James Predicts The Future

James Proclaims (4)

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It’s not like me to use misleading titles for my posts.

Apart from when it is.

And I fear I may have done just that today. Because this post is not going to be me attempting to predict the future in a humorous way, which is probably what the title implies.

Nor will it be an attempt to make any serious and thought-provoking predications based on the evidence of current world developments because this isn’t that kind of blog and I’m woefully underqualified to do that.

Being woefully underqualified is not always a barrier to me attempting to do things. It is essentially a trick I’ve been playing on my employer for many years.

Nonetheless, this post is an homage to a different post I wrote.

Because what is more compelling than a blogger blogging about other stuff he blogged about?

That question was rhetorical. I don’t need you to answer it in the comments. Unless you can answer it in a way that is funny. Then go for it. Often the best bit about my blog is the funny stuff that other people write in the comments section.

Anyway, the post that I’m referring to is the one I wrote on the first day of the year, which I cleverly entitled ‘So You Say You Want A Resolution‘. You should probably go and read that now.

Are you back? Or did you just not bother to go? I’m not the boss of you, you don’t have to go and read it if you don’t want to. It might help you to understand what I’m going on about in this post. Then again it might not. In summary, it was my tongue-in-cheek predictions for the New Year, but honestly it’s uncanny how accurately I predicted the horrors of 2020. Because how could I possibly have known about coronavirus back in January?

Ok, I know it was a thing even then, and some people were predicting it would become a pandemic, but I just assumed that being, you know, British, we were immune to such things. I thought it was written into our constitution. I know we don’t actually have a UK constitution, but it’s surely still implicit that Britain doesn’t take part in pandemics. I blame the EU. It’s just a shame that Brexit didn’t come sooner really…

Anyway, I didn’t predict an actual pandemic as such. But I did write the following:

“I mean it’s obviously only just begun, but I have a feeling that 2020 will be a year like no other.

Call it 2020 foresight if you will, but I predict that the year to come will be one that changes everything.

But obviously not in a good way.”

So, you know, I was pretty spot on if the popular media is to be believed.

Anyway my solution to the end of the world was going to be to get into shape “so that when Judgement Day arrives, I can be the grizzled, cynical, but ultimately kind-hearted hero that the world needs me to be.”

Now while that was obviously me just having a bit of (as it turns out quite misguided) fun, it was also a roundabout way of saying my New Year’s resolution was, as it is most years, to get a bit fitter. Not that I’m entirely a stranger to keeping fit, but I’ve always been a bit inconsistent with how committed I am to the cause. And I’m certainly no stranger to a pie. Or chips (you can interpret that as either the UK meaning for chips or the US version – I like both kinds). Or ice-cream. Or beer. Or pretty much anything that’s fundamentally bad for you.

So I could definitely have done with being a bit more committed.

Which, to be fair to me, I was for January and February. I went to the gym quite a lot in January while I was waiting for an ear infection to heal sufficiently to return to my swimming routine. And, in February I returned to the pool and as has been documented occasionally on this blog, I started running a bit.

Then the pandemic hit and the swimming pools closed. So I was only able to do the running, which I did stick to, but, as has also been documented, I’m not really very good at running.

Recently the pools re-opened, so I’ve been able to avail myself of mine for the last two weeks. And it has been going swimmingly. I’m still running, I’m still quite bad at running, but, because I’m swimming again, I don’t have to go running as often, which seems to have resulted in me being less bad at running on the days I do it.

So it would seem that I am ticking along nicely, if unspectacularly, in my quest to be a bit fitter

Except that…

…this is a bit awkward really but…erm…

…I maybe haven’t been as honest as I could have been on these pages…

Generally it’s in my nature to be a little self-deprecating. I’m not one for bragging.

And I really am bad at running.

But I haven’t just been running for the last few months.

I have actually been doing some other exercise. Stuff like press-ups and burpees and some quite horrible things involving a kettlebell.

And even though I did carry on working, I did have slightly more freedom with regards my working hours so I generally found time most days to fit in a workout.

