Indeed, it’s been a bit of a book week

Mon 4 – Sun 10 Nov 2019

The week when the General Election campaign got underway, rain caused flooding, and the weather turned cold. Also the week before I went off to Torremolinos for a break in the sun; part of my planned itinerary of time-outs to help ensure a work-life balance, not get burnt out, and stay in good mental health.

Books and Reading

2 books completed last week – one for the Velvet Page Book Club and one read for fun. One, unusually, was non-fiction and the other, much more normally, was sci-fi.

Velvet Page Book Club

Velvet page book club

I do enjoy this monthly event – my wonderfully informal LGBT book club at Waterstones Piccadilly. Some book clubs are too serious but this one is so friendly and laid back. About a dozen of us this month including old regulars (like me 🙂 ) and some newbies. Our co-organiser Chris was there though a couple of regulars were absent. 🙁

Wine and chat, it’s all wonderfully amusing. For instance, this time when we voted on the books to be read for the next 6 months, a tongue-in-cheek dispute followed around if someone had used more than their allotted votes:

‘You’ve had more than 6 votes!’

‘No I have not!’

LOL 🙂

‘David Bowie Made Me Gay. 100 Years of LGBT Music’ by Darryl W. Bullock

This was the book we read for Velvet Page. A encyclopaedic like work detailing music made by LGBT people in the last century (not necessarily music LGBT people were listening to). It’s interesting and definitely fun to read. But it’s also quite list-like and weirdly balanced. Some minor characters get more info than you would expect whilst other big names (such as David Bowie) get little feature. Though as was pointed out, there’s a lot out there already about people like Bowie, Bolan and Liberace.

For me, the best bit of the book was the stuff about the early LGBT musicians and singers. The stories of their lives are fascinating. Indeed, the book could really have ended in the 1980s as we all pretty much know the story from then. Still a decent and unusual non-fiction group read. Some really exciting books for the next 6 months and Dec’s meeting is a Xmas pot luck event where you can talk about whatever you are reading.

‘Kindred’ by Octavia Butler

I’ve been reading this book on my kindle for a few weeks. Intermittent reading primarily whilst I’ve been walking about. And what a brilliant and rewarding piece of fiction it is. 🙂 Classic time travel sci-fi written in 1976. But how well it has aged. Indeed, it’s timeless.

The story of a black woman who is called back in time to protect a slave owner who is also actually one of her ancestors. I am pretty sure it is linked to the awakening of mid-70s America to the horrors of slavery led by the amazing book and TV programme ‘Roots’. Never let anyone kid you that slavery in America was anything less than horrific.

Of course, all the books I have read are listed here.

Health and Efficiency

Jog-run

lady going for jog-run in cold weather

Out on a very cold Sat morning. Indeed, so cold I had to wear a long-sleeve top under my running t-shirt. Not a bad one – a little bit over 1 hour and 2 minutes. Main problem was two km stretches in the 2nd 5K which both came in at about 6.45 mins.

Gym

4 gym sessions which is a brilliant achievement. 🙂 Mornings of Mon, Tues, Thurs and Sun. I just love being at the gym and getting into the swing of things so that I can easily spend well over an hour trying out new exercises and machines.

2 images below. The first was deemed too serious by several people and I was told to smile. So the second one is me smiling. 🙂

Yoga

Nice long walk to my community yoga group in Kings Cross on Fri morning. Turned out our regular space had been double-booked so we made do in a small, local holistic health centre. Pretty cramped but we managed. And a very good session focusing on meditation, breathing, abs, and hamstrings. The spiritual side was angled towards the need for gratitude for whatever we have. 🙂

Weight

man weighing himself

Been keeping an eye on my weight and I am down to about 13 stone 3.5 pounds. I feel proud but slightly mistrustful that it is going to last. What I eat is not very slimming or healthy. I think the weight loss has been through abstinence such as skipping breakfast and lots of exercise.

History of my jog-run times and weight can be found here (going back over 4 & a half years)

Mental health

Think I’m a bit less down than last week. I suspect this is simply because I am on holiday. Still got mum to worry about and work has been busy ‘clearing the decks’. But it’s like having a light at the end of the tunnel to go towards and that must make you feel better. 🙂

Family and Friends

Mum

Her leg continues to be problematic and mobility limited. 🙁 Spent several nights with her and time at the weekend. She’s tried to get out but it’s just too painful. My brother will keep an eye on her whilst I’m away and she’s going to try to get back to her GP as things aren’t getting better.

Darshan

Lovely to meet up on Tues morning (after the gym and before work) with my old friend Darshan who runs the social innovation agency SuperBeingLabs All round good guy who I met through my Tech for Good work. He’s also does stuff around masculinity, depression and comedy. Indeed, details about his next comedy club night on 13th Nov can be found here.

Him and his partner have had a hard time recently. 🙁 We talked on various topics including us both dealing with depression as well as frustrations in how to change the world and make it a better place. I am very lucky to have some brilliant friends. 🙂

Art and Culture

Knights and Angels

Quick post-work drinks with colleagues on Wed night – really enjoyable and wish I could have stayed longer. But I needed to meet Dave at the Royal Festival Hall to see this performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The inside of the Royal Festival Hall

Music loosely based on the theme of chivalry. This included some wonderful flute and harp performances. The pieces performed were:

Elgar: Overture, Froissart
Mozart: Concerto in C for flute & harp, K.299
Alwyn: Concerto for harp & string orchestra (Lyra Angelica)
R Strauss: Don Juan

Really lovely music to relax and contemplate the world. Indeed, I think I can say this was my favourite concert so far we have been to at the RFH. 🙂

The Week Ahead

  • Did I mention I’m on holiday in Torremolinos?
  • Meet up with friends Phyllis, David and Gordon
  • Drink wine and eat nice food
  • At least one trip to Malaga
  • Go out clubbing
  • Coffee
  • Books
  • People watching
  • Enjoying the sun
  • 🙂

And Finally…

Placard for a people's vote

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