Saturday, 15 May 2021

Days of Gratitude

Welcome to another rainy South Manchester as the UK is being tormented by a slow-moving ridge of low pressure that is making the weather really (and annoyingly) unsettled. Couple this with day 427 of Covid-19 restrictions and the frustration mounts even more. 

Still, I am nothing if not positive and, having now had my second Covid jab, I am looking forward to a hopefully more enjoyable summer.

Shall we dive into some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

I think so – here we go.

1. Name something in the room you are grateful for.

I am actually grateful for the room itself. I am currently sitting in what we call “the back room”, which serves many purposes which I shall try to list here and now:

(a) It is known as the “Warrior’s Arms” and in the dark winter months of lockdown it became the second designated pub in our house. Now that the weather is getting better we tend to sit in the lounge (“known as the Black Cat”) because it is light and airy whereas this room gets less sun and is more cosy in the winter months.

(b) It has been my office for the past 15 months. Due to Covid restrictions I have been working from home and will continue to do until September when I will return to the office on a part time basis.

(c) It is my entertainment room or my “man cave” as Mrs PM refers to it (despite the fact she spends time here too). I have a PS4, a large TV and music from my laptop played through a set of decent speakers as well as the place where I write stupid posts like this one. 

All in all – a great room.

2. Recall a favorite memory you are grateful for

Off the top of my head? A wonderful, entertaining and eventful evening in Wan Chai in Hong Kong  in 2013, two days before Mrs PM and I travelled to Japan for the first time. We had such fun, starting with a wonderful Chinese meal, followed by visits to a few bars and slight over-indulgence on both our parts. I love Hong Kong.

Here are some pictures:

A little progressive rock

Mrs PM and her pet baboon

Let's all dance on the bar

3. Who helped you today?

Mrs PM gave me another lockdown haircut today and trimmed my beard. This may be the last time she does this because I may venture to the barber next time.

4. What possession makes your life easier?

My smartphone. When I am out and about or travelling or whatever, it is there recording my step count, providing internet access and all that entails, as well as being a backup Kindle and countless other things. I hate to say this but I would be lost without it. 

5. What’s the best thing that happened today?

We are visiting friends later today so that will be the best thing when I look back tomorrow.

6. Name something in nature that you are grateful for.

Oxygen. Without it we wouldn’t be here.

7. What painful experience helped you grow?

All of them. I like to think that you can learn from such experiences, as bad as they are at the time. 

8. What is your best skill?

I am very good with most technical things. I interact with computers as part of my career and am pretty good at telling them what to do. For example, yesterday I created two servers in the cloud and configured them both not only to talk to each other but to shake hands and generally get on with each other, having each other’s backs should one of them decide to fail or become ill. I am not mad enough to given them human characteristics – I’ve just done so to illustrate what I achieved. After all, really what I have done is made sure that a lot of ones and zeroes are in the right place out there in cyberspace. 

9. What person in your past are you most grateful for?

Everyone who has ever been or continues to be my friend or a member of my family. I am not singling out any one person as that would be unfair. 

10. What risk are you most grateful for taking?

Every time I have had the courage to do something that scared the hell out of me. I am not that brave but on some occasions I have taken the metaphorical bull by his horns and decided to go for it, sometimes against my better judgement. I am risk averse so every time I take a risk it is a big thing for me. And sometimes they have paid off – not always though. I won’t elaborate.

11. Name something/someone that makes you feel safe.

My burglar alarm, double-glazed lockable windows and highly secure front and back doors. Every Englishman’s castle has to have defences. To be fair, I don’t live in a dangerous place (quite the opposite actually) – but better to be safe than sorry.

12. Name a challenge you have overcome.

Public speaking. I went through a phase of having to do training courses a few years ago. Some people perform public speaking for just a short while – an hour maximum – but for each course I gave, I had to do it for seven hours a day for five days. 

I have given course in England, of course, but also in the United States, Russia and China amongst others. The last one was about four years ago in Beijing, China in this amazing building:

I don’t have to do it now thank goodness because I hate public speaking, despite the fact I have done it so many times.

13. What small things are you grateful for today?

My cats, who watched avidly as Mrs PM cut my hair. I sensed that the question “What the hell is she doing to him?” was asked as they discussed the event. It was amusing watching them watch us.

14. What smell are you most grateful for?

The smell of bacon. We usually treat ourselves to bacon on Saturday and Sunday mornings either with a full English breakfast or just as a bacon sandwich. The smell of bacon cooking is one of the greatest smells on the planet and I have vegetarian friends who sometimes reconsider their life choice when they smell it. 

15. What is your proudest accomplishment

I am a humble man and I don’t like to boast. But there have been a few. 


Elephant's Child said...

Boast away. Those closer to you know of your accomplishments but we don't.
Your mastery of technical things (which often defeat me) is impressive.

Pandora Behr said...

A good post, PM. Was wondering if you would weave Hong Kong into the mix - and you did (and I know where to find Wan Chai - great spot). Hoping your lockdown is easing. I know how fortunate we are over here - then, saying that, I lost a friend to Astra Zeneca related clots yesterday... a lot is fuzzling my brain at the moment - but I'm grateful I knew her. Good post.


Kwizgiver said...

I don't mind public speaking which is good for a teacher. Your ode to bacon is making me hungry.

Bev Sykes said...

I agree...bacon smells great!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

As good as I might be at technical stuff, I am poor at others - but I won't spill the beans on those.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Of course I would weave HK into the mix. I love the place. LOckdown is definitely easing. From tomorrow (Monday) pubs and restaurants are letting people in and we can visit people in their homes (with some restrictions still) but, depending on how we deal with an outbreak of the Indian variant in three places, most restrictions will be lifted on 21st June.

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. That is truly awful.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

It is one of the reasons that I wouldn't want to be a teacher. I envy people who have no issue with public speaking.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

I had a bacon sandwich this morning - delightful!




Me, Myself, and I said...

I love the idea of a "winter" room and a "summer" room. When we re-did our yard, we put a patio outside, with an umbrella, table and chairs. It is our "summer" room...we spend so much time out there in the warmer months. I also love that you did the pub thing in your home during the lockdown. Very clever. Our thing was getting takeout and having picnics at a new park every week. I've never picnicked so much in my life, lol.

Lori said...

I am not a fan of public speaking either, but you get better the more you practice. It is not as bad for me now, but I prefer to not have to do it.
I remember you talking about the room in #1 back during early covid and you were doing the pub thing. I love that story. What a great idea! Loved your answers! Have a nice day!

CountryDew said...

I read a for-real post yesterday that claimed that computers aren't what we think them to be, that the motherboards are really magic spells and the boxes are actually filled with demons. Does that make you a demon tamer? :::eye roll::: I would like to know more about your accomplishments. I know you've travelled and do well with computers and write well. What else?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Me, Myself & I,

We also have an outside "pub" called "The Cat's Head" - which is only open when the sun is out on weekends in the summer.

Picnics in the park are also a great idea.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lori,

I don't think I@m that bad at public speaking because I hide my nerves quite well. I do say "erm" a lot though.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

I might spill the beans one day but I don't like to blow my own trumpet - or trombone even.

A demon tamer? That made me laugh. Computers aren't dempns although I do swear at them a lot. I am sure that there are some people who are spreading such nonsense - a bit like flat earthers. I might just do some investigation. Thanks for the idea.




River said...

#1: I am also grateful for 'the room'. While it isn't my dream room in my dream home, it's far better than a cardboard box in an alley somewhere. and it has airconditioning.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

And Down Under you need all the air conditioning you get.