Monday, March 30, 2020

Living Life Slow

Trudy and I have been in semi-isolation in Carefree, Arizona  now for 14 days and we’ve been learning a lot about this new (temporary) way of living.

12 thoughts:
·       Stay Healthy.  Follow the rules on isolation, separation, hygiene, nutrition, supplements etc.  The information is readily available – just do it.
·       Get Fit.  Eat sensibly, hydrate and exercise.  It’s good for you physically, mentally and biologically.
·       Work on your partnership.  There’ll be tons of worry, stress, uncertainty and fear coming your way.  Stay empathetic, loving, caring and kind.  Communicate.  Listen.
·       Make time for Family and Friends.  Facetime, Skype, Zoom – fix a regular schedule as John O’Keeffe advised us last week.
·       Live Life Slow.  Make every hour count.  Take time to exercise all five senses.  Luxuriate in the thing you’ve had the least of – Time.
·       Listen to The Warm – an old Rod McKuen poem.  Which means to me – seek out the positives, look for the moments of magic, replace the fear with these magic moments.
·       Make Happy Choices.  Happiness is the greatest antidote to Fear.  Be decisive in doing a bunch of stuff that will make you happy.
·       Post a daily timetable on the fridge and stick to it.  Routine and structure make us feel secure.
·       Stand Up and Fight.  Don’t dress sloppily, don’t grab snacks – sit down and eat – and get up early; go to bed early.
·       Start every day with a list of three things you want to do, and five things that will make for a happy moment.  And do them.
·       When you’re feeling blue, tell your partner, talk to a friend, cheer up and be kind to yourself.
·       You are not alone.  We’re all in this.  And just like Smallpox, TB, Sars and Aids – we’ll get through it and get back even stronger than before.


PS:    And remember – Series 4 of Money Heist is out April 3 and Series 3 of Fauda on April 14!!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Confessions of a Marketer

Here’s an interview I did recently with Mark Reed-Edwards on his website – Confessions of a Marketer


Friday, March 27, 2020

The Earth Began to Heal

Dawood Gustave, good man, good friend and Reluctantly Brave, sent this poem to me.

Check out the video – Kitty O’Meara, The People, An Antidote to Global Anxiety and Uncertainty on YouTube.

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed."

~Kitty O'Meara'~


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Keeping in Touch

A great idea from a couple of old P&G friends – John and Jeannie O’Keeffe.

Hi Friends

An idea. 
In the new normality we’d like to visit you but shouldn’t.
In the old world we communicated by email or What’s App; and used FaceTime mainly with family.  We didn’t use the phone to call each other to catch-up because often people were away or weren’t in, or if in wasn’t a good time for a long chat. That’s all changed. We’re all in more. And have time.
So may we visit you virtually?

There’s a second way it would be a pleasure. Currently many of us have nothing in our diaries that is certain to take place. What will we be doing next week or month? If we were visiting you physically there would be a date/time/place for each to look forward to. There always is a “pleasure in anticipation” factor. And it has applied to visits, events, following sport on TV … they are events to look forward to. But now there are fewer. But if we had a “date/time in the diary” for when we would visit you, we would not only enjoy it at the time, but look forward to it in advance (that’s why we suggest “planned” rather than “spontaneous”).

If you’d like to “visit with us … as the Americans say” please do by reply – suggest a day/time that suits you; and what method suits.

I wonder if we couldn’t make the next few months the very best period of our lives in getting joy from our friendships.

Thank you John and Jeannie.

Hi Friends.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Test Yourself

Robin sent me this  From Germany, via Vancouver Island.

It’s worth doing – and worth sharing.


Friday, March 20, 2020

It helps to pass the time

As we settle in to an unfamiliar time of working from home, minimal social contact and isolation of some kind, thank goodness for Netflix, Amazon, Apple etc etc.

On Amazon, take a look at:
-        Perennial favourites Bosch and Goliath.  Gritty, urban, down ‘n dirty.  Five series (so far) of Bosch, and three of Goliath.
-        The complicated, complex, engaging Counterpart with Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons playing two parts – or is it one?  Compelling stuff.
-        The Hunters.  Al Pacino in rip-roaring form leading a bunch of unlikely characters of Nazi Hunters in a vice-ridden, tawdry Son of Sam fearing New York City – inspired by true events.
-        If you liked Gomorrah and Suburra, you’ll enjoy Zero, Zero, Zero – Italian gangsters moving drugs from Mexico across The Atlantic.

On Netflix:
-        Series Three of Babylon Berlin is out now – decadent, brilliantly shot.
-        Hinterland – Three series, 12 episodes all 90 minutes, full, complete whodunnits in the Welsh Valleys – Shetland Welsh-style.
-        Trapped – dark Scandinavian suspense in Iceland.

And on Apple:
-        Fremantle’s New Pope with John Malkovich and Jude Law is irresistible.

