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leaning in

The time has come for me to make a stand. From Monday (12th April), I will get back to doing some freelance work in PR and web development, along with bringing one or two of my blogs back to life. Rhona is throwing everything she has at Pumpkin Cakes, so I will be helping to market that business for her.

I am deep into developing a new website for the rebranded football club; I am the secretary. That is going to need at least another three weeks of work to finish. The most important item on my agenda, though, is taking care of my son. He and I need to get out and do more in the way of exercise. It will be good for both of us. That is all.

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being apart

I didn’t realise just how much I would miss my wife. She is away on an orientation course as part of her new job in the telecoms sector. She only went away yesterday, but already that feels odd to me. If I go away, the daft thing is that I don’t feel the separation anxiety as much.

So, it’s just Karta and me for the week. This is the last week of term for mainstream schools, and so Karta will be finishing up his latest round of homeschooling on Thursday. I hope to make plans to meet up with friends and get out into the woods for some needed exercise and fresh air.

As for me, well, I have plenty of chores to keep me busy, plus I am going to make time to sit at my desk and write posts for this blog every day. Today is, after all, the day when lockdown restrictions are eased a bit more. We are now allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to six people from two different households. Outdoor sports venues are reopening, which includes the football club that I am involved with.

That’s all I have to say for now, stay tuned for a lot more going forward.

JP

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my new normal

For the first time in many months, I find myself alone at home; this is rare.

So, what did I do with this slice of freedom? I cleaned the house, listened to some music and watched a few YouTube videos. Is that constructive? I don’t know, but anyway, it has all lead me to sit down and spew forth some words of encouragement and reflection.

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526

I’m still trying to find some direction in my life. I dream of adventures, long journeys by car, train or motorcycle. I dream about building a racing car with my son, something that we can take to track days together. I dream of climbing mountains and hiking along deserted beaches in the warm winter sun of some far off land.

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497

DEALING WITH AN UNRELIABLE PERSON IS AN EXERCISE IN ZEN!

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Qi Skills for 21st Century Living

We began homeschooling Karta in January of this year. We have developed a learning regime that works well for our son. Now, as he heads into adolescence, I have been looking into the life skills he will need to survive in the 21st century.

This morning, I came across the concept of Qi skills, a series of attributes that will benefit children of the 21st century. They are as follows.

  1. Me skills: self-awareness, self-control, focus and attention
  2. We skills: empathy, collaboration, active listening, communication, perspective taking = Emotional Intelligence
  3. Why skills: exploration, curiosity 
  4. Will skills: drive, determination, perseverance  
  5. Wiggle skills: physical and intellectual restlessness  
  6. Wobble skills: agility, adaptability, ability to face, overcome and learn from failure  
  7. What if skills (possibility skills): innovation, imagination, creativity, out-of-the-box thinking

In addition to these skills, we are teaching Karta how to do the laundry, cook a meal, shop for food, travel on public transport, wake up independently and how to pack a bag. He is learning how to order food at restaurants, manage money, plan an outing or a trip and, soon, how to care for another living being.

We will show Karta that he must have love, compassion, altruism, morality and justice in his heart as he moves through life. Most of these skills are not taught in school, so we are lucky to be in a position to prepare Karta for the beautiful life that is ahead of him.

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New Villagers – Orangutans

Karta and I went to visit the newest residents at Wingham Wildlife Park. These Orangutans are the females of the clan, and the males were in a pen next door.

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Educating Karta

On Monday the 6th of January 2020, we sent a letter to Karta’s school asking them to remove him from the register.

We are now providing Karta with a full-time education at home. Our focus is on the three Rs, reading, writing and arithmetic.

Karta will also be allowed to follow his passion for videography and ecology. For the next six months, Karta will be going back to basics with KS2 and KS3 maths, English and science. He will also continue with KS3 Spanish.

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91: Opening Up to Learning

So, I have decided to study for an Open Degree through the OU.

I will mostly be studying creative writing, which I am hoping will help me to forge a writing career, before I get too old at least.

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90: Time to Re-evaluate

2019 is fast approaching, and along with it a considerable amount of uncertainty. People I know are burying their heads in the sand and saying shit like “it will all sort itself out, I don’t know why you let it bother you”.

Well, fuck that. How can we sit by and watch the people that run our country, drive us into a brick wall at 100mph?

Anyway, the uncertainty is making me think again about my place in the world. So, 2019 has to be an excellent time to make some serious changes to the way I live my life.

First up, I am going to resurrect The Rennsport Report and start writing things that interest me, not what someone else tells me to do.

There’s a bunch of other things in the pipeline, but I will wait until the new year to start banging on about those.

Cheers.

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86

Well, I’ve made it to 50!

Today will be a day of celebration and new beginnings. I ask you all to raise a glass because today is the start of the rest of my life!

