Breast Up, Back Down

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In a previous iteration I was pretty active for a non sporty type. Like, I started swimming regularly because there was a laundry at my local pool at St George’s. A large load bought me a 40 minute swim. I don’t hate laundrettes, in fact, when I was a kid my mum was friends with the lady who worked at the laundrette and I got to see backstage, which I found entrancing. I pretty much love the back stage of any kind of an operation, and perhaps my love of it started there, in the dusty and oily back end of banks of driers.

Anyway, despite my lack of hatred, if there is a swimming pool actually attached to a laundry it would seem churlish to ignore it. So I swam there regularly. It’s a 33.3 meter pool, and I know I started off at 8 lengths. So that was 266.6 meters. The amount of lengths shot up over what turned out to be quite a short time before I bought my first washing machine and turned to my next fad, weight training.

Now I’m back in the pool. Not that pool, and neither the pool of life, but the pool of Ironmonger Row. Knowing I’d benefit from monitoring my progress I looked up the pool length and have been keeping a note of my progress. It’s a 25 meter pool, but I’ve had three nominal total body replacements since then, all those cells ageing and mainly on the wane. I’ve gone up two dress sizes and now have a much less active life. My aerobic fitness has plummeted over the past two years and I’m leery of getting fat clothes, but look awful in the stuff I’ve already got, and that’s if I can get any of it on. In reality I can theoretically wear about a fifth of my wardrobe, and that’s mostly socks.

swimsuit

 

I actually moved house deliberately to be spitting distance to a pool, but it has taken me a few weeks to get around to actually swimming. First off, I had to get a swimming costume that was realistically big, and then I had to do all the paperwork that is involved in getting a concession sorted out. And then I had to get over myself for having done it a bit wrong and being angry with the man who gave me the hard sell for the membership option.

A smart smack to the head with a misdirected ball thrown in the park gave me the perfect excuse. Ok, it smarted, but it wasn’t that, it was the way the fibro tickled the shock into a nice entrenched neck pain, followed by a fire storm down my shoulders and upper back, and then a few hours later my lower back and a kind of sciatica thing all the way down to my left foot. Pain killers be damned, this was going to have to be worked off physically, and swimming was just the badger for the job.

I have a fear of new buildings. Not ‘new’ new buildings, just any building I’ve not been in before. So there was an element of loin girding, but however they are laid out at least swimming pools generally have an internal logic which can be tentatively predictable. I wore the swimmie under my clothes and packed all the things I needed, managed to get into the changing room without having a nervous breakdown and stripped off and had an acclimatising shower. The interior of Ironmonger Row has been recently refurbished and is reassuringly posh. There were steps to get in to the pool so I didn’t have to out myself as a less able bodied type of a person, and the water was acceptably warm, so none of the embarrassment of spasming and drowning, then. Good.

All I had to do now was swim. I have to be really careful about triggering migraines and other fibro related aches and pains which can go on, like the ball thing, to tell epic tales in my body, so I reckoned on 15-20 minutes. I counted my lengths. First go round I did 50 meters, rested for five minutes, did another 50, rested, did another 50 then called it a day. I did that two days in a row, rested a day and then did 100/100/100 LIKE A DAMN BOSS!

Even when I was nominally well I had a problem with headaches, so I had a physiological strategy – breast up, back down, thus saving my neck from undue strain. This strategy is good when everyone is lane swimming PROPERLY but not everyone does, and going backwards into gaggles of chatting people is a drag, but everyone was civilised and the pool wasn’t overpopulated. I could relax. I could relax and trust life.

Over the course of my previous swimming patch I’d noticed a tendency to think while swimming, and a sense of not having refreshed my brain the way I’d refreshed my body, so, it being the days of the Louise Hay and other ‘gurus’ I decided to do affirmations. “I relax and trust life, money comes easily to me” scanned for the breast stroke, and I can’t remember what I did for back. Now I just count. Not all the time, but 10 years or so of meditation means I really don’t have to sweat ‘just swimming’ but after the first go round I noticed that it was third bunting, hoist, steps, end of pool, which was just over 8 strokes of backstroke the speed I was swimming at, so bunting 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 flip, stop.

