Burning the Candle

We’re heading towards the final half-hour of the working day, and I’m not entirely sure how I’m staying awake. After going “out out” last night – on a work night – I then stayed up until 2am when we got home – fooling around with the YouTube channel.

The night out was unexpectedly wonderful. I swear I’m getting worse at setting foot outside the door, but once out I was fine. I know more than one close friend would raise an eyebrow at that admission.

We went on an organised magical mystery tour of restaurants around the town – with each course of the meal being at a different location. The restaurants were kept secret until we arrived at each one – walking around the town in co-horts of perhaps 30 people.

It was fun. And we drank far too much.

Our final destination was a famous restaurant on the edge of town – on the bank of the River Thames. We found ourselves on a huge round table with people we had never met before – but soon tore any walls down and filled the final hour of the evening with stories, laughter, and new friendships. One lady in particular – somebody of note I think – remarked that our table had been the best of the entire evening.

After wandering home slightly the worse for wear, I drank a gallon of coffee and sat down in front of the computer. Some time critical content had to go out on YouTube – if I missed the window, I would miss out on a huge amount of traction for the channel. I’m starting to understand how the machinery of the social internet works.

I finally fell into bed at 2am – and then woke this morning to stratospheric numbers in the overnight analytics. It was worth it.

I feel like hell though.


The Coffee Shop Intervention Requirement

Several days have slipped past since I wrote anything of consequence. Once again I find myself sitting in the dark of the junk room, propped in front of the computer – tapping into the keyboard. The clock is ticking towards midnight again.

We’re one day away from a four day weekend – the easter weekend – which hadn’t occurred to me at all until the rest of the household started making various “death by chocolate” creations in the kitchen (and leaving me the washing up).

(an hour passes while I get sucked into an internet rabbit hole)

How the hell does this always happen?

(you can’t hear me sigh – I just sighed)

I had all sorts of ideas earlier – things I might write about. Somehow that all went sideways as soon as I started writing. I end up catching myself – a voice whispers “nobody’s interested in any of that”. It’s always the introspective stuff. The good stuff.

I don’t know. I just feel like I’m on a bit of a hamster wheel at the moment. Each day is groundhog day. I need to do an intervention on myself – go out for lunch with a friend – a walk in the woods – anything really.

I am my own worst enemy though – I’ll get up tomorrow, start doing chores, then become consumed with work, and before I know it, the day will have gone, and I’ll have spent yet another day in the junk room.

Who want’s to go for coffee tomorrow?


Half past my bedtime

Somehow it’s almost 1am on Friday night (or should that be Saturday morning?). Where does the time go? I’m struggling to cast my mind back over the last few days – to find anything of interest.

Life has been a bit like that recently – dragging myself from one day to the next, and not really being able to put the pieces together afterwards. The weekend away at my parents seems like a long time ago.

I’ve been slowly moving towards content authoring at work – writing stories for the website and the various social media channels we’re starting to explore. It’s funny really – all the years emptying my head into the keyboard have resulted in some recognition at last that I’m not bad at it. I think the hardest thing to get across to those scheduling me is that writing takes time – it needs to be scheduled – it’s not easy.

Away from work the house continues to drag itself from one day to the next without completely falling down. We had a gas engineer visit this week to service our central heating. Upon finding out I immediately set about tidying the house from top to bottom – lest the engineer think we live in a house that’s just been burgled. After moving heaven and earth for a couple of hours, and making numerous trips to the bins outside with bags full of rubbish from teenage girl bedrooms, I collapsed in front of my work computer and waited.

The engineer didn’t check any of the rooms.

During the last visit the engineer had checked the radiators throughout the house – this time they didn’t. I might have said a few choice words when I found out.

At least the house got tidied up. Of course by the next day the teenagers had waved their magic wand again, and we’re back to where we started – but for a couple of hours the other morning – while I was the only one in – the house wasn’t half bad.

