Too Much Time, Too Many Thoughts

Last night I became pensive. It’s one of those words, like costive, that you don’t see often, and it generally isn’t a good thing. (As a subsidiary thought, I checked costive to make sure I had the meaning right, and was amused to find it had a second meaning, which seems descriptively appropriate – “slow or reluctant in speech or action; unforthcoming”).

This state of mind was caused by an ill-advised look at property websites. I’ve recently been forming an ambition to return to the East of England as my sister and all Julia’s siblings are there. The thought that formed in my mind was that I should sell everything of value to raise money and reduce clutter, and look for a cheap house in Norfolk.

There are two sorts of house in Norfolk – the ones that I can’t afford and the ones that I don’t want to live in (otherwise known as the ones I can afford). I would like the one I found that has several sheds and a private mooring on one of the Broads. Based on current estimates of my worth, including the jar of £1 coins and the stuff down the sides of the chair cushions, I definitely can’t afford it.


Mencap Garden April 2019

The ones I can afford are generally small, Victorian and badly designed. They normally have a bathroom that was added long after they were built, which is right at the back of the house (having been built as an extension to the kitchen). That’s a long trip for a man with a bad knee and a substandard bladder. They are, in short, great value houses to start in, but not that great when you are looking at somewhere for your twilight years.

At that point I started comparing my life to the one I had planned for myself as a teenager.

Compared to the life I had planned when I was 14, my current life is deficient in sunshine, palm trees, cocktails and bikini-clad women. However, as my bald head burns badly, I hardly drink and I’m married, I don’t really notice these things.

When I was 16 I wanted to be a University Lecturer in History. The dream, by now, featured sunshine, manicured college lawns, real ale and female undergraduates.

I suppose you are starting to form some conclusions about the way my mind worked as a teenager.

The dream came to an abrupt end when I was shouted at by a careers teacher. “Don’t waste my time. Teaching is what people say when they can’t thing of anything else to say!”

I’d said teaching because it seemed less pretentious that University Lecturer and didn’t want to upset him. I’m not sure it worked. To be charitable, it’s possible, as an ex-metalwork teacher who had been moved into careers advising (despite, I feel it is fair to say, a lack of talent for careers teaching) that he nursed a grudge against the profession and didn’t want me to end up like him.

By the time I was 18 I was working on a poultry farm, worrying about money and wondering where my dreams had gone. To a large extent, this is still the same today, though with fewer chickens and more arthritis.

That was what caused my introspection.


Mencap Garden April 2019

Fortunately these episodes don’t generally survive the sunrise and after writing about it (well, you need to write about something) and eating a bacon sandwich I am ready for the rest of the day. I’m currently watching an item on TV about a woman with a collection of 400 novelty teapots and reading the internet about more people getting into trouble for their comments on Boris Johnson.

This multi-tasking stuff is getting easier as time goes on.


35 thoughts on “Too Much Time, Too Many Thoughts

  1. tootlepedal

    In my youth, my only ambition was to be good at something, anything, it didn’t matter. Unfortunately no on explained to me how to practise properly and anyway I thought that I should be able to be good at something without trying if I could only find the right thing and too much practice is probably cheating.. I am still looking.

  2. Donnalee of Kingston NY

    “At that point I started comparing my life to the one I had planned for myself as a teenager.” UHOH. It doesn’t help me to look back to the shouldhavebeens, since HUH would I have been disappointed in a few ways. There was a trend going around some years back about writing to one’s younger self, or to appealing to one’s older self for huidance and insight, and I am not qualified to do that sort of thing right now.

    1. quercuscommunity

      My younger self was clearly not that bright, and I suspect my older self is going to be a bumbling idiot so no help there. 🙂

      I’m just going to have to think about more cheerful things.

