Archive for the ‘housekeeping’ Category

Yes, yes, still on a break from the blog. As always, I fully intend to restart the blog, when I’ve got something to blog about.

There’s plenty I could write about, of course, but nothing springs to mind that isn’t already being written about by better writers who’ve got more to say.

So, yes, I’ll be back, at some point.

In the meantime, though, here’s something.

I went for a haircut today.

Under normal circumstances, of course, this would be a regular event.

And I use the word advisedly. I don’t mean ‘frequently’ but regularly, on a schedule. Usually, every couple of months, I’ll book an appointment and have my hair tidied up – and enough taken off – so it’s short enough that I feel comfortable with it.

Once I started going grey, in my early 30s, I had it cut shorter to ‘cut the grey out’. That didn’t last of course, and these days it’s more the case that I have the dark cut out.

I’ve been genuinely lucky enough to find good hairdressers the past few years. Currently, I have my hair cut by a young lady named Taylor, at Rush, Shepherd’s Bush. She’s superbly talented, friendly and genuinely… nice, a hugely underrated quality, I assure you.

But, as no one can be unaware, I – along with the entire population – have been unable to have a haircut for some months.

So, Operation Haircut, as I refer to it, has so rarely needed to be expertly planned, executed, and achieved. Fortunately, as I say, I have Taylor, who managed through her talent to transform me from Before:


To After:

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect to feel this much better afterwards; I did expect it. It’s nice, though, I’ll acknowledge, that the expectation was met so comprehensively.

(And, not for nothing, but it’s odd, knowing – when pics are taken – that they’ll almost certainly make it into this year’s update of A Life In Pictures.)


Posted: 20 May 2020 in housekeeping, stuff
Tags: ,

I’ve received a couple of messages asking why I suddenly stopped blogging in April, shortly after briefly restarting, and whether I’m planning on restarting any time soon?

Well, quick answers are

    Because it was becoming a chore


    I wouldn’t call it a plan; more of a hope

In January, I took a couple of months off after six months of daily bloggin. At that time, I fully intended to get back to the daily blogging, but it turned out when I restarted… I wasn’t enjoying doing so at all.

One of the rules I set myself when I restarted in 2019, after a couple of years off was not to check the blog stats, the readership.

Other than under very odd circumstances, when someone promotes an entry or something¹, I never expect a big readership. And the idea of receiving comments on individual entires – which several years ago was entirely expected – now seems to have fallen out of fashion, at least in this place.

Which is fine. But it means that I’m writing primarily for me, not for anyone else. And writing for me…? Well, I don’t need to publish anything on here to achieve that.

So, yeah, when I started again in April… I found that I really didn’t enjoy the experience of blogging and it astonishingly rapidly became a chore, something I did out of an imagined obligation.

So, yeah, I stopped.

And yes, I do intend to return… at some point, or at least I hope to. When I’ve got something to write about that a) I enjoy writing, b) I enjoy publishing, and c) I think other people will enjoy reading.

Until then, I’m slinging something up on goingcheep most days.

I hope all of you and yours are well, and that this nuttiness, this absurdity, in which we find ourselves, is soon over.

¹ Oh, by the way, for some reason I’ve been mystified by, one entry from November – this one – has had more than 10k hits since March… Someone put it up on Pinterest and it’s taken off. Weirdness writ large.

Another housekeeping post, since I’m properly kicking the blog off tomorrow…

And, you can equally probably ignore this post, unless you’re interested in my using today’s post purely as a ‘thinking aloud’ entry.

What’s worked for me the past few runs of blogging have been three things, I think:

  • A countdown
  • A plan – and sticking to it
  • Dumping the plan, temporarily, when it’s been necessary, important or, hell, just convenient
  • Regular weekly posts

OK, so in order.

I’m not sure a countdown idea works for the next run of posts. I’ll have a ponder about whether to do a countdown to my birthday again, but if I do the usual [xx minus xx] countdown, I’d be starting with “56 minus 56”. And that, by an elegant inevitability, would require me starting the countdown – the actual 56 minus 56 entry – on Monday 22nd June 2020.

And that’s 83 days from today’s date.


So, no, I don’t think I’ll do a countdown between now and then. But given the success (as I measure it, not how anyone else might) of the blog when I’ve done a countdown… will it work without one? No bloody idea at all, but it’ll interesting to see. I think.

But why does a countdown work for me? I’m sure there are all sorts of reasons, and not all of them saying nice things about me, but having a countdown, having to refer to it every day… means that I do refer to it every day. It means that it has to be something bloody serious – illness of one sort or another – for me to skip a day. It means that missing a day almost physically hurts. So, yeah, there’s a part of me that is scared that without the requirement to fulfil every day’s post, I’ll just get lazy and skip a few days here and there not for genuine reasons, but just because I feel like doing so.

Yeah, it’s not an easy decision. Not at all.

It should be. But it’s not. Again, not entirely sure that speaks well of me.

OK, next: a plan. Well, that kind of goes with the countdown; I mean, let’s face it, there’s no point in landing yourself with a three month daily run, or longer, without having the slightest idea what you’re going to write…

So, no matter what happens, I’m going to give myself an ‘out’; I’m going to go with the same kind of plan I ran with last time.

