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The Denormalisation Fallacy, and why it’s a waste of our time

Bloody hell, this is a bit long for you, Raith…

Yeah, I’m chewing over doing some more long format stuff – but as I have a lack of focus on these matters, and these matters being massively complex and nuanced, I have no idea how it’ll turn out.


But fuck it, if you don’t try, etc etc.

The Denormalisation fallacy, and why it’s a waste of all our time.


Something that has seen a rise in public health policy lately is the concept of denormalisation.

Denormalistaion doesn’t actually have a specific definition in public health/public policy terms (it actually originates to management of data in relational databases to improve read performance at the expense of write performance, effectively) as it is, in that context, a made up word, but the meaning is quite clear – to make something appear to not be normal.

To not be normal means to not be acceptable, or societally justifiable in broad terms of this context.

So lets take a slightly closer look at this.

Practical denormalisation

Denormalisation is something that typically happens – in the real world – from a grass roots level. For example, someone having sex with an animal is seen as being not normal, which is then accentuated by whatever societal rulesets are in place at the time be they religious tenets, or in more modern times, based around the rule of law, psychology, or just whatever societal norms are prevalent – these days, you could argue, it’s ‘what can you can get away with posting on social media without getting hundreds of nasty reactions’.

Although if you posted a video of you fucking your dog on Facebook, you’d get a bit more attention than just a few ‘angry reacts’ – you’d probably get arrested. That’s likely a good thing, as everyone can agree that shagging your dog is generally not a good thing to be doing, no matter how how short a skirt the dog was wearing at the time.

Sex with a dog is considered so abnormal that’s it’s seen as abhorrent – all without the input of government or religion. We just know it’s not something you should be doing.

What we see these days, however, is the attempt to *manufacture* denormalisation for far milder slights; this is far harder as generally, if society hasn’t already defacto agreed that something should be deemed wrong across the board (like animal abuse) , and the subject is something that many people already do (unlike animal abuse), then the only way to do this is to create a narrative and disseminate it publicly, and see if the public picks up on it.

The real problem is when this comes to social habits that have always been seen as normal. Drinking, smoking, and illicit drug taking (which, regardless of what anyone will tell you, has been part of human culture since agriculture was a thing). have always been considered as normal, or not far off of normal,  as having a long lay in bed on a Saturday morning; it’s just something we all do at some point and no-one really minds it, as long as it doesn’t impact on those outside of the person doing the behaviour.

These are very strongly normal practises – they are how everyone (yes, even the more well heeled of us, not just the working class) – unwind after a long week, after a hard day, after difficult personal times; this is about as normal as it gets.

You have a shitty week, you have a bottle of wine on the Friday night and you fuck Saturday off to the hangover.

The car breaks down and you need to drop a notable chunk of your income to repairing it, lest you lose your job due to not being able to make it in – you sit down and have a joint and let the cannibinoids unwind your neck and shoulders, and the THC lighten your beaten spirits.

You get a phone call that a relative has died, and as a smoker – perhaps a regular one, perhaps less so – you spark up a fag and let the nicotine rush to your brain and give you a few minutes to gather your thoughts.

These things aren’t considered normal because mass media tells or government tells us they are; they are considered normal because they’ve been normal since before mass media or even formal government was even a real thing.

So attempting to denormalise them is not only a challenge, it brings up the question of whether we *should* attempt to denormalise them, given that this concept predates attempts at social engineering – which is what this, at heart, is

How does denormalisation work?

When it comes to the how, we have various examples of governments and pan-national bodies attempting this. Probably the most obvious example is the attempt to denormalise communism – a political movement. This took the might of the entire West working in concert to make The Red Menace appear to be a thing that screams “I am unnatural. I am wrong”. This, despite it being (at the time) a fairly functional, if slightly odd to us in the west, form of government. It was not what we in the west were familiar with, but it generally did what government was meant to do, which is to keep it’s populace mostly fed, and mostly not at war with each other. Mostly. It had it’s problems just like capitalism does, but it’s not as if communism is a fundamentally broken premise at heart – although to be fair, it only seems to last as long as their citizens start to realise the value of individual wealth, but that’s a different argument for another day.

Anyway, this concept mostly worked, but lets be honest, it wasn’t the government saying that communism was bad that got people on their side – it was the nuclear missiles and games of brinkmanship that really won the day – there were real stakes at play, and the public went with it due to them not wanting to see the result of those stakes playing out, rather then because they understood why communism was a sub-optimal form of governance.