I love you all.

JP

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85: The UN is right: austerity has laid waste to Britain. Look at our schools

When children’s lunch is reduced to cold food and biscuits, something is seriously awry
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/18/what-hope-for-pupils-when-schools-can-only-afford-biscuits-for-lunch?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

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84: Hackett Five-O

With less than a week to go before my 50th birthday, I have been thinking about what I should try to do with the rest of my life.

There are a bunch of things that I need/want to do, but in the short term, I need to create a daily schedule, while I think of the bigger picture.

So, here are my plans.

  • Meditate daily
  • Fast daily
  • Read a book per week
  • Write every day
  • Walk for an hour per day
  • Support Karta with his school work
  • Revamp our finances

There will probably be more, but for now, these are some simple things that will be put in place to help keep me fit and sane.

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80: Promises and the Black Dog

For the first time in a while, I stood in front of my bathroom mirror today and had a conversation with myself. I looked myself in the eye and made a heartfelt promise to myself and my family.

Does that make me weird, talking to myself like that?

I am trying to live an honest life; but, discretion is the better part of valour, they say. 

I need to stop lying to myself and change my destiny. I need to find the genuine version of me, not some amalgam of who everyone thinks that I should be.

The real me feels buried beneath 40-years’ of pretence. My life has been bent and twisted out of shape so many times that I have forgotten who I am. I have been many things to many people, but the real version on me lies trapped.

It is time to peel back the layers of accumulated bullshit and come back into the light. The black dog will never be able to hurt me again.

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78: School is very oppressive: why home-schooling is on the rise

Exams, rules, timetables: do teachers know what’s best for children? Increasing numbers of British parents don’t think so.

http://bit.ly/2DnxaWr

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73: Cakes, Cults & Rally Cars

The time has come for me to make some considerable changes to the way I am living my life.

I have had too many fingers in too many pies for too many years now. I’m always trying to come up with a way to make a living, but I don’t seem to be able to get out of this rut.

I turn 50 this month, a half-century of floundering around with nothing to show for it. That said, I do have a beautiful wife and a fantastic son, and they are the most important people to me.

So, what am I to do? Well, I am not going back to using social media regularly, and I am not going to take on any extra projects that do not directly benefit my small family.

The list of projects that I am involved with is getting smaller, and now I have started to develop a bakery business idea with my wife; although that is going to take several months to come to fruition.

My motorsport writing career is also on indefinite hold; having spent hundreds of hours writing about race & rally cars, I have come to realise that I need a break from all of it, at least until the new year.

My other blog, Cult of Zoid, has been neglected for quite some time, mostly because of the motorsport writing. I am going to fix that and get back to writing at least one memoir or op-ed for CoZ once per month.

My intermittent fasting is going well, although I am still making small course corrections as I try to find the best times for me to be eating.

Over and out.

JP

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70: The Obesity Inversion

Obesity is the most significant health crisis facing most of the western world. And so it is in my house.

I have struggled with being overweight for most of my adult life, and now I can see a similar pattern emerging with my son.

Several weeks ago I decided to follow an elementary form of intermittent fasting. The rules are quite simple, eat whatever you like, but only within a small window during the day.

So, I stop eating at around 6 pm every day, and then fast until at least lunchtime the following day. That’s it.

My wife is doing the same and seems to be doing okay. My son, on the other hand, is piling on the pounds. I think that it is down to a lack of regular daily exercise, combined with consuming too many “treats”.

So, what am I to do? Well, the first thing is to increase the amount of exercise that Karta does each day. Now, instead of driving to the school gates to collect him, I park a couple of miles away and walk to the school; then, we walk back to the car together. It adds around 40 minutes to our day, but the benefits are twofold. I get in a solid 90 minutes of daily exercise, and Karta receives what he needs.

As far as his diet is concerned, I try to send him into school with a good packed lunch and plenty to drink. Once home, I limit him to one small snack, in the shape of a piece of fruit.

I try to give him his main meal if the day before 5 pm, then he is only allowed to drink water until his breakfast the following morning at 7 am.

I hope that we can begin to reverse the weight gain to a reasonable level, given that Karta is at the age when boys need to put on a few pounds, so we have to get it right.

Onwards and upwards.

 

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50

It seems to me that Brexit is going to cause a lot of damage to the UK economy.

Like when a massive storm approaches, it would be wise to take precautions. Between now and March 2019, I am going to limit our outgoings as much as possible, start selling everything that is surplus to requirements and make up a plan of action.

By reducing our monthly spending to the absolute bare minimum, and increasing our income slightly, we should be able to weather the storm.

I do not doubt that one of two things will happen; either we will crash out of the EU without a deal, or there will be so much public pressure on the government that they will have to have a second referendum to decide if we stay put or shoot ourselves in the foot.

