Hello. Other than swiping quickly past news stories, and seeing some union flag bunting here and there, I’ve managed to avoid almost everything to do with the jubilee events of this week.
The one exception was attending a bring-some-food lunch at the village church, which was a rare opportunity to meet locals in a setting other than them waving as they drive past me, while I walk on the country roads without a dog, like a crazy person.
Thankfully, even there, I managed to avoid any conversations about the Queen or anything related. I would say I was relieved to discover that this unusually quiet couple of years have not lessened my conversational skills, but it’s just as fair to say (and gives a more accurate impression) that they also haven’t magically increased either.
§ I’ve got lots of chores done over the past few days and so feel very productive and virtuous. Here’s my guide to how I manage to achieve so much:
- Make a list of all the things you need to get done.
- Allocate them to specific days so that you don’t get overwhelmed by seeing all of them each day.
- Have a four-day weekend thanks to the long reign of a hereditary monarch.
- Don’t work in one of the many jobs that require you to work over some or all of that long weekend.
- Find that this period coincides with your mood being unusually upbeat and go-getting so it’s magically easy to simply Get Stuff Done, a state which is by no means a given.
- Live an isolated life of privilege and relaxation with no responsibilities for the welfare of any other living being.
Easy! hashtag lifehacks!
§ I probably expected that after living in this car-dependent location for nearly 2½ years I would, by now, feel comfortable with driving around the country, like a person who hasn’t spent fifty years happily relying on public transport. But, what with lockdowns and my nervousness, driving anywhere still feels like A Big Deal to me, and any journey from which I and the car return undamaged is a little miracle (which is all of the journeys so far, to be fair).
I’ve yet to drive on my own any further afield than Hereford or Abergavenny, on strictly targeted, and quite rare, shopping trips. But this week I’ve been out three times, and on one of them managed to get to Sainsbury’s, B&Q, and the pet shop. I almost felt like a normal, relaxed, driving person, casually running some errands like normal people do in cars.
It feels a bit wrong, driving from one shop to another, exactly the kind of thing that makes towns and cities like Hereford unpleasantly full of crawling traffic. But, I don’t know, welcome to the world outside the middle of a few cities I guess.
§ The great war against squirrels continues. They won a couple of battles by knocking the peanut feeder off its S-hook onto the ground and spilling the nuts. It is now fixed more securely.
But a day after I’d been out chasing them off at least a dozen times, growling and waving a stick like a loony, I was pleased to notice a squirrel in the road, flattened as if in a graphically bloody cartoon. Later I saw crows harassing a buzzard that was tearing at the corpse. Later still the remains had disappeared, presumably carried off somewhere more peaceful.
Take that squirrels!
§ This week the second nine-years-and-five-months cycle of Pepys’ Diary completed, and the first complete cycle of @samuelpepys’ tweets. Any fool can run a website for a decade; it takes a special kind to do it again.
From my point of view it was less of an event than the ending of the first cycle, partly because there was less work involved this time around. The first time I was spending about one day each week preparing the HTML for the diary entries and I was very glad to see the end of that. This time the biggest regular task was preparing the tweets, which took up to one day per month. Less onerous, but still pleasant to see the back of.
§ On the final day of the diary I started writing code for a new personal project. I’ve no idea if it’ll see the light of day but it’s been very enjoyable to tinker with new code for myself again. Ah, the endless possibilities of a brand new codebase where, this time, everything will be Just Right! No messiness or compromises on this one, on no!
§ This week, on Mubi, I watched Joachim Trier’s “Oslo Trilogy” – Reprise (2006), Oslo, August 31st (2011) and The Worst Person in the World (2021) – all of which I enjoyed, especially the last.
I want to write cleverly about exactly what I liked about them but I don’t really know how. It just makes me very happy to have been able recently to watch a few good thoughtful, European films about people doing normal things and having an emotional time of it.
§ The management apologises for the excessive use of exclamation marks in this weeknote.
Ian Betteridge at #
We too are conducting a war against squirrels. Somewhat unsuccessfully, and if you have bird feeders I do not recommend squirrel baffles.
Phil Gyford at #
I had wondered about those, so thanks for the warning!