Monday, 27 July 2020

World turned Upside down

There’s not much cycling in this one either, but next time, I promise!

It’s been quite a month.

Obviously, the roller coaster of the relegation battle, now successfully, if somewhat anti-climatically concluded. We are clearly a good team, we took all six points off the Blue Filth, and four from Salford United. But most of the time the team looked like they couldn’t be arsed. But I’m really not complaining.

I know there’s all this COVID stuff going on too. I have watched the news when I couldn’t avoid it. In fact, I am watching it ever more closely now Spain has been cut off again. I, naturally, the voice of doom (as my kid brother rightly labelled me yesterday) was very pessimistic about our chances of cycling in the Cevennes in September, until abracadabra all the countries Johnson liked suddenly became just fine to travel to. I was, no am, getting all excited again, with books about Camisards, and maps of new landscapes being pored over.

Now I’m wondering if it’s going to happen again. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Just like being a West Ham fan, so I’ve lots of practice.

Then there are all these masks to be worn. I first thought this might be a good look.

But then someone made the comment that it looked kind of “Creggan estate” circa 1975. So instead I’ve gone with the standard white low-grade builders, with nose piece. Still gets the glasses steamed up, but less controversial.

Back in the Autumn of last year, I finally had confirmed what I thought I knew already, namely that I have some hearing loss. About 35% in fact, no doubt genetic and age-related. But is was the spur to investigate hearing aids, and enable myself to actually hear the shouted instructions from other parts of the house. My first attempt were vanity-related in-ear buds. Looked great, and I could hear very well but unfortunately gave my ear canals eczema. For I am a sensitive soul, with many allergies.

With masks becoming ubiquitous, I could hear even less, especially as all people under 35 seem to be mumbling all the time. But with lockdown over, if you keep Two metres apart in your social bubble, with social distancing, using common sense, or one-metre plus in pubs as long as it’s less than four hours and pay contactless, in a one-way system, and make sure the mask covers your nose, I resolved to get some hearing aids I could actually use.

Phonak - remember them? Turns out they weren’t just a cycling team with a slightly dubious reputation (didn’t they all?), they make hearing aids. With hands-free Bluetooth and a lifetime guarantee. Obviously a Bono Vox one would have been perfect, but Boots Hearing Care don’t do them. Gone with Phonak instead, there’s an app too.

Actually they are great, Not only can I listen to Spotify and take phone and Zoom Calls through them, I can hear things I forgot existed. Indicators are particularly loud I have just discovered. But there are some things I still don’t want to hear. Nothing political, something every cyclist will understand. I’m certainly not going to ride a bike with them. I’ll hear creaks and clicks from the bike that will drive me insane.

I have already had Covid-19, confirmed by obvious symptoms back in March and a subsequent positive antibody test. I’ve been giving blood for 30 years, having recently passed 50 donations, so I fought through considerable NHS bureaucracy and intimate questionnaires about my sexual history (I kid you not) and booked an appointment to give plasma.

All was going well, During the donations, except the needle was quite big and hurt a bit as the machines did their thing Took my plasma, and returned my platelets and red cells to my veins. But something wasn’t quite right and I told one of the team I felt a bit odd, and then, bam, next thing I know I’m coming round, upside down, (as the donation “chair” had been pivoted to get blood back to my brain) and with three sets of very concerned-looking eyes looking over the tops of their masks at me.

Most likely explanation was some kind of reaction to the anti-coagulant that they use in the process. Once my lips had stopped being blue (apparently) and colour had returned to my cheeks, I was allowed to go, having managed a paltry 150 ml of plasma. Not enough for medicinal purposes, but it will be used in their research into antibodies in Covid-19. Best of intentions and lets hope for the best, while we, I won’t say it.

All I was left with was this nice bruise under my scars. I don’t want to put anyone off donating plasma, it’s rare to have a reaction. My existing list of allergens is long, this is just one more thing for me to avoid, but you are unlikely to have a reaction like this. I’m looking forward positively.

To the new football season, a life of Zoom calls and less driving, and some time in deep France.

Let’s hope we get there, stay rubber-side down, and don’t need the services of the Cevennes Health service, with or without anti-coagulant.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020


Everyone is commenting on what strange times we live in. By the miracle of Facebook, (not really, but you have to build the drama somehow), I’ve been prompted to write this post by the “Memories” of this day over the last few years. It turns out that 15 July is quite a momentous day in a small way.

