Detox and good books

Mon 20 – Sun 26 May 2019

Another funny old week and number 8 of my 18 week sabbatical. This marks the end of the paid element and from now on there will be no pay coming in until I return to work; it’s where it starts to get interesting. 🙂

Me and Dave came back from our lovely little Sitges break, I returned to exercise and tried to detox, Euro-elections came on Thursday showing we are more divided than ever, Jamie’s and British Steel went under, and Theresa May (who?) finally resigned.

Sitges

sunshine logo

Last Monday and Tuesday were spent finishing a lovely holiday in my beloved Sitges. Details on the first half of it can be found in last week’s blog ‘A postcard from Sitges’ here. Highlights from Mon to Wed:

  • Two days of solid sunshine after Sun’s torrential rain. I was a beach bum on Mon but chilled around town on Tues mainly because I had burnt bits especially on my toes. 🙁
  • Mon I forgot to get Dave to put sun tan lotion on my back. Asked 2 guys on the gay beach to do it and both refused. So much for gay solidarity, hope they get skin cancer. Nice old Norwegian guy helped me out.
  • Bumped into my old mate Mark again on Mon for a drink and then me , him and Dave met for a farewell drink on Tues evening (whisky sours at Parrots of course 🙂 )
  • Ate at La Oca on Mon night. Bit of a Sitges landmark but bloody chaotic – literally waiters running into each other
  • Lovely walk with Dave along the huge promenade on Tues
  • Power cut on Tues meant the hotel staff had to come over and unlock the electric controlled main door
  • Train delays on Wed but we still made it to the airport in time. And the poor man on the train wearing white jeans who spilt coffee all down himself…

Health and Efficiency

Detox

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The big emphasis on my return has been detox. Weight surprisingly did not increase on holiday and actually weight loss may have slowed with my return to London. 🙁 I’m sure it is easier to eat less in a hot place – you just don’t feel like eating. I think the holiday shows starvation to cover for alcohol intake actually works.

Now I need to carry on losing weight, eat more healthily, and get back to being used to not drinking copious amounts of alcohol.

A poor jog-run

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I really look forward to my weekly 10K jog-run. Last week, I thought it might be a very good one making up part of my post-holiday detox. Alas how wrong I was. A really crap time (nearly one hour and eight minutes). 🙁 All went pear-shaped after the 4K mark. I’m really not sure why. Oh well, hopefully it will be better next week.

Gym and yoga

Dumbells

Managed to get in 2 gym sessions last week after the return from Sitges. Regular gym sessions must make up a significant part of my detox. Thurs and Sun, both times focusing on legs, upper body, and core. I did have some lower backache after my Sat jog-run which I hoped would be a bit better with a small workout the next day.

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Fri morning it was over to east London for yoga. I think people who don’t do yoga don’t realise how hard it can be. Indeed I love the stretching aspect but I also work very hard and frequently end up sweating my bollocks off. Came across a great book in the library on ‘accessible yoga’ which looks at how the different yoga poses can be done with only limited ability but with the benefits to your body retained.

Books and Reading

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson

In a previous blog, I wrote about how I eventually finished Peter Straub’s ‘Ghost Story’. Supposedly a horror classic, it did not do it for me. However, this horror/ghost story that I read last week was the absolute opposite. Much shorter and far more focused, it’s an intensely dark story of a haunted house and how it affects people who inter-act with it.

It reminded me very much of ‘The Turn of the Screw’ by Henry James – made into the equally brilliant film ‘The Innocents’. Hill House and Turn of the Screw are both incredibly subtle and creepy plus neither long nor meandering. In the two books you are left trying to work out if this is just a horror story or if there is more going on here like sexual tension and abuse? Both are books are that I would highly recommend.

‘The Year of Reading Dangerously’ by Andy Miller

This was the other book I read last week. I nearly always go for fiction but this was a strange one being a true story about someone who decided to devote himself to reading a selection of classic novels. It’s not just a list of books read, thank God. And it is more than just a series of plot summaries. Rather it also contains reflection on his life and what he gains from reading.

I adore reading and many of the aspects of this book echoed with me. Although it also felt slightly indulgent (a book about reading books…) and not all parts worked. One of the best bits was his final section where the author reflects on his various small meetings with the brilliant Douglas Adams who wrote ‘Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy’. An amazing author who we miss akin to Terry Pratchett.

Personal Development

The detox is not only about recovering from drinking lots, trying to get back to losing weight, and getting regular exercise. It is also about taking the relaxed attitude of holiday time and incorporating it into everyday life – this is easier at the moment with no work to go back to. And the detox can defined as well as getting back into a healthy habit of trying to improve my non-work related skills during my sabbatical.

Laptop and a coffee

I suppose my big win in terms of personal development last week was keeping on top of emails – a key source of info on what is happening in the niche areas I am interested in. Some progress on languages but not the progress I wanted to make on coding practice / digital.

Friends

A lovely afternoon on Sunday with me and Dave going over to see my old mate Dom. Dave particularly wanted to see his garden which was absolutely glorious. And then another friend Richard turned up. Really nice to chew the cud in the garden before they went off to the theatre. The only worry was Dom talking about events in the past when we visited Prague that I have absolutely no recall of – my memory is so poor. 🙁

The Week Ahead

  • Thursday me and Dave are taking my mum down to her friend’s for her to have a week away (I’m such a good son 🙂 )
  • One 10K jog-run (next Sunday?) and perhaps a small 5K before then…
  • Massage on Monday and Yoga on Wednesday
  • Should be able to get 2 or 3 gym sessions in
  • Hopefully will see some ongoing decrease in my weight though I need to be strict with myself
  • Completion of one book by the end of the week perhaps two
  • Gotta get back to regular personal development and some cultural stuff

And Finally…

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