Greetings, from the morning…

Following on from last night’s post…I went back to sleep in the end, and had some strange dreams, about things I can’t really remember. But! Then I got up, and within an hour, I’d done my run, showered, made coffee, and collected together some of the many things I’d meant to. I’m quite pleased with that, even if I missed parts of the mornings I love. There’ll be other opportunities to see mornings.

Now we’re three days into January, I feel it’s time to admit one of my more hopeful resolutions. Or, not really resolutions. Curious attempts. I’m hoping to accomplish a yearlong running streak. A mile a day, and more if I feel like it. One of the best things about right now is that I’ve finally found somewhere…

…as you can see, this is from a while ago. This post was interrupted by a telephone call to say that my partner’s mum had smashed up her hip in a fall, and was on her way to hospital. A timely reminder of how the best laid plans, etc etc. For the concerned (and I’m very grateful to you, concerned, you’ve been very kind), she’s now had a full hip replacement op and seems to be doing well. That one can have an entire joint and socket replaced with plastic and titanium and, just HOURS later, be taking steps upon it all, leaves me in awe of medicine, and grateful as ever for the straggling remnants of the NHS, which, as every time in my extremely fortunate experience, acted above and beyond expectation.

Back to me, though, because, well, I haven’t thought about myself a great deal in the last week, and this is definitely the place for me to do it.

I am now nine days into this one mile running streak – or, as it goes, at least 2k every day so far. I’ve been enjoying it immensely, and, by being able to roll out of bed, into vaguely runningish clothes, and choosing a distance that is doable in under fifteen minutes (I’m not the fastest runner), it’s something I find myself quite happy about, rather than dreading, which is a good change from every other workout I’ve done, even those I’ve enjoyed. It’s not even really exercise, just…warming myself up inside, getting moving, giving the brain a chance to take in the general wonder of where I’m fortunate enough to be living, that sort of thing. We’ll see how it goes as time passes, but at the moment, it seems to be just what I needed.

My ‘blog every day’ concept has, alas, been lost.

In other news, further new year ventures have been slightly stalled by a mass moment of clumsiness in which I dropped a tray of tiny, tiny pieces, and mixed them up to the point of uselessness. I have a lot of sorting out to do.

 

If you were wondering, after the post from last week in which I ripped into Sherlock, what I thought of Sunday’s episode, know this: not much. If I wanted Sherlock: The Sitcom years, I’d have hoped for that. I don’t appreciate characters doing a 180 without grounds, or the gravity and depth of a show disappearing into nothingness without repercussion. I still don’t understand, genuinely, why people who loved what it was still love the show, but there it is. At least some people are enjoying it. Curiously, I have noticed that everyone who’s agreed with me has, with very little exception, done it offline, by email, text, Whatsapp and the rest. It’s like publicly admitting the show sucks is either too upsetting or inflammatory, and perhaps that’s true. I’m just not used to being the angry one, still, and it’s an increasingly unpleasant experience. Anyway. When Moffat and co. say they’ve already planned out Series 4 and 5, that’s great, but why didn’t they bother plotting out Series 3 whilst they were at it?

Let’s leave this on a brighter note, though. In terms of something marvellously plotted (but guilty of a bit of tailing off in later series too, heh), are you familiar with Journey Into Space: Operation Luna? This 1950s BBC sci-fi radio series was super close to my heart when I was a kid, and hugely coloured and inspired all my space-based listening, reading and viewing ever after. It’s a classic, and free to listen to: do, if you haven’t, or if you’ve forgotten it.

 

 

 

 

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Now on BBC Radio 4 it’s Time For…The Archers!

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Celebrating this marvellously sunny weekend by sitting on the settee listening to <em>The Archers</em>. Nothing like Sundays with Ambridge. I’ve listened to <em>The Archers</em> all my life, and somewhere around the age of 8 I realised that this wasn’t quite usual, when I tried to discuss something about whatever Jennifer was up to with a schoolmate and realised that no-one knew a) who Jennifer was, b) what the show was, or, really, c) what Radio 4 was. So that was that, and thus began a long and delightful relationship with squirreling away the show for listening to at the right time.

