further troubled by the atrocious weather. Nonetheless beer and stillage were ordered and duly settled in the bar, it was exciting and new and interesting. The only thing missing was enthusiasm.

There has been a bit of a slump both in customers and staff of late. We are not completely strapped for cash – don’t get me wrong, all of our customers need the solace of somewhere to go to complain and a sympathetic drink- but there is a dullness that no amount of pep can fight. Our core clientele are broke and grumpy, they are working longer hours and have little money to show for it, socialising is a chore. The unexpected masses make irregular appearences which seem neither based on holiday nor weather but bourne of a desparation to go and get drunk. Staff on the other hand are all immersed in RL, busy balancing their own finances and romances and less than engaged with the life and process of a pub community. It is hard to retain an interest in the things which draw people in when everything seems against you and other parts of your world are more pressing.

However, whining about the pub aside (cos gods only know it is nothing new) I went to see the boys play a gig! Magpie and Thor are 2 parts of a 3-piece prog-metal thrash-funk jazz band. They ahve been playing together for maybe 6 years and gig about every 6 months which I guess must be standard for laid-back amateurs  with nothing to prove. The shame of the matter is that they are really very good. I’m not an expert on Metal – I enjoy some loud and aggressive shit and don’t like others but I don’t categorise it or chase around the world listening to it. Nor am I a musical whizz – I didn’t study it and I can’t name notes or patterns, but I do have a knack for spotting the off key and the missed rhythm, the lack of balance and failed sequences. I was raised on the blues and meandered through jazz, classical, rock, metal, goth and folk before settling into whatever suits my mood. Despite all of this I can tell you that the boys are good musicians with a flair for experimentation and (if you can decipher it) a wicked sense of humour lyrically and musically.
If Cephelopod ever reach your world- buy their music otherwise go find them live and jump up and down like an idiot!

Spending Money

I’m really bad at spending money.
The value and purpose of money is definitely an area my wife and I differ on.. and that can cause friction – not marriage ending issues just confusion and disappointment.

The problem is simple. I don’t like spending money on me, and I don’t like other people doing it either. I consider money functional and I hate buying things (for me) that aren’t functional. Now don’t get me wrong I regard holidays as functional and I enjoy buying gifts – but clothes that I will only wear once, or even clothes to top up a wardrobe that already contains working items= infuriatingly pointless; ornaments, games, toys, all need to fulfil the used more than once category; books and music? lovely to have but probably not worth buying for myself except in extremis (ie deep depression or giftcards – and even then likely to result in guilt).
I believe in buying food ethically and I like it to be tasty but cannot stand to throw any away and would rather eat food I hate than consign it to the bin. I believe in saving up for regular treats, like takeaway or meals out, but get twitchy if the regular bills go too high and would happily eat only spaghetti in order to have one night of steak without feeling guilty.

Although I feel the need to personally save money for emergencies (keeping cash always available) – train and plane fares and house repairs – I don’t think its the end of the world if there isn’t much to go around. I like to save up for holidays and sudden spur-of-the-moment blow-outs but I hate telling anyone they can’t have something. I adore giving my loves surprise gifts or at least making sure that they can spend whatever they want.. except..on me.

This makes Valentine’s day (amongst others) a touch tricky. Its not that I don’t appreciate shiny things I just .. I just find them hard. I want the money to be useful and in general gifts aren’t useful. Maybe I just have ridiculously high standards – cos hell there is a lot I won’t turn down, or maybe its the low self-esteem that says I am not worth having money spent on.



I atent dead

Will be glad when the crazy rounds of extra shifts and still not enough money are done. It will be good to relax come Jan. when the mrs comes back from seeing her parents and dealing with her grandfather’s decline and the boy has finished his Xmas work.
Meanwhile I am trying not to put weight on over the festive period and to get some sort of sleep pattern established; oh and work out how to make the numbers add up after buying presents… I think I might need some luck.

Budgets #2

So after last week what’s happened?

Well it was a rocky start – though perhaps I can comfortably blame W’s Birthday for that.
Fairly sure we blew the drinks budget at a whiskey tasting(approx £30) but W added extra to the pot and we split the cost on the cards which makes it a bit tricky to judge.

Foodwise on top of the £26 I recorded that we spent in our big shop: We also spent £4 on chicken and chips for 2 (yes junk food was required after all that drinking…), £29 on birthday burritos and a beer to go with that for 3 and £18.50 worth of Clubcard vouchers that did Roast dinner for 3, leftovers dinner for 2 and 4 lunches.
So 63 meals = £77.50. Average a bit under £1.25, incl a cheap meal out. It is of course worth pointing out that we were also making use of the food already in our cupboards and there were some remaining items from the previous weekly shop. Not bad but can do better – Grade B-?

So this week.. So far we have spent £20. Soup veg from W’s parents has covered some of the meals planned which helps and B is expecting to eat out with work one night this week.. hoping it will be a cheap food week.
Transport on the other hand is going badly this week already because W’s work bus ticket which she buys monthly had expired so that means extra money taken out of the local bus fund – otoh walking is good for me. Lets hope it doesn’t rain too much..

Wish us luck.


So the xmas season has arrived and it is time to deal with the ritual present-buying, frenzied shoppers and foods and the like..
This year as I contemplate the cost of the december rituals, plan for future jobs etc and shudder over the increasing costs of living I have begun to budget in earnest.

