All Done and Dusted… For Now

10/10/21 11:37

It’s all over aside from the result.  My final piece was submitted a full seven days before the marathon.  Which was last week.  I haven’t written since.  I haven’t written about finishing it in 5 hours, 43 minutes and 14 seconds.  I haven’t written about the feeling of self-deflation after hitting the send button. I haven’t written about the possibility of doing a PhD.  And I haven’t written about possibly attempting the Paris marathon.

Not laying on a sun lounger in Ibiza,
writing in green ink with my silver, square-framed, blue-lensed, Ray-Ban’s perched on my nose

The EMA consisted of 15 entries, all edited down to fit the word count of fifteen thousand.  I made it to just over 16k which is fine as we always have the 10% leniency in either direction.  The funny thing is the editing cut out about two-thousand words and made for a much better read.  It made me realise that cold editing for an attentive market can actually be rather productive, creatively.  It also made me realise that I may need to decide to edit the entries already posted.  And write neater in my notebook for when I’m trying to work out what it was that I was trying to write.  Incidentally, I’m still without any new pens and I am still without an ink of the yellow variety.

I was hoping for a high enough grade to extend my self-belief but in reality, I know I’m in a good enough place to be able to write the bigger book.  The fiction is gaining a little impetus.  I need to put pen to paper but this entry needed to be written first.  It now appears excuses have pretty much run out.  My scholastic girlfriend read over my EMA and noted, with a surprised elation, not only how my writing has improved, but also the different styles of writing that I use.  It depends on the subject matter, the mood and the impression I am trying to give.  It’s her idea that makes the PhD a possibility.  I’m not ready for more study, but research is a totally different matter.  However, not using excuses simply facts, there’s the cost, time and topic to consider, as well as the educational establishment to contemplate.  There’s plenty of time to decide as applications for October 22’s start have to be in by January.  And in real terms, I simply haven’t got the means to pay.    Another thing, looking at this notebook, I’ve only got a third left and I’ll be needing to order a new one.  Which means another title to deliberate.  Deliberately Documenting the Doctorate’s Debilitating Discovery.

The London Marathon.  26.2 miles of generally very boring London streets.  Not particularly something that I would recommend.  Passing thousands of members of public cheering you on clapping and calling out your name as you applaud their attendance and support is something I would totally recommend.  With seven weeks of no real running and a hugely unproductive stress-induced diet, it was hard work.  But with determination and a “fuck it, I’m going to finish” attitude, I made it.  The thigh fatigue turned into muscular pain until the Thursday and that was okay.  But now, I’m laying on a sun lounger in Ibiza, writing in green ink with my silver, square-framed, blue-lensed, Ray-Ban’s perched on my nose as my eyes squint and flick between this page and the swimming pool where my sons play together, like the good boys they are, whilst one of my marathon-damaged toenails clings on for dear life underneath a waterproof Elastoplast.

Sitting here in my pink swimming shorts, topless and a little ashamed, my new year resolutions are certainly to get back into shape, run more, continue to getting back to being me and writing more.  Regardless of either Covid or the latest flu outbreaks that are going to be happening.  Am I ashamed of my shape?  Absolutely.  Not in terms of body shaming or vanity, but because I was a lot less belly whilst I wasn’t stressing and exercising.  My clothes fit, my energy levels were higher, my stamina was greater and my brain worked so much better.

There are times that I wish I knew languages more adequately.  Ordering from a menu is one thing, but as

i havesaid before, when it comes to conversation, things aren’t always an easy journey for me.

“Ginebra con zumo de naranja, por favor.  Oh, sin hielo”

Bartender pours out the gin and orange juice, which is for my uncle.

“¿Y éste?” she asks.

“Fanta limon, por favor. Gracias.”

“¿Mumble mumble, Spanish mumble?”

“Err… si, por favor.”  The barkeep grabs a fresh glass and pops some ice into it.

“Oh, no, lo siento.  No Ginebra.”  I then said “Es para mi hijos.”

She then responded with “Un poco, para ayudarlos a dormir.”


It didn’t end in disaster and neither did it end badly when I asked for an additional bath towel for the room.  That confusion arose as the lady behind the reception desk thought I was after a beach towel for the sun loungers.  I explained that I only had two towels and there was three of us in the room.  Whilst all conversed in Spanish, there’s still the response difficulty when the context is empty and the dialogue is simply Greek to me.  I should try and learn more basic words such as fork, knife and spoon.  The handful of sentences that I can pitch together are sufficient as most people will understand my English or very poor charades.  This is regardless of which country I am in.  As long as I attempt the native language, people always try to help me.  Nobody likes seeing a grown man cry.  But how would I ask where the nearest shop is to buy new shoelaces for my running shoes should they snap on the way to the starting line for the Paris marathon?

*“Gin with orange juice, please.  Oh, without ice”

Bartender pours out the gin and orange juice, which is for my uncle.

“And this one?” she asks.

“Fanta lemon, please. Thank you.”

“Mumble mumble, Spanish mumble?”

“Err… yes, please.”  The barkeep grabs a fresh glass and pops some ice into it.

“Oh, no, I’m sorry.  No gin.”  I then said “It’s for my children.”

She then responded with “A little, to help them sleep.”


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