More recently, we’ve seen massive public health ordnance to denormalise smoking, which have predictably failed, because the stakes are seen as being much lower; the reaction you get when someone kicks (or fucks) a dog is one of utter disgust. The reaction you get when someone finds out you’re a smoker is ‘meh’ with possibly a request you pop out the back of their house to spark up, as they don’t like the smell.

You are, in fact, more likely to get a strange reaction if you tell someone you don’t drink. Being teetotal is not considered a bad thing by anyone who has an IQ greater than 60, but it is considered to be quite outside the norm. Not drinking is something that society deemed to be unusual as it’s outside of the common accepted experience of most of us. It’s never been denormalised, because from a societal standpoint, it was never normal. Note, not good or bad, just not normal.

So how do we currently try to denormalise, lets say, smoking and drinking. Well, we have huge public health campaigns, most of them viciously demonising, and specifically designed to divide and conquer – to set one side up as the heroes (public health, non-smokers, non-drinkers) and one side up as the villians (smokers, drinkers, tobacco companies, alcohol companies). You then play a narrative which shows that one side is out to get you, and the other wants to save you, by infringing on the rights and behaviours of the bad guys, for the Greater Good. This description is hyperbolic, but at it’s core, is how it works.

However, this fails at the most fundamental step, which is making the assumption that the public don’t know that tobacco companies have a shady past, that cigarettes are dangerous to those who use them, that regularly drinking to excess is bad for you, etc.

It’s massively patronising, and often contains outright lies; the black lungs of smokers were always dyed pigs lungs (fun fact – smokers lungs are often used for transplants because they’re perfectly good compared to those of the person requiring them, and any damage clears up pretty quick when you take the act of smoking away – there’s barely a difference in recovery rates for the transplantee); the Helena Miracle (that is, that heart attack rates drop when smoking is banned in public) was an example of statistical number stretching of legendary degrees, literally never replicated anywhere, ever – but used almost everywhere as the basis to ban smoking in public despite being laughably poor evidence, if it can even be called evidence at all.

Those who pointed out that this evidence was low quality, and that harms from second hand smoke were being massively overblown were excommunicated from the public health tobacco control field. This is not hyperbole, this literally happened on multiple occasions to people who, until they showed they were not going to toe the ‘party line’, were considered to be at the top of their field.

This is how far some factions of public health are prepared to go to ensure that their narrative to justify an attempt at ‘denormalisation’ is not upset.

Of course, what they seem to forget is that the public are, in short, not as stupid as many in government (and especially in public health) would like to think.

The Problem With Denormalistion

The main issue with this tactic is that while you can wheel out quotes about the power of stupid people in large numbers, this isn’t really a strong argument; it is, in fact, quite a poor one. The fact of the matter is that you can tell people till you’re blue in the face that smoking will kill them, but if they enjoy it, they’ll keep smoking.

You can harp on about the social costs of drinking, but as 90% of the public don’t go out on a weekend long bender and get utterly wrecked and try to fight a lamp-post, then they will ignore you because they are not the ones who are part of the problem.

You can tell a cannabis smoker that it’s been shown in mice to slow mental processes, but they’re an account manager at a mobile network and they’ve been promoted twice in the last three years – that rather goes against that little theory.

When you try to deny any benefit of something, and only play up the negatives – that is, to demonise someone’s personal choice – then people stop listening to you. You undermine your own currency amongst most, and you seriously damage your credibility among those who take the time to look into it in more detail.

So what now?

Well, all this rambling aside, what’s a more useful way to get people to elect to change their behaviour? The answer appears to be fairly self evident, but instead of denormalising ‘bad’ behaviour, a likely more useful response is to normalise more desirable behaviour.

Take smoking – there are ways to massively reduce the harm from wanting nicotine, such as snus and e-cigs (my personal way), and even chewing tobacco – basically, any form of tobacco (or nicotine containg substance) that isn’t burned is massively, hilariously less harmful than burning the stuff.

Rather than trying to ‘denormalise’ smoking, instead, encourage and attempt to normalise the less harmful forms of nicotine.

To attempt to denormalise smoking is far, far too large a task and will never happen, ever – regardless of whether any given government sets goals to have a ‘tobacco free world’ (or more recently, as reduced harm options have become available, we see this being twisted to a ‘nicotine free world’ – so that they can demonise even those who have given up smoking) the fact of the matter is people enjoy their vices; it’ll never stop entirely and to claim otherwise is either rank stupidity or wishful thinking – backed by rank stupidity.

