Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Health’

the lockdown log 41


The thought occurred to me as I tried to get to sleep on New Year’s Eve that Covid-19 might be the millennium bug, just that It was twenty years late. Certainly the levels of stupidity being displayed over the 2020 plague have their parallels in that of the later months of 1999, it’s just that we did not have social media to spread nonsense with back then.

When Last weighed myself I was 105 kg, 1kg up on the previous week, and my plan was to relax the diet over Christmas and New Year then to get back to 104 kg, my lowest weight so far, by the end of January. Last Friday I got the scales out again and weighed in at 106.5 kg which is a bit less than I expected. I have not binged during my time off, but I have not had my regular after lunch and that seems to be an integral part of me losing weight. So I have just 2.5 kg to lose in the next four weeks.

I am going to have to balance the post prandial exercise with getting back into the garden. I have lost all of the momentum from last year and need to start again. Neither the exercise walks nor the outside jobs are any great pleasure at this time of year and I will need to find some motivation instead of, as I am now, sitting on the sofa writing this, and other, blogs or watching TV. Last year, prior to Covid, I had started my projects off by making an effort to clear out the bedroom that I use as an office. Most of that initial clear out has been undone by the need to find room to store various things and so what I might do to kick start myself is to resume work there. It is, any least, in the warm and if I can finally sort that room out it will give me some satisfaction which, in turn, might be a catalyst to get me going again on the outdoor work.

Pepper soup

This time of year is soup weather and I am going to get back to knocking up my own as I was through much of the Autumn. The one pictured was a pepper soup made from white and yellow peppers that cam in my fortnightly veg box. With half an onion, a couple of garlic cloves and the last few cherry tomatoes. The dark swirl is balsamic glaze just to give an extra bite. In today’s box I have a massive cauliflower so there will be half of that going to make soup for early next week, I make about 2 day’s worth of soup in each batch and it is a good way of using up veg that I’m not going to be able to use with main meals. A bowl of soup for lunch when the heating is not on is very welcome.

We have placed our first order of the year for plants. We began to buy these on-line last year when there first lockdown mucked up our normal garden centre explorations and have started early this year. We have a range of herbs and veg coming over the period late February to late May and the earlier arrivals give me an incentive to get the old shed broken down and the new greenhouse put up. Some of the bulbs planted last year are starting to shoot and I always look forward to the start of the bulb season in Spring as portent of better weather to come.

I would like t be all fired up to get the jobs in motion and to get the weight off, but I’m not. So I have a bit of a battle on to both get some jobs done and to lose 2.5 kg, preferably 3 in just over two weeks. If I can get my head into the right place I will do both. Watch this space…

Meanwhile stay dafe wherever you are and I hope that 2021 brings you better times.

the lockdown log 40


It’s the last day of 2020, but just another day to me as will be tomorrow. The whole New Year’s Eve thing has long been an irrelevance to me and I blame that on my Mother’s obsession with it and its rituals. I shall; be in bed by around 10pm as usual and one of the advantages of being slightly deaf is that I can put my good ear to the pillow and not be disturbed by an revellers. Sadly my cats do not share my disadvantage and will be off to hide under the sofa.

Anyway, most folks will no doubt be glad to see the back of this year and will be hoping for a better one to come. I hope that we get it and am looking forward to the opportunity for the Berkshire Belle and I to get our Covid-19 vaccinations. As she is a little older than me she is a couple of levels ahead in terms of priority, but I am still classed as type 2 diabetic and th]at might advance my cause; I shall wait and see.

My diet will resume next week and so will my exercise programme. I am up to 1066 km so far and may add to that today. It is my regular day off and I have tomorrow off too so run the risk of another two days of couch potato lifestyle. It is cold out and not expected to get above freezing today, but I might try and get at least a couple of km into the books to round out the year. I have been looking for a virtual Lands end to John O’Groats (or vice versa) challenge and did find one yesterday, but it has to be completed by the end of March and that would require about 90 miles a week which is beyond me. I should be able to do it over a year though and am setting my sights on hitting the distance required even if I can’t do it through any recognised way.

