The week Bob died and my exercise regime went pear-shaped

Mon 13 – Sun 19 Aug 2018

Bob’s death announced

Sat morning I got the call from the nursing home to say my old friend Bob had died. Fortuitously, Dave and I had been to see him on Thurs. In the nursing home going to Bob’s room (I thought it was strange he wasn’t in the lounge), we bumped into the home manager. She warned us that he had taken a turn for the worse over the past couple of weeks.

Our final meeting

So we found him bed-ridden and unable to speak. He drifted in and out of sleep and was clearly in another place. We chatted to him about life and he was happy that we were there. But, underneath, you could see the flame flickering and the body struggling to cope. After a couple of hours, we said our goodbyes and promised to see him in Sept knowing that was very unlikely.

Thus both of the old chaps I kept an eye on in Brighton died this year which I would not have predicted a year ago. I lived in Brighton for 12 years and met Bob (and Brian) when they were a few years older than me now. 7 years ago, Bob had a massive stroke which effectively paralysed him though he could still use his left arm and speak. He had been in the nursing home ever since and we would go down every 4-6 weeks to take him out in his crappy old wheelchair to the coffee shop where we would sit and watch the world go by.

Unlike Brian, the other old Brighton chap who died, Bob does have other friends and family supporting him though they are local so I don’t really know them. I’ve asked the nursing home to pass on my number as I would like to go to his funeral.

A decent man

A pic of my old friend BobBob was very active in the community and the Mayor of Brighton in the 70s/80s. He was responsible for some modernisation that happened when Brighton was not a hipster city. When it really was a town of ‘peers, queers, and racketeers’. In retirement, Bob did tons of voluntary work including school governorships, charity trusteeships, and the thankless task of being on the panel that hears appeals when children have not been allocated their school choice.

An all round gentleman and good guy. Rest in peace and rise in glory.

Death matters, thus living matters

Death (skull)Dave my other half moans that I think and talk about death too much. I grew up with death in that it was the AIDS crisis and I knew many who died.  Though there were also some who died other ways such as suicide and murder. Ultimately we will all die, it is inevitable.

I don’t know if I believe in an after-life, it doesn’t really matter because you don’t get a choice. The main thing is to enjoy life but without fucking it up for others and remembering that we need to leave the world in a good state for those who replace us. You can’t really live if you don’t think about death.

Health and Efficiency

God I miss the gym. It is closed for 2 months’ redevelopment. I had big plans to go swimming even though I really don’t enjoy it; I find it very boring. I ended up having a week off apart from my beloved weekend jog-run. Main thing I did do to replace the gym was some long purposeful walks with the main one being Tues morning from Olympia to Piccadilly Circus.

Jog-run

pair of runner's calvesThis went so wrong. Put it off till Sun as I woke up on Wed with a sore throat. Not sure where that had come from but it persisted including glands in my neck hurting, nauseous feelings, and even a bit of light-headedness. I hoped it had fully passed before I undertook my main exercise of the week – mistake. 🙁

Also, on the day, my GPS watch would not make the satellite connection. Ultimately I started running and it finally connected after about 3km. So I did 7km and it was slow plus I felt shitty. A very slow time of 50 mins equalling about 7 mins per km which is really poor (good norm = 6.20 mins per km). Oh well, next time.

QPR

QPR old skoolTo do well in life you need to be inspired. My beloved QPR sacked the wonderful Ian Holloway and replaced him with mega has-been (never-was) Steve McLaren. It was a car crash you could see coming. First 3 league games lost and a 7-1 defeat yesterday by West Brom.

Nothing represents the past more than dinosaursSeriously how does a professional football team let in 7 goals? If I was McLaren then I would resign out of honour. And if I was in charge at the Rs then I would be searching for a new manager and not one of the dinosaurs they keep going for.

Innovation and Creativity

Why isn’t work easier?

The rest of the week pales after something as deep as seeing one of your oldest friends entering his last days and dying. Stuff at work falls into perspective though it is important as it gives us all purpose in our lives. Indeed, it’s strange that we all want to do a good job yet cause each other such stress without meaning to.