But before I get to that. A bit of a rant. What is the world coming to? Yesterday I was the only customer in a shop, but was strongly encouraged to follow the one way system to use the “correct” exit door. Despite that route taking me past more people, than the quick re-tracing of steps to the entrance. Everyone bar me was in a mask. Despite the “law” not coming into effect till July 24, it had been seized upon with alacrity. I think some people actually enjoy the drama and the control, but what do I know about it anyway. The picture below shows the lengths people will go to.

The traffic lights are a nice touch.

In other news I made my first film, available to see on YouTube, at this link. I have this small GoPro camera which I affixed to the front of the bike, intending to record gentle scenes of some old blokes trundling around the countryside, having a lark. The day after the film was made I was going to do the same, but events intervened. The closest of close passes ever (It would have been a collision had it not been for my bike-handling skills!) was captured on film and within 4 hours was submitted to the local constabulary. Within 24 hours I’d had confirmation that action is being taken against the driver, so in time-honoured fashion I can’t say too much. I’ll leave you with this screen shot to get the idea.

Bizarrely and coincidentally, the very next day there was a “Twitter Storm” about people who report bad driving to the police using camera footage. A member of an indie band called the Jackobins (can’t spell, I know) tweeted that such behaviour, ie reporting instances of bad driving etc. Was “grassing” and should be stopped. Predictable responses about the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads, indefensible, idiotic etc. But the horrible thing was the number of people who poured out of the woodwork to support the original poster. With vile, threatening, abusive tweets too.

Anyone who put forward logical, fact-based arguments, got blocked by the Jackobins on Twitter (including me, thankfully, would have hated to be left out). I’d never heard of them before now, and certainly won’t be buying their music, But it did leave me wondering what goes on in the minds of people that actually think dangerous driving is a good thing? To be clear, by dangerous driving, I mean:

Using a phone while driving
Close passes
Dangerous overtaking 
Driving at excessive speeds for the conditions
Punishment passes
Left hooking

Stuff that leads to deaths and serious injuries if unchecked. But like I said, what do I know?

In essence these things come down to the extent to which the state should control you, or you are free to make your own decisions, and what do ordinary private citizens do in response? Lots of people will be judgemental about non-mask wearers, but will they also get cross when I’m nearly killed on my bicycle, whilst minding my own business and obeying all the rules and laws of the road? 

“What’s the answer?” I hear you cry. Good question, and one you are all going to have to figure out for yourselves in our increasingly polarised world.

So, July 15th. There were quite a few holiday memories, as you’d expect. Devon features heavily as we always went there this time when Junior was young. A couple from Cornwall. A really interesting one from Corfu in 2018, just after the debt crisis debacle.


But my favourites? Well, talk about polar opposites. On this day in 2016 I was joining the Crazy Club, yes the Cingles de Mont Ventoux.


Exactly a year later I was in the ED at Foix Hospital, being pumped full of steroids after a too-close encounter with a wasp-like creature on the Route des Corniches. Funny how I got a lot of PBs on Strava the week after. Silver linings and all that. 

It’s always all about what brings people together isn’t it? And joy, and balance. All nice liberal platitudes, but then, what did you expect?

Thursday, 2 July 2020

A gold guitar

I went out for a walk last night, something I’ve been doing a lot of since the Lockdown started. Instead of the usual random choices from Spotify, this time I chose my companion. “Songs of Experience”.

“The end is not coming, the end is here”

Now I know it’s a metaphor, and I know what a lot of people think about U2. But. My brother and I often talk about what it must be like to have done your best work by the time you are 31, and know it’s almost impossible to get any better. Great for him and me, because in Achtung Baby, there is a multi-layered library of musical and lyrical completeness. Don’t bother arguing.

But. With Songs of Experience, now nearly 3 years old by the way (which in the 80s would have felt like another era, but now, just feels like yesterday), I think they’ve made their second best album.

“Every grand illusion, I would win and call it losing”.

Anyway, the walk was a short one. Just three miles around my block. Things to see beyond the sublime.

Although it was a lot greyer than that last night. But you get the general idea. Idyllic countrysideness. I also had to get back in order to torture myself by watching West Ham lose to my/our arch-rivals. Or “The Blue Filth” as I like to refer to them. I can’t write their real name, children might be reading.

