Meanwhile, In The Dimension We Call Reality…

Mon 6 – Sun 12 Feb 2023

One of those half and half weeks we have in life. First half, in paradise on holiday. Second half, back to the reality of everyday life in dreary Britain.

Finishing off in Maspalomas

Monday and Tuesday, was the final bit of our fortnight-long winter holiday – you can read about it in my previous blogs here and here. I was still really enjoying lying in the sun and going out for drinks. Dave reported that he was bored and looking forward to going home. TBH, I don’t understand why he was so keen to get back. Apparently the big thing he was missing was a tuna baguette from Pret – I mean, seriously?!

Up and down weather

Weather was actually not that fantastic for our last two days. I did manage to get several hours on the lounger absorbing the sun. But there were many times when the clouds were out. Of course, it is still winter in the Canaries. And then on Monday night, we had evening rain. So strange to be out in the Yumbo at night having a drink and looking at all the puddles.

The travelling back day

Wednesday was very much a return to reality – coming back to Earth with a bump. It was the end of the holiday return day so it was a case of just getting on with it. A big breakfast to fortify us then to the airport. The joy of trying to find the fastest check-in queue then the bus to the plane. Flight was fine and then collected our bags. There was a fun old couple who we kept bumping into at every stage of the journey. Train back to London and unpacking.

The jump

Health and Efficiency

INR

My reality is very much linked to medical stuff which I always forget about on holiday beyond trying to remember to take my meds each day. However, Thurs afternoon and it was INR time to measure my blood clotting. An excess of alcohol affects things and so it came to pass that my reading showed I had become extremely prone to internal bleeding. Thus a change in my warfarin levels and back to be rechecked next week. ‘Fun’ trying to get my new warfarin tablets from the pharmacy at the same time as the aggressive addicts turning up to get their methadone – ho hum.

A cocktail of meds

Weight

My big worry was that as the alcohol had completely messed up my INR so my holiday food intake would have screwed up my pre-holiday weight loss. Thus, I was surprised to find that my immediate weight gain was only to 13 stone 10 pounds. A far better reality than I was expecting. And a return to sensible eating and drinking meant by the weekend I was back at the weight I had been at when we went away. So some good news.

Gym

I suppose there are some good things about a return to reality and one of those for me is being able to go back to the gym. Managed to get two sessions in – the mornings of Thursday and Friday. Both good ones with me on my own. And, both times, I ended up spending longer in the gym than planned using different machines and weights. Really good fun.

12 gym sessions since the start of 2023 divided by the annual membership = £41.25 per session

Curls

Jog-run

Got in another holiday jog-run as part of the ‘couch to 5K’ programme on Tuesday. And then again back in London on Sunday morning. At this early stage in the 9 week programme, the walk / jogs are easy and quite fun. Though I am feeling it in my lungs (might be to do with having a slight cold). Thankfully, knees are doing OK.

Plenty of tourists to get around when back in London and definitely colder than Gran Can. Did need a big sleep on Sunday afternoon to make up for the late night before (see below) and the jog-run; the reality of getting old and trying to stay in shape.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.“

Arthur Ashe

Family and Friends

Mum – promised stuff not being done

Really great to catch up with her after coming back. As per usual, I got her some flowers. She’s been well particularly as my brother has been keeping a watch on her. Indeed, it was nice to see him as well on my return. However, unfortunate that over the weekend mum developed a heavy cold. Hope it wasn’t something I brought back from holiday.

Meanwhile, the reality of chasing the repair to the kitchen window. Never doubt how rubbish Housing Associations are at getting stuff done. This has been going on since September. Before I went away I was told that the repair had been approved and the contractors would contact us. Guess what, no contact. So I chased the Housing Association who said we would just have to wait to hear from the contractors and refused to chase them. I sort of give up.

Patrick – more promised stuff not being done

So nice to catch up with our friend face to face for our usual Saturday morning coffee. Though me and Dave did keep in contact with him by phone whilst we were away. We really need to help him sort out some stuff in his flat in order to fit his new carpet.

Meanwhile, also frustrating that some medical / social services support he was promised and we have chased up still hasn’t come through. As with mum’s window, I increasingly think we live in a failing country where stuff is promised but never happens. The only hope being that if you chase and pester enough then it might eventually get done.

