24 August 2014


With the air cool and crisp, my morning run to work has regained some of the magic it had when I first arrived. Finally, after 18 months, 19 months of sliding, my body is starting to come back to where it before we left the UK the first time. Better still is the sense that it will not all fall apart in a moment, something that has kept me feeling uneasy in an imperceptible way: Yoko calls it being 'nervous', a strange katakana word that has a different sense in English than it does in Japanese.

After choosing to join the Harborne gym for the pool membership, I have had a mania for making the membership worth all the money it costs and have been going every day to work out, lifting weights and doing the sort of mad interval cum kettlebell training that matches my masochistic approach to healthy living. When you run, you automatically regulate yourself for distance rather than speed. If you are going to run three miles and you run a lot, you will pace yourself naturally, but you won't tend to push yourself. With the interval and kettlebell training, the increments are much easier to see — more reps, more sets, higher weights, less time resting. There is something remarkably satisfying about expending all your energy.

This alleviates some of the unease, although not all of it. I want to push that button, whichever button it is to make yourself more content.

Yesterday, Naomi kept asking to go to Queen's Park to pick up conkers and chesnuts. It was just before dusk and quiet in the park, the sun going down on the other side of town. We paced around under the trees and came home, down behind the fish and chips shop, chatting in the way you do with a seven year old, like suddenly you have interesting things to talk about. We held hands, and came home and Yoko was baking in the kitchen. I hung up my coat and Naomi sorted the things she had found.