Half in Sitges, half in London, and three consecutive days in the gym

Sun 26 April – Sat 2 May 2015

So last blog week started in Sitges and ended in London with the weather being not great in Catalunya but colder and wetter in London. Not a bad week at all, relatively peaceful as the maelstrom of the election and uncertainty about the future whirl around me.

Latter days in Sitges
Last Sunday was like Saturday in Sitges, too cloudy to go to beach so I concentrated on doing another long walk along the promenade and around los bosques. Busy in town and a bit sad that with the cloudy weather people couldn’t go to the beach and generally did not know what to do. The cafes and bars were very busy so giving the opportunity for lots of people watching whilst reading my books.

11050239_817084005026689_1546123264000116155_nMonday there was enough sun for me to get back to beach (see photo above) though it was also quite breezy and felt like the sun could disappear at any moment behind the clouds that seemed to appear from nowhere. I originally booked to return home on the Wednesday but, with the threat of disruption due to the Frend air traffic control strike, I had also booked a ticket to come back on Tuesday wall-698800__180(day before the strike was due to start).┬áTurned out that the strike had been postponed but I decided to go home on my early ticket anyway because the weather was not that great, I was missing my partner, and I wanted to get back to the gym. Monday night was breezy but I sat watching the world go by, reading my book and sipping on my new favourite cocktail – Whisky Sour.

The journey back
So on Tuesday I left around lunch-time just after bumping into one of my ex-partners (standard joke here about there being lots of them around). He is one of the nice ones and was there for his 40th birthday with his new boyfriend; they have just bought a house together and moved up to Yorkshire. Slight panic on the way to the airport as the train did not stop at El Prat to change lines and so I ended up at Sants station in Barcelona. All OK as we managed to change to the airport train here but me and a German tourist (his first time in Sitges) were both a bit concerned for a while. A no probs flight and back in time for dinner with Dave but it was a bit sad as the place we were eating did not do whisky sours.

Relatos Salvajes – Wild Tales
Relatos_salvajesComing home Tuesday evening rather than Wednesday afternoon meant I gained a whole free day I had not been expecting. So gym in the morning, of course, and then in the afternoon to the cinema to see ‘Wild Tales’ (Relatos Salvajes), an Almodovaresque Argentinian film containing six crazy black comedy sketches. Common themes – death, disaster, conflict, cars, revenge, deals. Very good though one of sketches was scarily prophetic in light of the recent airline tragedy where the plane was deliberately crashed.

Focusing on what I enjoy at work
Work meeting late on Wednesday afternoon about Tech for Good so I didn’t resent popping into the office and so good to see my colleague Nissa back from Peru. Then again in work as normal on last Thursday and Friday afternoons. I had been keeping an eye on my emails whilst I was away so there were no great surprises or nightmares on my return. My main focus at the moment is the Tech for Good programme I am running – I find this such a fascinating area to work in. The issues this and ‘innovation’ in general brings up are absolutely fascinating. I also had to sign off a load of assessments for some more ‘regular’ applications to our Main Fund and I was catching up with some of the other big project grants I enjoy overseeing such as around veterans’ mental health, work in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Stoke Wavemaker, and the abstinence-based recovery community projects.

My triumphant return to the gym and a good jog-run
One of the very best things about getting back from holiday and returning to routine is that I could get back to my normal exercise routine. And I managed to get to the gym three days in a row followed by a jog-run on Saturday morning. An all over body workout each day though varying the types of exercise each day but working amsterdam-91008__180the same key parts of the body. I switched my jog-run from Sunday to Saturday because the weather forecast for the former looked bad. I am always nervous about my jog-runs, primarily around how my achilles will hold up. But a good one and perfectly decent ‘score’ as can be seen on the page of this site where I store the details. Haven’t weighed myself yet partly because I am sure it will be bad news after my time away.

Developing myself
I have been trying to be more disciplined with myself since I came back from holiday, giving more emphasis to the areas in my life I want to improve. Exercise is one and digital plus my language skills are other areas. In terms of digital, I have made more use of the fantastic resource that is YouTube and in particular the advice by the brilliant Tyler Moore on how to tart up my website – see www.tyler.com┬áHe also looks and sounds quite sexy, shame both both of us are married. By all means let me know what you think of the newer look to my website. I’ve also been doing more regular sessions on Duolingo trying to consolidate what I should already know rather than continually pushing ahead. I have decided to drop the e-learning at iversity – too old skool and basic (i.e. teaching me how to say ‘Hello’ in Spanish).

Books and reading
Well I finished reading Hans Fallada’s ‘Once a Jailbird’ whilst on holiday but boy was it heavy going! Based in Berlin in the early thirties, it was all about a guy who leaves prison and, despite his best efforts, ends up back in prison – hence the depressing title. One of the most interesting things was reading the short accompanying biog of Fallada. He lived through all Germany’s worst bits including the Nazis as he decided not to escape abroad when they came to power, even though they did not like him, and then dying in 1947; bleak.

To lighten things I moved onto an author I love – Ben Aaronovitch who has written a multitude of books including several Dr Who ones. However the book I read this time was ‘Moon over Soho’ – the second book in his DC Peter Grant series about a London policeman fighting evil magic. Silly and escapist but just what was required.

And finally, I have also been reading Paul Bailey’s ‘Trespasses’. He is a very renowned classic gay author and this is one of his earlier books written in 1970. It’s quite disjointed, dreamlike and almost poetic. That does mean it is not an easy book to read and I still can’t decide if it was good literature or actually quite badly written (a case of the emperor’s new clothes?) His later stuff (such as Gabriel’s Lament) was much better.

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