I am not exaggerating when I say that anyone – and I mean anyone who sincerely wants to see a tobacco free world and genuinely thinks they can achieve this is utterly deluded, to the same degree that anyone who wants to see a murder free world and thinks they can achieve it would be – it’s a literal impossibility.

Such people should be ridiculed at every opportunity, because nine times out of then, they’ll be using taxpayers money to try to push for their demonstrably impossible goal.

When it comes to drinking, there is very solid evidence that moderate drinking – that is, a couple of pints here or there, rather than blasting through ten pints in three hours – is actually at worst, of no impact to health, and at best,  somewhat beneficial.
Yet again, however, we see public health attempting to demonise almost any imbibement of alcohol, with the CMO recently stating that every time she has a glass of wine, she thinks about cancer; what she is actually saying is that if you drink and don’t think about cancer, you’re doing it wrong. This is clearly an insane position to take, and one that quite rightly got her lampooned in the press because you be damned sure that when she’s at official functions supping on taxpayer funded wine, she’s not thinking that at all. It’s virtue signalling of the highest order.

The fact is that there is objectively little wrong with the odd drink here and there; the problem comes when you can’t get by without a drink, or when you must get falling-down-drunk to have considered yourself to have had a good time. And that is already considered to be socially unacceptable by the vast majority of the public. We have already denormalised problem drinkers; what needs to be done is to normalise helping problem drinkers, rather than demonising them, or sweeping the problem under the carpet.

As for cannabis, the only problem with it is that it’s supply is entirely illegal; legalise it for recreational use, and suddently it’s no longer viewed as dangerous and rebellious. Almost every ‘evidence’ of harm from cannabis is correlative, not causative, it’s important to note; links to mental health strongly side on it being self medication, not the cause of the mental health problems. There is a similar links between schizophrenia and smoking, but no-one seriously claims that smoking cigarettes makes you schizophrenic.
Make it better quality and price comparable with street cannabis (not difficult, frankly – cannabis isn’t something that requires massive reprocessing, unless your cutting it with bulking agents, as illegal producers do…) and surprisingly enough, people might not be so tempted to try whatever else they get offered by their local dealer because they won’t be interacting with their local dealer.

Nor will they be offered freebies, or loans when they’re short, then end up getting beaten up in a back alley for not paying up, as dealers aren’t exactly known for being sensitive when handling debts.

If you normalise cannabis (or at least, stop trying to denormalise it) then it just becomes part of life. Hell, maybe encourage harm reduced ways of getting it (dry burners, etc) if you really feel the need to ‘do the right thing’ but denormalising it has clearly not worked, along with the rest of the war on drugs.


Long story short

You don’t denormalise existing behaviour, that’s just something that doesn’t really work at a societal level as that’s something society, not government, does – but you can encourage the normalisation what you consider to be better behaviour, if you do it right and without stepping on everyone’s toes.

And chances are, society already agrees with you, so the best thing you can do is just get the fuck out of the way and let us get on with it by ourselves.

Quick update

I’ve updated my new hosts switchgear, and currently updating their other internal hardware. All going (he says, tempting fate) quite smoothly.

I’ve been getting seriously pissed off with various parts of public health and the press lately. I have thoughts on this, and may well expand on them in a  long form on here at some point soon to get ’em off my chest, but I realise that a stream of consciousness rant is less useful than a structured critique; we’ll see what I can come up with.

Otherwise, I’m fucking skint.

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, eh kids?

Oh yeah, get fucked.

Progress of sorts

Well, I now have  a flat in Pudsey. And I’ve now got a strong handle on my new hosts IT infrastructure.

I’ve also finally had the time to really start getting into MySQL. Last time I looked at it, I didn’t really get a chance to properly dig into it. Last week I got delayed replication working in my test environment.

Money is tight, but not too tight (thankfully). Should be better once I sort out various bills and things that slipped when I was out of work.

Puma is a bit flaky, but again, once bills are sorted, I’ll get it sorted.

Computer PSU has popped, so once bills are sorted, add that to the list, too.

Lots going on at work at the moment – got core switch upgrade and new core hardware install (the hardware that makes the company money) so, er, no pressure.

