The owls are not what they seem

It’s been a while since I sat up late to write a blog post. I suppose it isn’t even late by most people’s standards, but I seem to have an insatiable appetite for sleep at the moment, and so have been heading upstairs earlier and earlier. Tonight, however, I can hear the deliciously enigmatic hooting of an owl, and somehow feel I’m being called to the keyboard.

There’s lots of stuff I’ve been intending on writing about. Like the particular quality of the winter sun. A and I went walking in early January in Cressbrook dale. We were out in the frost-covered hills before 10am, experiencing the full glory of winter sunshine and almost complete isolation. There was an air of tranquility about the valley that we passed through that seemed to be the inevitable product of a carpet of sparkling frost, the proud low sun that illuminates everything it touches, and the desire to keep moving to keep warm.

From the delights of the natural world, I turned my thoughts to an altogether more human construct: work. I’m in the midst of some significant changes, and so have been thinking a lot about the kind of life I want to lead. I was drawn to an evening workshop at The School of Life (Alain de Botton’s brainchild) called ‘work life balance’. Rather than the usual guff about making time work for you, and only checking emails once a day, the workshop instead asked pertinent questions of the participants about wealth, status, perceptions of work, and play. I was heartened to reflect on my propensity for play – but more on that another time.

I’m also trying to get through Fuel’s 2011 podcasts, hosted by the Guardian, called Everyday Moments. I really enjoyed the episode by Nick Whitfield, designed to be listened to first thing. The morning, at your desk, with a cup of coffee, as an excuse to delay starting work. The podcasts, which were released on a monthly basis, are designed to be listened to in specific places at specific times of day – an idea that resonates with some of the work I’ve produced in the last eighteen months.

To wrap up for the night, I’ll close by admitting that I have an interview next week, and part of my preparation is to send a link to some online writing that I’m really proud of. There are one or two candidates from my last few years of blogging, and it’s certainly interesting to look back at this collection of public words that try to make sense of the world.


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