Sunday 27 October 2013

#44 The fellowship of the blue ring.

It's not often that I have a house guest. Suspended above the electric heater was a clean towel, rapidly drying from the warmth of the air below and the cool breeze flowing in through the open window. Keira was playing nice, as is her usual character although she has in the past shown signs of jealousy when there's another girl around.

It had to be here somewhere. She searched around the room, the table and through her bag. There was only one thing for it, we'd have to head back to the bar. I paused the movie and started to pull on my shoes. It was about a five minute walk back. We walked fast. "Excuse me, has anyone handed in a ring?" The waitress shook her head. I waited whilst she checked the toilets. The guys that were there earlier had finished up playing scrabble but the place was still reasonably busy.

Nothing. Naturally we also asked the person behind the bar. "Hold on, is this it?" she asked, brandishing the heirloom that made Kate Middleton's sapphire look like something that fell out of a cracker. Relieved, we thanked her and headed back out. The residents of East Dulwich are, I feel, a trustworthy bunch. The burglars that ransacked our house a few weeks after I moved in were obviously not from around here.

Sunday 20 October 2013

#43 EQ & G

"This is Dan" said Alison to the group of women at the table. I'd cautiously wandered up and placed myself next to my colleague, whose routine introduction was met with the kind of brush-off acknowledgement that you often get in these networking situations. I'd seen the invite to the EQ seminar a couple of weeks back and figured it wasn't a bad way to spend a Tuesday lunchtime. So what if the audience was 96% female? I wanted to hear how the speaker, a small Jamaican woman, had made it on to the NHS board and what she had to say about getting along with the people you work with. 

The talk was pretty good, some simple concepts and some common sense tips. The importance of getting to know someone better if your relationship with them isn't good. The importance of, if a person is uncomfortable with the way that a meeting is being handled, having the courage to say so. Yes, you'd have to make a judgement about whether and when it was appropriate to speak up but the lesson hopefully inspired the right audience members to realise that perhaps they could be a bit more ballsy at times, despite their gender.

Later this week, I found myself in a town called Grantham. It's about half way up the country, not far from Nottingham and apparently a town called Boston (I didn't know we had a Boston). Anyway, so there's this curry place, that makes a curry so hot that the people that eat it frequently end up in hospital. Apparently it'll give its consumers red sores on the outside of their stomachs as well as a load of other symptoms like extreme pain. After doing some research I found that this occasionally happens at chilli contests and one or two other curry houses around the country, where the punters are asked to sign legal disclaimers before dining. This somehow doesn't put them off.


Saturday 12 October 2013

#42 Some new things

It was her idea. A way of kindling our friendship perhaps, or the inevitable product of an adventurous mind. For the past few weeks, Lela and I had been trying a new thing each week. So far, she'd ridden as a passenger on a motorbike (for a change, as opposed to riding it herself), been to a Megadeth & Sabbath concert on her birthday and next she was thinking about purchasing and I'm told, wearing, a dress.

I'd managed to get off fairly lightly so far. Things like making a video of myself singing Hey Jude, joining a library, reading an Agatha Christie novel and talking to a stranger. I noticed that these little exercises hadn't hurt my spirit of inquisitiveness either. I now appear to have a smartphone and have tried a couple of new things in the kitchen lately too. Lela doesn't get all of the credit for this but she gets some.

The whole 'try new things and get out of your comfort zone' thing didn't really feel like me yet but my plan was to take ownership of the new things that I wanted to do over the next two or three weeks in particular and pick challenges that I could really identify with. After that, Lela could have some fun with the suggestions again and perhaps the process would have fused better with my identity. Maybe over time, it would help me to adopt a broader outlook. What an amazing gift.

As someone that shunned self help books exclusively, I think my Brazilian friend naturally exhibited a few of the traits that those kinds of authors incessantly plugged. Maybe she never needed the books. I'd tried some of that stuff in the past and I think it helped with my running and my work last year. Then again, I was probably just running because Mark and Tim started doing it. I guess if you've got the right books and the right friends, you're in a pretty good situation.

Saturday 5 October 2013

#41 Just some stuff that rhymes

If we could only find out how to shake
We'd move so very freely when we wake
Then automatically find the way
Adventurously through life every day

The catalyst to kick-start all this jazz
Lies deep within, we've for a long time had
I'd take you every place this city has
The good places, the medium and bad

Together lay contently in the sun
Our bodies simply soaking up the fun
and later cosy contemplate the peace
in ourselves having found perfect release

Nirvana spotlight music darkened gaze
So happy now and music in the haze
You purr so soft as I play with your hair
Without a problem, both without a care

To find refreshment energy and light
To move so swift and effortlessly fight
For dreams and soul and everything besides
Such fortune floating 'tward us on the tides