Internal sorting

Lots of internal sorting-out in the office not least as it’s time to get the papers ready for committee and trustees to sign off funding. A 3 hour meeting to discuss risk on Wed afternoon went well though it is easy to let such sessions become energy drainers rather than inspirers (LOL – no such word 🙂 ) with their focus on the bad. And the office sports day after work the same day that gave me an excuse to drink wine and chat to my lovely colleagues.

A couple of good external catch-ups

Youth Business International

Fri morning I caught up with Charne from Youth Business International. We were linked via a coffee catch-up organised by CAST (Centre for the Acceleration of Social Tech) where people who have signed up are randomly connected. A great chat about tech especially stuff we are actually using. Really useful and eye-opening.

42nd Street

Then Fri afternoon I had a phone catch-up with Tess at 42nd Street. This is a creative project in Manchester dealing with young people’s mental health and wellbeing. We have a long history with this great organisation. And our trustees are going to hold their Sept meeting there. So a good opportunity to find out how the project is faring and to talk through the visit.

Culture

painting Tues was my day off and I went to Tate Britain. Obviously I hadn’t yet visited Bob but looking back this cultural event helped me through last week. Art can have amazing power to reflect, inspire and enable coping.

Painting There is something truly lovely about wondering around a gallery being surrounded by art that is not always easy or even good but that puts your head in another place.

PaintingI visited the ‘All Too Human’ exhibition. It finishes 27 Aug so I wanted to catch it. It’s a bit eclectic. Fundamentally it is a general retrospective of British art in the 20th century with a particular focus on figurative painting.

There is some beautiful stuff as you would expect by well-known artists such as Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. However, there were also artists new to me who inspired such as F.N. Souza (a great black painter), R.B. Kitaj (who reminds me big time of Kandinsky), Paula Rego, and Cecily Brown.

Painting

Celebrity Big Brother

Not sure its really cultural (pop culture?) but I am enjoying the new CBB. All amazingly flimsy but good entertainment. And there is some real eye candy with Dan Osborne and Ryan Thomas. 🙂

Personal Development

Overall, pretty good last week though a few more Duolingo gaps than I would ideally want. Primarily due to tiredness. I’ve shifted on the coding practice to using Free Code Camp on my laptop as well as the apps. Emails continue to be the bane of my life but I am keeping on top of them (just about).

Sustainability

Nothing major about last week. One interesting thing is that the sore throat infection I have is putting me off meat. The idea of it makes me feel quite nauseous. This is probably good for my health as well as being good for the planet.

Books

‘Sisters of the Revolution’

Wall sloganSub-titled ‘A feminist speculative fiction anthology’ and edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer (the latter a particular author I need to catch up with). Speculative fiction covers a multitude of sins including horror, alt history, sci-fi, and fantasy.

I suppose I am a fan of speculative fiction writing.

Not sure I would like this book not least because the cover makes it look so academic. The selection of stories is brilliant with authors I have read and not read. I can’t remember all the stories but there are some great ones such as those featuring a she werewolf, humans converting to insects ( for the good of the company they work for), and female knights. Although there are also some dodgy ones unfortunately including the last 2 so the book didn’t end on a high. Still good to read stuff that I wouldn’t normally be guaranteed to venture into.

The Week Ahead:

  • Different work days next week: all day Mon, Tues, Wed. Primarily because I am doing an all-day training course on Tues to learn more about how our grant management software works.
  • Catching up Mon morning with my friend Matt Haworth from Reason Digital
  • Me and Dave having dinner with our old friends Patrick and Stephen on Tues at the theatrical restaurant Joe Allen’s. It’s years since I’ve been there.
  • Thurs is my big day-off and I plan to do some more art (perhaps the Picasso 1932 exhibition at Tate Modern) and hopefully the lunchtime Sacred Moments concert at St Martin in the Fields
  • Should collect my new reading glasses after my eye test on Sat. Need to think about seeing the chiropodist and dentist.
  • Long purposeful walks and a jog-run at the weekend. Really should try a swim but it doesn’t entice me.
  • Hopefully more languages and coding learning than last week, and keeping on top of those bloody emails.
  • Starting a new reading book. Would be good to get through that next week and start a new one. 🙂 Starting to read a new book always makes me happy. It’s an unknown adventure beginning.

And Finally…

Placard for a people's vote

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