And it was torture, because this was one of those rare occasions when our players could be bothered. It’s never the despair, always the hope. Which made it all so much worse. Denied a good goal by the wonders of modern technology. Went behind, unusually went in front only to predictably squander the lead. Defeat now looked certain.

But Holy Shit, wonder of wonders, a stunning move of incredible beauty, and my now favourite Ukrainian bangs in the winner.

Mayhem in the Mendip Rouleur household. 

Of course we are not safe from relegation. We’ll probably lose to Them for the next 10 times in a row. But last night that didn’t matter, for once the double had been done and someone, somewhere was as unhappy as I was happy.

Being deeply, passionately in love can never be explained. It’s a love that lasts a lifetime, from when you are five to when you are fifty-five. And beyond. It waxes, wanes, becomes more measured, involves anger, tears, frustration and loads of bad emotions too. But it will never leave me.

If the moonlight caught you crying on Killiney Bay
Oh, sing your song

Let your song be sung
If you listen you can hear the silence say
"When you think you're done
You've just begun"

I wrote about this album nearly two years ago, peripherally when I came back from the Cent Cols. I knew change was afoot, and sure enough it has come to pass. But even as I was changing jobs last year, I never imagined all of this. 

“If there is a light
We can't always see
If there is a world
We can't always be
If there is a dark
Now we shouldn't doubt
And there is a light8
Don't let it go out”

Now. Times have been tougher. But not much for many of us in our western, privileged cocoon. But everything is relative, and a viral pandemic causing massive global misery and economic carnage is not the actual end of the world. But for many it feels close. But it needn’t be. Really.

Monday, 1 June 2020


I love watching television. But even I have been stretched to the limit in recent weeks as we binge-watch and exhaust the usual sources of entertainment that I like. There are only so many times I can watch the Premiership year 1998-99 (we finished 5th that season) or the best stages of the Giro.

Fortunately the choices of what to watch are rapidly approaching infinite, and there are more boxes available that I can recycle, as well as documentaries galore of all the old bands and dead rock stars. One of the latter was a “rockumentary” on the Boomtown Rats that barely mentioned either Paula Yates or Live Aid, although both were pivotal in the band’s initial break-up.  “Tonic for the Troops” was the first decent album I bought with my own money, and Rat Trap describes my life at aged 15 better than anything I can imagine.  The record was packed with unbelievable tracks like Howard Hughes, Eva Braun and Watch out for the Normal People.

Ah “Normal People” - another great series. All about being young and stupid. Just like we all were and some of us still are judging by the views of people regarding this pandemic on blogs and social media everywhere. You might think there is a complete vacuum of facts and data at the moment to listen to people opining their theories on Covid and its impact on society.

One such case in point is “the new normal”, a phrase I personally detest for a number of reasons. First I hate the evolution of language, if I had my way we’d all be speaking 9th century Anglo Saxon, but there you go, that’s just my outdated desire for something that has long since passed into my mistaken memories of a golden age that never existed. But I do hate jargon.

But there isn’t a new normal, aside from the fact that the phrase means a billion things, meaning it actually is meaningless, the only thing that is normal is a statistical average at a single moment. Time marches on like the rust on an unwashed steel cassette (this is the cycling reference for this post - if you’ve come for cycling, come back another day). I’m sure there were people in 1945 describing the election result as a blip or a mistake and that as soon as the people realised the error of their ways they’d be back to doffing their caps and asking for a job as a maid or a butler.

This pandemic has not been a “pause” life has gone on like a giant Severn Bore sweeping up the estuary, despite the death toll from the pandemic. In my view, life won’t be kinder or more humane afterwards either, there is too much endemic selfishness and too many vested interests manipulating our behaviour to ever make us go back to the Garden of Eden (which also didn’t exist).

But some things have changed. I do not believe work will be the same. Sure people need to meet and interact from time to time, but we don’t all need to do it everyday and spend hours travelling everywhere to do it. There’s a story about a US official saying there will come a time when one day, there will be a telephone in every town. Technology gets better, and soon it we will be able to communicate seamlessly from wherever we want to.

