Choose your own Adventure

It’s 1:30am and I’ve been the last person awake in the house for over an hour. I’m turning something over and over in my head. Not something I can share. Just something.

I’ve been humming the Beatles song “A Day in the Life” for the last few minutes. Maybe it’s connected. I don’t know how it un-corked itself, but it did.

Isn’t it odd how music takes on new meanings when events unfold – when you’re deep in the well thinking about things late at night you make new connections – new insights. Suddenly the words in a verse of the song you’ve not heard for years describe what you’re in the middle of more perfectly than you could possibly predict.

Is it coincidence, or were the words waiting there all along?

Perhaps the universe is up to it’s old tricks – reminding me that I can’t put my head in the sand forever. I can’t keep trudging on regardless. Sometimes I need to be brave – to make choices.

Life is kind of like a “choose your own adventure” book sometimes, isn’t it – except you don’t get to go back a page, and you really never know what’s coming.


Washing and Writing

We got home on Wednesday. It’s now Saturday. The washing machine is still going. I think we can see the end of the washing mountain now though (thankfully). It’s just a case of getting it all dry, folding it, and putting it away – which we know won’t happen, don’t we. A family home isn’t homely unless there are piles of clean washing stacked everywhere.

I’m listening to Spotify while writing this. We signed up for a family account while we were away – so the kids could listen to music in the car without chewing through data. I need to remember to cancel it soon.

I posted some writing on Medium last night – a few thoughts about the ridiculousness of the whole “productivity” charade. I’m trying really hard to write about “me”, rather than “you”, because “you” looks far too much like mansplaining. I’m not quite sure what happened in my head, but in recent months mansplaining has become a massive trigger for me – as soon as I see it, I have to resist the temptation to reply to the author “thank you for mansplaining that to me”.

It’s not just men that mansplain – my middle daughter is a master at it – mostly because she is as literal as Drax in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. On more than one occasion she has laughed (very late) at a joke, turned to us all, and started with “that’s funny because…”

Did I mention that I’m on a diet? Our middle daughter needs to lose weight, and we could all do with losing a few pounds, so thought “why not”. There is now a ban on snacks around the house. I guess this is three years of sedentary pandemic behaviours catching up with us. The end goal – for my daughter – is to pass the army fitness test. Yes, you heard that right – she’s looking at the army as a possible future. I’m not worried about that at all.


Music and Memory

I think somebody broke the temperature control knob on the sun this week. We’re into day three of temperatures that I can only describe as “hotter than balls”. It’s a strange description, isn’t it – and yet one that people commonly use.

Rather than the origin of “hotter than balls” being at all sexual, I suspect it’s a corollary of “cold enough to freeze a brass monkey’s balls off” – a reference to cannons and cannon balls that dates back to the Napoleonic wars.

I’m writing this during five minutes break from work. Spotify is playing Wilson Phillips at the moment – part of some kind of happy summer playlist. I was at college when Wilson Phillips first arrived – I bought several of their albums.

I used to have quite the music collection. Somewhere around here there are some photos of my apartment, and the towering CD racks that dominated the living room. We sold all of our CDs a few years ago – the last vestige we have of “owning” music is a motley collection of vinyl albums – mostly owned by my other half before we met. At Christmas or on birthdays I buy her another album – which causes endless derision from the kids.

Christopher Cross is singing now. He reminds me of an old friend – and nights spent walking through Frankfurt after work, listening to music together across the vast reaches of the internet – sharing playlists – curating thoughts and dreams.

Isn’t it amazing how music connects with memories. I remember walking through the Christmas market in Frankfurt like it was yesterday. I wonder if I’ll ever travel with work again – I haven’t so much as got on a train let alone a plane for work since the pandemic happened. My world throughout the week is the junk room at home.



I’m waiting for the new lawnmower to arrive, so I can begin to de-jumanjify the back garden. That’s a real word, right? It is now.

Let’s hope the lawnmower is straightforward to assemble. I’ve come to the conclusion that most Amazon reviews are written by utter morons that couldn’t assemble themselves if Tony Stark called. And yes, I bought a lawnmower from Amazon.

I’m listening to my now somewhat famous playlist on Spotify – the one assembled with the help of an old friend – the playlist that accompanied throughout the years travelling back and forth from Germany.

This might sounds ridiculous, but it often doesn’t occur to me to put any music on – I invariably sit in silence while at the computer. And yet I love music – or rather, music of a certain era. I’m full of contradictions.

Heart are currently playing “Alone”. Although I knew their music, I only really discovered them in recent years. I chanced upon their cover of “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” at a live concert twenty years ago on YouTube, and fell in love.

Somebody I shared my playlist with this morning commented that they tend to judge people by the music they like. I’m not sure if I do that – I tend to see the best in people – or rather, I filter that which I take notice of.


My coffee cup is empty. And we’re almost out of milk. What’s the betting the lawnmower arrives while I’m at the shop ? Because that’s the way the universe is hard-wired, isn’t it – if it can possibly pull the rug from beneath my feet in any way, shape or form, it will do so with glee.

And no, I didn’t watch “Glee”.


