Henry the Hamster

My niece recently turned three years old. It was the first birthday where she was old enough to choose her own present. Since the shops are currently shut, my brother got a toy catalogue that she could look through to help her choose but she already knew what she wanted. My niece wanted a puppy.

               One curious effect the coronavirus has had is double the price of puppies. BBC News reported in September that the average price of a puppy in the UK has doubled to £1883. This is one of many reasons, this gift request was denied. Instead a rabbit was chosen (average cost £40 plus no walks in the rain are required). The birthday girl was less than impressed with this substitution and has taken to woofing at the rabbit hoping it she can train it to bark. No success yet.

As far as I can remember, my first pets were three goldfish I got as a runners-up prize from the fairground (rather than the toy I was hoping for). I named them Boris, Doris & Morris after the characters from a short-lived kids TV show called ‘Through The Dragon’s Eye’ which only ran for ten weeks in 1989, sadly longer than the goldfish lasted.

               Then for my tenth birthday I got a hamster which I called Henry. Henry spent most of his time crawling through toilet roll tubes before destroying them. He also managed to escape on several occasions, I was convinced it was because he learned how to open the clip on the door (rather than the much more likely explanation, that ten year old me kept forgetting to close it properly).

               On his various escape missions Henry destroyed:

  • A packet of envelopes
  • An entire bottle garden
  • The Christmas edition of the Radio Times
  • A box of Milk Tray (except the coffee ones, even hamsters don’t like those).

One year while we were on holiday, Henry performed one of his infamous escapology routines at my Grandparent’s house. He ended up chewing a hole in the skirting board which we think he disappeared behind. He was never to be seen again.

While writing this, it occurs to me that my brother’s guinea pig also perished under the watch of my grandparents. I believe they stopped volunteering for pet duties after that.

The Scottish Saga

‘What is the minimum amount of money you would be willing to work for in this position?’ That was a question I was unprepared for. I had no idea.

               I was unemployed in the spring of 2018 and this was the first ‘in person’ interview I had been to in years. It was to be the activities manager at a beautiful resort beside a loch in rural Scotland and was one of those processes where the candidates spend the day together doing activities. I had imagined these would be problem-solving exercises or some kind of role play where there would be a awkward customer to deal with. Instead it was archery.

Robin Hood has nothing to worry about

The only other time I have done archery, I missed so spectacularly that my arrow went over the fence and narrowly missed an innocent cow. That must have been twenty years earlier and still gives me nightmares. On this occasion, the court was completely netted so at least the nearby wildlife would be safe. Instead my problem was my appalling upper body strength, it took everything I had to pull the string back far enough and then when the arrow flew off accidentally, I squealed. The day was not going well.

               Due to a series of rail disruptions, it took most of the prior day to get there (including by foot, changing train stations in Glasgow). Eventually I arrived at a rural location in the dark where it was raining. I was the only person who got off the train and the conductor asked me ‘are you sure this is where you want to get off?’ To be honest, I wasn’t.

               I was met in the carpark by a grumpy man in a van. He had a sign with my name on it. He didn’t want to be there and he didn’t want to talk to me. At first I wasn’t sure he spoke English but if that was true, LBC would be a odd radio choice. I found out later the road had been closed due to a landslide and because of this, we went through a 60 mile diversion in silence. It wasn’t until I saw the entrance to the resort that I relaxed in the knowledge I was not going to be killed and would live to see another day.

A rural racetrack

I hardly slept that night but a large cooked breakfast was looming large. This was a delightful thought and I wolfed it down. What I hadn’t planned for was that the interview wasn’t being held on the resort and the 60 mile diversion was coming my way again. How anyone confidently drives so quickly in the rain, round blind corners and swerving pot holes I will never understand but none of this helped my nerves.

               My fellow interviewees were a fairly typical lot. I have found people applying to work in resort entertainment generally fall into one of three groups.

  • People who think they on their way up who are doing this as a step up to something more exciting.
  • People who talk about their ‘friends in the business’ (usually TV stars from the 1980s/90s) whose wildly extravagant stories rarely ring true.
  • People who are hopelessly unqualified and are only here because they are related to somebody on the committee.

