27 March 2021

Had the invitation to get my Covid jab. All booked in for next Saturday. Went for an early appointment to hopefully give me time to get past any side effects over the weekend.

26 March 2021

Found myself in circumstances earlier this week that set off major anxiety. I should have known it would happen as the anticipation had been rumbling around my head for days. It was the full on racing-thoughts-angry-sweating-tight-chested-backed-into-a-corner-fight-or-flight variety. Carried on for much of the day so I was exhausted by the end.

What did help though was discussing it with my wife. She could see it going on so very sensibly suggested we take a moment to talk it over. And that helped in a big way.

We both knew the other knew what was going on, but getting it out in the open helped diffuse my anxiety. I couldn’t stop it altogether but an acknowledgment of the situation allowed me to take a step back, giving me the perspective of an observer more than a participant.

And of course, the cascade of terrible scenarios that I had built up in my mind never happened…..

21 March 2021

Yesterday afternoon, out in the garden. At 2.55pm a loud boom up in the sky, just to the south. A little like the sound of the live firing we sometimes hear from Salisbury Plain, when the MoD are playing with their toys.

Except this sound didn’t stop there. It continued with a kind of stuttering, throbbing quality, like a whole series of lesser ‘booms’, appearing to move to the west. For perhaps half a minute. Long enough for us to discuss it while it happened.

The sky was overcast so there was nothing to see.

I have heard sonic booms in the past. Including that of Concorde. This sound however, was quite different to any I’ve previously heard because of how long it continued for.

As an aside, a few months before Concorde was retired from service we were walking on the North Somerset coast. We heard a sonic boom out to the west and shortly after spotted the unmistakable shape of Concorde high above us. Fun to see such an iconic aircraft before it disappeared from the skies.

Looking around online it’s clear that yesterday’s noise was heard across much of the southwest, shaking windows and causing ducks to jump in the air! The RAF say it wasn’t them.

One theory is that it was caused by a meteor as there appeared to be one seen over Jersey at around the same time. It had never occurred to me that meteors can cause sonic booms.

I’d be very intrigued to know if it could be confirmed this was the source of yesterday’s sound.

20 March 2021

The topic of what to do about the next phase of life has come up a lot in discussions between my wife and I of late. Although, to be honest, this particular discussion is one that has continued on and off for the entirety of our life together. And the ‘next phase’ is just the subsequent few years or decade following on from wherever we are at a given point in time.

There is always the perennial question of how to instigate any changes for the future when our time is all but consumed by the present. Shortly after talking about this recently, a post by Peter Rukavina popped up in my feed, touching on this very point. He has a way with words.

This large question of whether you can plot your next move while still shoveling coal into the engine of the last, that’s something I’ve ruminated on for years. If I were laying out Social Safety Net 2.0, we’d all receive a paid year off at ages 30, 40, 50 and 60 to rest, gather our horses, walk purposelessly, and tease out the shape of the next decade of our lives.

Stephen James

Minding the gaps

© Stephen James 2021

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