Tag Archives: ten point list

Ten Things I Learnt This Week

One, ten point lists are handy things to prompt a blog post. Last week I wrote about ten point lists, but they were already in my mind when I sat down at the keyboard. This week I sat down with a completely empty head and thought ‘What shall I write?’ I then thought ‘What did I learn this week?’ and then ‘Did I learn ten things?’ I’m hoping I did, or I’ll have to change the title.

Two, five hundred words are easy if you start with enough in your head. If you don’t have much to say, they can be a real struggle. I knocked out five 500 word posts on my Wednesday marathon and actually had to cut some to keep it to an average of 500 per post.

Three,sometimes less is better. I couldn’t get a good run at the blog last night and petered out after 250 words. I came close to 500 words twice, but the post was better when it was shortened, so I cut the extras out.

Four, freedom is not always good. The USA, with a tradition of freedom, individualism and pioneering spirit is not finding the Covid situation easy. The Germans and Swiss, who are more regimented and organised, seem to have come through the virus in much better shape. The Brits, as usual, fall between the two extremes and are totally disorganised.

Five, the Americans prefer ‘learned’ to ‘learnt’ and, according to the internet article I read, are irritated by what they see as the mis-spelling ‘learnt’. Users of British English, on the other hand, favour ‘learnt’ and see learned as an acceptable alternative. This is probably not accurate as (a) it’s on the internet and (b) I’m sure there are relaxed Americans an picky Brits about.

Six, it’s fun just relaxing and reading WordPress. There is so much to learn.

Seven, the average person eats 20-30 plant foods in a year. I got that from Helen at Growing out of Chaos. For years now I’ve been trying to keep our diet varied, and if that is the benchmark I seem to be succeeding. Like Helen, we are hovering around 60. That’s without foraging, as I’ve let that slip badly.

Eight, I now know a lot more about Edward VIII, anti-semitism, fascism and royalty medallions of the 1930s than I did at the beginning of the week. You might have guessed this from the photographs. Now isn’t the time to go into all that, as I haven’t yet written it all.

 

Nine, on-line grocery shopping is more difficult than you think. I thought I’d got it all organised but this week I still managed to order frozen spinach instead of fresh and the packs of six cobs instead of four. The big ones that come in the packs of four are good for lunch, but the small one, which come in the packs of six) are only a few bites before they are all gone. That means you have to take four for lunch, and that looks like  you are being greedy.

Ten, saag is not, as I had thought, an Indian word for spinach, but for greens of many sorts. The word for spinach is palak. I got this from Helen too. At this point, I would like to apologise to readers from the Indian sub-continent. I know there is no such language as ‘Indian’ but I am not well up on the differences and nuances of the various languages and decided to keep things simple.

So, that’s it, ten things I learnt this week. I have an uneasy feeling that I learnt more than that but haven’t retained it. That, I’m afraid, is what happens as you get older.

 

10 Good Things About Breathing

After the success of my recent post 10 Points about Writing Ten Point Lists and The Ten Best Things About Lockdown I decided to try another ten point list. You may have guessed this from the title. You may also have guessed that I define “success” in a slightly more flexible way than the rest of the world. Twenty views and ten comments are a success to me, even if five of the comments are me replying to the other five.

I did briefly think of writing Five Ways in which Breathing is Over-rated but I find people like the positive stuff. I suppose that’s why my light-hearted articles on modern life are so popular. I say “popular”, see above for “success”.

So, here goes, Ten Good Things about Breathing.

One, blue is an unbecoming colour. It doesn’t suit our modern ideas about healthy complexions and modern make-up ranges don’t cater for it. According to arlingwoman, the correct term for the blue colour is cyanosis, which is far too good a word not to use, so I have come back to add it.

Two, dum spero, spiro, as I remarked recently,. Hope is good, and you need to breathe to have hope.