I will weigh myself tomorrow morning to see what the damage is from the last two weeks, but will not resume the diet until Monday. I am not exactly going mad with eating because I recognise the health issues, but am not applying the rigid discipline that I have had in force since the end of June. We do eat well to try and stay healthy; most of our dinners are cooked from scratch with fresh ingredients and we try to get a decent amount of fruit and veg into our systems. Tonight I am trying something new in the shape of a Paella. I have not cooked one before and so I am not sure how it will turn out, but seafood, rice and veg are all things that I am familiar with cooking and so I am sure that it will turn out well.

So that’s it for the last lockdown log of 2020. Here in Swindon we have been promoted to Tier 4 so the Berkshire Belle will be staying at home, I will go to work and shop on my way back and we will await our vaccination appointments. In keeping with my “just another day” policy there will be no New Year resolutions and I will just play it a day at a time and home that we get through.

Stay safe wherever you are and I hope that, if you are making New Year wishes or resolutions that they all work out for you.

the lockdown log 38


My usual Thursday scribble here was put off as I had a day out down in Shoreham to visit an airline simulator for a couple of hours playing with a virtual Boeing 737-800. This was a belated birthday present and had to be fitted in around various issues with the lockdown and travel restrictions plus those that apply to the leisure sector.

Nearly three hours driving each way plus an intensive couple of hours concentrating on flying 70 odd tons of aeroplane mostly manually took up my whole day and I was too knackered by the time that I got home to be able to focus on this blog so it has had to be put off until today.

The sun is shining and I had planned to get an exercise walk in this morning, but I am making soda bread and we have number one daughter on the ‘phone from Down Under too so maybe I will get out later. I am well on track to beat the 1020 km target by the end of December, but I would like to get at least a couple of km in today. As it is the holiday season I have given up on the diet for a couple of weeks, relaxed my eating regime a little and am avoiding the scales. Normal service will resume in January.

The news continues to frustrate me, especially the desire to blame the government for all ills. IOt is the people who are causing the problem here by mixing too much and unless the government introduce draconian penalties they will not behave. Perhaps putting troops on the streets with orders to shoot on sight might do the trick…

Similarly Brextit: Why is it our fault that the EU do not understand what out means? We are leaving and that means that they should have no control over us. It is that alone that is at the centre of the problem regardless of how they dress it up. What with that intransigence and the Remain camp trying to put a spoke in at every opportunity it is no wonder that things have dragged on.

In health terms all is well here with us. Possibly the mask wearing whilst out and much hand sanitising has helped in avoiding catching anything else as well. We had out ‘flu jabs a while back now just in case and will welcome the chance of a Covid jab when they become available to us. Vaccination is the only way that we can beat this thing and get back to some semblance of what we used to have. I doubt whether we will ever get back to the way that we were because change is constantly happening. The last ten months have seen much change in, for example, shopping habits and accelerated the death of the High Street.

Christmas is almost upon us and this time next week it will all be over. As usual for us we have no decorations up beyond the rows of cards from friends (there are a couple of Christmas robin ornaments, but they stay out all year because we like them). No-one will visit and we will stay put here. Any contact with the outside world will be by ‘phone or Skype and that suits us. There is food in the ‘fridge, freezer and larder and we have some booze too so we will be happy with just us and the cats.

We know that others would prefer to have larger gatherings. They will do what they think right and we hope that, if they do gather, that no harm will come to them from it. Other than that, as always, stay safe out there wherever you are.

the lockdown log 37


Another dank and grey day in Swindon. As much as I like the seasons days like this are not easy. It is my day off as usual and, having done the weekly shop this morning I have elected not to go for an exercise walk this afternoon.

Apart from perishables we are all shopped out for Christmas. There will be a few bits to buy Christmas week, but we are done and dusted. There are only the two of us plus the cats and it isn’t hard to get organised. We have not enjoyed shopping expeditions on the run in to Christmas in the years that we have been together and so lockdown does not make a huge amount of difference in that sense; it will be a quiet few days together and we have some nice things to eat and drink. Although there may be a few things that we want, but can’t have, there is nothing that we need.

