This week’s hello Our new neighbours have properly moved in at last and we’ve met them over the fence. We warned them about our friendly cat, who loves to visit anyone who is eating in their garden, and that they should watch out for him coming over to visit if they have food and trying to get their attention with a claw to the back of the leg. Earlier today I heard the neighbours out on their back porch, then I heard some loud meows, and then a shriek. So I think someone had a quick lesson on the seriousness of our warning about the claws in the leg.
They have made a good start on cleaning up the garden which got pretty overgrown since the last tenants left just before the start of lockdown. In fact, it seems the last tenants walked out and left a lot of stuff behind, including food in the fridge. I was shocked that the estate agents did not check any of this or arrange for the house to be cleaned professionally before new tenants moved in. Actually, I’m not that shocked because my experience of estate agents in this country is that they are lazy and overpaid and have a poor sense of customer care despite the huge fees they extract for their “services”. (Rant ends)
This week podcast I have been listening to Viv Groskop’s new podcast We can rebuild her looking for tips on how to reformat my life after the pandemic. However I have realised I am no good at listening to podcasts and trying to work because the voices just distract me. I either listen with serious intent or I work and concentrate on that. I don’t understand how people can do both.
This week’s Webinar was called How to design your work life led by two design gurus. The idea was you can apply dedign principles to your work life to try and figure out how to make it better. They posed an interesting question – what do you make? They pointed out it’s not just about the money honey, you can also make impact (e.g. on people’s lives) and you can also make things expressively / creatively. Maybe one of these three things is missing in your life and that’s where your feelings of dissatisfaction come from, so think about how to get more of that thing into your life, either through an expansion of your paid job or through a class or through volunteering.
This week’s Couch to 5K progress: I ran on Monday morning and on Friday afternoon. I was scheduled to run on Wednesday but it was raining so I did not run (yes I know I’m a wuss) but I did do Mike Peele’s Hip Hop fitness class instead. It was recommended by a colleague who has been shielding and spent three months confined to her house and yard so I think she has done pretty much all of the online workouts. (She also recommended a no equipment kickboxing workout – make sure to remove all breakables before attempting that one). Anyway, it’s end of week 2 and it’s not getting any easier. Am I supposed to enjoy this at some point?
This week’s social engagement: We had our social bubble again this week with a friend come over and stay for two nights. To celebrate her visit we cooked up the random Turkish pasta and random Turkish soup we bought a few weeks ago for lunch. It was not great although it was filling. Lesson learned: do not get excited by random ingredients at the Turkish grocery stores. We also cooked up some yellow mole (Mexican sauce) although once we tipped a can of tomatoes into the mix it didn’t taste like anything much apart from spicy tomato sauce. Another lesson learnt there.
Having someone over also meant we could have games night instead of watching TV. The first night we played Scattergories which is always great fun especially when you think you are the only one who will put “parsnip” as vegetable starting with a P only to find the other two players both decided not to put pumpkin or pepper but also go for parsnip as a more obscure option on the assumption that no-one else would put parsnip. Because you all put the same answer, no-one gets any points. I was excited however to finally have an answer for the ever-difficult “Famous detective” with a D – Dirk Gently! Cannot believe I was the only one who got that.
On the second night we played a game called Outburst but not according to its original rules which are confusing and unnecessary. It’s a game where you have a set time to name up to ten things on a list related to a topic, such as “Clint Eastwood films” or “things you take on holiday”. Two things you have to consider: (1) you have to think like the creators of the game in order to match items on their list and (2) this game was made in the 1980s, so “Characters from Eastenders” needs to be specific to that period. We decided to play it as two players guessing while one checked the answers, which improved the game no end. One thing we don’t understand about this game is this “magic” way of reading the answer cards, which involves slotting them into a card reader with a red filter which reveals the answer. Why not just have a normally visible list? Anyway, husband won that game after getting not only “Clint Eastwood films”, but also “Star Wars” and “Famous Wars”. Meanwhile I get topics like “Artists born in Russia”.
This week’s cooking tip: We have become fans of video blogger (if that is the correct term) Nat and his cooking show “Nat’s what I reckon“. He’s a heavy metal fan who does cooking videos for basic recipes (fried rice, chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognese), and who hates pre-prepared packets and jars. He’s very sweary so his cooking and presenting style is not for everyone but he is very funny and doesn’t seem to take himself or the art of cooking too seriously. We have not yet tried any of his recipes yet but we like watching his videos.
This week’s ‘oops’ moment On Saturday we went down to the local market to pick up some groceries, which we did, but oops, we happened to pass a recently re-opened pub with no-one in it, so we felt obligated to pop in and get a drink. And then on our way home we passed another pub (our favourite local) and felt the need to have a drink there as well. All this lunchtime drinking without actually having lunch meant we came home and had a little afternoon nap on the sofa.
This weeks reading: I am reading and enjoying Vigdis Hjorth’s Will and Testament. It’s a story of family and inheritance and Bergljot trying to get her family to hear her. The novel also has some beautiful descriptions of Norwegian scenery, or maybe it’s descriptions of beautiful Norwegian scenery. Either way, despite the cold and bleak time of year (winter), the descriptions of nature make it sound like somewhere you want to be.
This weeks job news: I wrote to my old boss (who moved on to head another team in the same instituition) a few weeks ago, asking if she had any space in her team to take me on a secondment. It turns out she does, and she’s also got some ideas of projects I could work on that would make use of my knowledge of systems but also provide me with a learning opportunity. I find it so strange that after whinging to myself for so ling about being miserable where I am now, it only takes one email and a phone call to tee up a change. It will be some months before I move officially (well, we are working from home for the foreseeable future so my place of work won’t change) but I finally have a prospect for change that I was looking for.
Wishing you all a week of good food, good company, good news and good books.