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the lockdown log 42


Another week flies by and the Monday Morning Quarterbacks are still at it, claiming too know best. My Dad and I dod not have a great relationship and some of the advice he gave me would have been better ignored, but one of his pearls of wisdom was not to argue with strangers or drunks. Of course fifty years ago we did not have social media and any arguing would be done face to face so the potential for a smack in the mouth was very real (and often deserved).

Here in my corner of North Wilsthire the Berkshire Belle and I await word of a place in the vaccination queue. She has a little age advantage over me being older and will probably get called first, but as she is staying at home and I am a front line worker she is very willing to give up her place in the line to me as it makes more sense, to her, for me to be done first and reduce the risk of me brining it home. Hopefully we can get her done soon and that I will not be too far behind even if it does not mean that we can relax our regime, stop wearing masks or remove any of the other measures that we take to avoid this plague. Just reducing the risk a bit will be a help.

I think that it is the lack of a light at the end of the tunnel that is the hardest thing to deal with. This time last year we had just booked our flights and accommodation for our Autumn holiday and were planning one or two days out each month for the time before we went. Not only did all of that vanish, but the thoughts that we had consoled ourselves with about the possibility of maybe getting away for a week in May this year have also gone for now. We might not get away this year either and, at our age, are considering whether our days of the long haul holiday are passed. The fact that we are lucky to be able to have such a break when others can’t afford to is no consolation.

Our holidays are something that we have enjoyed over the time that we have been together and do us good. We are happier when we are off on these jaunts and they help re-charge our batteries so not getting one last year was a blow and the realisation that we might not get another is depressing. The time of year does not help either and whilst I have plenty off things to occupy my mind and divert the negative thoughts my lady is not so fortunate and tends to dwell on the negative. Hope is at the heart of spiritual wellbeing and she is struggling at the moment.

I have not been able to ruthlessly pursue my diet this last week as we keep finding things that need eating or throwing away. We chose the former course and so my weight is sticking at the moment. Better to stay the same than gain, but it is a little frustrating, I have not walked today, but have about 120 km in the book so far this year so I am getting the exercise. I just need to reduce the calorific intake a bit more and I should start to prune some more weight off, but my planned target of being back down to 104 kg by the end of January seems to be out of reach for now unless I do something drastic.

I have managed some time in the garden just keeping up with general seasonal maintenance. The are quite a few bulbs starting to show through and we should soon have a few in flower so that will cheer me a little. We have also seen a few garden birds about again; a wren has been active outside the window as I write this, clambering through the jasmine looking for insects. Many of our shrubs are showing new buds ready for the coming warmer weather and I am looking forward to seeing the fruits of last year’s work.

Stay safe weever you are.

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 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.

Oops


I have just noticed that I am about three posts short here. For some reason those that I created on my iPad have not some through and, whilst they exist on that device, they show a marked reluctance to leave it for the wider world. Perhaps they are self isolating.

I will see if I can move them by other means than re-typing them, but please accept my apologies for this unexpected, and until now, unnoticed absence. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.