Habit – Here, There or on the Road

Time was, the habit was coffee and a cigarette.  In the mornings, the habit was combined with the news of the day;  at any other spare moment, the habit was combined with a book.  That was until I discovered Sudoku, gave up cigarettes, and was beguiled by a Sri Lankan ritual called ‘bed tea’.

These days, with no pressure to get off to work on time, or take care of Ma or Papa, I indulge my three-headed habit whenever and wherever the urge arises.

Habit - Here and there, morning ritual of tea, suduko and a book.photoNo day really begins, though, till I’ve had two (two-cup) mugs of tea, played at least one game of Sudoku, and read a chapter (or a meaningful section) of one of my latest books.  Though the habits are the same, the means can vary.  These days Sudoku comes via my iPad (which is so much more portable than the previously ubiquitous booklet with pencils and rubbers), and so too my latest book.

The reluctant move from real books to a tech book has been gradual.  It began as a means of reading anything beyond the Booker long list or airport fiction available in English in Sri Lanka, and continues due to the fact that my books languish in their boxes against the far wall of the spare room while I search for a suitable replacement for their bookcase.  (I do have a Library card now though, and must put aside some time to browse the catalogue and search the shelves of our helpful (but hopelessly under-funded) library.)


  1. such a civilised set of habits that shape your morning M ….. I wonder why it is so awkward to switch to digital media instead of the beloved ink and paper … at least for books, whereas I can imagine Sudoku on the iPad being very satisfying (but can you make little notes about your ideas for each square?)… and what are you reading at present?

    • For me, there’s the tactile thing with paper and ink, and the feel of a book in my hands – and the smell too, of course! On the other hand, I have to admit the digital book is mandatory when you’re on the move (I’ve allowed myself to buy a digital copy of a couple of my perennial favourites for this purpose) and now my eyes aren’t so good, I find it easier to read the iPad at night – but I still feel like a bit of a traitor!

      The digital Sudoku is just brilliant – well, the version I bought for my first iPhone all those years ago, that I now use far more comfortably on the iPad (how my eyes have changed). You can see the little numbers in some of the boxes – my 50/50s, which are easily overtyped when proven, with no more rubbing out and making a mess!

      I always try to combine fiction with non-fiction (all fiction can be a bit too addictive, I’m afraid!) so the two I’m with just now are Jim Holt’s ‘existential detective story’ “Why Does the World Exist?” and Jhumpa Lahiri’s “The Lowland” – what they’re calling the book that didn’t win the Booker this year! I’ve a real passion for Sub-Continental fiction, so I’m especially enjoying this right now.

      • Thanks for describing the digital sudoku so well, it sounds very tempting … if I can wean myself off the scrabble habit! I am having eye trouble too, apparently poor circulation means I have blurred vision after reading too long (like yesterday, reading The Mocking Jay, I do tend to get quite obsessed and keep reading!) but like you I always have non-fiction too. It was actually all I read for most of my life, but in the last ten years I have discovered young adult fiction which suits me very well …. and of course I have a new book club book challenge every six weeks. One of the best non-fiction books we have read lately is The Greatest Estate on Earth, but then there was also Good Morning Mr Sarra, both illuminating about our indigenous people. I will look up the Jim Holt book, yes I enjoy detective stories too 🙂

  2. I find morning habits, and a civilized amount of time to execute them the most important of all. For me, mornings on my own after the G.O. makes an early start, it’s 2 cups of coffee in bed catching up with overnight happenings via various online media. If there’s not much happening then the second cup will accompany a chapter of a book. For mornings together, it’s 2 cups of coffee for 2 in whatever sunny spot we can find, quiet chat watching whatever birds are around.
    I hope you find a suitable receptacle for your books soon. For me it’s not home until the books are unpacked.

    • I did love the coffee for two, out and about, chatting quietly and people/bird watching 🙂 I do quite a lot of bird watching here – they’re just wonderful, especially now, in late spring when the more advanced babies are leaving their nests and sitting on branches demanding food! I agree about books making a house a home – luckily I brought a small bookcase with me and slowly it’s being filled with absolute ‘musts’!

  3. Yes, we do like our “things” and the habits they allow us. Our habits don’t change but our things evolve. E-readers from books, computers from paper and pencil, etc. Thank goodness coffee is still the same. 🙂

  4. I used to be addicted to sudoku, but I don’t seem to be able to find time for it of late. Downloading an E version sounds like a great idea. Love the shot of your workspace, and your beautiful earthenware cup.

  5. Found you again! Couldn’t remember the name of your new site (it’s obvious though, isn’t it 🙂 ) and your comments still link to the old but beautiful blog. Nice to see your new space (even the boxes 🙂 ). Hope it’s starting to feel like home.

    • Once I can find a couple of bookshelves and hang my pictures I’ll be happy – fingers crossed for the pictures: I’ve had to write a(n illustrated) email to the agent seeking permission to put in hooks … What a palaver 🙂

  6. love seeing your work area…the daughter recently brought a kindle home for me and I am actually loving it…all those books in my hands at the same time…it is better than sex…hehehehe

I'd Love to Hear From You ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: