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I’m going to earn 100k by 2023

Can I? Dare I? Why the fuck not? I can do what I want, right?

I’ve been writing with a pen for the last couple of weeks. Every day. It’s been really great actually. That’s my Namiki Falcon with Iroshizuku Fuyu-gaki ink.

It’s 11:20am on a Monday. I’m listening to Mary Ann Hobb’s show on BBC6 Music and wearing multiple layers and a blanket over my thighs at the kitchen table. This is my new office. I feel happy. Really happy. But a bit scared about income.

I went freelance 100% at the beginning of November. I have two clients for my social media management and content creation business, but it’s actually only one because it’s the same guy in each instance. He runs a restaurant and is starting an affiliate marketing business of his own. I’ve got a ridiculous amount of training to go through and I love all that stuff. I tell you, no one is more surprised than I at finding happiness in getting into marketing. I mean, what? For real? I know, it’s nuts. But there it is – a job I love, and starting again, again, at the age of 48.

Am I too old to learn new tricks? Am I bollocks. I’ve got this.

Diary entry for 31 December 2023 with an entry saying Earn £100k!

My goal is to get to £100k a year by the time I get to the end of my 2019-2023 Hobonichi planner. I’ll be 52.

New Stationery Day!

My Hobonichi planners came today! I ordered these on 30 Jan from Jetpens, so I still had 11 months of value. They arrived yesterday. Bummer. So I lost a month’s value, but let’s be positive, right!

I’ve tried the Hobonichi Weeks and also bullet journalling in an A4 TWSBI notebook I have. The Weeks just isn’t going to work, much as I love it as an item. I think the Hobonichi A6 will be the one.

My First JetPens Order!

It’s been a crazy month of stationery indulgence. It’s an obsession and I recognise it as such. I don’t seem to be able to hold back at all.

John Roderick and Alcoholism

Roadwork Cover ArtI’ve been following John Roderick’s content since around 2006, when Merlin Mann talked to him on the Merlin Show. He’s co host on a podcast called Roadwork, with Dan Benjamin on the 5by5 network. In episode 151, entitled Chasing the Dragon, John speaks candidly about alcoholism and how the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program works.

I’ve been attending AA since 2005. My sobriety date is 9 October of that year and, so far, I’ve not touched any alcohol since then. I know it’s a day at a time, and complacency can lead to picking up again.

John explained so well how alcoholism works for him, and it’s so in line with my own experience that I felt compelled to write a post about it and recommend that everyone listen to this episode if you’re of a mind to.

And John, if you’re reading this and you ever make it to Scotland again, let me know for sure and we’ll grab a coffee somewhere. You’re the person living that I’d like to meet the most in the whole wide world!


If you like the podcast, the Patreon show is outstanding. They respond to listener mail in a candid and honest way. It’s one of the best things on the Internet.

Hiking up to Caisteal Abhail

On 28 October 2018 I did the route around from North Glen Sannox to Caisteal Abhail and down what I believe is called Hunters Ridge. I set off early, though not quite early enough as it was already daylight when I left. Not to worry – it was an absolutely amazing day.

I got to the car park just before 9 and made it back for 4, so one hour longer than the previous time, but that time the whole walk was in cloud with rain belting off me the whole way round. This time was rather different!

It was interesting following the moon and watching it set.

It was really cold to start with. I had to layer up and put my gloves on, but by the time I got to the gate in the coire I was well warmed up.

In the coire. I came down the rock ridge from just left of the middle down towards the right.

That was my route, up towards the moon then turn left up the ridge to the peak of Sail an Im.

Poppy, my trusty companion.

There was a lot ice as we got higher. It made the descent pretty treacherous down the other side.

Now it’s really starting to get interesting. Looking down into the coire, towards Caisteal Abhail.

Rocking the shades! It was cold, but such an amazing day.

That’s the ridge I’m climbing. This is where I bumped into Ranger Kate going the other way. She’d lost her lens cap and asked me to look out for it. I only bloom’ found it! Ha ha. Kate’s one of the rangers for the National Trust for Scotland and knows this terrain probably better than anybody!

Creag Dhubh, back the way I’ve just come.

Looking back over the way I’ve just come.

