A week about books and health

Mon 26 Aug (Bank Holiday Monday) – Sun 1 Sept 2019

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A week that started off off with the last bank holiday Monday before the Xmas-New Year break. This finished off a beautiful long, lazy weekend. And crazy temperatures – above 33 degrees in London on Monday. I didn’t do the Notting Hill Carnival. Done it in past but not my thing now especially as there are so many people, too many for my comfort. Then the week ended with a cooler more cloudier start to Sept.

Also the week that Johnson announced he would be proroguing parliament to try to get Brexit through. Demonstrations ensued but you do have to ask yourself what is happening to our country? πŸ™

And my Dave had some health issues having to pop into hospital for a small surgical procedure, all good though. He is in reasonable health but needs to lose weight.

Books and Reading

I love reading and really pleased that I got 3 books knocked out last week – all very different. That’s the stimulation of reading with varied books going on at the same time.

‘The Evenings’ by Gerard Reve

What a strange book this is. A Dutch 20th century classic published in 1947 and recently republished to wide acclaim. It is fundamentally a study in boredom. A young man lives with his parents and this book lays out the course of his life one Christmas-New Year period. Basically nothing happens. He gets up, sees his friends, works, eats. But it is engaging in a quixotic way and makes you think about the bleakness of life just after the war though, surprisingly, that does not really feature at all.

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‘Waking Gods’ by Sylvain Neuvel

Book 2 of the ‘Themis files’. I read the first book quite a while ago so it was interesting trying to remember the characters and their background stories. Basically it’s decent contemporary sci-fi. Though very much in a War of the Worlds / First Contact tradition where aliens have arrived on Earth and we are at war.

The style is a bit crass in that it is chapters of dialogue. And there are quite a few stereotypes including a version of the smoking man from The X Files. But it’s fun and does raise the constant question of if intelligent aliens do exist then what will happen when we encounter each other and will we be able to understand them?

‘Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales’ edited by Stephen King & Bev Vincent

Plane flying

A fun collection of short horror stories related to flying. Let’s be honest, flying is a pretty awful experience and makes itself easy to link to horror. The stories come from over the last 100 years and there are some real crackers.

I loved the modern one about people on a plane just as a nuclear war starts, and the Chinese emperor who ends flying before it begins. Plus great to read a fascinating story by Roald Dahl who I did not realise had been an RAF pilot in WWII.

Don’t forget, all the books I have read are listed here.

Health and Efficiency

I am keeping up my exercise routine established during the sabbatical. However, there was a huge health slant to last week albeit confined to one particularly weekday morning.

Tuesday morning was all about health

A slightly crazy Tues morning. Should have been the day I go for my 5K jog-run but that was postponed to deal with health stuff. I had to get my INR checked, and managed to combine that with getting a GP to renew all my non-HIV meds. But before that, a trip to the hospital to get bloods done and pick up 6 more months of ARVs – anti-retrovirals. While awaiting collection of the ARVs from the hospital pharmacy, I managed to pop in and see Dave after his surgical procedure at the same hospital.


3 gym sessions last week:

  • Mon morning – me on my own in the gym so had a long session which took about an hour and 20 mins.
  • Thurs morning – one other person in the gym for a short while. Made it clear what machines were my territory LOL. Not as long as Mon but a decent hour+ and various body parts worked including legs and core.
  • Sun morning – a good session with just me and a muscle man in the gym. Didn’t go too strenuous as I was planning sessions on the two consecutive following days.


woman doing tree pose

Fri morning I was back with my yoga instructor; first time in over a fortnight. He’s off to India soon so I will have to think about how I am going to carry on doing yoga. Almost certainly will have to shift to group sessions instead of having the lovely personal attention of 1:1. We did our session out in the park – cool but sunny weather. All good stuff.


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Only one jog-run last week – my Saturday 10K. My usual 5K on Tuesday morning was out because of the hospital and GP visit detailed above. A perfectly decent result coming in at just over 1 hour and 2 minutes. My new norm does seem to be under 1 hour 3 mins and that puts me within spitting distance of my ambition of under 1 hour. πŸ™‚

Work-life balance

Perhaps it seems weird that I keep counting off the weeks I have been back at work since my sabbatical. But it helps me get into my head progress I am making. Last week was my 4th week back and I am off to Berlin in a fortnight. These thoughts give me balance.

A perfectly decent week at work – no reason work should always be hassle and stress. Lots of paperwork dealt with especially around appraisals. And my work emails are starting to go crazy again. One day I was up to nearly 200 needing to be read. Basically I am trying to have read all my emails by the end of the day and have no more than 100 sitting in my inbox at any one time.

Things continue to go well with my colleagues – I am so lucky to work with such a decent group of people. There is lots of activity, thinking and planning going into important future events. Very important at work, as in life, that we think to the future rather than dwell in the past.

The Week Ahead

  • My last week of the usual work routine as the week after next I’m off to Berlin πŸ™‚
  • Next weekend, me and Dave are up to York to visit some friends and see Jane McDonald on stage πŸ™‚
  • Exercise plan is 2 gym sessions, a jog-run, and a final yoga session before my instructor goes travelling
  • It’s Velvet Page on Thurs night so I’ve got to read the book for that and hopefully I will get through at least one other
  • Gonna have my ears suctioned as they are getting blocked with wax. I have to pay for it but otherwise I can’t hear. πŸ™
  • Will keep on keeping my personal and work emails under control plus continue to play with the language apps
  • Nothing last week on art and culture – don’t know if I will get anything done next week either πŸ™

And Finally…

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