I took my daughter to school this morning.
Today, she is watching, as part of her GCSE Economics class, I, Daniel Blake. The 2016 movie by Ken Loach, starring Dave Johns and Hayley Squires. I wrote this blog five years ago.
Have you seen it?
In our conversation I mentioned the numbers of McDonald’s adverts I had noticed on the drive.
‘It is a sign of the recession,’ my daughter replied.
‘What do you mean?’
‘In a recession, people are forced to eat cheaper fast-food.’
The conversation went on.
‘Don’t you remember, you sent me an article about it.’ (Article is here, she found it on her phone en route.) (Google + Millennials, voila).
Earlier this week I wrote about my book liberation.
It is hard to describe the extent to which my getting rid of books is a thing in my life, and to be honest, although many of them are no longer on my shelves, they have only relocated to my garage.
The plan is to take them to Barnardo’s.
I worry that they will want to keep the bags that I have stored the books in (big stripey carriers that we use for the groceries). They might reject them.
I had a separate worry that I might have left something revealing between one of the pages, although I couldn’t think what.
Such is the life of a worrier.
My mum was a big worrier, I have inherited that from her.
Some readers might have wondered about my rate of blog production this week – I think I might have mentioned, if not, I have been on leave. A staycation. I am sitting in the Waitrose Café in Sheffield now, as I write, waiting for Decathlon to open.
It has been a cold June with some days of significant heat – I recall the temperature one day climbed to over 30 degrees centigrade. It is now 14, according to my watch. It is damp. Raining yesterday and more is forecast later.
Yesterday my son and I visited Leeds which is about 20 miles from my home.
We spent an hour in Waterstones, and I didn’t buy any books.
Not a first, although unusual.
I reflect on my late-teens in Glasgow, bouncing from Borders to Books Etc via the three different branches of Waterstones in the city centre, ending with John Smith’s where my brother once worked and was fired for writing a swear-word on the till. To the best of my memory, he saw Billy Connolly there too.
The magic of ‘Tidy Magic’ is keeping its hold (overlooking the bags of books and clothes in my garage).
I thought about moving-on to the computer.
It is stuffed with files, data, programs that I don’t need; that I have kept ‘just in case’.
With the removal of books from my home I have found books that I had forgotten I owned – they had been buried behind others.
It makes you think of the clutter we carry both in our houses or homes and computers as well as the personal baggage that accumulates over a lifetime.
The stresses and anxieties that contribute to the worry about worry, the preconceptions, the judgments, and biases.
Perhaps these too need to be removed.
And yes, like a Mandala, we arrive at Bruce Lee.
‘It isn’t daily increase, but decrease, hack away the unessential.’
How many of us are weighted down by the unessential? By the not needed, the flotsam of childhood or youth, material, psychological or emotional?
‘Let it go,’ I want to tell myself; I want to shout.
Accumulation is the acquisition of silt, it clogs the filters, blocks the pores, weighs us down. It is hard to swim with lead attached to your body. It is hard to fly if your feet are glued to the floor.
I think of my tortoise Yoda. Unlike my dogs, he doesn’t have or require much kit. No lead, coat, food bowl or additives.
He lives a simple existence, during the summer in my garden. His home is his shell. He eats fruit and vegetables; he gains vitamin D from the sun and water from the rain. He is surely approaching reptilian self-actualisation.
I have a long way to go.
I have been considering my tortoise’s pronouns.
Something I am sure he doesn’t regard.
None of us are 100% certain he is a guy.
We assumed his gender when I bought him a decade ago.
Maybe I should shift to them/they, like the Halifax.
Maybe I should find something else to worry about.
Have a good day.