The Meerkat Muse – 17/4/24

Welcome back to the Meerkat Muse! We begin with some big work-related news, news that I hope will provide relief to a lot of people, albeit for different reasons.

I find myself having mixed feelings, because of the circumstances of a colleague’s resignation, but ultimately this will prove for the best for all parties. It grants much-needed closure, and brings to an end a lengthy saga of stress. With luck, a sense of normalcy can return to work.

New Specs

It’s been a while – five years in fact – since I had new glasses. I had an eye test last year, and it turns out my prescription is still valid, so I headed to my opticians, and chose a new pair of glasses. Not the most exciting news, but it was a long overdue moment. I dare say my new glasses have a certain elegance to them that I like. Plus, I won’t have to endure scratched lenses anymore!

The Quest for Fitness

Is this me? Hahahahaha NO.

Slowly – very slowly – I am building up to 100 sit-ups a day. On the 4th of April I managed 50, along with 10 press-ups (which were interrupted by the unexpected arrival of the cat). I managed 50 again on the 5th, and felt like I could have managed more.

Epic Disaster Dreams

Like clockwork, my subconscious treats me to some vivid and unusual dreams. In one of my latest blockbusters, I was on a mission to find out why a dodgy entrepreneur was using a fake space shuttle program to fleece money from people, and I found myself in Indonesia. I was investigating a launchpad when a local of the island invited me to see a volcano up-close. It was a very small volcano, and the young lad was pulling away chunks of rock with his bare hands, so that we could get a better look at the lava. He overdid it, and we were both momentarily buried under loose rocks and ash. We easily got free, and headed to his home. Meanwhile my wife and daughter were at some sort of stadium, which came under attack by Godzilla!

I think it counts as a foul if you squash the opposing team.

In a state of understandable panic, they fled, and we all met up near a canal or river, where we climbed a ladder to get underwater, but the alarm went off at that moment, thus ending the dream. It was fascinating stuff, quite dramatic and quite exciting!

I have no immediate interest in getting close to an active volcano!

Unseasonably Sunny?

Spring may have sprung, but April is associated with showers, and early April certainly delivered some of that. However, it also offered up a few surprisingly bright, and reasonably warm days. Meerkats prefer the sun to the cold, and I am no exception, so long may this trend continue.

The Big One

Would I be this…

Or this…

… come the conclusion of the latest edition of Liverpool’s epic rivalry with Manchester United?

The match, on the 7th of April, was not merely the final time that Jurgen Klopp would lead Liverpool against our fierce foes, it was also a pivotal moment in a tight, three-way title battle with Manchester City and Arsenal. Given how relentless City are, and given that Arsenal have found resilience, anything less than a victory could prove disastrous. As is now typical of Liverpool, they failed to beat a poor Utd side, and that concludes our part in this season’s title race.

As of the 7th, I was managing 60 sit-ups a day, just FYI. Did so again on the 8th 🙂

Solar Spectacles

The 8th brought the spectacular sight of a solar eclipse sweeping across the USA, and I have to say, I am envious of my American friends. Eclipses are stunning, and they help reveal some glorious details about our sun. Of course, there were some hysterical superstitious fools, presenting the eclipse as a portent of doom (Majorie Taylor Greene, a Republican politician from Georgia, has doubled-down on this claim, for reasons that are baffling to me), and others will have ignored safety advice (you should never look directly at an eclipse, and certainly not through telescopes/binoculars etc), but overall, it seems the sight was warmly received for the stellar marvel it was.

The 9th saw another 60 sit-ups!

Juggling Plates

Sometimes, do you feel like you have a lot of plates to spin? Right now I feel like that. Lately I have ended up with several customers – or potential customers – at work, which is certainly fine from a salesperson point of view, but I am now at a point where I don’t really want to absorb any more projects. Of course, whilst doing my best to heed this advice with my day job, I am not paying too much attention to it with my other, writing job! The sequel to The Awakening is nearing completion, then there’s the dragon story my daughter wishes me to write (which I’ll confess to not feeling confident I can do justice to), and then there’s the sequel to Fontana & Istilor. After all of that I have no idea, though The Awakening was intended as a trilogy, so a concluding part to The Chon’ith Saga will be written at some point.

Perhaps I need to focus more. I’ve certainly heard that from others, and considered it about myself. In terms of my regular 9-5 job, I have backed off a little in terms of orders, because I need to get my head around my current stack.

