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Life

Pathfinding

This morning the vast internet machinery heaved the minute hand of an invisible clock forwards another minute, and filled the bedroom with one of the London radio stations. After a few minutes drifting between asleep and awake, my body clock finally gained some traction, and swung legs out of the bedclothes – planting feet on the floor below, ready to begin another day.

There’s a tremendous sense that each day has become “another day” at the moment – unravelling the future like a worn carpet I’ve seen before. There’s a flickering urge to somehow make today better than yesterday, but I’m not quite sure how to go about it, or what “better” really means.

While writing, the clock continues ticking. The planet continues revolving. Carpets continue to unfurl – mapping different directions the day might take. It seems that indecision is not an option – if we retrace steps, the junctions we return to are not as they once were.

If only the world had a reset button from time to time. A chance to start again – to re-invent the recent past. Of course no such thing exists, so we make the best of our situation, we look forwards, and we continue putting one foot in front of the other – marching in step with the ticking of the clock.

What if we could weave our own carpet though – construct a new path – choosing our destiny rather than leaving it to fate? Does fate exist, or is it a convenient construct to soften the consequences of indecision?

I think I’ll continue forwards, and shake my fist towards the machinery of the universe from time to time – pretending I have some say in the way my story unfolds – pretending I might introduce at least a little order among the chaos and mayhem.

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Life

And then the rain fell

While the sky remains filled with cold grey blankets, and the cats keep watch on the garden from the warmth of the living room, Spotify fills the study with music from a Paris jazz cafe as I struggle to pour words onto the page in an order that might work well together.

I seem to have happened upon a couple of hours of Sunday afternoon where I might chase my own interests for a change. Of course you find me in front of a keyboard. Of course you do.

I filled the morning with two walks into town in search of a water filter for the kitchen. There would have been only one walk, but I forgot my face mask and only discovered it’s absence after walking most of the mile-long-route through back roads towards the high-street. Cursing my own stupidity, I retraced my steps and returned.

While walking I played out the paradoxical situation where you arrive at a high-street shop that sells masks, wearing no mask, and cannot enter to buy one unless you are wearing one.

While writing, a quite wonderful French singer is singing about… something. I have no idea what he’s singing about because my mastery of the French language extends no further than “I am fourteen years old”, “please may I have a vanilla ice cream”, “two tickets please”, and “I love your dog”. It’s quite nice – listening without understanding – you connect to the emotion, rather than the story.

Rain has begun to fall. Puddles are slowly filling – swimming pools for pond skaters, and atomic bomb targets for toddlers in wellington boots.

I wish I had some chocolate biscuits.

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Life

London Calling

A little while after the sun rises tomorrow morning, no doubt after gazing at the ceiling for a little while, I will untangle myself from the safety of the bedclothes, stumble downstairs to the shower, have a shave, pull on some clothes, and wake my eldest daughter. With a little luck we will make it to the railway station on the edge of town in time to purchase two tickets, find a seat, and sit in worried silence with masks on, and disinfectant gel in our pockets.

We’re going to London.

This used to be our thing. Before the world locked down, we would regularly travel by train into the centre of London and join the river of people flowing from Paddington Station into the underground – squashing ourselves like sardines into the trains far below the ground, before climbing into bright sunshine at the foot of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, and of course Shaftesbury Avenue and our destination for tomorrow – Forbidden Planet.

It’s been eighteen months since we last set foot within the city walls. We are not brave enough to risk the underground trains yet, so will walk from Paddington – tracing the path of the Serpentine across Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park – visiting the statue of Peter Pan, and experiencing our first taste of “life” since the world fell into shadow.

After a litte exploration of Leicester Square we might watch the entertainers at Covent Garden before making our way to Forbidden Planet – the biggest comic book shop in the country. My daughter will peruse shelves of Manga while I marvel at artwork, and wonder quite where to start. I’ve never been much of a reader of comics, but I’ve always admired their art.

I wonder what London will feel like after so long away, and after the events of the last year? Will the streets still be quiet, or will the people have returned?

