This Week Is For Living

What a tumultuous week it’s been! I’ve been somewhat paralyzed, like a deer in the headlights, unable to quite tear myself from the news and ranting about it to uncomprehending children…

This coming week will be different. For one thing, I will be posting less on the blog, you’ll be relieved to hear. ‘Why, oh why deprive us of your phenomenal reviews and musings, Marina?’ I hear you say (no snickering at the back, I can see you!). Well, because this will be a week of waving bye-bye to old housemates, living hard and trying out new things! Oh, and also because I am not organised enough to write posts and schedule them well in advance.

So what are the specifics? Aside from vet’s and dentist’s appointments, the usual job hunting malarkey and tax self-assessment (those are the less fun parts of the week), I will also be trying out several new physical activities, courtesy of the Fit for Life Week being organised in my local area. I will explore Tai Chi (I tried it a decade or so ago and loved it), a Ramblers’ walk, table tennis and running. So I’ll be reconnecting with all of the things I loved in my youth (other than skiing), because I hate going to the gym and am too uncoordinated for aerobics and zumba classes. Everybody always tells you how important physical exercise is when you are suffering from SAD or depression, but it can be so difficult to motivate yourself to do it regularly. Especially when you don’t have much time or would rather be writing instead.

They never show you the reality of running in the run on muddy paths, do they?
They never show you the reality of running in the run on muddy paths, do they?

On Wednesday I’ll be going to London to see Eugen Chirovici in discussion with Joe Haddow at Goldsboro Books. I’m really eager to read his book, the first that this Romanian author has written in English. What I didn’t know was that he was based in Reading while writing it, so quite close to where I live now.  At the time, however, I was in Geneva, so any dreams of creating our own two-person dynamic writing duo would have come to naught. And, as luck would have it, he is now based in Brussels.

Chirovici’s book has been translated into French and he’s been invited to my favourite crime festival, Quais du Polar, which will take place between 31st March – 2nd April this year in Lyon. I am trying to make up my mind whether I can afford to attend. Or if I can afford NOT to attend, as the line-up of crime-writing talent is magnificent, as usual: Ragnar Jonasson, Val McDermid, Clare Mackintosh, Arnaldur Indridason, David Vann, David Young, Sebastian Fitzek, Qiu Xialong, Zygmunt Miłoszewski , to name but a few of the international contingent.

From Quais du Polar website.
From Quais du Polar website.

On Thursday I’ll be traipsing to London once more to watch Amadeus at the National Theatre. One of my favourite plays and films of all time, and I’ve heard Lucian Msamati makes a compelling Salieri. If you can’t get tickets or go to London to see it, there will be a live broadcast on the 2nd of February. I’m tempted to see it again with my older son, the theatre buff. Or perhaps I should show him the film instead.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Universal History Archive/REX (4421088a) From 'Amadeus' a 1984 period drama film starring F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce and Elizabeth Berridge. VARIOUS
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Universal History Archive/REX (4421088a) From

Finally, it will be the first weekend that the boys will be spending at their father’s house after he moved out this past weekend. I’m not quite sure how empty the house will feel without them, but I do know that I won’t be going with them to the cinema to watch Sing. I would have liked to watch Hidden Figures, but, sadly, our local cinema focuses on latest blockbusters rather than smaller or independent or foreign language films. I might aim instead for Silence (based on Endo Shusaku’s novel) or T2 Trainspotting, although both of them sound dark rather than uplifting.

Any cultural events you are looking forward to this coming week or month? Let me know, especially if you are planning to come to London at any point. Perhaps we can meet up, if you still crave the sublimity of my book reviews or wish to hear me recite my poems out loud! I promise not to rant about politics.



27 thoughts on “This Week Is For Living”

  1. Morning Marina, it sounds like you are trying to do the best thing possible. I always feel that any type of outdoor activity is very uplifting. No cultural events this month but I am going to the Orenda roadshow in Liverpool at the end of Feb. All being well. Also I’m booking our river tickets for Harrogate today.

    1. Oooh, that sounds quite exciting – both the Orenda roadshow and Harrogate. I have to see if I can go to any crime festivals this year – both in terms of timing and finances. By the time I find out, it may well turn out to be too late to book anything. Ah well! There’s always next year!

      1. I think I read that there was an Orenda event in London in May. Harrogate is expensive but we will make it our main holiday and go to other areas nearby.

  2. Not having been able to touch my toes these past few years and feeling the wrenching aches accompanying any kind of physical activity, like stacking or chopping wood, I have decided to join a new gym which has opened recently in this region. I do cycle and hike when the warmer weather permits, but this does nothing for the upper body’s muscular tone. Stretching and keeping limber is essential as one ages, while muscular exercises keep the tendons taut and less susceptible to pain and long-lasting injury. ( I had an extremely painful tendonitis for over a year and a half after having redone my bathroom (new walls and tiles), stacked my winter wood and rebuilt a stone wall in my garden, all within several months. ) Tai Chi is a graceful choreography of movement which I love to watch, but I don’t believe that I possess the grace or the memory to follow through from one stage to the next. I have always been in awe of ballet dancers who memorize thousands of minute movements and gestures and glide effortlessly, or so it seems, around a stage as if the information was somehow hardwired into their nervous system. You have made a wise choice to commit to exercising Marina. It is so easy to find excuses not to, and once one gets out of the habit it is very difficult to go back….as I am learning at this time.
    As the Americans would say…….Go for it!!!!

    1. Oh, my goodness, why on earth did you risk doing all of the renovating and stacking of wood by yourself? Just like Jack and Karen, who also do far too much themselves…
      As for the ‘getting back into the habit’, it does feel so much like starting from scratch again. Just 5-6 years ago, I was running regularly and even took part in a marathon and half-marathon. Now, I wouldn’t want to do this again (too time-consuming and hard on my joints), but I wouldn’t mind doing a 10 km run 1-2 times a week again. I probably can’t even run to catch the bus now…

      1. I do have a military friend to help me stack my wood, but he, too, is getting on in years. I need to order at least 12 stères every year, which is quite a heap when one sees it dumped in front of my house. Believe me, if I had the means to pay someone to do any of this work for me, I wouldn’t hesitate to employ them.

  3. I am envious of your trip to see Amadeus – one of my favourite plays! Enjoy. I’d love to try Tai Chi too. I’m heading to Sing at the weekend with the 6yr old. She can’t wait. Have a good week x

  4. What a packed and varied week. Enjoy – and hopefully we’ll get to hear about the good parts (and even the less good parts) when opportunities permit.

  5. Very glad to hear you’re making time for yourself this week, Marina Sofia. Physical activity really does help in so many ways, and I’m glad you’re doing that. And how I envy you seeing Amadeus! Sometimes, you just need to take care of yourself…

  6. Not to sound harsh, Marina but I’m VERY glad to see less of you here… for those particular reasons you’re listing! What an amazing week! I love planning something special that makes me happy for each week, so that I look forward to it. This has worked for me for years, and I’ve read some papers saying that it is actually a great way to deal with depression. So, go out! Enjoy yourself! We love you and we’ll be here waiting to hear of the brave and amazing changes you’re undergoing xxx

  7. Sounds like a great week! I’m also trying to do more cultural things, mainly to help me cope with the madness of today’s world. I’m typing this in the foyer of the British Library, while I wait for a talk on Latin American writers to start. So the cultural resolution is going well…. less good is the resolution to get back into yoga to try and sort out my ever-worsening posture, which I have yet to begin! I need to follow your good example – I hope the t’ai chi goes well!

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