We are both encouraged by news of a Covid-19 vaccine and are awaiting the summons from our surgery to call us in. We understand that it will be next year now, but we are ready and waiting. Hopefully vaccination will get us through the current dangers and allow the world to open up to some degree. I cannot understand the violent objections that some are raising to both vaccination and the probability that certificates will be required for travel. In my business travel days there were some countries where a vaccination certificate was a requirement in order too get a visa to travel there so what is the problem with one for Covid?

On the diet front I am experimenting with eating a little more to see what I can get away with without putting too much back on. I want to be able to enjoy a few fruits that I have forbidden myself over the last 6 months and am willing to take around a 1 kg increase for now. Slacking off from an exercise walk this afternoon is also part of seeing what impact that has. I tried on a couple of my sports jackets this morning and both could be re-tailored into double breasted there is so much surplus material now. Earlier this year I got rid of everything that I could find that I could not get into. Into the clothing bank went several suits, jackets and trousers including at least two pairs of pants that still had the tags on. All of those charity donations would fit me now…

We have acquired a Revitive foot machine as recommended by Ian Botham and others. So far it is only me who is using it, but the early results are good and I believe that it is helping me. It feels a bit weird, but half an hour a day has helped my knees feel better and I have not had that slightly leaden feeling from my legs so I am encouraged and will connote to use it. It is working under my feet as I type this blog.

I have been working on the garden some more over the last week. My bulb planting is all done and the basics of the guttering and water butts on the new shed is done and working. I need to tidy up the overflow a little at some point, but I am now harvesting rain water again. I have four water butts in all; two slimlines to take the flow off the shed roof and two full sized ones to collect off the garage roof. My garden priorities have changed again with the arrival of the greenhouse that was not supposed to be here until April or May next year. The kit is in five packages that I need to go through to find the assembly instructions so that I can keep them safe and dry ready for the time when I can start to build it. That will have to wait until the old shed has been dismantled and disposed of and that has now become my main priority.

I still have more to do than I have hours in the day to complete and so I have little time to feel sorry for myself or dwell on news from around the world. That suits me.

Until next week then, and stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 36


Here in North Wiltshire it is grey, wet and cold. The days are short and whilst that does not bother me overmuch, apart from making outdoor projects more difficult, art depresses the Berkshire Belle enormously. With everything else that we have to cope with she is not doing too well at the moment and that tends to drag me down.

We have a lot to be thankful for; we have avoided catching this plague that is upon us and, even if we are a bit short on the psychological and emotional fronts, we have enough for our physical needs. That has motivated us to give the money we would have spent on Christmas presents to charity and, on the p[ronciple that charity starts at home, we have chosen charities that are supporting people in need here in the UK.

Assuaging our guilt? No, and these gifts do not provide any warm glow for us either, rather they add to the depression, for me anyway. We know that our donations are not enough to make any difference and opening up this world disturbs me; my Ostrich mentality is partly what gets me through (along with an very black sense of humour). I know that there is misery, p[overty and all sorts out and about, but choose to close my mind to it because otherwise I doubt that I could cope. What we have we have earned. I still work to make the difference between income and expenditure and we are comfortable so we have decided to give away cash that we would otherwise spent on things that might have provided pleasure, but which we do not need.

I am still losing weight and have now passed a milestone in that I have lost what we used to call three stone. That milestone leaves me a little short of getting down below 16 stone (100 kg), but it marks a point at which I will slow down the dieting a little. Weekly weigh ins will continue and any sign of gain will result in a further cut back on intake, but I am taking the focus off for now.It has surprised me just how much thinking and planning goes into dieting and I will enjoy using that time for other things. Dieting also involves time in making soups and such and that is more time that I might be able to save a little of to put to other uses.

Exercise still plays a big part in my days and I am on track to, if I can keep it up, pass the 1000 km walked mark by the end of December. I am going to get very close and so am aiming to go for it. Of course if I can do it in 6 months then I should be looking to do 2000 km in the full year 2021, but that is for the future.

My hobbies have come back into focus a little in that I have found a guitar tutor book that I have been able to connect with and that has seen me practising a little almost every day and, as always with practice, seeing some improvement. It has also helped the grey cells as I have been working on the theory and well as the physical. I am almost back at school in my approach using a little exercise book and writing stuff down, giving myself little tests and so on. It all helps to occupy my mind when there is nothing of interest on TV (most evenings). I am also reading a lot more at the moment and have thoughts of perhaps a little model-making over the Winter.

