Monday, 9 September 2019

Being over the hill. Bedtime browsing. What to read.

Running in the rain can be quite therapeutic, provided it’s gentle rain like we had this morning rather than the pelting-down stuff that put me off the whole idea the other day. So this morning I donned my running gear and off I went around the village. It was very quiet. On the fine mornings there have been masses of cyclists out and about. Today there was just me. The problem with running in the rain of course is that you are left with wet clothing at the end of it but it’s not really a big deal.

I suppose I should consider myself fortunate to be doing stuff like running at my advanced age. Professional sports people seems to be considered to be over the hill and too ancient to compete at an age when they might just be making a start in other professions. For example there is this a headline to an article about the great Rafa Nadal, still a very young man, in my opinion anyway:

 “Rafael Nadal cherishes moment at US Open as clock ticks on golden career.
The veteran was emotional after winning his fourth title at Flushing Meadows and knows that, at 33, his time may soon be up.”

If he were an actor he might just be getting into his stride, getting the big break and becoming famous. But the likes of Nadal seem to have been on the scene forever. He was a bit emotional and tearful after winning the US Open. And there’s a group of them who seem to have been competing against each other for years. I remember using Nadal and his early successes in AS and A-Level Spanish lessons long ago.

 “We have been here for 15 years almost,” said Nadal. “At some point, these days, going to happen sooner than later that this era going to end. Is arriving to the end. I am 33. Novak is 32. Roger is 38. Andy is 32, too. The clock is not stopping. That’s part of the cycle of life.”
 Is there a group of young players on the up and up ready to replace them? One can only hope so.

 I came across this little gem in the papers online:

 “Bedtime browsing by sleepless Brits in the middle of the night has resulted in a 23% increase in nocturnal spending over the last year alone, according to John Lewis. The department store chain said that online shopping between midnight and 6am now accounts for around one in 15 purchases that use its credit card.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, searches for duvet covers are the most popular item on the John Lewis site in the early hours, while headphones also come into the top 10 buys.
But the most common night-time purchase on the credit card – which can be used at any retail outlet – is for holidays and flights.”

Apparently Saturday afternoon used to be the peak time for credit card use but with the increase in internet shopping all that has changed. Now it's the wee, small hours! And there are odd patterns. People do more nocturnal online shopping when the clocks go back - long dark evenings and all that sort of thing. Also purchases are influenced by the rubbish shows on TV -oops! letting my prejudices show! The Great British Bake Off encourages the purchase of baking equipment and Strictly Come Dancing has people booking dance classes.

Personally I simply cannot imagine going to bed, opening up my iPad and starting to shop. What is wrong with people? Have they not listened to the experts saying that spending time staring at a screen before you go to sleep is not conducive to a good night’s rest? Have they not heard of reading books? Much more relaxing and generally better for you ... and for your wallet by all accounts.

Something must have gone seriously wrong with our education system in the last few decades if so many people have been turned off the idea of reading to the extent that they prefer to shop in bed. The school our teenage grandchildren attend insists that each child have a book with them at all times, to read in spare moments or if a teacher is absent and no work has been set or to read in tutor group while the form tutor does form administration work. This seems to be an excellent scheme but our grandson was complaining that his form tutor had told him that his book was unsatisfactory. It was a non-fiction work, explaining politics or something of that nature. His form tutor was insisting that he should have a work of fiction and that it should be something “more demanding”.

Now, I would have thought that a book explaining politics to a 14-year-old would be quite demanding enough.

And surely the important thing was that this was something he had chosen to read, that personal choice being a great incentive to continue reading!

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