Yes, No Stress – 7th May 2023

Lives filled with mediocrity
There’s a half-hearted yes
Missed golden opportunities
Because mediocre is no stress
Anything that needs doing
Must be done all the way
And if it doesn’t feel right
Then saying no is ok

Today I’m feeling:

There’s tension building in my body. Had no real problem getting up at 6.30 this morning as I prepare for battle. Slowly I will build up the discipline to fight the days again.

Today I’m grateful for:

A video call from a chatty Amy this morning as I was sipping coffee at Utopia. Amy looked cute and cuddly and I really enjoyed her enthusiasm for life. I miss her being here a lot. I’m quite happy by myself but sometimes I need her to pick me up.

The best thing about today was:

Finishing the Michael Parkinson biography and the Netflix TV series Money Heist. I enjoy the feeling of finishing something knowing that I can move on to something new. Tomorrow it will be getting back into the swing of working again and starting that whole schedule again. I already have the next book lined up, Sapiens but not sure what TV I might get into. I might not for a while as I enjoy reading more.

I also got the music playing all day again in the kitchen, something which I hadn’t been doing since Kim left at the start of this holiday. This holiday hasn’t been very enjoyable at all unfortunately though perhaps it was fortunate that Kim didn’t go in the middle of the semester. I wonder if I would’ve handled it better or not? 

Soon Amy will be back here and we will change all our room arrangements again. I’ll accommodate what she needs to feel comfortable again and also enjoy the changes.

What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?

When I talked to Amy this morning she asked if I had talked to anyone about getting the aircon fixed yet and I told her that I would go to the shop tomorrow and talk with them as it would be easier than on the phone. (Strangely it seemed to be working ok again last night though not quite 100%) About ten minutes later she called me back and said that she’d talked to her mum and that her mum had someone who could come and fix it for cheaper. Cool beans. I asked if that would be today and she said probably not. That was ok, whenever. Another ten minutes later she called again and said the guy wouldn’t be able to come for another two weeks so better if I just go to the shop! If you sit and wait long enough in Thailand everything twists and turns until it just ends up as it was. No stress (anymore!). I’m pretty sure that when I go to the shop they won’t be able to come quickly either as everyone’s aircon will be breaking at this time to overuse.

Something I learned today?

I saw that protesters in the UK were arrested without having committed a crime. This was due to it being King Charles’s coronation on Saturday. I think the same would happen in Thailand too.

How have I been holding myself back?

I’ve been holding myself back somewhat due to Amy not being here. As I’m here taking care of the cats I haven’t been able to go to places that I might’ve liked to, like Malaysia, again. It’s the situation holding me back as opposed to any internal thought processes keeping me down. I make the best of the situation as it is. Having said that, if I felt strongly enough I could have arranged for the cats to be taken care of and gone off for a time too.

I’ve been thinking about how much the pandemic fucked up things. I’d only been in Thailand a short while really and was still finding my feet. I was excited to go on tour around South East Asia now that I was living here, establish contacts to repeat the process every year and then it all got cancelled and with Kimi’s passing around the start of the pandemic it really took the wind out of my sails. I don’t feel like I can get the enthusiasm back up to go through the organising process again and I feel out of the loop with what’s going on around the region. Maybe a suitable opportunity will come up that will kick me into action again though I’m not particularly looking for it right now.

I took this picture because I saw a million insects on one of the stems of this plant and when I touched it they all flew off and into a flying formation where they looked static. This is my attempt to photograph them though, of course, it didn’t work but I like the resulting picture anyway.

Recognition Of Reality – 22nd December 2022

Am I sitting down yet?
Are my feet touching the floor?
No recognition of reality
Is it worth existing anymore
Am I breathing air?
Is blood pumping through my veins?
No recognition of a life itself
No usefulness remains

*inspired by a story from Seneca

You determine the quality of your mind by the nature of your daily thoughts.