Three, It is better than the alternative. I have no particular religious beliefs. I may end up as part of the choir eternal, singing hymns whilst dressed in vestments of blinding white. Or I may spend an eternity of regret in a lake of fire. In one scenario I wonder who does the laundry and in the other I can’t help thinking that there won’t be any cold to aggravate my arthritis. Swings and roundabouts…

I may even come back as a dung beetle. You can never tell, though I feel my afterlife is likely to end with a short trip up a crematorium chimney. Whatever happens, I prefer breathing to the alternative.

Four, it gives me something to write about on a slow day.

Five, there are right ways to breathe and wrong ways to breathe, which gives rise to the possibility of controversy and more lists.

Six, breathing through the nose adds moisture, warms the air and allows better use of the oxygen you breathe. The presence of a nose also gives you somewhere convenient to perch your glasses and avoids an unsightly hole in the middle of the face. Breathing through the mouth gives rise to a huge list of problems and makes you look like an unlikely candidate for a top academic job.

Seven, deep breathing is another of those health subjects you can discuss at length. It will cure many of my health problems and improve my posture.

Eight, deep breathing is also bad for you . giving hope to editors who rely on sensational negative headlines for a living.

Nine, it’s something that is, on balance, good for you, and takes no effort. I shouldn’t have searched for more information, because I turned this up. Quite clearly, the person in question hasn’t lost the knack of breathing automatically, as one of the answers points out, or she would have died in her sleep on the first night, but it does show that it’s possible to worry too much.

Ten, it serves to fill a list, to swell a progress, to start a scene or two. See point 4, or for the more highbrow amongst you try this.

However, as you read the highbrow section, remember that T S Eliot is an anagram of Toilets – life has a habit of bringing things down to my level. Perhaps life would be better if all great men had names that were anagrams.

Bonus eleventh point – it’s free. The government can’t tax it, Sky TV can’t charge for it and breathable air is still widely available. Now I’ve said that just watch it all go wrong.

I couldn’t fit that into the ten point list without altering the structure, and there’s something unfinished about lists that have strange numbers of points. Five, ten and twelve seem fine, three seven and nine aren’t bad, but I’m vaguely unsettled by others.

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Fresh air – still free! Get yours while it lasts.

A Letter to my 14-Year-Old Self

I looked at a writing website for some ideas and I quite liked this title. I’ve recently been thinking about the teenage me and this merges with it very nicely. It’s going to be ten point because I’m still practising ten point lists.

So, point one for the teenage me is – you are going to be a failure in life, so don’t worry about success. All it will do is add an extra level of disappointment to the failure.

Point two, Stand up for yourself. I don’t mean just making a token gesture of dissent, I mean really digging in and refusing to cooperate. People will give way in many cases just to get a quiet life. You see it all the time in life – the most selfish people, who shout the loudest are the ones who get their way.

Point three, see above. When the broken down hack of a metalwork teacher masquerading as a careers advisor shouts at you not to waste his time because “everybody says teaching when they can’t think of anything else to say” go straight to the Headmaster’s Office and complain like hell. He’s only a careers advisor because he was a crap metalwork teacher.

Point four – do stuff. Don’t just end up on the scrapheap as a sixty year-old-man with arthritis and a duff prostate. Buy bigger motorcycles, fall off more of them, at least you will have an excuse for arthritis. And beat that jerk of a metalwork teacher to within an inch of his miserable wasted life.

Point five – don’t regret not getting  a degree, beat the metalwork teacher to death and remember that a life sentence can be as little as 15 years. You can do an OU degree in that time and have time left over to write an autobiography in that time. It didn’t do John McVicar any harm.

Point six, don’t bottle up old grudges against metalwork teachers.

Point seven, don’t worry, it will work out alright. People generally don’t starve to death in the UK and the council won’t let you rot in the gutter when you die. Even if you end up going through the bins behind McDonald’s it’s still better than being a metalwork teacher.

Point eight, spots are transitory.

Point nine, so is hair, Get used to the idea.

Point ten, die during lockdown. That way people won’t notice you had no friends.