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47: September, again

Life is moving along at a reasonably rapid pace these days.

I’m only weeks away from turning 50. Will I make it to 100, not unless I make some changes?!

So, nothing too fancy. Put good things into my body in moderation, convert some of that energy into movement and hopefully, I’ll be on my way to another fifty years on this planet.

Taking this approach to my health feels like the start of something sustainable.

A friend took a photo of me yesterday; when she showed it to me, I nearly fell off the chair. It is strange how reality can do that sometimes. Seeing an image of myself in profile made me realise just how bad things have become.

If I don’t make the changes that I need to make to my lifestyle, right now, I doubt I’ll have much more than twenty years left.

Living a modest life, free from stress, is all that I need.

I’ll meditate daily, open my heart and go with my gut feeling to guide me. If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.

September is about my son, my wife and myself. The three things that I need to put all of my energy into now.

That is all.

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40: The Priority Priority

Lately, I am being pulled in fewer directions that I have in the past.

I still don’t have a “day job”, and I’m continually trying to work out a way of getting paid for doing the things that bring me joy.

I love to write; I like to create imagery, watch movies and to travel. Most of all, I enjoy spending time with my family and a few close friends.

My priority has to be living a fulfilled life. My wife and son keep my compass true so that I might stay on course to something that really matters.

It would seem that I now need to pay close attention to my health once again.

Until next time, adieu.

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38: No-deal Brexit: EU warns its citizens to prepare for the worst

Bloc issues 16-page document and leaves open possibility of visa requirement for Britons

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/19/no-deal-brexit-eu-warns-citizens-prepare-for-worst

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37: Falling Down

As I made my way into the living room this morning, I failed to negotiate the giant fan that was in the doorway. I caught it as I stepped over it, and fell flat on my face.

As a big fat man, falling like that has ramifications. Everything aches, my neck is especially sore.

Note to self, try not to fall again, at least until I lose a ton of weight.

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36: Seperation Anxiety

My son is in France on a school trip, his first foreign trip without us.

He’s having a great time, I, on the other hand, am finding it hard. Whenever I am away, I know that Karta misses me terribly, and now I’m getting a little bit of that feeling too.

He comes home this evening, the last time I saw him was in the early hours of Wednesday morning; that feels like it was weeks ago. I can’t wait to see him and to hear about his adventures.

Over the coming months, I will be travelling to race tracks to cover various championships. I will go to those, do my work and head back to my family as soon as possible.

Home is where the heart is, my family means everything to me, especially when I am loved so profoundly.

 

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29: AFK – About Time Too!

We will soon be taking a long overdue holiday.

We’re not leaving the country, nothing extravagant, just getting away from it all for a week.

As some of you may be aware, my laptop died a few weeks back. I replaced it with a desktop and a dual monitor setup so that it won’t be coming on holiday with us, and that is not a bad thing.

I have decided to leave everything behind, except my smartphone (which will have the “DO NOT DISTURB” function switched on for the duration, whenever it might get switched on, which won’t be very often. I have bought a book to read while we’re away, I intend to start and finish it during the week.

I truly intend to be “off-grid” for the first time in a long, long time. So until I return, it’s goodbye for now.

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28: The Overwhelm

It is a funny thing, that feeling of being “snowed under”.

What is strange to me is that I am putting a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to get shit done. Recently I began writing again for a motorsports website. I don’t get paid for doing the work, but it is putting my writing in front of a vast audience.

I also do a little design work here and there, and I volunteer as webmaster & club secretary for a motorcycle club, and I am also a volunteer for my son’s football team. But, I don’t get paid for any of it. I am competent in all that I do, but I need to get paid somehow.

If I take a full-time job somewhere, I won’t have the time that I need to dedicate myself to my writing. I enjoy that more than anything else. Writing for free will open doors for me eventually, and it is a great way to hone my skills. Anyhoo, I’ll have to work something out. What I like about writing is that you can pretty much do it from anywhere. That appeals to me most.

Right, time for a shower and then off for a coffee with a friend, before I head back to the apartment to write an article.

 

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27: Daylight Robbery

Karta went out to play with his friend on Saturday afternoon. Within hours his friend was on the phone with me to tell me that Karta had his bag stolen, along with his smartphone.

Fucking scumbags had grabbed his backpack from the swing park that they were playing in.

The kids have learned a lesson the hard way.

On a brighter note, I’m writing again, and I managed to replace my laptop, which had unceremoniously shit itself. I lost a lot of data that wasn’t backed up.

I have learned a lesson the hard way.

 

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24: Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art review – an experimental masterclass

Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art review – an experimental masterclass

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/apr/30/shape-of-light-100-years-of-photography-and-abstract-art-review-tate-modern-london?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordPress

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21: The Enlightened Hermit

“It will be social suicide; you will disappear, and no one will know who you are!”