Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

the lockdown log 48

With the better weather I have been so occupied in the garden that I am a bit behind on this week’s log and whilst the high winds of a week ago did not help I have got a lot done. It has been a good week.

A couple of weeks on from my Covid jab I have still had no further side effects since the thumper of a headache over the first 24 hours. Another week and I will be as resistant as I can be until the second jab comes along in May. I will be keeping contact with others to a minimum anyway, but hopefully the risk of suffering the worst effects should I catch it are diminishing. We are considering whether or not we might try to get a holiday towards the end of the year, but it is so hard to predict how the world will be by then. My gut feeling is that it will be another year before things are settled enough, but you never know.

On the diet front my lack of discipline has been shameful, albeit that I have not put much weight on. All of the physical work in the garden has had an effect that the Berkshire Belle has noted in that my upper body is showing signs of developing muscle and, as she has counselled, muscle weighs heavy. So a couple of kg up from where I want to be at the moment is, perhaps, not too bad under the circumstances, but it does not help when I eat three days’ ration of chocolate in 20 minutes as I did the other evening whilst cooking dinner. Yes I was very distracted thinking about what I was going to do next in the garden whilst trying to focus on cooking something that I had not attempted before, but I managed to eat three squares off a bar of chocolate despite having told myself that I could not have my usual one. Not a major catastrophe, but it does not help.

In exercise terms I am still walking at least 10 km per day on average and have passed 600 km for the year. In old measurement I am averaging 6.1 miles per day and am close to 375 miles for the year so far. With 2-3 hours an afternoon labouring in the garden in lieu of an afternoon exercise walk I should be during calories at a reasonable rate and, despite the slip(s) described above, I have not piled the weight back on. Working in the garden all afternoon does keep me away from the temptations of the cupboards as well so as long as I can avoid stupid consumption of treats I should have a fair chance of losing a bit more weight over the Spring and Summer. Roll on salad weather.

That’s it for this week I think. It is Sunday morning and I am part way through the weekly chores that we save up for today. Outside it is still freezing and foggy, although there is a sign that the sun will break through shortly and warm things up enough for me to get back outside and move some more things along there. So far my morning has not gone too well so I am hoping that the day will improve when the sun comes out.

Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 45

Another week rolls by and we are still OK. My turn for a Covid vaccination must be close as a local couple I know around my age, albeit registered at another surgery, got their call yesterday evening. My arm is ready and waiting.

I said a week or so back that I had given up on the diet for now, but it is hard not to try and whilst I have not been recording my weight, I have been weighing in each week and so I was a little dismayed to find that in two weeks of sort of trying not to eat too much I had put on 3 kg and was back up to 109 kg last week (from a best of 104 in early December). This week I have been a little more focused and this morning’s check weigh gave me 106.5 (it thought hard about 106, but kept flicking back up) so I am taking the higher figure and accepting that I am going the right way again.

Dieting is hard because I like the taste of food. I like the mouth feel of eating many things and I also enjoy cooking so denying myself these pleasures is the only way forward and saying nom is not easy. Cooking most of our meals does allow me to control what goes into our meals. We eat very little pre-prepared stuff these days and most of what we eat is either fresh or from the freezer so we don’t have too many additives, preservatives and suchlike in our diet and I can also control fat and sugar content. Things like fat and salt do contribute and enhance flavour though and so neither is eliminated. Having tasty food helps so much because it is satisfying and you can get away with smaller portions. It is when we have something that leaves us cold that we are both looking for more.

The Berkshire Belle is also dieting although she is not weighing herself, rather she works on what clothes fit and whether she can get into clothes that used to fit, but haven’t for a while. It works for her and that is all that matters. It does no good to beat yourself up over these things. If you can keep a positive attitude I think that you have a better chance in the long run.

Today is my day off as usual, along with Sunday, and I was up at my local Sainsbury’s just after it opened at 0700. An hour later I was home with three bags of shopping and a slab of money lighter just in time for the fortnightly fruit and veg box delivery. We have a full fridge and pantry and there should be no need to brave the shops again until early next week when we will need milk. Soup off the day for today, and tomorrow, is a curious mix of leek and cauliflower made last night from remnants having cleared the veg drawer of the ‘fridge ready for today’s delivery. I fried off the leeks with a little oil and added a couple of cloves of garlic for extra flavour then put the cauliflower in and covered with water. Some salt and pepper for seasoning and left to simmer for about ten minutes before leaving to cool and the blitzing it with a stick blender. It is not the most appetising colour, but it was hot and filling at lunchtime and there is nothing added beyond the seasoning. I have a celeriac in the veg box and that will be roast to make the next batch of soup.

I was going to walk this afternoon, but it is chucking it down here in Swindon and I really don’t feel up to going out to get soaked. I have walked for a mile and a half today according to my tracker and had planned on doing around 5-6 miles, but I will find some indoor jobs instead. So far this year I have racked up 205 miles of exercise walking (329 km) so a bit of slacking off is maybe permissible. Last week I mentioned the Teenage Cancer Trust challenge to walk at least 15,000 steps Monday through Friday. I managed that without too much trouble, but it dawned on me too late that if I had just walked for about another 10 minutes each day I could have turned in 20,000 steps per day for 100,000 for the five days and I would have been happier with that than the 93,000 that I did record.

The garden has had some of my attention this week and another bin full of garden waste went out for the green recycling collection this morning. The days are drawing out steadily and I am looking forward to being able to spend more time out there once the weather gets a little more clement.

That’s it for this week. Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 44

The black cloud of last week evaporated on Friday and I was back to normal as quickly as I had left. Nothing happened either way as far as I could tell; there was certainly no special event that lifted my mood any mare than there had been one to plunge me into the abyss. Who knows how these things work?

