Another Week of Discovery

Mon 13 – Sun 19 Feb 2023

The first full week back from my lovely holiday and return to being submerged in ‘normal life’. You can read about the end of my time in paradise here. As so often, I was racking my brain to think what was the theme of the week just gone. At one stage I could not see beyond it being just mundane. But then I realised that a big theme was about discovery. And not just for the week gone, but for my life in general. Indeed, how could you live in the times we are living in and in a country basically falling apart like the UK then say ‘life is mundane’?

Surprised baby

Reasons to be a discoverer

I am a naturally curious person – I think so many of us are and those that aren’t should be. Life is short and if we lived forever then we could do all of the different things we would like to do. But it is finite and so many of the options we want to experience drift out of grasp as the weeks, months, years pass by.

Life is about living as best you can and not caring what others think. TBH, very few people care about the life you live apart from yourself. And, for me, I want to have the chance to constantly experience new discoveries. Not every discovery is monumental. Rather it is about seeing how things can be different and, hopefully, better.

Books and Reading

‘Mudlarking. Lost and Found on the River Thames’ by Lara Maiklem

Inevitably my view of life is so often influenced by the books I read. Part of my love for reading is the way it can show me new experiences and make me think differently. Indeed, I also love archaeology programmes and it is about the discovery of things that tell us about how other people lived and felt. Lovely to spend Sat night with Dave catching up on the two episodes of ‘Digging for Britain’ we missed whilst on holiday.

This is an absolutely delightful book from a woman whose hobby is to go mudlarking along the Thames. Looking at low tide to discover objects in the river mud. She has found some amazing things. Not precious metals and gems but rather broken pieces (literally) of other people lives.

‘It isn’t a discovery if you keep it to yourself’

The objects she has discovered include coins, toys, jewellery, pots, bottles, etc. They show what people like us did in the past to make their lives better. Also what hopes they had and some of the things they believed in. Like charms that they hoped would bring them luck and prosperity.

These were people just like us. They had hopes and dreams some of which were fulfilled but many of which weren’t. They lived and they died as we will. So never forget how unique you are whilst also remembering how unique you aren’t.

Family and Friends

Mum is not well and feeling down

I’ve mentioned that mum has been unwell and during the last week she has got worse. Breathlessness and coughing. We tested for Covid which came back negative. She ended up getting an emergency GP appointment and being diagnosed with a chest infection. Hopefully the antibiotics will kick in. An amazing pharmaceutical discovery and part of me is terrified by the rise of antibiotic resistant infections.

Mum is also feeling down. I think being ill has made this worse but I also know she is simply feeling pissed off with life. Perhaps this is what happens to so many of us as we get older. We look back on life and can see only our failures rather than our successes. Me and my brother are trying to give mum support but it’s hard to know what is the best thing to do.

“You did the best you could with what you had, and when you knew better you did better.”

Maya Angelou

‘It doesn’t do any good for you to keep phoning us’

Mum’s feelings haven’t been helped by the Housing Association. Regular blog readers will know I have been chasing a repair to be done since Sept last year. After having it finally approved in Jan, we are now waiting for the contractors. In theory the work was to be done last Thursday but when I phoned up on Monday, the repair service confirmed it wouldn’t be done. Refused to give a new date and said it was up to the contractors who I am not allowed to contact. They also rudely told me to stop phoning them. The perfect example of poor service.

Being a friend and meetings for the future

Only meetings with friends during the week gone was me and Dave going to Patrick’s on Saturday to set up his new TV. Frustrating discovery that his internet connection is not good enough to support it. Classic example of people being left behind by technology. We can’t just assume everybody has a wonderful internet connection and access to tons of data.

Exciting that I have started to set-up future meetings with friends. Phyllis next Friday before he goes on holiday to Egypt. Also meeting up with my old work colleague Fang Fang in a couple of weeks. And seeing my old school chum Pete though not until later in March. Still, very much looking forward to these meets.

Be happy and grateful about nice things

Personal Development

The joy of language discovery

My language learning is all about discovery. Finding out how other people communicate and how I might be able to better communicate with them. Greater fluency (no matter how small) opens up opportunities for travel and to experience different ways of living.

Been carrying on with my daily Spanish. But I’ve also been dipping into lessons on Duolingo in German. And I’ve even gone back to French which I learnt at school. With the latter, I am still trying to find the right level. The one where I can build on what I already know and add on to it.

Art and Culture

‘The Wages of Fear’

Finally, I have got back to experiencing art and culture. Wednesday, after the gym I went to the Prince Charles to see this 1950s Franco-Italian black and white classic. There is something wonderful about the discovery of an artistic and cultural experience.

This is a wonderfully bizarre cinematic experience. Lasting nearly 2 and a half hours, set in an unnamed South American country. A group of disparate European exiles aimlessly try to fill their time. Then a unique mission comes up. Fabulous wealth but only if they can successfully transport highly unstable nitro-glycerine.

It’s not a film to change your life though you can read more about it here. Indeed, I’m not sure what the message is beyond never assume anything. But it took me into another world for period of time and I thoroughly enjoyed this separation from everyday life. Highly recommended.

Health and Efficiency

A week of several experiences and discoveries

  • Gym 3 lovely sessions achieved. I love finding out how my body reacts to different exercises and levels of weight. 15 gym sessions since the start of 2023 divided by the annual membership = £33 per session.
  • Jog-run So pleased that I have managed to get a couple more walk / jog-runs done as part of the ‘couch to 5K’ programme. This included a move up to the next level and the discovery that I’m enjoying it. One day I will do proper 5K jog-runs again.
  • Weight Managed to lose a bit more and down to just over 13 & a half stone. It’s been a week about learning how to live a normal life and still try to lose weight. Couple of blow-outs but also some days when I just didn’t feel like eating.
  • Stomach issues and tiredness GP on Wed confirmed I haven’t got a hernia – hooray. But he does think I may have issues related to the liver or gall bladder. Gallstones was a suggestion. Blood tests and then, possibly, a scan. I am feeling very tired at the moment. Wonder if this is related or if I have picked up a version of mum’s infection?
  • INR LOL this has swung completely the opposite way to last week. I am now prone to blood clotting and so my warfarin dosage is increased. I’m going to end up at the dose I was taking before I went on holiday, it’s inevitable.
warfarin tablets

The Week Ahead

  • Time with mum and Patrick. Hopefully the former gets better soon.
  • Determined to get to the gym 3 times and at least 2 more mini jog-run sessions
  • Really looking forward to seeing the film ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ on Wed and perhaps one or two other ones this week
  • Have started the recent novel by Barbara Kingsolver ‘Demon Copperhead’ – very good. Also reading some short stories on my kindle by the great sci-fi writer Robert Silverberg; he really was ahead of his time.
  • INR on Friday again…
  • Looking forward to setting up more meetings with friends, doing my language learning, and trying to discover how to live more sustainably
  • I’ve given up on QPR. They are shit and will only improve when they clear out the whole sorry management team.

And Finally…

Being woke is good

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