Weeknote, Sunday 14th May 2023

This week was mostly about training at work. Not me doing training: me training other people, and developing supporting materials, and so on. It’s been a while since I did proper training, and it was a lot of work.

It was also interesting how different groups react differently: I did three sessions and two went really well, while the other felt like an absolute disaster. The people I was training in the hard session weren’t getting what they wanted from the tools I’m training out, and it really showed.

Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to spend some time in the company of a really lovely set of people at a dinner organised for Interesting by the redoubtable Russell Davies. It reminded me how much I like the company of people that I don’t know, as long as I let go and allow myself to enjoy it. Interesting 2023 is next week and there are still tickets available: I would strongly recommend you go.

On Friday, I woke up with a nasty sore throat, which meant that I could work, but couldn’t talk. It wasn’t much fun and – as I had the same issue last week when I was unwell – I wonder if it was something connected to that. When I poked around at the very swollen tonsil on the left-hand side, I got a really unpleasant squirt of something out, which probably means it was some kind of infection. It feels OK now, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

It’s not the only thing that’s wrong with me at the moment. I also have an odd trapped nerve in my back, which makes it hard to stand still for long periods of time. Walking is fine, but standing gives me a sore, uncomfortable feeling in my lower back on the left. I think it’s a trapped nerve because of the weird other symptom: when it’s really sore, the front of my left thigh goes a little numb. Getting old is fun!

It makes me realise quite how much the body is a set of interconnected parts which affect each other. Because I have that pain on the left of my back, when I stand for a long period I tend to put more weight on the right leg and that means I end up with a sore ankle. This is how bodies collapse: not in a single bad thing, but in a small series of problems which cause and amplify each other.

All fixable of course, and more important, preventable too. I’ll get there.

Things I’ve written this week

I wrote a piece of micro-fiction called The memory of everything you ever felt, about a quite unfamiliar kind of hell. It’s only a couple of hundred words, and I’ll post it once I have a chance to edit it.

I also started a longer short piece about a man who misses his plane and meets someone who is stuck in-between countries, and so has lived in the airport for some unspecified amount of time. If this sounds a bit like The Terminal… well, it’s not. All is not as it seems. It’s another small exploration of The Weird, and I want to finish it off this week.

Things I’ve read this week

I finished Julia Armfield’s Our wives under the sea, which was outstanding. I really love her writing style, and I wish I could write this kind of amazing clarity of voice.

Of course, that means I’m on to the next book — or rather, books. When I finish one thing, I rarely have a great idea of what I’m going to read next, and so I tend to dive into a few books and see what sticks. This week it’s been a few pages of Rooms of their own by Nino Strachey, some of All gates are open by Irmin Schmidt and a bit of Laine Looney’s look at the world of early microcomputers, The Apple II Age. None of them have quite stuck yet, so I may jump into something else instead. There’s a lot on the list.

Ian Betteridge @ianbetteridge