Category: Journal

Another Murder

I was just informed that one my uncles, whom I hadn’t seen for probably 5+ years, was murdered in France.

He was a horrible man. I’ve seen him do horrible, violent things. I’ve heard stories of him doing even worse. Due to my father, and step father’s influence, I was spared a lot of his maliciousness. Regardless, I’ve been affected by having him on the periphery of my life most of the time and him intruding on my life some of the time.

The first thing I did when I got the news was break out in a smile. Somewhere it still feels like a relief, even though he was never as big a part of my life as he has been for my sister, for instance. The odd thing is that I probably don’t feel as relieved and happy about it as I would have if I had heard it when I was a teenager, when my exposure to him was much higher. Back then he was a much bigger influence and a much bigger threat.

It also feels strange that only now, when he’s an old man, probably sixty, he were to die. It would have made sense if he had died when he was younger, because he was so much more of a criminal threat.

I think I will have a glass of bubbles tonight, to celebrate.

Forty Years Old Now vs Forty Years Old Then

This morning I woke up and Joasia had turned forty years old. This is going to be an unusual birthday for her due to the lockdown. We had a conversation about whether she felt forty years old and she said no. I think most people have that feeling. I think the feeling is born from the fact that when we defined what forty years old looked like, we were twelve, living in a completely different time, where people who were forty had lived harder lives than we did. So what came to define “forty” was a life of often physical labour, bad food, worse relationships and then the normal rigours of time. Now that we have hit forty, it just doesn’t seem the same. We’ve had access to better healthcare, more extensive knowledge on how to remain healthy; better eating habits, better exercising habits, better separation of professional and private life, and a better understanding of what constitutes mental health.

It made us both consider how far we’ve come, from the girl growing up behind the Iron Curtain, to the law professor now living and thriving in England, and the boy who grew up in a poor family of scum and villainy who found himself by her side. I was the first in my family to earn a college degree, hot on my heels was my cousin Kim, three months my junior. And now my brother has earned his bachelor’s degree. Three people in that generation. (It’s a large family, and a large generation, so perhaps there have been a few others since, but not that I’ve heard of.) Generations of nothing, and then suddenly a generation that produced three (possibly more) college graduates. That’s a good indication that times have changed for the better. There is still a lot to do, and a lot to improve, however. And while we sometimes take a step back, I am confident that we will continue to take two steps forward.

Coronavirus

Last week, I was shocked at the rise in the infection rate in the Netherlands. It went from 8 cases to close to 400. Reading up on it a bit more, it seems to have a r0 of between 2 and 3, so that makes sense. Marrying that to the lacks response from the Dutch to take this seriously (cancelling events, closing schools, etc.) and especially to stop the false equivalency to a seasonal flu, made me a little nervous.

I was planning on going to Amsterdam tomorrow, but after waking up this morning to see that the U.S. had shut down air travel between Europe (specifically; Shengen) and the U.S., it didn’t seem outside the realm of possibility to have the U.K. do the same thing while I was over. I decided to rebook my flight for next month instead.

(This is the same trip I was going to take before the airline went into administration, by the way. It seems this trip was cursed.)

Flybe Collapse

So this morning I woke up to the news that Flybe, the biggest European regional airline operating out of Exeter, has collapsed and are ceasing services immediately. This means my flight for next week isn’t going to be operating, neither is the flight that I had literally booked just yesterday for next month! I’ve instructed my bank to submit two chargeback claims, but who knows whether I’ll get those costs reimberused. I also had to buy a new ticket for next week, so in 24 hours I was down more than £600.

More importantly, this means that from now on getting to and from Amsterdam will be a lot harder than it was before. Until another airline starts operating flights on this route, I’m going to have to flight out from Bristol. There is a bus that goes from Exeter to Bristol airport, but that will eat into an hour or two on each end of my visit to Amsterdam.

Before, I had arranged with my work to give me the Friday afternoon off without having to eat into my vacation time. This would allow me to come into work in the morning, hop into a taxi at noon and make my early afternoon flight. Now, with an extra 2 hours of travel time, I’ll likely not be able to do that, and I doubt my employers will be accommodating enough to allow me to skip all of Friday just so that I can make an early afternoon flight. I’ll see what the commute to the airport will be like next week.

On the way back, I’ll have another extra couple of hours, which means I’ll have to catch an earlier flight than normally. Before, I would take a mid-evening flight, usually around 21:00, and I’d arrive home between 22:00 and 23:00. Now I’ll have to get an late afternoon flight, which means gaming will be jeopardised. I’m hoping to find that the total travel time back isn’t too bad, and I can get a slightly later flight next time which means I won’t have to worry about compromising my gaming time.

I guess that it was quite fortunate that we’ve had such a wonderful connection the last few years.