“His way of coping with the days was to think of activities as units of time, each unit consisting of about thirty minutes. Whole hours, he found, were more intimidating, and most things one could do in a day took half an hour. Reading the paper, having a bath, tidying the flat, watching Home and Away and Countdown, doing a quick crossword on the toilet, eating breakfast and lunch, going to the local shops… That was nine units of a twenty-unit day (the evenings didn’t count) filled by just the basic necessities. In fact, he had reached a stage where he wondered how his friends could juggle life and a job. Life took up so much time, so how could one work and, say, take a bath on the same day? He suspected that one or two people he knew were making some pretty unsavoury short cuts.”
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
DIY? Reading? Google searches? Tidying up the loft? Daytime TV?
“The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
On Saturday evening I attended a piano concert in aid of charity with my Hubby and my dear parents-in-law.
It was a chilly evening.
Mid way through the second half of the concert my bottom was becoming numb and my mind began to wonder. I do love Chopin, but the plastic seat was getting the better of me. I was pleased to stand and clap after an encore of Chopin’s – Fantaisie Impromptu – you all know it, it’s beautiful.
“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.”
Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
“Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it. I drank more and continued my mantra. ‘Stop thinking’, swig, ’empty your head’, swig, ‘now, seriously empty your head’.”
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Did you know?
The first reference to counting sheep is found in a twelfth-century Spanish book, Disciplina Clericalis by a lad called Petrus Alphonsi. It’s a collection of fables in which the author tells one humorous tale about a King and his Story-teller counting sheep. Apparently counting sheep was a widespread practice in early Twelfth century Islamic countries, which fascinated and influenced our dear Mr Alphonsi. No doubt a shepherd or five was known to fall asleep during this monotonous daily routine …
Et voila! The origins of a completely useless remedy for insomnia.
“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March)”
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
My Dad was desperate to retire. He wouldn’t admit it, but work was challenging and he wasn’t coping. He had many plans for his retirement years. But he was also anxious. After all, he’d worked since he was 16.
On his last day at work I gave him a card. “How exciting,” I’d written. “To be on the cusp of a new season, a new chapter in your life!”
For months, even years later, in deep thought, he’d often say to me, quite out of the blue, “I’ve thought a lot about what you wrote in my card. A new chapter … I’ve got to make the most of it.”