12 Years a Slave
I had a very late night last night trying to finish my backlog of document/appraisal reviews and admin before 10 days holiday, but I was up at 6:30 as usual, because I believe in always getting up at the same time (which helps me go to sleep the next night). Getting up at 6:30 gives me enough time to meditate, make up my smoothie and do the washing before walking to Caffe Nero by 7:30. The 7:30 arrival is important if I want a window seat, and the window seat is important because it’s the quietest spot in the cafe, has the best view and the best light, it’s a sought after workers spot.
At 8:45 I left there and walked along the sea front to the Beach Terrace Cafe for more reading and work, but along the way I did dips on one of the benches. I took my new laptop with me and I’m already in love with it. It’s an Thinkpad X230, a slight upgrade from my previous favourite the Thinkpad X220 and a vast improvement over the Twist that I’d grudgingly used for the last 6 months. I was very pleased to discover that the X230 had a really strong WIFI signal at my favourite corner window seat (yes I know) at the Beach Terrace Cafe, my iPad has no signal at all. This means that I can share my Thinkpad’s WIFI connection with the iPad using he freeware Virtual Router.
While at the Beach Terrace Cafe I decided that I should bite the bullet and go to see 12 Years a Slave, I’d been put off by the 15 rating and the reviews of the violent scenes, but also felt it was a movie that I had to watch. It was powerful stuff, triggering anger and tears but an over-riding shame in the human race. It was a film that didn’t flinch from the horrors of slavery, but it also demonstrated how the culture of slavery was self perpetuating, even when people were trying to work against it in their own way. The fear that the slave masters must have had for their livelihoods, their lives and their ability to live with themselves must have been with them daily. It was very sad to, yet again, see the bible used to justify the worst of human behaviour, in this case both slavery and the whip. Thank goodness it’s also inspired the best in human behaviour as well.
When the film finished the cinema was totally silent as the audience tried to come to terms with their emotions, I’m just pleased I didn’t bring Debbie as she’d have been in tears all the way through. I calmed my thoughts by getting my Brompton out of the car boot and cycling in the sunshine along Cleveleys prom towards Fleetwood, a round trip of 30 minutes. The calming effect of nature, the sounds of the sea and views to the horizon never ceases to amaze me. In fact recent research is showing how much healthier people who grew up in nature are in later life, one of many great insights in this article Sick cities: why urban living can be bad for your mental health.
Then I drove down the coast a bit to Rossall Beach viewing area, pushing back the seat in my car and got the laptop out to clear my email and write this blog post.
Wait a minute though, I thought I was on holiday, well that’s kind of true but I work 363 days a year, I almost always clear out my email, scan my RSS feeds, spend an hour doing research and often listen to work related podcasts and audiobooks. For me the best way to cope with working only a few hours a day and at a low level of intensity is to smooth out the work and of course the type of ‘work’ that I’ve just described is a pretty enjoyable activity anyway.