Robert Greene, Daily Laws

Today I’m feeling:
Happy but a little on edge
Today I’m grateful for:
Our air fryer which nicely cooked the Hainan ginger fake chicken I ate for dinner with rice and cucumber (to counter the hot chilli sauce dressing). Amy has made me 3 servings to freeze for when she has gone too. I suppose I could learn to use the fryer too but I just don’t bother cooking by myself.
The best thing about today was:
Undoubtedly, both my classes which I took a very relaxed attitude towards whilst still having the kids semi-engaged with activities. Even the kids that get annoyed with me did some work and seemed to enjoy what we were doing. Some days I love them all. Today was one of those days. Tomorrow should be too. One class making Christmas cards and another two just doing online quizzes and then it’s the weekend again (finally – last night I thought it would be Friday today until I realised it wouldn’t and felt the energy drain out of me!)
What was out of your control today and how did you handle it?
Amy is grumpy today, maybe PMT, so I’m trying to not bite at her and let it pass. I’m not always successful and she got angry when I misheard her about something and reacted badly. I let it blow over and apologised for misunderstanding and just tried to carry on as if nothing happened. I don’t think we’ll have good communication for the rest of the night, so let it lie and wake up tomorrow to a brand new sunny day, or at least we get to start again.
Something I learned today?
Hayden has Covid again. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as the first time and he recovers soon. I messaged Ellen too, who I haven’t been in contact with for about six months and since China relaxed their lockdown policy a couple of weeks ago, she and many of her clients got Covid too. I think China’s tough covid policy was the best way to deal with it and hopefully, now the virus is weaker there will be fewer deaths from infections. It’s amazing to me that other countries didn’t take it as seriously.
What tattoo do you want and where would you put it?
The next tattoo I get will be some Cardiacs lyrics on my right calf. I also want to get a Boognish tattoo but not quite sure where yet. Still thinking about the weird Trumans Water Spasm Smash cover too.

I took this picture because there’s spiders living in the trees!

Four Days Of Fire – 1st July 2022

OK, let’s stay calm, the doctors will know best
Can you go home and get yourself plenty of rest?
Or perhaps you’d like to stay in a lovely hospital bed
Very cheap with your insurance, that’s what the nurses said
I decided I’d die at home surrounded by my cats
Didn’t die in the end – no thanks to those stupid bats!

We may fancy that there might be a better universe, but we cannot conceive of a better, because our minds are the outcome of things as they are, and all our ideas of value are based upon the lessons we learn in this world.

John Burroughs

In A Waiting Room – 30th June 2022

In a tent, surrounded by nurses
The sick and the fainting
Sweaty palms and sweaty necks
Infected double-masked painting
Every hour numbers multiplying
As the heat keeps turning up
Medicine and food declare the end
Holding onto the winner’s cup

Many people are so worried about looking good that they never do anything great. Many people are so worried about doing something great that they never do anything at all.

Derek Sivers

Camouflage – 29th June 2022

I didn’t see you coming
And I’m not laughing now
An elegant transfer
From there to here somehow
Hiding in the open
Invisible to touch and tongue
You have become a part of me
Buried within my lung
Your camouflage removed
The fight has now started
It’s going until the bitter end
And one of us has departed

First, we must come to believe that we have the capacity to raise ourselves up. Second, we must develop a solid work ethic to back this up. If we are rigorous and persistent, we will be able to overcome almost any obstacle and elevate our position. People who are lazy and undisciplined are much more prone to feeling envy.

Robert Greene

Poems on this day – 17th June 2021


Take me to the twelve
The leaders of the show
From up on your mountain
Looking down on all below
In awe of your majesty
All the fighting has been done
Time to make some toys
Now the battle has been won
Something still was missing
All the goals had been achieved
The minions needed order
And something to be believed
Here we are many eons later
Mistakes still being made
Fighting amongst each other
Our peace has been delayed
On our way underground
Discovering truth much too late
Wishing for eternal youth
For which we’d always wait
Wisdom came and found us
It was always oh, so near
Take it to the after life
Because you can’t have it here
Sailing down the winding river
Darkness is descending
Say goodbye to all you know
This is your life ending

Currently reading Stephen Fry’s ‘Mythos’ – it’s intriguing that the tales of Gods captivate us in some way despite knowing that it isn’t real. Are we even looking at them and laughing at these old stories to describe our existence? I laugh at many religious beliefs because they are nonsensical and I wouldn’t even really bother to read them and whilst I’m enjoying reading this book and these stories – what to make of it?


You got a gift, virus infection
Breathe it out, in every direction
No one knows until inspection
No one safe until injection

Students came back to school on Monday, by Friday the school was closed again as there was a case of Covid (more on this at some point in the future) and they are still making the teachers come to school to teach online! Something that we can easily do from home. Thailand – I despair, sometimes.

The Art of Noticing Chairs – 14th April 2021

Inspired by the email newsletter from Rob Walker I’ve been trying to take notice of simple and mundane things. A nice practice to remind oneself that everything is now.

This first post is chairs. This was pretty easy – it’s actually the second thing I chose to start noticing but completed (finding 10 items) first. I’ll post more of these as they are completed, which may be a while as we are back in a lockdown situation again due to the rising number of cases of Covid 19 across Thailand.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful that we have a car and that we can take Kim back to the vet this morning as she isn’t recovering from a cold and can’t breathe properly. It’s lockdown time and we’re a little worried to go out but at least this negative aspect gets us out of the house briefly. So somewhat grateful for this trying time.