Things will hopefully calm down before Christmas and I can get properly back into talking crap, advocating for tobacco harm reduction, dicking with cars and generally getting my life back on track.

Still got a yacht for sale if anyone wants it, by the way….

Get fucked,
Steven R

Life update

So, some quick updates.

Had some good times with a psychologist, pulling apart my thought processes and making them less stupid. That seems to have worked pretty well.

Got me a job. I’m going to be looking after the infrastructure of a company who’s multimillion pound income is dependant on their IT gear. So, you know, no pressure. That said, 18 months ago I’d never worked in Linux, and I managed that pretty easily, so how hard can it be?

Anyway, I’ll be moving closer to work at some point too, as work is 70 miles away. I’m a glutton for punishment, but I’m not a sadist.

I’ll likely expand upon my previous employment experience – which was horrific –  the hosts of which will likely remain anonymous (although this is dependant upon how drunk I am and how many fucks I give at the time of posting) but it might be a good guide for anyone who thinks working in a ‘startup environment’ lead by personalities etc is a good idea. ProTip – it’s really not, and HR knowledge is a good thing for a reason.

I’ll also not be spending as much time as I’d like in my local vape shop, which is a shame as we have a true ‘care in the community’ vibe in there, helping people sort out their discrepancies in life (including my own) and I’ll miss talking people through their problems over a coffee and a vape.

I may also have a rant about the fucking idiocy kicking off in public health regarding vaping that has been evident lately; I’ve been pretty deep in the advocacy movement of late (and I intend to remain as such, although obviously timing pressures will affect this) to the extent where a large org who deal with such matters offered to help me get to the Global Forum on Nicotine, a pretty extensive harm reduction conference in Warsaw – but which I coudn’t take up due to the fact that I was interviewing for this job that I got. It’s also been suggested that I write an article for a large rag with interests in these matters, I seem to get far too many ‘Likes’ and retweets on these matters etc. Perhaps I should set time aside for these things.

Anyway, I’ll expand on most, if not all, of the above once I’m settled in at my new job, etc.

Otherwise, I’m carrying on carrying on.

Keep it stealthy, you monsters.

Steven R

Updates soon

Just a quicky – I’ll be posting up some thoughts on Universal Credit.

I’ll also be pubishing some thoughts on why I’m not in work at the moment. I’m not perfect, but being made an ‘offer to leave’ the day after my fathers funeral means that yes, I’ll be talking about ethics, hyprocrisy and how mishandling staffing and HR issues can affect the staff you proudly proclaim to care about. I understand it’s happened again, so this just appears to be the way my former hosts operate. Sad really.

I might also ramble on about the whole iPhone/FBI thing as that’s been on my mind a lot lately too.

More at the weekend I imagine.

Out of hours?

I’m on the Out of Hours rota this week (Friday to Friday – to allow a weekend to get back into 9-5 type shenanigans) and I’m quite enjoying it so far.

Nothing has gone too badly, other than a physical box swap that ended up being a tad more complicated than it needed to be, but it seems to be sorted now.

Fingers crossed the rest of the week is as smooth as this.

I bobbed into the office to do the physical box swop myself, even. Given it’s a 40 mile run in, and then back out, that’s quite a bit of work but the roads were quiet so it wasn’t too bad.

Yeah, that MOT then…

Ho ho, that’s what I get for thinking it’d be easy.

Chassis rust, dodgy brake pipe, and two FUBAR shock absorbers and drop links (one actually popped, the other was just a bit shonky, so replaced them as a pair, as well as the droplinks), and some other rust around too.

That’ll be £420 – £200 of which was the welding.

Worth it though. Turn in and pickup are vastly improved, and while I previously found the ‘roll-on’ oversteer to be quite fun, I realise now that the car is actually rather a lot different with working shock absorbers and new ARB droplinks – you turn it in, and depending on how much throttle you use (or rapidly snap shut) the car can be swung around it’s axis with ease. It also rides a lot better at high speed with less bob.

Had a look at the old shocks today while annoying my mechanic chum Jonny May and yar, they’re buggered. Drivers side one was a bit meh, but I think I must have popped the passenger side one on the way to the MOT station when I took a rarely-used (by me) rat-run, and forgot that halfway down a long straight, the road goes through some serious undulations. Like, speedbump sized ones, thanks to subsidence. Probably took the droplinks out too.

