East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Hands and feet

So it’s now a week since the doctors removed the Zimmer Bar that was holding my left pinky in position, and I am slowly trying to go back to normal.
Yesterday I went to the baker, to buy some bread, and discovered that as I can’t properly close my left fist, I can’t hold the change. The lady in the shop handed me the money, I tried to close my hand over it, and I dropped a shower of coins on the floor. This is how things stand now, and how they will stand for quite a while.

I can write, though, even if I find it extremely hard.
Which is not good, considering I have to deliver 50.000 words by Christmas, and roughly 75.000 words for the end of January. But this is not so much a physical thing as a mental thing. The forced idleness of the past month has slowed down my systems, and the various worries connected with my broken hand have weighed me down.
I’ll need to get back in the saddle.
There are contracts and deadlines to be respected.
In one week I went from no show to 1000 words per day.
I’ll need to keep increasing the output. There’s bills to pay.

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Walking back from the carnage

I was talking about walking and hiking with some friends, today. It all started with the fact that a newspaper published an article claiming “walking is for the middle aged, hiking is cool”.
As I never had a problem with being uncool, and indeed I was not cool back when not being cool was not considered cool yet, I accept my role as a walker, and said as much.
From there we went on talking about how walking (or hiking, if you’re cool) is an excellent way for coping with trauma.
I walked miles and miles after my mother’s death, and after my father.
I find walking a good solution to recharge my batteries, and react to those periodic bouts of depression that sometimes come.

And there’s science behind it!

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On the first long walk of 2019

Today has been a good day. Nice weather, sunny with a light breeze, and we spent the day with a visiting relation that surprised us. And I mean surprised us as in “Oh, my good, our house is a dump!”
But we survived, and spent the day rambling about the countryside.

I have tons of work to do, actually, and “wasting” a whole day completely screwed up my schedule – never mind it’s Sunday – but on the other hand it was not a day wasted. It was a day spent to clear our systems after a long winter spent locked up in our house, trying to keep the cold away.
For us, this is the beginning of the best part of the year, before the torrid summer months.

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Taking a hike


Owen J. Lattimore did it the old way in Turkestan.

A few posts back, I mentioned watching the sky as a probably normal practice of ancient travelers.
Travel in the ancient world (and not so ancient, now that I think about it) was done on foot.
Even if merchandise and goods traveled on the back of camels or horses, humans normally went on foot.
Walking is a way of going that’s close to the territory, it’s slow and tiresome.
It’s something else.

Now I was talking about health, and getting back in shape (or at least try to), a few days back, with my friend Claire, and she suggested Nordic Walking as a soft, pleasant activity.
I pointed out that here, among the savage hills of Astigianistan, finding people to go hiking together might be a problem – the standard leisure activity hereabouts is sitting in front of the bar, gossiping. Continue reading