So, you’ll get some fiction from the archives, some new fiction (if I can write something I feel appropriate for the blog), some commentary on British politics, some commentary on US politics as well; if I can find enough new material, there’ll be more Saturday Smiles; I also want to write some more about London. I like living in London; I like the city and even in the current circumstances, when we’re allowed out merely to walk or to go shopping, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to come upo with something or other to day about the experiences.

Personal stuff? Well, we’ll see. It’s been observed more than once that I avoid the personal, anything about me that only my closest friends know. Well, there’s usually a reason for that. But again, we’ll see.

Dumping the plan? Sure, not as an excuse to write something else, but as a consequence of doing so. Macmillan’s ‘events, dear boy… events’ (though he probably never said it) apply. Sometimes, something happens, in the news, or in my life, that fairly demands writing about there and then. It’s a toss up whether what I planned to originally write will even in fact then be written. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends.

Weekly posts. Yeah, already covered that above, really. Tuesdays I’ll plan to put up some fiction. Wednesday or Thursday will have some politics stuff, Fridays will, probably, see the return of Ten Things, and Saturday… well, you should know by now. I’ll fit in the rest around that.

So, anyways, that’s the pla– erm, that’s what I’m thinking of doing.

We’ll see if it works or not when it kicks off tomorrow.

See you then…

Well, hello again…

Posted: 30 March 2020 in housekeeping
Tags: , ,

Yes, yes, it’s been three months, more or less, and I’ve taken a much needed – seriously, you have no idea how much it was needed – break from the daily blogging, but I’m, and it’s, back in a couple of days’ time.

There’ve been few times in my life when I could look at current events and say a) ‘the world has changed‘ and/or b) ‘whatever happens next, when it’s over, the world will no longer be the same‘.

The one that jumps to mind, of course, is 9/11. For a period of time, there was Before-9/11 and After 9/11, and no one, not really, would pretend that the before and after were the same thing.

Dan Hodges asked a couple of weeks ago what news stories there’d been where the whole world was talking about One Story. 9/11? Of course. JFK assassination? Quite possibly.

And now we have Coronavirus, Covid 19. Or Covid-19. Or #Covid19. Whichever you prefer.

But whatever you call it, it definitely qualifies as ‘the world has changed‘ and ‘whatever happens next, the world will no longer be the same when it’s over.’

As I write this, it’s a couple of days before the end of March, and it’s not unfair to say that pretty much every sphere of human activity, every function of government, everything that makes us – wherever you are, wherever you’re reading this – a society… has changed.

Or at least the things that haven’t changed? Well, we’re all doing them very differently than how we did them even a month ago.

I mentioned on Twitter that a phrase I think we’re all going to have to get used to, pretty damn quickly, is “Well, last week, I never thought that…

Everything from the major to the trivial, from the global to the local, from the governmental to the entire personal… has changed.

And since I have fuck all influence on, or authority in, the major, the global and the governmental, I better concentrate on the trivial, the local and the personal.

Well, maybe not the latter, maybe. Not quite yet.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve always been a bit wary and careful about how personal I am in these things.

When I am very personal, it almost always comes as a surprise to me, and it’s rarely intended. Not consciously at least. It’s at least arguable, I suppose, that I’ve been more personal than I’ve consciously intended and exactly as personal as I subconsciously intended. I dunno.


The blog is back. I’ll write some more tomorrow on how I see the blog progressing for the next few months.

But I don’t think I’m spoiling anything if I say that there will be at least some personal stuff, a lot of minor stuff and an awful lot of trivial stuff involved.

(And yes, there’ll be the return of the ‘fast fictions from the archives’, possibly tyhe return of the Saturday Smile in some form (though I’m going back and forth on that one), possibly some new fiction, and some thoughts. Many thoughts.
See you tomorrow…

Back… soon. Probably.

Posted: 17 March 2020 in housekeeping

OK, after taking a couple of months off, but keeping goingcheep running, I’m just now, starting – starting, mind you – to get that itch to blog again.

Still need to figure out what I’m going to write about, and how I’m going to do it.

As has been made more than clear to me over the past few years, I’m a lazy bugger when it comes to blogging. And a countdown… helps. Or a count-up. Either. But they genuinely do.

Problem is that I’ve no settled idea what I’ll be counting down to, however; my birthday isn’t until August, and even if I wanted to do a 100 day countdown – which would test everyone else’s patience, let alone my own – that wouldn’t kick off until around 9th May.

(To be honest. though, other than the fast fiction challenge in 2010, when I wrote 150 stories in 150 days, experience teaches me that 75 days is about the maximum countdown I’m comfortable with…)

If I were to start on 1st April, however… oh, well then there are plenty of month-long challenges I could.. adapt. So, at the moment, that’s as far as I’ve pencilled in: to grab one of the very many 30 day challenges around and adapt that for the blog.

If that does happen, I imagine you’ll hear about it at the end of March, somewhere around the 30th, I’d guess.

After that, if it happens? Well, as always, the answer is: we’ll see…