You know that moment when you are just about to turn your computer off and it tells you it needs updating so you spend the next half hour watching a progress bar that isn’t really a progress bar because it doesn’t actually tell you how far you’re progressing but sits there not moving and then rushes to the end? Well this post is like that in no way at all except that it concerns progress. My progress.

First, the lurgy. I went to the doctor about the rash and was prescribed a cream which seems to be doing the trick, though it hasn’t entirely cleared up. In between bouts of fatigue I’ve been decorating. I gave up on the wrong shade of mustard and went to B and Q clutching a small piece of wall to see if they could match it. They could! It was quite exciting; first the computer did a lot of thinking, then it did some beeping and finally it spat out a label. Then the woman opened a tin of white paint and held it under a sort if rainbow tap which dribbled in the right amount of colour. Then came the really exciting part: the jiggling. The pot was sealed and placed inside the jiggler and off it went, jiggling at 650 jumps per minute until the paint was well and truly mixed. I took it home and bingo! it matched.

This week I have been decorating Peter’s flat, a job which will continue for the next week or two.

And I’ve been reading. But more of that anon.

Kirk out

Tempus Doth Indeed Fuge…

As both I and Jeff Bezos have been discovering, time is flying and it’s flying fast. I first came across the phrase in The Phoenix and the Carpet by E Nesbit, but the truth of it has hit me only recently as I now realise it’s a whole two weeks since I last posted. I’ve got a note from the doctors to excuse me but I think it’s time I checked in at least. So… I’ve been reading Oliver Burkemans book 4000 Weeks on how to make the most of time. Carpeing the diem is in there of course but he also recommends totally wasting time; staring out of the window, watching clouds, it’s all good. Social media is not good of course as it sucks up your attention and manufactures outrage, but mainly he rails against the ubiquitous time management self-help manuals that give you 1001 joyless habits of successful people. It’s a relief. One of the books most useful ideas for me was that in choosing to do something you are simultaneously and inevitably choosing not to do others: as CS Lewis put it, you’re ‘free as a man is free to drink while he is drinking.’ You can’t drink and not-drink, you have to choose.

Don’t have a bucket list: enjoy what you’re doing now. Pay attention. Don’t fret impatiently at red traffic lights, just enjoy sitting and being.

It has also occurred to Jeff Bezos that time may one day run out for him, and so rather than spread his wealth around and help the undeserving poor he has embarked on what you might call Project Voldemort, ie the quest for eternal life. As Marina Hyde puts it in today’s Guardian, he has ‘decides that death is as inevitable as taxes, which is no say, not at all for the likes of him.’

I guess some people think you can conquer anything if you just throw enough money at it. Pity he didn’t think to throw some at his own staff.

Kirk out

A Darker Shade of Mustard

I’ve been pottering about the last few days, dealing with some damp patches in the utility room. This involves scrubbing with some asthma-inducing mould spray and painting with stain block before repainting in the original colour. I have just about enough of the original shade so I started that today. I noticed it looked a bit darker but I thought it’d settle when it dried. It hasn’t. I’ve painted it in the wrong shade. Worse, I have no idea what the right shade is. So I have a dilemma.

Epiphany! I’ll solve the problem by being creative. I’ll get some green paint and make the darker shade look like a tree.


Kirk out

I Have a Confession

I have a confession to make. I realise this is going to be disappointing for many of you and that some of you may even decide to stop following this blog but so be it: I have been converted to ebooks. Yes, I know what I said but it’s happened. The gateway drug, so to speak, was getting a Google play voucher for my birthday and downloading a couple of audio books. But I found them much too slow so I checked out a few cheap ebooks and before I knew it, I was hooked. In the last few weeks I’ve got through nearly a book a day and I’m currently working my way through everything Nicci French ever wrote.

So there you are. Don’t believe a word I say.

Kirk out

The Mask of the Red Death

There’s a story by Edgar Allen Poe called The Masque of the Red Death, where people are struck down by a plague-like virus at a ball. Well I know how they feel, for I have a plague of sorts on the lower half of my face. It started a few weeks ago and has now developed into a mass of sore, angry and itchy spots. I tried all sorts of creams and was about to give up and go to the doctor yet again when a friend said his wife had exactly the same problem. ‘It’s caused by mask wearing, ‘ he said. Of course! Mask wearing, why didn’t I think of that? So as of today I will be eschewing masks and hopefully the damned spots will clear up. I am not enjoying looking like a plague victim.

Wish me luck.

Kirk out

Curtain Rings? On My Nipples?

You don’t normally expect x-rays to be amusing but this one was hilarious. I had to go back and do it again because the first one wasn’t clear. ‘It’s your nipples’ said the nurse. ‘They aren’t clear. ‘ My nipples aren’t clear? ‘Are they pierced?’ she asked. I shuddered. No, my nipples definitely are not pierced. She then brought out a pair of curtain rings and we both collapsed in giggles as she showed me how to place them over the nipple and secure them with micropore tape. Well that was a new experience.

I wait with bated breath to see how they come out.

Kirk out

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Sainsbury’s

Another one from last year

Sarada Gray

I’m having fun at the moment writing some stories about meeting famous people from the past. I may put one or two on here if I don’t end up sending them somewhere but it’s a lot of fun trying to imagine how, say, C S Lewis might react to modern life. What things would shock him? What would be familiar? What might he understand and what would be totally alien? I’m imagining that the person gets some sort of orientation before they arrive in the present, but that it’s inadequate and their guide has to fill them in.

I’ve also started reading Westwind, a resurrected Ian Rankin from 1990. People have been a bit unkind about this but so far I like it; it doesn’t read to me like a beginner’s novel. I’m also happy to report that today my mouse is quiet and well-behaved. I gave it a thoroughly…

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These Are Your Lives

What I was watching back then…

Sarada Gray

The elderly member of our household, having exhausted antiques programmes, box sets and railway videos, has found the complete series of This is Your Life and apparently – since this is Youtube – Jimmy Savile is still on there. I guess it’d be interesting to watch, since otherwise every trace of him has been expunged from the world, but I don’t know if, knowing what I know now, I could bear to watch it. There was an interview with Joan Bakewell at the weekend and amongst other things – detailing the sexual harrassment she received in her youth; I still remember her being referred to as ‘the thinking man’s crumpet’ – saying that in fact nobody did know about Savile. I can well believe it – these people are clever. They hide in plain sight.

Along the same lines was serial killer Dennis Nilsen, portrayed brilliantly and enigmatically by David…

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Is That a Pointless Answer?

Another golden oldie to keep you occupied while I’m away from my desk

Sarada Gray

I’ve never really watched Pointless apart from a few stray minutes at the end while waiting for Casualty to finally make an appearance. but unlike with Strictly we leave the volume on so I’ve got an idea of what it’s all about. It’s kind of the reverse of Blankety-Blank (if you remember that horror) where you were rewarded for thinking in cliches; as I understand it, Pointless encourages you to think outside the herd mentality and come up with a correct answer which few people would get. So that’s at least a worthwhile element, and Alexander Armstrong is a personable presenter (I think of him as this generation’s Graeme Garden – both lanky, both comedians, both ex-doctors.) But! it is not Pointless per se to which I invite you to turn your minds today but Points of View, the BBC’s right-to-reply programme which may be the longest-running on TV…

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