A Little Bit Non-Routine, Creative, and Messy

The week just gone was one where things were a bit creatively messy before straightening out later. A very different week to the one previously with the routine and structure of Eurovision – read about it here. I can honestly admit that I’m too organised to be totally comfortable with things not going to routine (and I am still frustrated wrestling with some financial stuff that needs sorting).

But creative messy can take us in exciting new directions and make us appreciate things anew in our life. Let’s be honest, it’s the creative messy times that so often have the most impact on us and that we remember fondly when we look back.

The good disruption of the Isle of Wight

The first half of the week was about me and Dave going off with our friends Frances and Patrick to the Isle of Wight for a very short but very busy break. This shook up my many of my usual routines. We had a great time all round with more details below. However, there were some things that weren’t in the plan like heavy rain and a lack of signal / crap hotel wi-fi that limited my inter-action with the internet.

The latter probably doesn’t sound that major. But it meant I couldn’t keep up with my emails and just had to delete some en masse when I finally accessed them – interestingly the world didn’t end. Plus my whole routine in terms of eating, exercise, and reading were out of the window. This is what I mean by messy. But it felt worth it as it was actually a refreshing break from everyday routine, everyone enjoyed themselves, and I had some experiences I have never had before.

Culture from the Saatchi Gallery graduate show

Patrick and Frances: Accompanying our wonderful friends on a short trip away

Our train / ferry / train journey to Sandown on the Isle of Wight on Monday afternoon went very well despite the rain. Bit of a surprise how far out of town the train station was and walking to the hotel turned out to be impossible. So we were forced to call a taxi and thus began our friendship with Jacek who basically became our driver for the whole time there. He was actually a godsend and solved all our transport problems.

We ended up spending each night eating at the hotel which was very nice indeed. And the good weather on Tuesday and Wednesday meant not only could we do the visits we wanted to do but we could also do little walks along the promenade and pier. Bits of the promenade were incredibly dilapidated, basically abandoned and falling down. Also very memorable were the memorial plaques on the sea front to people who loved the town.

Suppose my only big regret was not seeing one of the island’s famous red squirrels though we did see some great views (thanks to Jacek). The rain and sun made sure everything was green and luscious.

Mum: Plans cancelled but we had the pregnant pygmy goat

Even with a couple of days away, plenty of time spent with mum last week as is my duty and responsibility. Things with her can be messy in that I really don’t know what her health is going to be like and so often our planned events get cancelled. This happened when we organised to do a big supermarket shop together on Friday afternoon; I had finally got her comfortable with the idea and the weather was good. But then she didn’t feel well and so the idea was dropped.

Our main thing, as always, was just spending time with each other. Though that could mean mum having a snooze in the comfort of knowing that I was around if she needed me. We did have a particularly fun time watching an edition of ‘Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun’ together. It was the one about a pregnant pygmy goat and the new parrot arriving at an animal sanctuary. Times like this will be the ones I remember in the future.

The Donkey Sanctuary

This was our destination for Tuesday on the Isle of Wight. Thankfully the rain had stopped as the sanctuary is all outdoors. A big site with lots of walkways so you can visit the 100+ different donkeys who live there. Gentle and fun animals who spent most of their time eating and making their weird very loud braying noises. A lovely afternoon cream tea topped off a great day.


Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day. Ideal for us to visit what was Queen Victoria’s favourite place – you can read about it here. Where she most enjoyed being with her family. The grounds are beautiful. The house is fascinating though the heavy and dark Victorian interior didn’t really inspire me. Great that the house was easy for people to get round with limited mobility.

Some of the most interesting things to see were Victoria’s shower, Albert’s bath, Victoria’s lift, and the totally OTT Durbar Room all done out in Indian style. Me and Patrick chilled out in the tea rooms with another cream tea whilst Dave and Frances went to the beach to see Victoria’s bathing machine whereby she could enter the water without being seen.

My diet messed up

Breaking routine is great but it can so easily mess up your eating habits. When I was ‘on the island’, it felt like I was eating far more than normal whilst not doing my usual exercise. Fried breakfast in the morning, cream teas, and evening hotel meals.

Result was an increase in weight to just over 12 stone 13 pounds. It’s not a disaster and I was thinking things could have been a lot worse. Indeed, I put on weight but it was whilst I was enjoying myself. Do need to be a bit strict with myself for the weeks ahead to ensure there is no permanent upward trajectory.

man weighing himself

Gym: Time for just one session

With all my caring responsibilities, no time for a swim and only one gym session. But it was a good one albeit I had to share the gym with several other people. I wouldn’t describe my workout as messy but I like to mess things about. I never do the same routine. Rather I do the exercises I feel need doing that day and I like to try new ones. I’m also keen to do lots of stretching and like trying new stretches.

45 gym sessions since the start of 2024 divided by the annual membership = £12.22 per session.

‘Frontier’ by Grace Curtis

A messy week in that I only got one book finished. I had thought I would have got more reading done but it was more important for me to spend time with people and enjoy their company. Bit like the weight gain, an aberration from the norm but very worthwhile.

Sadly I found this book disappointing. It is a bit of contemporary queer sci-fi and I am tempted to call it ‘cutesey’ but there are actually some very dark occurrences. Fundamentally it’s the story of a space traveller coming to a devastated Earth and trying to re-contact her lover.

Sci-fi is always as much about the times the writer lives in as what the future will be like. This is a novel about life in America for LGBTQ+ people now. Hostility abounds on Earth against what is not normal but some communities survive. Religion dominates, local law enforcement is corrupt, guns cause many people to die unnecessarily.

There are some nice touches, like when the main character takes on different names to reflect the disguises as they try to evade capture. But I didn’t find it engaging enough. The writing style just didn’t captivate me. Plus there is the inconsistency of a massive leap forward for the humans who left Earth and have obtained the ability to travel across the galaxy while those who stayed behind have gone all Mad Max.


Keeping the faith (just)

Like my reading, I had planned to do more language learning in the week gone. I did manage not to lose my daily record which is now at 600 and something days on the trot. But it was often only one lesson done as I took a quick walk along the promenade in the morning. Although I did pick up the pace from midweek onwards with my return to London.

  • After a good messy and creative week, it’s back to a more ordered and quiet routine. Hopefully 3 gym sessions and a swim.
  • Should finish ‘The Adventures of Amina of al-Sirafi’ by Shannon Chakraborty which is very good. And I’ve started ‘The Ferryman’ by Justin Cronin which is big and intimidating but very engaging.
  • Spending plenty of time with mum. The usual hope that I can get her out for a bit of exercise.
Being woke is good

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