Relief on getting a repair done (after 9 months)

Mon 19 – Sun 25 June 2023

Another heatwave week though with some splashes of cloud. It’s easy to forget after the soaring temperatures of the weekend, that at the start of the week we had a massive downpour. This gave everything a great watering and provided much needed relief for the plants. Strange to think that on Monday morning I had been sitting in a coffee shop and watching, literally, sheets of water come out of a deep grey sky.

But the big news was that we finally got the repair done on the mechanism that enables the kitchen window to open. It might seem a small thing but this has been a bane of my life for nearly a year. And the feeling of relief is great. It’s amazing how small niggles can annoy your whole life. The saga made me feel pessimistic as can be seen in last week’s blog which you can read here.

“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.”

Louis-Hector Berlioz

Family and Friends

Mum’s relief that the repair is finally done

In Sept last year, I reported to the Housing Association that the mechanism enabling the kitchen window to open had stopped working. That meant the window could not be opened at all. Mum was really pissed off as surely the contract between a tenant and their landlord is we pay rent on time and they do repairs in a timely fashion?

The window couldn’t even be opened even when the smoke alarm was going off (initiated by the toaster) and it was getting nightmarish in the hot weather. I had been regularly contacting the repair line to chase but the lack of action was dispiriting. TBH I felt like a failure with nothing ever being done.

Then on Monday morning, the sub-contractor finally turned up after phoning us out of the blue to arrange it on Friday. Perhaps my strong words of displeasure at the end of the previous week contributed to action happening. The window is now permanently open to help keep the flat cool.

There is a sense of relief from me that it’s finished and mum feels more comfortable generally. Though she is now in her summer mode of constantly complaining how hot it is…

Be happy and grateful about nice things

Her pain is worse

The relief in getting the repair done was tempered by mum’s ongoing pain situation getting worse. Following on from a visit to her GP, on Monday (after the repair was completed) I took her for blood tests then on in an Uber to the hospital for the walk-in X-ray drop-in service. The latter was what you come to expect from the NHS: an hour’s wait, no-one giving guidance on what was happening, surly staff.

But the ‘good’ news is that the tests may have started to suggest what is causing her so much pain and how it might be treated. It’s early days and mum has another GP appointment next week. But it might just be that we have some ideas on which we can build and make things a bit better for her.

Lunch and coffee with Patrick

Meanwhile, me and Dave are supporting our friend Patrick. He is having real problems with his knee and it’s continually restricting his ability to move about. He did manage to meet us for lunch on Thursday which was great. And then a coffee on Saturday morning. But you can tell the travelling is not easy.

Cup of coffee

Meanwhile we are looking forward to our friend Frances getting back from her travels this week. Looks like she’s had an amazing holiday. A trip to the zoo is on the cards for us all in the near future.

Books and Reading

A couple of good short books read last week.

‘Heatwave’ by Victor Jestin

Basically a novella that I discovered in my local library. It’s a French novel originally published in 2019 then translated and published in English in 2021. The exploration of a teenager who allows a friend to die and buries his body. It’s a tight and claustrophobic story set in a campsite in a heatwave broken by the relief of a thunder storm that leads to a flood. The anti-hero is clearly quite dysfunctional but teenage years are difficult and how many of us always did the ‘right things’ when we were that age?

Recommended and it won’t take you a long time to read. Why waste a lot more time reading a longer and far more inferior novel?

Rows and rows of beautiful books

‘The Triple Knife and Other Doctor Who Stories’ by Jenny T Colgan

Doctor Who gives me relief from everyday life. Either watching the classic episodes or catching up with a book. I found this collection of short stories at the library. Jenny Colgan has written other Dr Who books but is also a well known children’s author.

A perfectly decent group of stories based on the women in Dr Who, primarily the companion Clara and River Song. Interesting that the stories were written just before Jodie Whittaker was appointed as the next Doctor. Not the greatest piece of literature you will ever read and some historical anomalies (tea in medieval England?). But still wonderful escapism and a nice slice of imaginative escapism.