Anyway, it’s a far happier little Puma, but has has made me wonder on the wisdom of keeping it for much longer; I’m not seeing it getting any cheaper to keep on the road in the future, and while it was off the road and I whupped my old mans Citroen C4 1.6TD, I found the soft, boosty power delivery encouraged a relaxed, laid back driving style – all torque and wooft, rather than the (admittedly not that fast) snarl and crackle of the little yellow Ford, always begging you to use more throttle, turn in a bit harder, lift off a bit earlier, to tap the rev limiter on an overtake, etc.

BMW E46 320d would appeal, thanks to the wealth of cheap, effective tuning options that can easily give 180hp and well north of 300lb/ft of torque, in a smallish, comfy 50mpg saloon/hatch that you can get clean examples of for a couple of grand. Not that I have a couple of grand kicking around, mind you.

It’d certainly be a more chilled commute than the frantic rustbucket.

That said, other changes are afoot too, in the not to distant future, which might mean a commuter car isn’t really required, at least not a hugely efficient one, and the savings in fuel could go towards all that lovely welding and paint work.

I’ll think about it, and we’ll see.


Peace out, scumbags <3

The joys of psychoactive drugs, complex work and how it affects your favourite sweary scottish SysAdmin

So, for many a year I’ve been hobbled with depression (battle isn’t the right word as it suggests progress), sometimes mild, sometimes with wild swings downwards (and rarer swings upward, although not to the extent where it would be mania, AKA bipolar disorder), and almost always combined with anxiety, and what I suppose could be considered a mild form of OCD – I’m not at the stage where I have to switch the light switch on and off four times lest I feel sick, but I am very, very much a creature of habit, and don’t like my routines being broken; I can modify routines (working at the office, and working from home, for example) but I don’t like it when things get changed unexpectedly. Makes me anxious.

Anyway, earlier in the year I started noticing the signs of a major downward spiral – I was obsessing over rationally irrelevant issues, often at the cost of more real world problems, and I was having difficulty sleeping, or more realistically, waking up. My anxiety was getting noticeably worse, to the extent where I was working from home quite a lot – which sounds alright, till you realise that I’m not yet experienced enough at work to be able to do a fair few tasks without it being explained in Dum Dum Raith Language. This is to be expected given my career change, but it’s a hindrance to working by myself from my own flat.

So, back to the doctors for the first time in a few years, since I stopped having talking therapy to get past some issues that caused me to leave London; suggestion was made that I try Setraline.


Some background is needed here; my experience of antidepressants, to be blunt, is pretty poor; I’ve been on SSRIs (citalopram), tricyclics (amitriptyline), and SNRIs (venlafaxine) and I’ve had…interesting experiences. None of them affected my (at the time, often suicidal) mood swings, and all I got were the side effects of ramping up, and withdrawal effects of coming off them. Venlafaxine was by far the worst for withdrawal symptoms, causing ‘zaps’ down the spinal cord that would cause me to lose footing/balance.

You know that feeling you get when you climb stairs in the dark and try to take an extra step that isn’t there, and your whole sense of balance goes askew? Try that, at random points in the day. Suffice to say I rapidly learned not to stand on the edge of the platforms of the train stations I was commuting from. But I digress…

Eventually, the London thing collapsed with me attempting suicide, then having a pretty vicious breakdown – I didn’t renew my contract at my job (which was a good job, paying well, good people), and had to bail out. I did so entirely by accident; my father called (as he is wont to do on occasion) to see how I was, and I happened to be having a rare lucid period, so I explained to him that I was about a fortnight away from being homeless (and at that point was resigned to it – this is how maddeningly irrational depression can make you, in hindsight, and why I have sympathy for the homeless; I can see how it can happen without you even trying). As parental units are also wont to do, he helped out and got me Oop North to Scarbados, Metropolis of the North, where my bro (whom I lived with in Scotland before moving to London) had a flat there with a spare room. So I contacted the sort of cleaners you call when someone dies in your flat and you need to clear it out (as the place was a bombsite), collected my goods, and managed to fit all my worldly possessions into a single Citroen Berlingo van and headed to ‘T Grim North.

So, at this point, no antidepressants, but no huge stress and lessened anxiety problems, although still present. Got me a local job some nine months later (along with some talking therapy courtesy of the NHS – something I was never offered down south) and generally started picking up the pieces.

