Tag Archives: procrastination

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Poppy and chamomile

The day is passing faster and faster.

Julia is on the phone to one of her needier clients. Again, I cannot describe the conversation due to issues of confidentiality, but it is circular. And long. And, as it is on something modern like an app or a zoom, it is loud and intrusive too. She might be working from home but technically this is a day off for me, even if I am treating it as a work day. Obviously in this context “work” is an expression of hope rather than fact.

I have researched a number of magazines as recipients for the articles I wish to write. I have read several of the magazines more deeply than necessary and I have made a list of possible articles. My plan is at the stage known as “getting there”. In other words it is a rag-bag of elements which don’t amount to much.

It is more of an intention or an outline. Time for some more work, but this time I will do it in front of the TV whilst watching Pointless. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Ironically that’s a very dull saying. Equally ironically, I haven’t done much work.

Back again…

Having watched Pointless and failed in a few rounds – notably the modern music and the football questions – I meant to get back to work. Instead, I watched Eggheads. It is one of the dullest quizzes around, but we had tea and biscuits and I can never resist temptation to sit and drink tea, with or without biscuits. As a late lunch we had corn on the cob (Julia went out for a walk and, as usual, nipped into a shop to buy something. She can’t break the habit. Today she bought corn on the cob.)

I am quite hungry now and have just put the vegetables into the oven to roast. Carrots, parsnips, leeks and potatoes. I will put sprouts in when I put the pasties in. It’s a meal we have nearly every week but I never get fed up of it. Apart from being year round comfort food, it’s healthy and easy to make.

It’s been eleven hours since I started “work” and I have not managed to complete anything yet, apart from some TV viewing and three blog posts.

As I started this one I noticed my total was 2,000 which means I missed the chance to write a post about reaching my 2,000th post. I may have to plough on to 2,020 before marking the occasion.

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I’m now going to put the pasties in and about 25 minutes after that will make the gravy. It’s only made with gravy granules, so is nothing exciting. Then I had better get the shopping ordered. I only have until midnight and it can be a slow process. I also get distracted easily.

I have already done the shopping list relating to the spice kits – we will be having linguine with prawns and rocket. I’m not sure why, because we make that anyway.

We are also having Iranian Vegetable Stew, which apparently takes its inspiration from Persia and North Africa. This tends to suggest it isn’t really Iranian or a proper recipe, just some vegetables to soak up some spices they wanted to get rid of. Pardon my cynicism. I keep meaning to give ras-el-hanout a try, so this is my chance.

Finally we will be having nasi goreng. I’ve wanted to try it since I read about it as a teenager reading my dad’s Somerset Maugham books. It’s typical that I’ve always steered clear of cooking it in case it didn’t live up to my expectations. Next week will be an interesting time.

I will try to take photographs before I eat everything.

Photos are recycled from here.

Eleven Photos and the Benefits of Blogging

Mint Moth

Wednesday 8th July Part I

Wednesday 8th July Part II

Wednesday 8th July Part III

Wednesday 8th July Part IV

Wednesday 8th July Part V

A Short Trip through a Shallow Mind

So much to do, so little time.

I’ve just looked at my life, recoiled in horror, and tried to write a “to do” list.

Wash up

Cook tea

Clear my “desk” (which is a dining room table)

Watch TV and relax

Write a blog post

Write a poem

Dream up a way of making money

Start putting stuff on eBay

Cook the ratatouille for tomorrow

Wash up after cooking

Browse eBay

Do the photographs for my talk at the Numismatic Society (six weeks away!) Eeek!

Declutter

Organise my collection

Organise my underwear. Some of it is older than the kids. There is a definitely diaphonous quality to some of them, caused by the material wearing so thin a good sneeze might make them disintegrate. But I’m a married man, so I don’t need to impress anyone with the quality of my undergarments.

Read

Write another “to do” list – this one is getting too long

Read up on growing food from scraps as recommended by Higgledy Piggledy Mom

Visit Derrick and Tootlepedalto check on new developments in how to age disgracefully. A quick scan indicates that Derrick looks set to drown in pursuit of photography and TP has been watching a helicopter move a portable toilet. Jackie, the saint who is married to Derrick, has been photographing his antics, presumably for an entry in the Darwin Awards.

Write a list of all the other blogs I need to catch up with.

Lavinia

Clare

Charlie

Laurie

Lots of others.

Procrastinate. It’s not an entry you expect to see on a “to do” list but if I don’t procrastinate I’m going to have to start the washing up and make ratatouille.