Getting closer to the top. The views are just about to blow me away…

Aha, now we’re getting some views to be sure. Not quite at the top yet though. Just a little further.

Looking down towards Blackwaterfoot and the Kintyre peninsula.

Some rocky tors that give this area its name of the castles.

Oh mama. Are we there yet?

Poppy finds an icy pond. It did crack eventually, though it wasn’t so deep as it look and she had a long drink from the water that came up from below.

And just when you think it can’t get any better, Cìr Mhòr appears in all its majesty.

Some more of those rocky tors at the summit. It’s always weird to puff and pant all the way to a summit and find it relatively flat at the top. Nice, but weird.

Cìr Mhòr with the ridge going down to the saddle between Glen Rosa and Glen Sannox, then up to North Goatfell and then the ridge to Goatfell itself. That looks like a tricky route, though one I’d like to try, possibly with a camp in between?

It was amazing to see for the first time how all the peaks join up with ridges. The Ridge from Caisteal Abhail where I was to Cìr Mhòr looks fairly straight forward, although the walk to the summit looks helluva steep. The next ridge coming down from Cìr Mhòr is called A’Chir and it leads to the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn. I’ll need to talk to my pal Kirstie about routes.

My ever-faithful companion Poppy the Akita.

The Witch’s Step from above. It looks like you could actually bypass it. It doesn’t look quite so scary from where I was, but that could be deceptive. I’ve always been kinda afraid of that particular place, but I could probably do it; then round to the summit of Suidhe Fhearghas. I wonder?

Lunch break. That Highlander stove is really good. There’s nothing quite like drinking coffee at the top of a mountain! I had a trio of chicken sandwiches from the Co-op, shared with Poppy of course, and a Boost bar. One of the best lunches I ever had!

A few more photos before heading back down again.

How’s that for a view, Poppy? Magic, innit?

D’you think dogs care about stuff like that? I wonder, ha ha.

Ra-oooo, says Poppy. Check out the icicles on the rocks on the right. Brrrrr.

The other side of the Witch’s Step as I start making my way down the horrible rocky, slippery ridge.

Looking over the peak of Suidhe Fhearghas towards the mainland and the islands in the Firth of Clyde. This is one of my favourite images from the day.

The rocky minefield I had to pick my way through to get back down. You can see how slippery they are in the foreground. Although the route was shorter, I think it would have been quicker to have gone back the way I came up because the terrain was so much easier underfoot.

The ridge I came down is called Hunters Ridge I think. According to the OS map it’s called Cuithe Mheadhonach, which might be Gaelic for Hunters Ridge. Dunno.

The Witch’s Step starting to look scary again. See what I mean? Is it actually as hard as it seems from below?

Nearly back down to the burn. Nice view of the jaggy tors that I’ve just come down from, and the rocky minefield in Garbh Choire. Man that was tough going.

And we’re down!


This is without a doubt the most enjoyable walk I’ve even done. Seven hours start to finish. I dressed right, I took the right food, I judged the time and daylight hours right. The one thing I need to do is learn to use a compass again. I used to know, but need a refresher. I do have a map.

Poppy was amazing company the whole way too. One of the most memorable moments was when Peter Gabriel Signal to Noise came on the AirPods just as Cìr Mhòr came into view and I was in utter heaven. The mountains can be harsh and brutal, as they were last time I did this route, but they can reward you like nothing else can if the conditions are right.

I kinda started getting the bug at the beginning of this summer and it’s growing as I explore more with my dog and my camera. Look out for more as spring comes in; I’m not quite ready for winter hikes yet.

And lastly, a moment of gratitude if I may. I fell from a cliff in 1989 whilst on exercise in the Lake District in England with the British Army. I almost lost my right leg; it bothers me a lot still and is actually getting worse now as I get older. But look at what I still get to do!


Having an Irn Bru in The Auchans in Dundonald.

Tim Keen took this with my Sony A7 III and the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 ART lens at a pub in Dundonald and I really like it, so I thought I’d upload it here to use as an avatar on some places. It’s possibly too big, or too busy. Dunno. It’s the one I sent to @roelandp for the Steemfest3 workshop avatar for the programme. I’m doing an audio workshop as part of the @ddaily crew and am really excited for that!