As long as the alternative is drowning, swimming lends itself well to an approximation of a meditative state. Swimming is neither eternalistic by nature nor nihilistic. It is radically embodied and totally existential.

When I was at school you always had to really hurry to get dressed after swimming. I really hated it. Claggy clothes and hair clinging coldly to skin, all to rush to a lesson I doubtless had no interest in anyway, and under the apparently watchful eye of our resident pervy gym teacher.

Now I am an adult and no one is the boss of me. I take my time washing and drying, resting and mindfully taking the next thing I need out of the locker and ultimately packing everything away in a sane methodical style. The building mirrors my own carefulness back to me – here is even a bank of five hair driers awaiting use in the most civilised manner just before the exit.

A couple of days later and I dial it back to 200 meters in total.

I’m back in the swim.

Eye Eye!

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Forgive me, readers, it has been some time since my last confession. If you are friended to me on the face book you will know that I have been moving house and beetling up and down to Brighton, to boot. And that I have had horrible deprivations on the broadband front. I’m still tethering, here, so bear with.

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I’ve moved to Old Street, just round the back of the eye hospital.

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And just round the corner from the Ironmonger Row swimming baths. I haven’t gone yet, but I’ve taken the precaution of buying a voluminous swimming costume so as not to frighten people.

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This isn’t really the East End as such, but it is safely back in the warm embrace of Arsenal. Even though I don’t give a rat’s ass for the footie, it was still odd being in the realm of Spurs. Why should it matter? It doesn’t. It doesn’t matter.

Still.

Even so.

So I decided that I was going to style myself as being ‘in the eye of the storm’ being the still point that I am, and living round the corner from the eye hospital and it’s lovely bonkers clock, and on my way to photograph it I saw this monster of a building.

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I wouldn’t mind, apart from the general fright it gave me, but it turns out this is the children’s eye hospital! A whole façade dedicated to the sort of thing that could put your eye out. THE TRAUMA. And it isn’t even right next to a psych wing.

This deserves a lot more time than I’ve got right now. Because YOU KNOW HOW BUSY I AM! Anyway, I’m not busy, but I am knackered, so. As you might imagine a few people took photos at End Of. and this is a snippet of Alison Moyet!

Alison. Moyet. YO!

Good Morning, Sunshine!

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Apparently this has been the wettest winter in 200 years. I’ve certainly been migraining more or less solidly since the August Bank Holiday, and the past couple of days of sunshine have been a welcome respite.

When I surface I take a look around at what is going on and hope to God there’s nothing I need to have done, need to be doing, should have done, ought to have done…

Yesterday I did a bit of paperwork. Not very exciting, but also, pleasingly, nothing too terrifying came to light.

In homing pigeon news, you may remember I’ve been trying to swap flats for the past several months. I fancied a move to Brighton, but it is so hard to get a bite. I tried to juggle a three way swap or two, but it really wasn’t happening, so I’ve gone back to my roots (or, you know, one of my roots) with a swap to Old St.

Home again, home again… jiggity jig.

As they say in Blade Runner.

It’s good because the location has a precise set of qualities. It’s not in the crazy of Hoxton etc, but it is walking distance to it, it’s central, but being just north of City, also quiet, and AND and it’s about 100 yards to the nearest swimming pool, the famous, and infamous, Ironmonger Row baths.

It is not an utter done deal, but both my swapee and I have filled in our respective forms and handed them in to our local authorities. Now we have to wait. They will want to come round and inspect, but there’s nothing for them to see in either flat, so unless something unforeseen happens, I will be moving early/mid April.

