Monday 22 February 2021

something a little different

Was a time when a Friday night would've almost certainly meant a gig if I wasn't away for the weekend sailing. Things are altogether a little more subdued these days, and likely to remain so until the summer at best, certainly at the rate we're going.

However, a friend and the organiser of an "open mic night" I used to frequent over in Cheltenham on the odd occasion I had neither a gig nor plans to go sailing hosted an online event this Friday evening. Technically, you could say it was streamed, but as it was his first go, he requested the performers all pre-record their sets and then send them over to him to stream live, to avoid any unforeseen continuity problems I guess.

Understandable, I reckon. And it worked out well.

Obviously, both open mic nights and pre-recorded Internet performances are very much in my comfort zone these days, so I thought I'd knock myself back out of said zone and leave the guitar on its stand and words unsung for a change

I don't think the Friday night crowd were expecting classical piano, certainly not from me, but they're an eclectic, forgiving bunch, and it seemed to be fairly well received.

I played three pieces; Gymnopedie No. 1 by Satie, Beethoven's "Moonlight" and a third piece sandwiched in between the two that I'd love to name. But whilst my fingers still remember the notes and their order from all those many years ago when I was first taught it, I can't for the life of me remember the name of the piece or the composer, and all my Internet enquiries and searches have so far rendered neither.

Tuesday 9 February 2021

go, snow go

It's snowing.

Actually, I'm not sure if it technically qualifies as snow. It's more like the air getting crystallised by the wind-chill and falling out of the sky. It's being blown around in swirls but not settling. And although it feels very cold in the stiff breeze, it's actually only about 2°c, so I doubt very much it will settle. 

The wind is out of the east, gusting to about 27 knots; the direction, almost opposite to the usual prevailing in these parts, explains the vicious bite it carries.

Which will be a test of my convictions this evening.

I've been running a little bit. Not something I generally do unless something nasty is chasing me, but with all the enforced inactivity of no band, no sailing and no karate, my level of fitness has definitely crashed since the end of last year and my weight has climbed, albeit by only a little.

So I figured I had to do something. And the dogs are getting too old and slow these days for walking them to qualify as any kind of exercise.

So I've been forcing myself out of the house each (or at least some) evening(s) to run around the block as if something nasty is chasing me, and drinking a little more (sparkling) water and a little less beer on a night. Spiking it with a splash of orange juice if I'm feeling a little adventurous. A single lap is just under 1.5k, so not far or terribly time consuming or much to shout about.

And I have to say it feels like hard work and neither terribly sensible nor terribly rewarding. Which means I'm probably doing it all wrong. But desperate times, desperate measures and all that. Although I am enjoying the stats my watch generates, and, perversely, enjoying the challenge of basically racing myself each evening.

But I guess I'm built more for hiking than running.

And by "hiking" I mean the kind above, not the sort that involves heavy, mud-clotted boots and "bracing" views across the countryside. In the interests of transparency, I should probably confess that photo was taking about thirteen years ago. 

Which, I think, was about the last time I was allowed to go sailing?

Friday 5 February 2021

friday am

Lilly would like it known that not everybody is a morning person. Although, as I pointed out to her as I left for work this morning, some of us have no choice in the matter.

My ambitions for this coming weekend are to clear up the yard, put some shelves up in the kitchen and take my youngest to the hospital for a chest x-ray on Sunday. I'm finding it difficult to work up enthusiasm for any of it, although the x-ray is past due; Sam's had a persistent cough (no, not that kind of persistent) and so it's about time he called the doc's to get it sorted.

Tuesday 2 February 2021

almost sprung

I noticed the first snowdrops had come into flower on the drive into the office this morning. Catkins are hanging off of branches and there is a downy blossom covering some of the smaller trees. Spring is just around the corner.

The photo was the closest Google could find amongst my photos when I typed "snowdrops" into the search bar. It's somehow reassuring to know Google isn't infallible. 

And a little surprising to discover I don't actually have any past pictures of snowdrops.


This was the song at the top of my playlist this morning as I plugged into start the day's work. I've no real idea who the Donots are, I only stumbled across them because they recorded this song with Frank Turner. However, if there was ever a band name I wish I'd thought of for myself, then this was is.

It's also a pretty good song. I've not tried embedding a song from Spotify into this site before, so not sure how that's going to work. Let me know if it doesn't.

Monday 1 February 2021

a modern privilage

I've just realised that, revelling in my self pity, my last two consecutive posts both bemoan the general uniformity of my weekends in reference to these "present times".

Being bored is, of course, something of a modern privilege.

Actually, I do myself an injustice. I never get bored, I'm infinitely capable of entertaining myself. What I'm really whining about of course is the fact that the three pillars with which I usually do this, being karate, sailing and the band, have been denied me, and will continue to be denied to me for some time yet to come. So my days outside of the office have become somewhat uniform.

Although there has to be some light on the horizon. The nation appears to be pinning its hopes on a vaccine, and my dad and my father-in-law, both being in their late 70's, had their first dose a week ago. We are slowly edging our way back to liberation, it seems.

Over the years, I've posted a number of photos of St Mary's Mill, which is where my company is currently based. These photos, and their accompanying "Rules of Working" are on the wall of our reception. I'm not sure exactly when they date from; the Chalford Stick Co Ltd. which manufactured umbrellas, walking sticks and parasols here, took over the mill in 1903 after it had stood empty for a while, and employed around a hundred souls, so I imagine they date from about then.

In the top picture, my office, where I'm currently sat, is on the fourth floor of the mill. The two windows at the end of the building and the one just around the corner are mine. 

Until April 1st, at least.

the grey room

As of this morning, our company took on the lease for our new office. The overlap with the old office's  lease gives us until 1st April to complete the move. So first item on this morning's agenda was to meet with my four of my colleagues to work out a plan as to how we're going to achieve this.

It's the first time in quite a while we've all been in the same place together. Fortunately, there was plenty of space to to spread ourselves out. Unfortunately, between my usual tinnitus (look after your ears, kids!), the distance between us, masked faces and the hollow acoustics of an empty room I had a very hard job hearing anything that was said, but they all dealt very patiently with my frequent requests of "Sorry, say that again?"

And it was a productive morning. We got as far as setting a date for the actual move. Provisionally.

That Monday morning was the most interesting thing that happened to me all weekend is pretty much the signature of our present times.