While I often rail against the piles of “stuff” all over the house – making it look untidy – in a strange sort of way I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re all interested in different things, are involved in different hobbies, take part in different things, and so on. The house reflects that. I would hate if we lived in a spartan, tidy, empty house. There’s a story to be told about pretty much any corner of any room in our house – or at least the stuff stacked in that corner – or the other corner – or over there – or under that… you get the idea.


It’s getting late. I want to get up in the morning to watch the racing cars in Australia. The F1 circus has arrived in Melbourne. I know somebody in Melbourne – I wonder how she is? I should reach out.

I’m terrible at reaching out. With so many things going on all the time around me, I often get swept up in what everybody else needs, rather than what I might like to be doing. I’m trying to push back against that a little bit, but it’s hard – it’s not in my nature.


I never thought of that before

It’s been a strange few days.

My other half finished working at a local infant school on Friday. The end of nearly twelve years as “the lady in the office” – and apparently a huge figure in the childhood of hundreds of small children along the way. We’ve kind of gotten used to not being able to walk through town without somebody saying hello. She came home with armfuls of flowers, bottles of fizzy wine, and cards from staff, parents, and children.

Later in the evening she went out for a meal with the school staff, and I wandered along towards the end of the evening – not quite knowing what I might be walking into. I’m not quite sure how teachers do it, but they have a way about them – particularly infant school teachers. There’s a calmness. A kindness. It’s hard to put your finger on. They are without exception quite wonderful people, and I’m going to miss them tremendously – even though I only knew a few of them.

Promises were of course made at the end of the evening – to keep in touch – and to meet as friends rather than colleagues. It’s funny how that works. My other half did wonderfully well until the headteacher said goodnight – then suddenly the tears arrived – for both of them.

The new job starts on Monday, and no doubt dinner times over the weeks ahead will be filled with stories of new characters, new situations, and new challenges. We’re kind of looking forward to it – albeit somewhat apprehensively.

Today we’ve been pottering around the house – or at least we were until some good friend invited us to the pub for a drink. I often remark how lucky we are to have such good friends – and they now joke with me for saying it. Today in the middle of a pub garden on perhaps the last warm afternoon of the year they all sang out in unison “we love you Mr Beckett” (apparently I had told them I loved them all after the birthday party last week). I think they love how much of a colossal nerd I am, really – and that I seemed oblivious to the fact that I was at the pub with five women.

I’ve always found other people interesting. I could listen to other people’s stories all day (and all night, it often turns out – I’ve somehow become the person people talk to during struggles). I always remember standing on a railway platform with my eldest daughter in London when she was young, and pointing at the sea of people on the opposite platform…

“Look at each of those people. They all have their own hopes, dreams, and worries. They’re all perhaps looking forward to where they are going, or missing somebody, or have parents somewhere worrying about them, or children they’re looking forward to seeing”.

She looked at the sea of faces, and held my hand.

“I never thought of that before.”


A minute here, a minute there

I continue to struggle finding time to write. A window of opportunity opened at lunchtime, but before I knew it one thing after another conspired to slam it shut.

I’m not sure I have much to write about.

I was programming all day again. Working on a project that will hopefully see daylight in the new year. I missed lunch again. I really need to start taking lunch breaks and going for a walk. Either that, or going for a walk either before, or after work.

When I worked in Germany I would go for breakfast as soon as the hotel restaurant opened in the morning, and then head into the city for a walk – watching the bakeries, cafes and newspaper shops opening for the day ahead. I would pass endless runners alongside the river – stomping out a rhythm as they passed me.

Perhaps I need to do something like that – breakfast in town. I wonder how much it might cost? Maybe not every day – but once a week?

We all know I’m going to wake up, look at the clock, and disappear back under the bedcovers, don’t we.


Still Here

Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated (if indeed there were any). I can’t remember the last time I let so many days go between blog posts. It’s all slightly surreal really. It’s not like I even missed writing – I just didn’t think about writing at all – which is even more odd really, given that I’ve been writing pretty consistently for the last twenty-something years.

I’ve just been busy, I guess. Busy working, busy tinkering with projects, and not chasing my tail as I have for far too long. One good friend reached out to me this past week, to see if I was ok – and I was quite taken aback to think anybody really thinks about me – or my absence.

