Friday, February 24, 2017

My Sit Stand Desking.

My new study is taking shape: bookshelves made for me by a local wardrobe manufacturer, and then a wardrobe doubling for the occasional guest, but mainly containing shelving for my stationery.

I am particularly pleased with my new (to me) desk bought from a used office furniture place.  It not only fits into the space we left for it (phew!), but is also height-adjustable so that for the first time ever I have a desk at the correct height for my (almost) 5'3'' frame.  My feet are flat on the floor!  My elbows are at desk height, and the top part of my screen is at eye-level.


Now that the 'sit' part is satisfactory, I am contemplating adding an adjacent 'stand' or 'walk' part so I can alternate between the two.  Instead of having a desk that adjusts up and down, I am thinking of buying a stand for another monitor (which mirrors the first) with a low-powered treadmill beneath.  Then, when my FitBit commands me to move, I can - all the time continuing with whatever I was doing at my desk.

Monday, February 13, 2017

What I'm Doing 44

What I'm watching
Just finished watching Professor Simon Keay as he takes a minibus along the route that a small boat would have taken along the Claudius Basin of Portus.  Somehow, substituting a minibus for a boat, there is the same effect of drifting gently along, and Simon Keay is the perfect tour guide into the Roman past.

What I'm Listening to
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Although I enjoyed Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess, it was very long and sometimes quite miserable, so it's quite a relief to plunge into something where the two heroines seem to be suffering from some sort of depression (and coping in the modern way with a carrier bag full of ready mixed gin and tonic).  Strangely, I find this cheering.

What I'm reading.
Still reading Into the Woods by John Yorke.  I am still working my way through the initial thicket.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Snail Serum

One of my favourite parts of the Times is the conversation in 'The Lowdown'.  On Wednesday it was written by Hilary Rose on the topic of Snail Serum, and was particularly good:

'I am growing concerned about the visible signs of ageing and I am intensely gullible,' 

'Excellent.  You've come to the right beauty hall.  Might I present Madam with the latest thing in moisturisers?  It's made with snail slime.'

After establishing how the snail slime moisturiser is made, and where (Italy), the intensely gullible one is able to summarise how the different nationalities utilise the snail. 

'In England we squash them.  In France they eat them.  In Italy they smear them on their faces...'

Thus providing 'definitve proof' that 'The European project is doomed'.

Excellent.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Portus

It's almost a week late, but I have just finished the first unit of the Roman port of Portus.  So far I've seen how the port developed under Claudius and Nero and now have a burning desire to go there.
It must have been an amazing place in its hey day with its hexagonal pool, columnated piers and massive port of ships enclosed by walls.  And then, burning on the western end, was a massive lighthouse built on a sunken lump of concrete (now standing outside St Peter, I believe, in Rome).  

This weekend I intend to try and finish the second unit so that I am properly caught up for Monday.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

DIY Book Launch

It is a little overdue, but I am planning the launch of my latest book.  The venue and date is fixed.  The guest list is mostly compiled.  Tonight I have been designing and printing out invitations and shall be delivering most of them myself to people in the city.  It is a local book after all, which was one reason why writing it appealed so much to me.