Great social change is underway economically too. Mainly because a lot of people are going to lose their jobs in the UK, And across the world and those that don’t will be paying the costs of the unprecedented government support for decades to come. There will be riots and there will be trouble. But hopefully, from that trouble, something better will emerge, not the gooey “Be kind” nonsense, or the vapid Thursday night clapping. I hope for a sensible relationship between owners and workers, with a bit more equity (in the broadest sense) about the rewards that value creation brings.

I’m watching and waiting on my own life too, trying desperately to be normal, whilst knowing I am not. Nor are you, and we should both stop aspiring to that normality. My Mother would have been 87 this week had she still been alive. I do wonder what she would have made of all this fuss about Covid, after all she lived through the Second World War, albeit as a child, and often told me how normal the wartime conditions became after a while.

I suppose that is my point. You can drift along with the tide, commenting from the sidelines if you like, but essentially you are a Helpless passenger on that tidal wave. Or you can look for the evidence, listen to people, observe what is going on, and either enjoy the ride, or maybe, swim against the current. In that way you can work out where you want to be or get to, and make progress towards it. Like cycling.

Maybe you might even enjoy NOT being normal.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

The sorry tale of a lockdown injury

There has never been a better time to visit an A & E department. If you live in Weston super Mare or surrounding villages anyway. That was my experience last Sunday and Monday, when despite all the warnings, as well as my strong inclinations to avoid further strain on our beleaguered health system, I had cause to spend the best part of two days inside one.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, and hindsight and detective work are wonderful things. At times during those two days I was very worried indeed, whereas now I just seem to have an injury that (I hope) is going to be no more than mildly irritating for a while.

So let’s start in the middle. Last weekend I planned to go out for a hilly ride on the Sunday, good weather was forecast, and I could do all of it whilst being no more than 30 minutes ride from my front door. In preparation I fuelled up on pasta in the evening, and as I prepared to go to bed I had a few jiggly stomach pains that I put down to indigestion. I was tired anyway, so off to bed I toddled, looking forward to getting out first thing.

At about 7AM I was rudely awoken by a sharp pain in my lower abdomen, followed quickly by another. Then another. It was if, I imagined, someone was sticking knitting needles into my side, near where my appendix had been removed some 30 years ago. I stumbled out of bed, and the pain intensified, so I got back into bed, and they got worse again. My normal reactions to minor illness is to inflate it into something serious, but this felt serious so I tried to down-play it in my mind.

After about 15 minutes this strategy appeared not to be working, so I knew a bike ride was out. After another 15 minutes I decided to burden the NHS and phoned 111. By now the pain was constant, and I was a bit worried. So was the out of hours GP, who arranged for me to go and see a doctor at an out of hours surgery. This doctor was also worried enough to send me to A & E at the hospital.

I’ll spare you the full SP. Suffice to say I was seen by a succession of people, repeating the same information over and over, having my abdomen prodded again and again, till at last, a student Doctor, albeit under supervision, diagnosed a problem with my gall bladder, I almost certainly have gallstones he said.

I was sent home with loads of painkillers as they were not doing x-rays or scans that day, and they were sure I wasn’t in any danger. I found the painkillers went very well with a bottle of Thatchers and the pain subsided.

By the way, the hospital was deserted, kind of. Very quiet anyway. As it was the next day when I limped in to the X-ray department to have an ultrasound scan. Where we discovered I have a perfectly functioning gall bladder with no trace of stones or anything else that shouldn’t be there. And a very healthy intestine, pancreas, liver and spleen, and an aorta which would look good in a 30-year old.

So far so comforting. But what was wrong with me as I was still in pain, of the dull ache variety, if not the knitting needle category. Another wait ensued before I got to see a thoracic surgeon, late on Monday afternoon. More prodding, coughing, etc. Gentlemen will understand this is not pleasant. Woman can imagine,  but I’m sure experience far worse. Don’t write in.

The final diagnosis? A tear in the oblique muscles of my right-hand side. The treatment? Generally a lot of rest and no twisting or turning or heavy lifting. Painkillers and cider to moderate the pain. Sort of.

Just to be clear, that is not a picture or image of me. I have a bit more timber around the six-pack, and I’m also now sporting a fetching beard. 

So how did I come by this weird injury? I think I’ve pieced it all together in hindsight so that it now seems obvious. Well, I hear you say, if it was obvious, why didn’t you realise and not bother our overwhelmed NHS at a time of national emergency. To which I say, stick some knitting needles into yourself, just east of your tummy button and see how clearly you think.

