The Meerkat Muse – 11/1/23

person pouring champagne on champagne flutes
Photo by cottonbro studio on

So, here we are, with the opening Muse of 2023. What has the New Year offered us so far?


Let’s rewind a little bit, to the conclusion of 2022. That year ended in a similar vein to how it began, namely, with covid-19 running amok through the household. In January 22, my wife, daughter and I all came down with the virus, and my daughter tested positive for it on Christmas Day (of all days). Soon after, my wife tested positive, and the very next day, so did I. It’s not an absolute given that someone will catch it if sharing a house with someone else, but with three of us, the task of avoiding infection becomes that little bit harder. We share a toilet, bathroom, and kitchen. Despite sanitising, and generally trying to avoid each other, the mission to avoid the virus was next to impossible.

I dare say I felt somewhat worse this time around, though it’s tricky to gauge. It was a different kind of experience, with the famous covid cough playing more of a part. I had a couple of days off work, understanding that it might affect my pay (thanks to the government ending various employee protection schemes), but I was pretty rough, and my being at work would only expose my colleagues to greater risk, no matter what we did. It’s not like I could talk to customers, or use the phone, and I shouldn’t really have been using a computer.

So, what was I to do? The consequence of the government’s rule changes is that people are virtually expected to go to work, despite carrying a highly contagious disease (which is a known killer), or face a reduction in their earnings. When you work in retail, the chances of exposing others to covid go up considerably, but let’s not let public health get in the way of the economy eh?

New Toys

I write this Muse on a new laptop, which is the direct result of an extraordinary piece of generosity, for which I am extremely thankful for. This generosity has also enabled us to get a new fridge, which is less exciting to me than a laptop, but it’s certainly useful! In fact, the new fridge is ever-so-slightly bigger than the old one, so that means more room for the essentials.

The timing of this is handy. The previous laptop still works, and it’s no slouch, but the charging port is acting up. It’s definitely the laptop itself, as I got a second charger, and the connection is loose. It does charge, but you have to sit in exactly the right position for it to do so. Now we have two good laptops in the house, so I can work freely on the website, and write my stories, whilst my wife does what she does. It’s win-win.

Speaking of new toys, there is another one, and I may have already recounted the saga of the air fryer, but I can’t remember, and I can’t be bothered to trawl through previous Muses to find out, so you’ll have to bear with the repetition. I ordered one to collect from a well-known electrical retailer, and it didn’t show up, so I arranged to cancel it, and ordered another one. That then also failed to turn up. It was stuck at a delivery depot, and it was touch-and-go as to whether it would arrive before Christmas, but as luck would have it, it did. It also transpired that the click and collect order then arrived at the local store on the same day, which is just typical. I got that one sent back, and got my refund.

Speaking of repetitions…

The Awakening Ad

Yes, I know, it’s tiresome right? But I gotta do it. I have to plug my book, so I will.

The powerful Chon’ith Empire has expanded rapidly and aggressively, conquering all in their path. Stubborn and dogmatic, the Chon’ith do not accept retreat, and for years their passionate approach to warfare has won them many battles – until they pick a fight with a clever, cunning enemy.

Superior Chief Seluban watches as his fleet torn is apart by the superior tactics and technology of their new foe and does the unthinkable – he retreats. Excommunicated and shamed, he is banished to Coward’s Forge, an inhospitable wasteland, but he knows time is against his Empire. Somehow he must unite a band of outcasts and lead them to revolution before everything he loves is destroyed – but will he destroy it from within first?

US readers can order it here, UK readers can order it here.

Ink Ideas

My wife is dead-set against this idea, but I am actively looking into a Star Wars tattoo… on the same arm as my Star Trek tattoo.

My wife’s actual mood

My first-choice Star Wars tattoo would be a lightsaber. I’m leaning towards a blue or green one (Jedi colours), and in keeping with most of my tats, something minimalist. Of course, I could go all evil, and succumb to my inner Sith Lord…

Also my wife, approving of my descent to the Dark Side

Currently, my leading option is this:

Elegant, right?

In considering a new tattoo, I recently became embroiled in yet another discussion with a long-time religious fundie sparring partner, who derided tattoos as ‘not being constructive’. When I pointed out that the works of Beethoven aren’t constructive either he… did not reply to that point.

It’s a meaningless remark. Tattoos are not intended to be constructive, so criticising them for not being constructive is like criticising water for being wet. All his rant served to do is demonstrate that he is a killjoy, and what’s better is, the New Testament (remember, this supersedes the Old Testament laws, according to some Christians) makes no pronouncements about tattoos! Tattoos are a great form of self-expression, and can be used to convey love, excitement, passion and remembrance. Constructive? Not really, not in a general sense, though to the individual getting them, a tattoo can be cathartic. I’d say that’s important.

Exercise and Relaxation

Given that I have become horribly out of shape during the last couple of years (if I can ever say I’ve been in shape), I really need to start working on getting into shape. My wife would point out that round is a shape, but it’s not the shape I want to be in! The early regime includes 25 sit-ups, 25 press-ups, and running in short bursts around the block. The initial goal isn’t to develop a rippling six-pack, but instead, to shift the belly I’ve developed, and to feel generally better in myself.

Then there’s the theory that a healthy body will equal a healthy mind. Maybe this be of assistance in helping me to focus, and to generally feel better about myself.

Lately, there have been a few sources of stress in my life, and I don’t know how to resolve any of them. In the absence of immediate answers, some sort of exercise regime might offer me a means to de-stress.

One thing I’ve immediately remembered is how painful sit-ups are. Still, no pain no gain, right?

This feels like a brief Muse, yet I have reached the end, and feel like I’ve said all I can say for this particular cycle. Or have I…


One final flourish! So, I had a dream the other night, that invoked Obi-wan and Anakin’s epic lightsaber duel in Revenge of the Sith, except it took place in a different way. Anakin lost a leg to a deft chop from Obi-wan whilst fighting in some random room, but kept trying to fight, despite hopping everywhere. Anakin then tried to blow fire at Obi-wan, who pushed it back, giving Anakin his famous burns. The whole thing felt weird, and I actually woke up, from how weird it was.

No, I don’t know what prompted this dream.

That’s all folks, at least for now! Tune in next time!

Please follow and like us: