Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
PREVIOUS TOP TEN TUESDAY TOPICS:
- September 1: Books That Make Me Hungry
- September 15: Book Cover Freebie
- September 22: Books of my Autumn TBR List
- September 29: Favourite Bookish Quotations
- October 27: Halloween Freebie
This week should be a list of book titles that would make good song titles – but having missed last week’s topic and not being the sort of person who listens to music, I thought I would catch up on the previous topic.
Which creates the other big problem: do I actually have ten non-bookish hobbies?! Sometimes I’m not sure I have the time to do anything more than paddle madly to keep static in a flowing turbulent river! Especially in the last few weeks and months!
But here we go!
This goes without saying, doesn’t it? It’s not a hobby as such as a lifestyle! But there are so many things and activities that I do for and on behalf of my family that I would not choose to do for myself…
Swimming for example. I am not keen on swimming. I recognise its health benefits and all that, of course, but I feel out of my depth – out of my element literally – in a pool. The temperature, the chlorine, the strange acoustics… The sea is better but so cold most of the year in the UK.
And whilst I’d love to add cinema and theatre to this list, I rarely go to see anything for myself! When was the last time I got to see Shakespeare? Years ago! The last films I went to see? Cats and Dogs 3 (awful, seriously just dreadful), 100% Wolf (not that bad) and Onward (great – put then it is Pixar).
No, I don’t resent or begrudge this: my daughter and I are fairly similar in many ways and one is that both of us seem to value the company in any activity more than the activity itself. But it will be nice when we can go to the theatre to see something more adult!
This is again a no-brainer: I mean if I don’t cook, the family doesn’t eat! But I also enjoy cooking and feeding my family. Whether in or out of lockdown, the idea of takeouts or eating out only rarely even crosses my mind!
Saturdays are currently spent boiling chicken carcasses for stock, cooking up batches of soup, gallons of ratatouille or stew to keep us all going over the long working week! And Sundays – a cliche perhaps – but Sundays are reserved for a traditional roast, generally a chicken as my daughter is so very fussy!
My top three tips for roast potatoes? Use Maris Pipers, parboil them bravely, oil the potatoes not the pan!
Okay so is it cheating to subdivide this and separate it from cooking?
I do enjoy baking out of all cooking and, again, it rarely crosses my mind to buy a birthday cake for the family: I do a pretty good chocolate fudge cake and my Dorset apple cake was a success when I took it into school. Last year, I may have slightly over catered for Christmas too with a chocolate yule log, three (read that again, three) Christmas cakes one of which will be used this year having consumed more alcohol than I have in the last year, and dozens of mince pies…
Add to this butterfly cakes and flapjacks and cookies and brownies – and I tried an enriched dough cinnamon apple roll this year too for the first time….
And just because I like to add some visuals to these posts, here are some of my creations: be aware that I am not as interested in appearance as in taste!
And over lockdown – once flour became available again – I think I really upped my flour game with pastry and quiches and tarts, both savoury and sweet.
Neither pretty nor delicate perhaps, but they were all rather tasty!
Exercise / Calisthenics
A year ago, I was living a rather sedentary lifestyle with a rather comfortable looking body shape! A dad-bod, if you will!
But then my wife was scheduled for a surgery and advised to lose some weight and like a supportive husband I offered to do it alongside her. Despite the evidence to the contrary above, I switched things up to a lower fat, lower carb diet and took up exercising.
Sit ups, push ups, lunges…. I have to say I found the results and the way in which my body changed fascinating and interesting and the way I suddenly was able to do things after a few weeks that I wasn’t before and I kind off just kept going and progressing.
I set myself targets: to be able to do a hand stand push up was one. Now I can trot out 100 of them in an evening although it takes me a fair while! My current aim is to be able to do a planche for 30 seconds!
Again, subdividing the categories here to try to make my list longer but I was one of those who picked up the running habit during lockdown.
My first few runs I could manage perhaps 2 minutes at a time before stopping, wheezing and gasping. But I persevered. Being a stubborn arse can have its benefits. I managed to do 5k without taking a break. I got some new trainers, new and unflattering outfits, and discovered Under Armour and compression clothes. I dropped some sprints and training into it.
Currently, I am heading out at 0530 for a 5k run before breakfast perhaps four times a week. Times vary but I’m generally at about 27 minutes but I have got it down to just over 25 minutes. Going in the dark seems to have slowed things down a little recently which is annoying.
This was not lockdown related: I have always loved walking – would I say hiking? Maybe… Maybe add in a pub half way round too?