Predictive text is giving me a hard time this morning so I will stop now, quickly re-check this document for howlers and get it published. Stay safe out there wherever you are.

the lockdown log 34 & 35


Oops, I forgot to finish and publish last weeks lockdown log. Perhaps being distracted speaks volumes about how I feel right now, or at least, last week. Anyway, here goes with what’s happening in my bit of the world.

First off I’ll talk about the week before last. It was the second week of me trying vitamin D supplement again. I took it for a while last Winter and stopped, but neither of us could remember why. In light of suggestions that, for our age group, it had the additional benefit of helping ward of Covid I had started taking it again (the Berkshire Belle has been on it daily for some years).

I took the first dose on the Saturday evening and by Monday a general feeling of malaise had descended. this went on for almost two weeks until, when chatting about it, the realisation dawned that it coincided with me taking my daily D pill and so I stopped. I have a lot on my mind at the moment and didn’t think any further about it, but the next morning I bounced back into the house after work full of the joys of Autumn that I had to admit that my general feeling, physical and mental, had improved beyond measure. There are no side effects to vitamin D supplements as far as we know, but it certainly seems to have one on me.

That week we had had both the washing machine and dishwasher replaced and so had two lots of disruption as they came on different days. That has taken care of the holiday money for the holiday that we are not having. Given how things are in America right now we are glad that we are not there and hopefully things might be better if we can get over next year. Not that the change of government will contribute much.

I had managed to keep up with the diet and weight loss that week as well although there were some wobbles. Part of the problem was that we started to find things that needed eating and I had the choice of throwing things away or breaking the diet: I choose the latter. Those issues have also flowed into this week and have been compounded by a lack of willpower on my part whilst shopping in my local Morrison’s. The walk there and back racks up a couple of kilometres towards my exercise, but such activity is somewhat negated when the aroma of the in-store bakery allows my nostrils to overwhelm common sense. The scales may punish me tomorrow…

I have been trying to balance my afternoons between exercise walks and DIY, especially where the latter involves more that just a potter around doing a bit of weeding. The shorter days and inclement weather make every hour precious and whilst I could walk after dark I do not feel safe doing so. Equally I do not want to rejoin the gym as I have other things that I could do with the £20 a month. I have tried out a neighbour’s treadmill and do not enjoy it too much, certainly less pleasurable for me than walking. I am now upon to a staggering 746 km wince I started walking for exercise back in July and have an outside chance of breaking 1000 km by the end of the year.

Going back to the vitamin D, during my twelves days of taking it I suffered from all sorts of aches and struggled, not quite with depression, buy a general lack of enthusiasm for everything. I could not get comfortable sitting, standing or walking and although I slept reasonable well I woke top a lot during the night and did not feel rested when I got up. That all started within 24-36 hours of starting to take the single pill a day and it vanished in about the same timeframe of stopping. The only thing left over is an occasional feeling of impending doom that takes the form of something fatal happening to someone or something that I know. So far none has come true. Whether that is linked to the vitamin D or not I do not know, but it is something that I have felt once or twice before in my life that has now become a daily occurrence. It is not nice, but perhaps it is just a symptom of these times.

My various projects in the garden have progressed. Around 200 bulbs have been planted, much Autumn pruning has been cut and cleared and I have been busy with the paintbrush on days when the weather has been conducive.

We have made the decision this year that, as we have enough for our needs, that instead of presents we will give money to charities supporting people in need here in the UK. There seems little point in agonising about what to buy when the money can be useful to others.

So there we are. A hectic couple of weeks, but we are still here and healthy. Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 33


Back on track! Last week I flatlined on my weight loss. Some of it was due to to needing another change to kick things along, to having done very well in preceding weeks and to a complete failure in discipline. However, I had got my head back in the game and, after a week of trying hard, I have lost another kilo.