Postscript – the visit to London didn’t happen. Anxiety got the better of my daughter – a journey she has been on for many years. Let’s see what the day brings.

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Life

Nothing to Report

I’m trying not to read the news. The news is full of stories about the Indian variant of the coronavirus going on something of a rampage, and causing brakes to perhaps be put on the slow journey out of lockdown we had all been on. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how the variant arrived here – until recently travel to and from India was allowed if you had good enough reason. It’s all rather depressing really.

It’s interesting really – that while the modern world has become so much smaller through the development of affordable methods of travel, it has also ensured that viruses can spread throughout the planet in days or weeks.

In-between working and doing chores, I’ve been tinkering with an old computer at home – or rather, a simulation of an old computer. There is an old laptop sitting on the desk opposite me, suffering from a multiple-personality disorder. It’s running an “emulator” – which transforms it into a Commodore Amiga – a computer that most people haven’t seen for the better part of twenty five years. Don’t ask me why I’m tinkering with it. I don’t really know.

The blog seems to have taken a back-seat in recent days. I’m not really sure why. I tend to go through phases with writing – sometimes I have all manner of ideas, thoughts, or stories to communicate – and then sometimes I have nothing at all.

Anyway.

I have nothing to report today. No great news. Nothing of note has happened. I’ll shut up before I single-handedly induce narcolepsy in enough people for “big data” to expose me as a danger to civilised society. “Most boring man in known universe becomes danger to others”.

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Life

Ignoring the Tomorrowness

May the fifth be with you. Doesn’t sound quite as good, does it. At the time of writing it’s eight minutes past midnight, so I suppose it’s already tomorrow. The sixth. Perhaps I’ll ignore the tomorrowness of it all, and pretend it’s still tonight.

I have a somewhat important conference call tomorrow morning. I should really be asleep already – recharging my batteries in order to appear somewhat cogent while sipping coffee in front of the laptop webcam.

The draw of the internet rabbit hole is strong. Oh, the hours I could spend reading about subjects of little consequence to me. Last night I found myself reading about the Trinity nuclear tests at midnight. I’m not sure why.

There seems to be an event horizon in the internet rabbit hole, beyond which all manner of interesting yet unknown distractions lurk.

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Life

Bank Holiday Monday

It’s heading towards 10am, and I’m still the only person up and about at home. It’s a bank holiday in the UK today – many people have the day off work. Of course the weather isn’t cooperating – while the sun is trying to break through at the moment, it’s forecast to begin raining at lunchtime, and get worse throughout the day. I imagine our house will begin floating away by dinner time. I better start fashioning some oars out of household implements later.

I’m struggling to wake up. I’m not sure why, because I slept like a log last night – and half remember a couple of crazy dreams. One of them involved accidentally transferring thousands into one of my daughter’s bank accounts, and then struggling to transfer the money back again before anybody found out. I wonder what that means?

It’s interesting how the most illogical events or actions become reasonable in dreams.

(many hours pass)

The better part of the day was spent pulling ivy from the shed in the garden, helping my middle daughter create a podcast (for her college course), and doing several runs to the rubbish tip. This morning’s weather forecast was wrong – the rain finally began to fall early this evening. It’s still raining now, and looking pretty much like the world might end.

After washing up this evening I checked my phone, and saw messages from several friends, sent hours earlier. Hopefully they will understand that life occasionally tramples all over me. It seems that “having friends”, “working”, “doing chores”, and “being a part of a family” never quite add up – and “having friends” always seems to be the first thing to fall by the wayside.

I saw a quote the other day from somebody famous (I forget who), noting that if you got run over by a truck tomorrow, your employer would replace you within a month or two – but that your friends and family would always remember you. I read it, and thought “yes, but if you don’t work, you have no money, your family lose their house, and you have no smartphone to stay in touch with friends”.

Nothing is ever as simple as a motivational quote.

Anyway. I only have a few hours until the “day off” comes to an end. I should probably go watch something rubbish on the television, and eat something I’ll feel bad about afterwards. It’s funny how that works.