It’s not the same as Brighton, but it’s not a bad second best. And if and when I want to turn around again I will have a good bargaining chip of a flat. I’d have thought the Tottenham Riviera would be a good swap for a person from not London who needs to live in London but doesn’t want to be in it… but it seems that’s not how it works. When people move to London they largely want central.

So be it.

But in the meantime, my plan is to get swimming and lose the astounding TEN KILOS I have put on since moving here. And recover some aerobic fitness. Aerobic fitness is kind of shit value because you have to keep it up, but living five floors up without a lift ought to do that on it’s own, so that’s a bargain right there.

Poppet, of course, won’t have the wonderland of bread to eat – the buffet laid out by the bird feeding public on the towpath – so she should become more svelte as well.

Only thing is, I want to get on with it now. I am itching to start filling boxes.

In Brightlingstone

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“Since we live on an island, and have the sea about us, we cannot want an excellent cold bath”

An excellent cold bath

Do not fear, I have not been out bathing. I have been in bathing, inasmuch as I have bathed, in a bath, but there are those that do, in the sea. All year. No matter the weather. I have met some of them, because a friend of mine made a short documentary about them. But I’ve not seen them this trip.

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I have napped, and walked, and eaten, and watched a couple of films. I am particularly pleased with my pairing of Manhattan and Frances Ha. I hadn’t seen Frances Ha before, so didn’t know exactly how well matched they were, but they are, and I can recommend the juxtaposition.

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On our way down to look at the sea yesterday we spotted this tree.

Blending and toning

Here is a closer look.

Monochrome. Classy

On the way back we saw that there were two others, both colour themed.

Blues

Orangery

It’s kind of hard to tell whether this is a grafitti, public art, or community art. Whatevs. There it is.

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So, and lastly, I’ve made you a little tumblr elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/12/28

30 Things Meme – Invisible Illness Week (Small Life)

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It’s coming up to Invisible Illness Week so here’s my response to the 30 things questionnaire you just clicked through to (well, if you didn’t it’s there anyway, just like the tree that fell in the forest).

just like that

1. The illness I live with is: fibromyalgia and chronic migraine. Some say chicken, some say egg, either way, it’s bodily pain, exhaustion, insomnia, anxiety and severe headaches, lots and lots of headaches.

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: Not sure. about 8 years ago. Never sure about dates and things. I am supposed to keep a record of all sorts of things, but in reality I am too ill to manage that sort of paperwork.

3. But I had symptoms since: Probably birth. Colic is now seen as a precursor of and a kind of migraine, ‘growing pains’ are now seen as a sign of fibromyalgia. I also suffered headaches as a kid, was put to bed with an asprin and dismissed as ‘attention seeking’. If pain really got you attention, I think I’d have noticed by now, and from my pre-crash experience (about 10 years ago now) I know that there are better and more effective ways to get noticed.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Having very few choices about anything – from what to eat to where I can go or what I can wear or who I can spend time with. At the moment I am struggling with the fact that I can’t, and haven’t been able to for some time, decorate my home or even put pictures up.

5. Most people assume: I’m ok, I suppose. And that nothing they can do can help and that whatever I am doing is what I want to be doing, and however I have things or do things is how I want them. I remember a visitor being surprised at how few pictures I had up. Rather than ask me why, as a formerly active visual artist and someone who has a huge collection of images in frames, I might not have them on walls, she regaled me with tales of her own decor preferences and activities.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: Mornings are the best time of the day for me but I know that all the spoons will be used up by the time I have eaten and bathed, and if I do do something, go to an appointment, do a task, then I will be paying not just the rest of that day but for several days hence. So I suppose the hardest thing about mornings is knowing that even if I feel okay for a little while it won’t be for long, and I have to get through the day somehow  – and having done so I won’t be any further forward with anything.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: None. I don’t like medical shows. People may think that I am interested in ailments, I’m not. I like murders and comedies.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My heated blanket.

9. The hardest part about nights are: That if I am awake I will be in pain, and that the night will feel even more endless than the day.

