Snow Isn’t Fun Anymore

Christmas in Liverpool:

Old sleeping habits – Means staying up way past midnight; sleeping for more than 8 hours; sleeping in and afternoon naps. Bliss. However, I remember a journal a health economics journal which said that over-sleep was worse than sleep-deprivation for life expectancy.

Revision for an accountancy exam in two weeks. Actually, most of the course is self-study, so technically revision has not started yet. The recommended study guide is spread over three days, but assumes that you work for 10 hours a day.

Wii Mario Kart – This is the 4th iteration of Mario Kart that I have played (SNES, Gameboy Advance, Gamecube and Wii). A motion-sensing steering wheel is now the method of control. It takes time to learn how to use it after years of using a standard controller. Funnily enough when I first played Mario Kart on the SNES, I tried to tilt the controller in order to control the kart. (I wasn’t a smart 9 year old). Now technology has caught up with my childish intuition.

More time has been spent on Mario Kart than revision.

old and new

Snow isn’t fun anymore – Returning to Liverpool means I don’t have to use public transport and get to drive everywhere. However, it has been ridiculously cold and the roads have been frozen. Not being able to stop while going at 5mph is terrifying. Driving through snow for 20 miles is horrible. You trudge at 20mph without and sudden movements. You’re not sure if you or the car behind you can stop.

Snow isn’t fun anymore, but snowmen still are:snowmen

Liverpool Christmas

The whole Monday afternoon got wiped out getting home to Liverpool. All due to some small errors:

  • Not leaving enough time to go to the post office and then finding a queue of ten people with only three staff working. This gives a ratio of 3.3. My personal rule is, if the ratio is more than 2 then it is not worth waiting. This rule does not apply at theme parks.
  • I got to New Cross station and found late and cancelled trains. I really should have checked the National Rail website before I set off, but I had got used to the trains being very reliable. However, the combination of a new timetable and icy conditions meant that New Cross station had been like this all week. Ironically, the new timetable increased the frequency of trains.
  • And I should have got a taxi back home. The train was slow and the walk home was covered in ice. Not easy with a suitcase.

Actually, writing about the journey home is an excuse for me to publish a photo which I took today:


While admiring the view, I asked the question: who got my work Secret Santa gift?

betting slip 

A bet for Liverpool to win the FA Cup AND for England to win the World Cup. I should be £125 richer at the end of July. As a clue, the accompanying card reads: “Miracles do happen at Christmas”.

Toronto / London Comparison

It’s been two weeks since I left Toronto. Already I am moving towards the next target in my life, which is to pass the accountancy exams in a week’s time. Revision has been tough. There’s a constant feeling of inadequacy at the sheer volume of syllabus that is unknown. I’m going through past paper questions with a stopwatch but the stress is getting the better of me. Morale is low.

I’ve been reading a book called “Killing Rommel” by Steven Pressfield. It’s a WWII fiction about the exploits of a crack British unit. There’s a line which says that the most important factor in winning or losing a war is morale. Yes, I am comparing accountancy exams to armed combat. I’m bloody hacked off and I feel like waving the white flag.

So I’m impelled to take a break, regroup and finish writing this long overdue blog post.

All great cities are situated near some natural water feature. Beijing goes against this by being in the middle of a desert, but is still a great city. London has the River Thames and Toronto has Lake Ontario. Both are equally polluted. So the only way to judge which is better is to time how long you would survive a swim. In the River Thames you would be instantly killed by the River Boat. I’d take my chances against the radiation emanating from the nuclear power plant on the shore of Lake Ontario.

London 0 – Toronto 1

2009_08_02 Canada 81

Number of Chinese People
For some reason, vast numbers of Chinese have made Toronto their home. The Chinatowns of both cities are pretty dire. However, Toronto wins because they sell cheaper bubble (tapioca) tea. 

London 0 – Toronto 1 – Liverpool 1 (because we have a better Chinatown with a much bigger arch)

Bubble (tapioca) tea

Toronto’s roads are designed in an idiot-proof grid system. London’s roads require a Tom Tom to navigate, or a well trained black taxi driver. All Londoners moan about the tube, but the network is so extensive that two different shades of blue are needed for the map. Toronto has three lines and is crap.

London 1 – Toronto 1 – Liverpool -1 (I’ve just remembered how bad Merseyrail is)


Seriously? London hands down.

London 2 – Toronto 1 – Liverpool 0 (European Capital of Culture 2008 remember)

Global Warming Prospects
How would each city fare if the crackpot prophecies came true and the ice caps started to melt?

  • Liverpool – floods
  • Toronto – Also floods, and you will be attacked by radioactive moose
  • London – Floods, unless you keep working in the office on the 17th floor while civilisation collapses around you. At least there won’t be a cooling problem on the Underground
  • Beijing – is safe! Those ancient Chinese City planners were actually geniuses.

Final score

London 1 – Toronto 0 – Liverpool -1

And a million Scousers demand a recount.