How to beat loneliness without actually seeing people

This time last year I was bragging about how much lockdown suited me. I was writing my novel, learning the guitar, doing puzzles and accessing the Hay Festival by Zoom.  I had the whole flat to myself, acres of time, a million things yet to watch, tons of books to catch up on, and all my clients via Zoom so I didn’t even have to keep the place all that tidy.  Smug, is the only word to describe my state of mind last April. Now, though, it’s fair to say [...]

Not drowning but braving

I woke up last Sunday, a mild dose of anxiety making me feel slightly sick – the struggle of lockdown, the crisis in the world and not knowing when it will end.  A dip in the sea, that would do the trick. The high tide was going out.  The water was murky and turbulent; swimmable but with a definite edge and a lot less peaceful than the flat water we enjoyed at the beginning of the month. Normally, I get changed quickly once I’m on the beach, get in, get [...]

Now we are [nearly] six[ty]

I am sixty at the end of this month.  I know lots of people are sixty and some are even older, but it's still ... a bit of a thing. I can’t have a party, which serves me right because I’ve always made a huge fuss about having to have one.  I was going to have a few people round the weekend before; I intended to spend the actual day with my family and I’d planned a holiday with a friend just after.  A perfect triad of low-key celebration, all [...]

How To Not Feel Dread

I am a creature of habit, almost detrimentally so. I never change my running route, I swim at the same time most days, I write my diary, I buy the same things from the supermarket, I have two bicycle circuits. One goes down the big hill then up a short, steep climb to the golf course; the other takes the same roads but the other way around which including a long tough hill on Saddlescombe Road. It’s this second version that I dread, enough to stop me enjoying the entire [...]

Twelve things to love about lockdown and four to hate (maybe five):

1.The weather. It has to be connected, right? 2.  How the front at Brighton smells like the sea. I’ve never noticed that before. On the same note, I cycled past a field of sheep yesterday and I could smell the wool. Maybe fields of sheep always smell of wool and I don’t notice. Either way it’s a plus; 3.  Cycling. I’ve not been up to Devil’s Dyke before because there are so many cars. Without cars, it's a great ride; 4.  Afterwards, and how none of us know what that [...]

The joy of stating the obvious

One of the things I love about this time of year (aside from having got Christmas and my birthday out the way) is how the evenings get noticeably lighter as do the mornings. What a boring thing to say, I hear you mutter.  Obvious, dull, doh.  It is, and that’s the thing. I must have found myself in at least five conversations already this year about lighter mornings and longer evenings (none, I hasten to add, started by me).  Which leads me to observe that even though we know it’s [...]

Trying + failure = success

I have recently moved to Brighton and while it's a novelty I've been taking my cup of tea (and occasionally my swimming stuff) to the beach, yes occasionally to swim, but mostly to watch the waves.  Okay - to watch people. A guy rocked up at the beginning of last week with a windsurf board on wheels.  He unhooked it, dragged it down to the water’s edge and went back for the sail. He climbed into his wetsuit and adjusted the braces.  He fixed the sail to the board and [...]

2019-09-25T10:46:41+01:0025 September 2019|coaching, defeat, defeat, goal, Hope, humiliation, optimism|0 Comments

Why I find it so hard to give money to homeless people

It’s not because they don’t need it, or because giving small bits of cash doesn’t deal with the problem of poverty.  It’s not because I worry it will be spent on drugs or alcohol.  It’s not because I believe the state should be tackling the problem through taxation (which of course it should).  None of these. It’s something much more basic. I find it physically hard to pause, get out my purse, find a couple of quid and put it in the paper cup. So much so that it’s not [...]

How hard it is to run when you’re in a bad mood

I run.  Not fast and not very far, but frequently enough to notice how sometimes it feels effortless (dare I say enjoyable) and sometimes it feels as if the oxygen’s been sucked out of the air and it’s up hill there and back. There will be no difference in the set up; my diet remains pretty much constant, I’m hydrated, I’ve had the same amount of sleep, I’m not injured, the route is the identical, and the weather doesn’t really affect me (so long as it’s not boiling hot). Spoiler [...]

Why one bad thing leads to more bad things (and what you can do about it)

Something bad happens and before you’ve even thought of picking yourself up a ton of disasters tumble down on top of the first, as if they’ve been waiting round the corner for the go ahead.  Recognise that? Shakespeare (of course) summed it up nicely: When sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions. Indeed they jolly well do. It’s as if the Universe is … well … taking the piss.  If you found yourself in the pub with the Universe, you’d give it a wide berth on the grounds that [...]

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