Peter’s 40th birthday party

Saturday night and down to Twickenham to attend the 40th birthday party of Dave’s work colleague. As it was mainly going to be Dave’s workmates, I was instructed to be on best behaviour LOL. Me and Dave met at a very busy Union Jack Club (result of Six Nations rugby, Valentine’s weekend, and start of half-term) for a bite to eat before catching the train. The party itself was at a hotel bar and it turned out to be fancy dress. Anything beginning with a ‘P’ so prisoner, punk, priest, Pope, patient, photographer, policeman, etc.

Thankfully, there were a few others not in fancy dress so me and Dave weren’t totally out of place. A very pleasant evening meeting new people I did not know. Not too late home. Indeed, it was strange to be out on a Saturday night, don’t do it much these days. And there were lots of people out having a good time. My reality is that I don’t want to be going out on the weekend regularly any more but it’s nice to do it once in a while.

birthday cake

Books and Reading

‘Dancers at the End of Time’ by Michael Moorcock

This long book of nearly 700 pages is actually a series of sci-fi novels written 1972 to 1976. I started it the previous week and finished it as we flew back. It’s seriously weird and wonderfully imaginative. Basically it’s the Earth just before the end of the universe. There are a select group of humans left with unlimited powers. Such that they live in an non-reality where they can never die and create whatever type of world that they desire.

Their life is pure hedonism. Indeed, if you had unlimited power then your life would be just as indulgent. The focus of this novel is on one of the humans who accidentally meets and falls in love with a woman from the nineteenth century. It’s the story of if they can build a life together and how they might survive the end of the universe.

It really is a pretty amazing novel. Not always an easy read but the sheer imagination of the worlds and characters that Moorcock has created is amazing. I can’t explain it all easily but I keep remembering elements of the stories. It is as world-building as the work that Terry Pratchett did – it’s on that level. Long and difficult but a definitive piece of sci-fi / fantasy by a great writer.

Golden humanoids

‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This really was a complete opposite of Moorcock’s ‘Dancers’. As much fun but far more easier to consume. It’s not reality but rather the made-up story, through interviews with the main protagonists, of the rise of a 1970s pop group in the mould of Fleetwood Mac. It’s great to see the tensions between the main characters and the difference ways they remember the seminal events in their rise to and fall from fame. A wonderfully easy and entertaining read – recommended.

Personal Development

Moving on in Spanish

Managed to get some Spanish lessons done on Duolingo everyday apart from the ‘back to reality’ travel day of Wednesday. Whilst on holiday, I often did my lessons whilst laying on the lounger in the morning waiting for the sun to come round the edge of the hotel and start to warm us up. Then, as it was just me on my own in the gym on Thurs and Fri, so I was able to do the language learning in-between sets of exercise.

Sustainability

“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values – and follow my own moral compass – then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.”

Michelle Obama

Offloading magazines

Reality means me trying to continue with my efforts to save the planet. One of the things I have gone back to with gusto, is to carry on offloading stuff in my life. Particularly as I get older, I want to get rid of the things I have collected over the years which I don’t use and just take up space.

One of the big things I have realised is that all my old editions of the magazines ‘Gay Times’ and ‘Attitude’ are just rubbish that I never look at. So bit by bit, they are going to our local charity shop which are selling them for 50p each or 3 for a pound. Hopefully others can use and enjoy them.

Balcony birds: Blue tits, a robin, and a wren

Meanwhile, it’s great to see the birds again on Dave’s slightly overgrown balcony. He filled up all the bird feeders before he went and they were empty on return. Refilled and attracting blue tits (who always come in groups of 2 or 3) and solitary robins. They have also been joined by what I think is a wren who sings beautifully. At one stage, she was joined by a very small wren. Was this a new born which means we have a nest nearby? Great to watch all the birds, I just wish they could get along better together.

Close up of a blue tit

The Week Ahead

  • Couple of health issues to deal with including a visit to the GP about the strange discomfort in my stomach (hoping it’s not a hernia) and repeat of my INR
  • Intention is 3 gym sessions and a couple of jog-runs as part of the ‘couch to 5K’ programme
  • Time to be spent with mum and chasing the Housing Association (again) to see if we can get our repair done
  • Me and Dave will also catch up with Patrick and it would be lovely to meet with Frances as well soon
  • Looking forward to starting some new reading books
  • Must get art and culture back into my life now I am back in my reality. As well as carrying on with my personal development and my aim to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

And Finally…

Race war in America

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