Wrestle with conscience – Julia is out. If I ring for a Chinese takeaway she won’t know. I can wash away the evidence, mask the smell and…then I’ll tell her. I always do. I just don’t seem to be able to keep a secret. It means I lead a blameless life and never have anything on my conscience very long. I  would make a dreadful criminal.

Ah well, washing up it is then…

The featured image is completely random.

Cold, Wet and Miserable

Yesterday morning when we left the house the day was beautiful – just the right temperature with a bright blue sky and a goldfinch perched incongruously on a TV aerial singing its heart out.

I wasted the rest of the day labouring on a computer in a windowless back room thinking of freedom and foolproof ways to kill my co-workers. This isn’t time wasted as it will eventually become the plot for one of my planned series of crime novels. The motive still needs work – nobody is going to believe that someone is murdered because he keeps moving the scissors – but I am being pushed to the edge. The only thing that prevents a fatal stabbing at the moment is the fact I can never find the bloody scissors.

What a contrast with today.

I stuck my head out of the door into a gloomy world with a low grey sky and only the chatter of a magpie to serve as a soundtrack. Even that stopped before I reached the car. No doubt it had found something small and defenceless to eat.

Wednesday is my day off but today was not to be filled with fun because it is MOT day. Actually, yesterday was MOT day, but because I’m a poor organiser it didn’t get done. Yesterday it had a new windscreen to replace the one that was cracked in Stoke on Trent as that sort of damage means a fail in the test.

Have I really being procrastinating for six months? That’s world class procrastination.

Fortunately the law allows you to drive without a valid MOT certificate as long as you are driving directly to a test station to keep a previously booked appointment.

They rang me just before lunch to tell me it had failed despite the new screen. It seems that one of the tyres I didn’t replace after the holiday had failed because of damage to the inner side-wall. It’s now cost me £325 for 3 tyres, the excess for the windscreen insurance and the MOT. Car ownership is starting to look like an expensive hobby.

They rang just after lunch to tell me it was ready, but when I stuck my head out of the door it was pouring down. I’d been typing in the dining room and hadn’t noticed. It was heavy, blustery and constant.

Half an hour later it was still blustery and constant, but it was heavier. And my coat was in the car. I have another coat. Unfortunately that was also in the car. My habit is to wear a coat while I am outside, walk back to the car, put it in the car and then walk into the house without the coat. This means I always have a coat with me when we go out.

It also means that, having failed to take the hint offered by the morning’s grey sky, I had walked home without a coat. It’s only quarter of a mile. Who needs a coat for that distance?

Fortunately I do have a third coat. Unfortunately, I’ve had it a while and I can no longer fasten it. I’ve noticed this with clothes. As they get older they seem to get smaller.

So, to summarise. Heavy rain, gusting wind. Coat that won’t fasten. Nothing for it but to grit my teeth and walk. At least my back will stay dry, I thought.

That’s where my new haircut came into play. With a newly shaved head there is nothing to impede rain as it runs off your shiny scalp and down your neck.

Later that day we went shopping. I checked my lottery tickets and found I had won £2.70.

Some days you think fate is laughing at you.

Other days you are certain it is.

 

 

Life and Times of a Couch Potato

I’ve not covered myself in glory today, as far as work is concerned. Starting with good intentions, I have fallen far short of my ambitions.

Dusk is falling now and I’m watching a documentary about the Durrell family.

I have been struggling to concentrate and have read a few poems from the new edition of Acumen, but little else. The magazine has just been turned down for Arts Council Funding and is starting to raise money for itself.

As someone who has struggled to raise funds for junior sport and people with learning difficulties I am in two minds. I do sympathise with the loss of funding, but I can’t help feeling that poetry isn’t quite as important as kids or people with disabilities.

Much of the day was taken up with a couple of Columbo episodes, including one where Dick van Dyke, in a beard borrowed from a Boer Farmer, performs a murder that could have been solved by a child who had once watched CSI. How times have changed…

Today’s plots revolved around things like telephone answering machines and altering the hands of clocks. There wasn’t a mobile phone in sight, and certainly no mention of DNA.

It was a refreshing change, but also slightly frustrating, as even I seem to know more about the forensics of gunshots than Columbo.

The coin in the featured image is a Dylan Thomas commemorative. I’ve mentioned poetry and I happen to have it stored where it’s available to the blog, so it’s vaguely suitable. Hopefully I’ll soon be back on track with computers, though I’ve made no progress yet.

It’s quite a good likeness, despite looking like he’s standing in a wind tunnel.

 

Christmas and Humbuggery…

Pre-dawn on Sunday found me, as usual, sitting in a car park waiting for Number Two Son to finish work. When he’s off in Canada squandering his cash on Youth Hostels and check shirts it will all seem worthwhile.

