The joy of decluttering and relaxing

Mon 24 – Sun 30 June 2019

Hot weather and Glastonbury

A key feature of last week was the weird weather. It started off wet and a bit chilly. With a warning that a heatwave was to come. And through the week the heat built until we hit ‘glorious’ weather at the weekend – low 30s in London. It is a disastrous implication of global warming and climate change with temperatures in France and Spain hitting the mid 40s. 🙁

Climate change will make life different

We are really going to have to adjust our lifestyles to deal with the Climate Emergency, needing to avoid being out in the peak of the heat (as well as probably learning to live on water). Perhaps our lives will all take on a more Middle Eastern / Mediterranean feel: activity in the morning and evening with the middle part of the day reserved for resting and staying indoors.

I love Glastonbury but don’t want to be there

For me on Saturday, I just sat with all the windows open and chilled. It was Glastonbury, one of my favourite weekends of the year. I simply enjoyed myself watching the music. I wouldn’t want to go there, much happier just being a ‘voyeur’. 🙂

Books and Reading

Two books demolished during the week gone.

‘This House is Haunted’ by John Boyne

A fun novel that I basically knocked out over the weekend in Liverpool in between doing all the cultural stuff (details in last week’s blog here). John Boyne is an author I have only just become aware of primarily via reading his magnificent ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies’.

Death (skull)

This was written before THIF and is a classic ghost story. Total Victoriana with everything you would expect in a nineteenth century English gothic haunted house story. Not as good as THIF but still fun and a nice easy read. The sort of book that isn’t going to change your life and is similar to what you have read better before in other places i.e. ‘The House on Haunted Hill’ or ‘The Turn of the Screw’. But I still love the thrill of a good read and a good horror story – this is both. 🙂

‘Rabbit, Run’ by John Updike

A book I have already read many years ago but I wanted to give it another go; really pleased I did. It’s the first in a 4 part series of books exploring the life of Harry Angstrom aka Rabbit. 4 parts like the seasons of the year – that’s a pretty good way of looking at life actually (I’m in Autumn). 🙂

Sinner or more sinned against than sinning?

This book starts the story with Harry at 26 and collapsing (as we all do at some point) under the expectations of normal life – partner, children, rent / mortgage, shit job, etc. So he runs away but it’s all a waste of time and very destructive. I totally agree with this, travel to see the world (though it’s pretty similar everywhere these days) but don’t travel to try to escape what life is.

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But there is also the possibility that by bottling it and returning to ‘normal’ life, so Harry made things worse. Perhaps he should have just run away. Ultimately, you are left wondering if Harry is a selfish shit or someone to be sympathised with as life itself is really shit. The jury is still out for me.

Looking forward to reading ‘Rabbit, Redux’, the next book with Harry at 36 at the end of the 1960s.

Decluttering and the Exchange

My brilliant builder brother has put up a load of shelves for me which has enabled me to spend time decluttering – going through my collection of books, comics, magazines and DVDs to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. I am a bit of a hoarder though definitely not as bad as others I know. Indeed, there is something very therapeutic in sorting out, decluttering, and letting go. Ultimately both us as individuals and everything we own will just be dust.

Apart from the spiritual side of decluttering, there is also the angle where it is feeding into my passion for sustainability. The best thing to help save the planet is not to consume unnecessarily. Remember the mantra: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse.

Off to the Exchange and charity shop

book exchange

So took a load of books and DVDs up to the exchange on Thursday. They bought some but a lot they didn’t want. Amazing how we think things are worth something but ultimately they are only worth what others will pay for them which may well be zero. 🙁 However, stuff they didn’t want went to the charity shop. 🙂

Health and Efficiency


A non-normal and slightly difficult afternoon jog-run

A great weekend away in Liverpool but without any real exercise it left me feeling fat. Train journey back on Monday morning was fine with the pleasure of another cheeky upgrade to first class for £15: food, drink, space, free wi-fi. We were back at Dave’s place for lunchtime and so I took the opportunity to do a post-lunch / early afternoon jog-run around Green Park.

man jogging

Interestingly it was less busy in the afternoon than in the morning even though I try not to run on the days they are doing Changing the Guard. But it was muggy and my body felt more sluggish than it does in the morning. No amazing time like the week before but a more sedate 5K of just under 32 mins. My timer-watch took ages to connect with the satellite and I started running during the wait. Such that I probably actually ran about 6.5K with the first kilometre and a half being untimed.

A good weekend morning jog-run

My other jog-run was a 10K on Saturday morning, early before the heat hit. I have tried to keep my weight under control and had a good week of exercise that has suggested to me the importance of relaxing rather than tensing – see the section below on my appointment with an osteopath. So I deliberately tried relaxing as much as possible on my jog-run and I came in with a very decent time of just over an hour and 3 minutes. Work to do especially on getting a better time in the second half of the run.

Details on jog-run times here.

Osteopath – 3 important lessons learnt

man being pummelled

So off to the osteopath last Monday. This was at the recommendation of a masseur I had seen who suggested it might help with my lower back pain and perhaps even the dodgy joints in my legs. And it was really helpful not only in the very firm massaging he did and guidance on exercise but also by helping me realise 3 key things

First, my lower back problems may well be connected to my very short / tight hamstrings. And I realised I may have been doing stretching exercises wrong in order to improve them. 🙁

Second, we need to go with evolution in looking after our bodies. For instance, swimming takes us back to our times in the ocean and stretching / swinging connects us to being apes. Similarly sitting is wrong and standing / moving is more natural. Likewise go back to food our bodies are designed for i.e. more fruit, veg, nuts and pulses.

Third, my body gets very tense when it feels or expects pain even beneficial pain like in massage and stretching. I need to learn to relax more through pain when it is only superficial and not signifying real danger. My body needs to loosen and relax in exercise and massage not tighten up in anticipation of pain.

Gym and pilates

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4 times at the gym last week – brilliant. 🙂 All morning sessions (Tues, Wed, Fri, Sun) and a focus more than usual on legs and core as well as upper body. This was linked to advice from the osteopath. And I did some better stretches for my hamstrings plus good breathing and relaxing.

Thursday, a great pilates session. On the mat rather than the machine. It’s an excellent session with a very competent teacher. And the more I go the more I know what moves we are making and can focus on simply doing them right to get the full effect.

Personal Development

A wee bit of learning done on coding by watching some videos on YouTube. And kept on top of emails including getting to zero on my personal inbox again. 🙂 Main success though came with language learning with almost every night a session done on Duolingo before going to sleep.

The Week Ahead

  • So the 5th week before I return to work after my sabbatical 🙁
  • Focus on good exercise and weight loss: one yoga session, 2 jog-runs, and 2 or 3 gym sessions
  • Will get the Velvet Page book read in order to attend the meeting on Thursday. Should also get one or two more books read as well.
  • Continue decluttering and trying to free myself of my hoarding instincts
  • Carry on with my personal development goals especially around trying to improve my language abilities in French, Spanish and German 🙂

And Finally…

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