Brexit: I only care because I really don’t anymore

I thought I’d run out of things to say about Brexit, until this week when my personal tax statement fell through the door and – of course – the first thing I looked for was the contribution I’d made to the EU.

Straight away, I noticed the EU was at the bottom the list of where my hard-earned had gone and that, in total, I’d contributed less than £100.

And all of a sudden, I had a new opinion.

Not a rare event more generally, but with Brexit – after three years of exclusively feeling despair and hoping that I’d somehow develop a long lost Irish relative out of nowhere – something new developed.

I just don’t care enough about something which costs us so little and, really, is only concerned with things that I don’t really understand, don’t need to really understand and ultimately don’t really want to understand.

A good many people feel that the political part of the EU was seeping into areas it shouldn’t have, and that’s fine and a perfectly valid concern – but in the most part, terrible reporting of what the EU, and Westminster politicians being happy to place blame elsewhere, was actually responsible for was driving some of that.

And even if those concerns exist, from where I’m sat there are easier, simpler things we could be doing that would make a much bigger positive difference to our lives than occupying ourselves with a big, poorly understood and all-consuming activity like Brexit.

Like many things, it just feels like a complex ‘thing’ has been reduced to simple solutions for the sake of a parliamentary system that encourages diametric opposition at all costs and broadly newspapers which don’t have time to deal with complexity.

We could be solving social care. We could be finding ways of creating new homes that meet people’s needs and don’t piss off everyone in the local community along the way. We could be incentivising better pay through tax breaks which wean people and companies off of needing state support, rather than paying welfare.

We could just be enjoying having high unemployment, a relatively strong economy and trying to work out why we’re not getting more productive anymore.

It seems to me we’ve got our priorities wrong. But we’re where we are. And given we are where we are, and that I don’t really think we should spend any more time on this… Maybe no-deal would be best?

Whatever happens, we need to find a way of getting some brain space back and turning our national conversation onto something else that will actually impact on our lives. And maybe we will.

After all, when Brexit is done with who is there left to blame?

Oh, someone else will sort it

Coffee shops are fascinating from every perspective. I think so anyway.

Firstly, I reckon the shop someone plumps for when faced with a choice between all of the ‘chains’ and an independent (or more) says as much about their personality as their star sign of MBTI ever could.

But inside them, too, there are all aspects of human nature on show – at their best, and their worst.

There’s the groups competing to consume the fewest calories when out for lunch, the one who doesn’t care what anyone, and the mother (or father) who just – just – wants a few moments peace.

Perhaps I’ve spent too much time in coffee shops – I did work in and run them for 4 years, so I’ve kind of got an excuse – or maybe I’m just paying attention to the wrong things.

There’s one aspect above all that I think most closely resembles human nature – and that’s when someone moves dirty items from one table (unoccupied, but dirty) to another (unoccupied, but otherwise clean).

Walking to the kitchen area, or finding someone to hand the tray to would probably take a very tiny amount more energy and effort. But still, almost universally, we chose not to do this – and instead simply shift the problem elsewhere. Someone else will deal with it now.

There’s been effort put in, and the short term goal has been achieved – they get the table they wanted – but overall it’s all been a waste of time.

Because there’s still the same number of dirty tables.

And that’s a little bit like life, and the choices each day. We’re all to often, by nature perhaps I think, focused on the short term aims – not the long term goal.

One day, we might want the table they’ve just dirtied.

What would I even stockpile?

Over the weekend, the snow – and the fact that it turned to ice, trapping me (yes, I’m exaggerating) at the top of a hill – got me thinking about stockpiling.

Leaving aside that stockpiling and panic buying seems fashionable, the fact that I found myself without easy access to a supermarket – and thus with only a limited choice of food – made me consider whether I was sufficiently well prepared. No deal Brexit or, indeed, global warming.

But then I got thinking. And frankly, it’s all just too many questions. What would I stockpile? What do I actually value and need access to? Is the point of stockpiling to survive (why bother) or to ensure you can access the things you like?

All in all, it meant I failed – because I didn’t do anything. I’m stockpiling inaction, and relying on the UK’s existing stocks of “oh, it’ll probably be OK”.

Helpfully, someone else has done the worrying for us. There’s a list of what to buy on, of course, the FT.

Books of 2018

Each year I set myself a goal of reading 12 or so books, and then at the end of the year I try to come here and review them. It’s a silly idea, because I can barely remember what I thought at the time when it comes to doing the review.

