I suppose it is procrastination but these are things that are fun things to do. Still I haven’t got round to doing them. These things are booking the last reminding hotel, car hire and insurance for my Minnesota holiday, book the crafty arty classes that I would like to do in October, purchase some music on iTunes with a gift card that I have, getting my sewing machine out of its box and maybe do some sewing. I can understand with jobs like ironing and tidying up my study/dressing room but the other stuff is quite easy and not boring at all. I know that looks like a list but hopefully I will get some of these things done at the weekend.
Talking of the weekend, I haven’t looked forward to having some time off as I did today – this week has been a mixture of good and bad days, feeling OK one minute and not the next. I’m just glad that I made it through today and now I’m at home enjoying chilling out on my own for a few hours before having an early night. How sad is that when on a Friday night I just want to go to bed early, but with many nice things to do at the weekend I don’t want to feel tired, weak and lethargic like I did last weekend. Happy Friday everyone.
It is one of those days were I have left it too late to write anything and now I can’t think of any good things to note down. So here are some random thoughts: I’m feeling slightly better than I did at the beginning of the week, not so dizzy or light headed. I still have my moments when I think I should be worrying about something. One day I will get my mind sorted and cleared all of these worries. Inner peace – that’s what I need. I’ve only got three weeks until I go away for the weekend to the Lake District. I’m really looking forward to getting some fresh air and being offline for a few days. Other exciting news is that I have a teeny weeny pumpkin on my pumpkin plant (which is handy otherwise it would be a marrow) and two courgettes as well. Oddly it is quite fun seeing these grown and soon they will be big – will I be able to let them leave the nest (so I can eat them)!
Work has been quite interesting of late – lots of things going on with an event we are organising. Lots of swearing going on about it as well and surprisingly not from me! Not yet anyway. It looks like I might be attending the event in Dublin to be the ‘right-hand man’ to the Events Director – scary stuff and if you read my blog back in February I spent a good few times complaining about event organising. Still, I’m taking this trip in a more positive way by thinking of all the good things that could come out of it. A trip to Dublin, a stay in a very nice hotel, maybe a spa treatment, cocktails and nice food, fresh air, a chance to see friends who live in Ireland (and maybe Northern Ireland) and see some of my US colleagues who I haven’t see in a while. Also, it’s a chance to get out my office in Covent Garden but that is a whole other story that might write about one day.
Most days I don’t know what I’m going to write about but luckily something will come to me on most occasions. Today’s was on the front page of Evening Standard “Organic food no better for you”. Now, I didn’t buy paper so I don’t know the full context of the story (it is on the BBC News as well) but I bet there are a lot of people out there saying “I knew it was a big con” or “I could have told you that”, or something on those lines. I don’t buy organic food all the time mainly because of the price but when possible and allowed I will, and I have to say that the fruit, cereals or vegetables will always taste ten times better than the non-organic food. Not only is cost an issue but quite a few supermarkets only stock a limited supply making it hard for the consumer.
Back to the headline on the paper – as usual this is such a terrible thing to broadcast as a headline as a majority of people won’t buy the paper. Just that 10 second glance could damage a lot farmers and companies trying to produce organic food. Even if the study (I assume this comes from a study) is correct, what about the damaging affects chemicals in fertilisers, treatments, feed etc is having on the environment. These poisons are in the land and rivers, so organic produce would be beneficial to all. The environment is a tricky subject to write about as even using a laptop with electricity is bad for the planet but as always it is the small steps that everyone should take (including the big corporations) that will help matters.
It’s not really a debate, except in my own mind as I need to decide if to start having breakfast at home before travelling in to work. This all stems from a conversation that I had in the work chat room about breakfast and what time I have it. Since I can remember I have had breakfast at work, be it porridge or toast and before moving offices to Covent Garden it was always breakfast time around 9am. Nowadays, I don’t get in to work until 9.30 and by the time I’ve been to the communal kitchen area, it’s normally 9.45am or 10.00am before I eat. This could be a good reason why I’m so weak and tired in the mornings. Duh! Also, I’m really hungry by 11.30am which is odd as I have only just eaten about an hour and half ago.