The audition stage wasn’t ideal for me either. Everyone else had brought a song. I hadn’t got that email. Instead (for reasons that escape me), I announced I was going to do some comedy. I would be third meaning I had about ten minutes to think of some jokes to perform to the other candidates. Against all the odds, I remembered enough of somebody else’s cruise ship act that I could parrot it off while the others laughed along. This is an odd thing, there is a great pressure to be ‘a good audience’ at auditions. Even though they are the competition, the pressure to laugh/clap is immense, and the forced jollity is unbearable. At this point, I had excused myself and a mix of the nerves & travel meant I was reacquainted with the large breakfast.

What was the punchline?

I was utterly ready for the day to end but there was still the interview. I lied and said my train was two hours earlier just so I could go first and get out of there. The expected questions arrived on cue ‘tell me about an achievement you are proud of’, ‘what do you know about the resort’, ‘how are you working in a team’ and then ‘what is the minimum amount of money you would be willing to work for in this position?’

I had no idea and would have taken whatever I was offered. Perhaps that should have been my answer. Instead I said ‘two, three’. I was not sure what I meant by that and since the panel just stared in silence at my answer, I guess they were all baffled too.

About two weeks later, I got a message telling me I was unsuccessful. The only surprizing this about this, was that they made the effort to email at all.

Happy Birthday To Me

Something weird happened with my email account this week. No idea how but I managed to delete everything in my account, ten years of emails just vanished. They did not move to trash, they just disappeared. I had never seen the symbol for empty inbox before and I found it quite liberating.

The morning after, I logged in again and a message had arrived overnight.

This was from somebody I went to school with and he is the only person I am still in touch with from back then. I say in touch, this means I get round to sending him an email about every six months. It is always lovely to get these emails but rather than my usual reaction of ‘how is it somebody who teaches English makes so many typos’, it was ‘oh yes, I did have a birthday this week’. It was the first time I have completely missed a birthday. I think it is fair to say, there is a lot going on in the world at the moment so I can’t be too annoyed that nobody remembered when I didn’t either.

I am not particularly fond of ‘fuss’ and so birthdays are something I am happy to avoid. Perhaps they will take on more significance again as I grow older but as a child, my birthday was a big deal.

Looking back over my childhood diaries at past celebrations, I was taken by my entry from 1994. I had an incredibly unusual set of presents that year including a tray, a cactus, and a pair of maracas. I presumably requested these items although why I would have done that is a total mystery. According to Google, the most popular toys that year were Power Rangers figures (not quite the same as desert plants or percussion instruments) and is a fairly obvious reflection of the fact, I was uninterested in fitting in. I didn’t deliberately go against the crowd, it just never occurred to me to try.

The centre piece of my birthday weekend was that I was also treated to a ski trip. Of course we were not the kind of family who went to Innsbruck or Val-D’isere instead we went to the dry slope in Llandudno. The only thing I wrote in my diary about this was that ‘it rained’. Hardly a great surprise for North Wales in November. One thing I am sure about, I never went skiing again.

As for what happened to the tray, cactus and maracas, I suspect their final destination was a landfill site.

Four Out Of Ten

               This has been a very eventful week, for the wider world and for me personally. This time last week, the Prime Minister of UK made a TV broadcast (two and a half hours late) announcing that the country will go back into lockdown.

Having five day’s notice meant that the entire country went panic buying with massive queues down the high streets. My local radio station were live from the indoor market (even though it was closed) and tried to find passers by to interview. One woman admitted buying two table lamps as the shop wouldn’t be open next week, before going onto say she had no idea what she was going to do with them. This was possibly not what the government had in mind. While the Prime Minister was making his announcements, the family across the road from me set off fireworks, presumably very excited at the idea of another month at home.

               This week, to mark bonfire night, a study was released saying four out of ten employers would ‘think twice’ about employing somebody neurodivergent. This would include people with ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, depression and autism. Fireworks can be tough for many in these groups, the unexpected bangs can be hard to deal with for many people and plenty of pets too. This year, as there are fewer organised displays, fireworks seem to have been going off about once a minute for the entire week.

Will this ever be considered anti-social?

Also going on the entire week has been the US election. At the time of writing the vote was four days ago and still there is no winner (making the PM’s 150 min delay look amateur). I have been oddly engrossed in this process, looking at the latest results and listening to the coverage for days now, even though I know nothing is happening. At least I am doing better than a man I heard being interviewed saying he hasn’t slept since Tuesday, he has been following the coverage on his iPad which he takes to the toilet with him. Apparently, he can’t bear the idea of missing the ‘big moment’. I hope we get to find out what he does when it is actually declared, probably just fall asleep.

