The Ponds of Childhood TWTW # 148

This week has been focused around work. Client work, an evening and a Saturday workshop. I visited my Mum, dropped into the vets to pick some tablets up and went for a short walk around a pond. These are all the things I did in addition to the routine things.

I started writing this during a gap in my diary, and finished it on Sunday morning after I got back from the allotment.

During weeks like this routine is important to me. Whether it’s the time walking the dogs or stopping to cook dinner the rest of my day is built around those things. Or is it? Evening meetings can mean that dinner has to be earlier or later depending on the timings, but they’re still keystones in my day, even if the rest of it feels a bit like a treadmill.

I had to pick some pills up from the vets on Saturday afternoon. At the weekends only the main practice is open and not the satellite one that we normally visit. On the way back I took the opportunity to stop somewhere I’ve not been since I was a kid.

As a kid this was a popular spot that I used to go with my friends. Taken there by one of our parents we used to spend ages (or at least it felt like it to our young brains), messing about in boats – you could hire canoes or rowing boats – wandering around the pond or on the adjacent heathland, playing in the playground or eating ice cream.

I was pleased to see that not a lot has changed, you could still do all of the above things there to this day if you wanted to. After 40+ years there have been some improvements – there’s a proper cafe now instead of a window from a room between the toilets, and the range of watercraft has increased.

I didn’t indulge my inner child by going out in a boat, as I had one of the dogs with me, but we did enjoy a good walk around the pond. I was pleased to see it was quite busy, although I’m not sure with covid numbers on the rise again that this is necessarily a good thing.

My Mum used to take me here a lot during school holidays, I doubt she would remember that now. When I visited her this week, she wasn’t convinced that I was who I said I was. Partly due to having to wear a mask, but also I think due to her Alzheimer’s progressing a bit.


Reading

I read another Brother Cadfael this week – “The Heretic’s Apprentice” by Ellis Peters and then moved on to a Len Deighton – “Horse Under Water”. I enjoyed the former, although it felt like it was dragging a bit. After last weeks experience with reading Brothers In Arms by James Holland where I had no trouble reading late into the night, I’m not sure it’s all a function of how busy or tired I am. I was just as busy / tired last week as this but I struggled to stay awake reading Brother Cadfael’s adventures. I think it’s a function more of how engaging the material is rather than a physiological state in me.


Work

As mentioned above it’s been a busy week. I’ve been plugging away on some client work and starting to write up their final report. For another client I’ve been involved in preparing for and delivering some online workshops. One on Friday evening and the second on Saturday morning. Not my ideal choice, but also something that I’m used to doing as my allotment talks are often evening events. Work for this second client will probably drop off a bit for the time being while other things that I’m not involved in happen in the background.


Allotment

Because I had to work on Saturday morning I went to the allotment this morning (Sunday). I was there early, before it was properly light. I managed to get my garlic, onions and some broad beans in. I seem to have slightly underestimated the number of broad beans in the packet I bought (our allotment shop has stopped selling seeds, and they were my benchmark), so I think I’ll sow some more in the spring rather than get some more to plant now. There’s still time to do so, but I’ll be hedging my bets against a hard winter by splitting the sowing like this.


Links

The Daily Rituals and Routines of a Working Adventurer

Would you rather eat at the local kebab house or blow a small fortune with Salt Bae?

How to grow happy garlic


Well that’s all I have for this week. Next week is looking slightly quieter on the work front, but I still have a report to write and some information for it to chase.

Whatever you’re up to or have planned, take care and stay safe.


Routine

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On May 21st, I broke my watch. I caught the face against the corner edge of my desk as I was hoovering, although I didn’t hit it that hard, the angle of the impact was enough to smash the face. I’ve only worn a watch on one other occasion since (and then it took me several hours to notice that it was still running on GMT and not BST). The once white band on my wrist has pretty much disappeared and I’m not sure I notice that I don’t have a watch on. When someone stops and asks me for the time, I still go to look at my wrist before checking myself and getting my phone out of my pocket to check the time on that. This has pretty much been how I’ve kept track of time when I’ve needed to since, not that I’ve really felt the need beyond the basics of making sure I’m where I need to be, when I need to be there by.

This just reminds me how much my routine has changed in the last 12 months. I no longer have a regular alarm clock, instead preferring to run my day around what work I have on and other calls on my time. I still do use an alarm if I have a morning appointment and have to be somewhere at a particular time but otherwise I rise pretty consistently at the same time most days. Walk the dogs, visit the allotment with them if I need to – either to harvest food, or water the plants – and then start work. Work varies depending on how busy I am (not very at the moment), if there is no work for clients I’ll be working on something else, mostly my writing.

Stop with lunch with Ann, and catch up on any personal things and my Words with Friends games. Then depending on workload, carry on into the afternoon. I’ll take an afternoon walk with the dogs, normally this will be a longer walk and if I remember I’ll take my camera with me (I often forget, and use the one on my phone). I’ll then come back and finish any work that’s outstanding and then prepare supper.

We might watch a little TV in the evening, depending on what’s on, although with Wimbledon, Euro2016 and the Olympics, there has been an awful lot of sport on recently, and so we’ve been catching up on DVDs or things that have been recorded long ago and not watched, as we’re not great sports fans.

Then to bed and read. I do read at other times during the day depending on what else I’m doing and often if I’m travelling by train or bus (which I have done quite a bit of in the last few months). I also keep a handwritten journal, and will update that throughout the day if there are things to record – it’s mostly a nature / allotment journal, so I don’t write in it everyday.

Just over a year ago, my day was dictated much more by others. I think it requires more self-discipline now than before, but it does feel much more like my day.