Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Driving Ambition

It's no good.  I've got to do something to change my life as I feel completely becalmed right now.  I'm most definitely in the doldrums, (to continue the maritime analogies).  The real problem, as ever, is that I seem utterly incapable of taking decisive action with regard to my employment situation.  My detestation and disillusion with the job continues unabated.  Much of the time I genuinely fear for my safety, quite apart from my ongoing health situation.  (Today Occupational Health decided, on the basis of a phone interview that I was fully fit for duty, despite being under strong medical advice to avoid stress, yet being asked to perform duties which are extremely stressful and have resulted in me suffering severe symptoms of stress.  The ridiculous thing is that if I applied for this job now, I would undoubtedly be ruled out of it on health grounds.  But hey, what do I know?  These are health professionals at work - probably the same ones who, on the behalf of DWP, pass cancer sufferers and other extremely ill people people as being fit for work, despite it being obvious that they aren't).   Anyway, the other day I checked my pension status on the relevant government website.  After having to negotiate a logging on process so tedious I thought I was going to lose the will to live, I was finally able to confirm that my estimate was right and that I only had five more years of National Insurance contributions to go before being sure of receiving a full state pension.  (Annoyingly, under the old scheme, I would already have qualified for a full pension, but under the new scheme introduced a couple of years ago, I have these extra five years tacked on).

So, as I've said before, it's case of finding a way of ensuring those five years of contributions are paid in the least painful way possible.  I'm still trying to work out what that might be, though.  In the meantime, I still have no mortgage, no dependents and have money in the bank - so why don't I just take some time out to try and decide what to do with the rest of my life?  Answers on a postcard, etc.  On a more positive note, I'm now the proud owner of a 2007 Saab 9-3.  I have to say that it has brought the joy back to my driving.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed driving my old Focus for most of the time I owned it, (the last couple of years, it became increasingly troublesome and turned into an expensive chore to drive), but the Saab is in a different class.  It really is a pleasure to drive: smooth, sophisticated and impeccably well behaved.  Which is also how I now feel as a Saab driver.  Apparently the typical Saab driver was likely to be quirky, intellectual and creative.  Unlike a BMW driver who, apparently, is typically an arsehole.  That's the thing about driving a Saab - it gives you all the quality of a German car without the stigma.  It also comes with a driver's manual as thick as a door wedge - I'm still learning about various features of the car as I go through this: I've just discovered the second phone charging point, not to mention the rear seat cup holders, for instance.  Despite vowing, when I set off on my search for a second hand Saab, that I was going to buy a petrol engined automatic, I've ended up with a diesel equipped with a six speed manual transmission, (it was cheaper to tax and insure, as well as being the best one I saw in my price range).   Interestingly, I nearly bought an old style Saab 9-3 the last time I replaced my car, but allowed myself to be persuaded that the Focus was a more 'sensible' choice.  Having driven my second generation 9-3 for a week or so now, I realise that the Saab would have been the 'sensible' choice last time around.



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