Bus tickets are a big expense – £14 for a week ticket – which covers W working. I can use it when she isn’t but single tickets are £1.80 and £3.40 a return to manage work and back – that adds up fast. So my solution is to set a limit on how much I spend over and above that one week ticket; except in an emergency that means if I don’t have the cash I have to walk and more than that it gives me the incentive to take the extra time in my day to plan that walk. £10 max

  • Transport – £24/week.

Drinks. There is no denying that I like good alcohol and that its expensive. The mrs also has a powerful Rubicon Mango habit. For the purposes of healthy liver and wallet I have set us a budget of c. £3.30 per day. Thats half a pint of pricier bitter each everyday; or a couple of cans of my beloved okocim and a couple of cans of rubicon a day or saved up to one night of a couple of cocktails each

  • Drink – £23/week

Food has been a little more complex. Overall I have been working on getting the 3 of us to do a monthly/6-weekly online shop to share costs on at the very least the delivery but also to let us take advantage of bulk deals that don’t really work so well for small households. This shop usually covers such things as tinned and frozen foods and cleaning products. Unless we have messed up it generally comes to under £100, and I am thinking of introducing a stricter limit on this and a more routine time-scale for the shops. However, B & I are now working to put into place an even tighter regime to reduce casual weekly expenditure on food and snacks. This means planning meals for a week in advance and making packed lunches. At the moment I’m not sure what budget it is sensible to set to cover 3 meals a day for all of us (a total of 63 meals). Today 37 planned meals (7 Breakfasts for B, 6 Breakfasts for Me, 5 packed luches each and 3 dinners each) and the expectation of some left-overs (eg potatoes, onions, cereal) cost £26 – so is £40 going to be enough? Do we need to spend more or get better at low-budget cooking?

  • Food – £30/week?

In total thats £77 per week. So £80 cash in the house a week should cover everything and I can put the remaining money from my wages into my bank account and save enough to cover travelling to see family over the hols..

Too Angry

Somedays I am really disappointed in people.

I am sad that people think its ok to split the bill at an expensive restaurant without considering the people who have held back because they are broke. I think it especially sad that it neither bothers some people nor makes a difference to their continued consumption of drinks on the combined bill.

Today though I am more sad that a friend thinks it is ok to insist I discuss my personal feelings on the basis that they affect my professional conduct rather than being able to separate the two. I would rather accept a reprimand and docking of pay than the insistence that I discuss my life when I am clearly not able to make rational discussion about it – and indeed say so.
Its not your fucking business to know everything that goes through my head – especially if I tell you it is not to do with the pub and I’d rather discuss it at a later point when I am feeling less angry.

I thought after being friends for 8/9 years you had more respect for me than that.

I’m sorry. I don’t know how we will together again right now. I am so hurt by your lack of respect for my need for privacy and space I can’t even begin to work out how to speak to you. I was only angry and perhaps foolish and inappropriate according to your rules for the pub and yet in telling me I had to tell you and because I had said anything in your pub it was your business you betrayed my sense of safety and respect. I realise now I am just a member of staff and need to have no feelings or else by being my friend you believe you have earnt the right to instant knowledge of my mind and control over when and where I express them. I’m sorry I can’t do that.

Is this a serious break? I don’t know. I am too hurt to know.

Money Worries

The thing I hate about money is there is never enough of it.

My dearly beloved wife gets quite upset about any time she is broke; she finds lack of money and especially asking for money an affront to her pride. I understand, its just a shame she is good at spending it 😉

This time of year is always expensive- not just holidays, but new clothes for smother visiting and sorting out the next academic year with regards books and computer equipment. That reminds me I have to send my form in to the DSA to get some money from them….

As I get paid in cash I have to make a constant effort to pay money into my current account in order to use my card for anything, it works nicely for covering food, drink and transport costs with no more than we have. W pays most of the bills with her monthly earnings and I keep an eye on our joint savings account and day-to-day cash flow which works well unless I get paid late or until we get to things like clothes that fall between our accounts -cue annoying stress.

We are lucky. We are all able to work (to a greater or lesser degree), we aren’t dependent on hand-outs or going without food. We are just getting by..

Sigh. Anyone fancy donating me substantial amounts of money?

Fluoxetine Continued

Am now up to day 4 of my citalopram-fluoxetine combo.

I have to say that so far the side effects have been less pronounced than starting citalopram. I still have a headache and a slight muzzy tiredness. I have even got the dry mouth thing back but the nausea was short lived and the dizziness hasn’t been too bad. I am hoping that these will die down over then next week or two.

I’m not sleeping very well though. I noticed that as part of dropping down the citalopram. In some ways I am glad of the slightly less intense sleepiness, but the fatigue levels haven’t changed, the difference is that I am now back to taking longer to drop off and waking up multiple times per night for more than a few minutes which had definitely improved on the 40mg.

Mood-wise – I’m not more suicidal, which is nice, self-harm issues are up and down – which I’m taking as no change. So first key point is that its not worse, now I just have to give it more time…


In other news: I am back to frantically improving my business plan. Its unlikely that the brewery I wanted to help be a major funder as anywhere near the sort of cash I need to raise so the question is – does someone else? Anyone got 100-150k they want to invest in an excellent opportunity?