FIVE FOR FRIDAY 27 November


Friiiidddaaay...


Hmm... This was one of those weeks that pass in a blur, and I've struggled to either mark the time or pinpoint anything much of interest to share.


In fact, it's Saturday afternoon now. My partner is asleep on the couch after a late night at work. The cats are lying around, appreciating the aircon. And I'm quietly freaking out. About... nothing.


I can never tell why I end up feeling this way: as if my cells are fizzing, like my skin's been put on wrong. It could be work. I felt a little out of my depth this week — not in terms of the tasks themselves but more the modes in which I interact with the people around me and how I often have to fumble my way through some of the more complex relationships that arise in an overtly hierarchical environment. It could be that I had an MRI mid-week, and the procedure, although entirely tolerable, stirred up some feelings of angst and antagonism towards my doctors and the kind of care I have access to at the moment. But maybe it's nothing obvious or remarkable at all.


Whatever the aetiology, these feelings always throw me for a loop, even though they arrive and recede on a regular basis. I feel at odds with myself, a part of me itching in a place I can't quite reach or even identify. The world outside my body seems syrupy thick and slow. I'm unmotivated to write, not particularly keen on doing anything. Resting. Reading. Editing. Baking. Cleaning. Planning.


Nothing.


I'd like a break from myself.


So, I'm going to go for a walk when the sun begins to set and the air is cooler outside. (I'm dropping off some sourdough culture to pop into my sister's fridge because her boss's husband can't get his starter going, and it's driving him mad. I guess it's the 2020 edition of lending a cup of sugar to your neighbour.)


Here are five glittery little things that helped get me through this week.


One. My obsession with crumpets shows no sign of waning. We enjoyed brunch at Lady Marmalade in Stones Corner last weekend, and the crumpets with lemon curd were life-affirming. They're also huge. I ate one and smuggled the other one home in my handbag for Monday morning, the worst time of the week.


Two. New Nigella! I've acquired every cookbook in Nigella's oeuvre so far, and I re-read them periodically when I need a reliable mood boost. (Lady knows how to use an adverb.) Admittedly, I'm a bit of a crap person: I've been watching pirated episodes of Cook, Eat, Repeat on YouTube as they're released in the UK, but I'm sure I'll buy the book sometime soon, even if she lost me on the banana peel curry.


Three. If you hate underwire bras as much as I do (please confirm it's not just me), I've found a lovely stretchy alternative. This seamless triangle crop from Jockey is so comfortable, and the sort-of-racerback design is great if you have narrow shoulders and struggle constantly with straps that fall down.


Four. I don't watch TV on TV (if you know what I mean), so I often catch up on programs later if a particular episode leaps out at me. This week, I finally caught up on the QandA panel from 19 October all about our online lives and social disconnect. 'Cyberpsychologist' Jocelyn Brewer raised some interesting points about the nature of our 'digital nutrition' and trying to be more proactive and selective about the content we consume: does it drive narcissism or empathy? The episode is well worth a watch or listen if you're a slowpoke like me and haven't got there already. (Tristan Harris from The Social Dilemma also weighs in.)


Five. Speaking of being late to things, this song — 'Josephine' by RITUAL — is five years old now but a new one on my regular rotation. How do you feel about songs that include someone's name? I typically feel ambivalent towards songs about a given person, real or fictional, because they just kind of... puncture the sense of universality I find so compelling. Of course, I could be alone in this: Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline' and Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' spring to mind as obvious examples of highly successful songs in this category. Buuut... I can't stop listening to 'Josephine' — gentle, moody, multi-layered. Better late than never, right? Apple Music. YouTube.

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