The lack of discipline was that my normal diet regime of one treat a day; too or three walnut halves or dried apricots turned into three or four treats a day. I was doing without thinking and although that alone may not have resulted in not losing any weight (for the first time in four months) it will have made a difference. So I turned the screw and the scales are showing the difference. Official weigh in day for the week is tomorrow, but I know that I have done it.

I have also passed the 600 km walked mark and am looking good to be able to make the 1000 km target for 2021, maybe even 1500 km is possible and that would be something. I just need to be a bit careful about various joints and the dodgy knees that I was first afflicted with back around 1978 are somewhat more vulnerable 42 years on. Weight loss may be healthy, but there is a cost:benefit ratio to be considered and there is no point in wrecking important bits of me in the pursuit of losing weight.

So how are we doing otherwise? For both of us depression comes and goes. It is easier for me because I have work and a list of jobs that will keep me busy for a year or more plus a few hobbies that I would like to get around to, but can’t find time. For the Berkshire Belle it is harder as she has less to occupy her and is bored out her mind. This is a lady who once ran the largest retail distribution network in Europe through a team of around 250 people. Easy to see how she feels that she is vegetating.

Lockdown 2 means very little to us as we don’t socialise, other than to receive a series of parcels each week. There is the weekly shopping trip and that might include two shops, but mostly is just to the one. I work, but have very little interaction with colleagues so it makes little difference to us to be locked down. It will not affect our Christmas either. The only real impact fr us is that we have not had our holiday this year and have concerns around whether or not we can get one next year either. But we are healthy, safe and well fed so we are not complaining.

The various garden projects roll on with priority currently being given to bulb planting. It is not a favourite job, but I always enjoy the results come Spring when they give a bit of hope for warmer times and longer days ahead. Other jobs this week have seen some failures and the latter do little to help my mood because there are less hours of daylight and any that are wasted I abhor. Still, there is some good weather forecast and I will do my best with that.

Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 32


Had we not had the plague I would this morning be in the US about to start my second full day there. Why it had not occurred to us that our arrival would have coincided with the presidential election I struggle to understand, but that was the date that we booked for and I have to say that I am grateful to Covid-19 for having cancelled our trip because the situation over there is a bit ugly to say the least and we would not have felt safe.

So here I am in the UK instead. The last week has flashed past and a lot has been achieved despite the weather. The shed has come on leaps and bounds with much interior fitting out and cedar shingles installed on the side if the roof that we see from the house. Bulb planting is under way and some of the general Autumn tidying has been done.

I mentioned wildlife last week and promised some more detail. About 10 days ago I caught a glimpse of a fox leaving the garden with a bit of a limp and having passed this news on to the Berkshire Belle she reported having also seen it earlier and thought that it was not walking well. The next day I was working in the shed when said for approached me. It was holding its back left leg up off the ground and looked in discomfort. I filed a plant saucer with water from the butt and it took a drink, but by the time that I had gone indoors to raid the deli draw of the ‘fridge for some cold meat it had gone.

I talked to a local animal rescue centre and they were happy to come and get the fox if I could lure it into the shed and keep it safe. I went to the local shop and got some dog food to leave out overnight and that vanished by morning, but I did not know who had eaten it and so a basic wildlife camera was bought and set up. That caught a fox and a hedgehog as well as several cats. The fox and the hedgehog had eaten the dog food, but the fox concerned had no problem walking on all four feet and there was no sign of one limping.

Did the lime fox get better or has it died? I doubt that we will ever know and I have stopped putting out food as I don’t want to become the fox equivalent of an all-night cafe. We are happy to feed the hedgehogs, but have not yet worked out how to feed one and not the other. Cunning plans are being formulated along =with the restoration of a hedgehog house down in the back corner of the garden.

We have both been through a bad spell this last week, the Berkshire Belle slumping into a really deep depression with the leaked news last weekend about another lockdown. That, plus a poorly fox, the dishwasher packing up, the washing machine showing signs of failing, the weather predicting a very cold snap plus a bad Winter and a few other little things pushed her over the edge. Her being somewhat stricken was enough to flatten me too and so I just threw myself into anything and everything that I could find to do. We have both climbed out of our respective holes and whilst not exactly cheerful we are not miserable either.

