Books in 2020

I’ve read 20 books so far this year. Unlike most years, it’s been a weirdly clustered bunch.

3 Harry Potter books, and counting

3 Fredrik Backman books,

2 Hemingway books,

2 John Steinbeck books,

2 John L Parker Jr books, and

3 running related books (not including the 2 John Parker books).

That’s 15 of 20 books I’ve read so far. I’m guessing it’ll be 19 of 24 before the month is over.

Also, unlike most years, my reading list this year is loaded with fiction. Usually there’s an almost even split.

A magical weekend for this muggle

I hadn’t read any Harry Potter books till last week. I’d seen all the movies, of course. A few of them more than once.

I read the first book during the week. Took me three days. I’d borrowed the book from a neighbor a while ago, and Elsa prompted me to read it.

I read the second book over Friday evening and Saturday. Got R to borrow it on her Amazon Prime account, and read it on her Kindle

I started reading the third book last night, and finished it a couple of hours ago. It wasn’t available on Prime lending, so I joined a two month trial of Kindle unlimited membership and read it on my Kindle.

I’ve just started the fourth book. Work will take over in the morning, so it may take a few days to finish.

The TV hasn’t been switched on this weekend, except for an episode of Kim’s convenience that R wanted to watch. I haven’t been out of the house for a run, walk or a ride. I did a fair bit of garden work yesterday, and cooked lunch yesterday and today. Other than that, all I’ve done this weekend is to be in Hogwarts.

It’s been a fine weekend in Hogwarts.

Momos!

Watching The half of it on Netflix. Ellie Chu’s dad is making delicious looking momos in his kitchen. Reminds me of a family in Auli who used to make momos at their (tiny) home, sell to us visitors for income, and have the rest for their meals.

Those momos were delicious—little, warm morsels of heaven on the freezing mountain. I was jealous of them, and of Ellie’s dad—they can just make delicious momos at home any time they want!!

That brought a delayed realisation. This is why my white British acquaintances have that look on their face (and that tone) when they talk about us having ‘Indian food’. For them, it’s a special treat they order in/out. But we can/do have it at home any time we want!

Good momos make me happy. The thought of having them anytime at home makes my heart flutter.

The smell of dosa-sambhar or chicken curry or rajmah or mutter paneer from our kitchen into the alley must trigger similar feelings in others.

Continue reading Momos!

This weekend

Learnt to use the WordPress.com API with Retrofit. Stumbled over various undocumented quirks of the API. Nearly achieved what I’d started off to do.

Finished (re)reading my favourite Frederik Backman book: My grandmother sends her regards and apologises. I wish I could live in that house in the kingdom of almost awake.

Named one of the flavours of the new app ‘Elsa’. The other flavour is named ‘Granny’, but I might change it to ‘Wurse’.

Dug and relaid the stone tiles in the middle section of the backyard. Weeded the full upper flower bed from end to end. Aireated the rear lawn – one fork pitch at a time!

5+ back breaking, knee stiffening, hand cutting hours in the garden. I could barely move my arms in the shower afterwards.

Rewarded myself by watching a bit of the old sweetheart movie, You’ve got mail.

Now, convinced by Elsa, I’m reading my first JK Rowling book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Bon Nuit!

A five check mark day

Five check mark day - ran, gardened, slept, drank...

It’s been a long time since I had one of these. 2 months lost to injury, 2 before that lost to over training, over work, and lots of anxiety.

I slept well last night. Woke up and solved a cube in bed. Then walked around singing aloud. Did 8 and a bit pull-ups. Finished reading about Quentin Cassidy’s latest race. Ran; down to the river, across to Shalford and back, and up the hill; in the heat. Did a bunch of chores around the house. Did 5 pull-ups. Spent a few hours gardening. Spoke to parents. Drank a lot of liquid (not counting milk, tea and coffee).

It was a good day. Fully deserved those 5 check marks.

Should’ve saved that Magnum ice cream bar for today.

Petrichor

It’s probably the rarest natural scent here in the UK. It’s always raining (pissing), rarely sunny for long enough to make the earth go dry, and very rare to have a period of sunshine immediately followed by a shower. Usually the weather changes are interspersed with days of dull blue-grey clouds and occasional pissing drizzle.

Today I woke up to that lovely, earthy smell. It’s been unseasonably warm and sunny last few days. It hasn’t rained in nearly a week. The spell was broken early morning with a short, sharp shower. The result is a sweet, lingering smell. The smell that reminds me of home. Petrichor.

Things I learnt recently

From AD: How to efficiently & quickly dice onions. There’s no magic trick to it, but just knowing the correct technique has made a big difference.
AD studied hotel management at under graduate level, and knows his stuff.

From SD: How to solve a Rubik cube. He lent me his old unused cube and shared a video with the step by step instructions. I’ve gone from taking over an hour to just under 20 mins.
SD solves his cube in under 3 minutes, with a PB of about 1’30”. He knows his stuff.

IMG_20200322_192008.jpg
The first solve. Took me over an hour!

From Sis: How to hang woollens in shallow British closets without the arms hanging out and pushing the door open. Invert the arms so they hang inside the sweater/jacket/hoodie. This reduces the width of the garment, helping it fit comfortably in the shallow closets.

 

From ‘the web’: JavaScript promises and async/await. Learnt, enjoyed, implemented, fell in love with. Promises in Javascript feel as delicious as coroutines in Kotlin.

The weekend weather

First we got a week of glorious, uninterrupted sunshine.

Then, over the weekend, we got two days of crazy strong easterly winds with a mix of sunshine, cloud, and sleet.

Today, and for rest of the week, we’re back to the normal British spring time weather of grey gloomy clouds.

The changeover reminded me of old TV sets. When we switched channels, there was a brief period of electronic noise before the new channel started playing. The weekend’s crazy weather was like that electronic noise while switching the weather channels.