My third attempt to visit Paul was successful.
On Monday we went for a walk on Ilkley Moor in the blazing sunshine, ending up (mercifully) at a pub.
On Tuesday we drove into the Dales and walked to Malham Cove.
The serene natural beauty of these places was remarkable. In some ways it reminded me of the Dorset countryside where I grew up, but with a different colour palette and more drama. Plus I’m an adult now so everything good has to also be bittersweet, whereas when you’re a kid you’re allowed to directly enjoy a tree or a rock without it being a metaphor for impermanence or whatever.
It helped a lot to spend a couple of days with friends.
It’s very hot in London again. The city is oppressive in this weather. With the windows closed it’s too warm to breathe; when I open the windows, insects and cigarette smoke and crap music drift in. I long for the autumn.
In fact the planet in general, and the UK in particular, are giving off real End Times vibes at the moment.
Recent local examples: the UK has no functioning leadership at a time of multiple crises; France is on fire, mainland Europe as a whole is running out of water and England is close behind; and energy bills are expected to exceed
£4k£5k per year, while the lamentable frontrunner in the race to become Prime Minister is spending her time defending record energy company profits.
So I could run my air conditioner to shelter from the extreme heat, but I probably can’t afford it. That fear has been psychologically powerful enough to keep me sitting here covered in a film of cheap sweat instead.
I don’t know what to do except despair at what we’ve inherited and where we’ve ended up: war, climate crisis, theocratic right-wing extremism, disaster capitalism, economic meltdown. Today it feels like my best bet is to hang in there for a few more decades, try to survive it, and then peace out before things get really bad.
I realise that’s not a very optimistic or constructive position but I feel genuinely helpless in the face of all this.
I had to run my gas hob for 15 minutes, taking photos of the meter before and afterwards, to unnecessarily prove which meter is connected to my flat. The gas can be turned off at the meter, so it’s much simpler to do that and see which property loses its supply, but — again — I’m just an amateur.
This decadent waste of Earth’s dwindling resources, like those columns of flame at the start of Blade Runner, made my flat even hotter and cost an unknowable amount of money. I sent off the photos and heard nothing back.
I hurt my back last Sunday by being alive and moving my body in a normal way. It barely registered at the time but the pain has persisted and intensified which now makes it difficult to do conventionally enjoyable things like sleep and walk around. I understand that this category of unprovoked random injury becomes inevitable as you get older, but that doesn’t make it any less upsetting.
In summary, I’ve been resting but not relaxing.