Winter is Here

The following is just a mish-mash of recent thoughts/draft posts I’ve had, to make up an ‘all filler, no killer’ kind of final post for the year!

Not-So-Glad Tidings

Tis supposed to be the season to be jolly and all that, except it probably won’t be for some.

Alternative Advent Calendar (more dates may have been added since this screenshot)

There’s nothing cheerful about the UK suffering from a real winter of discontent, with the various unions determined to go ahead with strike action.

Should they all get their higher than inflation pay rises? Perhaps, perhaps not.

I’m probably not the best person to ask, as I’m undoubtedly biased having never been in a union and I don’t know anyone who works in any of those industries planning strike action.

But there was me being content with my max pay rise of 5% this year, knowing that inflation made me worse off, but mindfully aware that others in the company got less (or nothing) as pay rises at our place are performance related only. If you don’t like it, you lump it, and a few did.

Anyway, glad to say that I’ll be escaping the country shortly so I can hopefully avoid all the news about the disruptions and their consequences until I return.

Now that my heating is finally on, my energy bills have rocketed (credit balance on account has mostly been eaten up already) but at least I will be able to pay.

Sadly, for some, the cost-of-living crisis is real, so bad that someone made off with the charity box full of cash at work, which had been meant for the homeless this Christmas.

I think we’ve all assumed it’s someone really financially desperate, otherwise there would be a lot more anger.

For as long as I’ve worked there, there’s always been a charity box of some sort in the office throughout the year and this will now have to be locked up. Some people may now not bother to donate. Sad times.


I was at the gym, pausing in between workouts, trying to catch my breath, waiting for my quivering muscles to calm down before I attempted the next set of exercises. I’ve been carrying a couple of minor injuries recently; one of my knees has been giving me on-off gyp and I’ve got a bit of Achilles tendinitis. They’re the kind of injuries I’ve always suffered at some point from exercising, but age is probably more of a factor these days.

“Smile, love!” says a voice, “It’s not that bad!”.

I looked over at the man (of course it was a man!) and I was tempted to, a) ignore him/pretend I didn’t hear him, or b) reply with a quick put down about sexism.

Instead, I just gave a big sigh and said, “I’m smiling on the inside.”

He burst out laughing, which did bring a smile to my lips.

I know, I know, I’m not really helping the feminism cause here, but I’ll save my energies for some other battles, there was no harm done here to me.


A friend of similar age to me recently admitted that he hadn’t listened to any new music from the last decade and a half. I somewhat smugly replied that I still listened to stations like Radio 1 so that I could get to hear new tunes. It doesn’t mean that I like everything I hear but there’s often new songs or a new artist I find I can get into.

So there’s me thinking I’m down the kids/younger generation music-wise, until I saw my recent ‘Spotify Wrapped’ for the year, which was a roundup of the music I’ve been listening to all year.

I use Spotify (free) when I’m chilling, browsing the internet, writing this blog, updating my numbers etc.

If you’d have asked me, I would have said off the top of my head that the artists I’ve been listening to most this year are Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi and Adele. Maybe Wet Leg would sneak in there, or some Dua Lipa.

Well, actually no.

It seems like for comfort listening, I’m firmly rooted in the music I was listening to between my teens and early 30s, namely synth-pop from the 80s, with some grunge/alternative-rock from the 90s/00s!

The top 2 songs I apparently listened to the most were Erasure’s ‘A Little Respect’ – it is my favourite song of theirs – and Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’ which is a song I thought I only listened to when I’m getting ready for a night out.

According to a study mentioned here, people’s taste in music forms during adolescence (generally between age 10-30) but, peaking at age 14. When some “golden oldie” comes on the radio from my teenaged years, I still know all the lyrics from when I learned them from Smash Hits magazine – really showing my age now, haha!

Anyway, I’ll see if my listening changes at all next year!

Anyone else try this and get some musical surprises?

Comme ci, comme ça

I’ve continued doing my daily French lessons in Duolingo.

150 days in and I still haven’t learned anything that wasn’t taught at school and uni (I did ‘A’ Level French and also Business French at uni), although of course, I have forgotten so much of it.

One new word I guess was ‘le mot de passe’ (password) which didn’t appear in any of our pre-internet French textbooks!

I wonder how I will struggle when I eventually get to the genuine new bits of the language – my brain/memory is nowhere as sharp as it was back then!

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

For the first time in years, I didn’t attend work’s Christmas do because I didn’t want to mingle and run the risk of catching Covid or any other lurgy before travelling.

So it was a very pleasant surprise while I was sat at home in my PJs to get a message from my colleague at the party that I had won one of the Employee of the Year awards! Go me!

And on that note, I think I’ll sign off for the year.

So, wishing you all a merry Christmas, stay safe and warm and let’s all hope 2023 won’t be as tough as it’s predicted to be!

