Friday, the 13th

The dark clouds arrived—Boris returned as PM, winning a big majority, winning a mandate for more lies and bluster for all future elections.

The silver lining faded—Corbyn refused to step down, instead asking for a period of ‘introspection’, and only promising a vague ‘will not lead the party in next election.’ Labour lost 61 seats across the country, and managed to win just one from another party. Labour has now lost two elections in a row under him; elections that any other decent leader would have won comfortably. Still, the ditherer-in-chief says he wants to introspect for a few months to figure out what went wrong!

Then the interesting stuff began.

I published my second Android app: Accelereader for Instapaper. It was in beta for a few weeks, but went into public release earlier this week. It’s always scary publishing publicly, however small the audience may be.

Then I did something even scarier—I decided on the Hanson method for training for the Paris marathon. Even the beginner program has 6 days of running most weeks; I struggle to run 5 days consistently. The beginner program also has almost two months of running 80-90 km per week. My weekly cadence has only rarely been above 50 km. It involves multiple faster-than-race-pace 10-mile tempo runs, and interval sessions that go on longer than my current long weekend runs. I’ll come out of this training season at the top of my running fitness, or broken—mentally and physically.

Not everything is scary. I made progress with the pull-ups. Today I did two full ones. Twice. Last week I was celebrating almost completing one. A few weeks ago I couldn’t even do a quarter. I also do 4-6 chin-ups a couple of times a day, up from just 1-2 a few weeks ago. (Yes, chin-ups and pull-ups are different)

I’ve also made progress with weight loss (despite the muscle gain from pull-ups and running). Yesterday, I weighed-in at 76.2Kg, a nearly 5-year low, and within hitting distance of the goal weight.

And finally, the best bit: I’ve started meditating again. I’m on a 15-day streak, sometimes twice a day, and finally getting back to being able to focus for a few minutes unbroken. If nothing else survives from this period post (I really hope the current government and opposition leadership don’t), I hope at least this will.

Continue reading Friday, the 13th

‘I’m sorry’

A tree in my neighbour’s backyard has grown over his fence, across the alley between our houses, and into my backyard. It’s been squeezing a bay leaf tree in my backyard against the garden shed. If his tree is not trimmed soon, my bay leaf tree will die. I needed to bring this up with my neighbour so he could hire a gardener and get the tree trimmed back.

I am an uber conflict avoider. The thought of asking someone to do something, with even a slight potential of conflict gives me a shiver.

I am also Indian. So the idea of people refusing to do what’s their responsibility is almost the natural default for me.

The combination of these two characteristics meant that for last few weeks I’ve been playing the encounter with my neighbour in my head. My fears and my overactive imagination meant it had gone far enough that we were filing police complaints against each other for ASBO12.

Anyway, I saw him today when we returned from the evening walk. I waved at him and approached.

Me: Hey Scott, I’m sorry, but do you have a minute.

S: Yes, of course.

Me: I’m sorry, but there’s a tree in your backyard that’s grown over into mine and is strangling one of my trees.

S: Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t notice it.

Me: No worries, it’s right at the far corner.

S: I’m sorry. I’ll get the gardener to come do something about it.

Me: No worries. Thanks.

S: Cheers. I’m sorry. See you later.

No, we didn’t end up filing ASBO complaints against each other. We just said ‘I’m Sorry’ to each other a dozen times, smiled, and carried on.

I can breathe now :)

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Transition complete – passport & visa

Got my OCI card in the post today. The document transition is now complete

…from the Indian passport & the British permanent visa (indefinite leave to remain)

…to the British passport & the Indian permanent visa (overseas citizen of India)

Continue reading Transition complete – passport & visa

Welcome to the UK…

They were initially bemused by the complexity of bus timetables, bin collections and—most of all—by the changeable weather. “In our country, when it’s summer, it’s summer,” says Ziead Alsaouah, Mr Batak’s son-in-law.

—The Economist | After the exodus


I had a very similar reaction to the weather when I moved here 8 years ago.

North India, where I spent the first 24 years of my life, has a very predictable weather. When it’s summer, it’s hot and dry for months on end. When it’s the rain season, it’s raining almost every day for a month. And when winter arrives, it’s bitterly cold, mostly dry, and frequently foggy (recently smoggy) for months on end.

Contrast that to the weather here on the island – it’s common to have at least two seasons in a day. Three’s not uncommon either. We had two months of constant dry, warm summers this year, and it’s already caused a mild panic. If we get a week of snow in the winter, news bulletins are full of ‘snowcalypse’ references.

It’s unsettling, at least initially, for people coming from places with stable, ‘continental’ weather patterns. Where culture, life, traditions, activities are based on the season, what do we do when the seasons just aren’t anymore?

Continue reading Welcome to the UK…