               So with being awake most of the night listening to news about the electoral news of some far away county in a state I would need a map to locate meant I was not in the best condition for my job interview. This was the day before lockdown began and I spent the morning revising the company website, job specifications and my own CV. This was fortunate as when I was asked what I knew about the company, I could easily reel off a long list.

Selective Focus Photography of Person Signing on Paper
Writing anything by hand seems so unusual now.

               Now here comes the problem I never considered, the admin. Application forms, criminal records check, references and a health questionnaire which stated that a failure to declare any medical conditions could lead to dismissal. One of the questions was neurodivergence (which four out ten employers would ‘think twice’ about). This neurodivergence helped me remember all those facts that got me the job offer but should I take the risk?

               Mask wearing in an interview is a tricky thing. I found myself smiling at the interviewers a lot and making facial expressions before realising nobody would see them. Something else that I have noticed, is that mask wearing means I won’t need to shave as often as nobody will see. This is great news and something I didn’t pick up from the mask vs no mask debate. It wasn’t until I left the building, I noticed that my mask had been on back-to-front (being competent is not easy). Despite this I start next week. Whether we will know the results of the election by then, remains unclear.


Of course, I wrote this blog earlier then went for a walk before posting it. By the time I got back, the world found out the results. If all it took was me writing this, I would have done it days ago. I just hope that the tired man’s iPad had not run out of battery.

What A Week

The week started with a letter from the tax office. I find the thickness of the envelope is a great clue as to what the contents will be. If it is a thick envelope, that is a bad sign. It likely means that more forms need to be completed. A thin envelope means it is something simpler. This letter was so thin, I wondered if there was anything in it at all. In fact, there was only four lines of writing and after reading it several times, it sunk in.

There was good news and bad news. The good news was I was due a tax rebate. At the moment, I am out of work and it is fair to say, jobs are not easy to find so having extra money is brilliant. The bad news is that it was £4.85. Hardly worth the cost of the letter.

The excitement continued the following day with a second very thin letter from the tax office, curiously with the same date as the first one. This note telling me the rebate had been ‘adjusted’ and an extra 27p had been added. Perhaps I should invest it.

Calculator and Pen on Table

Next up there was a phone call from my agent. “Are you free to work on New Year’s Eve?” He asked. I didn’t need to check my diary. I am free to work every day from now until I leave this earth. It looks like there might be something in a grand old hotel for me to mark the turning of the year. I accepted the job straight away and it was only when I put the phone down that I realised that I didn’t find out what the pay was or even what they actually want me to do. Still, work of any kind, is exciting. Then came a real curveball.

A few months ago, I did an online job finder’s course. It was largely hopeless and told me I should be an MP or TV stuntman (neither of which I have looked into) but one thing I took from it is that I should join Linked In. I am usually very resistant to this kind of thing but thought that there can’t be much to lose. I set up the most half-hearted profile in July and then didn’t log in again.

My phone never rings. In fact, prior to this week, the only two calls I had in the last three months were from people asking if I had an accident that wasn’t my fault. On both occasions, I said no and they changed tack and asked if I had been a victim of medical negligence before hanging up on me. So, when the phone rang with a local number I was very surprized.

Woman in White Long Sleeve Shirt Sitting Beside Brown Wooden Table

It was from a local residential home. They had seen my Linked In and wondered if I was available for an interview next week to be their ‘activities coordinator’. The last job interview I had was for a resort in Scotland and I managed to work myself up into such a state that I vomited about an hour before (unsurprisingly, I didn’t get it).

At the time of writing, I don’t feel so worried about this one, mainly because I have no idea if I want it or not. So, I need to get ready for an interview. I went shopping to get a new tie and belt and next I need to do something with my hair. I have only had my hair cut twice this year and one of those was before lockdown. As a result, it has gone wild. Because I had no need for it to look decent I didn’t try. Instead I have been taking scissors to it myself and cutting off bits that stuck out more than the rest. So an appointment with a barber has been booked. Hopefully, they will be fairly polite about the mess they are presented with.

