Posted in Blogging, Books, Health Issues, Lost in Thought

Crumpled Blog Post

I’m reading a book that says blogging takes no time as it’s just like writing a letter.


I know what it means, but I think that ‘lack of time’ might have more to do with perceived effort (or lack of it). I could quite happily spend half the day writing emails and letters… you look up and it’s gone dark outside, with the neighbours’ lights appearing one by one.

I also read that we mustn’t blog when we are angry… I’m not angry now, but earlier I was peeved, disgruntled, flat, ruffled… and I didn’t know why. Everything seemed more effort than it was worth. Searching Google just now, I glimpsed, in passing, the words that happiness can be achieved through ‘love and work’. Also I glimpsed that boredom and loss of impetus can arise when feeling uncertain of your goals. Boredom — in its worst form — makes you feel that there’s no point to anything whatsoever. Trying to press on with a project when you’re in that kind of mood makes you feel like your brain is oozing out through your ears.

Love and work… just like writing letters… no perceived effort? A simple life, perhaps, living within rules that you understand? Is it that simple, or does it depend on the work? Perhaps having to constantly update our skills, learn new paths and become used to new environments makes everything seem a more uphill task? Especially if we have any doubts about the value of what we’re doing.

I’m not sure why I got so annoyed tonight, as though someone was stroking my fur the wrong way. My eyesight is not what it was… its inflexibility puts a spanner in the works, for instance when I’m studying a magazine article and then looking at the computer screen to type a URL or follow some tips. It becomes more of a peering, craning, removing-and-replacing-spectacles slog. You’re expending more effort trying to read something that’s not quite clear (especially when it jumps around on the screen because it’s a slow-loading site) and less energy just getting on with whatever it was you wanted to do.

It was a relief to pull off those glasses altogether and sit down with a book (Patrick O’Brian’s ‘The Surgeon’s Mate’) and lose myself in that world; reading about other people’s problems and joys. Some very big problems are reduced to “I’m a bit worried, I confess,” and “I’ll just have a word in the ear of a gentleman I know”. It’s not even that simple, as you have to read between the lines, but the calm language helps you reappraise the ups and downs of your own life. The energy and enthusiasm of the characters, along with their love and work, become mine… at least for a little.

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Rants

Cold and Tired in Scotland

I think it’s going to be a more relaxed Christmas than usual for us, because of the bad weather. I just think “hey ho, if I don’t have all the gifts, they’ll arrive later.” We all have our excuses ready; we keep being told by various sites and couriers that we might not get our presents in Scotland before Christmas Day, but I’m inclined to think a lot of it is bluster…. just like us when on Christmas Day we are telling our loved ones “sorry, you would have had three extra parcels but they’re still stuck on the motorway. Snow and ice, you know. Not my fault.”

But it was dreadful today… I mean the weather wasn’t snowy but it’s very cold.The local temperature stands at -4 degrees C, and might drop to -6. I’m so glad we got that heating fixed (it broke down, and we were three freeeeeezing days and nights without it! Though the heat is on again, I can feel the ice still tiptoeing up my spine and trying to give me a sly hug… the opposite of that warm furry Cup-a-Soup hug that would leap on you from nowhere when you had a mug of Cup-a-Soup (according to the commercials)). Anyway, we got the bus out to town in the morning, and met my sister for coffee, then drifted round the shops, and I felt awful. It seemed to me we were just going to the same shops and fingering the same goods we did for the past couple of days, and I was very bored and ‘down’. All I wanted to do was go home again. I was looking forward to going home before we even left!

