In which I leave the house

It’s occurred to me that I should make some attempt to rehabilitate myself back into society, against future need. I’m sure work will yank me back in to some awful team day or another soon enough, so I thought I should practice being around people.

I went to the seaside for the day. Or rather, I went to Wells-Nowhere-Near-the-Sea, where the tide was out and showing no inclination to pop back in while I was there. The trip did let me tick a few seaside essentials off the list. I had chips, although in full disclosure, I had posh chips at a sitting down place, because the queue for the chippy looked too much like hard work. And I spent £2 on tuppenny waterfalls, but the amusement arcade was really busy and even louder than they usually are. By the time my money was gone, I was glad to leave.

Public spaces are exhausting. That’s not news to me, but after 16 months of quiet, it’s a shocker just how loud people are. The noise is inescapable and almost physically abrasive. Wells was only quite busy, but a couple of hours of it all was overwhelming. So then I wandered around the mostly deserted residential streets and looked at the profusion of hollyhocks with which the town was bedecked. I wouldn’t have though I knew what a hollyhock was, but the word was sitting right there in my mind, ready to leap out when needed. So satisfying when word and thing come together.

After which, I’d had quite enough of being out and I fled home to the glorious peace and solitude. The problem is, I don’t really want to be out of the house. What’s in it for me, now that I’ve spent more than a year reinforcing my staying-in habit? There has to be purpose, and it has to outweigh the not-being-in-the-houseness (there’s probably a German word for that).

Fortunately, today’s jaunt has dual purpose: to see my sister, even though we saw each other in April and said then ‘See you in November’; and to see what Blackwell’s has to offer in the second hand Greek texts section. I need all the tragedies, because woman cannot work from translations alone. I forgot to say that I decided to take the money I’m not spending on petrol and apply for a PhD next year, so I’m prepping to come up with a topic.

So off I go, again.

In which I have a week off

Or nine days, as I like to think of it, because if I was away somewhere, the weekends would be part of the holiday. But mine is a genuine staycation, in my little house, with my kittens. I am spoilt. I will be going away overnight mid-week, gasp, but kipping on my sister’s sofa so I can go to Blackwell’s doesn’t really count.

I haven’t had real time off since March, and then I spent the week watching all the Marvel movies in chronological order. Time well spent indeed, but I do not have an equivalent goal for this week. It’s not that suddenly I became all achievey, but I’m not good with unstructured time. I need balance.

I’m thinking that a target of translating 150 lines of Medea would be good. That doesn’t sound a lot, but that’s about 8 hours at my painfully slow rate, plus goal of at least dimly understanding not only what the translation is but why it’s that. There is only so much time I can focus on Greek before it dissolves into squiggles on a page. I’ve put all my work kit in the loft and my Greek books are on my desk, so every time I walk past I think ‘That play won’t translate itself.’

But today, it turned out that I had to sit on the sofa for most of the day and read a Jack Reacher. This is because just as I was thinking I might move, Belle sat on me. And there she stayed, for hours. And hours. Fortunately the sofa is near the Reacher and O’Brian shelves. At intervals, we’d both move, and then we’d re-settle. Who am I to argue with a cat? I know my place.

In which I am back

Again. I know, more comebacks than someone who has had a lot of comebacks. Don’t ask me, that would be pop culture.

First things first, the cats are flourishing. They are 10 years’ old next week, but obviously they are my tiny kittens and always will be. I’m still working from home, and Belle spends most of her days on my desk, to the point where she’s there by 8.30am because she knows the routine. She is a regular participant in Webex calls, usually flashing her tail across the screen. Charlie is still international cat of mystery, but he’s started sleeping on the armchair in the study. My background noise is Scala radio and kitten snores, and I cannot think of a better one.

Anyone who thinks I’m giving that up to go back to working from an office is fucking deluded.

Still in lockdown, and still fine with it. Yeah, I know that the country has opened up but that’s just dumb given the way that the Delta variant is ripping across the land, so I’m ignoring it. Bozo Johnson can fuck right off, and when he gets there, he can fuck off even further. No, my language has not improved in the intervening year since I last posted.

What has changed? Erm… Greek! Abandoned the idea of doing A-Level, but I kept working through the syllabus for a bit. Did loads of Plato and realised I’d forgotten all non-philosophical Greek, so did unseens and comprehensions for a few months. But now, my tutor and I have agreed that we’ll work through the whole of Medea. I’m about 95 lines in and I love it so much. Translation is magic. Jason, what a bastard, eh? Although Medea is Greek female character least likely to be novelised as part of the current boom in re-writing Greek myth from the female perspective. My vote goes for a novel about Helen, because I think she gets a rough deal. The Trojan War isn’t really her fault, it’s Aphrodite who gave her to Paris as a prize and kicked the whole thing off. Stick that in your agency pitch.

I started working out with a personal trainer in January, over Zoom and once a week. It’s been very effective, not to mention painful and exhausting and far more hard work than I would ever do on my own. Which is entirely the point.

Oh, and I’m blonde again for the first time in roughly 111 years. I liked being grey but then I got bored. I went champagne blonde at Christmas and then couldn’t get a hair cut or colour for 6 months. I had to make the dark roots a feature because there was no hiding them.

WandaVision, Falcon & Winter Soldier and Loki. I am firmly locked in to Disney+ for these. I’m even seeing Black Widow at the cinema. Well, drive-in, which is the ideal cinematic experience, given that it combines the big screen with no other people near you. It shouldn’t have taken a pandemic to get us there but thank you Nightflix.

The rest is much the same. I read, I eat biscuits, I sit on the sofa for hours at the time. Musing. All right, dozing. Whatever.