Alexander Turner

Enough is plenty. Good enough will do.

A Question for You.

One Helpul Idea is the title of a newsletter from Spencer Greenberg. The newsletter includes a 30 second read about psychology, philosophy, or society, a question, a link to the newest episode of the Clearer Thinking podcast, and a link to one of Spencer's essays. Spencer is a human dynamo for generating and sharing thought provoking enquiries and ideas.

The 3-2-1 Newsletter is from James Clear. The newsletter is sent out every Thursday. Each message includes three short ideas from James, two quotes from others, and one question for subscribers to consider. James is the author of Atomic Habits. His ideas and work have helped me to develop and grow in many areas of my life during 2021.

Until recently I'd not given much thought to the questions posed in each of these newsletters. In a time right now when doing so goes well with other activities I am engaging with to live fully as is. Writing in Standard Notes / Listed lends itself to helping me ponder.

Spent some time last night thinking about the following question which was included in the One Helpful Idea newsletter from 01/10/2021.

What is something you used to really love to do as a child that you don't do anymore, but maybe should?

Doing so invoked a pleasing experience of nostalgia. It made me feel good. I felt connected with the experiences of my past and to the people in it. I recalled much that I really loved to do that I don't anymore.

I loved playing in the garden. Imaginary play. With toy cars in the dirt and action figures. Digging holes. Deep as I could go which was often only as deep as mum would let me. Rummaging about in the garden shed. Mixing up what paints, powders and liquids I found hoping for an exciting reaction, which never did occur.

Going to the cinema. I loved Saturday morning pictures. Went with my brother and sisters. We went to the local ABC. Queuing up, getting the ticket, running to the best seats we could find to watch the matinee. Cartoons, a main film and an episode from a serial or two. Coming out of the dark auditorium a couple and half hours later and it taking a minute or two for my eyes to adjust to the daylight.

I loved playing with matches. Especially Swan Vesta which could be lit by friction on anything dry. The smell of sulphur dioxide. Building small fires. Going to the green shop on the corner to buy mum and dad cigarettes. Pouring them 'two fingers' of scotch and topping up the glass with ginger ale.

I loved going to the big outdoor pool near our house. I imagined I was powered by a steam engine. I pictured shovelling coal into the furnace so I could swim faster. Competing for the town in swimming galas. Learning to dive and bomb off the boards. Hot Bovril from the cabin. Helping out sometimes before morning opening. Filling the foot baths with fresh water. Being the first in the water. Swimming when it poured with rained. Swimming in the local river when the weather was hot. Jumping from weirs and sliding down sluices.

I loved riding bicycles. Nipping around town with my brother with his and my friends. Riding out into the country side and to neighbouring towns. Putting together custom bikes from salvaged parts.

I loved doing a paper round. Being out and about while others were still in bed or getting up and ready for the day. Riding my bike in all weathers. Getting the job of marker up. One of the backroom boys. Counting out and preparing the newspapers for all the rounds. Getting the rounds done for those paper boys and girls that did not show up. Knowing every round there was in the shop. I loved that.

I loved drawing. Copying by eye characters from the 2000AD comic and Mad magazine. On my school exercise books. Doodling on the pages and on the school desks.

I loved comics. My nan bought them. Whizzer and Chips for my oldest sister, Dandy for me, The Hotspur for my brother, and Bunty for my little sister. Speed, Tiger and then 2000AD came later. I read each one from cover to cover. Collected the Tiger comic up into a big stack. I remember laying them out on my bedroom carpet like tiles. I felt happy doing that.

I loved sending off for stuff in comics and magazines. Joining clubs and getting the freebies and members pack in the post. I loved getting stuff in the post.

I loved living at my grandads. The AGA stove in the kitchen. Watching as logs were put into the fire. The big kitchen table. The bone handled carving knife. Eiderdowns and blankets on our beds. The log fire in the sitting room. Christmas time. Boxes and boxes of tangerines and chocolates. Playing stations with uncles, aunts, cousins and siblings.

I did not give so much thought to that which I (used to love doing) maybe still should. Something to ponder on. Swimming, reading, using my imagination and drawing seem like good things to do. I still ride bicycles and doodle a lot.

I enjoyed thinking about this question and have benefited from doing so. I shall do another.