10. Each day I take _approx 10 pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: have tried a lot of things. I always listen when people tell me about treatments, because sometimes there might be something that actually helps, but mostly I just feel even more misunderstood and isolated – going to appointments of any sort involves travel and probably being extra ill for several days afterwards, and alternative treatments are costly too, so unless you are going to drive me to the appointment every week and pay for it too, then probably save your breath.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Visible. I’d like to have Stigmata, something nice and visual. I used to get nose bleeds a lot, and the level of sympathy was off the scale – DUDES!  Nosebleeds don’t actually hurt!

13. Regarding working and career: I miss working, and I miss financial independence. I miss creating something in the world. I miss the social contact. I miss being an expert at something. I miss having a vocation, an actual reason to get out of bed in the morning.

14. People would be surprised to know: How angry and upset I get – I feel I daren’t express myself a lot of the time, I have few enough friends as it is without alienating them. I know it’s not anyone’s fault that I am unwell, but I do feel like I have to be on my best behaviour all the time – I even try to be bright and breezy on the internet for fear of bumming people out. I only write as much misery as I dare, but I feel much more. And that sense of having to be well behaved is a bit of a burden. Sometimes I do write ‘I feel crap’ on facebook, and I love it that people ‘like’ or say ‘aw’ – it’s amazing how much that helps.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: How little it really matters, and how little there is I can do about it.

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: be of any use to anyone else ever. I love it when I can help someone with something. Especially when it involves something I know or am good at and can still do (not much, admittedly).

17. The commercials about my illness: don’t exist in the UK, thankfully.  I remember saying to a psychiatrist ‘will I be able to do that yoga pose if I take that drug’ – the ad was on the side of a tissue box. What rot. I imagine drug commercials are a lot like sanitary products ads, full of people who are busy doing cartwheels on the beach. I’m glad I am spared seeing them. Mind you, the anger might be quite aerobic.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Making plans that have any chance of coming to fruition.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: yoga.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: blogging. It can be done from bed, it can be any length, and it needn’t be done at all. No one is let down if I don’t blog for weeks. It doesn’t take materials or much in the way of physical action, all I have to be well enough for to do it is to handle the screen time and string a sentence together, and even then I don’t have to do it all at once.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: go swimming.

22. My illness has taught me: compassion.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: “Why don’t you get a taxi?” I have never been a big fan of taxi rides, the converations are tiring, and even being in a car in silence with someone I don’t know is tiring. They are too expensive, and they WILL give me travel sickness. If I am not going somewhere because it’s ‘too far’ I’ve already weighed up the logistics.

24. But I love it when people: find a way to include me.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: There isn’t one. No platitude from any quarter can help. Ten and Poppet and the internet people, they help, but sayings and quotes just piss me off.

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: you are entitled to your feelings.  

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: “I never imagined that so many days would ultimately  make such a small life.”
— Franz Kafka, from “Diaries”

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Be there. Also, it’s helpful when someone offers me something specific – when you are in pain and maybe your brain isn’t functioning the last thing you want to do is guess what someone is prepared to do for you. Ask “Do you want a cheese sandwich” not “Is there anything I can do for you?” because there is, but I’ll be damned if I can think what it might be, right now even if I am lying here starving.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: Honestly, if I don’t do it no one else is going to do it for me. I am constantly supporting causes, even if it’s only ‘clicktivism’. What is horrible is that even high profile illnesses and disabilities don’t get the kind of support or research they need. Watching Pink Ribbon Inc shows how big companies and individuals spend so much money and effort fundraising without actually helping anyone. 

If a cause like that fails so resolutely, what chance is there for mine?