So, do I get up earlier or get in work later so I can have some food before leaving the house? Do I have just a quick bit of fruit and then get some toast on the way in to work? Or I could have porridge or toast at home? The real problem is trying to fit this in to my routine in the mornings – I’m on autopilot when getting ready so to remember to make breakfast and eat it before dashing out the door will be the challenge. Another little experiment for me to try out then. Today’s experiment on trying to face my fear of worry and panic seemed to work out OK. I still had moments when I felt not quite right and weak but eating some food like a banana or a nectarine helped. I just felt exhausted by the time I got home though and it took me a good 30 minutes to calm down and feel normal again so I could cook dinner. Lets just hope things improve as the week goes on with my positive thinking.
Today, while working at home – I was too scared to go to work because of the mini panic attack I had last week – I discovered a quote I had written on a page in one of the many notebooks “replace fear of the unknown with curiosity”. I don’t know where this came from or who said it first but I feel I need to have this quote in big printed letter on my desk at home and at work. I have written about my fear of most things including life quite a few times but I’m trying to write this piece in a more positive frame of mind. So, how can I replace my fear with curiosity?
I don’t really know at this very precise moment in time but once I do figure it out I will write about. For now, I’m taking everyday one at a time and being thankful for the good things that happen each day. I’m trying not to dwell on the bad stuff. I suppose it will be a small experiment in trying to change my mindset. Earlier I had a small fish bone stuck in my throat and normally I would worry about this – the fear of it happening again, the fear of what it felt like and fear of a bone sitting in my stomach doing God knows what. All silly thoughts, I know and I need to stop those thoughts. So, here are my thankful list of things for today: working at home; no queue at the Abbey at lunchtime; baked beans on toast for lunch; cooking potato rosti with home grown spuds; getting lots of work done today; the holiday cover work that I was doing has now finished; booking tickets to see The Monsters of Folk at the Troxy in November; rescuing laundry from the washing line (twice) that it felt like I had done some exercise. Now, tomorrow I’m hoping it will be a good day and I will be fine on the train facing my fears.
How old is old? How old is antique? What about vintage? Today, I went to Battlesbridge Antiques Centre in the heart of the Essex countryside. After becoming obsessed with Kirstie’s Homemade Home I thought it would be interesting to go to an antique centre and have a browse about. The main centre is set in a lovely old granary building with other buildings around it also housing lots of antiques. I say antiques but it was a mixture of trash, reproduced furniture, old furniture given a paint job and the old stuff. It was hard to know if anything was at a reasonable price and to be fair I didn’t really see anything that made me go “wow, I’ve got to have that”. It felt like it was a bit of a tourist trap with over-priced second-hand stuff being disguised as antiques.
I’m just so confused over what is antique, vintage and just second-hand. There are a few vintage clothes shops near where I work and after having a browse in them I decided that they are called vintage because the shops don’t smell like charity shops. The prices of these ‘retro’ clothes was just unbelievably expensive. I suppose they can charge these prices because people are just lazy to go searching through the rails in a charity shop. When I was in my late teens I would buy second-hand Levis from a shop in Covent Garden and in those days the shops were called second-hand. Being a student then they couldn’t have been that expensive either. I suppose programmes like Kirstie’s Homemade Home don’t help matter because more people are looking for these items which ups the price and demand. At least with charity shops the money is going to do good. The only good thing about today was one of the dealers at the antique centre called Amy’s Attic which was lots of good prices of old furniture that I had been given a new lease of life with new upholstery and paint. Very expensive but it gave me some great ideas. I’m still amazed when shops like these don’t have a website or if they do I can’t find it.
Not that I can think of, that is. Still feeling a bit odd and very tired. Worry does make one feel so very tired and lethargic a lot. I did manage to do something today though like sanding down the small bookcase that I had purchased second-hand a few weeks ago. I also met up with a friend and went for tea and cake, well my friend had an iced coffee instead of tea. A bit more shopping in my local town was involved and I got a summery white dress that should be perfect for my holiday.
Home grown spuds - complete with mud
Other excitement today was the digging up of some of our potatoes which we are having tonight for dinner. The rest of the vegetables are doing really well especially the courgette and pumpkin – I was most excited about the flowers on the pumpkin. If they produce good vegetables that will be another thing. I’ve also been practicing my keyboard skills and trying to learn the notes – a lot more practice is needed in this area! I keep forgetting that tomorrow is Sunday as I had Friday off it feels like today is Sunday – excellent news. Now for some alcohol to help with chilling out.
