24 May

Go throw yourself into the sea

A few days ago, when the sun was out, I was walking back from the park, hat on head, sunglasses on face, engulfed in sunblock fumes and feeling just a little bit like I was on holiday, which is a treat of a feeling at the moment. As I got to the corner of our road and stepped into the full sun, tipping over instantly from a little warm to overheating, sweaty mess, a voice in my Henry Hoover screamed loud enough to make actual noise: ‘I WANT TO GO AND JUMP IN THE SEA’.

As someone whose default setting is to stay home, the basic fact of lockdown hasn’t been much hardship to me: less an oppressive restriction, more an unhealthy indulgence of my instincts. But suddenly I was absolutely screaming sick of it, selfishly furious that the tiny round bastard was stopping me from jumping in the sea.

A minute or two later, it occurred to me that I don’t live anywhere near the sea, wouldn’t have travelled to the seaside that day anyway, and am always furious not to be able to jump into the sea when the temperature reaches butter-softening. I remain entirely in the dark about how much the lockdown is bothering me.

Photograph of a directional signpost reading:
Go throw yourself into the sea
Mene Mene 2005
Photo by SafarFiertze
10 May

A note of thanks to Karuna the Panda

I have now meditated at least once a day for 134 consecutive days. This is no kind of milestone. I know it isn’t, because I understand numbers, but also because my meditation app has not sent me a little notification and is still telling me that my next milestone is in 7 days. It also tells me that I have, so far, reached seventeen milestones, which it helpfully lists as: 10 consecutive days; 10 consecutive days (again); 20 consecutive days; 30 consecutive days; 40 consecutive days; 50 consecutive days; 60 consecutive days; 70 consecutive days; 80 consecutive days; 90 consecutive days; 100 consecutive days; 110 consecutive days; 120 consecutive days; 130 consecutive days; 50 days with a meditation; 100 days with a meditation; and 150 days with a meditation. It is partly to spite my meditation app that I am writing this on a day with so little numerical significance. If my meditation app had a cheery cartoon panda who reminded me to meditate, I would hate him deeply and personally, and then I would sincerely wish him to be free from suffering.

It’s important for me to meditate because my brain processes stress like a Henry Hoover. It just sucks it all up with a great big smile, until it’s holding onto so much crap that it chokes up and catches fire.1 I need to empty it out regularly to keep it running. This is a valuable lesson, and one I would be begrudgingly grateful to the cartoon panda for his part in teaching, if he existed. To all the non-cartoon non-pandas who have helped me reach the hugely significant 134-day mark without any unpleasant burning smells or costly repairs, thank you.

And if anyone can recommend an app that will get me into the habit of emptying my actual vacuum cleaner, please let me know.


  1. A genuine Numatic Henry or Hetty vacuum cleaner features a thermal cut-out to ensure your safety and prevent any permanent damage to the motor. The author regrets any implication that Henry is unreliable, dangerous or a product of Hoover or Techtronic Industries; it’s just the only one with a big smiley face.