Monday, January 14, 2008

New Year Blues

The post-Christmas period is traditionally a time of depression and gloom caused by accumulated debts racked up from Christmas presents, accumulated kilos from too many mince pies, already-broken resolutions and a distinct lack of sunlight. I was on my way into town after work to meet up with an old friend of mine (Kate's the only person from primary school that I'm still in contact with) when an individual with a particularly acute case of the blues decided to end it all and jumped in front of a tube train. Personally I thought it was very inconsiderate of them to do it during the weekday rush hour, which meant I had to sit in a crowded train - and I didn't even have a paper to read!

I was a bit ill last week, although it did get me a chance to intimately acquaint myself with the u-bend of our lavatory. I have also just found out that, quite aptly perhaps, given the name of my blog, I am a kipper - or a KIPPER to be more precise. Apparently it stands for Kids In Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement savings. That's me staying at my mum's and getting fed and generally pampered. It has, however, given me a bit more time and space to sort things out (although I'm far from finished). I have finally found not only all my pictures from the trip, but also all my clothes that had been packed away in various boxes and suitcases and squirrelled away in the attic and the garage (I have thereby found out that I have enough T-shirts to last the rest of my life, so please, if anyone is thinking of getting me a gift: no T-shirts please, I have nowhere to put them!). I'm also into month 21 in the sorting of my pictures (just 15 more to go) and I have so far filled 12 albums (if I had known it would be so much work I might not have taken all those photos!).

Sunday, January 06, 2008


CapEx, for those of you not in the know, is the abbreviated term for capital expenditure. These are costs incurred by a business "to buy fixed assets or to add to the value of an existing fixed asset" (source Wikipedia, the fount of all knowledge!). Of the many new terms and ideas I'm coming across at work this is one of the commonest and, luckily, easiest to understand. Having been away for so long I've needed to invest in some CapEx for myself as my own personal infrastructure has suffered from 3 years of underinvestment. This weekend went a long way to rectifying the situation when I finally bought myself a bike for the commute into work so that I can return Mark's (although theoretically he owes me one as my old one was stolen whilst he was using it). I was disappointed to find that I couldn't find the exact type of bike I wanted - an old-school road bike with drop-down handlebars and mudguards (as it does rain on occasion here in London) - as mudguards aren't fashionable these days. So I'll have to resign myself to getting wet legs from time to time. I also had to invest in a half-way presentable pair of shoes now that I've got a real job with an office and everything (talking of which, below is a picture of me in my aforementioned office).

Another expense undergone this week was the purchase of flight tickets to Munich at the end of the month. For three years now my dad has been saying that I should go skiing with him (well, he skis and I snowboard) thinking each year that I would be home for Winter. Now that I am finally home I acquiesced - I just hope I still remember how to stay upright as it has been 7 years since I last hit the pistes. I was rather disappointed when buying the tickets as I really wanted to live up to my green principles and take the train, unfortunately the price was almost twice that of the plane. Now I wouldn't mind paying a little bit more but that was just too much. The problem is that jet fuel isn't at all taxed, which is a ridiculous state of affairs as, in effect, that means that air travel is subsidised and gets an unfair economic advantage over other means of transport, and that's despite the fact that it's the most polluting means of transport out there. That's the problem with politics (as the decision to tax fuel rests firmly with politicians) in the West - the right things are said, be it with regards to an ethical foreign policy, fighting global warming or respecting human rights, but as soon as it gets slightly uncomfortable then all principles are thrown out the window. It's the sheer hypocrisy of politics that disgusts me to the core. I wish we had a leader who would have the balls and the honesty to plainly say that air travel is too cheap for the damage that it is causing the environment and that it ought to be dearer. Maybe I'm also being hypocritical by not putting my money where my mouth is and taking the flight. It's probably also that I'm too weak to spend £260 when there's a £140 option available, although I would be willing to spend the £260 if there wasn't a cheaper option.