A good month of sorts…


Image Credits – Joey Rozier, Flickr

It has been a fascinating month of sorts on here – and also in real life where the issues which drove my sense of dissonance and the need to begin again have eased off. I would be remiss if I said I was out of the woods completely, but there certainly is a sense of significant progress and building traction in the right direction. The money numbers were pretty much bang on plan – just under £0.01 actual vs planned – which allowed me put away twice what I planned at the beginning of the month. I did spend more than planned on transport and purchases, main driver being the need to head down south for a weekend at short notice and the bits and bobs I purchased to support that. For the interested (waves at SisiOnABudget), here are two charts (by category, plan vs actuals) with a little more detail.

On here, Blogging101 has been a great way for me to get back to basics and ease myself into writing again. Thanks to the various prompts, over the past month I managed to reimagine how I self classify, reflect on the why for this blog, and meet – virtually at least – a bunch of interesting folk as evidenced by my swelling reader inbox. A bonus – largely unexpected – was praise from someone whose work I am a fan of, as well as being compared to another writer whose body of work I was and still am a big fan of.

From the task for Day 15, I have decided to sign up for the Monthly Masterpiece Challenge – by blending art, faith and reflection into a coherent whole, my hope is that I can develop my practice of contemplation more. I am keen to see how that evolves.

Going forward on here, I still like the initial idea I considered at the beginning – a Friday lunch time ramble on something that catches my fancy within the normal everyday context I live my life in. For those who are still on here – whom I haven’t bored to death or scared away – thanks for surviving Phase 1. I can only hope Phase 2 is even more exciting and fulfilling.

Of life and playthings


For today’s Daily Prompt, Toy Story

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There is a real sense in which play was a concept alien to the world in which I grew up. Being the son of two high achieving, austere academicians did that to me; that they adopted a rigorous, all encompasing asceticism merely underlined the near total absence in our lives of anything that didn’t fulfil a function of some sort. The Black & White National television set was the communal alter around which we sacrificed our evenings to learning and current affairs, the gramophone, the vehicle by which nostalgic memories where wheeled out and shared with us younglings.

Kids will be kids though. With time we discovered the joys of table soccer – coca cola tops dressed up in fine livery with the names of global superstars painted on, St Louis Sugar boxes repurposed as goal posts and specialty tops providing super star appeal. With a properly shaped front end, a pastic Berec top could very easily evolve into a 20-goal a season striker, even though smarties tops ruled the roost.

An entire industry grew around the game, wheelers and dealers who trawled the dumps in the posh end of town for smarties tops to trade, administrators who created tournaments the rest of us subscribed to. Having a kid brother proved useful – regular battles or not – for the opportunities it provided for us to revel in the joys of our playthings without risking the wrath of our parents by being caught outside the confines of the mother lode.

Did it change my life? Probably not, except for the friendships it helped forge all those many years ago – O perhaps being the closest example. Apparently though, my love for it was not an abberation. So loved across the country was the game that some smart kid has turned it into a game for mobile. That, just might count as life changing afterall.

In Conversation – Of Coffee and Banter


[Source] —

I must have looked like shit knackered, or something close by all accounts, if the look the lady at the front desk gave me when I dragged myself, knapsack in hand and windbreaker open all the way down at the front, across the stoop to her desk to get signed in for the day was anything to go by. I was here at my old stomping ground from a few years ago to attend a training course – the first two days of which had lurched from plain boring to an absolute waste of the thousand pounds I’d managed to fork out for it. That my on-off insomnia was back in full pelt could not have helped – four ibuprofren plus notwithstanding – I had flitted in and out of sleep till 6.30am, at which time I gave up, brewed a cup of coffee and got my day started.

You didn’t get chucked out of your house did you? she finally asked as she rummaged in her desk for my temporary pass. She did have good reason to ask I guess – seeing that it was only 7.30am and the course was not meant to start for another hour and a half. I must have mumbled something – I was sure what I said was that I had being caught in two minds about stopping over at the office for a few minutes before heading on here – but she somehow inferred that  I’d had to take the earlier bus as the next one would not be for another hour.

In the end what excuse I came up did not matter as she proceeded to pour me a steaming cup of coffee and then dumped me a chair next to her whilst she made a few phone calls to the course coordinator to come get me. It turned out he would not be ready for another half hour, so we did the next best thing we could – which was have a natter over coffee.

It turned out that she had two children in the same ball park age as I was – a son at 34 and a daughter at 29 – whose favourite past time was trying to pull the wool over her eyes, much like I had tried to do, apparently. Clearly this sussing out business was one she had gotten very good at – not that it mattered anyways. Not unlike BritishKitchenWitch, my day had threatened to start off on a bad note; between the banter and fresh coffee, it was well on the way to being saved.

For Day 9 – Get Inspired By The Neighbours

The Sense of An Ending

I sit here at my desk, amidst a sea of boxes, piles of paper and open drawers, grateful for the peace and quiet these last few minutes before the lunch break starts afford me. The morning has flown by quickly, lost in the blur of furiously packing, sorting and binning four years worth of work and junk that by the end of the day has to be organised neatly so the office admin staff can get them moved as required. The powers that be in my neck of the woods have decreed – having decided that we have been stuck in our silos for far too long – that moving to an office sharing arrangement that has us clustered functionally will foster a more collaborative approach to work, create synergies and improve efficiencies. Fundamentally democratic – and buzz word heavy – even though the unspoken elephant in the room is that by some quirk in the system the supreme leader has scored a corner office looking out onto the harbour; a far more eye pleasing sight than the endless parade of bus tops that I can just make out from my desk if I squint hard enough. Earned perks of office I guess.

