May is all but over and we have had two solid months in lockdown. Although the restrictions are being relaxed in the UK, we still have plenty to get through before we are truly back to normal, whatever normal really is.

1. Quote of the week

Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries on and on, and misses everything. Not hurrying, the purposeless life misses nothing, for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully open to receive the world.


In fact the gardener never ceases to prune, clip, weed, and train his plants, but he does so in the spirit of being part of the garden himself rather than a directing agent standing outside. -- Alan Watts, The Way of the Zen

2. What I've been enjoying

I have been enjoying the one to two hours in the morning before the working day starts. I have been working on my Russian and writing some pages for one of my books.

Finally, I have actually enjoyed a bottle of wine I made. I made Parsnip wine in 2016 for a competition but didn't enter it. It has been in the garage in bottles wrapped in paper. It is crystal clear and drinkable. There's still work to do on my winemaking.

3. What I'm reading

I've picked up a book that I started last year and didn't finish. The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz is a comprehensive 500-page volume on virtually every fermentation you are likely to encounter. This book must have taken years to write. The print and layout are easy on the eye. I finished the last chapters this week, but I will need to dig into it again at some point.

4. What I'm doing in my free time

I have been back on my bike. In 2012 I cycled from London to Paris and in 2013 I cycled from London to Brussels via Amsterdam. I'm currently doing short 30km rides on my single-speed bike. It has no gears, so hill work is interesting. Still, it is a way to out into the fresh air and get around quickly.

If I had the time, I would cycle to Amsterdam again, by cycling to Harwich, taking the ferry to Hook and then cycling up the coast later turning right into Amsterdam. Of course, once you go, you are also committed to getting back the same way. We will see.

5. What I'm learning more about

One Russian Verb a day. Every morning, I pick a verb and I conjugate it. Then I write two examples of the verb in the present tense, one in the past imperfective, one in the past perfective, one in the future imperfective and one in the future perfective. It takes 10 - 15 minutes, requires a bit of creativity and helps with the learning of the language.