Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Project Office 2019 finished

I can say that Project Office 2019 is finished.

The project included emptying our office/library/largest bedroom where we do not sleep. This took over three months.
The aim of the project was to take out disgusting cat-friendly flooring and to put in people friendly floorboards. At the same time we were to repaint the entire room. For us this meant that we paint it exactly the same way it was before, as the project is not a redecoration, just a renovation.

The floor went in over one day, the painting took two days including drying time.
It then looked like this:
Left corner
Right corner

Then it took another day to erect the seven book-cases and the desk. Another week or two was used in order to focus on the correct replacement of all books and stuff (this is after having gone through everything in the previous months, culling a lot of not-any-more interesting books and stuff.

Curtains, floor-strips, a slight adjustment in one floor board and since the middle of April, we have been standing in the office being astonished that we did it. The total cost has been calculated and was equivalent of a month and a half of food. This was more than expected as we unexpectedly also had to change the under-flooring. It adds nothing to the value of the apartment as we rent and are responsible for floors and most things internally.

Since then the office has been in full use. The plan from over five years ago, had been completed and we could not say exactly how it happened. Many, many little steps over long time. We pat ourselves on the shoulder for a job well done and closed the window for annual house repairs. 2019 was done!

But I could not honestly say that the project was finished. There were still paint pots and tools in the kitchen, a left over book-case in the living room and the last stack of books on their way out of the house to the charity shop. It has been a ridiculously slow process to move each item into their right place.

However, now, now, now - it is done, almost The paint pots and tools are cleaned and stacked away neatly. The temporary book-case we have used for five years, is waiting for its new owner. There is a bag with books by the door for today's daily walk past the charity shop. Then it all will be done.


Tuesday, 23 April 2019


When evening has come, I return and go into my study. At the door I take off my clothes of the day, covered in mud and mire, and I put on my regal and courtly garments; and decently reclothed I enter the ancient courts of ancient men, where, received by them lovingly, I feed on the food that alone is mine and that I was born for. There I am not ashamed to speak with them and to ask them the reasons for their actions: and they in their humanity reply to me. And for the space of four hours I feel no boredom, I forget every pain, I do not fear poverty, death does not frighten me. I deliver myself entirely to them.
Printed in Frank Furedi Power of Reading (2015), p 52 note 72, referring to dead web link of the Catholic university of America from 2014.

When evening comes, I return home and enter my study; on the threshold I take off my workday clothes, covered in mud and dirt, and take on the garments of court and palace. Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where, solicitously received by them, I nourish myself on that food that alone is mine and for which I was born; where I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of their human kindness, answer me. And for four hours at a time I feel no boredom, I forget my troubles, I do not dread poverty, and I am not terrified of death. I absorb myself into them completely.
Machiavelli and his friends: Their personal correspondence, Northern Illinois University Press, 1996, p 262-65- Translation: J.B. Atkinson, David Sices

On the coming of evening, I return to my house and enter my study; and at the door I take off the day's clothing, covered with mud and dust, and put on garments regal and courtly; and reclothed appropriately, I enter the ancient cours of ancient men, where received by them with affection, I feed on that food which only is mine and which I was born for, where I am not ashamed to speak with tehm and to ask them the reason for their actions; and they in their kindness answer me; and for four hours of time I do not feel boredom, I forget every trouble, I do not dread poverty, I am not frightened of death; entirely I give myself over to them.
Quoted from University of Washington (no source given)

Als het avond wordt, ga ik naar huis terug en begeef me naar mijn sudeervertek. Zodra ik over de drempel ben, ontdoe ik me van mijn vuile en beslijkte plunje van alledag en trek een koninklijk en ceremonieel gewaad aan. Wanneer ik me aldus passend gekleed heb, treed ik de hoven van de grote mannen uit de Oudheid binnen. Ze ontvangen me hartelijk en ik voed me daar met de spijs die de enige is waarvoor ik geboren ben. Ik schaam me dan niet hen aan te spreken en hen naar de drijfveren van hun daden te vragen. Zij antwoorden mij welwillend, en vier uur lang voel ik geen ellende, vergeet ik alles wat mij terneerdrukt, vrees ik geen armoede, jaagt zelfs de dood me geen angst aan. I word één van hen.
Tijdschrift De Tweede Ronde 7/1986. Transl to Dutch: Frans Denissen

This is from a letter dated 10 December 1513, from Niccolo Machiavelli to Francesco Vettori.
It is one of the world most spread private letter and available in numerous translations.
All slightly different. Which one do you prefer? Do you have another version?
I prefer "courtly garments" but "unashamed", "forget my troubles" and the Dutch ending where he becomes one of them.
I now wear an old gentleman's pyjama jacket with silk collar when sitting reading in the sofa.