Meet me at SteemFest 2018 in Kraków

Austin A30

Here’s another of my dad’s cars from the 1950s, parked outside the house where I grew up. It has an Ayrshire registration from 1953-54, according to That, together with the chrome grille and the small rear window, identify this as an Austin A30, rather than the A35 which was later developed from it. 803cc engine; Austin’s first post-war small car design, introduced as a 1951 model (immediately after the war the pre-war Austin 8 had been revived but for a few years Austin had no car in this segment at all).

Austin Sheerline

I have some photos of my dad’s old cars that he owned as a young man. This one here is an Austin Sheerline and some info gleaned from a fellow photographer on Flickr.

Info thanks to Flickr user

The car is an Austin A125 Sheerline; it has a Glasgow registration from late 1950 to early 1952, according to . The Sheerline was Austin’s first post-war big car design, although the exposed P100 headlamps hark back to the luxury cars of the 1930s. Although well-polished, the car is perhaps showing its age in that one windscreen wiper is missing! It had a 4-litre 6-cylinder engine (Michael Sedgwick and Mark Gillies, in A-Z of cars, 1945-1970 (2010 edn.), p.24, call it a “poor man’s Bentley”), so it would have been quite expensive to run, but large cars were a better second-hand proposition in the 1950s than they had been earlier (or have become since), with the road-fund licence ceasing to be related to engine size in 1948 and not being related to engine size/emissions again until much more recently; cars did not, of course, have the complex electronics that can make modern cars very expensive (or even impossible) to repair and indeed until 1960 there was no annual roadworthiness test for older cars so that minor failures (such as that missing wiper) could be overlooked; mileages were usually lower than now so that the cost of petrol mattered less (I’m unsure whether petrol was cheaper in real terms in the 1950s than it is now).

Category vehiclephotography
Location Prestwick, Scotland

Thanks to @juliank and @photocontests for running this!

Photocontest Image

My introduceyourself post

My Time Working as a Translator in Almaty, Kazakhstan

In December 1999, just a few months after graduating from the University of Bradford with an MA in Interpreting and Translation, I got a job with Ernst & Young in Almaty, Kazakhstan as a translator in the tax department. It was an incredible experience in all sorts of ways. I spent almost two years there and it was a fantastic experience.

The tax department was a fantastic place to work and I made friends there that I’m still in touch with today. That’s me at the front in the blue shirt.

I as a rookie translator with the tax team at EY in Almaty during my first week. I’d go back in a heartbeat!


You can take a bus up to Medeo, which is an old Olympic ice rink in the mountains. It’s a spectacular location!

Up the hill from where my apartment was. Steep climb!

Charyn Canyon

One day in April 2001 we took a trip with work colleagues to visit the amazing Charyn Canyon. It was a fantastic day out and I highly recommend that you visit this place if you get the chance. Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor went down into the canyon on the motorcycles on their travel show The Long Way Round.


Then there was Chymbulak, a ski resort up in the Alatau mountains. Many EY folk went up at weekends skiing. I went once on a retreat, although I don’t ski — I spent time playing guitar and taking saunas!

These two girls were the best and I miss them both dearly

Here’s me singing in the ski chalet. Good times!

Big Almaty Lake

Beyond Chymbulak was Big Almaty Lake and the Cosmostantsia. Five of us took a drive up there, first of all stopping at a trout farm at Turgen to catch some lunch, then all the way up beyond the snow line.

Tien Shan Astronomical Observatory, Ile-Alatau National Park, Assy Plateau

On the way to Big Almaty Lake

I love this image – the Lada Niva was a great motor

Leaving do

One of the partners left in May 2000 and we had a leaving do up in the mountains, with shashlyk, guitar, a fire. It was superb.


Singing the Leaving Song we Wrote for Reece



View from my apartment

It was soon time to go. During my time in Almaty I’d got engaged to my girl in Scotland and she was working in Luxembourg. She did consider moving to Almaty, but the climate wasn’t quite right for her. She came to visit in summer when it was 40C. Winters could get down to -30C. It was a crazy climate. It was a very enriching experience for me and I get very nostalgic when I think about it. Being a Russian speaker meant I could integrate well and my Russian became completely fluent while I was there. It’s not like that any more – it’s been 10 years since I quit translating and I stopped speaking Russian well a few years after moving to Luxembourg.