It has been an eventful week with a blocked sink in the kitchen to start it off and my confidence in dealing with these things took a knock when my first two usual solutions both failed. In fact the second one seemed to make things worse, but a look at the internet showed me what I was doing wrong in applying my usual way of working to a double sink and once the logic of that had penetrated (it was blindingly obvious once I had been shown it) the blockage was cleared in seconds and the looming need to dismantle parts of the plumbing thus avoided.

The initial failure and ultimate success of the sink maintenance brought about a strangely satisfying feeling. The Berkshire Belle joked about me feeling all manly and I suspect that there was some primal thing about having faced a problem and beaten it. For some years whilst at the peak of my working life I sorted things out all of the time; “I like Bowen, he makes things happen.” was a comment from one of the directors of the group that I worked for for years and it is probably the part of my former life that I miss the most and so the sink issue had some significance: An easy problem that appeared to have become insurmountable, but which was then sorted made me feel good, especially so as I had learned something new about how to fix that problem in the future. I have long loved learning.

I don’t know how it affects others, but one mental health factor of lockdown is the amount of charity adverts that flood daytime TV commercial breaks. I appreciate that charities need funds, but the absolute barrage of misery that is pedalled is depressing beyond my comprehension. I have various defence mechanisms; I don’t watch too often, I do other things and, when all else fails, I resort to black humour. The Berkshire Belle absorbs it all and is often in tears to the point that she now records almost everything that she wants to watch so that she can view the recorded version and fast forward through the adverts. We are almost always watching yesterday’s TV these days.

Many years ago whenI was a suit I had funds to disburse to charities and used to consult my workforce about where to give help. Often the chosen charities were local ones and I hope that we were able to do some good. From a personal viewpoint I decided that I would adopt one charity and focus my donations and support there. I chose a charity that provided free mammograms for ladies in countries where such things had to be paid for. a link to that charity has appeared on my web sites and I have done what I can to keep that support up with my only deviation until recently being to support other breast cancer related appeals.

This Christmas, as I mentioned here in an earlier Lockdown Log, the BB and I decided to give what we would have spent on presents to charities that were supporting people here in the UK who were down on their luck and now I have, through work, signed up to support an exercise challenge for the Teenage Cancer Trust for whom I will be walking more that 15,000 steps each day Monday through Friday of this week. The first three days have gone well because IO have been at work and can do 15k without too much trouble there, but today is a day off and I need to walk for about two hours to get close. I will confess next week. I am not abandoning breast cancer as my chosen charity though.

Work in the garden is largely at a standstill as everywhere off the paths or deck is like a quagmire and I have pretty much tidied everything that I can reach. There are loads of new shoots and many bulbs are showing above ground now so the signs of Spring coming are all around. The days are drawing out too so there are signs of better times ahead.

Another week gone and we have survived. happy enough with that. Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 43

I am writing this from a very dark place, and no, that is no pun on the fact that it is barely getting light outside on a wet and windy Thursday. I am at a low ebb here.

What has brought this on I am not sure about, but, as sometimes happens, I went from fairly cheerful to the abyss at the flick of a switch yesterday. These things usually do not last too long and I will probably have it behind me tomorrow. How I get out of it I don’t know anymore that I know how I got into it; I’ve just learned to go with the flow and to try and not let a mood swing affect those around me too much. I am so deep into this one that I cannot even face going to my happy place (my music) as I do not want to taint anything with memories of where I am right now.

I have given up on trying to lose weight by the end of them month; for whatever reason I seem to be stuck at the same weight and have decided that I can do without getting stressed about it. As long as I can stay at that weight for now it will do and I can start trio think about starting again in a month or so. I am exercising though and will be through the 200 km mark by Saturday evening if not before.

Despite the weather I have been able to do a little gardening over the last week, mostly just tidying up. It looks as though I may have made a mistake with some of the snowdrop bulbs that I bought as a close inspection of the from lawn reveals a few very miniature snowdrops barley visible amid the grass. I shall have to check and see if I bought a pigmy version; if so it was a major mistake as there are around 100 of them planted out there. I made a similar mistake last Spring over the nicotiana that the Berkshire Belle wanted. I assumed that I was buying the same variety as I have bought many times before to put in the hanging baskets, but these ones grew to over a metre and a half tall (4-5 feet). More care in reading there catalogue is called for here.

One piece of unwanted excitement came last evening when I opened the back door Leo (our tomcat) to go out. He flattened himself on the doormat and, when I looked out, it was into the eyes of a fox. Outside our back door we have a plastic kennel for the cats to wait in if it is wet (we do not have a catflap) and Reynard had decided that this would be a great place to shelter fro the wind and rain. On seeing me it left, but was back about half an hour later when the Berkshire Belle checked so I went out and moved the kennel down to the bottom of the garden. The photo below is of one of our regular foxes sat in the back garden looking slightly pissed off, perhaps at the loss of its new house.

In other wildlife news we do seem to be getting a few garden birds back. There is at least on wren, a pair of robins and another of blackbirds. The wagtails are around out in the from garden along with some sparrows and bluebirds and a trio of starlings were feasting on the mealworms the other day. There is often birdsong out there again even if we can’t always see who is singing. Small pleasures.

The Berkshire Belle has had her first Covid vaccination today. All pretty efficient as a process and I was allowed to stay with her (I would have been happy to wait outside and watch the trains go by). We just have to wait for her to get the call for the second dose and for me to get my first. A little milestone done anyway.

It is getting colder again here and I will be off out to cover the car’s windscreen in a minute. The forecast is for it to be around freezing at 0500 tomorrow and one less thing to scrape will be appreciated at that time of the morning. At least we do not have the flooding that other parts of the country are enduring and I am grateful for that.

Stay safe wherever you are.

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.

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.