My second week of Deliberate DownTime feels like it has been much more reflective and less doing. Which is exactly what I was hoping for during this time off. To quote this article

Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list

I want to spend some of this time feeling, being, reflecting and learning about myself. This week was heading in that direction.

I know very little about Greek Mythology.

On Monday I went to Brighton Dome to hear Stephen Fry talk about his new book Mythos. We used to have audiobooks of him reading the Harry Potter books, and they were gorgeous. Hearing him speak from a stage is no less enjoyable. He introduced us to characters, and to the stories, and I realised just how little was familiar to me. As part of the ticket price we got a copy of the book, so hopefully that’ll enrich my understanding and fill in some of those blanks.

Toys behind glass feel weird

I went to the Brighton Toy and Model Museum during the week. I’d never been before and yet have walked past it hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I have no particular interest in model trains or cars, so that aspect was a bit lost on me. I was impressed with the scale of the holdings, but couldn’t rustle up any fascination for the specificity of the models. I did, however, have emotional reactions to two displays.

One was the case full of dolls. I found them uncomfortable. I think it’s mainly about the eyes. Those fixed eyes were staring at me. Shudder!

The second was the cabinet of cuddly toys. Some of the cuddly critters are threadbare and have been loved, taken on adventures, and now they’re behind glass. I kept thinking about The Velveteen Rabbit and how loved toys become real. And that these once loved toys are now imprisoned behind glass. I wanted to know their stories, who had they belonged to, where had they been, rather than the dry ‘Made in Germany in 1930’ facts. I think what I wanted was more a Museum of toys and the stories they can tell us.

Murmurations are still mesmerising


We’ve been blessed with some stunning sunsets again this week. And the starlings are out mesmerising with their murmurations. I find the ebb and flow joyous and uplifting. I know I mentioned them last week as well. But they are such a joy to behold.

The Jubilee Library is a relaxing space

I’ve met a few people for coffee or lunch this week. In between these, I’ve taken to sitting in the library and writing or reading. As a child, I went to our local library in Hull with Mum every week or fortnight. They are places of comfort and familiarity. I understand what they are and how they work. And I like our Brighton library with its mixture of books, other media, workspaces, meeting places, cafe. It’s a vibrant, living space with a lovely relaxed energy.

Title doesn’t equal content

A friend and I went to the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne. I haven’t been to Eastbourne for a very long time but someone had suggested that the gallery was worth a visit. So off I went. It’s a lovely space, wonderful high ceilings, simple, clean architecture to give the art a place to shine rather than distracting or clashing.

The exhibition that had drawn me in was titled Who You Walk With Alters What You See. The exhibition didn’t grab me. I wasn’t entranced by it, and I didn’t understand it. But I adore the title. Although as a thought I’d probably change it to ‘Who you walk with alters what you notice’. For instance:

  • If I’m walking with the dog, I’m more likely to notice woodland mammals, other dogs, things that will attract or distract her.
  • If I’m walking with my partially sighted friend (who went with me to the exhibition), I’m more likely to notice possible obstructions and trip hazards.
  • If I’m walking a walk I’m familiar with, but with somebody for who it is new then I’ll point out my favourite spots (which I did on Monday with a friend).

And so I do notice different things with different people. Which isn’t something I’d previously considered.

And it wasn’t a wasted trip as I got a lot of pleasure out of the A Green and Pleasant Land exhibition, and especially a couple of works by Graham Smith.

So, another enjoyable week. And one where I’ve balanced doing with being.