The week David Bowie died (and other crap news)

Sun 10 – Sat 16 Jan 2015

The Bad, the Ugly…

In many ways a pretty dreadful week of news but in the spirit of positivity this does need to be counter-balanced with good stuff (of which I realised there was a surprisingly decent amount once I started digging), but first the shit.

Bowie is gone

BowieThe title of this blog makes me depressed. Bowie was one of those people I thought would live forever and I can’t imagine a world without his genius. But life will carry on, it always does, and his work will be built on. What I really loved about Bowie was the fact he kept trying new things and refreshing himself, yep sometimes it didn’t work but he just tried something different and was ashamed of nothing he did. My favourite albums – Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) as well as The Next Day. But nobody can replace him and it pisses me off that old codgers like Trump, Corbyn, Farage, and Putin live while he dies – where is God?

Alan Rickman as well

Alan RickmanIf one lovely person dying wasn’t enough, we get two for the price of one. OK Alan was not a giant in the way that Bowie was but he seemed like a really decent guy and was certainly a brilliant actor. I remember him in the Die Hard movies (Bruce Willis in his prime in a vest – yummy) where Alan was fantastic as the villain. And I also remember him in Truly, Madly, Deeply which I saw in 1990 and absolutely adored for its depiction of love traumatised by death.

We love The Episcopal Church

Episcopal ChurchAnd so yet again we saw the Anglican communion sacrificing LGBT people on their sacred altar of ‘unity’. Of course, I want good people to continue to ‘walk together’ but some of the people being kept on board are not nice whilst LGBT people are collateral damage. The beautiful tolerance of The Episcopal Church in the USA is being punished. What message does that send around the world – Christians hate poofs and dykes. OK Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury) apologises for the church’s treatment of LGBT people but that is just PR cover-up. The Episcopal Church itself has acted beautifully, re-committing itself to everybody whilst accepting being treated as second class to keep the communion together.

Health and efficiency 1

And continuing the stuff that was crap about last week, it was busy and that meant only time for one trip to the gym which happened on Satuday morning. Some decent walks though nothing amazing. The busyness as usual was due to work which took up its official 3.5 days plus more on days off, weekends and evenings to keep on top of everything.

Dreary, cold weather

It finally got cold. OK no snow as in other parts of the UK but the false warmth of November and December has given way to low temperatures, rain, and cold winds. Frosty and cold especially in the morning but it did sometimes get beyond grey to see blue skies but still nearly freezing.

…and the Good

Hey but being positive what were the good bits about last week? Yep there were lights in the darkness:

Health and efficiency 2

Weight scalesWeighed myself on Tuesday and weight had gone down to 13-6 so the downward trend identified the previous week continued. I’m still not sure why as my diet hasn’t changed massively. Key things I can identify are skipping breakfast if not hungry, eating smaller portions, trying to wait till I am really hungry before I eat, and attempting to have just one big meal per day.

Also saw the NHS physio on Friday. I have been doing all the gym exercises he recommends and my achilles / calves are better but still aching. He basically reckons I should be happy with a certain level of discomfort and has recommended starting back jogging though I must stop if the pain level gets up to 4 or 5 out of 10. He’s also suggested that as the pain is most prominent and debilitating in the morning thus I should let my legs ‘warm up’ and jog later in the day. This is a problem for me as I like to jog first thing in the morning when I am bright and alert plus there are fewer people around.

Learning Spanish

Really not got back into my stride with DuoLingo yet. But I did find a nice video for learning Spanish on YouTube which works on the principle of words being repeated and listened to

Friends

No not the American TV series that seemed to go on forever, I caught up with two lovely buddies. First, on Monday had lunchtime coffee with Jamie. He’s doing more stuff around his playwriting and he + partner are off to Thailand for over two weeks – lucky sods. Then on Tuesday night after work caught up with Fang Fang. We worked together at the Church Urban Fund (which does some very cool anti-poverty work in England) and have kept in touch on and off for over a decade. We talked on some of her favourite things in life including cats and cakes – she’s brilliant at both.

Quality time with mum and Dave

Yep managed to get some time with both members of the dynamic duo in my life. Laundry with mum on Monday then that evening plus Tues and Thurs nights with her. Our usual situation of watching soaps together but with me on my pooter at the same time. With Dave at the weekends and on Wednesday night when we went off to the wonder Portuguese cafe near him Cafe Tejo – feels just like being on holiday although not holiday weather.

Benidorm

BenidormA highlight of last week was Monday night when me and mum settled down to watch the new series of Benidorm I love this programme. OK, it’s not constant ‘wet yourself’ humour but it has brilliant moments and is welcome with the dreary weather and dreary news. It reminds me of the great British Carry On humour and amazing risque TV comedies like Are You Being Served. Just love it.

Notting Hill Comic and Book Exchange

ExchangeBlog readers will know that I love this crazy place. It’s a total lucky dip of what you can find there as it relies simply on what people sell to them – the whole stock is secondhand. Popped there on Monday to drop off some books for exchange and picked up a couple of Dr Who audio CDs and some old Dr Who mags. Then back on Fri to drop off some more stuff and with vouchers plus cash got some comic books. The 50p basement is totally random but should be checked out even though it can get a bit claustrophobic after too long down there.

Working remotely

As I said, paid work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In the office for the first two but the latter was spent working remotely at home (actually at Dave’s) and I got so much done without interruptions. Finished the papers I needed to for Grants Committee. One good thing about being in the office last week was a big meeting with key stakeholders around 360 Giving, a great initiative for funders to open up their data.

QPR won

JFHAnd some great news last week, the first win of the Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink managerial era – an impressive 3-0 at Rotherham. Something to celebrate at last though I still think there are some fundamental issues with the way Rangers is being run – this victory has taken too long to come. Plus sexy Charlie Austin has been sold to Southampton for just £4m 🙁

Books and reading

Always the thing that saves me from total dejection and three intriguing books read last week.

First, Joanna Russ’ The Feminist Man Written early 70s and very of its time (isn’t sci-fi always?), summing up the women’s lib battle going on. There is a planet where there are only women and this alternative society is described in detail and is clearly different to the author’s world. A woman from this place (Whileaway) contacts two other women – one living in a world similar to that of the author and the other living in an alternative timeline where the second world war never happened and the Great Depression hasn’t ended. Then they all meet the woman who has brought them together who seems to live in a world where men and women are physically at war.

Next one up was Time and Time Again by Ben Elton. I’ve never read any of Ben Elton’s stuff and approached this with a level of intellectual snobbery. However it was recommended and I would firmly second that. Another bit of the alternative history / what if? sci-fi genre that is so popular at the moment. But very well written and easily readable. Basically it is about if someone can alter history and that age old dilemma about whether to accept the past (warts and all) or to take a chance to change things not knowing if they would have turned out worse?

And my final book last week was The Quickening by Julie Myerson. A nice, short book that is basically a ghost story. Or is it? The reader is kept guessing what is really going on and who is in the wrong almost to the last page. And with so many supernatural stories, it is very much linked to mental health issues.

But do you know the main thing that got me through last week (death of Bowie and everything else)? Simps, in about a fortnight me and Dave will be back in Gran Canaria (again) on holiday – yippee!

Gran Can

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