On the 10th, I upped my sit-up routine to 75, and started lifting weights too. On the 11th, I hit 100 sit-ups, and I hit that mark again on the 12th! Incidentally, my wife thinks my exercise kick is a sign of a mid-life crisis. I already have that planned out. I’ll buy a boat.

A Quiet Spell

In the run-up to the end of this particular Muse, not much happened. I continued working on my books, and carried on with my regular 9-5 routine. A couple of days off at the end of the Easter Half-Term meant a couple of lie-ins too, though my body clock doesn’t tend to have me sleep in much these days.

Troubled Times

There are events unfolding in the world right now that give me cause to worry. The conflict in Gaza is threatening to spill over into battles between Israel and Iran, and with that, the possibility that other countries could be dragged into something even uglier. It goes without saying that in a world of common sense, no one should seek out conflict, or desire war, least of all a war that could rapidly escalate into the most destructive conflict we may ever witness.

Is there any great sense in worrying about something totally beyond my power to control? In some respects, I’d say no, but something like this is a different matter. As I type, it’s the 13th of April, with Iranian drones due to reach Israel at 12am UK time. What sort of world would greet me on the 14th?

Predictably, the rhetoric was all about not escalating matters. Virtually all of Iran’s drones were intercepted, and so the world turned to Israel, with the question ‘what are you going to do?’ This ‘tit-for-tat’ situation is the scenario the world fears, because everyone believes they are entitled to the ‘final blow’, so to speak. Iran considers its actions a retaliation for a strike against their people in Syria, whereas Israel may conceive this as a matter that requires a response.

Awful Events

On Saturday, a man went on a knifing rampage at Westfield Bondi Mall in Sydney, Australia. No motive has yet been offered for his assault, which killed six people, and put a baby in hospital. There was a lot of immediate speculation that this had something to do with Islam, yet there is no evidence to support this, and the attacker himself is dead, shot by police. It has been suggested that the perpetrator was mentally ill, but hopefully people do not choose this moment to demonise the mentally ill.

Wizarding Wonders

I had a dream about Harry Potter, completely out of the blue. There was some sort of plot against Harry and his friends, as always, though all I can clearly remember was flying around on broomsticks. There were angry kids who hated Harry, and that’s about all I can recall.

A second dream swiftly followed, and this one took me back to my days selling sofas. The showroom was familiar yet different, and very crowded with sofas! I recall having a sense of anxiety; this job was very different in terms of pressure to where I am now, and I was not enjoying myself in the dream. To make matters worse, I suddenly remembered that I was still meant to be selling bathrooms, and that I was late for my actual job! Cue skipping out of the sofa job to go and do my real job. I didn’t feel especially guilty about that.


I finally bit the proverbial bullet and watched Barbie. The film, about a Barbie who discovers the real world is not at all what she expects, stars Margot Robbie in the titular role, and Ryan Gosling as a Ken who, like Barbie, has something of an existential crisis. Themes of feminism and patriarchy run deep within this film, despite the outward appearance of a family crowd-pleaser. Margot Robbie is sensational in her role as a conflicted Barbie, and Ryan Gosling is well-cast as Ken. I don’t know what I was expecting from the movie, but it certainly has layers and depth.

Blue Skies

Despite the world’s ills, there is something that has brought a smile to my face. The past few days have brought bright blue skies, and warmer conditions. We’re not looking at summer conditions just yet, and it may not last, but whilst we have it, I’ll appreciate it.

The Trial of Trump

I gave serious thought to a separate post for this, but in the end I could not be bothered. Suffice to say, the start of former president Trump’s trial into financial irregularities will be closely watched by his supporters and detractors alike. Trump’s worshippers have already concluded this trial is a sham, but some of his supporters may be prepared to accept whatever verdict is handed down. It’s certainly yet another deeply polarising moment, in a political sphere that’s about as polarised as it gets.

Grey Skies

So, having recently remarked on how warmer weather appeared to be on its way, and noting how it could fade away at any time, Monday delivered a very sharp reminder of how variable British weather can be. On Monday morning the heavens opened, and it was horrendous. April showers indeed!

Oh, I am rather ashamed to report that my exercising, whilst not abandoned, did take a hit. Such is the price of lone-trading days and being late out of work.

So we reach the end of this Muse. I’d hoped to reveal some big news, but instead, that may form the start of the next Muse. Watch this space, and in the meantime, love to you all 🙂

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