So this year I’ve made a change. Instead of just a number of books, I’ve picked fourteen actual books and as I finish them I’m going to come here and update this post. My aim is 12, but I chose 14 because I’m bound to want to abandon at least one if not two.

This does mean, of course, that you’ll all see me start off with good ambitions and slowly stall before, in about November, realising I’m well behind and going on a reading spree.

Books marked with a 🎧 are audiobooks.


  • Shop Girl – Mary Portas 🎧
    I found myself disappointed that I’d come to the end of this, which is a rarity because even with books I’ve enjoyed reading by the final few chapters it’s starting to feel a bit predictable. Onto the next challenge and all that. This book, however, concluding as it does while Mary is still progressing through the early stages of her career and continuing to recover from the loss of her Mother and Father, was a disappointment to reach the end of. Autobiographies are always a win with me, and given I’ve been enjoying Mary’s work on the telly for many years I’m not surprised that I enjoyed it – particularly as she read it herself. My surprise with the fact that stores used to have prop departments and employ oh-so-many people to dress windows was only replaced with sadness when I got thinking about how much we lose with our mass-produced world. I’m hoping there’s a second book on the way.
    📅 9 February 2018 | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Too Much Information… or Can Everyone Just Shut Up for a Moment, Some of Us Are Trying to Think – Dave Gorman
    I found Dave Gorman last year in about November (I was aware of him, but I’d never really paid attention), and the next few weeks were filled with just a little bit too much Dave Gorman. This book filled a gap that’ll keep me going until his show in November. A top read if you like stats, facts, logic and being taken on a journey which feels coincidental but which is entirely intentional.
    📅 3 April 2018 | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • And Furthermore – Judi Dench 🎧
    Fairly entertaining, but not exactly revealing the woman behind the actor, this book is basically a look back into how things “used to be”. A nicer time, perhaps? Certainly a lot more density of talent and a much more considered theatre. Who can’t love Dame Judi, anyway?
    📅 26 February 2018 | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve also read some extras which I hadn’t planned…

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises – Fredrik Backman 🎧
A nice bit of escapism, mixing an easy-to-guess story with harder-to-guess twists in a way which pleases me – just because I’m really impressed when things pan out to have been planned all along. Which, of course, they were – because it was bloody planned, pitched, commissioned and written. Still, one to keep you company on a long car ride.
📅 28 March 2018 | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

WTF: What have we done? Why did it happen? How do we take back control? – Robert Peston
WTF. Quite.
📅 14 March 2018 | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

In progress

Still to come


You’ll never guess what Monarch’s planes are doing now

… Broadly speaking, they’re flying about.

This blog post is mainly appearing here because I found myself wondering about the fate of Monarch’s 35-strong fleet of planes after it fell into administration last October.

I’d seen the “Monarch Cook” partially reliveried planes popping up on Instagram, but I was wondering… where did all the others go?

It’s the kind of thing I expected to see on the Internet – but despite much searching, I couldn’t find a compiled list. So, I made one.

Hello if you’ve landed here looking for just such a list. I like you. Stick around.

But on to why we’re here…

I’m very pleased to say that the vast majority of the fleet (according to’s records) are up and about again, doing what they do best this summer.

Monarch RegFate
G-ZBASEasyJet Europe
G-ZBABFrontier Airlines
G-ZBAVNordwind Airlines
G-OZBYAzul Linhas Aéreas
G-ZBAHSmartLynx Estonia
G-OZBWAvion Express
G-ZBARThomas Cook Balearics
G-OZBLSmall Planet Airlines
G-MARAOlympus Airlines
G-OJEGOlympus Airlines
G-OZBMRed Wings Airlines
G-OZBNJust Us Air
G-OZBZSmall Planet Airlines
G-OZBERed Wings Airlines
G-OZBFRed Wings Airlines
G-OZBRLanmei Airlines
G-OZBG(Ural Airlines)
G-OZBHUral Airlines
G-OZBIAvion Express
G-ZBAIAegean Airlines
G-ZBAJAegean Airlines
G-ZBAGRed Wings
G-ZPAKNordwind Airlines
G-ZBALLanmei Airlines
G-OZBTAegean Airlines
G-OZBUNordwind Airlines
G-ZBADThomas Cook UK
G-ZBAEThomas Cook UK
G-ZBAMThomas Cook UK
G-ZBADThomas Cook UK