We got that attitude! – 10th August 2020

Brain dump – not sure date – two-day break from routine – hard to maintain on weekend but I really should try to do it. Stop with tramadol. Tramadol has helped me stop drinking – now stop taking it.

Good weekend come and gone – don’t be sad because today will be great. Rob Whitham in my dream – it was interesting – I wanted to stay in it but can’t remember what happened now. Oh, cats so cute this morning.

Life is very good – I hope we can keep it this way for a good long time. We are so lucky.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for my masks to help protect me from viruses. I’m getting used to wearing one now.

I like to relax on my bed of nails, that’s one thing that almost never fails – 29th July 2020

Nothing stays the same, though we always try and force it. Is this the start of the pandemic era as some people are predicting? What is the ‘new normal’ and is it really any different to before?

I feel very lucky. After leaving the UK in 1994 my life, on reflection, has been a lucky and happy rollercoaster ride. Even the bottoms of the ride felt survivable, perhaps because at least there wasn’t a cold grey rain spitting in my face. Perhaps there were occasions where it didn’t feel survivable at that moment, but luckily I did, and so I have the possibility to reflect.

My journey is my own and my pronouncements can only be based on that experience, my judgements for myself, so take them with a pinch of salt. I did bad things, good things, stupid things, smart things. I see others doing the same. Who am I to judge?

I have definitely changed over the last 6 months and I’m not sure why. Or I should say, I’m not sure specifically why. I have implemented lots of minor habit changes and behaviour modifications and perhaps it is an accumulation of minor positive changes that have made the difference. So I can’t put it down to meditating, exercising or journalling specifically.

I decided to get up 45 minutes earlier than I need to in order to get to work. In that time I follow a flexible routine. I keep it flexible because I shouldn’t punish myself for not following it consistently.

First I use my exercise bands to help open up my shoulders and stretch my calves. Probably only a couple of minutes total. Next, I spend 5 to 10 minutes doing tests on my language apps (Drops and Mondly) – the aim is to break my current daily streak, learn some new words, possibly remember those words and reinforce this habit. The idea behind this is to create a sense of achievement as soon as possible in the morning and this sets you up for the rest of the day.

Next, I lay on the floor and stretch out my back, neck and hamstrings. A warm-up stretch more than anything, no more than a couple of minutes again. Just brushing off the tightness left over from sleep.

Then I use an app called Home Workout and all I do is the 5-minute morning warm-up exercise, 10 exercises to get your body moving and your heart rate raised just slightly. I may move onto harder exercise routines later but I’m not in any hurry. I follow this with 30 squats and 20 tip-toe stretches (I have real problems with my feet).

If there is time, I write some ‘morning pages’ – whatever thoughts are piling through my head, though I’ve found that usually I don’t write much because I am sitting ‘trying’ to think of things to write. I often try to recall my dreams at this point. Whatever, it’s not a journal, it’s barely legible, it’s spat out quickly and forgotten – not really meant to be read again in the future. This habit is 2-5 minutes max.

Finally, I’ll meditate (this is when my brain suddenly starts coming up with the random thoughts!). I use the Smiling Mind app which has plenty of free meditations and I don’t know if I often get into a real meditative state but I want to do it just for practice. Doing it over and over again puts smaller chunks of information into my brain that I can utilise during the day, when not meditating as such. In this way, it is a success. Perhaps it has taught me to just pause sometimes before opening my mouth. Taking a deep breath before heading into a difficult class.

I usually meditate between 5 and 10 minutes and mostly they are guided meditations. Once there gets to be longer periods of silence I still struggle with keeping focus on breath or letting go of thoughts, but that’s the reason to practice, right? I also have been laying on a spiky massage mat whilst doing this and that has been great. Much like a bed of nails. It makes me wonder why I like it? Do I like discomfort, do I find comfort in pain? Do I feel some sense of achievement to be able to survive it? I don’t know if there is any scientific study around physiological benefits of this type of thing but I just know that I like it!

Finally, a shower and breakfast and it’s off to work. Following this routine 5 days a week seems to be having a positive effect on my happiness and calm. I wouldn’t put it down to any one of the habits specifically or even them all together. Sometimes it can just be the action, the doing, that provides the benefit. For years I’ve implored friends to just ‘Do Something’ usually for a larger cause. Now I’m starting to understand that whilst I was doing something for a larger cause it also had the side effect of benefitting myself.

I was going to write about how the Covid-19 virus has affected my life teaching at school and what the ‘new normal’ of that looks like. Fortunately for me, it has meant lots of free time, drinking coffee in the morning, sitting by the river. This situation won’t last forever. I won’t last forever. I enjoy it whilst I can.

Gratitude Journal

I am so happy and grateful for my energy and enthusiasm. When Dylan called in sick today I was ready to go teach for him.