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Life

Emergencies and Subscriptions

The clock is ticking towards 11pm, and you find me sitting in the dark of the junk room, listening to a retro radio station. It’s been a bit of a day, and it isn’t over yet.

After getting through the third lengthy meeting of the day this morning, I pulled the headset from my head, pulled some shoes on, and set off towards the infant school where my other half works – stopping to purchase some lunch on the way.

We sat outside in the sunshine – a quiet corner the teachers often seek out to find a little calm on typically chaotic days. While relating the story of each other’s mornings the headmistress of the school’s face appeared around a nearby door.

“Can I interrupt your lunch? We’ve got a bit of a first aid emergency”

I said goodbye and made my way home.

Several hours later my other half returned from work and told me a little more of the story – a fall in the playground, and a badly broken arm. She worried about him all evening, until receiving word from the headmistress. School staff don’t so much take their home, as never really leave.

This evening my middle daughter is working as a waitress at the rugby club annual dinner. Paying the under-18s to staff the senior team annual dinner was a new idea this year. Given that she already works as a waitress in a pub in town, she had no concerns at all.

My other half went to pick her up two hours ago, and hasn’t returned – I imagine lots of other parents have arrived to pick up their children, and have stopped to catch up with each other.

I therefore find myself almost alone at home. Our youngest went with my other half – her nosiness known no bounds. Our eldest is secreted in her room, watching anime or reading manga. She rarely makes appearances.

Perhaps it’s time to play some old video games. Anybody for a quick game of Pacman ?

Postscript ~ middle daughter just got home, with £100 in her pocket. She’s predictably very cheerful indeed.

Categories
Life

Quietly

I have coffee, cake, music, and an incense stick is filling the room with nice smells. Work is still relatively quiet – at least compared the headless rush of the last few years. Sometimes quiet is good.

I wandered into town with my eldest daughter at lunchtime. I’m pretty sure she was trying to break the “world’s slowest walk into town” record – every time I slowed to let her catch up, she slowed even futher. I watched other people walking briskly past us with envy.

After picking up some groceries and somehow drawing a short straw to make dinner, we looked around the bookshop before heading home. Quite miraculously I didn’t buy a book. I’m getting better at that.

I finally started reading “The Midnight Library” the other evening. I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve got a bit further into it.

In other news I’m drinking black coffee for the first time in a while. A jar of espresso has been sitting in the corner of the kitchen cupboard for months – time to do something about it.

Categories
Life

Returning

After a month spent hiding in a quiet corner of the Tumblrverse, I suppose these words signal a return to normality of sorts. A return to the madding crowd – or the periphery of it at least.

A good friend messaged me this morning while I dithered about back-filling journal entries from the recent past – “you’re allowed to change your mind”.

In a somewhat connected turn of events, I wandered into Twitter last night, stood on a chair, and looked around. For the last year or so I’ve only followed a handful of accounts – bloggers, and close friends. After an hour of quite spectacular undecided hand-wringing, I began searching out new voices. Some thoughtful publications, influential thinkers, and old friends. Before setting off into the rabbit hole, I commented to a friend that Twitter was a slippery slope – and so it proved to be. By midnight I found myself sitting in bed, lit by my phone screen, following a hundred more feeds than I had earlier in the evening.

While scrolling Twitter, I began to understand it’s attraction. Life – in all it’s forms – distilled to it’s essence. When you only have a few words to communicate your thoughts, the baggage tends to get cast off. I found myself absorbed in all manner of victories, losses, births, deaths, thoughts, debates, dreams, hopes, happiness, anger, and everything in-between.

Anyway.

I’m back. I suppose in some ways I was never really gone.

Categories
Life

Never Say Never…

This morning you find me tinkering with the fabric of the interwebs. Don’t be surprised if writing begins to surface here once more.

Categories
Life

Coffee O’Clock

It turns out slowing down is difficult after several weeks chasing your own tail. I finally have time to take a step back – to take stock – to figure out how I’m doing things. I don’t find it easy to rush head-long into the next thing.

Years ago I read all manner of books about productivity, and tried out lots of the fashionable things like the “Getting Things Done” methodology. It’s all bollocks.

In other news, for some strange reason the HR manager where I work emailed me this morning and congratulated me for working for the company for 20 years. This is all slightly odd, because the 20 year mark passed in April (as far as I recall). Work has given me some restaurant vouchers – easily enough to take my entire family out.

“Re-write the Stars” is playing on the radio. I think that’s what it’s called – the song from “The Greatest Showman”. I’m going to end up humming it all afternoon now.

Oh, look at the time. It’s coffee o’clock.

Categories
Life

Ever So Slightly Furious

After my youngest daughter returned from rugby practice this morning, I accompanied her to the newspaper shop to hand her notice in.

