Monthly Archives:

March 2022


SWB on the curse of Wordle

Some things are sent to try us. Children. Pets. Wordle. Wordle started off for me as an enjoyable diversion from the woes of the day. It was Fi Glover, (of the ‘Fortunately’ podcast with Jane Garvey) got me on to it. It’s one of the highlights of her day, she says. Up she gets, pours a cup of coffee and climbs under the covers until she’s cracked it. It may seem sad that one of the best bits of her day happens before eight am, but given the state of the world, that may be the case for most of us.


However, what turned out as ‘a bit of fun’ for me, has inevitably, morphed into a  torment. Oh, the gloom which descends when I struggle to find the solution, because increasingly, these words can be strange and elusive. Don’t start me on the American spelling of humour from a few weeks ago, that nearly turned me off Wordle altogether. But it didn’t, because now I’m hooked and sadly for me, LSB is too. He’s also irritatingly good at things, and he’ll mildly trill, ‘Got the Wordle on the second go!’ while I generally take four or five. I no longer associate the word ‘great’ with any success. Surely it should be ‘mediocre’, if you’re only one step away from ‘phew’.


It is also ill-advised to attempt the Wordle of the day at seven thirty, as I did on Saturday, when I was mildly hungover and tender of tummy, since the night before, a friend and I had dined in General Merchants on the Ormeau. It has resumed its evening service after a long hiatus and I’m delighted, having always loved the cosy, candlelit warmth therein. The chef excelled himself with a creamy, caramelly, baked custard, topped with a fig and strawberry glaze. I’m still thinking about it. We had no more need for a cheese board, but ordered it anyway; a foolish move as I horsed a slab of blue cheese into me that would have felled a donkey. Anne Patchett recently decluttered her home, a task made more difficult because of her habit of anthropomorphising the things of which she wanted rid. I take this sort of madness even further, imagining the slab of blue sitting there on the platter, (looking like my veiny ankles after I’ve stood too long on a warm day), all sad and overshadowed by the brie and the fancy cheddar flavoured with stout. In order to preserve its feelings, I ate it up, resulting in twisted tormented dreams. I woke up agitated and cross, turning to the Wordle for comfort.


Well, it didn’t soothe me, not one bit. There I was, propped up upon my pillows, peering at my screen like a wretched crone, when in trots LSB. ‘It’s a hard one today,’ he says, ‘Took me four goes to get it.’ Hadn’t he only gone and solved it while he sat upon the loo, and then came in to gloat. Have you ever heard worse?  THEN, as if he hadn’t annoyed me enough, he sat there playing the ‘Heardle’ over and over until he got it too. I would never have got the Wordle had he not given me a hint, and even now, I’m not too sure what ‘epoxy’ is. Far too niche and not at all suitable for a weekend when one may have imbibed too much the night before.

He sent me a jolly little text when I was at work today, saying he got it on his first try. Given that it seems all the rage to dish out a good slap should the mood take you, he may start watching himself. If you’re not hooked already, my advice would be the avoid Wordle, and all its other variations. Just drink your coffee in peace and have one less thing to fight with your other half about.





SWB Dances in the Dark

Did you know, that if you dance (with mild to moderate exuberance) to Arcade Fire’s ‘Here comes the Night Time’, that you can accrue 750 steps on your Fitbit, AND feel much sprightlier than you do before? Well, you know now, and if there’s ever been a time to boost the endorphins then this might be it. I’ll tell you how I came by this statistic. In the dark gloom of December, I trotted into Kaffe O for a latte and spoke to my favourite barista. She’s always smiley, radiating bonhomie, even when there’s a long queue. She manages this without ever being annoying, which is how I find most excessively positive people. ‘Tell me,’ I asked her. ‘How do you stay so upbeat?’ She puts it down to starting the day with yoga followed by a spot of dancing. Every. Single. Morning. I found this astounding, especially since she often has to wake at 5.30 if she has to open the shop. The very thought of that gives me the dry bokes. Dawn, in winter. I’d say there’s not a bit of need for it but then we all need coffee. ‘I’m going to take to the dancing,’ I told her, but if course I didn’t.

Fast forward three months and f**k me, but if I ever needed cheering up it’s been March 22. Everyone had Covid, bar me, so I still had to go to work. School was relentless. I had writing deadlines due, and then the cat started taking a shite in the living room again, just for kicks. Yep, I was floundering.

Inevitably, I wasn’t looking after myself either, rushing hither and thither, fuelled on caffeine and caramel squares, lashing the merlot into myself of an evening when all was dank and bleak. My work clothes were becoming as strained as my temper. I finally thought the barista might be onto something, and I roused my groggy self to get up early and cavort about a bit. Turns out, if the tunes are good enough, you can get into it rightly. It felt like a small win to be heading to work with over 1000 steps done, and the cheery thought that for four and a half minutes I had shut everything else out and danced in the kitchen. In an effort to improve my saggy arms I even danced with a 400g tin of butter beans in one hand and tinned pear halves in the other. LSB wondered if I was planning an odd sort of breakfast when he came down to put the coffee on. ‘Nope,’ says I, ‘it was just for the dancing.’ He nodded and said nothing, (sometimes that’s for the best).

Dancing isn’t going to solve the war in Ukraine, or help you wade mark coursework. It won’t magic away your anxiety, but it will give you a boost. But even in the midst of upheaval it you can find fleeting moments of joy. Recently I turned to Anne Lamott again, as I do when I need encouragement. I also reached out to a very wise and kind friends. Their advice was the same; havng a genuine interest in helping others, whether by making donations or volunteering will help you grapple your way out of the mire. That all sounds very righteous, and I don’t mean it to. But you can’t help anyone or be there for your family if you feel rotten.

Courtney Barnett sings, I’m having trouble breathing in,’ which sounds like the anthem of our times. But if you starve yourself of joy, as I was doing, it does no one any good. LSB was sick looking at me going about, with all the zest and vigour of a constipated goat. He did, in a fit of optimism, reference a certain survey I was talking about with Frank a couple of weeks ago, that suggested ‘getting intimate’ five times a week in a bit to keep stress levels down and relationships afloat. Bless him; it’s good to dream.