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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Plans for 2014



I know it's already February, but I've been waiting for a couple of things to come together before I wrote about my future plans.
Firstly, I'm starting a new job tomorrow! This will (hopefully) be my first full time, permanent job for about 18 months, and hopefully they might even pay my wages!
It's as a Field Service Technician for a company supplying equipment in the healthcare field. I worked in this area for 12 years, so it's a return to a familiar field. Getting this job has taken a great weight off of me as I felt that my life was 'on hold' for the last 18 months, and now I can start planning more for the future.
Also, next month should see the end of the mortgage on my house and I'll now own it outright. When you take out a mortgage, the idea that one day in the future it'll be paid off and you'll not have to pay any more almost seems like an abstract concept. In my case it's been 22 years, but it's almost over. Can't pretend that it's not tinged with sadness as we'd bought the house just before getting married, and I would never have thought that by the time it was paid off I would be on my own.
Looking back at my 'Plans for 2013' post, it looks like I managed about half of the things I'd planned (buying a car, going on holiday on the bike, going running again), and about half will be carried forward to this year (getting a job, getting more work done on my bikes). The running has fallen away a bit due to the weather – I don't mind running I the cold and wet, but when it's so cold and wet that the rain 'stings', then it's hard to get motivated!
I also did a bit of hillwalking last year during periods of unemployment, and this is something that I'll try and keep up this year. I'm also going to try and get out for weekend runs on the bikes more often as (hopefully) I won't be too worried about money. (Buying petrol for the bike is one of the first things to go when you're unemployed).
When I bought my first flat back in 1986 I couldn't afford to go on holiday that summer. I was also going through a 'fitness phase', so for two weeks I got up early, went swimming at my local pool in the morning, rode my BMW R75/6 for an hour or so, and climbed at least one 'Munro' (mountain over 3000 feet/914 metres) that afternoon. I put my climbing clothes into the panniers and changed behind bushes at the side of the road. I don't think I could ever get back to that level of fitness again!
Last week I went see folk singer Seth Lakeman with a couple of friends. This was the first concert I'd been to for at least 6 or 7 years, I really enjoyed it, and plan to go to more events this year.

Seth Lakeman and band on stage (Taken with a pocket camera with a pathetic flash!)

One idea I had was to go to a folk music festival whilst on holiday and had thought about the famous Fairport Cropredy Convention If I rode to the festival for the weekend, then it's an easy ride to the Channel ports for a ferry to France and could spend a week or so there. However, a few weeks later, and in the same part of the country is the Towersey Festival, which I feel has a better lineup (Seth Lakeman, Richard Thompson, etc), and being at the end of August is just after the 'holiday season' in France, so roads and accommodation should be quieter.
On the bikes front, things are pretty much as described in my previous post. As I get a van with the new job, I won't need the white Traveller as a 'commuting bike', so it can stay in 'storage' and I'll concentrate on the CL 350.
It WILL look this good one day!

When the job situation was looking uncertain last month, I thought about ways I could work for myself. One I thought about was making kits to fit spotlights and hazard lights onto bikes and selling them through Ebay. I bought in a stock of parts and had just finished making my first batch when I was told I had got my new job. These will be on sale soon (along with pannier reflector kits) so 'watch this space'. When/if the first batch are sold, I'll have a think about how much time it takes up and how much money I make to see if it's worth my time doing any more. It might be a handy extra source of income, and as long as it doesn't take up too much time I might continue with 'my business'. I used that phrase solely as an excuse to show this:
So that's my plans for the coming year. Bear in mind that all, some, or none of the above might happen!!!

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