Then I saw the headlines this morning. They are reporting that England is heading for another national lockdown this week. So many questions spring to my mind. Will my interview still happen? Does activities co-ordinator at a residential home count as a key worker? If so, will people start clapping for me on a Thursday night? Am I getting my hair cut for no reason? Will I remember my Linked In password so I can discover what I put on my profile?

Only time will tell.

Halloween Horrors

I have never understood the attraction of ‘fancy dress’. It takes ages to prepare, is often expensive, uncomfortable to wear and usually falls apart within an hour. This is one of many reasons why I am happy to skip Halloween this year.

One of the major Halloween activities is, of course, pumpkin carving. The giant orange vegetables are everywhere and there is no doubt that pumpkin carving is an art form. The annual carving competition gets bigger each year, as does the amount of mess that goes with it. The insides of pumpkins are found days later down the back of chairs, inside ornamental vases, under storeroom doors and the smell is something to behold. Judging the winner is a minefield. People are disappointed if there is no competition element but how the winner is decided is very controversial. I have tried getting neutral judges (they see the faces of the kids and declare it a draw), tried giving everyone a vote (they all choose their own) so now I just decide myself. Generally speaking, the family who have caused me the least aggravation will be victorious.

One thing I completely underestimated in 2008 when organising my first cruise ship Halloween party was how popular the costume parade would be. I imagined that people would not have room in their suitcases for bulky party outfits (alongside all their other cruise attire) so we might get a few kids in face paint and a couple of home made in a hurry items. How wrong I was.

Firstly, many of our passengers had Halloween hats, glasses & t-shirts on all day. The boss panicked and ran down to the supermarket ashore and hoovered up all the remaining items. Another thing I had not fully appreciated is that Halloween costumes did not have to be scary.

In Europe it would be ghosts and witches but among our mostly Floridian guests I was presented with people dressed as

  • The flintstones
  • Mermaids
  • Vending Machines
  • For some reason, eight different Sarah Palins.

We advertised a costume parade and so many people wanted to take part, it took more than 15 mins just to get everyone across the stage. We gave up with registrations when we reached 200 and it became a free-for-all. Sadly, I have failed to remember who the winner was.

I do remember my outfit though. Since the costume shopping only happened that morning and the purchasing opportunities in a small Caribbean supermarket are fairly limited, we got the leftovers. My colleagues were a nun, Woody from Toy Story and a daffodil while I got given a banana costume. Imagine a huge foam banana with arm, leg and face holes. That was me. The boss chose himself a SpongeBob SquarePants costume but that seriously impaired his vision and he ended up tripping over a child and hurtling into a table full of drinks. It felt like I got off lightly.

I notice this year, many covid themed costumes are available including ‘giant face masks’, ‘sexy hand sanitiser’ and predictably ‘Donald Trump’ which appears to be just a suit and orange face paint. None of this matters to me though, I am keeping a wide berth while some other poor fool is sentenced to days of sniffing the air while trying to work out where the pumpkin entrails have ended up this year.

Spring forward but don’t fall back

Here in the UK, we are entering the final week of summertime. Next weekend, people across the country will spend most of the day trying to remember how to change the time on their ovens, cars and other devices before giving up frustrated and just accepting it will be wrong until the spring.

As technology changes this task is getting easier, very few people have a VHS player with a clock that needs changing and digital watches are fading away as we go back to analogue watches or no watch at all. I remember meeting somebody who couldn’t work out how to change the time on his watch so ended up with a summer watch and an identical winter watch thus removing the need to do the seasonal adjustments.

There are many studies about time changes and the effects they cause. Every time it happens, we enter the predictable national debate about if we should abolish them, accompanied by lists of facts about the health and economic implications. However, this is only twice a year. On a cruise ship this can happen twice a week (or more!)

It used to be easy, we had ship’s time. No matter where the ship goes, we stay in ship’s time. Nobody changes their watches and just ignores the clocks ashore, so everyone is back on time and onboard when we sail. Then came mobile phones programmed to change their times automatically when they get near land (even places we don’t stop at) and time became a real problem.

How does this work?

Between California and Hawaii, there are three time changes. So in the eight days between leaving the islands and getting back again, we have changed the clocks six times. After months of this, the jet lag means everyone is too tired to do anything.