Bursting into bloom.

I have been prone to getting stuck. To move without intention. To overthink, introspect and ruminate. This has filled time which could otherwise have been spent more usefully.

Just started listening to to some talks from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. The Late Bloomer: Myths and Stories of The Dangerous Old Woman, Volume 4 (2011). A six part series published by Sounds True.

I have joked about being a late bloomer. Many a truth is said in jest.

Thought to write some notes to help set the learning there is to be had from the listening. Had to have another listen to remind myself of some of what I heard in part one - La Artesaña: Bursting into Bloom “Late”… Nothing of Your Life Has Been Wasted: For Everything There Truly Is a Season.

Seven lies that stop us moving forward. Thieves of the Psyche: Seven Lies That Block Reinvention And Creativity

  1. When we are overly concerned about what we think others think about us we block becoming true to our self. We block out our creativity. We gag ourselves. It is a futile exercise. It does nothing to change how others may or may not see us. Instead of being judged on who we really are we become judged on who we are pretending to be.

  2. Waiting to get things perfect, just so. It will never happen. More often than not others do not notice or care about whatever it is that we think they might.

  3. Behaving yourself to avoid being rejected. Similar to number one. Instead misbehave with integrity. Be true to yourself and what you think. Courageous self expression.

  4. Acting very smart or very simple. Trying to impress or choosing to hide in our attempts to please others. Trying to look good or avoid looking bad. There is no need. You will be judged either way in any case. Be yourself. Be true to who you are and what you think.

  5. Complacently thinking that a dream alone is enough. Laziness or avoiding action cannot be overlooked. Becoming overly concerned about whether whatever we are thinking about doing is right or wrong. This may come from fear of not being approved. Holding out to get things just so in order to be applauded and accepted. Take the next step. Do whatever it is that you need to do. Do it now. Time is moving on.

  6. Purloining. Plagiarism. Subterfuge. Concealment. Acting without integrity. Being inauthentic. Where the hardest we work to be accepted and praised is in dressing up the work of others as our own.

  7. Lacking focus and the will to complete. Becoming distracted. Mistaking motion for action. Fooling our self and others that a flurry of activities equals productive activity.

Every one of the seven lies I can relate to more than I would like to be true. It feels helpful to call out and take account of each. Maybe in doing so I will become quicker to notice them guiding my actions and choose to be more genuine instead. Not to discount the elusive nature of it, self acceptance seems to be key to countering them all.

Podcasts I enjoy and benefit from listening to.

Happy to share and recommend each of the podcasts below. Have a listen. A worthwhile way to pass a bit a time.

  • You Are Not So Smart - The premise being that we are unaware of how unaware we are and have little idea why we act or think the way we do. Despite this, we create narratives to explain our feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. These narratives – no matter how inaccurate – become the story of our life. The podcast explores the ways we tend to develop an undeserved confidence in human perception, motivation, and behaviour.

  • Clearer Thinking - In-depth conversations exploring useful ideas related to psychology, society, behaviour change, philosophy, science, artificial intelligence, math, economics, self-help, mental health, and technology.

  • Insights at the Edge - Tami Simon, Founder and Publisher of Sounds True interviews spiritual teachers, visionary writers, and living luminaries about their newest work and current challenges—the growing edge of their inner inquiry and outer contribution to the world.

  • Philosphize This - Dedicated to sharing the ideas that shaped our world. Beginner friendly if listened to in order. An educational podcast about philosophy where you don't need to be a graduate-level philosopher to understand it. In chronological order, the thinkers and ideas that forged the world we live in are broken down and explained.

  • Bike Life - from Foundation, a community of bicycle tourists and people who support them on the way. Guests and hosts. The Bike Life podcast brings together the stories of both from around the world to share their knowledge and experiences.

So much vying for our time and attention. Using an mp3 player for downloading and listening to episodes when out on my bike works well for me. Long drives, housework and gardening are some other activities that lend the time to have a listen.

Why Do You Cycle?

I absolutely love this. Very relatable. Inspires me to plan and get out on a long bike ride. A video made by Tristan Bogaard and Belén Castelló. In 2018 they cycled the Pamir Highway in Tajikistan. They asked cyclists they met on the route, why do you cycle? This is what they found out.

