16.2021

What is going on in that nursery rhyme, “As I was going to St Ives…”

As I was going to St. Ives,

I met a man with seven wives,

Each wife had seven sacks,

Each sack had seven cats,

Each cat had seven kits:

Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,

How many were there going to St. Ives?

That man had seven wives carrying 7 sacks each, with 7 cats in each sack. Not to mention the kits that each cat had. That’s just weird. Were they engaged in some kind of illegal cat trade? Or they just stole a whole bunch of cats from the town of St Ives?

Assuming the cats were lightweight, that’s 3kg each, so each sack weighs 21kg, and each wife is carrying seven of these sacks. 147kg! I note there’s no mention of this man carrying any of these sacks himself, lazy so and so. Not to mention those 7 cats will not be happy being bundled into a sack together. Unless they are dead of course. That puts a rather grim undertone to the nursery rhyme.

Anyway, cats in sacks aside, I was thinking about St Ives because we were thinking of taking a trip down there for the summer at some point (not taking our cat!), but obviously most of the U.K. has had the same thought and accommodation in Cornwall for the summer is either booked out or too darned expensive. So alternative plans need to be considered.

In the meantime we have booked a few days away in Scarborough on the Yorkshire coast. Originally we were planning to do a long weekend of walking…. but then we decided we didn’t really want to do another walking holiday when we have the Peak District walking holiday planned for end of June. I’m not sure what to expect from Scarborough, but I’m hoping it’s nicer than Blackpool.

Another week and another attempt to get back running again. I have to deal with the sad fact that the long break I’ve had since Christmas, and the two or three runs I did in March, have not been enough to maintain any level of puff.

All my hard work with the Couch to 5K last year might need to be re-done to get myself back up to 30 minutes of fitness running again. But one interesting thing I found is it’s actually easier to run at a full speed sprint than it is to jog, so perhaps instead of shuffling at a pace only slightly faster than walking, this time I try actually running. It would be the time to channel my inner Usain Bolt except I don’t think I have one.

My first week of being back writing to a plan started well then fell to bits by the weekend. I did bits of writing every day up to Thursday. I didn’t get around to writing on Friday, and was supposed to write today as well but haven’t. Having an outline has been really helpful so that when I do get around to writing, I can see what is written, what’s not written, where are the gaps I need to address. If nothing else from the course, that’s going to be useful for me going forward.

This week we have been watching the latest series of The Brokenwood Mysteries. It’s a police crime drama set in New Zealand and wherever the murder takes place, it’s usually somewhere amazingly scenic. For instance in previous series there have been murders at the mountains, on the beach, at the winery… there was even a Lord of the Rings murder. I can’t help but feel that this series is somehow sponsored by the New Zealand tourism board, encouraging people to come to New Zealand. Probably not so much for the murdering but to enjoy of the amazing scenery, good wine, and healthy outdoor lifestyle (apart from all that murdering).

Brokenwood isn’t suspenseful and dramatic. It’s very character driven – it’s a small town after all full of strange and quirky characters – and I’m still not quite sure how Gina the Russian pathologist ended up in a small town like Brokenwood but she gets all the best lines so I’m happy to have her there.

This week was my mother’s birthday. Obviously I don’t get to go to Australia and join my family for the celebration so I decided to send flowers which was surprisingly difficult. For one, I had no idea how expensive flowers are in Australia. For two, even though I picked florists close to where she is living, they all wanted to charge some amount of money for delivery. Aside from charging for delivery, some would not deliver flowers on a Saturday (which is what I wanted). One florist actually wanted to charge me for including a card with a message. One wouldn’t take my order unless I set up an account with them.

I eventually chose one and placed an order. And then woke up at 3am to connect on WhatsApp to say hello to my family all gathered together for Mum’s birthday lunch. (It was midday, their time.)

Later that day I joined my work team picnic get together. Im so used to seeing these people on screen that seeing them face to face feels weird. And nerve wracking. Which is crazy because I used to see them every day on the office when we were working from the office. (Yee, this is what lockdown does to your mental state – once you’re used to a small world, the prospect of a bigger world suddenly seems scary.) But once we all get together it’s fine, we can chat about anything and everything and I get to see people – and I realise I haven’t seen anyone in real life since last year, variously December, or September, or June, or March when we were last in the office.

This weekend we cleaned out the kitchen drawer. You know the drawer. The one where you throw all those miscellaneous bits of stuff: takeaway menus, bits of string, thumbtacks… Jimeoin even wrote a song about it.

Wishing you all a good week, and I hope you find what you’re looking for in your kitchen drawers.

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