Lawnmowers and Music

Do I get a badge that says “honorary member of the old fart club”, or something? I went shopping at lunchtime on the internet, and ordered a new lawnmower. If I had not done so, the garden would have been used to film the next sequel in the Jumanji franchise.

Of course I couldn’t just buy a lawnmower. I had to buy an extension cable too (we have had petrol mowers for years, but I really can’t be arsed with spending three times more for something three times more unreliable). I don’t really care if an electric lawnmower will last a third of the time either – I’ll buy three of them, and it will work out at the same cost.

The whole debacle reminds me of printers and ink. I don’t know if it’s still the case, but you used to be able to buy inkjet printers with ink cartridges in them for less than the cost of a set of new ink cartridges. My other half would never let me throw the printer away each time it ran out of ink – so we ended up re-filling it repeatedly.

It’s the same argument as the person that can afford expensive boots – that cost twice as much, but last for 10 years – versus the person that can only justify cheaper boots – that cost half as much, but only last 2 years. People without much money end up spending more than those with money – and it drives me nuts.


See! This is what happens. You get older, and you write a blog post complaining about lawnmowers, or inkjet printers, or whatever else.

What happened to enthusing about television shows, or music? While we’re talking about that, what happened to watching or listening to pretty much anything any more? We are subscribed to Prime, Netflix, and Britbox at home – I don’t watch any of it. The kids do. My other half does. I noodle around on the internet, and listen to a free Spotify subscription. I’m pretty sure my brain has constructed it’s own ad blocking technology – I couldn’t tell you what adverts play between tracks on Spotify.

I’m sitting here in silence writing this, if you are interested. Just the sound of my fingers tapping away at the keys. I’m the only person still “up” at 10pm. My sleeping bag is waiting for me in the lounge (if you haven’t been reading, my other half has COVID and is isolating in the bedroom).

I wonder what music I might listen to tonight while trying to get comfortable in the sleeping bag? I have an old playlist on Spotify that’s been something of a “go to” for the last several years. I built it with a friend, and filled it full of ear-worms of the 1970s and 80s.

Listening to those tunes now remind me of evenings walking the streets in Frankfurt – where I worked on-and-off for a couple of years. I would wander the streets on my own, messaging back and forth music suggestions, and listen my way around the city.

It’s a good memory.


Hips, Lips, Tits, Power

Thankfully my calendar is bereft of meetings today – affording me the chance to “clear the decks” – to spend some time organising thoughts, planning, and to perhaps get a little ahead of the game.

I have the computer connected to the bluetooth speaker in the corner of the room – it’s belting out an Elton John compilation album at the moment. He’s singing “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” – I can still remember the first time I heard it – on a Saturday morning children’s TV show called “Number 73” about thirty five years ago. Isn’t it odd how particular moments stick in your mind.

I remember first hearing Tori Amos while getting ready to go to college one day. She was promoting the “Little Earthquakes” album, and the video for “Winter” played during a breakfast television segment. I bought the album that weekend, and played it to death. She was the subject of a huge interview in “Q” magazine a few months later – titled “Hips, Lips, Tits, Power” along with Bjork and PJ Harvey.

Just think how much useful information could have been stored in my head if it hadn’t become filled with the songs of Tori Amos and Elton John, and the countless brat pack movies I watched on-repeat during that period.


Coffee break over. Time to get back to work.


Movies and Music

Having been away last week, catching up with work projects over the last few days has been something of a scramble. I’m only too aware that I’m terrible at multi-tasking – and given the complex nature of my work, it’s easy to make mistakes.

I’ll get there. Slowly. I’m leaning on the bullet journal quite a bit to plan, organise and remain somewhat mindful of things that need my attention throughout each day.

Like I said – I’ll get there.

Since returning home the weather has been spectacularly bad. I delivered lunch to my other half yesterday in the rain, and got soaked through to the underwear. This morning I fetched washing in from the line that had been left out in the rain, and got soaked again. It’s almost like the weather man has something against me.

(“The weather man” is a childhood memory from a “Rupert” story book, where the weather was created by a man that lived in the clouds, operating vast and complex machinery)

While sitting here in the dark, a radio station is playing “Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong”. I’m trying to remember which movie it was used in – “An Officer and a Gentleman” ?

While talking to a friend yesterday, a few movies came to mind that I’ve not seen for years – among them “Some Kind of Wonderful”. It’s one of my favourite “brat pack” movies, along with “Pretty in Pink”, “The Breakfast Club”, and “St Elmos Fire”.

Ah crap – now I’m going to have to go and find “Man in Motion” by John Parr – the title track from the “St Elmo’s Fire”. Great song.

While emptying my head about movies and music of the era, have you seen “Red Oaks” ? It’s a series on Amazon Prime about a young man working his summers at a country club in the US during the late 1980s. It’s kind of wonderful.

A cover of “You Raise Me Up” just started playing on the radio. My brain makes all kinds of connections from it – to Josh Groban, and then on to Idina Menzel (who performed in “Chess” alongside him about ten years ago). All routes eventually lead back to Idina Menzel…

Ah crap – I’ll be listening to “Seasons of Love” from “Rent” before we know it. Have you heard the original cast recording done for charity during the Pandemic? It’s wonderful – following the link below: