I don’t think it’s any secret that I’ve been struggling to post anything worthwhile to the blog for the last six months or so. You might think after nearly eighteen years writing online that I would have this whole thing figured out – that I might be able to turn the tap on, and words flow out.

I used to write so easily about anything and everything. Quite often I would write about nothing at all. I even wrote about writing about nothing at all.

The main thing that keeps me writing these days is the legacy of eighteen years worth of writing sliding down the hillside behind me. It would be a shame to stop now, with this huge unfinished story stretched out behind me. Sure, it might not be about much, but it’s mine. I did this. I wrote this.

None of this will make any sense of course – seventeen years worth of it are stored in a Google Drive folder – you can’t read the great majority of it. I sometimes delve into the past, and read a few old posts – smiling at how candid and open I used to be.

I sometimes wonder if that guy will show up again.


Hitting it Out of the Park

Miss 16 received her exam results yesterday morning – passing eight of the nine exams she took with flying colours. While it’s easy for me to write it, it wasn’t easy for her to achieve at all – she worked her backside off for the last two years – going to early morning study sessions, weekend workshops, and more.

She will be the first to tell you that she is not the most academically gifted student – which makes her results all the more special. Finally her future looks assured – two years at college studying uniformed services, and then on to her dream of a career in the police.

The next hill for her to climb is fitness. She’s already on a diet, and starting to look towards fitness. I’m quietly hoping she “finds her tribe” at college – she’s always been quite solitary in the past.

I had promised a reward of some sort for passing her exams – and that arrived in the form of a new Filofax through the post this morning. If you’ve not seen them, they are a leather bound diary and notebook – in many ways the predecessor of Bullet Journals. Throughout secondary school she had a planner supplied by the school, filled with events, dates, and notes – this will take the place of that one.

In other news, we have been playing an old board game at home called “Dungeons and Dragons”. Apparently it’s a copy of an older board game called “Hero Quest”, and both have become collectors items. I looked up the boxed game we have, and it regularly goes for quite a lot of money. Who knew? I’m pretty sure I bought it from the bargain bin of a discount store about fifteen years ago.

We’ve also been playing a ridiculous dice game called “Bang”, where you sit around a table and pretend to be outlaws, and a sheriff from the old west – variously trying to shoot each other, and dodge arrows – all by throwing dice, and theatrically pointing your fingers at each other and shouting “bang!”. It’s more fun than it sounds – particularly after a few drinks.

I’ll never forget our youngest daughter playing Risk for the first time, a couple of years ago – threatening her sister that when it was her turn, she was going to “get wrecked”…


The Loneliness of the Short Distance Runner

I woke the first time with a start at 5am. I know this, because I looked at the clock before falling back asleep. I woke the second time at 8am, remembered I am on holiday, but also remembered about going running. One little voice said “but the bed is so comfy!”, while another little voice said “you’ll get enormously fat”. I’m turning into Gollum.

After scraping myself out of bed, I knocked on my teenage daughters bedroom doors, and enquired if they might be running with me.

Five minutes later, I left the house. Alone.

I didn’t really have a plan, and set off in the general direction of town – listening to my breathing, and not really feeling like running at all, but I was already out, and running, so thought it a bit stupid to stop. I would only have myself to answer to anyway.

While running along one of the suburban roads down by the river, a woman in her fifties (I’m guessing) ran past on the opposite footpath. She was hunched over, and running seemed like an enormous struggle for her, but she was doing it. She reminded me that I really have no excuses.

After looping back through town, I passed several people completely ignoring the one-way signs on the pavements (a very low effort way of safeguarding people from the virus). I’m not quite sure what level of stupidity and/or laziness is needed to ignore social distancing signage.

By the time I got home my other half had already left for work, and none of my daughters had yet surfaced. I busied myself with hanging washing out, filling the washing machine with the first of many loads, and clearing the kitchen and lounge of wreckage from the night before.

I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever know how our house so reliably destroys itself every evening. I’m pretty sure the missing mass in the universe is directly linked to pens people have “borrowed” from me, and unwashed tea spoons.

My eldest daughter surprised me mid-morning with a number of questions about bullet journaling. I’ve been writing in a bullet journal for the last two or three years – keeping a record of the things I do each day. I think she’s finally coming around to the whole “rapid logging” thing – where you DON’T make each page into a ridiculous faux arts and crafts production, and you just write down the things you have done, or the things you want to do.

I pointed her at the Ryder Carroll book on the bookshelf, which she studiously ignored.

Late this afternoon I let my middle daughter attempt to “air traffic control” me in the simulator. With her at one end of the house, and me at the other, she watched a radar screen, and barked instructions to direct me through a number of circuits of an airfield in southern England. I realised we might have a problem after the second time she told me to turn in the opposite direction than she meant. Somehow I don’t think air traffic controllers are ever heard saying “left, no, the other left”, “my bad”, or “you can do if you want”.

Anyway. One day of holiday used up. Very little achieved. Must try harder to do something of consequence tomorrow. Maybe a long walk. We’ll see.