Most of my time over the past couple of years has been taken up with writing a book on Gloucester pubs, cunningly titled ‘The Story of Gloucester Pubs’. However, having submitted the first draft of the book at the end of last year, theoretically I now have a lot of time on my hands.
There will, of course, still be periods of activity to read, revise and approve proofs, but these should be in fairly short bursts. In fact, the first was last week when my crudely hand-drawn maps were returned, beautifully rendered, for me to check.
My wife is quite happy with the idea that I now have more free time. Contrary to popular expectation she actually quite likes spending time with me, so we are trying to plan things to do together. The thing is, not having done this for some time it can be quite difficult to come up with ideas.
One obvious thing is to go out for meals or to visit pubs beyond my recent remit of Gloucester centre. I now also now have no excuse to get out of shopping trips, which I am generally less enthusiastic about. Today we went to Nature in Art in Twigworth to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.
This is the last weekend the exhibition is in Twigworth, so we only just managed to catch it, but it’s an excellent way to spend a couple of hours. These are incredibly talented and dedicated people and, unbelievably, there is a category for under-10s which would shame anything most adults would be proud of. You can check out some of the pictures at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/wpy/onlineGallery.do
We also had lunch in the pub first, so the day’s excursion ticked a lot of the right boxes. We went to the Queen’s Head in Longford, which was excellent. It has a good reputation for food, but just about manages to get the pub/ restaurant balance right. Good beer too.
We continue to look out for interesting places to go and things to do locally to stop us defaulting to vegetating in front of the TV, so any suggestions welcomed. Ideas for further excursions would also be welcomed to stave off the less welcome implications of having more time on my hands.
For the past couple of years I’ve been using my book as an excuse to avoid doing any DIY. Many suggest that this is the main driver for me undertaking these book writing ventures in the first place, which, of course, I deny strenuously. These avoidance tactics, however, have only delayed the inevitable and recently a list has appeared of all those things that I said I would get round to doing once the book was completed. This is a depressingly long list and it seems to grow as the days go on.
I am well aware that some men actively enjoy doing DIY, but I am not one of them. Sure, I get a sense of satisfaction when I set out with nothing but my wits and a few rudimentary tools and complete some impressive feat of home maintenance. Sadly, I am more familiar with the feeling of depression and disappointment that comes from having spent hours struggling on some simple task only to end up with it looking like a complete bodge carried out by crazed chimpanzees.
The real problem with having finished the book, however, is that I find I don’t actually have a lot more time on my hands. I have previously written about my tendency to use the computer to procrastinate when I was supposed to be writing and now I find that I can quite easily fill all my time with just the procrastination. There’s an endless amount of things to do on the computer without ever needing to go out in the fresh air or inexpertly wield tools.
The problem is, without the cover story of writing a book I have no excuse. My time on the computer is seen as nerdy time-wasting at best and deliberate work-avoidance, or even spouse-avoidance, at worst. Luckily I have another book in mind, so hopefully that should keep me going for another few years.