In packing up, it has become clear just how much clutter I have built up in the four years and some I have been here – at the same desk with the same office mates and pretty much the same view outside. Amongst the bits and bobs I stumble on are a picture of a Nigerian wedding with my head photoshopped on, a cent from a (not so great) American road trip, a broken liverbird from an old keychain and odds and ends from the banter that came to define our relationship in this corner of my world – mainly centred on my (perceived) failings in love.

The sense is certainly one of an ending, fitting, given the phase I am in my own life, but beyond that quiet confidence that the small shoots of recovery are beginning to show, springlike.

Day 4 of the Blogging 101 series was to Identify Your Audience. I very much see mine as the sort of person who might pick up a copy of The New Yorker, Slate or Granta and dig into a longform piece of creative non-fiction by a Teju Cole, Adam Gopnik, or Zadie Smith. I just need to hone my craft sufficiently to get published first 🙂

Of Titles and Taglines


I first heard the word Quotidian used in every day parlance in 2010 by one of my favourite authors, the British-Nigerian Poet and Novelist, Chris Abani in his TED 2008 talk On Humanity.

The context within which he uses the word is the retelling of a story from his childhood, growing up as a young Ibo boy in Nigeria, having to kill a goat, but finding himself too sensitive to do so. In the end, Emmanuel an older boy who has been a boy soldier in the Biafran (Nigerian Civil) war comes to his rescue, putting his hands over the goat’s mouth and covering its eyes so he doesn’t have to see them whilst he kills the goat. In the story, Chris is moved by the duty of care the older, hardened ex-soldier exercises over him concerning the simple matter of killing a goat, given that he has been involved in fighting a war widely recognised as having led to the deaths of over a million people. That deeply emotive context seems to have left an indelible mark on me, and driven me to associate a double meaning with the word. Whilst normal, everyday things are quotidian, context often colours them in shades and nuances far more complicated than they seem or should be – hence the title of my blog Quotidian Things.

For a tag line, I have gone for The Ramblings of a Lost Son. Ramblings, because if the past few years are anything to go by, my coherence levels reduce significantly as the days go by, and Lost Son for the increasing distance I feel – both physical and metaphorical – from my home land of Nigeria. Both Ramblings and Lost Son speak loosely to a sense of being quarantined – being substantially different from both my home and adopted countries, not quite fitting in either anymore and struggling to deal with the conflict inherent in reaching a new normal.

So that’s the inspiration for this, and my insistence that if I had my way, this blog would be about the simple, everyday things that happen in my world, hopefully with an attempt to understand what deeper meaning they may hold.

Beginning, Again


For the umpteenth time I am attempting to begin again. As to triggers for each prior iteration of these beginnings, I can blame various cataclysmic events – a delayed quarter life crisis which ended up with me starting over on a new continent, a short lived romance, and the sense of endlessly treading water being prime examples of some of these. On this occasion however, I cannot pinpoint a singular reason why; such has been the sort of year I have had – between the end of a good year of sorts with G and the significant uncertainties brought about by an unstable oil price regime.

In conversation with K, she blurts out her conclusion that my slew of resets, reboots and new beginnings are only a smoke screen for avoiding commitment. Dee, the closest thing to a big sister I still have agrees, her conviction no less firm though tempered by associating my behaviour with a phase she once went through. I disagree with them both of course. For one there is a sense in which being a compulsive journal-er, as well as writing on the web in some guise or the other for well nigh on 8 years, has meant that I have come to think and write in a certain way, settled into the very deepest of ruts.

Admittedly, beginning again has a certain allure: the promise of casting off the old, wiping the slate clean and reinventing oneself with new paths and new directions to chase does lend itself to the redemptive meta narrative we as a species seem primed to crave. What this allure doesn’t account for though is the carnage that breaks often leave in their wake, particularly where feelings, time and other people are involved.

The big objective here then – besides the need to start over – is to find a new voice, without the pressure, and in the relative safety of a regained anonymity. To reach this different, hopefully radically new normal will take lots of experimentation; which is why I have armed myself with DW Moore’s Crafting the Personal Essay and the New York Times’ Learning sub-site with 500 prompts for narrative and creative writing.

Far from writing about any world-changing, life-altering, paradigm-shifting things, the bulk of what I will muse about on here will be the bread and butter things that weigh heavily on the mind of this single, thirty something year old razz Nigerian bloke: lostness, faith, chasing, finding and losing love, work, culture clashes, a burgeoning keg (instead of a six-pack), books, music and culture as well as my recollections of growing up – as ‘Quotidian‘ as anything could ever be.

The intent is to post something on here every Friday, upon completing the Daily Post’s Blogging 101 series. Whether I succeed at achieving these twin objectives – building the consistency and finding myself again  – remains to be seen. At any rate, accept my warm WELCOME to the start of this new journey – as you have somehow found your way here.  Here’s to hoping you stick around for the ride.