Category Archives: Life is beautiful

The age-old January resolutions thing

New year, new opportunities. Have you got your new year’s resolutions sorted yet?

The fashion now seems to be to disregard them. They don’t work anyway. There’s too much, not enough time.

This year, I have decided to go the other way. And make loads of new resolutions. They’re not major though. Just little changes here and there. A commitment to the journey, to the experience.

Back on with the yoga. Thankfully, Adriene made that one easy today with a whole new 31 days of yoga programme. Tick.

I’m aiming to write regularly, in various places, hence a blogpost or two here. Tick.

I’m creating more art. So I made a quick sketch of a cormorant. Tick.

Not eating after 21h00, is that possible? Today it is. Tick.

A bit of French every day. I read a couple of articles in an old 20 Minutes newspaper and a whole load of comments on a football fans forum. Tick.

There are more. Spend only when I really want to. Stick with teaching the boy to read. In English and in French. Manage my photos. Back up the computer regularly. Maybe I should write them all down!


Something I love about you

Something I love about you is that when we are out walking the country paths on our holiday, you pick plants to add to our dinner or that we can make tea from.


And when we are returning from Aujargues to Congenies, I’m looking at the vines of grapes in a field on our right, while you’re launching yourself into the hedge on our right where you’ve spotted a wild vine. We stop and pick grapes and we three eat and eat and we find an old sandwich bag to carry some home in the buggy.


That afternoon we get back to the gite and Quaker Ali has left us eggs from his hens so we eat them with our spoils from the day.


And the rest


I spotted these benches in a small park by the regents canal the other day. I was on a short lunchtime walk that turned out to be 1.7 miles long. That and the walks to and from work are about all the exercise I’m getting just now.


I was pleased to see this heron too, one of my favourite London birds, along with cormorants and a few others.

The one Michael McIntyre left out

Whatever you think of Michael McIntyre, he’s got some great lines and stories to tell. One of my favourites is his story about a bus driver leading a group of people in the snow up to Muswell Hill when the bus itself isn’t running.

But the one I was reminded of today is his ‘laugh snort sneeze and mini-sick” routine. See

Today I discovered that little people have their own version of this that combines the two – the vomit sneeze. It comes about from consuming a lot of breast milk and not all of it being digested. Little bits get vomited up now and then.

And little people do a great sneeze and every time they do one it looks like they’ve sneezed for the first time: ‘what was that?’ their faces say.

So today’s surprise was the one that Michael McIntyre didn’t cover in his routine, the vomit sneeze. It comes when there’s a small amount of vomit that comes out of the mouth instantaneously followed by a sneeze.

As I was facing a little person today, I was on the receiving end of a vomit sneeze and ended up with small spots of sick all over my shirt.

There’s only one suitable reaction to this – have a chuckle and then reach for the nearest muslin cloth.

It’s not about you

Sometimes I find that when I’m cycling to or from work, I get frustrated with people more quickly than I would if I was interacting with them in other ways. I’ve had to learn to curb my own anger with people’s actions. Most often, the problem people are drivers but occasionally it is pedestrians (especially in the cycle lane/pavement in Peckham).

I’m rarely the problem. Except that I am. Sometimes I’ll spot a bit of sub-par behaviour from another cyclist and think to myself ‘well I wouldn’t have done that’. And then later I might catch myself doing it and thinking myself entirely justified in doing it too. At first, it is a small effort to connect the two incidents as related.

I know that when I cycle I rarely do something to deliberately annoy someone else, but in the past I used to think that people were trying to wind me up. (There are exceptions, particularly a Chrysler Voyager driver who tried to cut me up after I had the temerity to put my cycle in the cycle space in front of him recently at the lights at the southern end of the Waterloo Road.) But when I reflect on the fact that I’m not trying to bother anyone else, I realise that it is rare for someone else to try and bother me.

I was reminded of this recently at the Peckham High Street toucan crossing on my way home one afternoon recently. Several people were crossing on foot in between the vehicles. As one group of women crossed a car driver hooted their horn. Without looking back I heard one of the women mutter ‘what is his problem?’ And as I had seen what was happening behind her, “it’s not about you,” I said, “the driver was waving to someone on the other side of the road.”

Seeing that brief and meaningless incident was a great reminder to me of how different the world is sometimes to how we experience it.