There are so many wonderful walks around where we life too, coastal walks, hill walks and nature walks… and with lockdown we are immensely privileged to have a park with woods literally opposite our house and my daughter and I whiled away huge amounts of time over the weekend wandering through the woods, making up stories in them – currently haunted by ghosts with the memory of Hallowe’en still fresh, which is a step up from having to make up stories involving “you, me, an angry pheasant” and whatever prop comes to her mind!
We have also discovered the simple pleasure of tree climbing – although it did feel rather odd teaching her to climb trees whilst simultaneously she was being assessed for dyspraxia because of her lack of balance!
See previous entry in the list!
Nature abounds where we live – some of it red in tooth and claw, much of it slimy and some of it cuddly. Walks in the woods become mini lessons on nature for both me and my daughter: different tree types, animals, birds, habitats – and what might be edible! I so wish I know enough to go mushroom foraging!
I can remember the awe I felt at my dad being able to name the plants around us when I was growing up. Hopefully my daughter might have some of the same interest.
This is probably no surprise but story is woven into everything! We went to a New Year’s Hunt the other year – and that is a political thing to do these days – and watched the toffs head off on horses and ate their chocolates and mince pies and drank their mulled wine…. but there was marks and lumps in the ground and from a certain angle, if you squinted, it looked a little like a hand shape…
Before the wine had cooled my daughter and I had concocted a story about the giant who sleeps under the earth here and rises once a year after the hunt to consume the huntman’s offerings. I thought we were just being childish and silly until I overheard one of the other people there turn to their husband and say “I didn’t know about the legend of the giant…”
At the moment, we have what I think is a wonderful habit of shared story telling: I’ll start a story off in which she features and get to a point where she has dialogue in the story and she uses the dialogue to either continue the story or to completely change its direction into somewhere new. As I mentioned, angry pheasants feature a lot in these stories!
And her learning – having had six months of home learning – is so much more engaged once there is a narrative! One of her home learning tasks was to write four sentences with adjectives describing some pictures of minibeasts. “The green, hair caterpillar is on a stone.” And she had absolutely no interest! The moment I asked what the caterpillar might be saying to the butterfly, she flew with ideas which abounded with adjectives and fun! On out last meeting at school about her – her EHCP review because she has severe speech and language delays – she had been left in the class as the helper to help her friends come up with ideas for their stories!
It made my heart burst to hear that!
In a great way!
It is inevitable, I suppose that this is here considering the time spent dwelling on stories in this post – and inside many readers is there not a writer trying to get out?
In fact, rather than completing this, I should be trying to knock out 1,667 words for NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – which I have taken part in for the last five years, and “won” once! Not the best success rate when “winning” comprises only the putting of 50,000 words of however execrable quality down on paper (or saved on Scrivener) with the assumption that no first draft can be polished or perfected unless it actually exists!
I have started a number of novels, completed a few at around the 80k mark – mainly in the crime genre and detective fiction, within which I read a lot. Some short stories, flash fiction – often stories written because I’ve liked a prompt given to students at school! One Gothic novel. Numerous poems.
The difficulty is, for me, two fold: I struggle with the write-now-edit-later ethos and can just get caught up in a single chapter for weeks; and this year more than any other, time. The blog has suffered through the lack of time since September and I have so many reviews left to catch up on that the two completed last weekend are barely a drop in the ocean!
So, that is a little insight into my world outside reading and maintaining the blog.
There is perhaps a longer list waiting of hobbies I wish I had but have had to accept that I have neither the time nor the money nor the basic skills to achieve: painting, drawing, crafting, playing the guitar, travel.
I shall find time to look over your posts from last week too! Please do let me know what you do outside your reading!
FORTHCOMING TOP TEN TUESDAY TOPICS:
November 17: Characters I’d Name a Pet After (These could be your own pets (present or future), you could pick 10 different animals and tell us the name and animal type, or you could choose 10 names that would make fun cat names, etc. Put your own spin on this one!) (submitted by Nushu @ Not A Prima Donna Girl)
November 24: Thanksgiving/I’m Thankful for… Freebie
December 1: Books I Want to Read Again (This could mean books you plan on re-reading OR books you wish you could read again for the first time.)
December 8: Holiday/Seasonal Freebie (holiday books/covers/titles, wintry reads, snow on cover, cool color covers, takes place in cold settings, cozy scenes on cover, etc.)
December 15: Books On My Winter 2020-2021 TBR (or summer if you live in the southern hemisphere)
December 22: Books I Hope Santa Brings
December 29: Favorite Books of 2020