It’s a few months since I wrote a blog for this site and quite a few things have happened in the interim, most of which I’ll spare you. There were two or three highlights which will be covered in my next blog but first a simple example of my regular randomness.
At this stage of my life it might have been expected that I’d operate to some kind of plan; I know I can because I have done so before – when I had to.
Nowadays I like to think that – writing deadlines apart – I don’t HAVE to work to a plan so I tend to be very forgiving of my lack of direction and occasional self-indulgence. When I do allow life to spin me along, the resulting outcome is often satisfying so why not?
Monday, for example, I awoke with very little thought of what the day should bring. I knew that I was physically out of condition and that I should be exercising. I was also aware that I had not yet started working on a chapbook submission with a fast-approaching deadline.
Before I realised how much time had passed I was already watching the lunchtime news – a habit which should be avoided as it tends to generate negative thinking which can blight an otherwise optimistic day. By the time the news programmes on both main channels were complete, it was well past lunchtime, no physical or mental exercise had been undertaken and I was starting to feel guilty about my lack of activity.
Compounding my personal sense of stasis, the weather deteriorated and the world outside my window grew dark as it was was visited by a heavy deluge. I didn’t feel like going for a walk, or forcing myself towards the doors of the nearest gym.
In an effort to throw off the weight of guilt I attempted vigorous exercise with the undemanding home barbells I recently acquired. That helped a little and, as the sun rose and the exterior dark and dampness began to dissipate, I started to think more clearly, remembering there was an outstanding mission to accomplish; a special package awaited uplift from the Finnieston area of Glasgow.
That was it! I’d get out of my pyjama bottoms and t-shirt (standard daywear since the pandemic started), get into some outdoor clothing, walk briskly to my local train station (20 minutes on foot), travel by train to Charing Cross, walk to the fabled Hidden Lane (15 minutes), get my package then do the journey in reverse. So lay ahead the opportunity to complete a practical and necessary task, in the process walking briskly for a total of 1hour 10 minutes; why had I not thought of this before?
All good in theory except that when I arrived at my destination I did so too late as a result of my earlier procrastination and brain fog, and the resultant delayed departure from home.
A past version of me would have become quite frustrated and annoyed with myself but thankfully the current version of me is more self-forgiving, in fact more forgiving in general. Worse things happen at sea (but that’s another story with which I shall not detain you at present).
The only thing that did concern me was a fairly urgent need to use the loo.
To cut a long story short I used my need to find a place to pee to justify stopping in Finnieston for a meal and a drink. In practical terms it saved me going food shopping and also saved me the risks associated with sharing a busy rush-hour train in these days of plague. It was also very tasty, and had the accompaniment of a decent retro background music selection.
There was a further bonus, illustrated in the photographs which accompany this blog. On the way back to the railway station I spotted these two beautiful buildings and thought how representative they were of Glasgow. Two places of worship representing two of Glasgow’s quite different religious communities, standing side by side in the evening sun. And (not photographed) immediately across the road from these structures stands the Glasgow Gaelic School, keeping alive an old language of Scotland, still important to a small but significant proportion of the population. In such a small area, facing each other or standing side by side, the people these buildings represent all confident of their place in the dear green place.
If there are messages in this random piece, I guess they are pretty obvious – to avoid sweating the small stuff, be forgiving, try to turn negatives to positives when you can, allow yourself to go with the flow occasionally, always look outward, appreciate the cultural diversity of your surroundings and take joy in the knowledge that we are all different but ultimately all Jock Tamson’s bairns.
I really enjoyed reading this post Peter. You’ve put a wee smile on my lips on this dreary, dreich day.
That’s a lovely thing to say – job done, I guess!