Australia have a plethora of time zones, each state and territory operate separately. Some states have summer & winter time, others stay the same all year round. Sometimes when the borders are crossed the time moves by an hour, on other occasions it is only 30 minutes. It is no wonder I discussed time zones more than anything else.

“But they wouldn’t really leave me behind” passengers would tell me.

“Yes, they would” I reply. It happens fairly often and time zone errors are a major cause.

It is not true that ships can wait around for people to turn up. Firstly, the ship may not be able to stay. Another ship might be booked into the dock space or the port is closing so the Captain has to go, no matter what. Alternatively, if we only have a short time to get a long way, then delays would mean missing the next port.

If the guest has managed to phone to say they are just round the corner then they are in with a chance of a short delay but if they don’t have a phone with them (or it doesn’t work abroad) then there is a real possibility of watching the ship sail without them.

So, what happens next? The port agents take over and get them to the next destination (with whatever belongings they have with them). That is great if there is another port tomorrow but if we are going to/from Hawaii they might be stranded for five days. Let’s hope they have decent insurance because the cruise line is not paying for flights or hotels.

Then there is the added trauma of what may happen if they left their passport onboard, with any luck they will be somewhere that has a good working level of English and an available embassy. Russia and China are examples of incredibly difficult places to get stuck with no possessions or ID.

So, all this is yet another reason of why I don’t miss working on cruise ships. It is also why, having only two time changes a year feels like a complete luxury.

Sunday, April 1st, 2001

In the morning: slept in late, read through the newspapers

In the afternoon: Went to the Trafford Centre for a book but could not find the one I wanted.

In the evening: went on the internet too. Did quite a bit of college reading. Watching television for a while.

Best thing this week was finishing coursework

Next week break up for the Easter holiday, will restart my swimming and do some revision, I am looking forward to a long break.

Morning 5, afternoon 6, evening 5

The next few days will be very quiet, only one week until Easter

Tomorrow: a long double free and tutorial

Weather: sunny and warm, temp 14. Summary: a fairly forgettable end to a stressful week. Total 5, Week 6.

I was 18 at this point and coming up to my A-Levels. I enjoyed college, it was a huge place with lots of small buildings scattered over a large estate. One of my strongest memories of the time was trying to get to the canteen at the exact point the hot cookies came out of the oven and they would still be warm in the middle. They were 30p each and I can still remember the amazing smell.

Double free was the greatest thing about college. Two hours where we could do anything. The idea was that we would sit in the library but instead I would go and help at the shop mobility centre. They would lend electric scooters to people who found walking hard so they could get their shopping. I am not sure how this voluntary work started but I am very sure it ended when, in an absent minded moment, I pushed a panic button and the police came rushing in.

Reading back through this, I am amused by the idea of me having ‘read through the newspapers’. I do not believe this statement could have true. There is no way, I would have had a pile of Sunday papers and certainly not have had the patience to read them through. So why did I write this? Was I expecting the diary to be found? If so, why am I trying to impress this hypothetical person?

I have skipped over the Trafford Centre mention but that must have been a major part of my day. The Trafford Centre is a huge shopping mall on the outskirts of Manchester. It took a train, a tram and then a bus to get there so going all that way (and being a Sunday, the service would have been less frequent), to look for an unspecified book and then not getting it might seem odd. I now see this as an example of my clear autistic behaviour.

The idea of measuring energy was explained to me as ‘spoons’ although others find this term infantilising and prefer ‘bandwidth’. Basically, it refers to a finite amount of energy. Sometimes a journey can take so much effort (loud noises, crowds, stress, sensory overload etc) that I can’t take anything else and just go home. I suspect this is what happened here. I have wasted whole days by going all the way to London getting off the train and then booking a ticket straight back again because my ‘spoons’ ran out.

I notice that I was still scoring my days out of ten and still giving everything either 5 or 6, something I had been doing in my diaries throughout my teenage years.

The stressful week refers to the handing in of my coursework. I really enjoyed coursework, doing a project under my own steam suits me nicely and is something I still really thrive on. Exams are much more difficult as the questions are unknown, making planning more challenging. Reading previous entries reveals the coursework topic was ‘skills and equalities’ and I can’t remember a thing about it.

This diary shows how little I have changed since I was 18, I still go to shopping centres without buying anything, I still haven’t restarted my swimming but at least I am ready to admit to not having ‘read through the papers’.

