It’s not all bad!

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” 

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

candles on a date“How was your holiday in SA?” I asked, excited to hear how much our friend had enjoyed his visit to my homeland in December.

“South Africa is really in a bit of a mess,” he replied. Note, that in British English, a ‘bit of a mess’ is basically a large scale disaster.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Nothing works. The Eskom situation is depressing. Most people I spoke to just want to get out of there.”

He seemed to be satisfied that he’d given me the final word. Continue reading It’s not all bad!

Units of time in Lockdown

“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

Bishops park blossomsDIY? Reading? Google searches? Tidying up the loft? Daytime TV?

How are you spending your lockdown, world?

I’ve not had the luxury of boredom yet. Most units of my day are filled with housework, office work (in what was once our sunny spare room, now our office), fighting with Microsoft, fighting with BT, waiting on hold with BA, French lesson catch up, 1 hour per day of exercise (a run or digging in the allotment), heaps of video conferencing, cooking, cooking, stressing about cooking, preparing meals, mulling about which food needs to be frozen and which defrosted …  and did I mention cooking? Continue reading Units of time in Lockdown

Paperless, office-less business in a time of the Coronavirus

“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.”

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett

Kermit panicsWho knew?

Who knew?

There I was waxing lyrical about 2020 and all its promise. It did hold promise. It did. Elections were over. New, interesting enquiries were coming in. We’d taken on a promising new trainee broker. We had travel plans. Some of Hubby’s more difficult deals looked like they were moving forward. It was an exciting time. Continue reading Paperless, office-less business in a time of the Coronavirus

It’s infectious

“The worst thing about disease is the uncertainty. Humans are capable of adapting to anything as long as they know. It’s the hopeless floundering that drives people crazy.”

Fever by Robin Cook

Church of England LondonQuote

Official Church of England advice Sunday 8 March 2020:

  • Suspend the administration of the chalice and offer Communion in one kind only i.e. the consecrated bread/wafer/host, with the priest alone taking the wine.
  • Consider suspending handshaking or other direct physical contact during the sharing of the peace.
  • Consider suspending direct physical contact as part of a blessing or ‘laying on of hands’.

Unquote

And so it began in our church and possibly in churches all around the world today … Continue reading It’s infectious

Confessions

“Don’t Panic.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

News headlines BBC 3 March 2020
Top stories on my BBC app are all about Covid-19

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 Impromptuyou all know it, it’s beautiful.

I’m afraid that’s where the très chic part of my evening ended. Continue reading Confessions

It’s time to fight!

“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

Rocky and Adrian

“ADRIAAAAN!”

“ROCKYYYYY!”

Cue the Rocky music. Kit up. Punch the sky.

It’s time to fight! Continue reading It’s time to fight!

How I fixed my sleep … without sheep

“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 

Larson cartoon animal humourDid 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.

So you can’t sleep? Neither could I – on and off for almost 10 years!

Now I’m sleeping like a baby. Continue reading How I fixed my sleep … without sheep

Speak to me 2020

“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

mouse on stepsMy 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.”

After he died I found that card with a few other precious things he’d kept in his bedside table. Continue reading Speak to me 2020

Communism: Ceaușescu’s 170 room palace for his family of 5

“This world is full of the most outrageous nonsense. Sometimes things happen which you would hardly think possible.”  

The Nose by Nikolai Gogol

Sunset
Moldova to Romania – sunset on what used to be the northern reaches of the Danube Delta

I sent a Happy New Year message to a friend today.

iPhone auto-correct did it’s magic again …

Complications of the Season to you!” I sent him.

I think you could say that Complications of the Season is what Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu experienced on Christmas day in 1989 when they were summarily executed by firing squad. Continue reading Communism: Ceaușescu’s 170 room palace for his family of 5

Moldovan Christmas, snow, honey, a goat and cheese

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Odd socksUnlike Dumbledore, I gave a received socks for Christmas. I also gave and received books.

Thanks to Christmas in both London and Moldova, and a skit about a goat, we also made an absolute killing in bread, sweets and Lei moldovenească (Moldovan Lai)!

Socks (left) are what Hubby and I gave to our nieces on Christmas day. Continue reading Moldovan Christmas, snow, honey, a goat and cheese