Open Thinkering


Christmas slobbing about

Sometimes, after a period of what I can only describe as ‘not writing very much’ I have this need to, well, write something. The problem is when I don’t have a particular thing that I need to write about, in which case I literally sit down, as I am now, and start typing words onto a screen.

The words come, eventually, as they always do. The process starts by noticing the things around me, by performing a kind of ‘situation report’. So here’s mine: oblique rays of the sun stream in through the velux window in the ‘penthouse suite’ (as I call it) of our recently-listed house. I’m propped up on pillows and cushions in bed, able to hear noises from outside such as our kids playing football in the back lane, and birds cawing and tweeting.

I’ve already written a short post today, comprised mostly of a quotation from Katherine May’s Wintering. Other than a post commemorating my fortieth birthday (which I actually wrote back in November) it’s the only thing I’ve published in the last week. Thought Shrapnel is on hiatus until 2021, but I couldn’t resist sharing the most popular articles from this year with subscribers to the weekly digest.

It’s close to 10:00, although it feels much later, having woken up at 05:15 and not being able to get back to sleep. I enjoyed making a morning fire and being able to sit in front of it, reading while the house was peaceful. Reflecting on someone else’s experiences of this time of the year was especially poignant, and the similarities and differences enhance and reinforce my own.

Today I will achieve nothing, which exactly corresponds with my aim. I will, no doubt, play some Sniper Elite 4 which is a game I did not expect to like when I tried it on our TV thanks to the technological magic of Google Stadia. But I’ve found it strangely addictive, and have poured hours of time into completing various missions over the last week or so.

My wife has just informed me that this is the last day of “Christmas slobbing about” by which she means we need to get ready for potential house viewings over the coming week. She’s right, of course, and we do need to get this house sold soon, but the lethargy is strong at this time of year. It’s the only period of time in my calendar when I allow myself to do nothing of importance. There are no expectations of me, and I have none of myself.

I’m not sure if it’s worth pressing publish on this post but, as I have a mere 4% of laptop battery life remaining, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

This post is Day 79 of my #100DaysToOffload challenge. Want to get involved? Find out more at

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