WTF archive

What a day.

Gaz is away til late tonight so I have 3 options:

  • Catch up on some more work, which I need to do.
  • Catch up on some housework, which I should do.
  • Have a bath and go to bed with a bottle of wine and a book, which I want to do.

Unfortunately after today the odds are looking likely on #1.

In the unlikely event that you’ve not already heard, today we – the UK – voted to leave the European Union. In my humble opinion this is a terrible idea for the country, for the economy and for people as a whole and so I voted to remain. However, little did I know – until this morning – it would also be terrible for me: thanks to the pound crashing to a 31 year low, a lot of the online services I rely on to do business (everything from hosting to Github, my accounts package, etc) have skyrocketed in price.

Unless the pound recovers quickly, it will become financially infeasible for me to continue using some of these services: I’m now faced with the prospect of moving half of my websites to UK based servers. (They’re not abroad because of an “indian call centre” money saving thing, sometimes it is better for a site to be hosted in the same location as its target audience.)

This means that in a month where my work output is already low because of my assault and ill health I may have to spend hours working on admin and migrations rather than ‘real’ work and projects which are already overdue.

Suffice to say I’m a bit pissed off about this whole bloody mess.

300ft is really quite a lot

Last week I told you all about Team SCA‘s bloody AMAZING all-female crew winning the 8th leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, and that in honour of their win I was encouraged to take part in a challenge that would test my boundaries. I picked the 300ft bungee jump: the equivalent of jumping off the tower of Big Ben.

On Saturday 6th February I set off to Tatton Park to complete my challenge. The weather was utter shite: freezing cold winds and torrential rain accompanied the journey, and at several points I honestly wondered whether the venue would let the jump go ahead let alone whether or not I’d be able to do it.

I was third in the queue for my time slot when I got there and third strapped into the various harnesses, which in my mind was absolutely perfect. Seeing someone else jump first would allow me to see the ‘procedure’: how it works, how high 300ft looked from the ground, how close the jumper got to the crane etc. All the little things that — as someone suffering from mid-cycle anxiety anyway — would help to cement a picture of what was going to happen in my head making it easier (mentally) to jump.

And then they picked me to jump first.

I wasn’t nervous UNTIL THAT POINT. Suddenly all my unanswered questions were swirling round in my head and I had no baseline, no point of comparison, nothing to steady my mind. At this point I wasn’t even thinking that “shit 300ft is quite high” I was literally just thinking I AM FIRST I AM FIRST WTF.

I’m not ashamed to admit that at THIS is when I started to panic. I started asking questions: what’s the likelihood that I would hit the crane on the descent? What does it feel like when the bungee reaches the point where all the slack is gone and you start to spring back up in the air? WHY DID I AGREE TO JUMP OUT OF A FUCKING HUGE CRANE 300FT IN THE AIR?

Anyway. We reached 300ft, and after a few false starts I knew I had no choice. I had to do it, or chicken out, and with a small crowd below there was no bloody way I was letting that happen. I let pride and ego take over and with a bit of a nudge from the guy in the cage I was away. See for yourself…

tl;dr: I jumped and would totes do it again.


Risks, boundaries and a 300ft jump

Back in June 2015 Team SCA won the 8th leg of the Volvo Ocean Race which in its whole, spans 5 continents and over 39000 nautical miles. The first all-female crew to enter the Volvo Ocean Race in more than a decade, the women battled across 647 gruelling miles, which saw multiple crew members suffering from sea sickness, sleep deprivation, hunger and fatigue but their win put them in the history books as the first ever female team to win a leg of the epic race.

Just before the win, I was contacted to see if I’d be interested in completing a challenge. Team SCA wanted to find out if I’d be up for a bit of boundary pushing of my own, offering me the chance to take part in one of several activities, including a 300ft bungee jump.

I’ve always wanted to do a bungee jump, but never really had a reason to do it. What better reason than doing so as a nod to some of the most badass women in the sailing world? I mean, a 300ft jump is not quite as impressive as winning a boat race against 6 all-male crews, but as I still can’t swim that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

Unfortunately my first jump was cancelled by the venue, but we’re now rapidly approaching Jump Date Two: it’s this Saturday. And I’m starting to get a wee bit nervous. A 300ft jump doesn’t sound too bad when you’re blindly agreeing to blogging challenges in the heady summer days right before you disappear off on holiday, but when it’s February, and it’s cold and wet and you suddenly realise that the 300ft jump is the highest bungee jump you can do in the UK… a jump that is basically akin to jumping off the tower that houses Big Ben:


…well, that starts to seem a little bit more like something I should have actively thought about. A cursory google, for example, points out that risks from bungee jumping including popping eyeballs, muscle injuries, spinal fractures, herniated discs and even paralysis and quadriplegia. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, you can even die. (Apparently Noel Edmonds’ BBC programme The Late, Late Breakfast Show was cancelled in the year I was born after a bungee jump went wrong and a man died.)

