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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 12


Life has really not changed too much for the Berkshire Belle and I. We have refined our choice of intent supplier here and there, but the only real change so far is that the double B has not been out.

By that I mean that she has stayed in the house apart from two occasions when she has walked down the front path to bring in out dustbin and recycling crates. This she will do if the weather is good and it is important for us to get these things in quickly after they are emptied because the team doing the emptying often replace them at the wrong house. Other than those two outings she has not been outside of the house.

I am still working on the front line five days out of seven, but other than that my trips have been confined to food shopping plus one trip to a garden centre and I felt guilty about that. Last week I drove over to Cirencester and back, about a forty mile trip, on a business matter regarding something that I am currently involved in restarting on June 15th. That felt really weird, but made more so by the number of tourists I saw up there; where have they come from? Well in the case of a group of around half a dozen from Italy. I did not stop to make further enquiries.

So far here in Swindon we are not doing too badly on the Covid-19 front compared to some other areas and, whilst we are part of the South West where numbers of infections are rising, here we don not seem to be getting too many. I wonder if the mass exoduses to the beach and other beauty spots over the bank holiday weekends have contributed to the rise in cases.

Today it is raining and looks to be wet all day so my plans for a few hours in the garden have been shelved. I have to go out at lunchtime to the doctor’s for a routine blood test. I would rather avoid the place, but have already pout this appointment off once and they are nagging. To me this is an example of today’s society at its worst because the appointment is largely a waste of their time and mine.

The problem started when the health practice that I am registered at decided that periodic reviews of regular medication would be carried out by a pharmacist to save the doctor’s time. My review came up and the pharmacist rang me for a chat. She called top my records and latched on to the fact that I have had, from time to time, high blood pressure. I explained that my doctor had elected to stop the periodic blood pressure tests on the basis that he was happy enough with me to have stopped the blood pressure medication, but this was not good enough: I would have to come in and had a BP test plus a blood test for a variety of routine function checks.

And so I am going today and am fairly certain that what the pharmacist gets back will mean that she will compare the results to whatever chart it is that they have and she will want me to come in and see a doctor. There will be no peace until I do and so I will make an appointment and go in for a chat at which we will agree that I am an overweight 67 year old white male who is vulnerable too certain risks. The same 67 year old etc etc who has walked an average of 5.8 miles a day over the last 12 months (according to my tracker), works 4 hours a day 5 days a week at a physical job, does not smoke and drinks little. Whatever else we achieve from that appointment I doubt that it will be a productive use of the doctor’s time, but they have to go through the motions because of a duty of care and all that bureaucracy that is in place these days. This is one of the areas of waste that I would love to see swept away.

Please do not think that I am knocking the NHS; I am not. The health care practitioners are wonderful and have saved my life eight years ago. They have also saved the life of my son who is 38 today. It is the ludicrous bureaucracy that costs too much that is drowning the NHS, but that is a feature of the world that we have created now whereby nothing is our fault and there must always be someone else to blame (and sue).

Anyway, rant over. It is a wet day, I will not have to water my plants and my water butts will be replenished. There is alway some good in everything, no matter how bad it might seem.

Stay safe and have fun.

supporting the front line doesn’t mean holding it up


I have been very lucky over the years in that I have been able to be part of some massive changes in the businesses for whom I have worked, from small parts in the early years through to influence and then responsibility. These days my role is usually one of influence because that is what mentors and consultants do (I can’t recall who said it, but I love the line about a consultant being like a castrated bull; he can only advise), but I do love the opportunity to get back into the trenches and do something. Read more…