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Personal Blog

Not that I like reminding myself, but these are the last few hours of my twenties. In less than 10 hours (I was born at 10.31) I will turn 30 years old. I'm not sure I feel like I am thirty, I still feel a lot younger than that...

I did a lot during my twenties - I got through and survived cancer, I got my first class degree, I got my first work experience, I got my PGDE, I got Charlie and I bought my own house (which I love). My twenties also had some bad things in them like losing Petro, Gismo, Henry and Sweep. I met some really great people like my pal Jonathan, Merlin, Mark etc at uni, and Beth and Campbell during my PGDE. I also got to meet some people with who I've become friends with (to name a few Grant, Daragh, Moira, Brian, Mel, Louise, Michael, Grant and Ann).

In terms of looking back at my twenties, I'm going to create an article as I did with the last decade. It might coincide with that one slightly since they are almost parallel.

Posted by J B Balfour in Life

I've kept it very quiet - almost as well as Apple keep their products quiet, but I thought I'd let you all know, I move into my own home tomorrow. It's taken a while and I may be 29 years old, but I'm finally here.

I put my deposit down in January of last year. I bought the house last August and I was just waiting for the finishing touches to be applied. And although I do not really believe in fate, it's a bit of a coincidence about the house that the exact same style of house from Taylor Wimpey just along the road in Musselburgh, the type of the house there is called the Balfour. Things have worked out well as being a teacher I got 5% off the price of my house which means I've been left with a bit more money than I originally planned for which has allowed me to save a bit more.

As many know I actually had a mortgage and everything in place when I was 26 and got within three weeks of buying a house in 2017 but you know what, the decision to not do that (despite being half the price of my new house) was a good decision because I've got a much nicer and better-built house as a result. Some photos are provided below but more will come soon. 

Now I've just got a bunch of cabling (CAT6, USB and HDMI cabling) as well as carpeting to do to be ready to move in. 

I already have a feeling of missing my childhood home, but I'm only 5 miles away from it. 

And the next day...(as many of you know I do not really do selfie shots but this was a big moment!)

A thief caught entering my house!

Posted by J B Balfour in Life

Celebrations may have already started in New Zealand for 2021 but we've still got 2020 for 12 more hours so let's look back. 2020 has no doubt been one of the toughest years for most of the people on the planet. For me personally, it started with my uncle Mel passing away in March. This was an absolute shock to us all and he is missed by us all very much.

Then COVID came along and brought a whole new meaning to change. The whole lockdown back in March until May meant a huge number of changes for us all.

But of course, there were positives in my life. 

For a start, I became a fully qualified teacher in July and got a job at a school I absolutely love working at, and it's a school I wasn't sure about until the day of the interview when I learned so much about the place and why it's the best school I've worked at. 

Further to that, I put down a reservation on a house (again, third time lucky). This time it is definitely going through. And it also was a stroke of luck that I get 5% off the house price for being a keyworker (a teacher). On top of that, I got the First Home Fund just in time (my house is complete literally 2 weeks before the fund gets cut) and I got a much larger, three-bedroom house.

Further to this, I have been able to save both my deposit and get myself a new iPad Pro, MacBook Pro and iPhone 12. I am definitely enjoying having a decent amount of money.

The company also grew considerably this year, obtaining three new big clients. We also had two applicants for a job post that we put out (neither were suitable) and we aim to do the same with this next year. 

To top of the year, I passed my theory driving test again (it lapsed so I needed to redo it).

It's a scary thought, but 2021 is the year I turn 30! 2020 wasn't all bad for me personally, but I still live in hope that 2021 is a better year. 

Posted by J B Balfour in Life

2020 has been a strange and different year and for many of us, Christmas will be different this year compared with normal. Keep safe and have a Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Posted by J B Balfour in Life
christmas

My seven-year-old MacBook Pro finally decided enough was enough and has begun shutting down when it feels like it. Whilst I do intend to try and get it repaired, I'm also saving for my own house. 