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: perhaps all is not lost. If you did get this far, thank you so much for caring to. I feel like I should apologize for having wasted ten minutes of your time. If you did make it this far, here’s a little tumblr for your trouble – THANK YOU! elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/8/25

 

Holiday Snaps

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The photos to complement previous posts When in Spain and Work, Rest, and Play

everything was labelled. when she ran out of these she simply used biro.

because you will never be able to work out how to use a light switch for yourself.

wheat and olives in the bathrooms. wrong.

flowers like opal fruits!

walter hottle bottle came along for the ride.

pool. looks nice, but took me an hour to get in it was so cold.

coffee on the beach. like a boss.

not everything was derisible. the garden was well planted and there were lots of pretty succlents.

garlic so fercund that it even had an extra ring around the garlic of more garlic.

view from the balcony. it was pretty nice. though you could see benidorm from the beach, which was terrifying.

one of only two pieces of graffiti in el portet.

no domestic animals. perhaps bring your cows?

sorry graf.

Write Off Days

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Today is a bit of a write off. I mean, a lot of my days are more or less writes offs, but today I was envisitated (new word, thankyouverymuch, I expect to be invited to be in the OED within weeks) by a couple of chaps keen to paint one of my cupboards against mould. It’s migraine weather anyway here in the UK, with heavy cloud, and extra points scored by house paint means that I headed for my triptans PDQ.

gratuitous picture of poppet eviscerating a plushie

When I first got the Botox injections a few weeks ago I didn’t get much respite because of a long standing neck pain. Once they started tailing off, though, I started my GRAND PLAN of coming off as much medication as humanly possible. Last summer my plan was to just enjoy being pain free (or more or less anyway) for the summer, but this time round it’s all about becoming as strong as possible before the next change of seasons. The botox should allow me to do more stuff without having to take triptans, so when I go on holiday in a coupla weeks I will be swimming every day for a kick off.

The grand plan is all about getting as well as possible on as few drugs as possible. I can’t know if the PhD proposal was successful, but if it was then I need to be well enough to read, think, write, and travel. To do this I think I might try to spend some of the winter abroad, but obvs I can only do that if I get the grant freeing me from UK soil. I know they want the person to start in July, so nowhere near enough time for grant applications, but I might be able to make that work for me by starting off being part time. Given that so few people manage a PhD within 3 years, that can’t be the worst idea, and they can’t expect me to go full time if I don’t get the money to do that.

There are other things too… This flat is kind of tight. I love it here, but I am looking at two bedroom flats to swap with because I’d really like a separate place to work. I know a lot of it will be me looking at books and me looking at a laptop, but I work in a different way when I am writing than most people do. I don’t think linearly and like to print out and look at what I am doing on the floor or on a wall, cut it up, move it around, physically and this takes time and space. I need to be able to go away from it and come back to it, and I don’t want to live with it all the time either. This might not be an issue straight away, but I have started looking anyway. I am also considering modifications of the flat I am already in… after all, it costs a bloody fortune to move if you are not ‘able’ and if you own more than just clothes and books. However, for the right space and location I’d move again for sure.

If I don’t get this PhD I might apply for another. I didn’t set out to apply for one, but if I am well enough to do this kind of a thing, or at least to start it, then I probably should, given the state of the nation… it’s not a great time to be on benefits if there’s an option – and a 9 – 5 certainly isn’t on the cards for me even with Botox.

So there you have it. Nearly finished watching Prison Break, which is all I am up to most of today. Thank goodness for telly.

Yoga Rage

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Last night I went to see Jon Kabat Zinn at the Friends’ Meeting House in Euston. It was hosted by Action For Happiness.

