In big trouble …

I think I’m pretty good at multitasking.

I can spin many plates and find ways of keeping nearly all of them up.

I love the challenge of just keeping things moving.

I do lists.

I tick off list items.

I add to the list.

I tick more off.

I make calls, I text, I write letters.

Lots of them.

But give me a book and I’m in big trouble.

I can only read in silence.

Without distraction.

The TV and radio must be off.

The cats must be asleep.

And not snoring.

The guy slamming his car doors outside my house needs to behave.

The boy racer trying to hit 50 mph down my residential road needs to grow up.

The postman needs to leave the large package he cannot get through my letterbox, despite a number of noisy attempts, on my doorstep and gently post a note telling me.

I just lose myself in the book.

Almost any book.

It’s a form of mindfulness.

It’s certainly spiritual.

A complete transportation into another world.

Lost in space.

Literally.

I’m not giving up on books.

Oh no, that’s not going to happen.

I’d just like the world to become just a little bit quieter…😎

I didn’t know Marjorie …

I’ve been resting on this bench seat for the last 20 years at the end of my bike ride to Writtle.

I have never ever noticed the plaque on the back of the seat.

Marjorie Jessie Hill

1900 – 1997

This is a worry.

Is the plaque new?

Unlikely, it looks quite weather worn.

Do I only look forwards when I take a seat facing the pond and the ducks?

How could I have missed it?

Today I am sitting on this seat reading Greta Thunberg’s short book on climate change.

She’s the Swedish girl born in 2003 causing quite a stir of late.

The book “No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference” is a collection of her recent speeches around the world telling everyone to wake up about climate change and take it seriously.

Marjorie, 97 when she died in 1997, missed all of this.

No climate change awareness in those days.

Perhaps it wasn’t changing then.

Greta’s point is that nobody is paying attention now.

And they should be.

Now.

Not for us but certainly for future generations.

Like me with the plaque, it’s there but not registering.

The link between my plaque incident and the book was poignant and was not lost on me.

The hairs on the back of my neck bristled as I read the book.

I’m missing the big picture and the small ones too it seems.

I need to keep my eyes open in future.

About the future.

We all do….

I never thought …

I’m not normally totally surprised.

I’ve always enjoyed writing so the prospect of trying out some real blogging seemed both an unexpected and adventurous decision.

Just over 2 months in I am sitting here just marvelling at the experience.

I’ve written nearly 40 posts (I never know when they might surface!) and have now read probably 100’s of fellow bloggers thoughts, ideas, humour, perspective, reflections and advice.

Wow!

A live, constantly updated database of global thoughts.

Ready for me to dive into and enjoy.

To see where they randomly lead me.

I’ve been commenting on others’ posts (I’ve never been one to not give positive feedback when the writing is so inspiring) and I’ve been receiving some supportive comments back too.

Global in scope (I am so surprised at the geographical reach of the blogs readership) and updates of likes and comments just come in at all hours of the day and night.

Just thought I’d put down how enjoyable and exciting it has been so far.

A virtual world I guess.

But much to my surprise and absolute delight , not virtual at all …

Thanks to you all 😎

Noise. Life. Accept it …

 

I’ve never been a big fan of background noise.

Though I can, at times, shut it out quite easily.

 But it’s becoming hard work.

 

When I read or just want to sit and think I much prefer total silence.

 

So a trip into town with my book in my bag was an attempt to have a relaxing cup of tea in the local coffee bar

And read my book on one of those new comfortable settees they have just put in.

 

As I ordered my cup of tea the enthusiastic barista behind the bar continued to make the latte coffee for the lady in front of me. 

The milk heating machine then sprung into action with its screeching and bubbling.

Then, while this was going on, he threw (almost) the used coffee cups, saucers and plates into the dishwasher (or jet washer) and switched it on.

He could really multi task that guy.

 

As I sat down, a young lady brought her baby (already screaming at some high decibel level in the buggy) into the coffee bar. 

