Billy home alone

Mon 8 – Sun 14 July 2019

Home alone and thinking about my sabbatical coming to an end 🙁

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I am home alone because Dave has gone to a festival in Germany for a few days – twas made very clear he wanted time on his own which is fine. So space for me to revel in my isolation and enjoy my own company doing what I want. 🙂 My main duty whilst he is away is to keep his plants watered in the heat and make sure none die particularly his baby cactuses growing from seeds. I actually like being on my own though it can feel a bit empty. And this home alone period has helped focus my brain on the fact that time is ticking away on my sabbatical.

Reflections on a quiet week

Only 3 weeks left and the great time I’ve had to do nothing is all over. I have loved this time off. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job and miss my colleagues but there is a part of me that does not want to go back. I need the money though I realise the more money I earn then the more I spend.

Still I think I need to make some big decisions about my future now as I am in my autumn years. 🙁

Books and Reading

2 books read last week – one great American novel (part 2) and the other a classic 60s sci-fi.

‘Rabbit redux’

Second volume of this four part series by the great American twentieth century writer John Updike. Finishing all 4 books before my sabbatical ends feels important as the books cover a life and my sabbatical has really made me think about where my life is going.

This novel was about the central character (Harry) in the summer of his life. 36 and entering another crazy period in his hum-drum existence. His wife has an affair and leaves him. He falls in with a couple of drop-outs who move into his house but it all ends tragically. However, life corrects itself and Harry moves on. Really looking forward to the next book (‘Rabbit is rich’) and Harry’s autumn. I’m pretty sure I’m in my autumn.

‘The man who fell to earth’

A William Blake angel

This is a classic sci-fi novel by Walter Tevis written in the early 60s. Made famous by the film version starring David Bowie. The story of an alien who visits this planet, it’s a cracking book with so many themes going on. There’s a strong thread about alienation – the person or being separate to the rest of society. But then there’s the whole question of should the alien be allowed to ‘save’ the human race or should it just take its own path even if that leads to self-destruction. Beautiful and thoughtful sci-fi.

Ongoing decluttering and sorting out

Thursday I had to stay in with mum as the Housing Association had arranged for the annual check on the gas boiler. She gets nervous about these sort of things. An 8am – 1pm slot for the engineer to come so I spent the time waiting carrying on sorting through my beloved book collection.

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run and massage

2 jog-runs again – that is getting to be the norm and I am happy about it. Tuesday morning around Green Park a few times for a 6K though 5K time was a very respectable 30 mins.

man being pummelled

Big 10K on Sat morning. I felt good because of a nice night’s sleep after a massage on Fri by my favourite THT volunteer masseur. He worked hard on my lower back, glutes and hamstrings. Good jog-run time, just over one hour 3 mins. My latest target is to get under that 3 minute mark.


No time for yoga or pilates last week. Monday morning = no yoga as I was still in Brighton from the family day out on Sunday (see last week’s blog). And on Thursday no pilates as I was with mum waiting for the boiler to be checked.

But I did get to the gym 3 times: Wed, Fri and Sun mornings. All good sessions often going on longer than expected as I just get into the groove and don’t want to leave.


man weighing himself

I think I’ve reached a bit of a plateau in my weight loss. Down to nearly 13 stone 7 pounds but a month ago I was only about a couple of pounds heavier. Still the good news is that I have lost about 10 or 11 pounds in total since my sabbatical started at the beginning of April. And I am going to try to keep pushing on getting it lower. 🙂

Personal Development

Still doing my language learning but have started diversifying into podcasts in Spanish and French following the text as it is spoken. Watched some YouTube vids on coding. And regularly keeping my email inbox to zero unread emails by the end of each day. I suspect that will change when I return to work and have the work inbox to deal with as well. 🙁

Art and Culture

Interestingly all my artistic and cultural stuff (bar reading books) came in a weekend burst:

  • Watched 2 films on Saturday. First was ‘The Road’. God what a depressing movie that is. 🙁 Also a bit dull and pointless. Indeed, I have read the book by Cormac McCarthy and I would recommend that far more. The book really does bring home the endless horror of the situation even more so than the film which just sort of falls into the general apocalyptic / zombie genre though the higher end of it.
  • The other film was ‘Regular Lovers’ (Les Amants Reguliers) – a French film picked up at the charity shop. Not one I had ever heard about. It’s nearly 3 hours long and it played out in black and white. I quite enjoyed it but not a lot happens as it follows the fortunes of a group of students as the upheaval of 1968 is defeated. Atmospheric but not the greatest film I have ever seen. It really deserves a second watch but don’t think I will have the time.
  • Then on Sunday I met up with an old mate at Tate Britain (see below). I followed this up with a visit to the Frank Bowling exhibition. Someone I had never heard of but a black British abstract artist born in Guyana. He primarily does big pictures and the physical set-up worked very well. The pictures did not always make sense to me but it was a lovely exhibition to wander around and his use of colour is beautiful.


Home alone but did take some time to meet up with an old mate on Sun afternoon. We met at Tate Britain for coffee and then a walk. He has been through a rough time and is at a crossroads. He is seriously thinking about selling his flat and moving somewhere different to assist with getting better. That’s what I had to do to deal with my addiction and personal problems in Brighton – I had to sell my flat and just get away to start again. But it’s not easy and it takes a lot of guts.


My flying dilemma

recycling symbol

Regular blog readers will know I am deeply concerned about the Climate Emergency that is happening. I should probably be like many other people in my generation (gammon) and not give a fuck as I will be dead in 20 years time just as the worst impact starts to kick in. But I believe our aim should always be to do as little harm as possible and make things better whenever we can.

Plane flying

I don’t have children and I don’t have a car. But I do like travelling. I’m a frequent flyer in that I fly about 4-6 times each year. I really want to do a winter stay in Torremolinos visiting my old friend Philip (Phyllis) plus Gordon and David.

I need to make a decision about whether to go. The flight will go whether I am on it or not. And I am taking the coach to and from Antwerp shortly though the idea of train or coach all the way to Malaga feels daunting and expensive. Perhaps I should go and think about how to reduce the number of flights I do next year.

The Week Ahead

  • Dave is back on Tuesday and my home alone time comes to an end. It will be good to see him again. 🙂
  • Exercise = 2 jog-runs, yoga on Monday, possibly pilates on Thursday, and hopefully 3 gym visits
  • Aiming to finish 2 reading books and start Rabbit at Rest 🙂
  • Gonna keep on with the personal development especially language learning
  • Probably time for me to contact work and start sorting out my return with my sabbatical coming to an end 🙁
  • Hopefully some art / culture and a catch-up with one of my mates

And Finally…

Homo sex is in

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