I got a book with the title Wild Swimming and two notebooks for my birthday from friends and family. People know me well :) thanks everyone for your birthday wishes!
Let’s Go Outdoors
I was spoiled with two trips to the Lake District this month. For the joy and misery of the first one to Wast Water, see my previous post here. The second trip was a camping trip on the bank of Ullswater. We visited Aira Force in the rain, cooked breakfast in the rain, played a lot of Dixit and Codenames because of the rain. The best thing was to take our tent down in torrential rain. But we had a boat tour on Windermere and went kayaking on Coniston Water (still have no photos!). My second attempt to swim in a lake this month failed. The river from the top of the mountain ran into Coniston Water and the water was freezing! I finally walked to the top of Hallin Fell and saw the impressive cairn – I’m very happy! The sun came through and the view towards the southwest just made me want to get lost in the arms of those blue mountains forever!
This month I spent some time studying this thing called Bullet Journal. To be very brief, it’s just a diary. It’s a place to write down your appointments and birthdays. To expand on that, it can be a place to write down to-do lists, personal reflections and anything you like. The main difference is, the shop bought diaries are planned out – they are one day per page, one week per page etc; but a Bullet Journal starts blank. The thing that annoys me most about a traditional diary is that Saturday and Sunday are usually squashed in the space of one day. Why do designers presume people are less busy at the weekend? Another unavoidable design issue is that I cannot write more than one page in one day. When there is a sermon to take notes of, I either have to let it spill over to the next day or use a different notebook. Even more annoying is when I don’t want to write anything for a certain day, that page is completely blank and wasted. I sometimes fill blank pages from previous days with sermon notes from later on, but it’s always a faff to label them, otherwise I’ll never able to find them again (e.g “the second half of sermon notes of 10 Sep is on the page of 10 Aug”). There’s no page number to refer to! All of these problems (and more) can be solved with a bullet journal. Pretty smart.
The downside is you need to be organised to do this. One example, you need to set up the diary at the beginning of each month by doing some intense writing (like half an hour) and some review of the previous month. Not a problem for me – that’s part of what I like about it.
Another problem (for me definitely) is the urge to make it pleasing to the eye. If you google “bullet journal”, the images of the pages are full of beautiful drawings and clever infographics. I can’t draw. I have decided to leave fancy things out and go for a minimalist look.
I did a trial run this month to see if it actually works in practice. It did really well and I like it. It combines all of the following: my to-do list, daily log (“5.30 got home and cook lamb stew”… I know I know, I must have OCD to write all of these down), personal reflection of the day, brainstorming for the next issue of the magazine, notes of photo editing tips, ideas for future blogs, notes of sermons and talks, good books I was introduced to recently, camping pack list. I can write as much as I like each day and everything has a page number so I can find it easily in the future. I’ll only show you the index page because everything else is too personal for the scary world of the internet. The trial is still ongoing – there are many things to tweak. A blank page gives you maximum freedom but requires maximum planning as well.
For the supplies, there are long lists on the internet. I’m using a Paperchase notebook for the trial run for now. But I got a Rhodia softcover notebook in a sale (feeling so blessed!) in Ryman. I tried a few pens and in the end made up my mind on a black Staedtler Triplus Fineliner.
I read a little bit of C. S. Lewis’ science fiction Out of the Silent Planet. I didn’t continue. I don’t like it. Hmm. Maybe I’ll try again.
I’m also reading John Piper’s When I Don’t Desire God and Timothy Keller’s Centre Church (for the second time). I like both but they’re so very different from each other! Book reviews to come.
I have been watching some photography videos on Youtube. At the beginning just to learn Photoshop and Lightroom tips, but now I’m watching behind the scenes and shooting tutorials too. They’re definitely educational and I learnt quite a lot, but I watch them for the inspiration and motivation more than knowledge. Hopefully there will be more photography posts here in the future. Watch this space!