I blame someone else obviously, for back in February I did do a minor injury in that area, when my PT, a Spurs fan but otherwise a great bloke, forced me to lift weights purely beyond my weedy capability. I took it easy on that front for a couple of weeks and didn’t think anything of it.

I also had a slight ache in that area the Friday before as I cycled up the 14% gradient of a narrow lane near Burrington, but again, put it out of my mind amidst everything else going on. Surely, neither of those two were enough to bring this on?

They were not, and the cause of the trip only became apparent on the Friday just gone, as I walked around Sainsbury’s buying our now weekly shop, fresh food mainly, and such is the appetites here in Mendip Rouleur Towers that I fill the trolley to the brim. I have also discovered the “joy” of that scan-as-you-go gun thing, and devise a system of bag-filling to make life “easier” when I get home and have to unpack it all. Anyone compulsive will understand. What a capacity we have for creating new first-world problems.

 One thing we seem to have an insatiable appetite for in our house is Diet Coke.  And it won’t go in shopping bags in the cases I’m buying it in, so I decided to put those in the trolley first.  At the front. Then go back to the start of the social-distancing journey and get the fresh food. Now bear in mind, this is 5 days after my hospital experience. I’ve done no exercise, the pain has subsided to a dull ache and I’m looking forward to some wheeled excitement at the weekend. No not the trolley. The bike.

I round the corner of the shopping aisle, and it being a trolley, the front-filled Diet Coke loaded thing goes one way as I go another. Instinctively I go to counter balance and get the knitting needles in the side again. The trolley comes to rest against the dried pasta and tomatoes, fortunately everyone is two metres away, no harm done to fellow shoppers. Because I let go of said trolley, no harm done to me either.

Then I remember. Last Saturday, just before my pasta-meal, I’d been lugging a similarly-laden trolley around. Could that have been the straw that tore the camel’s obliques? Quite possibly, I’ll never know for certain, but it seems likely.  I tried a gentle walk later yesterday afternoon, and this morning I’ve woken up with more persistent pain. I’d come off the painkillers on Thursday, now I think the cider might have to make a comeback. We’ll see.

So clearly I have a lockdown injury and the years of home delivery have taken their toll. I need to work more on my core. My legs are fine, they can tackle the gradients OK, I just need to utilise that aorta And toughen up in the middle. I think. There’s going to be some gentle exercise tomorrow, but for now if anyone has any tips, let me know. On this type of injury please, not on shopping, core strength training or cider.

Friday, 24 April 2020

To go anywhere that I please

Who am I?

Ha, you weren’t expecting that were you? I was always a fan of Jean-Paul Sartre, perhaps the finest exponent of existentialism. But not the only one. So (that’s for you Stuart), what is it to exist? Back in my formative decade, the eighties, there was much talk of the dignity of labour, and how work defined so many of our existences. Much concern too, that with mass unemployment amongst the predominantly male workforce we were about to have a crisis in the heads of millions of men.

I could do that.

Of course like any self-obsessed teenage (and beyond), I’ve had my moments. A few of them in the last three weeks as I balance the rational, logical business decisions with my own feelings of hopelessness and despair. I pulled myself together, don’t worry, and now I’m fine.

Don’t make a fuss.

Anyway, the lockdown is fraying, like that gear cable you look at and think, umm, not today, maybe when I get back, or on Sunday. And then one day, you pull on the brake and....nothing, and you wish, oh you wish. Today, out on my officially-allowed exercise I saw the following:

- A group of nine or ten men gathered around a table in Axbridge, pretending to social-distance (what a shit verb), whilst really they were there for a drink and a knees-up
- Quite a few conversations on doorsteps where again people were pretending to keep a safe distance, but really they’d just popped round for a chat
- Motorbikers in groups of 3-4+, with no panniers, boxes or rucksacks. They may have had medical appointments, but they sure weren’t going shopping
- Picnics. Quite a few of these, people parked up roadside chomping away
- Young people. Now I understand if you are 17 (I still do remember, no matter what Junior thinks) being apart from your mates is hard, being apart from your boyfriend/girlfriend is actually the end of the world. A lot of that.

There was more. It’s OK though, clapping and positivity can cure all ills, make up for the lack of testing, PPE and a plan for the relaxing of restrictions without catastrophic economic meltdown. Yeah, too much politics and not enough basic competence. 