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Life

Remembering the Rubbish

Tomorrow doesn’t start until I wake up in the morning. The clock might have ticked past midnight a few minutes ago, but I’m going to claim it’s still “tonight” – “tomorrow morning” doesn’t arrive for several hours.

Welcome to my ever-so-slightly illogical mind.

I’m playing the age old game of “staying up late to avoid tomorrow”, which is ridiculous because there’s nothing I’m particularly avoiding. Perhaps I’m just holding on to today – making the day last longer – enjoying the last few minutes in front of the keyboard emptying my head.

I’m trying to warm back up after venturing outside in the dark to put the bins out – the refuse collectors pass our house in the morning. Have you ever tried to drag a wheelie bin down your driveway in the dead of night? They transform themselves into mobile speaker stacks – amplifying every bump in the driveway into a cacophony of crashing and crunching.

I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person that puts the rubbish out at midnight (or rather, that only remembers at midnight). I’ve never seen anybody else tiptoeing around while dragging the bin down the driveway. Perhaps the rest of the world is far more organised? I don’t know.

Anyway.

It’s getting late. I should probably go brush my teeth.

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Life

Rediscovering the Tribe

The last few days have served as a reminder of how wonderful the blogging tribe has become. I’m not talking about the niche food, fashion, or lifestyle bloggers – they can go fall off their marketing tricycle and graze their knees – I’m talking about those of us that have been committing our daily stories to the keyboard for the last twenty years.

The term “blogger” means many things to many people. By turns we can be autobiographers, citizen journalists, soap-box campaigners, armchair psychologists, social commentators, and even historians. The best of us don’t push a brand, a product, or a way to live a life – we tell our own story.

I have a quote by Norah Ephron printed on a piece of paper above my desk:

One of the most delicious things about the profoundly parasitical world of blogs is that you don’t have to have anything much to say. Or you just have to have a little tiny thing to say. You just might want to say hello. I’m here. And by the way. On the other hand. Nevertheless. Did you see this? Whatever. A blog is sort of like an exhale. What you hope is that whatever you’re saying is true for about as long as you’re saying it. Even if it’s not much.

She had such a way with words.

I sometimes notice others striving to emulate the style of their literary heroes – I’ve never done that. I tend to think we should find our own way – find our own voice. While it’s true that reading influences the style and selection of words we write, I have always admired those that say more with less.

I’ve distracted myself from the original intent of this post. It’s a skill. I’m good at it. It ranks right up there with walking into the kitchen to make a coffee, and clearing the sink, emptying the dishwasher, and taking the recycling out before switching the kettle on.

The tribe. Us. The writers.

We may be quiet, and we may be passed over by many, but we are here, we are numerous, and we persist. We will continue to wield our words against the world that shapes us, and we will continue to find each other at the most unlikely times, and in the most unexpected places.

We are bloggers.

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Life

Does talent breed laziness ?

I have been head-down with work for the last several days. Being busy is good. Unfortunately the garden has taken its cue to inject anything that will grow with Captain America growth serum. I’m pretty sure we will have mangrove swamps by the weekend. I’ve done a deal with my eldest daughter that if she helps me with the garden, I will take part in the internet art course she started some weeks ago. I’ve already warned her that I’m colourblind, but she hasn’t let that dissuade her.

Being honest, I’ve tried not to do any drawing or painting alongside the children for good reason – if they see what I can do, they will compare themselves against me – it’s happened before and it never goes well (or at least it didn’t when they were younger). I’ve never quite figured out why some kids are enthused when they see talent, and others give up.

I would argue that what I have isn’t talent – it’s the result of hard work. I tend to think being interested in something and working hard will always yield better results than talent. I suppose the reverse should therefore be true – that the most talented are the most lazy. Quite a controversial statement. How many of us have known people that were exceptional at something, but never took advantage of it ? I’ve seen it. I’m betting teachers see it all the time, and it frustrates them enormously.

Anyway.

It’s late. I’m jabbering on about nothing at all (as per usual), and I have work in the morning. Time to go read a book, and fall asleep with it propped on my chest.