Friday, 12 April 2019


I live in a state of constant flux and it is tiring.

My focus is on short term projects, this day and possibly this weekend.
No longer and not often more than right now.
Baking is a relief.
Tomato bread. brown bread and a huge frangipane (Bakewell) tart.
I try keep the long term projects in vision, the five-year dreams and the twenty year ambitions. 
Long term ambition is to not eat too much cake.
All our medium-term projects are all up in the air. This summer, the rest of the year, the next one to three years are undecided.
The plan to leave work, study and live happily ever after, was realised last year but it has turned out to not sit very well with me.

I like having a lot to do and although I can keep myself busy, I miss my job.
So I am looking for a job. A good one and a long-term one.
My job search is laborious and although not successful, not without its accomplishments.

There has been a number of high-level interviews in the past few months.

Each job interview invitation triggers a new medium-term project for our lives.
A lot of strategic questions have to be discussed.
How we could live, where we could live, which country or countries we could live in, if the salary would be worth it, and what other consequences are.

It has been tiring and straining. Dedication costs energy.

After each job interview, either the project (aka the job) peters out or is declined - from their side or mine. So far, only one interview has presented a job similar to the advertised position. In that process I was vastly out-merited by another candidate. Disappointing but good for the company to be able to hire a real gem. Simultaneously, somewhat a relief as the personal life-style consequences were high, possibly too high. Some career moves are just not worth doing even if they are possible and have benefits. It is all chess; it is all a cost-benefit analysis.

All these medium-term projects proposals, have had a few constant requirements. Very few as our lives are quite flexible.
Location can be any EU/EEA/candidate country/CH except the UK.
The man only moves from his country if he wants to.
I only move from my mother's country to the man's country, otherwise the company must 'expat' me.
The new housing situation is paid by me.
The job is at a company with professionalism and sound work-place values.
and most importantly, a company needing my marginal work specialisation.
Moving is easy as I do not own much beyond books and clothes.

I am going at it again this afternoon with another interview.
Shoes are polished. Suit ironed. Meditation done. Peace, harmony and personal drive.

Monday, 1 April 2019


Spring is here, 
Tom Lehrer

And 1 April came as a joke; it came fast, unexpected and changed my world.

Financial independence number is 39,77: A remarkable number for a person without a job.
It is a calculation of an accumulation of all assets (except pension rights and the value of my small apartment as I will always have to live somewhere), divided by my annual budget. The number indicates the number of years my assets will last me if price increases are covered by interests and dividends (which nobody will be able to know anything about). I do not expect to have any assets left when my life comes to an end.

April is the end of March when we renovated our office (or second bedroom), established seven bookcases and filled them up.
We have entered modern style and fine interior. Although nothing has changed, this being a restoration rather than a re-decoration, everything has changed and is now of a quality to last us 15 years (the previous hurried works did not last the thirteen years that has passed since they were done).
We have patted ourselves on the back several times and spent a lot of time just standing in the office looking around amazed at what we managed to do. The annual project renovation is closed.

March has been a month with several different futures. Each job interview generated preparations with studies into a new technology, a different company and assessment of a new life style, often in a different country. After three such projects with two disappointments and one flat out refusal on my behalf (there are life styles no amount of money can compensate), the decision was not to make any more plans. The next project was not planned and also cost nothing - and will come of nothing. Again, the life offered by the job is not worth the price we would have to pay for it.

Life goes on, new projects, new days. All is well. The baking and the running are advancing.
The baking included a honey sponge cake (it looks pretty but didn't rise properly) and Yorkshire puddings which were simple, filling and absolutely lovely.

Spring is here and there are pigeons in the park.