So who am I?

Haven’t you worked it out yet? 


And there are  too many pictures to post of the wheels I have followed over the years, great friends, colleagues, fellow travellers and strangers I have met on trains. Somewhere deep inside, you must know I miss you.

For all of those reasons I know that in a couple of years all that feeling of togetherness, Captain Tom, we’re all in this together and enjoying the stillness of the car-free roads, will be but a vague and distant memory. What matters then?

Your values, your compass and your ethics. Believe in a higher power if you want to. But draw on your DNA, those closest to you and your integrity. You don’t need to be able to go to the pub to be free. Or even to debate the regulations and how they affect the distance you can or can’t cycle. You are as free as you decide to be.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Never quite as it seems

Are you losing track of what happened when? I know I am. Junior asked me today when I last shaved and I had to resort to looking at a calendar, figuring what had happened when, the last day I was actually in a real office, to be able to answer. I still don’t know if I was right. Anyway, in case you are bored of boredom, and also fed up with Gary Barlow, and other tedious forms of entertainment, here is my quick guide to Lockdown 2020. In no particular order

Work. I don’t really miss the real office. Unlike the virtual one I’ve been inhabiting for the last whatever. I have just the right amount of social contact and have found my job to be easily doable from home. Meanwhile, it’s all be going on for ‘so long’ that people are already talking about creating better worlds, and the new normal. Like I said, whatever, never mind. I can’t see it happening, I think people have very short memories and will revert to type soon enough.

Music. I’m late to the Spotify party but it’s been a godsend. Just like the virus supposedly. Only more heart-warming. I’ve trawled musical memories and on the walks I’ve taken in the hills and woods that surround my house, I’ve delved into the musical memories, as well as allowing the playlist suggestions to take me to wonderful new places.

Roads. Largely devoid of cars, they have become a true joy to cycle on, if you can avoid the few maniacs who feel they’ve been given some kind of licence that permits excessive speed and driving straight out of a Bond movie. It does get a bit mind-numbing to cycle all these lovely routes and roads on my own, but as we have also been blessed with an abundance of dry weather, I’m not complaining.

More Work. More of it that I can handle. Which is unfortunate as I am now only officially working for three days a week, but it’s amazing how quickly we can all adapt to working without actually being in the same physical place. I suppose we just need to be on the same page or ballpark, albeit two metres apart. But I’m a fortunate son, as I have a job still, for which I am very grateful. If I can do things I like, put bread, or crisps or cream eggs on the table, that’s what matters. 

Facial hair. As mentioned earlier, it’s been about a month. My stated aim at the beginning was to look like a Viking. But actually, as my brain meandered into thoughts of head tattoos and eyebrow-shaving, I was reminded by a friend that it’s really a mixture of boredom and rebellion. A dangerous combination and all too true. It would also make a good album title.

Americans. I haven’t seen my cousins from Oklahoma in quite a few years. Decades actually. But we still exchange messages and the like. In the new normal, virtual way. They, at least, all seem to have their heads screwed on. But some of their fellow Americans, well, I look at the news of demonstrations against lockdown and wonder how they actually became top nation. I saw news that there had been  no school shooting in March, in the USA, the first month that was true since 2002. So I fact-checked it, and aside from a variable around how these things are recorded, it wasn’t true. Because there were eight school shootings in March 2020. Plus ca change and all that.

Virus. Pretty sure I had it back in late March. Classic symptoms, very easily shared with family despite attempts to isolate in the house -how ridiculous is that exhortation - and all passed “mildly” in a little over two weeks. Except we don’t know for sure, because there’s no testing, of either the antibodies, or the infection at the time. I’m not going to the political place now, but if you know me, you’ll know what I think. Where is it going to end? You need to ask? I am pretty certain of one thing, it’s going to be bumpy for quite a while, so I hope we can hold onto the kindness epidemic.

Books. A lot of Julian Barnes, I just love both his style and his substance. I’ve have a trawl of lots of cycling stuff as you’d expect and a surprising journey through early 20th century Irish history (Like I said, plus ca change). Late to the party, but catching up quickly is some general philosophy reference material - I was on a recap of Virtue Ethics tonight. I wonder what a book would look like with all four elements combined. Don’t write in.

I have no insights today, no hackneyed exhortations. Just the best version of my song of the moment. Take care of yourself and those around you. Be generous.