I had the day off today and I had great plans on what I wanted to do with my day off. Clean the house, laundry, baking cookies, tidying up my study, food shopping, piano practice, finish booking items for holiday and doing something creative. Unfortunately after my anxious few days I didn’t really manage to do much. I got up late after sleeping through to 8.30 am and then had a lazy breakfast of porridge and toast. I put some washing on and before I knew it was 11 am. I had a back massage booked for 1 pm but the therapist cancelled, which oddly I felt quite relieved about. This meant I could jump in the shower and get ready properly before having lunch. Dishwasher on and then I went out shopping for some food. Also, I went in to one of the many local charity shops looking for china cups but they only had sets and at £25 I didn’t like them that much. Food shopping done and then back home to rescue my almost dry clothes from the washing line as the weather decided to rain while I was out.
The afternoon was a lot better for me – physically and mentally. Even the food shopping helped as it got me out the house and made me concentrate on something else apart from my own selfish worries. A cup of Earl Grey and a piece of cake helped as well. I managed to read my piano theory book for about 30 minutes as well – got a bit confused after a while. I will definitely be re-reading those first 16 pages again tomorrow. Then I started on dinner, roasting vegetables for a lasagne. I love making lasagne but it takes ages so I only make it when I have the time. So that was my day - I feel like I didn’t achieve much but I did relax a bit and tried not to over do anything. So hopefully with a day of doing not very much I will feel a lot better mentally and physically tomorrow so I can get some nice things done like sanding down the second-hand bookcase. Happy Friday everyone!
Well, what a week this has been – there have been good bits but as usual the bad bits stick in my mind more. The main bad bit is the anxious feeling that I have had since last Saturday when I feel a bit lightheaded while making scones. Since then my mind has been in overdrive but at the beginning of the week I was trying to control it and I really thought I had nipped it in the bud. Unfortunately I haven’t because from last night I started to feel really tired and anxious, which normally makes me feel lightheaded. When I got up this morning I thought well, I feel OK so I got ready for work and everything was fine until I was walking from Fenchurch Street to Tower Hill and I looked one way at something and then all of a sudden I felt dizzy and hot. Basically, I think I had a panic attack so that set off the day to a bad start.
All day I have felt so heavy-headed and weird that even now I don’t feel right but better for just being home. I’m not sure why I get like this. I think it might be a mixture of things – stress, tiredness, worry about illness, bad posture at my desk. My friend Jo said that I might be the type of person who needs regular holidays to keep these thoughts and stresses at bay. My next holiday isn’t until mid-August with a weekend away to the Lake District but with tomorrow off work I’m hoping I can chill out and relax before travelling back to work on Monday. I really need to work out why this happens and how to stop it getting this bad again.
In the news today I read two items that made me think about the state of UK pubs and drinking. The first story is about 52 pubs closing a week in the UK and the second story about alcohol hotspots targeted – namely Romford town centre, which is about 20 minutes drive away. I think these two stories are connected. Twenty-odd years ago when I was in that 16-24 age group and going out drinking, most of the places to go out to were either to local pubs or into London (about 30 mins drive). There was always pubs that catered, intentionally or unintentionally, for the young drinkers who would spend lots on a Friday and Saturday night, but most of these pubs were miles apart from each other. Occasionally we would all go to a pub that was a good drive away in the middle of nowhere. This meant, even though there was the occasional fight between two drunken lads, there was never that big group of drunk people all leaving about ten different pubs and bars at the same time.
So, with local traditional pubs shutting at an alarming rate and new high street bar chains opening instead then the problem with trouble from drunken young people in towns will rise. It seems logical to me but as usual councils just want to fill the empty shops and collect taxes from these businesses. As to why traditional pubs are closing could be down to anything: the recession, the smoking ban, the cost of a drink. Most pubs have to have restaurants nowadays to keep afloat but to me that can’t be a bad thing. The next thing that could really help pubs is for them to expand their drinking menus to include cocktails but at reasonable prices. Most pubs have the spirits but lack the knowledge to make them or they don’t want to make them. Maybe I should join the Save Our Pubs campaign, if there is one that is.