For the seconf week in a row the Pied Wagtails didn’t appear. Like all sensible beings they are obviously keen on sleeping until the last possible moment.

You see some interesting vans, but is that a spelling mistake? Oh yes, it is.

You see some interesting vans, but is that a spelling mistake? Oh yes, it is

By this time I had already been lost in Nottingham doing Julia a favour (giving one of her workmates a lift to work) because if you are getting up at 5am why not make it 4.45 so you can really deprive yourself of sleep? Sat Navs are OK, but in an unlit street in the pitch black of a winter morning it can be quite tricky being told you are there when you aren’t. My fault, I should have used the address instead of the postcode. Or I should have used a map and torch – they worked for years before we had satnavs.

At the moment I miss the sunrise, for photographic purposes, as we’re driving back as it takes hold. I’m hoping for better things in a month or so, when I may be able to get a few shots from the car park or somewhere similar.

Castle Donnington Services - a hint of dawn as exaggerated by the camera

Castle Donnington Services – a hint of dawn as exaggerated by the camera

As we drove home down a parking deprived stretch of dual carriageway we had the sight of the sky to our right coming to life with salmon pink light, silhouettes of trees and pylons, and breathtaking cloudscapes.

To our left the power station gleamed in shades of grey and silver against a backdrop of night sky.

We seemed to be driving down the junction of day and night.

Very strange, very memorable and very frustrating I couldn’t photograph it.

It was also very tempting to use words like cupola, but I didn’t. Some words are best left to Victorian poets and architects.

The rest of my day so far has consisted of reading WordPress, washing up and procrastinating.  But mainly I have been avoiding thoughts of Christmas.

All that time, all that money and all that hope squandered on a couple of days that will do nothing to help refugees, global warming or my knees.

Scrooge, you say?

Bah! Humbug!

On a lighter note, I just did an internet-based quiz to check on my actual mental age, and find that due to my cautious optimism, life experience and forward-looking attitude I am a “Young Adult”. This, I feel, says more about internet-based quizzes and self-deception than it does about my mental age.

Slowly writing…

I’m sitting here typing slowly and watching repeats of old comedy programmes. There are worse ways of spending an evening – I could be watching the news, for instance. I read something a couple of years ago which recommended avoiding the news for the sake of your mental health. It seems to have worked as I am now happier and without actively seeking out the news I seem to absorb all I need to know.

As I type I drift off from time to time to wash up, browse eBay, read a new poetry book that arrived today, or make cups of tea.

Picture of Hedd Wynn’s statue from an earlier visit. That was the day we saw the Red Kites.

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That’s how I’ve managed to spend three hours writing just over 100 words.

From the writing perspective it’s unimpressive. From a procrastination perspective it’s world class.

 

 

Holiday Time

Julia was on holiday today, a fact which she celebrated by waking up at 5am just like it was a working day. After a brief lie in she carried on the holiday frivolities with an outbreak of cleaning before making breakfast.

The woman just doesn’t know how to relax.

She could profit, in this respect, from watching how I do it.

When breakfast appeared I decided to join her.

It wasn’t quite as simple as that. It never is. First I tied my feet together whilst stepping into my pants, then I noticed I’d put my vest on back to front. Two items of clothing, two problems. Even toddlers do better than that. The process of putting my trousers on, which has often been attended by a certain amount of peril went without trouble this morning so at least something went right.

After that I did the laundry and the shopping. Reference to other blog posts that list my Sunday activities will reveal that Julia isn’t the only one who hasn’t quite got the hang of holidays.

I also managed to write up most of our visit to Cleethorpes as I need to catch up on my writing about pier visits.  That just leaves Skegness. I say that, but as you may have guessed, the holiday is likely to encompass a few pier visits and I’m likely to end the week with more of a backlog than I started with.

The trouble with my ambition to elevate procrastination to an art form is that there will always be a list of jobs to do.

I may write a haiku about procrastination, as it seems a suitably zen subject.

With any luck I’ll get round to it tomorrow…

 

Haiku, clerihu and an idle moment

I’ve successfully procrastinated the morning away since dropping Julia at work. I blogged, I slept, I composed twelve haiku on modern subjects, I reflected on Clerihews and their superiority to haiku and I replied to a few comments. I even read one post from someone else. It was fascinating, though it didn’t seem promising at first. Try Repro Arts of Great Yarmouth. It’s a print shop, but one that has made at least one fascinating blog post. I say “at least” because I have not yet read any of the others. They may all be fascinating, but in line with my theme for the morning, I’m going to read the rest later.

