The productivity illusion

It has been niggling at me recently that somehow this year I have “got less done” than last year. The Ruthven output index seems hovering well below its peak. This thought particularly tugs at me when my inclination mid afternoon is to hit the sofa with a book and my knitting – “tch, tch” the voice in my head mutters…..And it does seem rather inexplicable. What is different? I have ruled out crumblitude (obviously) and given the glorious sunshine yesterday the weather is not affording me a get out.

“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

~ Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

And the truth, it seems, is that being locked in in relative solitude seems to set me off like a manic whirligig of creative energy. How funny. Next time I am feeling dull I will need to ask Keith to lock me in the Garret. Perhaps the witch (a much maligned group) was simply helping Rapunzel finish her groundbreaking novel. History and fable, of course, tends to be written by the acolytes of the Handsome Prince (who is often not half as good looking as he thinks).

Well that’s one truth. But the other truth (always best to have a few stored up I say) is that actually spending time having a laugh with friends and family is a scarce and valuable commodity, even if it can’t be stacked neatly in a drying rack with this year’s soap. And this year the colliery wheels above the Ruthven mine of social interaction have, creakily at first, started to spin around.

The third truth (the laws of rhetoric must be obeyed) is more prosaic. I have been quite unable to fix the tension in the sewing machine and it now needs to go to hospital.

So the long and short of it is that I have thoroughly forgiven myself and if the Christmas stocking is a bit thin this year so be it.

Having thus given myself a free pass for sloth, Lyra and I had a glorious walk in the sun around the fields yesterday. It was one of those sunshiny with a pleasing touch of breeze days. What started off as a short walk just extended and extended until we had walked all the way along the fields to the back road from Simprim to Swinton. At that point there was nothing to do but complete the circle and take the road home past Butterlaw. Playing with the panorama function I managed to get a wraparound view.

There are lots of buzzards around at the moment. Recently I have been strafed by a few rising from behind a hedge and skimming over my head. The view of the undercarriage this affords is fascinating. They have really quite large and muscly legs. Obviously this makes sense if you think about how they catch prey but as they flap to gain altitude and catch a current of air there’s something cumbersome about the (in that activity) rather useless limbs dangling down like a dead weight as they flap away. Once they get up and away the legs are pulled up neatly and it’s all sleek elegance and power again, but it’s a moment of vulnerability I find strangely touching.

Driving back in the dark from the BGH last night (Mum’s not so well, but they expect to have her on her feet in a few days) I caught a barn owl in the headlights. They are such beautiful birds. I surprised one once in an old barn in Brittany many years ago. We stared at one another in shock and fascination before it stretched and flew off. Keith has made an owl box for the window of the new garage but thus far it has been resolutely shunned. I do so covet an owl.

I really ought to go and get dressed now. I have been plinking away on my laptop in my PJs since I made the coffee yonks ago. It is one of those days I fear. Keith wandered through a while back, looking in amazement at his watch. ” I was going back to bed with another coffee for a long lie” he declared sorrowfully “but it turns out I’ve already had it…” I sympathised. We’ve all had that feeling when you gleefully anticipate the second finger of Twix and then discover you’ve actually eaten. However, having wandered out to let Lyra resume squirrel watch on the back lawn it strikes me that it is much too misty and autumnal for bedroom attire. I am now distinctly chilled. The cold misty air seems to have come back in with me and ruined the toasty ambiance of the kitchen. Time to crack on, with something or other…

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