19 thoughts on “Winter is Here

  1. Cheer up Weenie, it’s not that bad!
    Have a great Xmas and stay warm! Not like me when I segued into this story about a freezing cold railways station bench…

    I tried to discover
    A little warmer Christmas sweater,
    To wear on late train and
    I’m fed up of strikes,
    Though, support their rights,
    But what can you do,
    With a government that’s blue
    That gives them no reason
    For making them work so hard
    Rishi gives them no
    Rishi gives them no
    Rishi gives them no
    Rishi gives them no
    Gold, I hear you calling
    Oh baby, please, give a little respect to the labour force.

    If you like this song and don’t want to pay for it, please just bang along in time on a frying pan with a spatula – it’s exactly the same thing as giving people a (checks notes) less harsh real terms pay cut.

    • Hi GFF

      Haha, very clever! Wonder what ChatGPT would come up with, if asked to come up with such a song!?

      In fact, I wonder if a member of the Rishi’s team is getting the bot to draft a response on how to deal with strikes, since no one else appears to have a clue.

  2. It’s always a bloke – and they are often happily non-gender specific in the application of their mundane observations. If I had a penny for every jeer of “your wheels are going around” as I passed one on my bike – I’d probably be no longer posting on the internet. I can only imagine, it’s some weak attempt at human connection.

    • Hey G

      Yes, I reckon too that it must just be a bloke thing but my question is, at what point in their lives does someone teach them to make such comments and if no one’s teaching them, why do they say such things and yet women don’t?

      • In defence of the guy – he probably (almost certainly) meant well. I can’t say the same thought would’ve have occurred to me given the same situation. Society keeps trying to change the way us men ‘are’. We aren’t all chauvinistic ape-monsters 🙂 but nature has naturally nurtured differences between the sexes.

        On point – utilities bills – I’m currently notching up £400 a month with heating on 18.5-19 deg. I was already carrying a balance of -500 heading into the winter. Not going to be a pleasant 2023 for the Daddystu household. Mortgage rate renewal due too!

        • Hey DaddyStu

          Agree that he probably meant well, most do, I’d say, no harm or offence meant.

          All the best with the utility bills and mortgage renewal – I have that to come sometime next year!

  3. Hey, you are only as old as you feel. My wife ran a full marathon last year at the age of 66 and beat every female entrant who was 50 or older. I’ve stopped running marathons myself after quite a few but still can beat the high school tennis team players at tennis most of the time and have a mean pickleball game at age 67. But if I started to list my aches and infirmities it would take several pages. The cool thing is you are taking intentional action to stay fit, something my spouse and I have also done for our entire adult lives. In our senior years that is paying off greatly. Keep it up and your 67 year old future self will be so thankful that you were so wise in your younger years.

    • Hey Steve
      Fortunately, I don’t feel old, am just more aware of my own body these days so want to treat it better than I used to when I was younger and I could get away with it!
      Like you, I’ve tried to stay fit all my adult life, so it’ll be fairly easy for me to continue down this road into older age as it’s just part of my life. A couple of years back, I went to a school reunion and reconnected with people I last saw when I was 16 years old. We’re all the same age but the ones who had let themselves go, poor diets, no/little exercise looked at least ten years older.

  4. Thanks for your post weenie. That advent calendar is not the kind I want! Hehe. When you look at it like that laid out so clearly, it really is the year of strikes and likely it will be even worse next year.

    I hope you have a really nice Christmas weenie and a happy new year!


  5. The main reason that so many of us in the public sector are striking is that we’ve had over ten years of below-inflation pay rises or in other words recurrent pay cuts.

    We keep being told that we’re so important and invaluable that we should not be lowed to strike but not sufficiently important to have pay rises that at least keep up with inflation.

    • Hi Grumpy Tortoise
      I’ve had years where I’ve had 0% pay rises as company didn’t hit their profits/targets (the 3 years after the GFC spring to mind) so a below inflation rise would have been welcome! That said, I’m not in an ‘important or invaluable’ job, ie one where someone might die if I don’t do the job so I do understand some of those who are striking for better pay.

  6. Congrats on the employee award!

    I absolutely detest the “Smile!” guys. I know that most people don’t think it’s a big deal and mean no harm, but they never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. The first time it happened to me my mum had just died two days before and I was on my way to the bank to start dealing with the financial nightmare. Nearly 25 years on, I still remember how horrible and angry it made me feel that I apparently wasn’t being ‘happy enough’ to please some random guy during the worst time of my life. The other time I was having a perfectly lovely day, walking along minding my own business and trying to remember what I had in the fridge for dinner, when a man stopped and told me that I’d ‘look prettier if I smiled’. If I wasn’t smiling before, then why would he think I would after that!

    • Hi Sarah


      Sorry to hear of your experience with the ‘smile’ guys – I think most don’t see it as unwanted attention and it’s not as if they give that same attention to single guys who aren’t smiling!

  7. No problems Weenie. Suffice to say, why don’t you combine practising your French with listening to your music … try listening to some French music (in your favourite genre) to get some real life input (it’s easy enough to get the lyrics).

    • Hi Felice

      Interesting idea, I’ will check out on spotify.

      Although my original thinking was to try to watch French language films, although with subtitles so I don’t get completely lost!

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