As I said – I’m fine. I’m doing good.

I stopped running this week, after pulling a muscle in my backside. Stop laughing. I told you I wasn’t as fit any more – and pulling a muscle pretty much proved it. It started hurting while I was running the other day, and has taken the best part of a week to get better.

I haven’t reached out to distant friends in quite some time, and I feel awful about it. I need to do something about that tomorrow – climb out of my hole, dust myself down, and wave in their direction.

It’s 1am while writing this. I should probably go to bed. I’ll write again tomorrow, I promise. It’s kind of like getting on a horse, this writing business, isn’t it?


Back to Work

I won’t lie – there was a feeling of dread at 7am this morning when the alarm clock filled the bedroom with an internet radio station. I drifted in and out of sleep for a few more minutes before resigning myself to the day ahead.

I always find the first day back after I’ve been on holiday a bit of a struggle. There’s an apprehension of what I’m going to find on my return. Thankfully today was ok. I didn’t stop all day and there’s still a hill to climb, but it was ok.

The image accompanying this post makes me smile – I work from home – I don’t have a commute, a bag, a train, a bus, a walk, or anything like that. I used to cycle to work – before the pandemic. A three mile ride each way, each day. The office was sold, and we changed over to working from home.


I’m sitting in the junk room at home while the sky grows dark outside, trying to switch off for a while. I walked into town after dinner to buy some milk. There’s a store just around the corner, but given I hadn’t got any further than the kitchen all day, I thought a walk might be a good idea.

A Wilson Phillips playlist is filling the room with a compilation, courtesy of Spotify. There’s a lot of Beach Boys covers involved – I need to find a Beach Boys playlist – and a Monkees playlist. Music is SUCH a rabbit-hole with me.


The Weekend Approaches

The week is finally slowing down – affording me the chance to write a few words.

I’m heading into a quiet weekend – most of the family are going to the Commonwealth Games on Saturday to watch the rugby, and then the European football cup final on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

I’ll be hanging out at home with our eldest daughter. I predict horror movies, and all the movie snacks.

I have an admission to make. I stopped using my bullet journal a couple of months ago. While the routine of writing in a paper notebook does help me remember things, you cannot search it’s contents – which has become the primary use-case in my world.

After ditching the bullet journal, I went all-in on Microsoft OneNote – mainly because it kept all my work stuff under the work roof – locked away in their Microsoft 365 platform. I have to say though – OneNote is garbage. It’s kind of Microsoft’s un-loved child, that is going to be replaced soon with “something else” (that will take several versions until it becomes useable).

With that in mind, I started to switch over to “Notion” this week. I’ve played with it in the past. It’s kind of a clever mix between a notebook, and a database. I won’t mansplain it – if you’re interested in a free note taking app, go check it out – all manner of “influencers” found out about it last year, and started waxing lyrical about it.

Anyway. Enough geekery.

I’ve just been talking to my cousin in California – her kids are keen on playing Minecraft with ours, so I imagine I’m going to be teaching their Mom how Minecraft works, and getting everybody into a “Realm” soon. I have to admit – it’s going to be fun. I guess I should re-install Minecraft then…



I’ve had the strangest feeling recently – that I’m in-between. Not just work projects, or chores, or whatever else. Something bigger. Something you can’t quite describe, or relate to.

I’m not sure if it’s that I’m changing, that a change is happening around me, or I’m just becoming aware of something different.

It’s very odd.

In the past I’ve written about ends and beginnings – about the reciprocal nature of things. This feels more like a metamorphosis. I wonder if there’s something in-between ends and beginnings – not so final, and not so dramatic. A transformation of sorts.

Perhaps it’s to do with insight. Becoming aware. Observing. Taking notice.

Sometimes people talk about moments of clarity. Perhaps this is one of them – that I’ve noticed the shifting of the universe’s sands. It’s more a feeling than anything you might see, hear, or touch.

Like I said – it’s very odd.