As a result of my penny-pinching, I have converted temporarily to using a Windows-based system. Yuck! Everything about the whole experience of Windows feels sluggish and very poorly put together but as it's my only alternative, I'm stuck with it. For everyday things like the command line, Windows is slowly getting better, but it's not there yet and the Windows Terminal app is great but not perfected. I miss my Dock from macOS and can't stand the alternatives that are available for Windows.  

Generally, Atom and Eclipse are fine, but there are just things that make me unhappy about the feel of Windows. And in comparison to my MacBook Pro I'm so used to, this HP ProBook 640 G4 is like something from the past. 

I am considering a new MacBook Pro at the moment, but I'm unsure which one would best suit me since I liked the size of my 15" MacBook Pro compared with my previous 13" model but then I have to add in dedicated graphics again which is something I never used and simply was there when I needed to warm myself up with a blast from the fans trying to cool it.

But Jamie, what about Linux, you might ask. Well, Linux is fine if you've got hardware that supports it, unfortunately, this machine I'm using is the most comfortable typing experience after my MacBook Pro that I own and I'm afraid this machine is used for stuff for Jambour Digital and is therefore not mine to run Linux on. My Razer Blade Stealth on the other hand has a very comfortable typing experience but cannot run Linux. Therefore I'm stuck with this pile of junk that is Windows for a short while until I decide what I'm going to do with my MacBook Pro (which was working beautifully a few weeks ago).

Good quality products like the MacBook Pro I owned tend to break just like that. They don't tend to show degradation over time and just go when the time is right. This was the case with my Corsair HX850 power supply unit in my desktop PC, it had a 10-year guarantee and it lasted 10 years and 3 days before just popping and giving up. It does however show that the build quality of my seven-year-old MacBook Pro (late 2013) is not as good as my older (late 2011) MacBook Pro that I sold to my brother which is running beautifully after replacing a SATA cable inside it.

Posted by J B Balfour in Life
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It was my birthday today and I turn 29 at 10.30 today. I have some big news that I'm keeping quiet for a little longer and then I will unveil it all. Stay tuned if you want to find out more.

Posted by J B Balfour in Life

I'm finally about to enter the most important part of my career - I'm about to become an NQT!

Yes, I found out (officially) today that I'm going to become a teacher in one of the schools I've wanted to work in and I'm over the moon with happiness! 

As many of my website followers will know, teaching has been the career path I've always wanted to go down for at least a part of my life. I'm looking forward to both the challenges it presents as well as the doors it's going to open for me!

Posted by J B Balfour in Life
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As a vegetarian and someone who cares for animals, I always concerned about the alarming amount of animals that are consumed by humans every day. I'm not a crazy in-your-face vegetarian where I ask everyone in the world to stop now and become vegetarian, but I do have morals that relate to the treatment of animals. 

A recent protest carried out over in Australia, which although I do not condone, I believe agree partially with what I think. The protest involved them barbecuing a dog on the street and asking "if you wouldn't eat a dog, why eat a lamb?" which in my personal opinion is the reason to switch to vegetarian. I asked myself this question when I ate meat, why do some rabbits deserve to be eaten whilst others do not and get kept as pets? (I had at the time and still have pet rabbits). 

Anyway, there was one thing that was said that stuck out from all the rest:

As humans, we instinctively feel compassion and empathy for animals, but we’re taught that it’s OK to enslave and eat some of them, without a second thought as to who they are as individuals.

Posted by J B Balfour in Life
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I hope all my readers have a Merry Christmas for 2018! Best wishes to all!

Posted by J B Balfour in Life
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2018

Some of my followers will know that the last two weeks have been my first two weeks as a teacher and I've got to say, I've had the best two weeks of my life!

I've never been in a job where every day I come in excited about what I'm going to do in the day and feeling like I want to go back in each and every day. I've also never had a job where my lunch break doesn't feel too short because I like going back to work afterward.

Nothing has ever excited me as much as being a teacher in secondary level education!

Posted by J B Balfour in Life
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