Week-end: fasting

A large model cow, painted lilac and decorated with hearts in the colours of various Pride flags and words associated with LGBTQ+ identities, standing on a rainy pavement.

The good

Daffodils. Birds. Loads of writing. The satisfaction of getting shot of some stuff that was cluttering up the place.

The mixed

My short story got rejected. But it was for exactly the reason I expected: it’s way too long and really it wants to be a novel. And the editor really liked it apart from the fact that it was way too long. So. I now find myself with several projects that are well on the way to being something substantial, and I probably need to prioritise.

The difficult and perplexing

Fasting glucose tolerance test. No food from 10pm on Thursday night, train to Cambridge, blood test, glucose drink, hour’s wait, blood test, hour’s wait, blood test. Not my idea of a fun Friday morning, and I felt a bit skew-whiff all the rest of the day. Now we wait to see if I have gestational diabetes. I really hope not.

Train delays at the most inconvenient moment possible. And a decision that was going to result in awkward questions whichever way it went.

What’s working

Early nights. Bathing/showering in the evenings. Saying what I’m not prepared to do.

Reading

Last week I remembered to report my Sunday reading and forgot about the weekdays, in which I finished Death in Cyprus. It was rather an unsatisfactory read: I wanted to slap pretty much everybody; it was incredibly cruel to the older, unattractive character; and the resolution pulled an element out of (so far as I could see) absolutely nowhere. I think Death in Berlin was better.

Still persevering with These Violent Delights.

And I got through most of the latest London Review of Books in between blood tests.

Writing

More on Don’t Quit The Day Job. It’s quite easy writing: at the moment I’m just expounding on my own writing process in an extremely self-indulgent fashion. I’ve only just got all my longhand typed up this evening. What I must do on Monday is rearrange things to fit the new structure.

Thinking about

The myth of the heroic intervention. This came up three times in two days and I think it probably needs a post.

Making

I have the house to myself at the moment and have taken advantage of that fact and got out the sewing machine to do some American-style patchwork. I think my original plan was somewhat overambitious but I’m having fun with the modified pattern.

Mending

Darning a pair of socks, very slowly.

Looking at

An exhibition about the history of Addenbrooke’s after my fasting glucose test.

Cooking

Soup! I adore soup and it is a thousand times less faff in the pressure cooker. I made one with cauliflower and parmesan on Thursday and one with red lentils and Swiss chard this evening.

Eating

The above, plus various things excavated from the freezer. Having got the yoghurt to work last week, I’ve been adding apple sauce, plums, etc. And I made the remains of some roast pork into a sort of stew.

Moving

I managed what used to be my usual walk without having to sit down at least once this week! And I have been getting out for it every morning I’ve been working from home.

Noticing

Robins all over the place, sitting in trees and announcing their presence. Blackbirds, too, and (I think) a bullfinch. And I don’t know whether the decorated cow (whose name, I learned from the information sheet, is Moosha P. Cambridge) has only just arrived outside Sessions House, or if I haven’t been that far along the road, but either way I only noticed her today. Isn’t she magnificent?

In the garden

Got my act together and removed some compost from the Hotbin (the top end was steaming away very happily). Also, not exactly the garden, but I sowed some herb seeds in a pot in the conservatory. Maybe this is the year I get fresh parsley to survive…

Appreciating

Increased energy levels. Soup. Refilling a jar with ground coriander for 32p.

Acquisitions

A bird feeder, the sort made of square mesh to hold peanuts, with a cage around it to keep squirrels out. On getting it home I discovered that we do not in fact have any peanuts. I was sure we did. Never mind. I also got some herb seeds and a nice terracotta pot with multiple holes (see In the garden).

Line of the week

From Theirs and No One Else’s (Nicholas Spice) in the London Review of Books:

There’s a performance of the Prelude to Lohengrin, conducted by Claudio Abbado towards the end of his life, where the orchestra moves like water weed in the current of a river or grassland in a breeze.

Saturday snippet

I wrote and I kept going, wrote and gave up, wrote and wrote and despaired and regained hope and started writing again.

This coming week

I have vague ambitions to Get The House Sorted Out and Get Those Things Drafted and also to Do Some More Patchwork. I also have an appointment to see the midwife and, as mentioned above, should get the results of my glucose test.

Anything you’d like to share from this week? Any hopes for next week? Share them here!

Week-end: cold and beautiful

A street corner on a bright wintry day. Above the houses a cathedral tower rises, hazy in the mist, and surrounded by white-frosted trees.

The good

I dragged myself out of the house this morning and was glad I did: a heavy, spiky frost had turned all the trees white, and the cathedral was wearing a misty veil and looking like an enchanted castle from another dimension.

I have had a little more go, and even managed a bit of piano practice on two days. (I have been teaching myself to play the piano, very slowly, for the last five years at least.)