 A few older children, now apparently free of their parents in the queue, were running up and down chasing each other. 

And screaming.

 

The book stayed in my bag.

Stop being irritable I told myself.

See it differently.

This is real life with noise, activity, contact and communication.

 

As my friend Andrew tells me “You are a long time dead, you can have as much silence as you wish then”

He is a cheerful soul.

 

He is changing my thinking a little though by his spin on life and he doesn’t know it.

 

Noise is life.

Being enjoyed, 

Being endured,

Being experienced … by us all.

So I won’t wish for perfect peace.

Well, not on a permanent basis 

 

Renewing my past …

Calling in, on impulse, to my local library was only a test to see what it offered.

I used to be a member of my local library years back.

When there used to be library tickets and date stamps in the front of the books.

When the keen borrowed 4 books at a time over a 4 week loan period.

When you got embroiled in the first book and the others were neglected.

And either renewed with optimism or handed back defeated.

This time, some 20 years after my membership probably expired due to lack of use, I gingerly crept up to the help desk and asked if I could rejoin.

A friendly chap, not condescending, just a helpful guy, issues me with a new card (with a bar code) and a small version for my key ring lest I forget the large one.

Three months later I am having the time of my life.

A few reference books on loan, a reserved one nicely notified as being available, a spell or two on the computers (linked to the internet – where was that 20+ years ago?).

An enrolment in an online free course, a link to the local library page on my Facebook page (I’m not that old!) giving me daily news (well library related stuff).

Oh how I’ve missed you dear library.

It’s like getting a part of my life back, but updated.

It’s a positive treat just finding out how much resource is available, ably assisted by some really helpful library assistants who can help a past library member get bang up to date and positively energised.

I love it, me.

Unexpected journeys …

I have just finished reading a science fiction trilogy.

Over about 2 years I’m afraid – I’ve never been one to rush.

I often get diverted by other books that just wing their way into my life.

Gifts, recommendations, bargain prices.

The issues for me are often continuity and memory.

Can I remember, as I continue through the trilogy, what happened in the previous book?

I cheat, of course, and scan read the last few chapters of the previous book I read often a few months back. This helps retrieve the story, the characters.

That science fiction trilogy was simply awesome.

Full of great characters, full of nasty pieces of work, full of concepts and ideas that make me continually sit back and wonder.

How can anybody write this stuff with such imagination, flair and purpose?

How gifted are those that can deliver those gripping words and paragraphs with such skill and consistency?

Thank you science fiction trilogy author.

You have taken me somewhere I never expected to go.

And I am so delighted you did.

Simply incredible ….

Turning the page ….

I wasn’t ever a big fan of reading books. Ever.

Comics were just about my limit in my youth, with their brightly coloured drawings and large speech bubbles.

I could cope with those.

When I was working in the City I do remember reading a few, mildly interesting (but only just) books about work subjects but I also had to cope at that time with managing my accountancy textbooks which were hardly a bundle of laughs….

I suppose I never really had the time or the inclination to read.

Instead I decided I would rather be out playing music, riding my bike, participating in sport, or doing a hundred other things.

One day after work, on the way home on the train, I noticed a left behind newspaper on the adjoining vacated train seat. I picked it up gingerly and noticed it had been running a competition for readers to summarise a book (in this case The Lord of the Rings) in 100 words.

I decided to read the winning entry (it was short after all) and then I wondered if the summary was valid.

My inquisitiveness led me to bite the bullet and read the Lord of the Rings trilogy from cover to cover during my weekly commute into London over the coming months.

It was a life changing decision.

Oh my God what detail, what imagination, what characters and what a story line. I was hooked.

It was probably one of those few, unexpected, impulsive decisions that changed my life.

And the 100 word summary competition winner?

It was good.

Very good indeed…..

And now I can never stop reading books.

So thank you to the passenger on the train who left his newspaper behind.

You will never ever know what you gifted me.