Billyblog 5-11 July 2015: Long walks for physical and mental wellbeing

Sun 5 – Sat 11 July 2015

xray-handSo attendance at the Hand Clinic last Monday confirmed my fears: a tiny fracture and torn ligaments in my wrist and hand meaning my arm and hand is in a plastic cast for at least six weeks. It is very easy to see the negatives such as not being able to use a knife and fork nor attend the gym but I have done a separate blog to try and capture five positives  (and there could be more):

  • Enforced change of normal routine
  • More spare time (primarily because can’t do gym)
  • New (and increased?) exercise via walking
  • More rest time
  • Via empathy I could be a better person

Health and efficiency

download (18)I decided I needed to rethink my whole exercise strategy to put a lot more purposeful long walking in place and here is a breakdown of my long walks last week:

  1. Monday – Victoria to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital then onto Kensington Olympia
  2. Tuesday – Vauxhall to Olympia
  3. Wednesday – Paddington to Victoria
  4. Thursday – Victoria to Warren Street and back
  5. Friday – Victoria to Vauxhall and back
  6. Saturday – Victoria to Russell Square and back

I actually do love walking and it gives me an opportunity to relax in my head as well as catch up with stuff on my ipod.

Two other blots on the health landscape. Left achilles / ankle still hurting despite being rested via no jog-runs so GP appointment made to get it checked out. Other thing was hayfever really kicking in Friday and Saturday – sneezing all over the place and going through my supply of clean laundered handkerchiefs.

Actually quite a relaxed week starting with another Sunday home alone

Overall, last week was quite chilled and relaxed largely I think due to the good mental therapy that comes through long walking as well as the wonderful summer weather I adore. The previous Sunday was nice even though I was alone at Dave’s with him being away for work. I had planned to walk back to see mum but we agreed I would stay over till Monday not least because it was so much easier to shower rather than bath with my plastered arm in a plastic bag to be kept dry. As a break from the generally good weather it did start off raining though brightened up later. Out for coffee twice over before back to the flat to watch athletics and potter on my pooter including getting my blog finished. Out for coffee late afternoon then back to snooze for an hour or so. I thought about going out for a curry but decided to use up stuff in Dave’s cupboard and fridge. Crap TV so bed and reading 9pm onwards.

Hand Clinic

Monday up around 7 (usual weekday time is 6.30) and showered then watered Dave’s plants before out for coffee. Back to watch the edition of ‘Vicious’ I missed whilst in Spain (very funny and true to mine and Dave’s relationship sometimes) plus a bit of DuoLingo. Another coffee in the sun though not as hot as last week before my walk to the hospital in Chelsea. Stopped at Stockpot for a fab spaghetti carbonara eaten with one hand. Hand Clinic appointment at 2.10 but not seen by the doctor till around 3.15 then had to wait to see the therapist and got out around 4.30. images (14)Lots of waiting but OK with me because it’s a free service (thanks be to God), had a good book to read (Clive Barker), and some nice totty to look at in the waiting room (Tom and Matt especially both with finger injuries). The key good thing was that the cumbersome plaster cast and sling was swapped for a more manageable plastic casing. Walked home catching up on the phone with my old friend Brian who has got a trailer and living for prolonged periods in Denmark. Evening in with mum and the soaps.

Boom… and then came the tube strike

Big thing last week was the disruptive tube strike starting Wednesday afternoon and lasting all through Thursday. As such, my office days were all day Tuesday and Friday afternoon. Wednesday I had a meeting in the morning at Paddington then worked at home and Thursday afternoon I walked there and back to an event.

A lot of Tuesday was spent explaining to people in the office what had happened with my arm as it was the first time they had seen it. We are gearing up for sign off of the latest assessments of projects – the final stage before approval of their grant goes to Grants Committee and Trustees. After work I walked back to West Kensington to meet Dave and go for dinner with my old friends Tim and Bob. Bob has lost about a stone in weight motivated by some serious health concerns. We had a lovely Turkish (food) and then me and Dave went back to their flat for coffee. I stayed at Dave’s as his place was my base for the following few days and we had not had time together for ages.

Wavemaker, Whiley and Anti-Bullying Pro

My Wednesday morning meeting was about Wavemaker Stoke at Paddington station and then I walked back to Victoria across a very parched Hyde Park. The rest of the day was spent working remotely to avoid a panic to get back to wherever before the tube stopped. In the evening I went to bed quite early to read and listen todownload (17) Jo Wiley 8-10pm on Radio 2, very good.

Thursday no tubes at all so I pottered in the morning (what would have been gym time) and then walked Victoria to Warren Street briefly checking out some of the shops on Charing Cross Road. I bought the latest Brandon Flowers album cos I love the single ‘I can change’, Brandon himself is very sexy though unfortunately (16) The event I attended was by Anti- Bullying Pro at Facebook’s HQ. They are very impressive in the way they engage with young people to take practical steps to discourage bullying especially in schools very much via peer support and by a good use of celebrities that young people empathise with. I met a student who had come out at school and I told him how awful it had beenwhen I did the same in  the mid-eighties. In the evening I met with Dave for a catch up dinner – one-handed pizza eating.

Deirdre’s dead 

Friday I walked to and from work after lunch. Morning was my own time so I pottered including collecting the laundry though also dealt with some work calls. Key achievement at work was to push the first of three assessments through the system. Unexpectedly I got a haircut on the way home then a quiet evening chilling with Dave and watching Coronation Street – Deirdre’s funeral preparations, very sad. Caught bits of T in the Park on TV – looked fun and less pretentious than Glastonbury.

I love Gay’s The Word

Saturday up by 7.30 for coffee then back to Charing Cross Road and onto Russell Square. My primary focus was secondhand bookshops and I did buy some (including a book by a Dutch author I like, Cees Nooteboom, which I didn’t know he had written) but I also bought some cheap gay DVDs. Checked out Gays the Word – a wonderful physical part of London’s gay culture and chatted to the owner Jimmy. I did limit myself to buying only three secondhand books from GTW. Back to Dave’s for a really refreshing hour-long snooze that set me up for a relaxed evening of reading and pottering on the pooter. Dave watched the film ‘Ted’ which he thought was hilarious.

Personal development

A big question I have to deal with is why I am not making more progress on digital and languages? Could be that the walking is taking up a lot of time but this situation was happening a bit before the wrist injury came along. Need to think how to address this deficiency.


Albrecht_Dürer_-_The_Men’s_Bath_-_Google_Art_ProjectFinished reading Mineshaft Nights – not the best literature I have ever read. Back to vol 2 of Clive Barker’s ‘Books of Blood’ and some wonderfully inventive horror stories. I’m always left with the question – how does someone’s imagination come up with so many fantastic but awful ideas? Onto Susan Hill, a modern author I much admire and a nice thin book (almost a novella) ‘The Small Hand – A Ghost Story’. Almost immediately I remembered I had already read it though several years ago and had forgotten what happened. So I ploughed on and that was time well spent. Like so many ghost stories reflection on mental health is a key part and, from where I am now after my breakdown compared to when I read it previously, I could empathise much more with the mental health 4122095797_9bb21eae8caspects of the story. Next book was Peter Ackroyd’s recent book ‘Three Brothers’. An extremely well written and constructed novel based on the lives of three brothers in sixties London. It really does show what a very accomplished writer he is and was a pleasure to read though I am not totally sure about the supernatural / spiritual angle within it. Plus I felt a wee bit short-changed by the abrupt ending.



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