I also enjoyed a couple of movies:
-        A lighthearted cop story with an excellent Mark Wahlberg – Spenser Confidential.
-        The Two Popes – Anthony Hopkins in excelsis.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Covid-19 (part II)


Just watched the amazing Jojo Rabbit… starring the brilliant Kiwi filmmaker, actor, director, writer Taika Waititi.  What a tour de Force.  Made by the 2017 New Zealander of the Year, this film was my favourite for the Year’s Best Picture… You’ve got to see it… and – in these crazy times – watch out for the Rilke quote at the end as the credits roll.

Let everything happen to you
Beauty and Terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.



Sunday, March 15, 2020

Ageing… (part 3 or 4… I can’t remember!!)

Dinner last week at one of Chicago’s finest restaurants – Spiaggia – one Michelin star, modern Italian food and a top Wine Spectator wine list – with Trudy’s Aunt and Uncle – Heidi and Geret.

Sparkling fun, energetic, successful and married for 60 years.  We had a great night – starting at 7.15pm and going strong until midnight.

Geret said to me during the evening

‘The older you get,
The more you learn,
and the less you remember.’

Go Geret!


Friday, March 13, 2020

Foodie Friday – Brown Food is back

I’m up to here with avocado, pomegranates, kale, quinoa and all that politically correct Instagram whole food.

Hillary Rose just wrote a great article in The Times in favour of Brown Food.

What beats good looking comfort food really?

Nigella Lawson has launched a new cook book containing ‘a loving defense of brown food’.

Cora Pearl a great London restaurant specialises in brown food – posh ham ‘n cheese toasties, brown beef with brown veggies and gravy.

Yes it doesn’t look great on Instagram but it sure tastes great especially when it’s cold, raining, stressful, and Coronavirus is everywhere!

Forget the tuna tartare; bring on the chicken soup and liver and onions.

Chefs know this.
  • Diana Henry loves Irish stew, beef pie and beef bourguignon
  • Nathan Outlaw at Siren loves Toad-in-the-hole
  • Giorgio Locatelli loves Chestnut tagliatelle with wild mushrooms (locanda locatelli)
  • Grizzi Erskine loves Toulouse sausages (garlic & salt!) and braised lentils (St Martins Hotel)
  • Tom Aikens of Muse is another Toad-in-the-hole (sausages not toads!!
  • Tom Boston at the Dorchester is a Chilli con carne fan
Last week Trudy barbecued burgers and merguez outside and paired them with barbecued beans.  Cowboy Food in the Desert – Tonight We Ride.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Dads. (For Ben, Dan, Mark and Heath.)

Robin just showed me 16 of his musings from Maui.  Not quite finished or just finished – unreleased poems about finding Leonard Cohen, the Obelisk in Buenos Aires, interval training, ice-skating on the river, MLK’s Dream, little kids on the beach, desire and the Pope!!

I stole this one when he was resting after kicking my ass on our daily bike ride in Carefree, Arizona.  (Sorry mate.)

It says everything about Dads and kids.

Play Catch

Catch?  Yeah, a simple
game of catch.

Get a softball, tennis
ball, football, doesn’t

matter, any kind.
Ask him

out to the street, into
the back yard.

Start easy
with that first toss,

increase the distance

you – until
the space is just

right.  Back,
forth, easy.

Find the rhythm
between you.

Have some fun, back
and forth.

You’ll learn something,
so will he.

I don’t know, that’s

why you have
to play catch with

your Dad.


Thursday, March 5, 2020

Coronavirus – Covid-19

We have decided to Keep Calm and Carry On.

We’ll review our plans every week but right now it’s about being sensible, balanced and careful.

So it’s off to Chicago and Grasmere for me.

Chicago, New Jersey and Puerto Rico for Trudy (although the temptation to stay put in Arizona was strong – in the end we decided life was for living not for hibernating).

Some points to consider in the middle of all the more discouraging news:

  • 14% of people who contract Covid-19 are taken to hospital.  5% need intensive care.
  • The vast majority who get the virus suffer nothing more than a cough.
  • The reported death rate is 3% but experts believe it’s around 1-2% as most mild cases have not been counted.
  • Seasonal flu kills 0.1% of people so Covid-19 is between 10-20 times more viral… but far far less dangerous than SARS which killed 10% of patients.    
  • Covid-19 is passed on to 2.6 people, for Flu that number is 1.5.
  • Symptoms generally appear within 6 days.
  • Children seem to be at low risk.
  • Treatment, currently is about relieving symptoms and keeping secondary problems at bay.
  • 20 teams around the world are already manufacturing vaccines.  Human trials will start in London next month.
  • The disease is expected to peak in June then decline… and from then on will return every Winter like Flu.

As Winston Churchill said
‘When going through Hell,
Keep going’