It was billed as  “An Evening With” and pitched at a general audience so I didn’t expect it to be anything I hadn’t heard before, and it wasn’t. It was more like going to see a supergroup and hearing their old standards or a well loved comedian and hearing beloved punch lines. The familiarity of his words left me  just noticing how he structured the talk a lot of the time – and it was pretty much what anyone would do – an overview of mindfulness, a led meditation, further elucidations, a couple of poems, and then Q&A. Just with a much bigger audience than usual. I liked the way that, with a show of hands at various points in the talk he managed to make nearly a thousand people feel like a group, but the content was nothing new. You can hear a version of what he said by going on youtube and watching pretty much any of his videos. He’s good, but the main thing about him is that he did a good thing. Thirty five years ago he stripped down buddhist practices for a secular audience and brought the world MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction).

part of the audience – he said there were 1000 people there, i thought 800, either way though, not a small crowd

So, what did I get for my £15 and my journey several hours out of my comfort zone? (I NEVER go out – not in the evening, it’s not a thing. I am in bed by 7pm most nights and asleep easily by 10.)

Mainly, I got uncomfortable. Yes, yes, it was physically uncomfortable, this was the Quaker’s gaff, and not a theatre, but it was more than that. I started feeling something I used to, in my more physically trim days, call ‘yoga rage’.

I loved yoga. I used to go two or three times a week. I’d done swimming, and then tai chi, and eventually I pitched up at yoga, which is something I always thought I would like, and I did. It’s nice and stretchy. I still do a tiny amount at home, but I do have to be careful. I digress.

At one point in my yoga journey I used to go to an excellent class in Brighton with my friend Nic. Jim Tarran still teaches, indeed he has his own school. He is brilliant. He keeps you in poses for bloody ages so you have to do loads of internal work. It’s a bit boot camp, but in a different way to, say, ashtanga or bikram. Anyway, the first time we went, we were standing still with our eyes shut following his instructions and he went silent and then said “What is yoga?”

Afterwards we giggled about it, because Nic said he nearly answered, which would have been WRONG because it was rhetorical, and it was something he was going to talk about while we stood there, fire in our muscles, working to stand straight and relax at the same time. Oh, and breathe, you have to breathe as well. Anyway, we were hooked, and there being the two of us, naturally we discussed him ad nauseum and all aspects of the classes as we went along. We also did impersonations of him, which I know were funny at the time, but I don’t remember all the catch phrases now. What emerged over the weeks was that we discovered in ourselves something we dubbed ‘yoga rage’ which was a feeling which arose when we were trying to be all OM about it all, and someone, some one would do something annoying.

They might breathe funny or very loudly in what sounded like a showy offy way or be annoyingly keen (not like us, no no, just because we were early and at the front and LOVED him, that didn’t make us annoyingly keen, not one bit of it) or grunt, or fart, or, and there was this one time when this person INCENSED us by doing the poses all wrong because he was clearly a dancer and he was being a poser. And wrong. He was doing it wrong.

Like every other detail of the class we discussed this at length. The thing about yoga rage that differs from road rage or any other kind of rage is that you absolutely know you are wrong while you are doing it. It’s an aspect of what buddhists call dukkha – or ordinary everyday suffering. Not special suffering. Just normal. Normal unfair irritation with people whose breathing, farting, or yoga style is none of our damn business and makes no impact on how we do our own yoga.

Here we are, in a hall filling with people who are passionate enough about mindfulness to buy tickets and turn up and sit uncomfortably for hours and I am irritable as hell and I am super aware of it. Annoying bloody people wanting us to budge up. Annoying people who probably bought their tickets way after we did sitting in the comfortable seats. Annoying lovey dovey couple fondling each other – GET A ROOM!

All of these people irritated me twice as much as they would have done in any other room for any other speaker or performance or whatever because I was super aware that he was going to talk about KINDNESS and as a meditator I am trying to be kind. In thought and deed. And failing.

It wasn’t all like that, but the feeling spiked up now and then and I just had to accept it. As JKZ said in his talk “The present moment is the curriculum”. And it was. And it is.

My friend Al joked on the way in about ‘taking a moment to arrive’ which is a cliche in mindfulness/meditation circles, for the very good reason that we are often not fully present, so it’s a useful tool to bring people’s attention to their own experience in the moment. We snorted a bit when he instructed us to arrive in the room.

So that was nice.

Still taking the piss.

