About Me

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Cromer, Norfolk, United Kingdom




I'm a former hospital radio/club/mobile DJ, avid record collector and amateur musician (playing guitar, keyboards, recorder, harmonica and percussion.) I've even filled in on bass guitar for a couple of local bands as well (although that was quite a few years ago). Also interested in Motorsports, Wrestling/Mixed Martial Arts and Classic Television and Radio from the 1960s - 1980s.

Why am I on here? Well, I'm just trying to make some sense of life before it's too late...but who cares anyway?

Friday, 28 December 2012

Coming Soon to A Computer Screen Near You….

Right then, Christmas more or less out of the way, but unlike most writers who’ll look back at the last year, I’ll just be glad to get it over and out of the way, and move on. 

Over the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about what to do with this blog - I’m pretty sure that most people would probably want to read about more than the usual pieces about how I’ve been messed about with by various training providers, my failed attempts at holding down a steady job for more than six months or discussions on my latest bit of second-hand technology and so on.  Now I’ve tried various bits and pieces in the past like the rather nattily titled “Rock ’n’ Roll History lessons” on an old website several years ago, but after some deliberation I’ve decided to split the stuff into several sections:-

  1. Personal writings - this section will include things like my job search experiences and general “this is what I did” type stuff - although it might end up getting divided up into several sub-sections. We’ll just have to see what happens with this one.
  2. Old TV and radio memories. This’ll probably feature bits concerning either old programmes or old TV/radio stations which are no longer running, but are still remembered fondly to this day.
  3. The music section - this is one bit I’m keen to expand on, having been a DJ in one form or another for around 15 years (and a record collector for more years than I care to remember.)  One feature I’m keen to have a go at is one I’ll be calling “Albums Revisited”.   Put simply, it’s just an excise to dig out some old stuff I hadn’t played for several years. Although I’ll be reviewing them, It’ll be from one fan’s perspective instead of a critic telling you what he/she thinks (although most of the time they’ll tell you it’s not worth the vinyl it’s pressed on.)
There may be other sections added but those are the main three groups that I have in mind moving forward.

Well, that’s enough of what I hope to do in the future. All I want to do is get the next few days out of the way, and then I’ll see what happens….

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Are they allowed to do this?

I've had a chance to reflect on yesterday's appointment at Ingeus and my only conclusion is WTF?

It started routinely enough, just catching up with Marc (my adviser)   reviewing what had happened in the last two weeks fine tuning the CV, and basically discussing how the job hunting was progressing.  I was shocked however when he suggested what I can only described as dodgy - if I was working less than 30 hours, say around 27, I should do what he referred to as "self employment" for the other 3 hours - selling stuff on eBay for example.   That way I could qualify for tax credits in the same way I would if I was working the 30 hours as normal.  (To sum it up - a legal fiddle) Marc threw so much stuff around that it was too much to take in  all at once.  I'm due there again next month so I should be able to understand it a bit better - but I have my doubts about it all to be honest - and I wasn't exactly filled with confidence when he reckoned that he could only see me getting a part time job at best due to the various mental health issues (his words not mine) I had gone through in the past.  At least I get my spec letters posted off for nothing so that's one thing I don't have to worry about.

Well, at least Christmas should come as a more than welcome distraction....



Saturday, 8 December 2012

So He Thinks I Need Therapy....

Not in the best frame of mind at the moment - despite taking my beta blockers as per instructions.  The truth is, well, I’m dreading this week, especially Wednesday, when I’m due for a regular appointment with Ingeus.

It all stems from one of the things my adviser asked me to do a couple of weeks ago.  According to him, the fact that I was laid off due to suffering from stress was a major reason for me not getting a job, or any interviews for that  matter. (I never mentioned that on any application forms - just that I was laid off on medical grounds.)  So he suggested that I get in touch with my old boss to see if I could persuade him to give a different reason (which there probably was - like cash flow problems) as to why I parted ways with him.

The response I got was less than helpful to say the least. Not only did he insist that he would have to mention the stress related problems, but he also added…

“I am more concerned about your health, I do not know what help you have had from the Medical Services, but I would encourage you to seek help in ways how you can manage your stress as you seem to me to be in the extreme category.”