Why do I cycle? I love being outdoors, in different weathers, the sensation of travelling under my own power and seeing land I am passing through.

Why do you cycle?

Moonrakers and Sunseekers. A 300km bike ride through the night.

Moonrakers and Sunseekers. A 300km audax. A long distance bike ride through the night. Setting of at 10.00pm. Heading straight out of Bristol, through Bath and onto Devizes, passing The Crammer where legend has it Wiltshire folk were caught by the Excisemen raking for ‘the moon’.

The story goes that a group of Wiltshire smugglers heard the Excise Men approaching the town, therefore they had to quickly conceal the contraband brandy they were carrying by rolling the barrels into the Crammer. Once the Excise Men had passed, the smugglers needed to recover the barrels using a rake.

The Excise Man were suspicious and therefore came back to take a second look. Catching the men with rakes they demanded to know what they were doing. Not being stupid, one pointed to the reflection of the moon in the water and said that they were trying to rake out the cheese from the water.

The Excise Men left, laughing at how stupid Devizes people can be. However it was the smugglers who had the loudest laugh as their quick thinking had stopped them being caught.

source - Devizes Town Council

From Devizes continuing down the Avon Valley through Salisbury and edging The New Forest, along the coast to Poole Harbour.

Sunseekers come into view at Poole; luxury yachts built at Poole Quay. Heading north then and through the chocolate box village of Milton Abbas and past the Abbey in the Dorset Hills. Into Somerset passing Glastonbury Tor and across The Levels to Axbridge. The Strawberry Line railway path is the way through The Mendips to stop at The Strawberry Line Cafe before returning to Bristol.

I rode with my friend Dave along with about 150 others spread out along the way. Bit drizzly in places, never got cold though. The stretch past the New Forest along the A238 was a bit of a drag. Long straight chip sealed road.

Things got better after Ringwood. We were passed by but quickly tagged along with a group of a dozen or so others for the next 25km into Bournemouth. From there along the Promenade towards the control at Poole where breakfast awaited.

I was now very hungry. Sugar levels had dropped. I was running on empty and needed to pee. I could have stopped. Doing so meant losing the advantage of being carried along with the group. We stayed with the group for just a bit too long. Passed by the control in error and kept on for another 7km before Dave had the good sense to haul up, turn us around and cycle back to where food and respite awaited. I was at this point grumpy and not good company to be in.

That totally passed with the food, tea and an hour off the bike.

Around 6am we were off again for the ride north west back to Bristol. With dawn on the way and the half way mark passed I was enjoying being on my bike again.

The route now was more scenic and lumpy. Being awake for over 24 hours at this point added a special something to the mix. Though I have completed plenty of long rides there are times in each which challenge and test me. It does not look pretty. Snot streaming from my nose, labouring up hills, grimacing with the effort.

Ultimately it comes down to keeping on going. Being okay with my abilities and struggle. Two quotes come to mind -

Comparison is the thief of joy - Theodore Roosevelt


The value of achievement lies in the achieving - Albert Einstein

It helped to remember both of these at points along the way.

The final 30km from Yatton to Bristol was a joy. Zipping through the urban streets and lanes towards the end was a lot of fun. I was very happy to have risen to the challenge and having got another long ride done. Dave was a great ride buddy and cheerful throughout.

We reached arrivée at 3.55pm. 18 hours after we left what was départe the night before. 14 hours on and 4 hours off the bike on the way. I am already thinking about getting another in before Christmas. To modify a quote from James Clear, fundamentally, riding long distances on a bicycle is less about doing something than it is about becoming someone.

Thursday 18th November 2021

Lost my 187 day streak on Headspace although I never missed a day. I felt a loss. I can see the irony in this. In the past I would have done nothing about it, held onto the disappointment, and used it to justify not keeping up the daily pratice. I did something different this time. I contacted the support team. They set things right and I have the streak back. Carlos from Member Experience pointed out that -

If a little over a day has passed (24+ hrs) since your last completed session, your run streak runs the risk of being reset to 0

Though I had a session each day the time between the last two could have been more than 24 hours. Sure that would not have been the first time but the risk did not manifest until this instance. Not sure it will change my practice but good to know. If it happens again I shall let it go. Your Headspace run streak — it's not about the number.