I recently invented a new poetic form – the haiklerihew. So far the world’s stock of haiklerihews is one. It’s probably all we need. I’m thinking I might have a crack at the clerihu next, though amalgamating a four line humorous poem nobody values with a three line nature poem that people are very serious about could take some doing.

 

from ancient Japan we have Basho

who never has gone out of fashion

deep in the woodlands

a nature cliche gestates

serious poem

 

I’ve amalgamated the first two lines of the clerihew, with the name, then added a haiku underneath. Clerihews, for those of you who have missed previous efforts, are allowed to be bad in terms of rhyme and scansion. I think I have achieved that here.

The haiku is a bit unkind, but some of them are a bit cliched in terms of the nature reference – I know mine are. I’ve used the 5-7-5 syllable format which is now seen as a bit old-fashioned – that way you can tell it’s a haiku. I had to change woods to woodlands to get the five in the first line, which is in the bad poetry tradition of the Clerihew.

All in all, a satisfactory poetic form, and much better than the haiklerihew.

I’m now going to brace myself for death threats from haiku poets.

Writers of Clerihews are much more laid back.

Another New Week

Well, it’s another new week and it’s a blank canvas full of possibilities and the potential for cliches.

I rose early, did a word puzzle and then sat and decided what to do. I decided to do more sitting, and did another word puzzle. These aren’t intellectual exercises by any means but at 6.30 my brain isn’t necessarily prepared for heavy lifting.

Breakfast consisted of a pear, a small citrus fruit (I lose track of all the names they use these days) and two turmeric capsules. As a dietary regime it could probably do with some fine-tuning.

My first TV selection was what I refer to as “classic comedy”. That could equally be “very old repeat” as it was a 1982 episode of Minder – the Birdman of Wormwood Scrubs. That’s the episode where they refer to a male Bullfinch, but show a female Chaffinch. After that I lost interest in the assorted rubbish on offer and concentrated on the computer.

Looking through the Q&A section of ebay to increase my knowledge of the system I was struck by the fact that though many of the world’s resources are decreasing the supply of idiots shows little sign of slacking off.  If we could harness stupidity and get it into a fuel tank we wouldn’t need electric cars. I won’t dwell on the subject, as we don’t have the technology for this, and the waste upsets me.

Now, as the clock creeps round to mid-day I realise that a touch of TV, two word puzzles, some light blogging, a quick breakfast, and a bit of ebay, has absorbed five hours of my life.

No wonder I don’t get the washing up done.

 

A Day for Small Jobs

I started off by delivering Julia into servitude at 8.30 this morning. She’s not fond of Thursdays as she has to rush across town at 4pm to get from one job to another before finally being allowed home at 8pm.

Then I went to Newark. It was cold, business was non-existent and the tale of the last two weeks was one of cold, snow and poverty. After an exchange of cards, a cup of tea and a laugh about old times (there’s nothing to laugh about at the moment) I went browsing in W H Smiths looking for writing paper. I didn’t find any. The notes in my Christmas cards will, as a result, be written on paper torn from a spiral-bound notebook. To be fair, this is a more accurate reflection of me than smart writing paper.

A trip round Wilkos netted a tin of Vaseline lip-care products for Julia, a bucket of fat balls for the birds for £4 and a chicken and stuffing sandwich for £1. Yes, I know, I’m not supposed to be eating bread. However, as I’d already treated my self to a sausage and onion cob for breakfast I didn’t think a chicken sandwich was going to do too much extra damage, either to my waistline or my digestion.

From there it was a quick trip to the doctor to put in some prescription requests and on to TESCO for healthy veg and new gloves.

Resisting the urge to go home I visited the shop to drop off Christmas cards to my new colleagues (I’m such a creep) and helped with the delivery of two new cabinets for the new shop. It’s starting to take shape.

I then went home, supposedly to post on the blog but actually to engage in a variety of displacement activities, including sleeping in front of the TV, watching TV, checking ebay, picking Julia up from work, browsing the internet, writing notes to go in Christmas cards and warming up soup. I was tempted to say “cooking” but I’m pretty sure preparing soup and a sandwich isn’t cooking. We normally have something more substantial but after a day that saw us both deviating from our diets we thought we’d cut back a bit.

I even managed to do a bit of reading, having bought the Kindle edition of Maya and the Book of Everything by Laurie Graves. It’s going quite well so far. We’re right into the action and moving along nicely and there’s no boring stuff about chivalry or whales. She is therefore already ahead of Cervantes and Melville in my estimation. On the minus side there’s a definite lack of talking animals, though Sir John Oldcastle is about to make an appearance. I like Sir John.