Christmas Drama and the bits afterwards

Mon 24 – Sun 30 Dec 2018

Drama beyond just the soaps

Overall a very good Christmas but Christmas isn’t Christmas without some drama. And I don’t just mean the soaps which were all wonderfully over the top. Indeed Eastenders was traditionally shouty shouty with an argument at the top of the stairs; the inevitable question being of who would fall or be pushed down and would they die (answer being Alfie, sort of). And Coronation St with Botox Liz run over by her drunk arch-enemy but then managing to stagger indoors before collapsing and making a miraculous recovery in hospital.

sexy santa

No water!

Our first Christmas Drama was on Christmas Eve when we woke at 6.30am to no water. 🙁 Mum was panicing and indeed it looked pretty grim – couldn’t even make a cup of tea or flush the toilet again. Lots of phonecalls to Thames Water (good) and the Housing Association out of hours emergency line (useless – ‘I suggest you phone the Housing Association when they open at 8am’). Turned out the 2 newly developed blocks on our estate were both affected.

More phone calls and round to Tesco to buy water. Eventually sorted out around 11am. Looks like it was caused by the internal pumps to the building failing. Pleased to say all OK since and we’ve been using the bottled water to fill the kettle so creating more needless plastic to be recycled 🙁

The ongoing saga of phone and internet connection to the new flat

BT continue their useless policy of sending me a weekly update that simply tells me when the next update will be; they don’t seem to actually be doing anything to get us connected. So in frustration we have gone with Virgin who came to connect us on Christmas Eve. All good until Boxing Day when the internet connection box seemed to be trapped in a constant connection and reconnection loop. Phone works via the internet so no internet and no phone again. I phoned Virgin about it on Thursday who assured me it was a fault affecting both new blocks and was being dealt with. All a bit groundhog day. 🙁

Christmas Day itself at the Union Jack Club – I love Uber

happy child cosmonauts

Christmas Day itself was a rather nice affair. I took mum over to the Union Jack Club for lunch with Dave and his mum down from the North. Me and mum walked from Olympia to South Kensington simply to get some exercise before lunch. Rashly I decided to flag down a black cab rather than doing Uber. £25 from South Kensington to Waterloo inclusive of a £4 supplement because it was Christmas! Suppose I should be grateful the driver didn’t speak.

lights on the tree

Drink in the bar though the UJC didn’t feel as frenetic as previous years. Lunch itself was very good and traditional without the long waits we have experienced in the past. Of course we over-ate, that is obligatory at Christmas – 4 course meals are not normal (thank the Lord).

turkey dinner
Not the actual UJC lunch but you get the idea
glitter christmas

£8 Uber from the UJC to Dave’s place in Victoria with a muslim driver who was telling us how his extended family were all coming together for dinner that night – 72 people with 2 whole lambs to be cooked! My idea of a nightmare, comparable to a ‘skiing holiday’.

Present opening and a cup of tea at Dave’s. Also a chance for the 2 mums to swap stories about their different meds as well as updating each other on their family situation. Me and Dave started to doze. So me and mum off in an Uber all the way back to Olympia for a very reasonable £18. An evening of soaps followed with chocolates and bed around midnight. 🙂

Friends

Peter

Not a drama, something far more deeper than that. Another elderly friend died over Christmas. His name was Peter and we knew each other since the 90s when we were both volunteers supporting people with AIDS. Indeed, he never really got over his partner dying of the disease.

And as he approached his 80s, dementia set in. Hard to tell at first as he was always scatty and bohemian. A kind and friendly man with the planet a lesser place by his passing. God, why do you let good people die and bastards carry on living? 🙁

So many older people have died this year (Brian, Bob, Peter, Dom’s mum) such that it feels like me and my friends are now the older generation.

Daisy

So I was supposed to go with my old mates Dave (affectionately known as Daisy) and Dom on Thurs to see Peter in hospital. Unfortunately, he died that morning. Dom was committed to dinner with someone else so just Daisy and me met for supper. A very nice meal in Chiswick with Daisy on good form despite Peter’s death and the fact that he is going to get tied up in the funeral preparations whether directly or indirectly. I am blessed with good friends and family.

