I try not to miss things that have gone. People I loved have died and I try to celebrate who they were and what I knew, rather than what I might miss. In a much less serious, but still sad development, I lost my favourite shop recently. Borders was the place I went to think, drink coffee, buy slightly overpriced books and play chess. It was my club.

The Oxford store had a personality which I didn't feel in any other branch. The staff were personable and individual and I'll miss them as much as I'll miss having somewhere to go for a drink in the evening that wasn't full of folk drinking booze.

In my ideal world I would have saved this shop somehow.


Uh-oh, drum solo

Some months ago I went to a music shop with my daughter and make a joke about her showing drummer tendencies. On Christmas day fate took its revenge.


Year of the challenge

I know 2009 isn't over yet but it has been my year of the challenge and here's the update.

Make an album (RPM 2009) - check
Start giving blood (after years of being scared to do so) - check
Write a novel (Nanowrimo) - check
Finish the album I'd started the previous year (Perfetc) - check
Take a photograph for ever day of the year - ongoing
Make the kitchen look less like a bomb site - um...

So, 2010 - the year the kitchen finally gets sorted.

Crosswords and gigs

Last Saturday I got to play loud and lively music with Soul Beaver. It felt great to be in front of an audience again and the weeks of regular bass playing paid off in that I made only a few annoying mistakes. It was also good to be with my friends again, doing what we do well. And we got paid!

It's my intention to get out playing music more next year.

Now, how about this? After years of meaning to get around to it I've started working out how to answer cryptic crossword clues. I managed my first one just the other day (Tries anew as an unsuccessful student would, 5 letters = resit). My first success was probably the easiest cryptic crossword clue in the world but knowing how to do it made it possible to do the next one. I'd love to say I finished the whole puzzle but in truth I stalled soon after. What I have found though is that I've got a taste for these puzzles. Expect some cryptic weirdness in the new year.


It’s not the coffee that carried him off…

A month or so ago I had Flu Classic (as opposed to Man Flu or Swine Flu). One of the effects of this was that I also started coughing. When I get a cough it lingers, and when I say ‘lingers’ I mean lingers like an unwelcome squatter that arrives in your house while you’ve gone out to post a letter and refuses to leave for three months during which time he (or she) makes a mess of all the rooms in your home and alienates your friends and family. That kind of lingers.

The cough irritated my throat so much that I avoided everything that would cause any further bother. So, alcohol and coffee had to go. Once I was better I celebrated with a glass of wine but I’ve stayed off coffee ever since.

This week I had to ask myself why I still wasn’t drinking coffee. I love coffee. Coffee is my hard drug of choice (the withdrawal symptoms were not pretty) and although I feel better for not drinking the stuff I was also missing the taste and pleasure of setting up a stove top dalek for a shot of espresso.

Coffee for me is like smoking is for others. It’s not just about being pointlessly addicted to a substance; it’s about all the actions that go with it. I don’t miss instant coffee (which I assume people only drink because it’s such a stunningly easy drink to make) but I do miss a well made cup of the black stuff. I don’t miss being constantly hooked to the caffeine, especially when I know that my baseline level of energy is the same with none of that drug in my system as it is after how ever many cups I’ve had in a day. However, I do miss the buzz, whether or not it’s of any real benefit.

So, after a healthy but dull period of abstinence (and despite being stuck in a building which only offers decaf instant) I’m ready to fire up the stove top pot and enjoy the bitter black water again. Let’s all raise a tiny cup and celebrate.


About last night

I listened back to the recordings of yesterday's Soul Beaver rehearsal last night. My job was to edit out all the chat and false starts so I could separate out the songs for reference. It soon became apparent that what I was really editing out was lots and lots of laughter. Not just, 'oops that was the wrong bass note' laughter, but 'we're having a good time' laughter. Despite completing the edit as planned I've archived the original tapes so I can always remind myself of how much fun it is playing in this company.


Back to the Beaver

Got to get together with my fellow Soul Beavers today and play for hours. Good to see them all but even better to play again. I now know why I have to do more exercise.

More soon.