Monday Miscellanea

Today, I’m giving the book on diaries by Thomas Mallon a rest. I was too sleepy last night and only managed to read half of the chapter on “Creators”. Had to get up early for work as usual on a Monday and didn’t want to miss out on sleep.

Had another lovely early morning walk in the woods with Curious Dog. It was quite cool, but I only wore a short-sleeved blouse and didn’t wear a jacket, because that would have become too hot. A little bit of toughening up probably doesn’t hurt. I kind of admire people who swim in freezing water or walk barefoot in winter. Every year that we’ve been on vacation to the North Sea or the Baltic (and we’ve been going there with just a couple of exceptions every year since 2002) I think about taking a dip in the sea, just to see what it’s like, but I’ve never actually done it. Just wading generally seems cold enough. Maybe I’ll try it this time? Though it might backfire. Should probably not try this out in the Corona pandemic year. Where was I, anyway? Oh yes, walking with Curious Dog. The valley was full of gently billowing thin mist, floating above the fields but below the top of the surrounding wooded hills. Very pretty. By mid-morning all the mist had dissolved and now it’s a hot late summer day again.

As I logged in to work today, my virtual private network (VPN) connection was still on the blink. So, I did the stuff on my computer that I’d found on the IT support pages in the company portal last week and it actually worked. After the fix, the VPN was quite stable, not completely, but almost. Very motivating. It’s much easier and more effective to work when everything isn’t freezing up once a minute while the VPN reconnects. But then I shut the connection down for a few meetings, as I didn’t need it for them. The VPN slows everything down at the best of times so I disconnect when it’s not needed. Afterwards it was the same old problem. What a pain!

There were a lot of calls today, like always on Mondays. Most of my meetings, that is, online calls, are on Mondays and Wednesdays, and I have trouble getting anything else done on those days, except the usual quality checks and answering e-mails. Tuesdays and Thursdays are very light on the calls, much better.

This evening we have dog school again for Curious Dog. Already at the autumn/winter location, an indoor horse-riding arena. Looking forward to it. CD will be excited.

Yesterday’s Tatort (Crime Scene) TV series “Funkstille” (“Radio Silence) was weird. An American couple with a daughter who were double agents for both the CIA and the Russians. I found the story too obvious and the American couple were too German (also, atrocious American accents, very fake). The best part of it was the conflict between the parents and the daughter, who finds out about the double agent thing and fears that her entire life was a lie.

A couple of days ago I came across a poem in my copy of The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse edited by Daniel Karlin. The poem is by William Allingham (1824-1889):

A man who keeps a diary, pays
Due toll to many tedious days;
But life becomes eventful – then
His busy hand forgets the pen.
Most books, indeed, are records less
Of fulness than of emptiness.

Since I’m reading Thomas Mallon’s book about diaries and my blog is also a kind of diary, I was struck by this. I don’t actually agree with the poem (and I dare say Mallon wouldn’t either). An uneventful life is not necessarily “tedious”. Even if days are much the same, the things are still different. One reads different books, one has different moods, one sees the special elements in small things. And then when something does happen, it’s fun to write about it. According to Mallon, there are both diarists that do as Allingham says, keep a diary on mundane days and forget about it on eventful days and those that only record special events (such as a travel journal). So, the poem is just a reduction of the wide range of diary writing. Still, it was nice to stumble across it.

Keep safe, world.

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