Off to Bristol on Friday for a 300km ride through the night. Moonrakers and Sunseekers. Last did this ride in 2019. I did a write up after that event -

Well that was an interesting one. Over to Bristol for a 10 pm start. A good crowd of well turned out riders. Lots of smart looking bikes and lean, Lycra wrapped limbs. All set for Will's Moonrakers and Sunseekers 300 audax. I'd picked up that the this was the second year the ride has been on following a very well spoken of first in 2018.

GPS navigation. Files created from control to control. Loaded up the first and after some time a Navigation Calculation Error (NCE) message pops up. A few more goes at it and same thing. Not to worry. Plenty of lights to follow and it looks like the track is visible on the on the map. Will gives a short precis of key points to be aware of and we're off. I ride out with the first small group setting off at just before 10 pm.

The weather outlook was cloudy showers with a bit of wind. I thought it would be colder than it was. Four top layers soon got me overheating and getting wet from the inside. With not bothering to attach any bag on the bike to put them in I had no choice but to wear them all regardless. So it was pretty much after the Bathford Hill climb and through Ashford Woods 14-15 km into the ride that I was either too hot and sweating loads or chilled by damp clothes for much of the time. Should know better no.1.

The bike felt good. Drive train cleaned and lubricated. Confident and comfy with an old set of 40mm Marathon Tours. Set off feeling strong and ready for it despite hardly having been out on my bike for the 3-4 weeks before. Have not been feeling it. The thought of a DNS had crossed my mind during the week. Glad I stuck with it. Post ride positivism and hope. I get such a good feeling after each audax I complete.

I met and rode for about three quarters of the route with Chris (Bristol), Tym (Swindon) and Peter (Bamford). When I first saw them I had been stalling a bit at turns not sure which way to go. I thought I needed some lights to follow. The Navigation Calculation Error had repeated with each file I loaded. It was though the benevolence and good fellowship of the solid bike riders whose lights they were was what I really needed.

The controls were good choices; volunteers at the supported controls were faultlessly accommodating and helpful. Elastic bands (the zip on one overshoe had split), coffee and flapjacks at the Moonrakers Arms. They stayed open for us. The second at Solstice Park McDonalds. To note I do not otherwise enter mackydees. I had tea. The third control was at Lilput Sea Scouts Hall by Parkstone Bay Marina near Poole.

After leaving Poole I wilted badly and was really struggling. Dropped off the back and lost sight of the crew. I even got off and walked up a short hill at one point. I was empty. Missed a left turning but very kindly Chris having remembered I mentioned the issues with the GPS had hung about on the corner to check I'd not go astray. It was not long though before I'd tailed off and was on my own again. Happy I was to see they that they'ed waited again just a few miles on. Chris had some Harribos and Tym had Jelly Babies. The effect was pretty much immediate. Sugar. Simple as. Should know better no. 2.

Tym mentioned using the cue sheet screen had helped a friend overcome issues they had with similar GPS errors. Never tried doing that before. I gave it a go. It worked well though the error message continued with each route loaded to the end. Pretty sure it may have been related to a map update. The map settings were not as I had made them when I checked about half way round.

So the four of us rode together from Poole through each control until the end. I was the weakest link. Having no mudguards on muddy wet roads and along the Strawberry Line meant at least I could sit at the back with the reasoning it as a good thing to do so as not to spray an unfortunate behind me. My mental state was on par with my physical condition. I could have been better company.

I feel fitter this year. Hoping it will be a dry and clear night this time round and benefit from the full moon. I shall be riding with my friend Dave along with about 180 others. Looking forward to it.

A 518km round trip in the car to go for a 300km bike ride is a bit extravagant though. Tried to book a bike space on the train but no luck with that. Regardless the drive will be adding an unnecessary 0.177t of CO2 to the atmosphere. Found this out and that I could offset the emissions at I feel a bit better for doing so. Lucky old me!

Atomic Habits Quote Machine

A few times I have referred to Atomic Habits in my posts on Listed.

The book is guide on how to change your habits. Reading it has helped me to get a handle on long standing habits I have wanted to leave behind and to get better at building and sticking to new ones.

Earlier this year in my efforts to learn how to code I came across the Coding Inspiration Machine.

