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Posts Tagged ‘staysafe’

life log #8


The loss of my Queen last week was a shock. It had to come one day soon, but it all seemed so sudden when the news came that her family had been sudden followed a few hours later by the inevitable announcement.

I am a Royalist and have been for as long as I can remember having thought about it. I would have been a Royalist in an earlier life too, even if it meant being, for a while, on the loading side. Let’s face it the Puritans were a joyless bunch were they not? The monarchy were thankfully restored and Cromwell’s remains were desecrated so I feel that I am on the right side here.

Whilst the Queen would have expected the due process of State to be carried out according to her wishes I doubt that she would have wanted the country to shut down during the process of mourning. She cared about her country too much and, at a time like this, she would have wanted it working towards better times, not moping about.

The Hastings Hottie and I are both very saddened by the loss of the Monarch who had been my only and hers since childhood, but we both have worked in sectors where there will be much to do in the changeover from E to C. We both miss the chance to be involved in making those changes happen as we would have done once. QCs have already become KCs (sans Sunshine Band of course) and stamps, coins and banknotes will all change. Much of this work will already have been planned for some time, but it would be fascinating to be in on making some of it happen.

So what else is going on chez nous? We have gone from trying to salvage as much as we can from the garden to it becoming lush and seeing some things coming back from the dead. Some things that we thought that we had lost from the fencing works have come back too, much to our delight. A good few annuals have not survived and some of the perennials have gone from scorched to Autumn mode. Tale season pruning will be interesting as we try to work out what is dormant and what is dying.

We put off our US holiday again, but have agreed that something in the Spring of 2023 is essential for our sanity as well as because there are thing that we need to do over there to tidy up the last remnants of our property adventures Stateside.

For us this is the season of two birthdays and various anniversaries and so dietary considerations are taking a back seat. Not that we are going made, but we are not going mad either, just relaxing the strict regime a little.

We have been trying to minimise our energy consumption for some years now, so are finding it hard to find any more areas that we can cut back on. All we can do now is to sit tight and wait to see how things work out. Hopefully this Winter will not be too hard so that those worse off than us can have a better chance of maintaining a reasonable quality of life.

As I write this the two foxes that live next door are lurking around in our garden. We see them daily and, thankfully, this year they are causing too much havoc our side of the fence. We have most of our small birds back too, including a wren, and their antics give much joy. The other bit of wildlife news is that the little water feature that I created has an amphibian. Whilst cleaning the filter on the pump something crossed the back of my hand and vanished into the depths; whether it was a frog or one of the toads that we have around the garden I can’t say for sure, but it was another pleasant surprise.

Stay safe, wherever you are.

life log #6


Wow! Three months since I last wrote one of these. I am not sure why it has been so long, but it may just be that I have been too involved in other things.

I write best when I am quiet. Music is about the only sound that does not put me off, but sometimes it does distract me as well. My most prolific writing times were when I was working from home and the Berkshire Belle was still at work. She would go off to the office about a quarter to eight every morning and then it would be just me and the cats. I had about eight blogs on the go as well as writing for magazines and other projects. I could knock out twenty to thirty thousand words most days and, whilst I have never made a fortune from my scribblings, I didn’t do too b badly at earning a few bob either.

Things change though and I haven’t written for publication for six or seven years now other than a few things as an industry pundit, but they don’t pay or really count as writing. I seem to have too many other things that occupy my time and have not felt the need to inflict my thoughts on the world at large. These life logs started out as lockdown logs and seem to have developed a following as pretty much every day there is some feedback on them so I apologise to anyone who has wondered where I had got to.

Most of my time since March has been taken up in my back garden. The fencing contractors came in May and that was the catalyst for a lot of things to get started. I still have a lot to do and there is the daily maintenance of what I have done to take care of so I can easily spend an hour a day just on the latter. I now have a back garden that is habitable and have been able to just sit out there and read a couple of times. Maybe I can sit out there and write too.

The Double B and I have stopped wearing masks when out shopping and I no longer wear one at work. Neither of us is that comfortable with the decision, but we felt that we wanted to try and move a bit more back towards the way that things were. She has had her second booster and it seems that I will get mine in the Autumn. We are still carrying masks with us in the car though in case we decide that we want to use them. One possible side effect is that I have have had almost no sinus pain over the Covid period where I have been wearing a mask for between 3 and 4 hours a day, but within days of stopping masking up I am having problems again. Was recycling that humid breath beneficial? Who knows.