I think that I am going to have a plateau week on the weight loss. I must be about due for another one and may have to take that one on the chin and move on. Today looks like it will be a good one for garden chores and so bulb planting will be at the top of my job list once I have got other chores out of the way. If I can I might try for a long walk later to try and burn off a few more grams before the weigh in tomorrow morning. I have still no drunk my bottle of beer and I think that t will be staying in the ‘fridge for a while longer yet.

Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 31


A bit late this week as it has been a hectic one here, but we are both still functioning. This is being written on Sunday afternoon and so we know that we are heading for another lockdown if parliament vote for it on Wednesday. Do we need it? Buggered if I know; we will just have to cope with whatever it brings and will, as so far, do what we are asked to do.

I would normally have written this on Thursday morning, but I got up to find that the dishwasher had died and spent most of the morning checking the obvious things to see if I could get it going again, but to no avail: A new one is needed. Grabbing the chance to get some outside work done and an exercise walk in meant no time for sitting here blogging. Friday and Saturday vanished ion a blur of jobs and Sunday mornings are always housework time so here I am taking a few minutes after getting various month end stuff done on-line. The sun is out although it was supposed to be raining and I might have an unexp[ected chance to get some time in the garden before cooking dinner.

My weight loss is still going the right way and I am down to 107 kg having hit my 108 target the week before. I still have not drunk the bottle of London Porter that I had promised myself and it is sitting in the ‘fridge awaiting the moment when I feel I have really earned it. Something in my mental approach to dieting has gone awry here and I seem to have lost all focus. On that basis I have held my reward back even though the scales tell me that I have gone below the point that I had set.

This morning I went out and walked just over 6 km in just over an hour. I did not want to go out and, when I did, I did not want to go far, but I just got my head down and got on with it despite it not being a nice morning. This was another example of my head not being in the game and having to push myself to get on with it. There may be an element of diet/exercise fatigue creeping in after 4 months and I clocked up 500 km walked since July late last week. Walking gets in the way of my various DIY projects and as for my hobbies, well they are largely forgotten. I do not have enough hours in the day to do everything that I want to do let alone having to coupe with clapped out domestic appliances.

Nil illegiti carborundum as we used to say and I fall back on buy basic principle that life is shit that you have to rise above. As long as I can still laugh about it and still get some results everything will be OK.

All for now as I have other things to get done. Next week I will try and fit in some news about the local wildlife. Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 30


Autumn has come, the leaves are falling heavily on the remnants of various Atlantic storm systems and it is generally wet and cold. Outside jobs are not much fun and neither is walking for exercise, but both are necessary, so how to motivate myself?

There is a serious issue here in trying to sustain the progress that I have made so far over the last year with the garden renovation and, since July, my weight loss. In terms of the former there is an element of burnout, but it is less critical in that I have the Winter to finish things off now. The weight loss program is more urgent and whilst I have lost a lot so far I know that there will be another plateau sometime soon and any slacking off will bring that on and/or make it worse.

At least I can deal with setbacks more often than not and if I do have a bad week with no weight loss, or worse a gain, I am sure that it will just drive me to regain my position over the next week.

The shed has finally arrived and is up. The picture below shows it as built and it has already been painted on the three sides that we can see, plus much of the interior. The back will get painted when I next get a couple of dry days, but before that I will put the shingles on the rear of the roof. The shed can then be pushed back into place against the fence and I can do the front shingles. The capping pieces are on order and will, hopefully, be here next week.

Time is my biggest resource issue at the moment. The days are getting shorter and there is a lot to squeeze in. When it is wet I will not run power out to the shed so am restricted to jobs that I can do with hand or battery tools. That is not too bad as the pressure is off and all I need to do is to make sure that I do a bit every day and weave into those jobs the annual stuff; I have over 100 bulbs to plant in the next three weeks or so for example, have leaves to clear, grass to cut and so on. It all helps to fill my days.

Over the course of writing this the sun has come out and the light makes everything seem more cheerful. I have a chicken roasting in the oven for dinner tonight though and there is the veg to go with it that need preparing and cooking. Any further outdoor activity will have to wait until tomorrow.

I hope that you are all well out there. Stay safe wherever you are.