It wasn’t till we DID get back home that I remembered I got up early this morning, and had already been up about 5 hours before we took the morning bus to town! I’m still very sleepy. But I felt fed up anyway, as we were spending ages in shops I didn’t want to be in (lots of waiting near the door looking at the same nasty cardigans and overpriced Christmas baubles for the umpteenth time, trying not to fall asleep on my feet), and then I was being rushed impatiently round those shops that I DID want to be in… At least I managed to get a couple of things which went off (“bleep bleep bleep”) when we were leaving the shop, and we had to have their alarms deactivated as they hadn’t been removed at the till. I don’t know why that always happens to me at least once every Christmas…

Then we went home and sat watching the same old programs we’ve seen millions of times before (Antique Roadshow, Eggheads, Pointless etc) and it was made worse by the Antique Roadshow doing “the ten best…” (pot boiler). If I had control of that remote control, the TV would either be off or I’d be watching something with more meat in it, like a film or a drama… or a DVD if I was desperate. I was looking at a family in the Antique Roadshow having a doll or a bear or something valued, and I was wondering how they could stand there looking so bright-eyed and interested. Surely the ennui of everyday life had got to them too? If they felt it, they didn’t show it, though the mother looked a little further along that road than the child.

My tiredness has turned to headache… I think that means I should have slept but didn’t really. Was dozing off on the sofa then getting up for coffee.

Sorry, I sound very grumbly! I suppose I should try and finish this Christmassy picture… will be back when I have more energy. (Probably 4 a.m. tomorrow morning…)

Posted in Books, Lost in Thought, Music I Like

Forever Live and Die

There was something I did when I was studying at school that was oddly interesting in later years; I was writing biology notes in a folder, and at the top of each page (to wake myself up, presumably) I got in the habit of writing the name of a favourite song. ‘Dream a Lie’ by UB40 was one. So you look back at these notes, and there are all these old songs I was listening to at the time… quite atmospheric.

I’ve sometimes thought about reviving that in my journal, but mostly now I sit in silence, and so the songs mentioned are just the ones stuck in my head. At the moment it’s Forever Live and Die by OMD. That takes me right back to a book I was reading about 20 years ago… about drifters. It was sad, and seemed to fit in with the song. I can’t even remember what book it was — just the cold grip of it.

I was feeling a touch depressed over the past couple of days… just life! In my sleep I was thinking how I couldn’t get interested in anything, even pairing up my socks. I went to town and didn’t want to do anything or look at anything… I looked at sketch pads and pencils, and thought how I would have been all over them once. Now I couldn’t care less.

Then tonight ‘The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency’ came on TV, and that was just what the doctor ordered. I love that. I particularly love how she seems to feel no need to involve the police or the law! I’ve only read the first book… I must read the rest.

Posted in Agoraphobia, Life and Family

Bored but Not Bored Enough

Today I said to Mum I’m so bored with the town here I want to go somewhere else for a while.
“Where?” she asked.
“Anywhere but London.”
“Of course, NOT London!” (glares at me as though to say “that wasn’t even on the menu.”)

“We could take the train to Xxx…” she suggested.
“I don’t like trains.”

I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere, then…

Posted in Books, Fantasy and Science Fiction, My Cats, TV and Films

The Things Cats Do

I began Brother Odd by Dean Koontz at lunchtime yesterday, and was completely hooked from page 3 onwards… didn’t put it down till I finished it in the early hours of the next morning. I’d meant to write a letter and didn’t need the distraction – still, we can’t always predict these things! Brother Odd is quite an unusual book to me, though it seems there are other ‘Odd’ books by the same writer; I’ll have to look them out.

I have a headache again, I’m not sure where it comes from.

Delilah strained her paw a couple of nights ago and left poor Samson to bat toy mice around by himself for a while.

Cheeky is the adult cat who is chasing the kittens, but today she came prowling in here, looking menacingly under things… “here kitty, kitty, where ARE you?”… and she didn’t notice one of the ‘kittens’, quite a large tomcatty Samson, was treading on her heels. When she caught a whisper of something, and glanced behind, she got such a shock that she spat violently and galloped off with Samson pelting delightedly behind.

He looked so pleased with himself, whereas Cheeky was anything but. Perhaps Delilah’s opting out made him all bored, full of himself and ready for new adventures. Talking of which, I can see exactly how Delilah would have hurt herself – undeterred by her sore paw, she flung herself across the gap between the back of the sofa and a shelf. She slammed into the shelf and slid to the floor.