We are still undecided about a holiday this year, but will have to make a decision soon. We are both desperate to have a break, but can’t face the hassle that seems to prevail at the moment. Our type of vacation always involves scheduled flights on mainstream airlines and between primary hubs, so things might not be too bad, but 2 or 3 hours queuing for immigration or security is not too much fun, especially for the Berkshire Belle.

Anyway, that’s it for now and I will try not to take so long before the next one.

Stay safe out there wherever you are.

the lockdown log, an end and a beginning


A few logs back I mentioned that I had been having equipment problems in getting these logs uploaded. This turned out to be related to software updates where the operating system for the devices and the software versions for WordPress were out of synch. I had resurrected my old HP travelling laptop and that, running Windows 7, seemed to be fine and I have happily been writing my log each week since.

Until now that is, and this week when I had to temporarily retire that old HP pending replacing a part. Having reverted to my MacBook I find that none of the last four or five logs are out there in cyberland. I know not why, but I was feeling that a change was in the air, that the Lockdown Logs had run their course, and so this has made it easy to make that change.

I had started the lockdown logs during lockdown and we aren’t locked down any more. If we behave ourselves we can, I hope, avoid another lockdown so the weekly log seemed a little out of place, at least under that banner. The logs have developed a small following though and so I shall carry on, but under a new title; LifeLog perhaps? I have another week to make a choice.

On the subject of choices I got a call from my doctor’s surgery ten days ago to make an appointment for a diabetic review. That spurred my into the decision to stop my daily treats in an attempt to kick-start a further weight loss. I have written here before about my perception of eating habits with alcoholism. I understand that they are not the same thing, but I try to adopt a similar attitude in taking things a day at a time and being able to go to bed at night and say that this has been a day when I have not strayed.

I was able to check my test results on-line yesterday and all looks good. Of the other tests on the day things were also good; my weight was down from last time, there were no problems with my feet or circulation. The only negative was my blood pressure, but I had walked vigorously to the surgery and my pulse rate was up so I have been asked to check my BP at home twice daily and keep a diary for a week (I haven’t started yet). After the tests at the doctor’s I walked around the corner to the health centre for my diabetic eye tests. The results from the pictures of my retina should be through in a couple of weeks, but the basic, how far down the chart can you read, tests were OK.

So I am feeling a little positive. All being well I will finally be able to reduce my Metformin intake from 4 a day to 2 and that might have a beneficial impact on my digestive output. Whilst I have not had too many problems with one of the more unpleasant side effects of Metformin, I do have the occasional problem and I would be very happy to put these behind me. Another good thing from the doctor’s is that my scales and theirs agree so I am not deluding myself with the results I get at home. I am 6 kg over my best weight from about a year ago so I have no room for complacency, but the problem is that whilst I do not like being heavier than I want to be I do like eating. It is another of those choices.

As reported inn the missing blogs the Berkshire Belle and I have had our Covid boosters and our ‘flu jabs so we are as protected as we can be for the moment. We are still avoiding going out to crowded places, but have had a few lunches out recently, some to celebrate important dates and others just for fun. That has stopped as it is getting into Christmas party season and we always avoid that time of year. It will also help the wallet and purse a little; eating out is expensive as well as not being too good for the waistline.

Stay safe out there wherever you are, and thanks for sticking with me.

the lockdown log 79


Another week vanishes without me having noticed it go by. Time seems to evaporate these days, much faster than it did back when I was suited, booted and into all the high-powered corporate stuff. Perhaps it is just a sign of getting old.

I should have kept quiet about fuel shortage rumours last week. The panic that resulted was human nature and I do not have the heart to blame any of the individuals who have sweated over being able to get fuel that they need. I am less charitable about the greedy, but I am in a fair old fury about the moronic media who put the story out. If I ruled the country there would be consequences for them. It was all so unnecessary, there would have been no problem if the panic had not been kicked off.

My desire to avoid too much human contact continues and I have inflicted what must be the ninth self-performed hair cut. I am getting better at it with the amount of practice and, for the first time, the Berkshire Belle did not have to point out one or more bits that I had missed. I do wish that she would do it for me, but have given up asking.

We are still shopping and getting out and about, but no lunches or breakfasts out this week. It has been a quiet week in general; I did a supermarket she at my local Aldi on Monday and today we hit M&S and a farm shop. We have a fruit and veg box due the afternoon and all that, plus what we have in the freezer will see us through nicely.