I used to play badminton from 9am-11:30 on Sundays, so I’d always miss it live. My mum would tape it for me, and, right until I left home when I was 18 (the week Elizabeth had Freddie and Lily, as I recall), I’d bike down to the Thames and sit on the edge of the towpath watching the water, and concentrating hard on that hour, and then hour and fifteen minutes, of fictional life far away from London.

If I think about where I was in my life at almost any point, I can probably tell you what was happening in <em>The Archers</em> at the corresponding time. My difficult second year at uni was accompanied by Jazzer’s ketamine phase and Brian and Siobhan’s messy affair. I used to listen to the show on tape then too – I’d tape it myself with the volume down so I could listen to it in the dark in our odd kitchen when my housemates were out, with a glass (bottle) of wine and my bodyweight in value pasta. Ah, student times.

I remember when I was doing my GCSEs, and Will and Ed had one of their first properly epic fights. I should’ve been revising for history, but, eh, I needed the break, and it was a beautiful summer evening, and when I turned up for the exam on Monday morning it flew by easily – I got an A, and frankly no hour of staring at scrawled felt-tip notes would’ve given me the distraction and brainspace of a trip to Ambridge.

It’s much mocked, and maligned, even by people who love it. Every couple of months my mum complains that it’s not about farming any more, and then I hear them discussing milking rotations and expansion and crop prices and all sorts, and think to myself about how this too is part of the cycle. People say it’s too sad, or too dark sometimes, but there’s always Linda Snell organising a panto, or Kenton and his weird fete initiatives, or Eddie making money in a new and devious way, and certainly it’s never been as grim or annoying as <em>EastEnders</em>.

The reality of running businesses, of living in a small village, of having a family, being in a family, it’s all perfectly present and interesting, and given that I don’t live in a small village and only have a very small family and have never owned any cows, lonely or otherwise, it’s all of interest, always.

Probably the only time I’ve really struggled is when I was halfway through driving across Denmark, something I’d been quite nervous about doing, and I’d put it on for a bit of comfort in the car. Sid only went and expired of a heart attack – not long after my dad had, fortunately, survived one. It was pretty distressing – well-handled and all, but about the only time I’ve really wanted to turn the show off because it was juuuust too close to home. Oh, except for during the infinite saga with Lillian and Matt’s brother. I didn’t love that. It went on, and on. And on. But if those are all my complaints in a lifetime of listening, it’s not so bad!

The writing is, as far as I’m concerned, brilliant as well. I rarely find it grates, and the composition is amazing. Stories burn for months before catching fire, and characters are set up for the long haul and really integrated into the village perfectly. Yes, there’s always more that could be done, but for me, that’s the joy of the show – it’s been running practically sixty years, and they’ve got so much more to give. I love that.

I don’t watch (or, indeed, listen) to many soaps – really just this and <em>Neighbours</em> (which should really get its own post sometime) but there’s really not much that’s as safe and constant in quality, content and character as <em>The Archers</em> and, now I’m in my thirties, and find that many of my friends keep up with the show just as much as I do, I’m confident that it’ll always be there, just like it ought to be.

It’s the main reason, too, I’m glad for podcasts. The show magically appears right after broadcast, so that even here, in Stockholm, I can sit back with a glass (just a glass now XD) of wine and feel right at home. I’ve run half-marathons and flown all over the place whilst listening, but a bit of me will always feel like I’m just there, by the river, and everything is just as it should be.

Plus, now, there’s <em>Ambridge Extra</em>, with the most random, curiously chosen storylines, just right for listening to at breakfast or whilst running a quick errand. Not sure they’ll ever top Harry’s surprise!ex-boyfriend for a storyline, but I’d never turn down more show.

Now, I am rather concerned about Helen. Of all the characters, her storylines have brought me to tears more than most…could she not make some good decisions and be happy sometime, please?