That lovely Christmas / New Year gap

Sun 27 Dec 2015 – Sat 2 Jan 2016

download (92)Very pleased I changed my normal habit and took off in-between Christmas and New Year. I have had a proper break (though I am still not jumping for joy with the prospect of returning to work – who is?) Two particular features of last week. First, I spent a lot of time tidying up and sorting out. This included deleting and filing personal and work emails simply to get both inboxes down to a more manageable amount. Also I sorted through books and DVDs so that some can be taken to the Exchange on my next visit. Second, I returned to the gym – my first visit since returning from Gran Can. Basically I love the gym and suppose it was inevitable to go back but I need to make sure it does not become like an addiction if I renew my annual membership in a couple of weeks’ time.

My New Year

images (38)Suppose NYE/NYD should be the centre piece of this blog. However I have a love-hate relationship with New Year. Love the break from normality, hate the pressure to do something. Been to loads of crap parties and clubs in my life, my ideal New Year’s Eve is one where I chill indoors and have an early night with a good book. That’s what happened this year. Managed to stay up till 11.15 but then too tired and off to bed leaving Dave to watch TV / play on the pooter.

Health and efficiency

The worst must come first in that I admit a ‘Christmas diet disaster’. Weighed in last Tuesday at 18-11 so I had put on 3 pounds. What really pissed me off was that I thought I had been relative good! Think this shows the impact not so much of how much one eats but rather what one eats with my high Christmas diet of sugar products like sweets and cakes as well as ’empty calories’ in alcohol.

download (91)Oh well, nowt to do but try again. Big inspiration last week was World’s Strongest Man, one of my Christmas / New Year highlights. Yep OK I’ve got a thing for big slobby men but I am also amazed by the contestants’ sheer strength and the way they are completely committed to being the best in the world. Good news this year that a British competitor, Eddie Hall (pictured), managed to come fourth.

For me a double pronged assault last week, ‘sensible eating and drinking’ and an attempt at noticeable exercise each day starting with my return to the gym on the previous Sunday (the day after Boxing Day). Up at 8 which half an hour later than normal for weekends because I forgot to set the alarm on the clock app on my new phone – doh! To the gym for its weekend opening at 10. I’m trying to do just a half hour workout with a fair amount of work to build up my legs as recommended by my NHS physio to deal with my achilles and calves problems. To be honest, it felt great to be back. Followed up with another gym session on Thursday (NYE) and Saturday morning.

Sunday: Back to the gym as well as walk Victoria to Oxford Circus and back
Monday: Walked Victoria to Notting Hill and back
Tuesday: Olympia to Fulham Broadway and back
Wednesday: Victoria to Russell Square and back (thought about attempting a jog-run but couldn’t motivate myself enough
Thursday (NYE): Gym session plus walk Victoria to Oxford Circus and back
Friday (NYD): nothing major
Saturday: Gym session plus walk Victoria to Oxford Circus and back

Friends

images (39)Took advantage of Christmas / New Year to check in with some old pals, two people who have known me for about 25 years. Monday night I met with David (affectionately known as Daisy) at the usual local Indian. He’s a great guy but my mission is to stop him being too past-focused. My developing personal philosophy is that the past has nothing to offer us apart from lessons to be learnt; all we have is the present and the future then we are dead. Some people claim I’m being negative, I don’t think I am. I think I’m being very positive – looking forward, enjoying myself, and not raking over the ashes of the past.

download (93)Then on Tuesday night caught up with Dom at a local Iranian restaurant we had not tried before (including a portrait of the long dead Shah on the wall, pictured). Nice catch-up and I have enormous admiration for the way he is holding down a full-time job and looking after his mother with dementia at the same time.

Wednesday I walked to Gay’s the Word bookshop near Russell Square and caught up with Jimmy the owner who also knew James whose funeral we’re all at on Monday. Then I phoned James’ partner Mark who seems to be a very stoical guy generally. I’m dreading Monday in a way as I am sure many are. No flowers but donations to Macmillan who gave great support to James over his four years with cancer James’ donation page

Dave and mum

Dave’s mum returned to the North on Sunday and we met up for a pasta lunch after he had seen her on the train. I spent most of last week staying over at his place. My mum came over on Monday to see Dave’s Christmas tree and decorations then me and her travelled back together to her place and I stayed there. Took mum to the laundry on Tuesday morning and she went over to my brother’s partner’s place on NYD. Dave was on out of hours duty last week and in the office Tues, Wed, Thurs so though we’ve been together still a lot of the time his attention has been elsewhere.

Films and cinema

Saw a couple of films on TV last week and one at the cinema. First TV film was last Sunday afternoon Oz the Great and Powerful with gorgeous James Franco. A fun bit of fantasy and comical that it was all so heterosexual when Franco himself is so ‘gay-friendly’. Then on Monday night I caught Behind the Candelabra about the secret life of Liberace who was not gay publicly (including a denial of his death from AIDS) and Scott his ‘adopted’ chauffeur / boyfriend who he basically treated like a rich man’s plaything encouraging him into drugs and have plastic surgery to make himself look more like Liberace. Scott is still alive but a real mess. images (37)And on Thursday (NYE) at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London I caught Carol An honest film starring Cate Blanchett about two women falling in love in 50’s America with the complication that one is married with a family. A very good film beautiful with its depiction of life during that decade and the general sexism of the age as well as the homophobia.

Books and reading

Up to the Exchange on Monday for a look around and picked up two autobiograhpies by Rupert Everett (one followed the other not both the same) for 50p. I don’t really like him but several have recommended these books so I will give them a try. Took a stroll down North End Road in Fulham on Tuesday. Nearby but I rarely go there and I spent my time checking out the charity shops picking up some secondhand books – 4 for £1 in one. Then to the ever-wonderful Gay’s the Word on Wednesday where I caught up with Jimmy and started to spend my book tokens given to me for Christmas by Dave.

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Two books read last week:

Finished Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests A beautifully written and very engaging book with the plot twisting into themes I didn’t think it would go to. Also a great reflection on the crap situation of women even after the ‘liberation’ of World War One i.e. gaining the vote. All her books are well worth reading though I did feel the ending of this one was slightly too ‘easy’ keeping everyone happy.

Followed by Philip Hensher’s Emperor Waltz for the Velvet Page book club next Thursday. Hadn’t quite finished by the end of Saturday however highly recommended and another very strong author with another great read. The story around the poorly disguised ‘Gay’s the Word’ bookshop entertained me most and I’m not sure this is actually a coherent novel but rather several stories tumbled in together.

Happy New Year everyone x

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