Or: Will I ever be able to chill and not feel bad about it?
You may gather from the above that it has been a bit up and down this week. The low point was yesterday morning when I woke up feeling lower than I have for a very long time. I am scared because I worry what could have happened had I been alone in the house – yes it was that bad.
So, having got that off my chest, it actually wasn’t a terrible week. I didn’t settle to drawing much, but got things done in the garden.
I got my hair cut on Friday. This might not seem a big thing, but readers of my Instagram will know that whilst I care nothing for my appearance I am very particular about the actual process of the dreaded haircut…
When I was a little boy, my hair was cut by an elderly old-fashioned barber who, handily, had a shop on the corner of our road. One day he was drunk and managed to cut a piece from my ear… I subsequently started going to another place nearby and persisted there, reluctantly, until the owner retired and closed the shop. By this time I was about 20. My hair got very long until one day, out of desperation, I tried a place with all female staff and they were lovely. Then we moved to Lancaster. 18 years later I have tried practically every eligible option in town. Given the requirement for the job to be done by a woman this rules out every Turkish barbershop that have sprung up in recent years. The place needs to be quiet, with no kids running around. So on Friday, at a colleague’s recommendation, I tried The Men’s Room in Lancaster. I booked beforehand, with one of the female staff. But even the guys were terrific and friendly. I was even offered a drink twice during my short wait. I’d never tried this place before because it seemed a bit like it had a young and trendy clientele and I figured I might not feel comfortable. Happy to say I was wrong.
I did buy myself a Raynox DCR-150 macro filter. This is basically a lens that fits onto the front of your normal camera lens and has a magnifying function. I wanted to buy a proper macro lens but decided to go down this route instead, coupled with my usual extension tubes for close-ups:
Yes, another Hoverfly, dusted with pollen grains. On Crocus banaticus.
These were all hand-held. This is not ideal but setting up the tripod seemed a hassle. Maybe next time.
I’ve got two books on the go at the moment. One a very thick biography of Clint Eastwood which is proving to be surprisingly uninteresting so far. The other is a re-read of ‘Foxglove Summer’ by Ben Aaronovitch
Back in May I went to my first gig in three years and saw Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets. This is Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and their latter-day bass player Guy Pratt, with Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp on vocals. They play early Pink Floyd, complete with light show etc. They were superb and are touring North America this autumn. I bought the double CD and have been playing it a lot.
On a more avant-garde front I’ve been listening to Anna Von Hausswolff a lot:
My earlier ‘return’ post suggested some of my longer term plans. But one thing that taking two weeks off work and only leaving the house twice has brought home is how much my world has shrunk in recent years. Yes, Covid was a big factor in this, but as I have indicated elsewhere I was already on the downward slope before that.
What am I going to do about it? Well I do have a bit of a wishlist. I thought I could blog a series called ‘Darren Tries’ in which I experience new things and write about them from the point of a messed-up introvert…
Looking at what is available locally:
- Life Drawing (You might think this would be the easy option, but I never draw people. Plus it requires speed. Plus as a middle-aged man I worry that people would be suspicious of my motives. We have all heard the jokes about ‘photographers’ taking pictures of models without film in their camera)
- Axe Throwing (Yes really. There is an axe throwing place in Lancaster. With a bar attached, which sounds like a real winning combination doesn’t it???)
- Dancing (Not sure why I included this. Maybe because it would challenge me to be sociable)
- Scuba diving. (Again, I have my doubts. I only learned to swim five years ago and am not good at it. Also, the local dive place is in a very cold flooded quarry. I don’t do cold…or drowning.)
- Yoga. (Yes, I’ve been there before. But I am now older, less fit and even more shy. My main worry about this is actually a practical one. For obvious reasons, yoga instructors are softly-spoken and I really need to lip-read which is not easy when you are supposed to be facing the other way….)
Any further ideas? This seems a short list!
Any new activity proposed in this household has to pass the test of not being too expensive and not triggering either my anxiety or my wife’s – which is a bigger hurdle. Consequently, such dreams often fall by the wayside because the battle to make them reality just isn’t worth it.
Anyway. I am saying I need some help and encouragement and a reason to try new things. The chance to write about them seems a good reason.
Finally. I am back at work tomorrow. Wish me luck. I leave you with this photo, which reminds me of work because the youngster is standing in food, with it’s head next to a block of food and yet it is STILL demanding the grownups do the work….