The end of my lazy summer sabbatical

Tues 30 July – Sun 4 Aug 2019

So this is it, the final week of my wonderful sabbatical. I have loved 4 months off work. But on Mon 5th I return. And I need to in order to get some money; my return to being a wage slave and selling out. 🙂 I am expecting a torrent of people asking me what I have done?

I was thinking I just tell them that I have done nothing. 🙂 But that is not fair with trips away, 10 pounds in weight lost, a new exercise regime, and lots of lovely books read. Plus there have been other small things particularly around personal development as well as art and culture. I was getting my haircut on Friday when I heard someone describe themselves as having had a ‘lazy summer’ and I thought that is exactly the way I would describe my time-off. 🙂

Books and Reading

‘Rabbit at rest’

Everyone knows that books are a big part of my life. And my lazy summer has seen many books consumed. One of the highlights of the last 4 months has been discovering John Updike’s 4 novel series charting the life of ‘typical’ American man Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom in the second half of the 20th century. ‘Rabbit at rest’ is the final volume though there is a short novella still to come afterwards to mark the final ending. It’s a wonderful book about a man disenchanted with life and trying to make sense of everything. I can empathise so much.

My 2 other books on the go

Last week, I decided to read 3 books simultaneously to give myself a bit more stimulation. The other 2 I have been reading are ‘The Binding’ by Bridget Collins and ‘Madonna of Bolton’ by Matt Cain. I still have to finish both books but I have enjoyed the tripartite assault on my brain – very intellectually invigorating.

‘Madonna of Bolton’

This was the one to be discussed at the Velvet Page book club on Thurs with the author in attendance. I had every intention of going but it was a busy day and I didn’t feel like it by the time the evening came. Plus I don’t particularly like the book which would be difficult to say in front of the author. It is very gay and trashy though perhaps not so flimsy as I originally thought. I’m not sure the timings all work but it is an easy story of a young northern gay man finding his place in the world and relating it to his love of Madonna.

‘The Binding’


A fantasy book which is not my favourite genre. However, it has improved as I have read it. Still slightly too much aristocracy, peasants, witches and wizards for my full liking. But it is a clever novel based on the idea that some people (binders) can remove people’s mental pain by putting them into books.

Beloved bookshelves

Whilst me and Dave were in Antwerp (see last week’s blog), my brilliant builder brother finished putting up bookshelves in my bedroom. I now have a bed surrounded by floor to ceiling bookshelves – it is fantastic. 🙂 And I spent a lot of time last week sorting out my books and filling up the shelves. My focus was on getting my gay retro collection into alphabetical order.

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I love creating order out of chaos (though it’s also nice sometimes just to create chaos!). There is even space for me to move some books back from Dave’s. This should stop him moaning, a bit. One of the achievements of my lazy summer has been getting my books sorted out, creating spaces I feel really comfortable in, and off loading some stuff either via the Exchange in Notting Hill or the charity shop.

Health and Efficiency

I am healthier and weigh less

Weight scales

Another key aspect of my lazy summer has been establishing a new fitness regime and losing weight. If you had told me at the start of my sabbatical that I would lose 10 pounds then I would have bitten your arm off. Currently I’m thinking, ‘why didn’t I achieve a whole 14 pounds – 1 stone?’.

I suppose it was fortunate that my gym reopened as my sabbatical started after being closed for 8 months. And that I have learnt to live with it being smaller than before. But I have also tried out and integrated more jog-runs as well as yoga and pilates.

Exercise took place on 5 out of 7 days last week. None on Mon due to being on the FlixBus from Hell back from Antwerp. An hour+ late and no toilet this time – apparently still not grounds for compensation. 🙁 And then nothing on Sat due to the Prudential Ride London. Morale of the story – some businesses are wankers!

INR and jog-run


A shorter jog-run on Tues after having my INR (blood clotting level) checked following the previous week’s bad result. OK this week so not over or under clotting (good news after being very stationary in all that horrible coach travel). Primarily due I suspect to remembering to take my meds each day. 🙂 I wonder if my meds are going to be available after a no deal brexit?

Jog-run itself took place on a quite autumnal day with light rain and winds. Still a decent time for a 5K (around 30 mins and 30 seconds) and per kilometre (a bit over 6 mins per km).

Why I hate Prudential Ride London

Unfortunately my weekend jog-run had to be cancelled due to disruption caused by Ride London. This event happens every year and I hate it. There is something really annoying about events being organised in London that fuck up life for people who live there. I kid you not, I saw people driving in with their bikes then offloading them to cycle on the streets of London whilst tourists, buses, pedestrians and businesses all face hassle.

Ride London itself does little to make life better for cyclists. It’s a tokenistic, corporate-sponsored one-off. London would do better having generally less vehicular traffic with more for everyday cyclists than just the odd (and dangerous) cycle lanes. The Mayor should look at places like Antwerp, Amsterdam and Copenhagen where safe and chilled cycling is built into the city’s DNA. But, in my opinion, he is too cautious and doesn’t do radical enough measures. If he had gumption then he would make more areas car free instead of just going for gimmicks.


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Very pleased that I managed to get in 3 gym sessions on the mornings of Wed, Fri, and Sun. 🙂 Rather than doing general all-over body workouts, on Wed and Sun I decided to focus particularly on legs and core. On Wed this was especially to help recovery after my jog-run. Fri was about upper body with my legs and core getting a chance to rest though they had been worked out a bit at the yoga session on Thurs.


Yoga took place on Thurs morning. And I was so pleased that the weather was good enough to be in the park again. A bit cooler than previous times but very inspirational. I find outdoors yoga much easier. It was great occasionally to be facing down on the mat and seeing the ants crawling about in the grass beneath me. This was a wonderful distraction. 🙂


man being pummelled

Another thing instigated during my lazy summer has been massages at THT. I am not doing them all the time as I can’t afford it and there are others who may need treatment more than me. But I booked one in for Fri as it was my last day. It was with my favourite volunteer masseur Adrian who does brilliant deep tissue work.

Personal Development / Art and Culutre

I wish I could say the last week of my lazy summer sabbatical ended with a flurry of PD activity. Alas, it was not so. I did some language learning during last week but little in terms of improving my coding skills. I did manage to keep my email inbox under control though. 🙂

Similarly to PD, nothing earth-shattering to report on last week in terms of Art and Culture. 🙁 I did get a few gallery and museum visits in during my lazy summer sabbatical. But it is amazing how the time flew with so many of my planned activities not happening. I need to make sure I don’t lose these strands in my life now I return to work and it gets busy again.

The Week Ahead

  • Back to work on Mon albeit with my new working hours so I have 4 mornings each week free to do exercise. Must remember to take my work pass with me on Mon!
  • I suspect most of my work time next week will be catching up on work emails and talking to people about my lazy summer as well as getting work gossip. It will be nice to see my team again. 🙂
  • Hopefully will finish The Binding and Madonna of Bolton plus another new book
  • Exercise plan is to get in 2 or 3 gym workouts, a yoga session, and 2 jog-runs
  • Got to try to stay on top of work and personal emails as well as try to keep up on my language learning
  • I have got a plan to take off Fri mornings from exercise (to rest up for my big weekend 10K) and use that time to visit a museum / gallery before going into work… We shall see – it would mean sacrificing a gym session. 🙁

And Finally…

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