Today I have been alive for 43 years and 270 days. I weigh 12 and a half stone. Last weekend I drank 7 pints in total and about 6 bottles of beer. I also smoked 6 cigarettes or joints. I danced for about 30 minutes and chatted to a girl at the same time about lecturers striking and how it could affect her course. I interviewed 2 elderly people and they both talked about how Bristol is changing. I went on a date in Devon and walked along a river. She had an orange dress. It was sweet.

It sounds like Bridget Jones. Did she smoke joints and have sleep problems? Probably. Let me just make something clear. It’s been over 2 months since I took Class A drugs. And apart from last weekend and one or two other occasions (my argument sounds weak here) I have not got completely wrecked and nothing to the extent that I was in the past. A regular Friday night could consist of a lot of alcohol – drinking sometimes from 7 in the evening til 7 in the morning and 8/10 cigarettes + coke or mdma. Most of the time I have limited myself to say 4/5 beers on a Friday night and then 2-4 cigarettes but I now realise it’s the fags that have got to go. They are the cause of the adrenal madness. I’m sure of it and that’s why I’ve got the trembles again today. But, hey, things have been great.

I heard a great podcast the other day, ‘Soul Music’ and it was about ‘Who knows where the time goes’ by Sandy Denny. Someone was talking about how time slips away so much quicker the older we get and the answer to this he said was finding ‘novelty’. That struck a chord because that’s what I’ve been spending my whole life doing obsessively and because I had that same thought, that same fear always lurking in the back of my mind. And when I made that transition back in March and it coincided with my leaving work and finding a new direction in life – going headlong into tuition the feeling of positivity and self worth was incredible. What, of course, I then expected was it to carry on and on but time changes everything. We’re in constant flux. Perpetual motion. “You cannot conquer time”. How subtle are the nuances of our lives. We change so frequently and in so many ways and according to God knows what changes in rhythms of each of our days. And that is the joy and the sadness. However, for all my cod philosophising I am holding onto my happiness and pride in me but he was right – that scientist – it is always the newness of things that sparkle.

I had a vivid waking dream this morning that a blue tit had flown through my window and nestled under my pillow where my head was lying. I was so inert with tiredness I couldn’t move to let it out from under the pillow. It was one of those dreams where solving the dilemma seemed to last for ages longer than in reality. At least I had got back to sleep. I started waking again at 5 am yesterday and today. Shit. The trembles. Yes, I’ve got to give up the fags or go back to the 2 a week ritual. That’ll do.

Life goes on at No 48. Wassim left at the end of last year. I miss him. He’s back in Casablanca and he was replaced by Agus the Basque, a proud young man with Jesus hair and beard who is obsessed with football and mutters and shouts at the TV in expressions that I understand not but make me chuckle. I like Agus. He’s OK but we don’t really have that much to chat about. He’s actually young enough to be my son – 26 – and he’s quite shy. He also doesn’t really go out at all and I could do with some space here. So, I gave him his marching orders last night. He was surprised and gutted, I think. It’s difficult. It feels like breaking up with someone. I did start coming out with some of those stock phrases “It’s not you.” “It’s nothing against you.” “It’s just not working”. Anyway he’ll be gone in a month and it’s for the best. Life moves on.

Nick the landlord has now become my mate. He’s old enough to be my father. In fact the age difference between me and him is exactly the same as between me and Agus. Nick lost his wife very suddenly 2 years ago and I think he’s still reeling from it. I like him a lot: he’s outspoken, eccentric, extremely knowledgable and funny. We bonded while spending hours trying to put together a bedstead, both of us as hopelessly impractical as the next. He’s downstairs so he’s like a cross between a neighbour, a flatmate and a crazy uncle who comes to visit every now and again.

Oh, and Dr Glauber is back. Glauber is a visiting professor of nanotechnology at Bristol University from Brazil and lives in the basement. He makes tiny machines that can change the way or monitor changes in blood cells or something.  He was also here last Summer. It’s probably not what you’d expect him to be on a first meeting: he’s got Fijian style tattoos on his arms, he’s a body builder, has a sparkling stud in his ear and LOVES women, like really loves them to the extent of talking about sex stories for hours. In fact this was how we spent most of Friday night: me, him and Nick drinking beer and talking about sex. This is excellent news – not so much the sex stories but at last I have some company for Friday nights where for so long I have been a lone agent. Novelty. Of some sort.

Oh, and the other great inspiration in my life at the moment is Tom. My brother. He’s been playing piano since he was 4 years old and on the verge of becoming a father (any moment now) I feel like he’s made it. He is at last singing and playing the most sublime music and it touches me because it’s him. Him in my car when I’m listening to it. Him wherever I am. And because he feels the same way as me. About time. And about place. And I hear it in his music and it urges me to do even more with these minutes that slip away. I guess that’s why I’m here on this page, practising and it will get better, this. I’m going to work at it.

And that’s all for now.

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