Take Time

“I’m just waiting for the day to become night
And I’ll shine no shoes
In all those worn splits
Get back to normal
Lay it all on the table
You, seem so stable
But you’re just hangin’ on
Let go that expectation
Change the station
And find out what you want”

  • Courtney Barnett ( Things Take Time, Take Time)

 Back in the olden days , when I started running, the force of nature that is James Campbell, would take the beginners on runs at training. When we’d run up a hill, which this being Monaghan, we did a lot, he would always bellow at us “TAKE YOUR RECOVERY !”. I was always to polite/afraid/out of breath to ask what he meant, but I always assumed it was that  when you get the chance to stop, wait for others, and recover, take it.

With me, he was preaching to the choir.

Whenever there are options to anything and one of them is not really doing anything, that’s the one I’ll pick.

 It’s not laziness, per se.

It’s a sense of priority or proportion.

I saw a thing on Twitter yesterday , a thread of twenty suggestions no less, titled ‘Things you can do while the kettle boils that your home will thank you for ?”. Ironically I read it while I was boiling the kettle to make a proper cup of tea, and lo and behold , reading a thread on Twitter was not one of the twenty things mentioned.

The first one mentioned was taking out and rinsing your dishwasher filter. From there it rapidly descended into a bizarre world of practical things I’ve only ever done after months of procrastination, and at the point of my Soulmate’s gun.

Why in the name of Jehovah would I want to check , and soak, my showerhead while I wait for the kettle to boil ?

Time is far too precious to always be doing ‘stuff’ !

While the kettle boils I usually stand beside it and stare into the middle distance and …think. Sometimes I don’t even think. I’m in a ‘sleep’ mode. Recovering.

This week I have been at work for a few hours each day, without necessarily doing any ‘work’.

I am taking my recovery.

I am taking time.

With this time I have done Wordle, I have had a leisurely breakfast, putting on an extra poached egg, so I can enjoy one in peace while Pasta and Tuna share the other. I’ve gone for a walk, a whole 2.5k , over the road , past Peggy’s Puddle, through the village, to Mum and Dad’s , where I’ll have a proper cup of tea and a slice of Dad’s Battenburg. On my walk I’ll take a photo of a tree, Snowdrops, a wall, myself, Peggy’s Puddle, St.Dympna’s clock tower, and marvel at the beauty and magic of them all.

Dad drops me back home and I make a cup of proper tea for my Soulmate who’s arrived home for lunch. I listen to ‘The Rest Is History’ podcast.

I write.

I listen to Adult Mom’s ‘Driver’ because Baz thought I’d like it. Baz is not right about everything.

I listen to Slowthai, because Robyn has sent me a photo of our tickets to see him in Belfast in March. I will be standing at the back.

I watch a documentary about Hubert Butler ,and his wife Peggy Guthrie from Monaghan. I marvel at their bravery, and they way they were treated. I order his books. He was only celebrated for his writing very late in life. She has yet to be properly appreciated for her art. But despite all of their travails, they seemed to be very happy together. That makes me happy.

I listen to Blur on Tims Twitter Listening Listening Party. Alex James tells the story of being in a pub and someone put Wonderwall on the jukebox, so he got £5 worth of change and lined up their own ‘Essex Dog’ to play 20 times in a row and left. I remember doing something similar in McKenna’s one evening when some idiot had played Bon Jovi, so I played Munich by  Editors 5 times in a row.

I watch a documentary about the Beach Boys ‘Pet Sounds’ and can’t believe that very few people liked it when it came out. It took 20 years to go platinum ! Thinhs do take time.

I pre-order The Pillow Queens new album….with the signed newsprint….and XL tee shirt.

I watch Tommy Bowe grill a government minister on Ireland AM. Tommy Bowe is one of the nicest people on this planet and he just puts everyone in a good mood.

“70% of people are cutting back on their food bills and you’re trying to tell me you’re in touch with it, and then you sign off on a top civil servant getting an €81k pay rise.”

And I love him even more.

I’m not a big rugby fan. I get very excited by it, without really understanding it. My Soulmate and I had a magical visit to the Aviva Stadium as corporate guests once. Free bar, dinner cooked by Neven Maguire, and saw Ireland beat the South Africans, with Tommy Bowe’s glorious try :

“Conor Murray’s little kick…and on to it comes Tommy BOOOOOOOWE !”

In the olden , olden days, I was quite fast on a soccer pitch. I was quite useless, but fast. On the wing I could run with the ball and was rarely caught. My troubles usually began when I’d got past whoever was in front of me or chasing me , and then I had to do something constructive.

I was convinced to try out for Monaghan Rugby club and having looked at the game and thought, “I don’t have to kick it ? If I get the ball all I have to do is run with it….in my hands…and fall over the line at the end ? Magic !”

I was a very skinny 18 year old and went to pre-season training. For three whole weeks I was in heaven. Everyone was really nice. We did fitness training, played light touch pretend games,  and I was fast, and scored lots of tries. Without even getting particularly muddy. And then in the third week , at the end of training, we had a practice match. From the start, I caught the ball , ran to the line at the end, fell over, and everyone thought I was a great chap altogether. A few minutes later  someone threw the ball to me and again I darted off towards the line, but this time a giant Sasquatch of a man was standing in my way. I went to go inside him, and …. He simply picked me up and threw me over the line and snorted. I was mortified. Someone gave out to him, saying it was only a practice match. He glared at them, put a finger to his right nostril, pressed it tight, and sneezed out snot from his left nostril and turned away.

I was mortified and angry.

I know what you’re thinking.

I went away and did lots of gym work, three evenings a week, for three months, I trained on my own in Dernaseill , Granda’s old farm, tying a rope around an old tractor tyre and around my waist and running up sodden rush filled slopes, dragging it behind me. I drank raw eggs and milk. All the time thinking of the Sasquatch. And then I returned to training, waiting, and waiting for the practice match at the end….

If that’s what you thought, you’d be wrong. I never went near a rugby pitch again. If a team mate would do that to me in a practice match, what the hell would happen to me in a competitive match ?!? AND I don’t even really like sports !

But I will be roaring my head off, while not really understanding what’s going on, this Saturday, when Ireland take on France.

Over the last few weeks I’ve become a HUGE fan of having a Radox bath.

I lie there, listening to the best playlist EVER, (mine), and think about things. I flick through William Whitla’s ‘Newton’s Daniel & The Apocalypse’. From where I lie I can see the showerhead in the shower…it looks fine to me….after this I’ll have a cup of tea….and while the kettle boils , I’ll have a think.

I’ll take my time.

Somewhere, in a drawer, a file, or maybe a series of pixels on a screen, my results are ready. I have an appointment next Thursday to meet my consultant.

“Did you not ask the secretary what they were ?”

I did not.

There will be time for all that.

There is time now for walks, and walls, Battenburg, poached eggs with cats, holding hands with my SoulMate on the sofa while we watch terrible American crime shows, swapping music with the kids, Rioja, rugby, Parkruns, swimming in the sea at Clogherhead, making cups of proper tea, and staring off into the middle distance while the kettle boils.

Take time.



Author: paul

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