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Posts Tagged ‘America’

the lockdown log 15


Here we are again, one week older and, in my case, a couple of kilos lighter. Yes the paid up member of the carnivore and pudding clubs is on a diet.

It is nothing to do with the current plague, just a change to lifestyle brought on by being diagnosed as having slipped into type 2 diabetes. It all started with a prescription review back around the start of lockdown. These reviews are now done by a pharmacist rather than the doctor and, due to lockdown, was going to be over the ‘phone.

When the call came the lady on the other end was quite agitated and wanted me to come in for a blood test, but would not say what for (my last one was in early 2019). I declined on the basis that I did not want to go to the surgery at that stage of the Covid-19 outbreak and asked to defer the test for 3 or 4 months.

The surgery rang me last month and in I went. The results came back and I was asked to come in for a second test and was told that my blood sugar was too high. I had actually passed the threshold in the 2019 test, but no-one had made any contact to tell me and now I had gone up again. I provided the second blood test and have to assume that it confirmed the first one as I have not had a call to discuss what they found.

It was a wake up call. I am annoyed that the surgery knew that I had a problem eighteen months ago because, had they told me, I could have addressed it then, but I can do nothing about that. What I can do is to change my diet and exercise regime and that is what I have been top to for the last 10 days or so. Carb intake has been more than halved, sugar intake likewise and I have started banging in at least a 1k walk every afternoon after lunch (except for Sundays).

When I was weighed at the surgery I was a bit down on what I had expected, but have paired off over 2 kilos since then which is pleasing, but, as we consultants would say, that is the low hanging fruit and an easy win. I have not set any targets here besides the one about power walking for at least the 1 kilometre on 6 days out of seven (I already walk 8-10k per day on average anyway, but that is not exercise, it is to do with work). I have to go back for more tests in 3 months and just aim to be in as better shape as I can manage by then.

In other news I am trying to get back on course with some of the projects around Bowen Towers. The recent bad weather, along with the news from the NHS, has knocked me off course a bit on the outside jobs and I need to get my focus back. I am slightly hampered by a couple of things that I cannot influence too much and my afternoon walks, whilst not that long at the moment, do interrupt my day. What I have done to overcome the weather issues is to switch focus to indoor projects and am making good progress on things like my internet based business activities.

Time seems to be flying past and it is hard to accept that we are on the downward slope in terms of daylight hours already. for me the lockdown has not made time drag in the slightest. I am lucky in having so much that I can occupy myself with. Away from work I can just enjoy not having to interact with anyone other than the Berkshire Belle and am very happy in isolation.

We do have to face up to the fact that we will almost certainly not be going back to America this year. Apart from Covid-19 being rampant over there we would also be due to be around for the presidential elections and have a feeling that things might get a little nasty. It already looks as though this will be a year without flying anywhere, only the second time since I first flew back in 1986, but there seems no point in taking any such risk at the moment and we will start to look at what we might be able to do in 2021.

That’s all for this week. Stay safe out there.

the lockdown log 13


It has been an odd week; torrential rain followed by temperatures in the thirties midweek, but today, Saturday, is grey and wet again. That’s how it goes these days, but the extremes and unpredictability seem at odds to what I remember from even ten years ago let alone thirty or forty. All signs of climate change I suppose.

Despite the relaxation of lockdown we ware still at the Full Monty here. I go to work five days out of seven and do odd shopping on my way home with a big shop on my day off while the Berkshire Belle stays stoically indoors. It suits us.

The behaviour of some of our fellow UK citizens is beyond belief though and we are appalled by their senseless acts. If this is what this country has come to then I am glad that I do not have too many more years to endure it.

Some of my projects have ground to a halt whilst I wait for certain trades to get back into action and that is a frustration as is the weather in the way that it has impacted on outdoor works. Taking stock of what I have managed to do though gives some encouragement and we have been enjoying the first fruits, literally, of some of my gardening.

Our shopping habits have changed in that we buy some food and all non food on-line now. We have found a fishmonger and a suit & veg box greengrocer Along with the butcher that we used to drive to once a month who now does on-line orders and those three provide our core needs. We have also benefitted from one of our favourite restaurants now providing mail order dishes and the first of those has been a great success. With me being able to bring home the odds and ends of basic supermarket shopping we are doing well enough.

The joy of shopping for us was always being able to wander around and look at stuff, often coming home with things that we had no intention of buying when we set out, but that is not going to be something we can return to for a while yet. We need a new TV as the current one is showing distinct signs of problems. Yes we can buy one n-line and may well have to do that, but we would prefer to be able to go and look at what is on offer. It is not that simple as yet. Our lives have changed and we do not yet know by how much.

We are not complaining about these changes; we accept that we are very lucky and regard this year’s radical change more as something that we have to live with. We would not have chosen it, but tough; life is like that. We will almost certainly not get our US holiday this year and are philosophical about whether or not we will ever go back there because the America that we love does not currently exist. Things there are turning into a disaster in terms of Covid-19 and what will emerge from the aftermath there we have no idea about at present.

There are a lot of folks much worse off than us so we will stick to our lockdown and enjoy what we have.

Stay safe one and all.

Home thoughts from abroad; a postcard from America


Oh to be in England, now September’s here? Not really, no.

I’m taking a few minutes of quiet time in between business and the essential hospitality that goes with it, at least it does more so here in the USA that maybe back home. Shortly I will be back on show when my host’s guests start to arrive and we get down to some serious socializing and, it has to be said, networking.

So, home thoughts from abroad? For me this is more home than home in the sense of where I live. Yes I know that I am British, and I am proud of that, but I am more at home here in the US than I am back in Wiltshire and, if I had the chance, I’d set up home here for good.

For me there is a lot about America that we have seen wiped out in the UK. People do care about each other here and there is a much greater sense of community spirit. In many ways it is like the England that I grew up in in the 1950s and 1960s. Nostalgia may not be what it used to be, but I am nostalgic for a time when people were far less self centred; my Monday Musing last week talked of the Musketeer’s motto of “One for all and all for one”. So much of what I see back home is more like one for all and every one for themselves.

Here there is a much simpler attitude in most people, and it shows up in the way that I am being looked after. The whole concept of me being over here and staying alone in a hotel is an anathema to the people that I’m meeting, so a range of hospitality gets lined up for me to meet families and friends.  This isn’t expense account stuff either; it is a genuine desire to welcome a stranger and look after them.

Back home people often mock the “have a nice day” culture, but here it is, in most cases, genuine. This morning I went for a walk down a couple of blocks to buy a newspaper. I’d not got far before I fell into step with someone heading the same way. By the time we got to the news stand I knew his name, what he did, the names of his wife and his children and how they were doing at school and he’d had broadly equivalent information from me. When I used to commute into London by train there would be the same herd of us heading off to the station each morning for the run into Liverpool Street, but in three years of doing that I got to talk to two other people. Everyone else just kept their heads down and ignored those around them.

The Americans bring this warmth into much of business, whether that be BtoB or BtoC. In most cases there is a real need to give the customer service that goes a bit further and that’s great. It makes doing business a pleasure. Sure they are hard negotiators, and yes there are sharks, but doing a deal here is a very different experience to doing one back home.

Maybe some of this is just because it is a change for me. It’s nearly a year since I was last over and it could just be the grass being greener on this side of the hill. Maybe I would find it less attractive if I was here full time. Maybe not, and I have to come home soon anyway.

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