Now I freely admit that I’ve had mental health issues in one form or another for the last 6 years, but for my ex boss to make out that I have more serious problems (and that’s the impression I’m getting from that paragraph) is, to say the least, upsetting.  I’ve found it difficult enough to find a job at the best of times, but thanks to him, any chance I have of finding work (of any sort) could well have gone out of the window - and that’s a depressing thought when you’re just a couple of years or so away from reaching the big 5-0.
 
In the meantime I just have to keep plugging away with the applications and speculative letters - and hope that something does crop up.

I somehow doubt that it will...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

I think I need to catch up here...

It’s been around 9 months since my last blog entry, and since then a few things have changed - some of them not necessarily for the better….

The biggest change? Well, I’m no longer working. Thanks to some “stress related issues” I had been laid off from Retail Accounting services. Sure, the money wasn’t that great, but at least I had something to look forward to during the week, and if I needed a bit of cheering up, Derek’s dog Archie would be there most mornings to make a fuss of me as well. Truth be told, I had a hell of a lot of trouble getting my head round VAT rates, reconciling bank accounts and the like, and as a result, ended up suffering several panic attacks in the last few weeks I was there. Anyway, to cut a long story short, after a chat with Derek, we both decided that it would be best if I went before the stress of the job made me feel worse than I was at that point. After a visit to the doc’s I’m now on beta blockers for the foreseeable future, and I’m back to going up to Ingeus in Norwich every so often for various Work Programme appointments.

In the meantime, I’m keeping myself occupied with the various digital transfer projects I have ongoing (I’ve got some rather Interesting documentaries regarding the 60th anniversary of the singles charts on Sky+ which I haven’t watched yet) as well as the usual round of Jobcentre appointments, checking job sites, spec letters and so on. I’ll try my best to keep this thing updated whenever I can, but there doesn’t seem to be that much going on in my life at the moment. Then again, you never know what’s around the next corner….

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A Period Of Adjustment

It's been just over a fortnight since I started my new job working for Derek at Retail Accounting Services in Sheringham, and it's been an eventful couple of weeks.  For the first couple of days I've been based at his house (where I've also had his pet dog, Archie for company.) before moving into our new offices opposite the North Norfolk Railway.

So far it's been pretty straightforward stuff, but if I do run into something I'm not too sure about, Derek's on hand with a few tips and pointers to make the work easier to understand.  I should point out at this stage that before I joined up, the closest I ever got to accounts was a Sage course I had been on at Sheringham Learning Centre.

I'm sure there will be a lot more I need to learn about the business, but that's the beauty of going into something you've never done before.  Derek has also talked about establishing an online presence in the future - the company website is constantly being developed, and there's even been talk about exploiting the various social networks, so there's a chance that I could get  involved on that side of things in the weeks and months to come.

By the way, if you're wondering about Archie...



















...here he is! (He's now our unofficial Office Mascot!)



Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Finally...

...After what was beginning to seem like an eternity, I managed to get a job lined up.  Starting on Monday, I'll be working for a small firm in Sheringham which provides book-keeping, accounting and similar services.  In the meantime I've been getting all the necessary paperwork and other bits and pieces concerning my Jobseekers' Allowance claim sorted out.  However, I discovered that as a result of working just a few extra hours a week, I will no longer qualify for help with the rent or Council Tax.  I won't even qualify for Tax Credits (as I'm not 50 years old yet.)  I'm now wondering if single men with no dependents should be classed as an ethnic minority.  After all, as Paul points out in his latest blog entry - they pay as much in tax and National Insurance contributions as everyone else does, but they get very little (if any) assistance from the government. (but that's another point for another time...)

The interview for the job went well, but I did start to get a bit uncomfortable when the chap interviewing me thought that I had been (and these were his exact words) "sent from God"!  I was told that the company was only a small two-person operation, run by this chap and his wife until she passed away recently - so he viewed the arrival on his doorstep of my CV as more of a "God-incidence" than a coincidence.  In any case, he concluded that any help I could give him would be invaluable.  There was even talk of moving to new office space nearer Sheringham town centre as well as some new software which is being developed at the moment, so I could be going into my new job at an interesting stage of the company's development.

Before I go, I have to thank Mark Webster & Fin Duncan at the North Norfolk Workout Project for giving me some much needed work experience over the last 10 months, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours - especially as they're in the process of setting up the new community group for the Workout Project in the next 8-12 weeks, so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for them.

Oh well, onwards and upwards....