Lots of post on Thursday: my author copy of Bicycles and Broomsticks (Tony got his on Friday, so I think most people should be getting their Kickstarter rewards soon); cotton mending yarn in jolly bright colours…

The mixed

… and the probate application form, which has been doing the rounds of us executors. It is a sad thing, but it is good to keep things moving.

The difficult and perplexing

Never mind Blue Monday, Wednesday was an actual depression day. I am looking on the bright side and thinking that it is useful to know that I can in fact tell the difference between being knackered and being depressed.

Mixed news from the Church of England, and as usual I’m having trouble working out what I feel about it and feeling hesitant about expressing that, whatever it is.

Also, I shrank my favourite jumper. I’ve stretched out out again over the drying rack, but it is not what it was.

What’s working

Alternating activity with lying on the sofa.

Reading

I seem to be starting loads of books and finishing none of them. Yet. I continued with Sisters of the Forsaken Stars. My romantic suspense book club is now reading Death in Cyprus (M. M. Kaye) – satisfyingly awful characters, including the ones who are meant to be sympathetic, and some gorgeous descriptions. I also returned to Switzerland’s Amazing Railways, which had the entirely predictable effect of making me want to go to Switzerland and ride on (more of) the railways.

Writing

Not a huge amount, but I did type up all the longhand I did on the train last Monday. I still haven’t worked out a routine or set-up that works in my current state, and I’m not sure whether there is a routine or set-up that would theoretically work, or if I just need to wait things out and write little bits when I have the energy.

Mending

Two of Tony’s tops and a pair of my tights.

Watching

As in the rest of the month: Detectorists, Our Flag Means Death, quizzes and winter sports. I am not all that invested in the sports, but I enjoy looking at the snowy mountains.

Looking at

Small but Perfectly Formed: an open exhibition at the local art gallery. There were a few pieces I really liked, quite a lot that were just Not My Thing, and several that I would have liked had they not been given horrific twee names. (I am much more a ‘willows with heron’ person than a ‘gone fishing’ one.)

Cooking

I continue to experiment with the Instant Pot. Last Sunday I made a stonkingly good boeuf bourguignon on the slow cooker setting. Yesterday I did lamb tagine with the pressure cooker. I like this thing.

Eating

As above. Also, yesterday I had a falafel and halloumi wrap from the market; it was not as good as the ones from the stall in St Pancras new churchyard, and was also more dribbly than I’d have liked, but was still not at all bad.

Drinking

Tony and I tackled the mocktails menu at Poet’s House yesterday, considering all four items on it (I noticed too late that there was a Dry January blackboard with several other options) before going for a Virgin Mary (him) and a Galaxy (me). The latter is made of pineapple juice, and I think soda water, and made partly purple with butterfly pea powder (sole function of latter seems to be making things purple). Then I was falling asleep again so went home.

Moving

Swimming on Friday morning: probably a bad idea, in retrospect, even if I was careful and did about half what I’d usually attempt. Still, I’ve managed to walk into town and back, or further, every day since Thursday, so maybe that’s progress. People keep assuring me that the fatigue will pass. But why does nobody mention it alongside the sickness and the forgetfulness?

Playing

Home on the Range. Repeatedly.

Noticing

A goldfinch.

In the garden

Finally got all the pear trees and all but one of the apple trees pruned. And obtained an enamel soup plate to replace the birds’ water bowl, which cracked in the last frost.

Appreciating

Long johns. Hot shower. Bed. All the organising I did in November.

Acquisitions

The copy of Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (Rebecca West) that’s been tempting me in Oxfam for months got sufficiently reduced for me to buy it. And I got Arsenic for Tea (Robin Stevens) and Unseen Things Above (Catherine Fox) while I was in there too.

Hankering

I wanted to get a peanut feeder for the birds with an anti-squirrel cage, but such a thing was not to be had in Wilko. I want interesting socks, but not enough to learn how to knit them for myself. And I am still tempted by a 21-hook darning loom.

Line of the week

Loads of candidates this week! Either I am reading some very good writers or I am reading more attentively and appreciatively. Both good. This is from Death in Cyprus:

Amanda’s hair – a deep golden brown with glints in it the colour of the first chestnuts in September – was a glorious anachronism.

Sunday snippet

This is from the ‘don’t quit your day job’ workbook thingy.

One of the great gifts of all this has been that I have ceased to feel guilty about the things I’m not doing, whether that be writing, or washing up, or piano practice, or getting cat hair out from under the TV stand.

Things happen when they happen. I am actually pretty good at getting things done, but I get them done when I have the time and the energy, and when I don’t I don’t waste time and energy worrying about them.

This coming week

The long haul south. Pancakes. And what looks like it’s going to be a very frosty cycle to the station tomorrow morning.

Anything you’d like to share from this week? Any hopes for next week? Share them here!