Jamie Balfour'sPersonal blog
At 30 years old, I'm hardly a young driver, but I have at last passed my driving test.
I first started to learn in 2013 when I was 21 but unfortunately had to stop due to issues with my instructor. My next instructor, Miranda, was frienfly, supportive and very calm which really helped me. I took on Miranda after one and a half years of not driving. I then sat my first test in late 2015, but it wasn't a particularly great result and I knew I'd failed. However, my second test, which I sat in January of 2016 was much better. I got no minors and a single major which my instructor said was something that I'd never do but could see it was down to stress. I left driving for a while.
Fast forward to 2019 when I decided to pick up driving as I had a little more time and money. I went for three lessons with an instructor but decided the best way to go was to save money and practice with my mum. I started that in late 2019. Unfortunately, COVID came along and I also needed to now redo my theory test but it was delayed and delayed by months at a time. I eventually got my theory rebooked for December 2020 and passed again. Next was the driving test, which I ended up booking for May 2021. Unfortunately, COVID affected this too, with my test being postponed to mid-July - a time which actually was very unsuitable for me. I then got it rebooked for September of 2021, only to get COVID myself. It was rebooked for November, again unsuitable for me as I was still struggling with COVID.
I managed to get it booked for February 2022 and felt really ready this time. Unfortunately, I failed. And it was so silly. Two minors and one major. And the major was for the emergency stop and if I'd been a half-second quicker I'd have passed. This was unfortunate and it really upset me because it was a silly mistake and one that I could have fixed easily.
Now, on the 17th of May 2022, still feeling ready to go for it, I passed. I got four minors, all of which were very minor and minors I was very aware of after but I felt like I deserved to pass anyway. I'm very happy that I've managed it at last!
The last year was quite rough for me towards the end. After getting COVID in August, all I felt throughout the end of the year was regret for not taking the job I was offered during the summer (which was better paid, remote and was a lead developer job).
Teaching was great fun last year but unfortunately, it hasn't been an easy ride this year due to me having had COVID. The decision may end up being for me to leave the profession (maybe not permanently, as I may return when I'm older) which is one of the hardest decisions I have to make. But it's made easier due to the current climate but it is also difficult since I've really enjoyed being a teacher and because I also need to think about my finances.
I'm now thinking about jobs in the industry again, this time with a much more mature set of skills, a much brighter outlook on the industry (mainly because I've done teaching now, as it was difficult back in 2016/17 because I was too passionate about wanting to be a teacher that I couldn't just enjoy what I was doing) and with a more specific requirement from the job.
I just feel that right now I'm crying out for something that involves using my coding skills.
The collapse of People's Energy is very sad ðŸ˜¢for me personally because I was there right back at the start interviewing for a job over a cup of tea with David when the company was only just starting up and was one of the first to apply for a job at the company.
The job was for a website developer but also as a kind of senior role in charge of others which would have been really good fun. I do not remember how I came across the job, but it was all very top secret at the time. I remember bits and bobs of that day, for example, visiting Falko's restaurant in Gullane for the very first time and also that they mentioned that the company wasn't approved at that point by Ofgem (which I have looked up and actually it was the case).
The job, which I applied for after leaving MagLabs in July 2017, was for someone to develop a web-based interface to manage their systems.
I ended up having to say no to the job if I remember correctly, simply because I had already accepted another job. It brings back memories and who knows what I would be doing now if I had gone with them.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 weâ€™re taught that itâ€™s OK to enslave and eat some of them, without a second thought as to who they are as individuals.