But, Dr Google also thinks I have 4 different forms of cancer, so I’m not rushing to do a last minute cancel here. I’m no stranger to pushing boundaries and taking risks. Not many people jack in their job to go freelance with two kids and a mortgage to pay on their own; nearly completely stripping off on a beach in Spain despite barely exposing half a leg before; agreeing to marry a man despite being vociferously feminist and against virtually every wedding tradition… if I can do those things, push those boundaries, I can do this.

I mean, what’s 300ft between friends…

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0


I have covered nearly 550 miles in three days. It wasn’t all intentional, though…

As you know, I drove from Broseley to Brighton on Thursday so that I could attend the #BrightonSEO conference on Friday. I managed to do this (the driving) without the aid of a sat nav, probably more by luck than judgement (and also circling Brighton several times to find the car park I was after).

Friday night, as soon as the conference finished, Aisling and I grabbed some food and hit the road for Gloucester so that we could run today with Katy. Because of roadworks causing an hours delay on the M25, it was decided we’d go a slightly different route along the bottom of the UK through/near Portsmouth and towards Southampton (or maybe the other way around, I forget). So, we did that, and wanker drivers aside we were doing well and making good time.

Eventually we came to a fork in the road and we had to choose. I think we’d already missed the best turn off by this point but I didn’t know this at the time. Anyway, 70mph road, cars up my arse, not a lot of time to make a decision. Left at the fork for some places I’d not heard of, or right for Oxford/THE MIDLANDS. I knew we didn’t want to be in Oxford but Gloucester is Midlands-ish, right?

Suffice it to say we ended up just outside of Oxford (which for those of you — like me, obviously — not familiar with UK geography, Oxford is just above London, maybe left a bit? Gloucester is the other side of the country. It took another hour for me and my roadtrip buddy Aisling to get to our actual location, by which point I had been driving for 4 hours and was a wee bit fed up of shit drivers. More on that another day, perhaps.

I feel deep in my heart that I’ve completed my 30 things before thirty goal to travel across the country without sat nav — in fact one might even say I covered more ground than was necessary! I never qualified it with *actually getting to my destination* after all ;)

A Clean Slate?

I’ve had a potentially absurd idea. I can’t remember what inspired it, but I’m pretty sure that I’m going to go ahead with it.

I’ve decided that if I’m going to “fix” whatever is wrong with my mental health at the moment, that the best way to start is with a completely clean slate. By that I mean my body, in its natural state: no artificial hormones, no sugar / booze / caffeine to get me through the bad nights and shit days.

I run out of my current prescription of birth control pills on Friday, so as of Saturday up until and including March 1st, I’m starting … well, I’m loathe to use the word “detox” because it’s usually bullshit marketing hype for dodgy “green” products that do bugger all for your liver but certainly make your wallet thinner – but that’s kinda what it is. In addition to stopping my pill, I am going to attempt the Whole30 program, and I’m going to cut out the coffee as per #30 of my 30 things before I’m thirty challenge. I’m going to try and ‘reset’ my body so that it can do its thing, whatever that might be.

I know I can give up alcohol for a month. I know I can give up dairy for even longer. I am fairly sure I can even give up coffee. However, given that I’ve failed two previous attempts to cut out sugar (and that’s while being ‘allowed’ to eat bread, pasta, etc) I am pretty much crapping myself.

But I can do this. I CAN DO THIS.


Peer Pressure

I may have just been bullied into committing to running a half marathon.

In December.

Despite having only done one short run since I injured my foot.

WTF have I done…

Absolutely Gutted

I had a bit of a crappy weekend.

Bear with me here through another moan, I know I’ve done a lot of it lately.

It started on Saturday morning after I picked the kids up from Karl’s mum’s. Within minutes of getting home both of them had whined at me at least once that they wanted to be back with Daddy. This continued all day, and what with that and Isabel’s constant questioning of “how many sleeps” did she was back with her Dad my patience was wearing a little thin. After a disastrous bedtime which left me in floods of tears (I can do natural childbirth without shedding a tear, but apparently my 2 year old sobbing that he misses his Dad hurts a shitload) I opted for an early night.

Sunday morning I woke feeling like absolute death — probably dehydration given the state I was in on Saturday — I dropped the kids off back with Karl as they were off to the Shrewsbury Steam Rally and set about trying to cheer myself up. I went back to bed (yes!), did an awesome 10.6k run in a decent time (YES!) and then cleared up the house (oddly satisfying, too). Mostly cheered up, I buggered off to see Gaz and consumed my weight in carvery meat & veg goodness (apparently running 10k on an empty stomach makes one quite hungry…)

Anyway. I woke on Monday morning with a sore right foot which I put down to a funny landing on it at about 3k into my run, but as I could bear weight on it fine I ignored it, and went for a wander around Powis Castle and Gardens with Gaz. Unfortunately by that afternoon, my foot had swollen right up and was bloody painful so I ended up in A&E having a few x-rays taken for good measure. There was nothing visible on the x-rays but the nurse said that apparently stress fractures don’t always show up straight away, and so I need to rest it and if it’s still painful in 2 weeks to go back for more x-rays.

