Take 5

1. Pub Sunday

Three quarters of my housemates are lovely people, a joy to catch up with at the end of the day and generally easy to live with. One quarter isn’t. And one quarter of my housemates spent all of Sunday – the first day of my younger sister’s visit – doing his very best to spread his vomit far and wide. Turns out a sink in your room and a toilet just next to your room aren’t adequate places to throw up, but the communal bathroom floor is. So my sister and I left the germ-strewn house to hide in the pub. It’s one of those wonderful neighbourhood pubs untouched by the chain look and feel, full of squashed sofas and a fireplace, dark wood and with candles, warmth and good food to enjoy. We ate a huge Sunday roast, drank cider and wine, and caught up. And avoided the germs.

2. Exercise

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I signed up for a 10km at the end of the last year as an effort to keep my fitness up through the winter. I am so relaxed on any form of exercise during the winter, in that I never do any, but I never really minded because I walk a lot during the day, and I always made up for it by running in the summer. Then summer 2016 rolled around and for some reason I just never got off my ass and ran like I always did. I’m not sure why. When winter came I realised I couldn’t just use the excuse of dark nights to stop me from keeping a base level of fitness. So I signed up the Cancer Research UK London Winter Run and it happens next week. I am fluctuating between terrified and optimistic. Terrified because I haven’t even attempted to run 10km yet (that’s tomorrow’s treat) and I can only manage 6km at the moment, and optimistic because hell I can run 6km, surely the adrenaline of the day will help me get through the last 4km and who cares if I walk a little – it’s for charity, it’s not a race.


3. Hampton Court Palace

My younger sister has been over for two weeks doing work experience and it was a nice excuse to play tourist. I heard that Hampton Court Palace had half price tickets for January and February so I jumped at the chance: it seemed pretty expensive otherwise but I’ve always wanted to go. The palace is beautiful, and it helped that we went on a sunny day. All my photos are of blue sky and red brick, and we kept warm by roaming Henry VII’s apartments and realising we knew so little about English history. It’s also put Wolf Hall onto my To Be ReRead list.

4. Back into reading

Sometimes I have great big lulls in my reading. It’s something that always embarrasses me. I love reading so why don’t I do it more often? Why do I go weeks sometimes even a month without reading anything (or something new)? My lows are followed by huge highs, where I cram numerous books into a single week and can’t get my nose out of them. This recent fallow period came just before Christmas when I was too busy to do anything other than sleep badly, work too hard, drink too much and eat poorly. So I decided that January 2017 would be start of a more steady reading habit. To fight that urge to refuse to pick up a book because it isn’t exactly the same as the previous book that I loved, to try to keep moving forward even if I want a break. This week I finished a spy thriller A Foreign Country which I reviewed here. It took much longer than I expected, with my sister’s visit leaving barely any time to read, but I’m now moving down my To Be Read List.

5. New furniture

Whilst my sister was in town I bought this six-cube storage unit from Argos, to help with my chronic problem of not enough storage, space or room. I have too much stuff in a tiny bedroom, and the thing that made me the most sad was having to store my books on the floor. Dust-covered and neglected on the floor, I felt permanently guilty that they weren’t being looked after and endlessly frustrated at falling over them all the time. So I bought somewhere for them to live and got my sister to build them. She is the sort of person who can look at a set of assembly instructions and logically work through the steps to build something. I open the box and I am already bored, lost and wanting to move on. I drank wine whilst she built, and with our split duties we were sorted in about half an hour. Now I have a beautiful white storage space to show off all of my lovely books and notebooks, and a surface for my cacti and candles to live on.


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