Thawing on Blue Monday

Blue Monday | Robert Zarywacz @robertz @

Freeze! A human response to threats. At one time, I had nightmares where I tried to escape from a threat but was literally glued to the spot – at which point I would wake up startled. I also went through a time of grief when I found it tough to do the simplest things: getting … Read more

50 years of a most unwelcome partnership

Batteries | 50 years of a most unwelcome partnership | @robertz @

In 2022, I am celebrating 50 years of a most unwelcome partnership. It was that long ago that I was struck down by Crohn’s disease: great pain, long school absences – two whole half-terms – hospital stays, physical examinations, blood tests, x-rays, barium meals, a blood transfusion, powerful steroids and, a year later, major surgery. … Read more

The slow economy

Cutlery | The slow economy | @robertz @

When we bought our first house, interest rates rose 2% between making our offer and completing the sale. We barely had any money left to live on each month. Moving in with furniture donated by families, we bought a set of cheap stainless steel cutlery from Woolworths with a view to buying a more expensive … Read more

Take one step at a time . . .

Ilfracombe | Robert Zarywacz |

Over the past year, I’ve come to exchange greetings with an elderly couple who go out for a daily walk, stopping many times to rest. They put one foot in front of the other to keep walking, to stay mobile, to experience life as fully as they can. But it can seem the most difficult … Read more


Christmas tree lights | Robert Zarywacz |

Attitude. It’s really important. Today, I was sad to start taking down the Christmas decorations, but I had time not to rush it. This year is different to the past seven or so years when we have barely celebrated Christmas because we couldn’t bear the thought of it. I used to love Christmas, but things … Read more

Rest for the year

Ilfracombe Harbour | Robert Zarywacz |

Rest. For the rest of the year, rest.  It’s important. In this winter scene, all appears at rest. The shops and cafés are closed, the boats have been lifted out of the harbour for safety, the trees have withdrawn and shed their leaves. But there’s a lot going on. How many of the business owners … Read more

My three words for 2021: character – honest – light

My three words for 2021 | character – honest – light | Robert Zarywacz |

In 2016 I chose three words to focus on during the year, following a suggestion by Chris Brogan, and I repeated this in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, when I chose: vital – work – jigsaw. How did I do in 2020? Vital – My aim was to live more in the real world and … Read more

The sufficiency enigma

Pedometer | The Sufficiency Enigma | Robert Zarywacz

This is my pedometer. It’s 10 years old. Occasionally, I think about buying a new one. Once or twice, I’ve considered an Apple Watch. But this old pedometer is sufficient for me. While I’ve used a pedometer on and off for 20 years, I bought this one after an emergency operation where I lost 12lbs … Read more

Momentous change

Sometimes we don’t realise how much we can change our own lives and need to be shown the way. We could not have foretold the impact that an event taking place on 21 April 2000 would have on us. That was the day our first cocker spaniel, Felix, was born. I wanted a dog, an … Read more

The value of understanding feuding families

After completing my MA in History, I have continued my attempts to fill in the gaps in my knowledge, although for every little bit learned I discover even more still to learn. One of the topics I am interested in is the Wars of the Roses, which confounds me with the complex relationships, and twists … Read more

My three words for 2020: vital – work – jigsaw

In 2016 I chose three words to focus on during the year, following a suggestion by Chris Brogan, and I repeated this in 2017, 2018 and then 2019, when I chose: responsible – source – alive. How did I do in 2019? Responsible – I believe outsourcing personal responsibility to government, large technology companies and … Read more

My life’s essentials 14: Ilfracombe

Ticket to ride This ticket started me on a journey 50 years ago on Saturday, 2 August 1969. I didn’t know it at the time, but that train journey from Paddington to Ilfracombe, on the north coast of Devon, would bring me to the place where I would live 50 years later. We had a … Read more

My life’s essentials 13: my lawn rake

My trusty lawn rake must be 29 years old. My Dad gave it to me, I think, as a birthday present the year Mrs Z and I moved into our first house, which had a garden some 50 feet long by 11 feet wide. To me, this was paradise. The house I was born in … Read more

My three words for 2019: responsible – source – alive

My three words for 2019: responsible – source – alive |

In 2016 I chose three words to focus on during the year, following a suggestion by Chris Brogan, and I repeated this in 2017 and then 2018, when I chose: nibble – rest – clear. How did I do in 2018? Nibble – I succeeded in making a lot of changes and once I had started, … Read more

The genuine article

pencil | @robertz

I’m not a fan of clipart or stock photography. I think this comes from seeing so many web sites and brochures showing pictures which have nothing to do with the organisation publishing them. If a company wants to demonstrate that it has happy, smiling employees, why not feature photos of its people rather than stock … Read more

Waste not, want not

Clock | @robertz

The clock in our kitchen stopped working at the weekend. It’s a quartz clock with a battery in it, nothing special, but it’s useful for keeping an eye on the time when cooking or when we need to go out or do something at a specific time. We changed the battery, but it wouldn’t go. … Read more

My life’s essentials 12: feet

feet | @robertz

Yes, feet are essential and my feet are essential to me. I walk a fair amount, usually between 15 and 22,000 steps a day, but I didn’t always. When I was younger, I used to cycle a lot, but then stopped when I started work and got a car. For quite a few years I … Read more

Open up

Cool blue sea and sky | @robertz

I am working with a business colleague to launch a new business exhibition in the area. It’s quite exhausting, but also frightening to get this off the ground. A lot of preparation has gone into it and we are just starting to promote it. We’re at the stage when you do things and get no … Read more

10 years of blogging, so what now?

silhouette | @robertz

I was astounded to see that I started this blog 10 years ago with the entry: Drama coming . . . . . . soon. This was a reference to my heavy involvement in amateur dramatics at the time and my role in publicising six or seven productions every year. Since then, I have blogged … Read more

Connecting over cake

Lemon and Currant Cake | @robertz

I was exhausted this morning and didn’t make it to the beach, much to the disappointment of deep spaniel eyes – we’ll go tomorrow, I promise. This made me realise that I needed to relax today and I decided to make a cake ,as I find baking very calming. The other day, we had been … Read more