As I’ve only just started to noticeably lose fat, and I’m really getting into my bodyweight + running routine, I’m absolutely bloody gutted that this could sabotage me now. I just have this image in my head of me in 6 weeks time, foot still giving me gip, all of my new muscle definition gone and a big fat belly. How fucking depressing is that :(

Oh tits.

Just when I thought this week couldn’t get any worse:


Large crack in my windscreen, right across my line of vision. Replacement windscreen: £105 + VAT

I still have that kidney for sale, if there’s any takers…

Project £20k: Holy F***!

I recently mentioned on twitter that I had successfully secured my domain with a .uk TLD, taking my total up to some 43 domains. Domains are cheap — little more than a bottle of wine — why worry about owning a healthy collection, right?

Except that therein lies a problem that I’ve clearly been ignoring for years: domains are only cheap one at a time. Much like when you go into the shop for a bottle of milk and spend a tenner on junk that you don’t need, buying domains forces your hand into renewing domains, the cost of hosting and in some cases the add-on of WHOIS protection for another couple of bucks.

As it turns out, I’ve been spending over £300 per year on domains. And then another £675+ on 3 different hosting accounts to keep each site live. Over £1000 of outgoing web-related costs for some 5 years or more. That’s a quarter of my Project £20k goal without even thinking about it. At over £83 per month it’s roughly a fifth of my monthly mortgage repayment, or a month’s shopping, or 2 days at nursery for one of the kids, or a month’s petrol, or anything way more bloody important than a bunch of websites that sit there taking up my time for sod all reward.

Holy fuck.

If I’m going to raise £20,000 I need to be saving more money than I spend and I’m not going to do that wasting money on half-arsed websites! After a little persuasion from Gaz, I cancelled 6 domains and listed 6 more for sale (to try and cover costs) on the namecheap marketplace – they’ll be cancelled if they don’t sell. I will probably cancel a handful more before the year is out. I’m merging two of my hosting accounts to bring the cost down by ~£200.

I am aiming to halve my yearly outgoing web costs and meet goal 9 of my 14 things for 2014 too. Wish me luck…

I’m having a bad day

I’ve had crappy day at work dealing with a backlog of emails, admin and cock-ups.

I’ve got a horrible snotty cold, which means my nose is sore from constant wiping.

I went to soothe my pains with the last of a tub of Ben & Jerry’s I’d stashed in the freezer a couple of weeks ago, only to discover my greedy sister ate it last week whilst housesitting (AND the kid’s choc chip ice cream – thanks Vic)

I went to the Co-Op to buy more ice cream, and while I was there thought sod it and bought a hot microwave curry in an attempt to flush out my sinuses only to get home and remember that the microwave stopped working yesterday.

I put the curry in the oven as advised was also possible on the packet, only for the film lid to melt and congeal into a weird lump on the curry, exposing the rice to the heat of the oven which baked it solid and ruining half the sauce in the process.

I checked my bank account for the first time in a fortnight this evening, only to discover that we’d gone overdrawn on the joint account while in Wales and have over £50 worth of charges.

20 minutes later a sudden lightbulb moment led me to log back in to the banking, to realise that we’re overdrawn because we’ve not been paid any tax credits since the last financial year with no warning from HMRC (again) so no way of making alternate arrangements for emergency cash juggling.

Fuck you, world.


I registered for parkrun a couple of days ago.


Katy and Rachael have been talking about it for ages and I’ve been secretly admiring their ever-improving run times whilst definitely not admiring my ever-increasing waistline, knowing that it’s been a long, looong time since I last ran. (If you don’t count the one whole mile I did between pregnancies.)

I used to do cross-country running when I was in school. I would go to the after-school clubs and run at various host schools once a month. I mean, I was crap at it and always came in as one of the last but it was fun. I think.

So now I have to get Karl to print my barcode and remember to get dressed early enough on a Saturday morning to drag my lazy arse to the local parkrun so that I can run with a bunch of other people who’re all way more experienced and will likely leave me to finish last. Again.

Why am I doing this?

COWBOYS: NSN Car Sales AKA Redland Car Sales AKA Dream Car Sales

Just received an email which has made my night somewhat :)

In 2009 and again in 2010 I blogged about Dream Car Sales in Telford selling us a complete wreck of a car that was actually in such a state, if had managed to go any faster than 20mph it would have been incredibly dangerous.

In 2011 Dream Car Sales popped up again as Redland Car Sales operating out of premises in Oakengates, Telford.

I’ve just been emailed and informed that founder Nasser Khalaileh, has been convicted by Trading Standards for selling an unroadworthy vehicle and is now trading as NSN Car Sales out of Halesfield 14.

If you’re looking for a used car in Telford, do not buy from NSN Car Sales / Redland Car Sales / Dream Car Sales.