Doctor Who's Tardis

Health and Efficiency

Gym: All good but worth thinking about the future

With the need to set aside Monday for the repair and mum’s health stuff, I had expected to only do 2 gym sessions in the week gone. But I went on Tuesday instead of Monday and then on Wednesday and Friday mornings. So my usual 3 weekly gym sessions were achieved – happy Billy. 🙂 All good workouts with the value of regular gym attendance being that you can work different muscle parts with different machines and weights on different days.

TBH there is a slight slice of me that is thinking about what comes after the gym? It’s important to enjoy things whilst they are happening but nothing lasts forever. I was thinking on Friday, what will I do if I couldn’t go to my current gym or if I couldn’t go to the gym at all? Nothing major to worry about but always worth thinking what the options are for the future if things change.

64 gym sessions since the start of 2023 divided by the annual membership = £7.75 per session.

Jog-run: A good one

Only one 5K in the week gone but relief that it was a good time after the poor performance of the week before – details can be found here. Indeed I might have got my best time since I started back to 5K jog-runs if it wasn’t for the need to slow down to let a taxi go past so I could cross the road. And very pleased that my ‘good’ left leg didn’t feel like it was giving way at times as in my previous outing.

Jog-run

Weight

man weighing himself

I am just under 13 stone! That’s been an ambition of mine for ages. But I’m not going to assume my weight loss is going to head downwards forever. Indeed, the hot weather often makes us not want to eat and it’s easier to lose pounds during these hot temperatures. I anticipate my weight fluctuating more in the coming weeks.

Art and Culture

Glastonbury

I love Glastonbury and always look forward to it. However, I have no wish whatsoever to go – that would be too much like hard effort. What works for me is simply to be able to catch up with it on the TV and radio. Though I wasn’t really grabbed this year by many of the top acts. Arctic Monkeys on Friday were good but I find them a bit too bourgeois and introspective these days. Meanwhile I’ve never been a big fan of the heavy rock of Guns and Roses.

But plenty of other acts to appreciate and I generally liked The Park Stage. The ‘legends’ on Sunday were pretty amazing as well. People like Debbie Harry, Elton John, and Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens giving it their all not restricted by their age – inspirational.

What is Glastonbury’s appeal?

I think it’s about being a pressure valve from everyday life. It’s a bit like sunny weather (and Glastonbury weekend was a scorcher), alcohol, sex, and holidays. It’s a relief from the banality and grimness of everyday life. The chance for us to have a vision of a better and more meaningful life.

tunes in darkness

Personal Development

The joy of language learning

Another relief for me from everyday life is my language learning. I love learning full-stop. Trying to understand better how others think and to be able to communicate with them more easily is a wonderful thing. Managed to do my daily Duolingo lessons in Spanish and German – 332 consecutive days now.

Sustainability

Still despondent

I was despondent last week and I still am now. There has been no relief from my pessimism about the way we are hurtling to an environmental catastrophe. Indeed, the super temperatures of the weekend gone in London (30 degrees +) may well just be a forerunner of worst to come. I will not deny that I don’t enjoy hot weather but on a continual and increasing level equals disaster for us all.

Small things

So I continue to do my small things to make better. I try to spend as little as possible and reuse things as much as I can. I try to eat as little meat as I can and to offload possessions so I can travel light through the rest of my life. Me and Dave have decided not to go to Berlin thus I should be able to keep to my commitment of just two return flights this year. Never forget, nothing is inevitable and we all have choices.

Big events can’t be carbon neutral

Though I can’t buy into this theory about big events like Glastonbury being carbon neutral. Big events just can’t be once we pencil in the travel of the participants and we should stop kidding ourselves they are. Though I accept that some events try harder than others to make less damage. In many ways, big sporting events dominated by corporate partners (hello World Cups) are the worst.

The importance of planting trees

The Week Ahead

  • The relief of normality: Aim is to get my 3 usual gym sessions done and fit in a couple of jog-runs
  • Me and Dave are meeting up with our old friends Cedric and Alan on Thursday, be really great fun to catch-up with them
  • Carry on with my two new current reading books: ‘I Am Not Your Eve’ by Devika Ponnambalam and ‘Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne’ by Katherine Rundell
  • Hope to get to the cinema on Wednesday to see the director’s cut of ‘The Wicker Man’
  • Time to get my INR checked again and make sure my blood clotting / thinning is under control

And Finally…

Acceptance or struggle

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