Lockdown 3.0 and Christmas – noting how different to last year

Mon 21 – Sun 27 Dec 2020

How to keep going? One of the main things for me is the thought of being able to look back on his time and realise we survived. Survival is victory. It’s interesting why Tier 4 is not being called a lockdown even though it is the same rules. Presumably so as not to worry people and to make them feel slightly better about the situation particularly as it is near to Christmas. However, if we speak the truth we are living through lockdown 3.0.

Lockdown 1.0

Scary. None of us knew how things would pan out, how at risk we were, how long it would last. But there was a sense of solidarity and ‘all in it together’. We clapped for carers (cheaper than a decent pay rise) and gradually learnt what we could or could not do.

Lockdown 2.0

Came too late. If it had come in Sept (following the fuelling that came via Eat Out to Help Out) as SAGE advised then we might have avoided lockdown 3.0. 2.0 was survivable because it was time limited and we knew largely how to protect ourselves.

Lockdown 3.0

Dirge. We have a more virulent virus but light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the vaccine. So we just have to plod through it hoping that neither we nor anybody we care about gets unlucky at this stage. And no end-date. Johnson says things will be back to normal by Easter but he also promised that for July and Christmas.

Brexshit – Vive la resistance

At least we got a Brexit deal to soften lockdown 3.0. Me thinks that it was always on the cards but deliberately kept to the last minute so it can be rushed through with negligible opposition. And the chaos of the lorries and vans trapped at Dover almost certainly solidified that No Deal would be a disaster.

But we are in a worst place than we were before 2016 and, frankly, I will put all my energies into us rejoining the EU. It will take time but it’s inevitable. Hopefully it will happen before I die. Perhaps even better if it happens before Farage, Johnson, Gove, and Corbyn die.

We'll be back - rejoin the EU

Last Christmas

One of the definite values of writing a regular blog is the ability to look at what you were doing the same time last year – read mine here. In a normal year, Dave’s mum would be in London and we would be off with my mum (and possibly some others) to the Union Jack Club for Christmas dinner.

Christmas turkey dinner

Fascinating in last year’s blog that I was reflecting on the year gone: my wonderful sabbatical, the loss of a stone in weight, and the gym reopening. I was still employed and making lots of plans for the future. 🙁 God hears our plans and laughs. Some things need to be looked at with greater context.

Also, interesting last year was when my brother was ill on Christmas Day and ended up in hospital with all the symptoms of Covid though apparently it wasn’t in the UK then…

The Ghost of Christmas (and Boxing Day) present

Obviously Christmas dinner at the UJC was out, impossible in lockdown 3.0. So Christmas Day it was me, my mum, and Dave for Christmas lunch in our support bubble. Very nice but we would all rather have had someone else doing all the work. Next year – hopefully.

Dave's alternative Christmas nativity scene
Dave’s alternative (and very busy) nativity

Also, a long walk on both Chrismtas Day and Boxing Day. On Christmas Day, it was not only feasting on food but also on the soaps. Hour long doses of Emmerdale, Coronation St, and Eastenders. That was my main culture injection for the week. 🙂 Presents were fun – Dave particularly loved his new shower curtain covered in anchors and I gained a more generous belt – read about the belt saga in my previous blog here.

Boxing day was really lazy. Though, as someone on Twitter said, if you can’t do bugger all in-between Christmas and New Year without feeling guilty then when can you? Treated myself to an afternoon snooze and a relaxing hot bath – see below.

Hibernation…

Discovered two fascinating articles last week. The first was in New Scientist (one of my favourite magazines) and featured the possibility that ancient humans may have hibernated. Seems like common sense to me. I’m pretty sure during the Ice Age, humans tired to leave their caves as little as possible – just for firewood and food. Article is here but may be behind a firewall.

But does reinforce the idea I’ve always held that From Christmas till the end of Feb is the key time to do as little as possible and sleep as much as you can. Gonna take full advantage of it this year as I’m unemployed and can’t run off to the Canaries. 🙁 Certainly been having lots of snoozes over the last week. 🙂

…and hot baths

The other article was on dw.com – read it here. DW is a German news website; so important not to be a little Englander and only follow British news website particularly as most of them cannot be trusted. It featured how hot baths may be one of the reasons for Japanese longevity.

I’ve recently discovered the joy of long hot soaks especially after exercise. Definitely seems to help my knee problems. But also eases the tensions of living through lockdown 3.0 generally.

Jog-runs

lady going for jog-run in cold weather

In my previous blog (read it here), I rashly expressed a hope that I could do 3 jog-runs for the week gone. That didn’t happen primarily as on one of the days it was too cold and I just didn’t feel like it – see below. But I am proud that my jog-runs have been a feature of each lockdown.

I’ve also developed a particular strategy for lockdown 3.0. I am focusing on gradually building up my distance each time as I had to go back on what I was previously doing because of aggravating my knee problem. This lockdown is also about slow jog-runs, again simply so I am doing the exercise sessions and burning calories but not aggravating injuries.