Best Foot Forward

I spend a lot of time listening to radio phone-in programs and these last few weeks have been a treat for lovers of unusual discussion points. I made a note of some of my favourite topics.

  • ‘Has your electric car ever run out of power on the M4?’ (Oddly specific question, what about people who lost power on the M6?)
  • ‘Would you stay friends with somebody who orders Filet o Fish at McDonalds?’ (general consensus was no)
  • ‘Does the wind play havoc with your toupee or miniskirt?’ (a rare chance for sufferers of toupee related trauma)
  • ‘Do you know what the word bonk means?’ (perhaps their work computers wouldn’t let them Google it)

Of course, there has also been plenty on the coronavirus. People are worried about their Christmas plans ‘there are eight in my family, who would have to pay the fine if we had dinner together? Could we share it’? Quite why people are already making Christmas plans in early October is a bit of a mystery to me.

It was a caller to one of these programs that made me think. ‘My husband is a surgeon and if he can wear a mask for eight hours in the operating theatre, you can wear one for twenty minutes’. I have got a mask in my bag but since I have a medical exemption, I have never actually used it.

Following an encounter with a shop worker who was horrified at my bare face and rising case numbers, I decided that rather than mess about with face coverings, if would be better not to go into shops at all and get everything online instead. This was fine until I became aware on my daily walk, that my right foot was getting very cold.

In retrospect, I had become aware that something weird was happening days ago but never thought to look. In fact, the entire sole of my right shoe had fallen off making me walk with a weird sway. This could have happened anywhere and the dry ground over the last week meant I never noticed.

So, how do I get shoes online? Isn’t this something I really should get from a shop so I can try them on? The admin of sending back shoes that don’t fit means I just wouldn’t bother and instead order more. I could end up with a whole pile of ill-fitting shoes. I thought again about the caller to the radio program, ‘My husband is a surgeon and if he can wear a mask for eight hours in the operating theatre, you can wear one for twenty minutes’.

I took a few deep breaths outside Sainsbury’s and gave it a try. I have resisted mask wearing because it is a change and change is scary but, of course, it was fine. A case of the idea being worse than the reality.

Fast forward a few days and I have completed a total reversal in my thought process. Mask wearing means I better blend into the crowd without fear of challenge, I am much more protected from the cold wind and no longer need to walk with broken shoes. However, my thoughts on the great Filet o Fish debate remain unresolved.

Road to Nowhere

When planning a cruise, it is worth looking at where the ships actually dock. Very often, the places visited are unable to take massive passenger liners as the seabed is too shallow or the channels too narrow so the ships end up miles away, often in freight terminals with nothing in walking distance and a long bus ride to the advertised destination.

The port advertised as Rome is more than an hour from the city, visitors to Cairo are disappointed to find they actually arrive more than 120 miles away and people with no local knowledge are surprized to find that rather than seeing Big Ben from their window they are really in Southampton. This goes some way to explaining why I ended up in Whittier, Alaska.

Whittier is where the cruise ships dock to pick up their guests from the airport in Anchorage (about 60 miles away) and is a place so unusual it is hard to describe. Its official website describes it as a city but since it only has around 200 residents this gives a false impression of its size. Almost everyone lives in the same building, a former army barracks resembling a university hall of residence. The 14-story block is called Begich Towers and has its own tiny shop, church in the basement, post office, launderette, cork notice board in the entrance and reindeer pen outside.

Who would live in a place like this?

There are steep mountains around three sides of Whittier and the sea along the fourth. This access problem is what makes it so distinctive a place to visit. The only way to get anything in or out is through a single lane three-mile-long tunnel. For thirty minutes you can only travel in one direction then for the next thirty minutes you can only go the opposite way, unless it is night-time in which case the tunnel is closed altogether and fishing boats are the only choice. The problem for the boats is the wind, it is not unusual for 60mph winds to blow for an entire week and the police force patrol the hills on skis. Bemused tourists leave their cruise ships to ‘explore the town’ and are back within an hour.

However, on the rare day the sun is shining (Whittier suffers 200 inches of rain per year) it is the most beautiful place imaginable. Mountain goats, sea otters and 26 glaciers all of which make for a memorable day, although what it is like to live there, year-round, is another question.

I think this setting would be perfect for a crime novel. A tower block cut off from the world by weather and location, no way in or out… I should get on to writing that one day.