Personal Development

We make plans and God laughs

It’s funny isn’t it that with no work and spare time you would think I would have got lots of personal development done. The rest of the week after the Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day axis was less dramatic. And yet I made so little progress. The best area was around emails – 4/5. Ploughed through personal stuff and also able to catch up on work ones. But, of course, there are no work emails coming in…

Cup of coffee

Language learning has been pretty dire – 1/5. I really need to focus on improving my Spanish for our trip to Gran Canaria next week. Though I do find myself using the Drops app more than Duolingo these days. I did do a wee bit of coding practice so 1/5 for that as well.

Books and Reading

The brilliance of Sir Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett

After the struggle through Patrick Gale last week, I switched my attention to the brilliant, beloved and much missed Sir Terry Pratchett (a real Sir not a political bribe like the one to John Redwood – talk about a devalued honours system…). ‘Raising Steam’ is a long way into the Disc World series, a collection of brilliant books that I get closer and closer to finishing with the sadness that there are no more due to Terry’s untimely death via dementia.

‘Raising Steam’

Wonderfully witty, it’s the story of the rise of the railways in the Disc World. But also set against political intrigue with terrorist dwarves. Part of Terry’s brilliance was his ability to subtly incorporate commentary on the ludicrousness of everyday life. In this book he covers big business, the stupidity of many mass movements, and the fanning of extremism. Written in 2012, a much better time than now. But still featuring current evils such as populism, false promises, and a public hooked on easy answers.

The Exchange

Exchange

One of my spiritual places, I popped up to The Exchange in Notting hill on Thurs and Fri. Thurs I traded some old DVDs for vouchers and bought some graphic novels. I really enjoy these fantasy, sci-fi and horror ones in particular but can’t quite appreciate them as ‘real’ books. Couldn’t trade books as there was no book buyer. But he was there on Fri so more vouchers. Nice to chat to one of the buyers – we have seen each other for years; a nice bloke. Bought some new fantasy books to read.

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run

Back into my lovely routine of up early on Sat for a coffee then out for my 10K jog-run. Very mild weather, not really cold. All went well until the 6-7km when I went over my average one km time by about 40 seconds and so over 7 mins. Every other km was well under 7 mins. 🙁 Result was an OK time of 1 hours, 5 mins, 53 secs. All results can be seen here.

lady running in cold weather

INR

Down to my GP’s on Fri morning to get my blood clotting levels checked. No drama – all OK with a reading of 2.3 which means I don’t need to go back to be checked for 8 weeks. 🙂

warfarin tablets

Sustainability

Long, purposeful walks

One of my big achievements over the Christmas period was to walk. Relatively drama-free apart from when I was in a coffee shop having a break and a guy started vomiting everywhere leading to an ambulance being called…

Walking takes time as does most exercise (partly explaining the lack of action around personal development). Sadly my gym is still closed for re-development. So I used the holiday time to do lots of long, purposeful walks.

Boxing Day I walked all the way from Olympia to Victoria to see Dave and his mum then walked all the way back. There actually was a bit of drama as at one Pret I stopped for coffee I also used the toilet. 2 cubicles – male and female. Male one was in use so I popped into the female one quickly. I came out and was assaulted verbally by an old posh woman about how disgusting this was and she could not now use the cubicle. I left her complaining – silly fart. All toilets should be unisex which would actually help women as it’s usually theirs that are far busier than men’s.

Then on Thurs I went on a long walk up to Notting Hill to potter around the Exchange before swinging down to Kensington before walking back home (this was the walk with the puking man). Followed by more walking on Fri dealing with various small jobs that needed to be done like going to the doc’s, up the Exchange, getting my haircut ready for my holidays. 🙂

But a mountain of Christmas waste 🙁

Don’t get me wrong, I love chilling at Christmas. And yet the level of waste produced is so depressing. The bins on my estate are chocca by Christmas Day itself. OK we have recycling bins as well but they are also full of crap very quickly. Christmas as a festival of waste and so many unnecessary things. I’ve already got a bag of stuff to go to the charity shop.

recycling symbol

The Week Ahead

  • Don’t really go a bundle on NYE so will probably be asleep at midnight
  • Big news is that me and Dave are off to our beloved Gran Can on Thurs 🙂
  • One day in work on Wed and travel from there to Gatwick to stay in a hotel and be ready for our early morning flight
  • Might try to go for a 5K jog-run on New Year’s Day morning if in the mood and my knee isn’t hurting too much as it is at the moment. Not sure I will get much exercise on holiday… Though the hotel does have a gym and a pool.
  • Looking forward to lots of lovely reading on holiday as well as trying to do some personal development beyond just dealing with emails

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