I made myself a manifesto at the end of 2020 – I didn’t feel the need to make ‘resolutions’, I just wanted to hold myself to account and move through 2021 as proud of myself as possible. It went pretty well in January and February…….
March is always a strange one. So many dates. Anniversaries. Memories. Those that know me, and any of you who are long term followers of the blog will know that my sister died far, far too young. She was a mere 44 when her battle with illness ended on March 26th 2009. Five years she lived with cancer. Of course that date always hangs heavy over me during March, as does her birthday, which is earlier in the month. This year I’ve not fought it at all – grief is shite, but grieving is so important. My niece (my sister’s eldest) celebrates her birthday in March, and her youngest, my great nephew, celebrates his birthday too. And Mothers’ Day, which is always hard for my own mum of course. There’s always somebody missing. And so it goes on……..
So, I allow myself to drift through March a bit. This month there are no updates on my pledges – how many words I’ve written, how often I go running, how many articles, poems or stories I’ve submitted…. Nope, I’m just going to share with you all the positivity I’ve been lucky enough to find in the month.
Despite getting down towards the end of the month, I’ve ran a whole lot more than I’m giving myself credit for, nearly 130 miles in fact. And I started and ended the month really enjoying myself out there too. It helps that I get to run with my wonderful, gorgeous and supportive wife too – she’s a bit more focussed than me on training and I enjoy joining her for some structured sessions as well as our adventures on the trails.
Reading & Writing
I’m still ticking over, in fact I’ve published 7 book reviews in March as well as featuring on my first ever Blog Tour (a publicity tool used by publishers – a series of enthusiastic book bloggers post reviews on set dates to support a book’s launch). I still haven’t got the hang of Instagram. It strikes me that many of the posters of #bookstagram posts are more concerned with creating arty pictures of books than they are with actually reading them. I’d rather 10 people read a book review of mine on here, and actually enjoy it, than a hundred people be impressed by my picture of a coffee cup or candle next to a book!
Have a look at the reviews of these ⏬⏬⏬ and more here.
While I’m on the subject of writing, a year ago one of my favourite authors, AL Kennedy, released a collection of short stories called We Are Attempting To Survive Our Time. A clever, sometimes dark, often mysterious, always gripping bunch of tales. I discovered this week that the hardback (a copy of which is one of my most treasure possessions) has sold a mere 85 (yup, eighty five) copies. I was stunned. It just shows that apart from at the very, very top there is hardly a living to be earned by authors – writing is a passion. And I’m glad I’ve been blessed to have that passion.
Al Kennedy has won the Costa Novel Award and has been long listed for the Booker Prize. Her collection of essays On Writing is one of my most read books. Read my review of an earlier award winning Kennedy novel, Serious Sweet here.
My review of David Baddiel’s Jews Don’t Count came to the attention of the author himself, which resulted in it becoming one of my most read blog posts ever (he shared it with his 3/4 million followers) It also, sadly, led to me being ‘trolled’ for the first time ever (I won’t be repeating what was said!).
The Beach Hut
We were offered a spot on Preston sea front last year and have this year taken it up. Our new hut arrived and we have worked bloomin’ hard to get several coats of paint on it and kit it out. Nicky has always wanted one and it’s great to know we now have a little ‘holiday home’ regardless of what else we get to do this year. It is a game changer for sea swimming. Nicky has been getting in for most of the winter, bbbrrrrrr, and I shall be joining her, er, soonish! Having the hut to get out of the wind and have a hot cuppa after a dip is brilliant. The grandchildren have already tried out the deckchairs of course.
Things Are Coming Back
We’re off to do an actual event later in the month, hosted by Badger Events (see my article about them from last year here). Not only that, I’ll be making my triathlon debut(!) and Nicky competing in her third Half-Ironman when we travel to Stafford in July. I’ve also got a rather daunting ultra marathon booked later in July. Sadly, it’ll be a while before any decision is made on Nicky’s full Ironman for August, with much depending on travel restrictions. Nicky attempted the full distance in 2019 when the Outlaw had to be abandoned after the swim in horrendous weather and last year her Ironman was of course cancelled due to Covid. Third time lucky?
I don’t really talk about work on here. Work is the thing I do because of the need to eat etc! Luckily I enjoy my job, but I’d been finding myself not enjoying my work surroundings over the last six months or so. So I did something about it…. I still work for the same supermarket, I’m still a home delivery driver, but I’ve moved stores. It took a bit of toing and froing, but I’m really, really happy now. This isn’t the place to discuss details, but it was another ‘March’ scenario which was draining my resolve. Rather proud that I did something about it rather than just grumble along unnecessarily unhappy.
So, I’ve excused myself my manifesto pledges for a month and now I’m back in the groove. Expect a far more productive report in April………..