The Coding Inspiraton Machine gives advice from the experts, presented in an impactful way to jar us into a different perspective.

I had it as the opening page when I opened my browser. I liked it and found it helpful.

Wanting to keep the wisdom of Atomic Habits in my awareness and part of my day to day I adapted the code and created the Atomic Habits Quote Machine.

For anyone working on building new or reducing old habits. Quotes from James Clear author of Atomic Habits. Use the Atomic Habits Quote Machine and bookmark the url.

Thought to post the link to it here having been reminded recently that a primary reason to keep a blog was about posting stuff other people might find helpful.

Tuesday 9th November 2021

Flawed in many ways. Damaged goods. A work in progress. Be okay with that. Embrace your humanity. Be kind and forgiving to and accepting of yourself.

Play with habits. Make repetition the goal not perfection. Good enough will do. If what you stopped doing still seems worthwhile then starting again is probably a good idea to follow through on. Do not put a limit on how many times you can do this.

When one of your children texts you at 0835hrs and asks you to bring his ingrediants to school, get them to phone you and tell you what they need and when...

  • 375g potato
  • 12.5g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 25g cheese
  • 25g plain flour
  • 50g panco bread crumbs
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt

...and so the day started.

190 days of enkrateia and temperance. Feels good.

Actions that helped. Reading a few books. Atomic Habits (James Last). Lost Connections (Johann Hari). Indistractable (Nir Eyal). Following a stretching routine. Meditating. Going to bed before 11pm. Exercise. Private journalling.

At this point after six months it feels like a new beginning. A beginning of a new phase, a phase which has no end. Picking back up the process of maturation which I became distracted from 35 years ago. A substitute identity emerged in those years. One that served a purpose but the reason for which has dissipated with age. So to reconnect with the identity left behind. To know now and be fully as is.

The process has and still feels overwhelming at times. Developing the knack of noticing my thoughts has made a big difference. Thoughts about having too much to catch up with. Practising healthy ways of processing uncomfortable feelings. Learning about distraction, routines and habits has been very helpful.

With this in mind I press on with the day. Looking forward to the potato croquets. Powers to all.

Decaying Orbits of London: 600km bike ride

Had the idea to do this ride for good while. Seemed an interesting challenge. The first 310km was a ride round the perimeter of the M25. Out and back to Chatham. Never done the loop before. Given that London is surrounded by the Green Belt much of it was a lot more scenic than you might think and followed country lanes.

Got a few hours sleep at home before setting off for a clockwise spiral into Trafalgar Square. This part of the route touches every one of the 32 London Boroughs on the way. I rode this route once before back in 2015.

It's not for everyone but I love riding in London. The buildings, the bustle, the diversity... all of that. What I like most is keeping up with and weaving through the traffic through the inner city. So much fun. Rode the final loop with a friend who I met up with in Euston. From there we had a mad one flowing between cars, buses and lorries into Trafalgar Square then over to and up the Camberwell Road before parting ways at Blackheath.

From Blackheath back to Kent and a bit of an indirect route to Chatham to make the 600km.

This was the final ride I needed to get the Audax UK Super Randonneur award for 2021. The award is given for riding a 200, 300, 400 and 600km audax in the same Randonneur year. There is no point to it other than the physical challenge and love of riding a bike. Get on your bike!

Garmin 1000. Back case replaced. On/off button mended.

Garmin 1000 GPS computer for cycling. I got one from a friend of a friend for £100.00. He'd lost interest in cycling and was selling off his old gear. The GPS was not that old or had seen much use. Sold it to me cheap because he said I'd helped him to mend a puncture. I had no memory of that but did not argue. Happy to have been of assistance.

Think I got it early 2019. Had it in time for Paris - Brest - Paris during which it served me well. Regular use in all weathers up to early 2021.

The on/off button had since I bought it often been unresponsive so, you know how it is, I just pressed harder. This led to the rubber casing over the button quickly wearing down, splitting and eventually coming away leaving the button revealed and unprotected. I'd been switching it on and off with a pen / pencil or similar for a few months.

Decided I could do better and sourced a new back case. Paid £40 for it. The on/off button came away from the PCB when changing the cases over. All that prodding with a pointy thing over the months had it seemed weakened the connection to the board.