While visiting the shop yesterday to buy a bottle of wine for our evening meal, the shop assistant (the daughter of the owners) made a point of telling me that a house on the newspaper round had made four complaints in the last week; three times of newspapers being screwed up, and once of the newspaper being left outside in the rain.

In the middle of apologising, I started mentally checking what I had just been told. Hang on. I had been with my daughter throughout four of the days, and my other half was with her on the remaining day. We had seen no newspapers get screwed up, and certainly no newspapers left outside – let alone in the rain (it rained on one day, we got soaked to our underwear, and we protected the newspapers like the crown jewels throughout the round).

I outlined this to the teenage girl reporting the complaints. She lifted an eyebrow at me, and shrugged.

I walked home and let our daughter know about the complaints. Her immediate reaction was fury, disbelief, and despair. She was upset all night about it, and spent most of Sunday morning depressed about the idea of going back out to be complained at again. We called it for her, and brought an end to it.

Here’s where it gets good.

Later in the afternoon I messaged a friend who’s son has started work as a paperboy on the same round (he does the weekend). I warned them what had happened in case they had it happen too. The friend immediately volunteered the exact address. They had complained about every one of their deliveries too. They had been late, screwed the paper up, left it outside – you name it – they had done it. On one occasion the parents had done the delivery, and found themselves being watched by an old age pensioner through the window as they made the delivery.

I have some thoughts. I’m not sure I’ll share all of them, but I’ll share some.

How does a world come to exist where a shop is so dependent on a small circle of customers that it is forced to throw it’s own staff under the bus repeatedly when faced with falsehoods, lies, and slander? How can people look themselves in the mirror, knowing that they are spewing such hateful, bitter, nonsensical accusations at anybody and everybody around them?

I’m pretty fed up with the small minority of pensioners that seem to think the rest of the world is fair game to take out their frustrations on. I’ve seen it myself countless times – thoughtless, crass, judgemental, racist, bigoted comments whispered out-loud at anybody that happens to cross their path. They seem to enjoy being nasty. There’s no excuse for it, and people need to start speaking out about it.

Categories
Life

Twenty One

My eldest daughter is 21 years old today. I guess that means she’s a “proper” grown-up now. Even though she still lives with us, we’ve been slowly shifting responsibility for things to her – simple things like her phone. She has her own phone contract now in her own name, being paid from her own bank account.

It’s funny – the whole process of “bringing up” and then “letting go”. There’s no instruction book for it, perhaps because everybody is different. Some kids stand on their own two feet early. Some kids leave the nest as soon as they can. Some never leave.

I’m always fascinated – talking to friends around the world – at how different cultures operate around the “family unit”. In England I tend to think the whole “standoffish” thing has permeated society in general; it sort of explains why there’s this expectation to leave home – to strike out on our own in the world. In many other countries you commonly find several generations of the same family living under the same roof.

We decorated the living room with balloons and streamers late last night. I’m wondering how long it will take for it all to fall to pieces and look like some kind of drunken accident in a glitter factory.

Anyway.

Today is Saturday. I’m two coffees, toast, and cereals into the day so far. It’s almost 11am. The washing machine will be finished soon. The chores never end.

Categories
Life

Work, Scrap Metal, and Beer

I think I probably broke some sort of record for hours spent in conference calls this week. Hour upon hour talking, listening, writing notes, and so on. It did occur to me during the week how fortunate I am to have discovered bullet journaling though; without my little book full of spider scrawl and dots I’m not sure I would cope.

Just after finishing work a scrap dealer turned up to take my daughter’s car away. She bought it to learn to drive in, but then the pandemic happened, and it has been sitting on the driveway for the last year without moving – getting it taxed and insured again would cost more than it’s worth. She doesn’t seem particularly sad about it – especially as the waiting list for driving tests is 18 months long at the moment (yes, you read that right – there’s an 18 month waiting list – not just for cars – logistics companies all over the country are in panic mode at the moment – there are no drivers).

Anyway.

I’ve just cracked open a can of beer. I “lucked into” a case of beer arriving because my other half forgot to cancel the subscription. It started out as a half-price trial, and now we’re three months in. That’s obviously how they make their money.

p.s. IT’S THE WEEKEND!

Categories
Life

A Quiet Day

After what seems like weeks chasing my own tail, the world is slowing down a little – affording the chance to take stock and work out how to move forwards, rather than continually stumble and scramble.

I accompanied my youngest daughter once again on her paper round this morning. She’s improving every day – making fewer mistakes, and getting faster. My other half has drawn the short straw to accompany her in the morning – following that, we will let her get on with it herself. Sink or swim time.

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the late-afternoon tiredness that comes with getting up before 6am.

One of the huge benefits of working from home is being able to listen to music all day. I used to listen to Spotify, but in recent weeks have been listening to streaming radio stations instead. I tend to choose retro stations playing 80s and 90s music – perhaps because that’s what I grew up listening to. I love the new Abba singles.