The Kazakh people are amazing and I miss them all from the office. The two gals I showed you at the ski resort in Chymbulak came to our wedding in Scotland, which was extra special. Here are some of the people I love and miss…

Me in the office

Me in my office space

Graeme, Lyakka and Dinara

Graeme, an Aussie partner and a guy I spent a lot of time with, along with two tax auditors, Lyazzat and Dinara


My good friend Yerzhan.


Reece was my immediate boss, one of the tax partners, from the eastern seaboard of the USA if I remember correctly. He was a fine piano player and a top bloke.


Lena was Reece’s secretary and she and I shared an office. She was an utter darling and I owe so much of my Russian fluency to her. She was a bit of a chatterbox! Standing on the right with Graeme is Belinda, another Aussie. She came a bit after me and we got on great.


Nick was yet another Aussie. This is us at a Burns supper of all things. I’m forever grateful to him for his gift of Neil Young’s Silver and Gold and Mark Knopfler’s Sailing to Philadelphia, still two of my favourites.

We played Risk A LOT. This is us playing at Mike’s place (far left). These are some of my happiest memories. ‘Fortune favours the brave!’

This is me and Dilya the night before I left. She was such a good friend.

Okay, so a horrible photo of me, but I have to include it because I loved Zoya so much. I talked to her a lot and she helped me through a lot of things. I really miss her.

Alyona was Anzhelika’s bestie and I loved her a lot. She was often at the Risk table and the laughs we used to have were treasure. This is on my last night in Almaty.

It’s been a real journey going through these photos and putting them into a timeline. If you’ve read along, I thank you. I was inspired to do it after reading a post by @elly-fly.

I left Kazakhstan for the last time in May 2001 and moved to a small village in Luxembourg where I spent the next 7 years. That’s a story for another time!

Weekly Charts, featuring Lou Reed

I used to post my weekly artist charts on when that was a thing and it was kinda fun. I thought I’d start doing it on my Steemit blog and see if we can get some others doing something similar as a way of finding new music.

I’ve been on since 2007 and scrobbling pretty much everything I listen to ever since. I love having data like that to hand and seeing my listening trends. It’s a cool platform for discovering new music too, by searching through users who listen to the same stuff and finding out what else they listen to.

So, here are my top 5 artists for this week.

  1. Lou Reed
  2. David Grisman
  3. Pierre Bensusan
  4. Van Morrison
  5. Courtney Barnett

I’ve been a fan of Lou Reed’s going back to about 1986 when I got my first CD player. The first CD I ever bought was New York and I played that album to death. From there I went back the way, getting into the Velvet Underground and absolutely loved it. I’m not sure why it took me so long to find this music, but better late than never. I also really enjoyed Magic and Loss and I’ve enjoyed playing it at work this week.

I don’t know David Grisman’s music all that well. I put on a Tony Rice album at work on Spotify and it used the autoplay thing when the album finished, so a bunch of songs of Dawg’s must’ve been on the algorithm. I’ve seen videos of him interviewed and playing and I know that he’s a phenomenal musician. I really ought to listen to him more often.

Ah, Pierre Bensusan. His music has got me through some really tough times. When my mum was in hospice care, I listened to Altiplanos and Intuite A LOT. The compositions Hymn 11 and The Alchemist are astoundingly beautiful. Hymn 11 was composed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in the USA and it’s haunting. I’ve seen Pierre play many many times and been to workshops. He’s one of the most musical people I’ve ever met.

I’ve never been much of a fan of Van Morrison’s, but after I played a show this week I got talking to one of the front-of-house staff at the venue about music and she said I really ought to listen to Astral Weeks and Moondance, so I did. They didn’t jump out at me, but I was at work so only really half listening. I should give them another go.

The same girl talked about Courtney Barnett. I had listened to her before, particularly her album with Kurt Vile, so I put that on at work and enjoyed it.

So, that was my week. If you’d like to follow me on, hit me up and we’ll share some music.

My profile at

Happy listening!

Originally posted on Steemit / Hive