I sourced another button. £3 or £4 I think. Soldering it on was not something I was going to try. Took it with the device to a local electronic repair shop to get the job done. The guy there took a quick look and told me he could not do it. The solder pads had ripped off the when the button came away. See the picture below.

Half of the first solder pad is missing. The second two pads have come off completly.

Not good news. After a few enquiries I found a firm willing to have a go at making good the repair. Sent it off and about ten days later got the GPS back. New button and case fitted. The device was back in action. Happy days.

Bit premature. The Garmin would not now take a charge, recognise SD cards inserted or register on my laptop when connected via the USB port. I was beginning to feel a bit fed up. Remembering my vulnerability to the sunk cost fallacy I contemplated retiring the 1000 to a draw. Hold on a moment! The part involved in these errors was a component on the replacement back case.

I arranged for the device to be inspected and the case replaced as may be necessary by the firm that supplied the case. They sent it back to me after a few days. It now did not even turn on! Sent it back again with an appropriate message about the purported fix. Got a call from the guys a couple or so days later. Over the phone I heard the beeps as they turned it on and off and was told that all was now well. To be sure it was mine I asked what message was displayed on the screen when it was switched on. I'd personalised this and happily heard the guy read out what I'd programmed in. Feeling like this could be it I thanked him and waited for the unit to be returned. Got it back the next day or so.

That was back in the early spring 2021. Since then I've used it pretty much every day since. All weathers. Everything I've wanted it to do it has done without fault. Glad I did not give up.

The fix in the end cost me about £150.00 This was cheaper than replacing it with a similar one whether that be a Garmin, Wahoo or some other such type.

I do not recommend buying a Garmin cycling GPS. All three I have had (200, 800 and the 1000) have needed repairs at some point. Garmin have been no help at all. Should say that the 800 and 1000 were both second hand.

If you have one and it breaks the way mine did, which is not uncommon, and are UK based, you may like to try Parts Supplier for a new back case and on/off button and Greasley Electronics Ltd to repair the PCB solder pads and solder on the on/off button.

The London Stone

Had a good ride out on the bike yesterday evening. The tide was out and conditions just right to hop across Yantlet Creek to get a good shot of The London Stone. An Obelisk situated on the foreshore of the Isle of Grain, near the south bank of the Thames, and close to Yantlet Creek in Medway, Kent.


The granite obelisk dated to 1856, marks the eastern boundary of the City of London's conservancy jurisdiction on the south bank of the river Thames. source


It stands eight metres high on a stepped stone four stage plinth vaulted above the foreshore. It is made of a single pillar of granite stone, of square section with a pyramidal top on a square stone base. The obelisk inscription is in a weathered condition with the date 1856. The plinth is inscribed with Mayoral names, and records Horatio Thomas Austin and Warren Stormes Hale; it is subject to tidal erosion. source


Commemorative stones denoting the position of events which have otherwise left no visible trace on the landscape are to be found throughout Britain with this being one of them. It is dated to 1856 and was erected to mark the eastern boundary of the City of London's jurisdiction over the River Thames. The City's rights of control were originally purchased from Richard I in 1197 and concerned control of fisheries and tolls along the River Thames and part of the Medway. The legal position on the capital's ownership was never clear and the City's jurisdiction was frequently challenged. The locations of the London Stones were visited by the Lord Mayor of London and other officials on their periodic visits to assert the City's conservancy jurisdiction. These river trips included ceremonies undertaken at the stones, pomp and excitement with spectators rewarded with beer, wine and newly minted coins. All of these served to instil the position of such boundaries in the minds of those who needed to observe them. These visits became social events with dinners and balls held in either Rochester or Southend-on-Sea close to another London Stone called the Crow Stone at Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. This, along with Yantlet Creek and Upnor, marked the south and eastern boundary of the City's control (Howe, G.W 1965, 282-287; Anon 1816, 3; Anon 1836, 3).

City of London obelisks were erected at Upnor, Leigh and Yantlet Creek to reassert these rights following a government select committee held in 1836. This concluded that London should lose its jurisdiction over the Thames and Medway due to laxity in carrying out its duties (Weinreb & Hibbert 1995, p. 883). These obelisks may have been symbolic in adding legality and permanence to the City's claims of jurisdiction. Damage to the banks of the Medway and problems to navigation were highlighted to the Lord Mayor during his 1856 septennial visit (Anon, 1856, 11). The fall in revenue for maintenance may have been due to competition from the railways (Thacker, 1914,pp. 188-9). Yantlet was the final obelisk to be erected by the City of London the same year.