I had my ‘flu jab last weekend and another very well organised job down at the space the local health team have rented at Swindon’s Steam museum. Our doctor’s practice if part of a combine of about thirteen local surgeries and they have teamed up to run this vaccination centre. It is still doing Covid jabs, but has now moved into the ‘flu vaccination programme. I got a text with a web link to alert me that my number was up. Clicking on the link got me into the appointment diary where I selected my date and time. I was there about 5 minutes early as the traffic was not quite as bad as I expected, but was straight in and actually got jabbed 2 minutes before my appointed time. I think that the fact that it is a private enterprise running the surgery group makes a difference as many others in the town who are registered with NHS run surgeries have had all sorts of problems getting their Covid jabs and, in some cases, have faced a round trip of over 100 miles to get them.

No real change for me on the weight front. One kg lighter, but I have little confidence in my mindset delivering a sustained improvement at the moment. If I can just keep from allowing the weight to creep up it will help.

Stay safe wherever you are.

the lockdown log 65


Life goes on for us and whilst I am calm about lockdown it is bothering the Berkshire Belle considerably. I am content wearing my mask; she is not, yet if we fail to spot the sanitation station at the store entrance (or are too preoccupied to notice), she can get quite stressed when she realises that we have not added that layer of protection. The oddities in the changing regulations bother her too; why can large crowds attend sporting events when you can’t have a concert and so on. None of this interests me in the slightest and I cannot give her any answers as to why these things are as they are. I just accept them as facts and get on with my day.

I suppose that it is my innate habit of ignoring anything that I cannot influence. It works for me and I do my best to let all of this just wash over me. Yes it is affecting my life, but I have adapted and just live a different life. I used to do this to some degree when we spent as much time as we could in the USA and I would tell people that we were not on holiday, just living there instead of here. And that is largely true because from the second trip onwards we did little that was touristy, rather we settled into trying to live as much like locals as we could. It was a different life to here and one that we liked better. Covid life is not like the one that we knew and it is not so good, but it is the one that we have and I do my best with it.

One this that I have noticed recently is the way that fuel prices have risen. I am notorious for not looking at what I have paid for fuel, but I do remember a point during lockdown about 12 months ago when I paid less than £1 per litre for unleaded. This week I spotted at the Esso station that I pass on the way to and from work that the litre price was up to £1.319. Pre-lockdown it was about 122.9 to 124.9 per litre, so it makes a bit of a difference, but I do not use too much these days and I am glad about that.

We have been out a bit this week and the Berkshire Belle has had two trips; one over to Cheltenham to the bigger Waitrose supermarket there and then a three shop trip locally the next day when we did a garden centre, Marks and Spencer and Lidl in a mini orgy of retail. It is important that I keep getting her out, even if these trips are hardly full of excitement. We talked a lot this week about going out to lunch one day, but did not come to any conclusions beyond the uncertainty of whether we would enjoy ourselves. Given the lady’s dislike of lockdown protocols as mentioned above it does, for her, take away much of the pleasure and if she is not having a good time, then nor am I. We stayed in for all of our meals and, in all probability, actually ate more healthily that had we dined out. Certainly it was cheaper.

There is no rush for us to book any holiday yet. Our preferred destination is America, but things are so bad over there that we are concerned about going. We have talked about a shorter trip to, say, Dubai, but that, as a major hub, is firmly red-zoned for now. It will probably be another year for us with no holiday now. We have no interest in going to Europe at the moment, even if they would have us, nor in a UK tour, so it will be making plans for 2022 by the look of it.

This coming weekend I have an appointment with the scales. It is a year since I had the diabetic diagnosis that spurred me into a concerted effort to lose weight and I need to see where I am and, perhaps, try and kick start another drive towards getting under 100kg. The Berkshire Belle has had a splendid result from her own diet. Her numbers are her affair and not to be shared here, but she has done very well and I am proud of her efforts. It is causing her some issues in that she has few clothes that fit and her normal sources, various US chains, are not readily available to her. We are working on that from a mail order perspective though.

In the garden we are still having fox problems although we seem to be down to two now. Mrs Reynard has not been seen for a few days and the dark red coloured youngster has also been AWOL lately. The remaining pair have possibly picked up on Mummy’s talent for killing pigeons though judging by the evidence and neither looks to be going hungry. Whilst the are still living in neighbouring gardens ours is still the preferred place for burying food as we have the well turned flower beds and planters that our neighbours lack. July is around the time that the cubs usually push off and find new homes so maybe only another.couple of weeks…

My efforts to build a new base for our mini-Kamodo BBQ have probably caused this latest downturn in the weather. Honest Mother Nature, I didn’t want to use it, just to get it up off the deck so that I could finish painting said deck. I am getting very tempted again to buy a pop-up gazebo to work under: It would protect me form both sun and rain after all.

Anyway, that is it for me for this week. Stay safe wherever you are.