While moving my blog, I discovered it’s full of stories about my older cats, especially Sharky. Mostly I avoid talking about the cats too much, as I worry that it’s dull – but it made me happy to reread the posts about isolated moments I might otherwise have forgotten.

Samson and Delilah restingHere’s one from a night ago… Mum came up about 21:00 (unexpectedly) with some coffee for me, then toddled off. Samson came yawning and stretching from wherever he had been resting, and looked in his empty dish, then stared from it to Mum’s disappearing back. He couldn’t believe she hadn’t brought him refreshments as well.

I think he’s quite enjoying himself – he’s gone from being a terrified Invisible Sulk to an accepted and respected member of our group – no longer just hanging around in the background of a large crowd of kittens.

I discovered to my delight that it’s back-to-back Red Dwarf with subtitles on TV… goes on till nearly 3 in the morning, so I’m recording some for later. I wondered if I’d ‘grown out’ of it but was yelling with laughter the way I always used to, so it seems not.

Smoke me a kipper – I’ll be back for breakfast.

Posted in Agoraphobia, Books, My Cats

Battling the Blues

I’ve been trying to get over my case of the winter blahs.

Yesterday it was bright and sunny, so I went shopping… but it didn’t help much; just made me realize how lethargic and fed up I still felt. I was tired of visiting the same old shops, and there wasn’t anything I was looking for, especially now that my house is set up and inventoried – still looking for someone to rent it.

Stumbling across the road, yawning, I suddenly thought how different my attitude was from some months ago when I was feeling distinctly agoraphobic – unable to go anywhere without wobbling slightly. And now I was bored with the entire place. It’s an improvement! That Chinese saying “may you live in interesting times” is supposed to be a curse.

Feeling flat, tired, and bored out of your skull is another type of curse, however.

I’ve got these lovely kittens, getting friendlier and more playful by the day; I’m getting very fond of them but you would think I would be brighter than I am. I feel guilty because I know one day I will be looking back to now and wishing I could have these days all over again. Fear of the future…

Today I got a letter, tore it open, and it was an invoice from the animal hospital reminding me that I still haven’t paid for the last item on the list… ‘euthanize and cremate cat – quantity: 1.’

Looking at that, I didn’t feel as though I’d received a nasty shock out of nowhere – it was more as though someone had pressed a fist into a sore that was already there. It convinces me that what I have is not purely the winter blues.

One way or another, I was saying to Geosomin that one might as well give in to this listlessness – relax, read books and watch TV. Unfortunately my Freeview set top box has gone phut. Again.

There are still books, of course – I’m currently reading Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. It’s very good, and I’m impressed and engrossed by the amount of detail – except that there’s a touch too much detail here and there that causes my attention to wander. I bought it from a charity shop for £1, and there’s a slight tear on the margin more than halfway down p79. Looking at the content of that page, I have to say it made me wonder…

The paperbacks I bought today:
The Mask of Ra – Paul Doherty
A Winter Book – Tove Jansson
Brother Odd – Dean Koontz
Don’t Bet on the Prince – Jack Zipes (ed, I think)

They were £2 each (except for the Jack Zipes, which was £1.99 from another shop), and each of the £2 ones had a big yellow sticker on the cover saying something like “read then return”. I peeled them off, saying crossly to Mum that part of the money they get from us is probably spent on these stupid stickers. I suppose my peeling them off doesn’t slow the money burn, but I don’t like stickers on books. When I return them to the charity shops, I’ll choose one that doesn’t do that.

We were roaming round that same charity shop – I looked at the shirts and blouses, and there was a rather droopy, worn looking T-shirt on a hanger for £4.50. It looked as though it cost £2 new. As for the DVDs, I’ve always had my doubts about them – they tend to be about £4 each, but Woolworth quite often sells them for £3 each. They’ve probably had a bit of a price hike since hitting the charity shop shelves. Mum picked up a £4 DVD and said “that is definitely £3 brand new from WH Smiths – I saw it today!”

Caveat emptor. Or just go home to sleep. Both methods save money.