The City lost control of these rivers to the Crown in 1857 under The Thames Conservancy Act. These stones have therefore become memorials to the points in the landscape where the boundaries of London's reach were along the Thames and Medway. They are memorials to points in the landscape where the excitement and ceremony of the Mayoral septennial customs was experienced. source


Saturday 4th September 2021: Compassion

I do not remember where I read it but I love this definition of compassion -

Concious sympathy of anothers distress, and being motivated to relieve it.

Extend this to self compassion -

Concious sympathy of our own distress, and being motivated to relieve it.

Finally self compassion for our future selves -

Concious sympathy of possible distress which the actions / omissons of today may lead to, and being motivated to change behaviour now to reduce the liklihood of that distress occurring.

Lets do compassion for ourselves and others.

Saturday 24th July 2021

Primarily a summary reflection on a few thoughts and ideas I've been working on.

  • Few people look good (performing) when trying to improve (a skill). Lighten up! Let go of pride and have some humility.

  • Few people get better very quickly. Improvement takes time. Small gains matter. Be patient. Stick with it.

  • Actions compound over time. The result becomes noticeable mostly when you look back or see them in others.

  • Have a sympathetic consciousness of your future self. Take action now to alleviate future distress.

A 260 mile bike ride.

First big ride post Covid era. 260 miles. Started and finished at Manningtree. Following a counter clockwise route on the map. The aim was to finish between 22 and 25 hours. Managed to in just under that. 21.5 hours. Very pleased.

It was the hottest day of the year so far. About 30c tops. A gentle northly on the way up to Wells gave us a welcome cooling breeze. I rode with four others.

Cycling in a small group of similarly conditioned cyclists made a huge difference. Much easier to keep going and maintain a reasonable pace. Company is always good on a long ride, especially in the early hours before sunrise.

Fitness and fortitude kept us all going. The hills at the end were humbling. I crawled up those at a snails pace. Made the final kilometer downhill to the end all the more welcome.

Once finished I sat with the group for a bit of breakfast. My cognitive skills had reduced to a level where thinking and speaking had become a bit of a challenge. I said my thanks and farewells before making my way home. Thankfully got back safely having managed to stay awake in the car with energy drinks and caffeine chewing gum.

Rides like this keep on giving for a good few days after. I get some great vibes thinking back on what I managed to achieve. A 260 mile bike ride! Go on Gilhaney! Let's have it!

Tuesday 14th July 2021: Slacking off when life is going well.

Avoiding reading Indistractable. Avoiding doing an exercise in the work book. Avoiding doing the garden and visiting a friend. Slouching around. Wasting time on the internet. Slacking off. There is no sensible reason for doing any of these things.

Akrasia: A lack of self-control or the state of acting against one's better judgment.

Hungry - no. Angry - no. Lonley - no. Tired - yes.

It is 2012hrs. I have been waking and getting up early as a matter of routine. Going to bed normally around 10.00pm - 10.30pm. Getting up between 4.30am and 6.00 am. At worst around 6 hours of sleep. Not lack of sleep then.

Riding my bike every day. Putting in an effort. Stretching. Meditating. 72 days of clean living. 10 weeks. Three months or so of abstinence has in the past been the point of relapse. Two nights in a row this week I have had relapse dreams. Good to be noticing this. Not sure where it comes from. An extinction burst gestating? The thought of relapse has not crossed my waking mind. I have not been planning a relapse. Trust myself. Nah. That does not mean much. Better perhaps to remember future orientated thinking.

Have a 400km audax scheduled for the weekend. It's been on my mind. Feeling I can do it. I've been telling people I am going to do it. Maybe that's a thing?

Had some wins. The Garmin 1000 is fixed! Suppliers have agreed to send us a free replacement for the broken dishwasher. Getting on well at work. Feeling fit. Blood pressure is good. Getting on well with family. Maybe this is it. It does not feel right when all is well. I am drawn to slacking off when things are going well. Self sabotage. I know I have a tendency for this when things are going well.

