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It’s been an uplifting few weeks with a new art project on the go and a weekend away. Mike and I went to Lincolnshire and I really enjoyed it. It was relaxing and great just to do nothing in particular, wander around and enjoy the sun, sea, sand, fish and chips. I’d never been to either Grimsby or Skegness before so it was nice to see something new. I was surprised how much of a ghost town Grimsby was – when the shops were closed they all rolled down massive heavy-duty metal shutters, and even during the day only about one in five shops appeared to be open – but then again, I didn’t expect much else because it has always been a port, not a pretty seaside tourist place, and it doesn’t have a beach so I was kind of anticipating it all being very functional. The fish and chips were definitely as good as the hype!

Skegness was different from what I expected. I thought it would be bigger and tackier, something like a mini-Blackpool, but really it isn’t all that much larger than Cromer. There are a few more amusement arcades and they are a bit bigger, and there are more food stalls, but apart from that the atmosphere is really similar. I thought the beach would be crowded in July, like the pictures I’ve seen of Bournemouth and Brighton on a sunny day, but although there were plenty of people it was far from being crowded. It was lovely just to walk along the beach feeling the sun and the wind and the sand underneath your feet. Beaches always feel timeless to me. When I’m on the beach I vividly remember being a little girl, and in one part of my mind I can see myself as an old woman walking on the beach too. It’s also quite bizarre to think that I’ve never been to the beach on my own – apart from one time at Southend just after I’d dropped Mike off at the airport for a flight. For me, the beach is something to enjoy with other people, family or a loved one, and I think it would be quite melancholy to be there on my own. I suppose it’s because I don’t live near the coast, so it’s always a kind of adventurous pilgrimage that I undertake with somebody else. If I lived near the coast, it might be different. I can see how it could feel freeing and cleansing, but for me it would be sad because it would mean Mike was outside of the picture for some reason.

I saw Punch and Judy for the first time, which was great! I also had the opportunity to visit a cute and amazing shop in Lincoln which sold pretty much only Russian dolls. Strangely, although I think everyone in England knows what Russian dolls are, that was the first time I’d seen any for real. I was able to buy a ‘paint your own’ set. In fact the shop has a website! – it is Annushka.  Apparently the matryoskha represent different stages of your life, and you can paint them any way you want – either all the same pattern decoratively, or they could be different stages of a story.

So I have one art project on the go at the moment – making slow but steady progress – one idea lined up, plus the matryoskha to paint, and my Ravellenic Games knitting project (6 squares, that will go into my blanket later) is coming on alright.

We had an episode in the office last week where we found a nest of maggots in my boss’s bin while she was away on holiday. It was kind of gross but I thought it was funny at the same time. I hoovered them up and now I’ve been told they will apparently live inside the hoover and crawl back out. Fortunately it isn’t our hoover but I’m reluctant to bring it back in the office now! (It’s a shared office building so all the companies use the same hoover.) I’m hoping it works something like incey-wincey spider, and every time they get half way down the tube the cleaner turns the hoover back on and they have to start their journey all over again… until they die. (Or turn into flies, and then die.) I also had to throw the bin away because there were little maggoty bodies squashed between the metal grille of the side and the plain metal of the base where they overlap. It’s a good job I’m totally manly about that sort of thing. Just need a cape and a leotard.

Talking of leotards, I’m enjoying watching the Olympic Games. Everyone around me was very British and insisted right from when GB won the bid that it was going to be a disaster and they wished we’d never got the Games, but it’s actually going really well so far. For me it’s a bonus that Team GB are doing well (third on the medals table right now), I just like watching athletes compete, even if I don’t know anything about the sport. I don’t get people who don’t get sport. Yes, it’s ‘pointless’ to some extent the exact things that they do, but physical endeavor is never really pointless. Fitness is essential for survival – physical prowess is one of our most basic instincts. Physical prowess and competition. Put those two things together with intelligence and those are the three main reasons why humans have been able to make the progress that we have! Intelligence is great but it doesn’t do everything. First you have to have the physical ability to survive, to run fastest, jump furthest and endure longest, before intelligence can be much use to you. Even animals have ‘sport’ in the sense that they will race and play-fight with each other. I think a life without a desire to compete, no matter how slight (and not necessarily in a sporting discipline), must be a very flat type of life. And if you can understand and appreciate competition in one aspect, surely you can understand and appreciate sporting competition?!

I can’t believe my life is so boring that I just blogged about maggots. But it doesn’t seem boring to me. I met at the weekend with some old friends from university, but there isn’t anything to say about that. Everyone is the same as usual, some have kids which are growing bigger, people go on holidays, buy houses, life goes on.