New Year. New Resolution. New Blog (ish).

I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions. This year’s no different, really, although I do need to go on a diet and I should try and make a bit more of my Google+ page. And I’m going to write more to this blog.

I know, I’ve said I’m going to do that before, but life has developed a nice little routine since leaving the pub and now I have a bit more time for my own indulgences. So I’ve already dabbled with the look’n’feel of this blog, and tried to tally up the look’n’feel of my Twitter page to match, as well.

There are other places I write: a monthly column on technology, Technically Speaking, for the pub trade in the Inapub magazine, plus my opinion/technology blog on the magazine’s website, and my bi-monthly Web Wisdom column in the BIIBUSINESS magazine for members of the British Institute of Innkeeping. But I like writing, and I need a place to vomit out the stuff that doesn’t always fit in with my workday.

So hopefully, whenever the need to splurge out my opinion on something not related to what I do for a living, this is where it’ll happen. I can’t guarantee how regularly I’ll do it, but I’ll try and keep it humorous (where I can).

I’ll write about stuff like:

Why The French Can’t Park

Honestly, we’ve just been away on a family holiday for Christmas and New Year; a friend from the pub we sold last year offered us their holiday home near Cognac so we could have a proper family getaway over the holidays for the first time in nine years, and it was fantastic. Tainted only by two things

  1. the automated petrol pumps at supermarkets in France authorise your card to a value of €128, but even if you only dispense €80 of fuel, which is then debited from your card, the original €128 is still held
    And a Frenchman had the Gaul to tell me I was parked badly...

    And a Frenchman had the Gaul to tell me I was parked badly…

    as a pending transaction for up to seven days. This wiped out over £200.00 of available credit on my card until the transactions were dropped;

  2. while my wife went in to a nearby E. Leclerc supermarket, I sat in the car in the car park and made a call to Barclaycard to try and figure out what had happened to these transactions. The owner of the car next to me returned and slammed his door in to mine. What followed was an argument between us, him speaking in rapid French that I couldn’t get a grasp of, and me answering in English because we’d gone from calm to angry in a nanosecond and I couldn’t get my head round what was being said. The gist, when we calmed down, was that I hadn’t left him enough room so he’d banged his door in to mine in temper. Eventually we calmed down enough for me to point out that I was parked perfectly central, and he was parked at an angle leaving himself no room. He then managed to say, in clear English, that my car was too big for the space it was parked in, blissfully unaware of the fact that his own car, an Audi A6, was bigger than my Mondeo. Putaine Idiote.

Or how about

Homework at Christmas Time

So my eldest finished school for the holidays, only to announce that he had four, count them, four major pieces of homework assignments to complete over the Christmas break. Now, I’m not a big fan of homework at the best of times (never was when I was at school, either) and I know that, for primary school children at least, TV Estate Agent Kirstie Allsop also has a bee in her bonnet about it, but there are definitely times when homework shouldn’t be issued at all.

Christmas holidays is one of them. I know, there are certain items we should encourage kids to do at home and they have to learn to be responsible enough to do their work during the week; but if school assignments can’t be completed during school hours, then surely the school day is not long enough?

If I take a holiday from work, I’m not expected to do work during that time of paid leave, so why should we expect children to have to do so? Especially at Christmas Time.

Or the big news this past week

Michael Schumacher

To me, he is the greatest Formula One driver who ever lived; I loved watching him race, I loved his Dick Dastardly approach to the sport, but he was simply a genius of his time. He has had his flaws and some of his tactics have been questionable but his talent, in his prime, was unbeatable.

He holds almost all the records the sport has to offer and yes, I know, Sebastian Vettel is probably on his way to usurping some, if not many or all, of them, but that will never stop me believing Schumacher is the greatest champion of them all.

So it was really saddening to hear of his tragic accident last Sunday while skiing, and the fact that, at the time of writing, he remains in an induced coma with serious injuries to his brain, and doctors refuse to offer a prognosis at this time.

We all hope that he makes a full recovery, and yes we all want to know how he is getting on, but a lot of the press intrusion this week has been horrible to watch. Stories of a journalist dressing up as a priest to try and get access to the ex-Ferrari driver’s room, photographers eagerly snapping images of distressed family leaving or arriving at the hospital.

And journalists asking particularly daft questions during press conferences, all wanting the goriest details they can get.

The satirical motorsport blog, Sniff Petrol, did write this wonderful piece on the press intrusion:

I hope that Michael Schumacher makes a full recovery, and soon, and that his family are left in peace to help him on that journey.

Welcome to my new [sic] blog. Welcome to 2014.

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