Curry night

One of my neighbours made a curry for our street – chicken Kuzhambu and Idli (rice steam cakes) – to raise money for children with autism and sensory needs in the UK and India. She cooked a mass curry in her kitchen and personally delivered them to the street. Wonderful!

Sleep tight

I used to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Not any more.

My brain activity has just been off the charts over the last few weeks. I found it difficult to properly ‘switch off’ and sleep. In the morning it felt like I’d been awake for hours and be shattered.

Sleep is SO important. There’s no magic bullet. I had to improve my sleep process. After trying a few things a mix of these seem to work for me:

☕️ Cut coffee early pm, go to herbal tea
📺 Turn off TV, stay off the Twitter, phone down < 10pm
🧘 Walk / yoga clears Covid cobwebs
🧀 Avoid late night fridge cheese raids
📚 Read an adventure; ‘The Name of the Wind’ is great
🏗 Evening project; I’m building a giant Lego Batmobile which is super relaxing
🛀 Neatly fold the airing cupboard
✍️ Write / draw; working on my 1st stand up comedy routine
🧠 Get Headspace, the 45 min ‘Cat Marina Sleepcast’ is simply wonderful
📔 Keep a sleep diary

These have helped me sleep better. To improve a process keep things simple. See how things work with ‘pain points’. Try out new things and keep track so you can see what works.

Our brains are wired in complex ways, finding a path to relax will be different for all of us. I hope these may help you find calm.

Stay safe. Sleep tight.

sleep tight

Change

One of my weekend lockdown projects has been overdue for years – sorting out the junk in the loft. Boxes and boxes of stuff, books, clothes and the like. Last weekend I came across a box of old photos. They made me smile.

The 1st pic is from the late 70s when I wanted to be a highway patrolman. The 2nd is from the late 90s dressed as a mouse to support an office ideas scheme. It was a horrible polyester thing. The 3rd was taken last year after running a half marathon as a dog. More polyester, very stinky at the finish line.

Seeing these made me reflect how my life has changed in some ways (losing the hair), stayed the same in others (love of dressing up!) and new things I love to do (running). If it wasn’t for COVID I likely wouldn’t have found the old pics for some time and made these connections.

This is kind of like managing change. Keep hold of the things you cherish, ditch the stuff you don’t while exploring new ideas. I hope when we look back on this time we’ll maintain and build on the positive things arising from this and change for the better.

Stay safe. Stay indoors. Stay away from polyester (and naked flames).

mouse

Bake!

A small win today.

Earlier this year I started to learn to bake and set out to perfect a simple sponge cake.

A sponge cake has 7 ingredients: self raising flour, stork, eggs, caster sugar, icing sugar, jam and vanilla essence.

Two months ago all of these ingrediants were freely available. Flour was a mundane and plentiful object. Today it’s become a rare and precious commodity with comedians joking you can buy bags on the dark web.

I last baked a sponge over a month ago as I ran out of flour. This evening I managed to find a bag of flour. I can bake again and plan on making a sponge cake at the weekend. I feel so happy.

Trransformation is like baking a cake. It has multiple ingrediants that all go into the mix. And you just know when an ingredient is missing as the cake won’t rise! I don’t think I’ll ever take mundane things for granted in my life ever again.

Stay safe. Stay inside. Bake!cake

Lockdown

COVID-19 has transformed our street. What was once a quiet terraced commuter street where people occasionally nodded and said hello has turned into something remarkable.

When we entered lockdown, one neighbour came up with the idea of a WhatsApp group to look out for each other. I’m sure this kind of thing must be happening everywhere. What started with a few people has now turned into hundreds.

Neighbours now ask while they are out shopping if anyone needs anything.

Neighbours are lending tools and gifting items to each other.

One neighbour did a sponsored cook and raised hundreds for the NHS.

One neighbour has organised a collection for the local food bank.

One neighbour is a Michelin starred chef who has been sharing cookery videos from his kitchen.

Our Thursday clapping session has become a wonderful joint thankyou to the NHS.

There are even plans afoot to organise a street party when we eventually come out of lockdown.

We’ll never go back to before and we’ll be better for it. We’ve become a true community. Our street has transformed.

Transformation takes many shapes and sizes. It doesn’t need to be big bang. Small opportunities can make huge changes.

Stay safe. Stay Inside.

street

The Fighting Temeraire

My favourite painting is ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ by Turner whose home is the National Gallery. It depicts a scene of one of the last gun ships from the Battle of Trafalgar being towed off for scrap by a paddle steamer. To me it symbolises transformation in moving from one stage to another. I find it very powerful and moving. Anyway, managed to duck out at lunch today to pop into the gallery and take this pic with the new £20 note (in front of some very patient tourists!) #transformation

trem

Half time!

Last weekend I ran my first (of 8) half marathons this year. Was a tad windy! In 4 weeks I’m running the London Landmarks half marathon for Guide Dogs and determined to run it sub 2 hours…

Every 6 minutes someone is told they’re going blind and every day 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK. Guide Dogs exists to help people when they need help in their moment of truth. It’s mostly through the kindness of the public’s donations that they can provide their life changing services. I’ve set up a Justgiving page, link below for my run. If you’d like to sponsor me and in the process support the Guide Dogs mission I’d be most grateful.

Thankyou! 🤜💥🤛

https://lnkd.in/dcEPSet

time

Rock God

“If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting”. – David Bowie

#transformation

bowie