      1. Donnalee of Kingston NY

        I love the concept I ran across again recently that the mind is rather easy to lead into good thinking if it is phrased in a way it can’t argue with. If you say crap about “I am slim and young and healthy” and you aren’t, your mind will cry foul on that, but if you say, “I could be healthy and great-looking and feeling great”, it can’t argue, since yeah, a maybe is a maybe and there is nothing to argue with. I get a kick out of it sometimes.

      2. Donnalee of Kingston NY

        Actually, on thinking about it, the phrasing I actually use which is much more fun is something like; “Wouldn’t it be great if I were rich and gorgeous and fit and slim?” That is the one the mind gets behind–the other sounds too droopy. Yup, it’s the “wouldn’t it be great if…” and similar that gets my mind happy. Sorry to post pre-coffee–it never works well.

      3. Donnalee of Kingston NY

        But on zoom you can’t, and that’s the reason I balk at it. I OUGHT to be doing readings at a distance, make the money, keep the clients happy, but it’s like if I’m on video, I’m more ugly than in real life. I reapplied for my passport and sent the money, photos, and old passport, and they rejected it, not believing the photos were me, because my looks seem to have nosedived the last ten years to the point that they think it isn’t me. That was a bit of an unpleasant shock.

      4. quercuscommunity

        It’s what’s on the inside that counts. I renewed my driving license a few years ago. In just ten years I had lost my hair, developed a white beard and grown to resemble a toad. Life happens!

        On the plus side, I was able to get into a senior citizen’s session at the supermarket. 🙂

      5. Donnalee of Kingston NY

        Did you apply in person so that they knew whether or not you resembled a toad in person? I sent mine in, which was the only option, so they could only look at it in horror. When they sent the old one back and said to apply again and pay again (NO!), they also sent me someone else’s confidential papers about why she was being rejected, which seemed to have to do with fake-seeming papers from a different state than she (or I) had ever lived in, instead of my application, so someone else at random received mine. Oops. I hope it didn’t shock the person too much to see that photo.

      6. Donnalee of Kingston NY

        I’ll never pay again to get absolutely nothing, including them sending me the wrong material. At least I did get my old passport back, which is not ancient and can be used as federal ID if I need it. I don’t have much urge to travel right now, since even if I wanted to go overseas I’d have to walk at a distance from others, presumably even in the ocean.

      7. Donnalee of Kingston NY

        He’s still doin’. I spent a couple of weeks five and six years ago hanging out with him and his guest folks, playing music, having fun. I got to meet and sign with cool folks like Greg Hawkes, the keyboard guy from the Cars, and Lenny Kaye from Patti Smith Group, and all kinds of folks. Todd has been touring with Ringo the last five or so years and enjoying it. I actually own a tiny part of the tiki bar in Hawaii that they own–might be called something like Tiki Iniki. I should probably check on that.

      8. Donnalee of Kingston NY

        Well, it’s probably about a table or so–we’re not talking millions here. Some of us got together and invested in it to help Todd and wife Michelle (backup singer) and to have cool bragging rights, basically.

  3. Laurie Graves

    Each night, Clif and I watch a show called “Escape to the Country.” I expect you’ve heard of it. It’s a bit of fluff that calms us down, which we most definitely need. Anyway, when we first started watching the show, we were shocked by the cost of houses in the hinterlands of England. Now, when someone has a budget of, say, 350,000 pounds, we nod sagely and note, “They’ll never get everything they want for that price.” And they seldom do. This is a roundabout way of saying that I sympathize with your house hunt in Norfolk.

    1. quercuscommunity

      Thank you. My search was sparked off by an episode where they had a budget of £450,000 to buy somewhere in Norfolk. With that sort of money I really can’t see they have a problem, but nothing is ever good enough. 🙂

  4. Lavinia Ross

    Life is full of unfulfilled aspirations, or one can look at it as taking a different fork in the road than one initially planned on. After enough forks and choices, the trail, on looking back on it, can seem rather winding and strange. Especially during one’s youth, every day can present a fork in the road. Everything is still new, too many things to be explored.


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