29 Things that I Let Go to Get Massive Success and Happiness in Life
Let go of the lie you are not worthy of love, success or happiness. Even if you don’t admit to yourself, it may be an underlying feeling that sabotages everything you do to be happy. If you are holding yourself back, how could love and success and happiness ever get past your iron gates to greet you?

8 Emotions You Must Stop Carrying to Free Yourself.

Emotion #4: Self-sabotage
This is when you behave in a way that sabotages your chances of accomplishing your dreams. You may do this to please those who are holding you back. So you kill opportunities and mess up on purpose so you can justify being held back. You become your own worst enemy.

Solution: The healing of self-sabotage starts with love and acceptance. Self-love pulls you out of this darkness. Start caring about yourself and nurturing your goals. This is the only path to breaking free of self-sabotage.

Emotion #5: Complacency
You have gone into this phase when you lose all passion for your dreams, and accept to live your life on someone else’s terms. You lose your desire to do the extraordinary or to push yourself. You walk the path of least resistance.

Solution: There is no gentle way to come out of complacency. You have to kick it in the gut and throw it over the cliff in one swift move.

Be very very afraid of complacency. If you feel the signs, set an immediate challenge that pulls you way out of your comfort zone, and don’t be surprised if it makes the people around you uncomfortable. Your focus here is you and you alone.*

...Listening to that guy from the alcohol rehab services. I remember him talking about just this thing. Once we start feeling good that feels odd. Does not feel right in some ways. Not who we are. So we self sabotage. Go back to self destructive ways. Go back to things to make us feel shit again. Where we feel at home.

From Psychology today...

...fundamentally, we avoid tasks or put them off because we do not believe we’ll enjoy doing them, and want to avoid making ourselves unhappy, or we fear that we won’t do them well. Hah! Could it be that simple? The irony of it. Looking for a distraction from uncomfortable thoughts and/or feelings. So true!

...Developing empathy for one’s future self as one would for a close friend, then, can be an important first step to ending the habit, because we’re less willing to put a good friend in such a disadvantaged position.

So to the analysis and lessons as to why I am putting off reading Indistractable and working through another exercise.

  1. Let go of the lie that I am not worthy of love, success or happiness. I am not even aware I might still be holding on to that. Let's consider it a possibility.
  2. Future orientated thinking. Do it for my future self. The future I'd like to live. The someone I'd like to be.
  3. Remind / refresh myself of some future goals. Intrinsic goals.
  4. Notice and do not ignore complacency. Set a challenge and do it immediatley.
  5. Don't settle for thinking 'I might not enjoy it'! You won't know until you start. More often than not you do enjoy and get into what ever it is you choose to do.

Prompted by the first thing I just read in Indistractable -

Discomfort motivates us to take action.

Conversly comfort, when things are going well, leads to slacking off. I am not motivated to take action. I am too comfortable!

How human / crazy is that? The need to feel things are not right to be motivated to make them right. If things feel right self sabotage follows - to make them not right until motivated once more to take action to get things straight again. Noticing this as it happens may lead to sustained progress.

Friday 11th June 2021

Not gone to work yet. Waiting around for a workman to arrive to recommence repairs in the kitchen and bathroom. It's been going on now since February. Started with the boiler dripping. What ever. Shit happens and has to be dealt with.

Reading another book. It didn't start with you by Mark Wolynn. Only just started but already feeling it resonate with me. My experience. That of my parents, siblings, my children, people at work and so on. So far the learning that speaks most loudly to me is the more we fight and resist a feeling we give it power over us. The idea is not new to me. Good to be reminded though.

Just looking now at the poem stuck by my workspace at home by Jelaluddin Rumi - The Guest House.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meaness,
some momentary awareness comes, as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!,
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of it's furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be cleaning you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes
because each has been sent
as a guest from beyond.

Jelaluddin Rumi

I made some reference to this idea yesterday when speaking with someone at work. Try allowing your anxiety in. You are safe here. We are here for you. Be curious about the feeling. Surf on it. Let it wash over you. Be curious. No need to fight it. It may be counter productive to do so.

I would do well to apply this to myself. This year has been trying. One thing after another after another. Be grateful for whatever comes. Each may be cleaning you out for some new delight.