And I appear to have accidently become genuinely quite fit. Honestly, no-one is more surprised than me that this has happened. I mean I still have a diet akin to that of an unsupervised toddler in a sweet shop but nonetheless, I do appear to be burning some of those excess calories.

And if the world does need a post apocalyptic hero in the near future, I’m definitely more qualified than I was in January.

I mean, it’s probably still better if we don’t have an apocalypse but I’m just saying, if I’m needed to save the world, I’d be happy to give it a go.

 

 

Reflections On The Recent Lockdown By A Man Who Might Be Slightly Inebriated

James Proclaims (4)

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It will be Monday when I post this but, as I write, it is Saturday afternoon. Little Proclaims and I spent much of this morning doing our usual weekend daddy-daughter activities, which mostly consists of feeding ducks and jumping in puddles. I join in with the duck/goose/swan feeding as Little Proclaims, while content to hold a piece of stale bread and shout at the associated waterfowl, is rather less than proactive in actually dispensing the bread to the beneficiaries. I tend not, as a rule, to jump in puddles due to not possessing the appropriate footwear. And not being a toddler. It’s more about the footwear though…

As of the 4th July we have, of course, been permitted to return to playparks, so that too featured this morning. Little Proclaims has very much enjoyed this renewed relationship with the swings, slide and roundabout but by far her favourite activity in the playpark at the moment is to run around aimlessly while shouting excitedly. We go out early and are alone in the park so I try not inhibit this expression of unbridled joy, unless she looks as though she’s about to do something that will result some kind of mishap. Which does happen quite often…

Little Proclaims is now enjoying a much deserved afternoon nap and I am sitting in front of a televised football match that I have fairly limited interest in, drinking some very nice beer, which I purchased for a bargain price at the supermarket and which is making me question whether I will ever return to the pub. I suppose I would like to socialise with the small number of people that I consider friends again but frankly the beer is just as good, and significantly cheaper, at home and I wonder if I really need to go the pub to see them. Maybe the ‘new normal’ will present us with lots of new opportunities to get together, which won’t involve imbibing alcohol in a claustrophobic environment on a Friday evening. Probably not, the world does seem intent on making the ‘new normal’ as much like the ‘old normal’ as possible. Then again I’m sure the ‘old normal’ had plenty of activities that weren’t ‘the pub’. I just didn’t pay them much heed. Perhaps I should stop waiting for the world to change around me and just be a bit more proactive. That does sound like a lot of effort though.

I’m also feeling fairly reluctant to get a haircut. Having rejected Mrs Proclaims kind offer to trim my locks during lockdown, I now have quite the mop. If work, which in my case is based in a secondary school, were operating as usual I’d probably feel more inclined to sort it out, because teenagers can be quite cruel, but there are so few of them there at the moment that I feel I can hang on, particularly with the six-week summer holiday coming up. No doubt by the time September rolls around I’ll be desperate for a trim but I feel I can let things play out for a little longer – who knows, I may decide to opt for an entirely new look at the end of all of this. Maybe a new hairstyle is what I’ve been waiting for to kickstart my journey to being a new and better me.

Or maybe I’ll just be the same person but with different hair.

I expect around the end of August I’ll cave in just have my usual haircut anyway. The non-descript but easy-to-manage look that has served me so adequately for all these years.

I should at least be a slightly fitter version of myself as a result of all of this. My thrice-weekly run has now increased to four-times a week. The main result of adding an extra run per week seems to be that I’ve become much much slower on all of my runs, but as the notion of going for four runs a week was unthinkable only a few months ago, I’d still have to count this as progress.

The swimming pools are due to open soon. No doubt with lots of rules that make it far more difficult to access them, but I should still be able to add swimming back into the mix in some way. I’d like to imagine I’ll stick with the running too, not least because the gyms are also re-opening so there should be less runners about in general, which might mean I can stop getting up at 5am to avoid them.

That said, Little Proclaims does like an early start so it’s unlikely to be the end of my 5am alarm calls…

Being the parent of a small child and still largely having to go to work did mean that lockdown wasn’t the life-altering experience for me as it was for many. Still, I did acquire a little more time as a result of it and I wonder if I really made the most of it.