And I have been focusing on controlling my breathing, inhaling and exhaling through my nose rather than my mouth. It really is a good way to keep your body focused on the exercise and get your mind in the zone.

Two jog-runs last week:

  • A good one on Tues that felt really smooth. Pace was nicely slow.
  • Another decent one on Sun morning. Slight distance increase and managed a slower pace. It’s actually quite difficult to go slow as your body wants to go faster particularly as you get into the run.

Details on jog-runs here.

Internet exercise sessions and World’s Strongest Man

In addition to my beloved jog-runs, I’ve also been doing some internet exercise sessions. Indeed, it was cold on Christmas Eve (and I felt strangely unmotivated) so that I did a couple of internet exercise sessions in place of a jog-run followed by a nice long hot soak in the bath.

WSM

One of the highlights of this time is World’s Strongest Man on Channel 5. I love this – not 100% sure why but I find it really inspiring. Unfortunate thing is that my gym closed during lockdowns has really stymied me in doing strength training.

Weight – good news 🙂

I put weight on during the first lockdown and have been trying to get it off since then. Not easy with Christmas and raiding the Quality Street. Though I think most of us in London started on them the previous Wed when we went into Tier 4. Also treated by my lovely boyfriend to wine and whisky for Christmas. I know alcohol is bad for losing weight but a little bit makes my happy. 🙂

However, the brilliant news is that I didn’t go too crazy and I have managed to lose weight! Down to 13 stone and 6 pounds. I think the big breakthrough was just doing the full Christmas dinner on the day itself and nothing else. No breakfast and no tea, just the traditional big lunch and rich dessert.

Details on weight here.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Not just one of my favourite seasonal movies (along with The Muppet Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life) but also the inevitable shit that happens at Christmas. Like mum’s filing coming out on a toffee one year. I suppose lockdown 3.0 is enough in itself this year but Dave also had an unexpected surprise. 🙁

In Dave’s block of flats, one of his elderly neighbours discovered a communal locked cupboard containing a water pipe that had been leaking for several months. It was a real shock to see the mould and fungus that had grown. Impossible to get the Housing Association to sort the leak before Christmas. Thus we had to put down containers to collect the water and remember to empty them as well as get air into the cupboard to try to dry it out.

Dave reminded me how the previous Christmas his hot water system had stopped working. He feels a problem in his flat is a Christmas tradition. 🙂

Personal Development: language learning and tech skills

I’m still using lockdown 3.0 to carry on with my personal development. Main focus stays with languages and tech particularly the former. Inevitable slight pause for Christmas Day itself; it is important to have holidays and take time off. Indeed, a break can make you keener to get back to the learning. 🙂

Books and Reading: ‘False Value’ by Ben Aaronovitch

The opportunity to focus on reading has been a gift of lockdown and redundancy. Only this book finished last week – the latest in Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series. Ultimately quite throw-away but well written, fun and absorbing. The story of Peter Grant – a black police officer in London who is also a wizard.

In this adventure, we find him with his partner who is a river spirit and she is pregnant with twins. The story also links to modern computer tech and the search for AI. Plus contact is made with a group of not too friendly American wizards.

Meanwhile, I’m carrying on with the excellent ‘Shuggie Bain’ and have also also moved onto ‘Destroying Angel’, the 3rd book of The Seeker series by S.G. MacLean.

be grateful for books

Friends: Phyllis in Torremolinos and bumping into Ann Morisy

Two main friend catch-ups last week. First, what’s becoming a regular weekly check-in with Phyllis in Andalucia. He’s actually moved to his new flat in Torremolinos. I can’t wait to go visit. 🙂

Then on Sun, just after finishing my jog-run, I bumped into my old colleague Ann Morisy with her partner. Ann is a very well-known community theologian and one of the nicest people I know. A lovely, lovely coincidence. 🙂

The Week Ahead

  • Lockdown 3.0 for New Year – will it go on until Easter? When will the vaccines arrive? Will life go back to as it was?
  • New Year’s Eve itself, I’ll probably be asleep. I’m crap these days at staying up late. So different from when I was dealing with my addiction problems. 🙁
  • Will definitely stay at 13-6 and if I can creep down a bit further then that would be fantastic
  • Realistically I will get 2 slow jog-runs done but supplemented with some long walks and internet exercise sessions
  • I will carry on with my power reading. Will finish both Shuggie Bain and Destroying Angel so I can move onto 2 new books to read – this excites me! 🙂
  • Refocus back to my language learning and also do my tech lessons. I’m still gradually writing my novel – up to 92,000 words 🙂
  • Need to send messages to people who sent me Christmas cards explaining why I didn’t send any. A good reason to be in contact with people.
  • Got a catch-up chat with Phyllis – really hope his new flat works out OK

And Finally…

Another classic from the genius that is Cold War Steve

Behind the scene

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