2014: A Busy Year!

And… relax!

I have never before been as busy I was in 2014. It was the perfect storm of several things happening at the same time. A year of ups and downs and changes. Eventually it turned out for the better but only after a lot of stress, worry and hard work.

This is why I haven’t been blogging very much on either of my sites for the last year or more, why I cut down in other areas both offline and online – and why online I effectively limited myself to Twitter!

Without going into too much detail…

Work

Part of the company’s business closed in June 2013. I stayed on but it was a long and tense several months while everything shook out. As with any period of restructuring and uncertainties it wasn’t a lot of fun for anybody. I can’t say I will look back on 2013 and 2014 with great fondness, professionally-speaking. And that had an impact outside of work too.

2015 is looking so much better, we’re through the pain and looking forward, actually building for the future. I’ve taken on some extra responsibilities which are exciting! I’ll be using more of my accounting training than ever before, it should be good.

Home

I bought a house!

Yes, in the middle of all the above at work I entered into what people say is one of the most stressful processes there are.

I had been renting poky little flats for years. It was confining. In January 2014 I started plotting how to buy a house and planned to do it about a year later. Except it wasn’t a year later it was a month later! An opportunity came up that I couldn’t refuse.

Downside? I couldn’t afford to stay in the same town. Upside? Changing towns gives you a different perspective on things and it had been 8 years since I’d last done so.

I bought 50% of the property with a mortgage and I pay rent on the other 50%. The rental fee is much lower than the mortgage fee. I could not afford to take out a mortgage for the whole of this property. The two fees combined, in a more affordable town, is only a bit above what I was paying in rent for a flat in a more expensive town ten miles away.

I couldn’t have done it without support from my family, which was fantastic of them, so a huge thanks is due to them.

I meant to do blog posts all through the process but I got a bit too busy, and having too much fun enjoying living in it!

When I said it is new, it is actually brand new – I’m the first person to live in it – here it is!

New House!
New House!

Health

I have a belly problem. I don’t know what it is. All I know is when I eat spicy food or fatty food or things like Weetabix I get a bad reaction, it hurts and I need the loo right away. I get headaches and I get really, really tired. When I get home from work I just want to crash out and do nothing. This started mid-2013, the same time as all the work problems, so I wondered if was brought on by stress. The doctor said it might’ve been but it was hard to say, you can never be sure. But there are various belly issues in the family.

I’ve been on tablets for over a year which have helped.

In October I had a gastroscopy, a type of endoscopy where they numb your throat and a fibreoptic tube is sent down your throat with a camera at one end so they can see inside you. I assure you. this is not a pleasant experience. It only lasts 2 minutes but it is absolutely horrible. I’ve had two of them now and I think if I have to have another one I’ll take the chicken option and be sedated.

The good news? In the first one they found a little lump, in the second one they found it was totally harmless and is nothing to worry about. So it is nothing bad and we are slowly ruling out suspects.

I really miss curry! I can just about eat one if I have a lot of rice. Sometimes I have one anyway and deal with the pain later.

2015!

2013 was the shock.

2014 was the transition and the hard work.

That must mean 2015 is the year to reap the benefits! It should be a good year and I’m looking forward to it.

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Reawakening

I’ve neglected this blog, after almost 8 months I think it is time to use it again!

I’ve missed writing the odd snippets here and there, not that I ever really got this blog up and running in the first place aside from the golf updates. It would be nice to write one or two short pieces here every week.

I’ve really struggled lately to keep my racing blog up to date. The recent idea of the ‘Reactions’ series was to get me to write weekly on the races that have happened that weekend. Either because I’m too busy, too tired, or just not interested, the plan hasn’t worked out that way. Perhaps after a day at the office the idea of going back through a race and recapping my thoughts in 1200 words is just not as appealing as it once was. Perhaps it is better to turn that blog over to columns based on issues and news of the week, whether there’s a race or not, and that way I can skip weeks if I need to rather than feel pressured to review each race. It also opens up more ideas for potential subjects.

I suppose this is also why my semi-secret other motorsport  web project has failed. The idea was to have a site showing the laptimes of different race series at different tracks, in order to compare them and track the changes over time. It turned out to be a 10x or 100x bigger job than I anticipated. Learning/relearning PHP was a vertical learning curve I thought I could overcome, in reality I just don’t think I’ve got the brain for programming. Also the design of the whole thing was a nightmare, mainly in terms of the structure. I think if this project continues it will take the form of a blog, or a simple old-school website with a page or two per track. Really though I think something that big is a full-time job not an evening job. I like my evenings and weekends too much to give them up to work.

The thing is though, I spend so much time reading and discussing racing that sometimes I want to write about something other than racing. In my spare time, my ‘me’ time, I want to something fun. I’d like a repository of thoughts, which was the original intention of this blog (hence the name). It helps me remember things as my memory is abysmal. It also helps, I hope, to show people that I am about more than just racing and working. It should also help me remember that too. So often (especially in the cold winter) I come home from work, open up Hootsuite and just watch the motorsport tweets for hours.

There’s nothing wrong with focussing on building a Twitter relationship. I’m quite proud of the Twitter following and reputation I’ve built up. It is astonishing that an idiot like me can have over 1100 followers even if a lot of them are inactive or spam accounts. That’s not to say I’m a big deal, far from it, but I like to think there’s a level of quality associated with the @toomuchracing name and the things I pass on from others, even if my own opinions are crap. These days I enjoy Tweeting and instantly sharing things I discover about racing more than I enjoy blogging about racing. The realtime interaction across so many different branches of the sport is second to none.

I also hope that by writing out a few thoughts I might find clarity myself – sometimes the only way you realise what you really think about something is by exploring the different options in writing.

I spend so much of my time thinking about racing I sometimes get burnout, either through watching a lot of it (not always recent stuff), or more likely by spending far too much time idly sitting reading Twitter and blog posts. Even so I still really struggle to read the blogs and listen to the podcasts I want to – let alone writing my own.

If this is a way to take a break and do something different, so much the better – and because I will need subjects to write about it should encourage me to get out and visit places and do things.

It is good and healthy to take a break to do something else. Play golf. Watch a film. Watch a TV series. Go for a walk. Listen to music and explore more music – you can never discover enough music. See new things, meet new people.

Let’s see where this takes me.