I’ll have to do better during the next one.

 

All That Twitters Is Not Trolled

James Proclaims (4)

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As part of my never ending quest to be able to have my cake and eat it, and then have another slice of cake and eat that too, I have recently taken up swimming.

I mean I had swum before, I used to do it quite a lot as a child, and then for a brief period during my early twenties, but in recent years I have done very little pool-based exercise.

This is mostly because of a lack of pool in which to do that exercise.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of them about, but swimming pools often have erratic opening hours, which don’t fit in with my requirements.

Also other people tend to use them.

Which is a problem.

I love swimming. It’s probably my favourite way to burn calories. It doesn’t even feel like proper exercise  – I find it quite relaxing, almost therapeutic, as I glide through the water, thinking about all the guilt-free cake I’ll be able to consume once I’ve finished.

But ideally I would always have the entire pool to myself.

I really don’t like sharing with others.

It’s a problem that I have in many areas of my life, but it’s particularly problematic with swimming pools.

I think it’s because, during the aforementioned period in my early twenties when I did quite a bit of swimming, I often had the entire pool to myself. It was a serendipitous combination of that particular pool having quite generous opening times and me having a low-paid job with antisocial working hours. I might have been stuck at work while others were in bed, but it did mean I had a lot of free time when others were working their more sociable 9-5s.

And the pool was often quiet when I was free.

And I got used to that state of affairs.

But these days I work the same hours as the vast majority of the rat race and so  when I want to swim, others also want to swim.

And this means I have to share the pool with them.

If I could guarantee I would at least get a lane to myself, I could probably tolerate others in the pool, but even this modest luxury is rarely available.

So for most of my adult life I’ve exercised in other ways, even though I’d prefer to be swimming.

It’s my own fault, a character flaw I need to address, but one I struggle to overcome.

However I have recently discovered a not-too-expensive facility which doesn’t require a huge deviation on my journey to work, and at this facility, if I get the timing right, I rarely I have to share the swimming pool with more than one other person.

Unfortunately to get the timing ‘right’ I have to get there quite early.

As in 6am early.

Although this is clearly madness, in most respects there has been little in the way of significant change to my daily routine, but I have been starting my daily commute  with a slightly different radio show playing in my car.

For the last few years my radio station of choice has been Radio 4, and I mostly listen to the Today programme on my way to work. This is a predominantly news-based show – Radio 4 does not play music. I don’t listen to Radio 4 because I particularly want to keep up-to-date with current affairs, it’s just the latest stop on a nomadic radio journey I’ve been taking since I decided I was too old to listen to Radio 1 anymore. I did continue listening to Radio 1 for a few years after I outgrew their target demographic (which is 15-29 I believe) but there came a point in my early thirties when I knew I had finally become too old  – and that’s because it started to really get on my nerves. I tried Radio 2 for a bit, but while I find some shows on Radio 2 tolerable, it does try and be all things to all people which means it’s only occasionally in line with my particular tastes. As with all people who think they’re cooler than they really are, Radio 6 is probably my natural home, but that’s an exclusively digital station which can’t be picked up on my exclusively analogue car radio.

So Radio 4 it is for now. The Today show is perfectly tolerable, it never hurts to know what’s going on in the world, and, depending on what time I get out of work, the drive home usually offers up something interesting too.

But the show that’s caught my attention on my recent early morning drives to the swimming pool, is charmingly anachronistic.

It’s a short emission called Tweet of the Day. The first time I heard it, I presumed it was referencing the giant social media behemoth that so dominates the news these days.

But rather than offering up the latest moronities from the POTUS, or the pithy views of other social commentators, Tweet of the Day is a show about birds. Actual birds. And the sounds they make.

Which is really quite a nice way to start the day.

James Complains About Monkey Monkey Monkey

You’d never know it to look at me but I’m reasonably fit. Not athletic you understand. I have no actual ability when it comes to sport, but when it comes to taking part there are few people as gifted as me at ‘making up the numbers’.

I’m even a member of a local gym. Sometimes I actually go there.

Continue reading James Complains About Monkey Monkey Monkey