On Monday I found out at the last minute I needed to get myself down to Sheffield for a meeting. I didn't have my car in work with me, but I could get the train. That was a winning idea, until I asked how to get from the train station to the place where I needed to be. At the response "just get a cab" I decided I just about had enough time to get the bus home from work, pick my car up and drive (and of course, that way I get to claim petrol expenses...). Then yesterday I had another meeting a couple of miles from the office. Not worth bringing the car in, paying for parking and claiming petrol back for that one, although we usually drive up there when my boss is around. I could have taken a taxi, but instead I walked. It was a nice day, and although it took more time, it felt far nicer to me.
The only problem was that I put my heels on to do it in, and ended up with a huge blister on each little toe. Added to the existing blister on one of my big toes my feet are becoming a horrible, blistery mess. It's not even all from running, just from stupid taxi-avoidance techniques. It's not even like I'd have had to pay for it myself, I could have claimed it back from the client, but I just don't like taxis. Strange, but true.
I got the bus back to the office.
The plans for the big London expedition are coming on nicely. I'm pretty much committed to driving down there and back, and I've planned what I'm going to eat during the day. I've bought myself a cool bag and some ice blocks from Wilkos, and I've planned all sorts of nice things I'm going to throw in there so I can make up salads and bagels and other veggie, fruity and carby treats throughout the day.
Even more scarily, I'm planning on putting my garden table and chair in the boot of the car (they fold up), so I can stop off on the way, unpack my stuff and have a nice sophisticated little picnic. And plates, bowls, cutlery etc etc. The only outstanding problem is where I do this. I'd love to find some sort of local beauty spot/picnic area where I can stop, sit, read and eat for a while to break the journey. However, I suspect that my surroundings may be just a little less glamourous than that. So if you see someone looking strangely overprepared for Watford Gap southbound services tomorrow lunchtime, come and say hello!
And a final word on the iPod saga. It's been working almost perfectly today, but I don't know how long that will last. My big fear now is it dying on the first day of my holiday. Never mind though, inspiration struck earlier today, and I've worked out the best way to get my new one rather than making a panic buy on the day it dies. It suddenly occurred to me that I'm going out to Spain on Saturday, and that at the airport they have... duty free shops. Which sell iPods. And which let you call in advance to check stock and reserve them. OK, it means I'll need to take my laptop on holiday so that I can transfer my music across to it if I want to use it before I get back, but saving that 17.5% tax is a very tempting idea indeed. (You don't even need to travel outside the EU, not that it matters because the Canaries are outside for tax purposes anyway). So now I just need to hope that it's in stock when I call to reserve it. It fits in with my cashflow timetable, and it gets me what I want at a much more appealing price. I've got to the stage where needing a replacement is almost inevitable, but I might just be able to get a good deal on it. That's what I call a winning idea.