The Days Just Whizz By

Mon 25 -Sun 31 May 2024

Once upon a time, my aunt (now sadly deceased) said to a very young version of me, ‘You want to grow up don’t you?’ When I replied ‘Yes’, she pointed out that when you are young then the days seem to drag. But when you get older, they whizz by. She was so right.

Some people may say I am currently not living my life to its full potential. Perhaps in a nice way they would say that I have so much to offer that it’s a shame I am not using it. I’m not working at the moment and I could be using my experience and skills to help create a better world.

But I have written how it is nice to be free of work frustrations for at least some time in my life. My days are currently taken up with looking after myself and those I care about. And time does go so fast. I haven’t been working since Jan 2023 but it doesn’t feel like that long.

I feel at this stage in my life, this is where I want to be though it’s not always easy to keep everything in balance – see my blog here. My ability to exercise and look after mum won’t be forever and perhaps in the future I will go back to the world of work. The good thing about being older is that even the worst days go by quickly.

The lovely Easter holiday

I love bank holidays. They are wonderful opportunities to rest and have a day different to your normal existence. Despite the fact I am not working, public holidays still feel different not least as friends are more available. And Easter in particular has that sense of change. Reinforced this year by the clocks going forward on this actual weekend. Longer, brighter days to come plus a pile of chocolate eggs to get through.

Clock face showing time

Family and Friends

Mum

Wow, the first week for ages where there were no days when I was taking mum to the hospital. Not that we did anything major as an alternative. Lots of days spent just being with mum watching the TV or one of us having a sooze. One day, I will look back on these days with fondness and wish they could happen again. A lot of my time is taken up with doing mum’s shopping as she doesn’t feel like going out when it is raining and windy as it has been for much of the week past.

Tim and Bob’s for Good Friday

You gotta love Easter with four days of holiday. And it’s always nice to use some of this time to catch up with friends. Friday me and Dave went over to Wanstead to visit our old friends Tim and Bob. It’s a part of London I don’t know. But it was amazing how easy it was to get there. And it’s a nice place with a decent high street and green spaces.

Tim and Bob are always great company. Bob is a fantastic cook such that it’s always particularly exciting he is making lunch. Lovely three courses and then we sat down to chew the cud over coffee. As so often with old friends, it’s wonderfully easy to spend a couple of hours indulging in easy conversation. Sadly too full to have a slice of Bob’s homemade Simnel Cake and another easy journey back. All in all, a lovely day.

Friends: Dom and Richard, Patrick and Frances

A couple of meals out. Wednesday night, me and Dave met up with Dom and our friend Richard for a restaurant meal. I had met Dom recently but it was nice that Dave could make it this time and that Richard was also available. A nice meal and easy conversation between 4 old gay guys.

Then on Easter Sunday I met up with Patrick and Frances for a pub lunch. Dave couldn’t make it as he has decided to have a big sort out of stuff prior to doing some decorating in his flat. The pub was busy which was surprising as normally it only seems busy when Chelsea are playing – it’s opposite Stamford Bridge. Again, another lovely easy meal with very nice people.

Be happy and grateful about nice things

Health and Efficiency

Gym

Only 2 gym sessions last week because Good Friday messed up my routine – not necessarily a bad thing. Managed to get to the gym on the mornings of Monday and Thursday. Both good sessions though I think I may have a small groin strain. For that, a break from the gym over Easter may be a good thing.

29 gym sessions since the start of 2024 divided by the annual membership = £19 per session.

Swim

Just one swim last week, compared to two the previous week. Went a bit later on Wed morning and found that the pool was quite empty. Might have been to do with people gone away for Easter. But it was lovely to swim without feeling hassled to pace yourself with the other swimmers. Around 20 lengths of varied stroke but the main one being front-crawl.

Weight

A slight increase but still in a comfortable place in terms of where I want to be. Under 13 stone but I must ensure I keep my discipline with food so I don’t go above that magic marker.

man weighing himself

Books and Reading

‘Revolutionary Spring: Fighting for a New World 1848-1849’ by Christopher Clark

Finally finished this comprehensive history of the mid-nineteenth century revolutions and counter-revolutions that rocked Europe. Basically nearly every part of mainland Europe, barring Russia and Iberia, saw revolutions in 1848 but by 1849 most of them had been cancelled out by governments retaking control. The key issue is whether we should see this period as one of success or failure?

Clark demonstrates clearly that the revolutions were a patchwork unfolding in various ways across the continent. There is no doubt that the post Napoleonic European settlement was over-turned and absolute monarchies were again undermined. But radicals and liberals often couldn’t combine to deliver success whilst conservative countryside overcame the urban uprisings. Also, nationalism was a driver but no new states came out of these years.

However, to think these days achieved nothing would be wrong. Indeed, it is strange that we are so hung up on their success or failure question as opposed to how we think of other historical events. Out of this period came political systems based on technical advancement and centrist consensus. And, ultimately, the new states of Germany and Italy plus the collapse of the Austrian Empire can all be traced to 1848/9.

Finally, Clark also tempts us to see the chaos of ideas and challenges to established orders being similar to today. Perhaps it’s a good analogy but the clear thing is that we don’t know what the outcomes will be.

Art and Culture

The Ideal Home Exhibition

A bit of a strange cultural event. But I had a couple of free tickets so me and Dave went along on Wed afternoon. Glad I didn’t pay for the tickets. It’s a strange mixture. Really expensive items that you could only buy if you had a massive house and garden. So conservatories, hot tubs, custom-made furniture, etc. Alongside this, stalls selling stuff you would probably find in a local market: cushion covers, shoes, clothes, etc.

Average age of participants was well into the 50s. I suppose they are the ones with money to burn. The food hall was quite nice and we checked out several freebies including several different types of rum. Went away with a big tub of yoghurt and Dave bought a big slab of fudge that he shared with mum.

QPR: Moving towards safety?

A cracking result on Sunday against fellow strugglers Birmingham City. But a close run thing with the winning goal in the second minute of extra time. But success and failure are made on the spin of a coin. The momentum is with us these days but we are still near the bottom of the league and every point and goal still counts. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

QPR

The Week Ahead

  • Easter Monday disrupts my normal exercise schedule. So my plan for the days ahead is gym on Tues, Thurs, and Fri morning. Plus a swim later on Wed morning again. May have to wait in on Wed afternoon for the delivery of Dave’s new fridge-freezer.
  • Couple of personal health things to do: time to get my INR done to check re my blood clotting levels and back to see the physio about my Achilles on Friday. Though I’m not that sure of the value of the latter any more.
  • It’s the Velvet Page Book Club on Thursday night and I would like to go to discuss the book: ‘User’ by Bruce Benderson – a very gay book.
  • Two key games for QPR. Away against Swansea on Bank Holiday Monday. Then next Saturday a match against fellow strugglers again, this time it’s Sheffield Wednesday.

And Finally…

Ukraine fights for the rest of Europe

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