So, five years later or so, I get the new job, my current one. It’s a 45 mile trip to the office, and that means getting up at 6am, and getting home normally no earlier than 7pm – IE London Commuter Land hours. This, I realise now, had started taking it’s toll, and the old habits started sneaking back in – difficulty sleeping, obsessing over trivialities, becoming insular, etc.

Thankfully having been through this before, I saw the warning signs and this time I started doing something about it. I worked from home when I could to reduce the commute times (Getting up at 8am and actually stopping work around 5pm is so much better…), backed off the caffeine and booze (although I don’t drink a huge amount anyway, and very rarely during the week), but it still wasn’t quite enough. So back to the docs.

I have been prescribed Setraline; this is something I didn’t expect to have any effect given my previous experience, but it’s clear that my most recent depressive spell is either not as bad as previously, or I’m simply better at preventing myself from going properly down the spiral of depressive thinking.

Initially it was a very trying time – I was extremely confused, feeling foggy, dizzy, nauseous and generally like I was hungover without the headache. This made work pretty tricky.

However, then I started noticing…..things. I was less nervous about talking to people – asking questions, etc. I didn’t feel like I would get into trouble or be mocked for asking what must have, to those with experience, seemed like silly questions about SSL, Apache, SQL etc. And I should point out for the record, no-one at work has *ever* mocked me for asking questions, but as noted, irrational thinking will cause this sort of anxiety.

The anxiety started to get more muted. I was talking more about my problems so that work were aware of them. I also noticed that my vision has changed; it’s almost like I have HDR eyesight, or at least, a change in perceptions of contrast. Car headlights are zingier, uplighting on brick walls looks sharper and more colourful; visual disturbances can be a side effect, but it doesn’t affect my ability to work or drive so it’s more interesting than annoying. The lower levels of anxiety meant my guts weren’t constantly turning over, so less nausea caused by grumbling guts.

Something was actually happening.

Cut to yesterday – I had managed to think that I was past needing to avoid caffeine on Monday, so had a couple of cups of the good stuff in the office. Get home, no sleep at all – setraline can make caffeine stay in the system much, much longer, and can cause restlessness in and of itself anyway. I didn’t get much sleep on the Sunday night either, so cue me being late up. Rather late indeed, actually. Normally, this would result in a full panic session/attack as I scramble to get sorted out. Instead, I woke up, rolled my eyes at myself, signed into work remotely, apologised for my rampant imbecility, pinged my boss to apologise properly and explain the situation, and then started smashing through my workload for the day. Work have been pretty understanding of my shenanigans of late, thankfully…

It’s only tonight I’m realising what a change this is – I’m less anxious, a bit more chatty, and not so fussed by the concept of change.

I’m quite pleased with this. Interestingly, it’s not affecting my mood directly – I’m still fairly depressed. However, the anxiety not being there means I’m not over-analysing things, and then getting sucked down into circular depressive thinking route quite as much. It’s taken a month and a half to get here, but it’s pretty refreshing to feel like control is slowly, but surely, returning to my life. I’ve made some new friends, am planning to hook up with some old ones, and generally, I’m less fucked in the head as a result, I can concentrate on work more, and find it less difficult to deal with (the learning curve is starting to get more vertical these days, but that’s fine).

So there we go. A summation of the last couple of months of my life.

As for other things? The soundtrack to Miami Hotline is excellent. The car is in for MOT and I’m generally thinking it shouldn’t be too painful. It’s nicely tail-happy on winter tyres, which is tremendously entertaining. I might even tidy the flat up a bit.

In short, another interesting page in the dog-eared book of my life.

Never a dull moment, eh?

Cars. Fucking cars.


Looks like 1000 miles a month is taking it’s toll on the car. In the last few months it’s had niggles – bushes needing changing, alternator packing up, starter dying, etc. This week, it refuses to make any power above about 2000rpm and will barely reach 60. Sounds like the exhaust is blowing a bit and there’s a funny whoosh noise from under it.

Cat has been dropped, and doesn’t appear problematic on initial inspection, but then there is an L-shaped pipe on it so you can’t see the back of it. So it might be blocked. Can only tell when the new cat goes on tomorrow.

What if it’s still buggered? Cam timing, oil pressure, coil pack, fuelling…there’s a dozen causes. All of which take time to diagnose.

All the while, I can’t get to work (although I’ve borrowed a car for tomorrow, handily). This is frustrating on multiple levels.

Really need to move closer to the office – at least then the train or bus won’t be a two hour drag.

Oh, and the MOT is due this month. Joy!