So-called Screensavers, A Stray Dog at Christmas, and Scary Santas

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The Guardian kindly offered us a seasonal selection of what they called, quaintly, “screensavers”. They’re not, they are desktop pictures, but never mind. So I chose this one

ai weiwei

which looked marvelous projected up in between our xmas viewings. We started off watching the rather bizarre little film Love of a Kind, then we ate some Chinese food, then we settled down for the main event which was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. This, courtesy of one of the mystery Kirsties who I have mentioned before, and who like being mysterious, so mysterious they remain. Anyway, she’d sent me the set, and as it turns out it is the set I would have preferred anyway, featuring, as it does, Swedish with subtitles. We are now a third of the way through and thoroughly hooked.

I will now be changing our so-called “screensaver” to Cornelia Parker’s one.

cornelia parker

which will be less festive, but which I think will look super nice projected up.

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Now then, though, I didn’t tell you what happened before that. We were taking the dog a festive walk to the chemist (I am awaiting, nervously, a shipment of triptans, which I knew I would run out of during the festive, bank holiday littered, season. And Lo, it has come to pass. I am now mid migraine and have officially RUN OUT.) Anyway, a guy with a dog said he’d seen a dog around without an owner and he asked us to keep an eye open. We found the dog and took it home. Poppet liked the little girl, and they played all along the towpath – until new dog FELL IN! It’s just as well we are on flood alert, because Ten managed to drag her out. We went home, dried off both dogs, fed newdog, then went back to try the chemist (who said to phone him on Thursday – I am on sodding tenterhooks, here) whereupon this guy said she was his dog and we had to give her up. I was quite sorry, her and Pops got on so well, and he seemed ill equipped to be looking after two dogs. He hadn’t brought a lead out for her and dragged her by the collar, and she did properly flinch at one point… still, nowt to be done.

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And finally, our Amy of Lucy’s Football posted a link to something truly frightening.

boyoyoyoyoyoyoing!!!!!

A whole collection of 10 scary santas. In a fight against scary clowns I think the scary santas would have pretty good odds. And that is saying something.

I leave you with David Sedaris reading Six to Eight Black Men, which seems topical on more than one front right now.

blissing out in north norfolk – but where are the kisses?

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“Kisses are a better fate than wisdom.”
— ee cummings

i am on holiday again.

withnail and i

okay, it’s not like this. but i can’t help it, i love that film, and i LOVE that clip.

and i am in the country, so.. it’s a little bit relevant. is withnail and i everybody’s favourite film, or just mine? i’m kind of obsessed with it.

i digress.

kisses. i am liking my holiday and my friends, but, people! TEN AND POPPET ARE NOT HERE! so no kisses. i miss the kisses.

The Pincers Pace Platoon, Formation no.1 – R Yuki Agriardi

where i am is lovely. it’s a holiday home owned by my friend lottie’s brother. i’ve been up here lots of times, and it’s always amazing. i love north norfolk soooooo much. we went to the big fancy beach the first day, but the past three days we’ve gone to a little local beach called west runton. lottie’s sister is here and she has a little boy who isn’t two yet, so we go in the morning and stay until it is getting too hot for a baby, and incidentally, this is perfect for me. i have been very well here. today i swam in the sea. it was brilliant.

lottie dropped me back at the house afterwards because i was so knackered, and i had a shower and a lie down, and now i am listening to the mental illness happy hour and writing to you, my penpals. possibly part of my wellness has been to do with reduced screen time. for a long time i wouldn’t read books because of eye pain, but i’ve been reading a little gem by douglas coupland called the gum theif. it was great and i absolutely ripped through it. my friend grace gave me it when i was in brighton, i’d never read anything by him before. being a completist, i will now be reading EVERYTHING by him.

another thing i want to do is go back over the norfolk writers.

you know i’d move here if i could work out how. i think if i walked on sand every day i’d get so well. plus, you sleep like the dead here.