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w/e 2024-04-28

I remained in Essex this week in order to keep visiting the patient patient in hospital. Each day important numbers moved towards their normal state, the patient was gradually disconnected from devices, and they soon seemed like their normal self. But it was unclear how many days of this it would take before things would be normal enough. And then on Friday, six days after being admitted, they were suddenly given their discharge papers and were free to leave. Phew.

It’s probably because I haven’t had to endure a stay in a hospital (only one overnight to have my wisdom teeth out as a teenager), or experienced any majorly traumatic times in one, that I quite like hospitals in general. The sense of lots of people doing lots of different things, to try and make people better. Obviously there are sad and awful things going on, it can be stressful and worrying, and there can be disorganisation, underfunding, inefficiencies, mistakes, confusion, etc. But, generally, so far, otherwise, good vibes.

§ A couple of weeks ago, parked in the car park of Hereford’s swimming pool, I popped in to have a quick look at the place and to see if they had a timetable. Oh you silly old man. They didn’t even suggest looking on their website for a timetable: “We’ve got an app.” So a receptionist showed me the app on the cracked screen of her own Android phone.

Anyway, this week, given I was going to be here in Essex for an unknown period of time, away from my usual means of exercise, I decided to go swimming in the local pool.

Once upon a time I saw the town’s previous sports centre opened by Henry Cooper although I have no memory of the event. I learned to swim there but that place has been torn down, replaced with retirement apartments and a Lidl, and a new, smaller, leisure centre built around the corner. I’m not sure if there’s more than a semantic or fashionable difference between “sports centre” and “leisure centre”. The former certainly featured leisure activities and, given the new place has no big hall, I’m unclear where the young people of the town now go for their roller discos.

Anyway. I bought some cheap trunks and goggles from Evil Sports Direct and I’ve been swimming three times this week, my first dips since 2019. I don’t really like swimming pools’ changing rooms, all wet and humid and annoying, but the new ones are less so than my distant memories of the old ones. And it was great to be back in the pool again. I don’t love swimming but it was a really nice feeling to be using my whole body to move through the water after so long.

§ A photo of a grim cabin, with a sign reading 'Balloons & Laughter'. In front are large puddles on tarmac and a red traffic cone.
Balloons & Laughter

§ I went to see Godzilla × Kong: The New Empire (2024, Adam Wingard) but only because I didn’t pay enough attention to the listings and assumed I was going to see Godzilla Minus One (2023, Takashi Yamazaki). How many Godzilla films can be released in a couple of years, Michael? It was actually OK at first but dipped a bit as the first comedy sidekick appeared and got much worse after the second. I left about half way through. Godzilla × Kong: The Sunk Cost.

I saw it at Chelmsford’s new-to-me Everyman cinema which was as confusing as an Apple Store. The front desk was closed so I wandered into its bar and caught the eye of someone who I hoped worked there. I told him what I’d come to see and he consulted his tablet, then started talking me through a menu of food and drink, until I said I’d like to, er, by a cinema ticket, to watch a movie, in the cinema.

§ I finally finished rewatching The Thick of It this week. Still very good. I had completely forgotten about Steve Fleming and how utterly awful he is. Brilliant. Such a good idea to have someone even more terrifying than Malcolm, and that shows how in control Malcolm is by comparison. Now wondering about rewatching Veep.

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