Time is ticking down

Mon 15 – Sun 21 2019

Clock face showing the time

Time is ticking down in that my sabbatical ends in just 2 weeks. 🙁 I’m filling the remaining time with good reading and lots of exercise. Plus thinking about what I take from this time into my future. Indeed, death and mortality has moved into my thoughts last week. I suppose I think about death a lot as it is inevitable. So time ticking down in a big sense as well.

Books and Reading

2 books read in the last week.

‘The long take’

mental health

This book by Robin Robertson is the very gritty story of a Canadian D-Day veteran settling in America after the war. It charts the glamour, disillusionment and grime of post-war New York and California. And it is clear he is dealing with PTSD suffering horrific flashbacks.

I read this book with some hesitation but being attracted to it by the great reviews it has received. Basically it is a novel written in the form of poetry. My trepidation was based on the fact that I normally don’t get poetry (just like I don’t really get photography, opera, and ballet). However I really enjoyed the book and whilst reading it I actually forgot it was poetry. Shows poetry can be engaging and gritty without being embarrassingly modern and cringe-making

‘My year of rest and relaxation’

insomniac

Tempted by the title in relation to my sabbatical though I am not on a year-off, wish that I were. TBH it is a bit self-indulgent though ultimately it is actually the story of a very wealthy young woman dealing with death of both her parents. She gets a really dodgy doctor and uses her to get medication to keep herself sedated.

I am not sure if this is a true story or just one based on some element of truth? There are bits of humour and the actual lengthy sedation period doesn’t come till near the end of the book. Plus there are some very good characters and the book shows up the facile nature of much fashionable NY life. I though it was a shame that 9/11 was brought into it. Why is this such an obvious obsession for so many contemporary American writers?

Perhaps worth noting to my blog readers that I keep a list of all the books I have read and this can be found here.

My current books

‘Rabbit is rich’

I am onto 2 new books which I hope will be finished by the time I write next week’s blog. ‘Rabbit is rich’ is the 3rd part of John Updike’s classic American novel series about Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom. Our ‘hero’ is now in his late 40s. Bits of his life feel so similar to my own.

‘The Binding’

The one I am reading on my kindle as I am on the move. It’s was recommended by someone at the Velvet Page book club and has received very good reviews. Didn’t realise it is fantasy which is a style I sometimes struggle with; I’m always waiting for the dragon to turn up. Too early to say if I am coping with it or not.

Health and Efficiency

Gym

dumbells in the gym

I so enjoy going to the gym. Last week I made it 4 times – consecutively Wed, Thurs & Fri morning then Sun morning. I am realising that I should have joined another gym whilst my normal one was closed April-August. A lost opportunity but no point dwelling on what has gone and can’t be relived. 🙁

Jog-run

2 jog-runs done last week which makes me happy. A 5K on Tues morning extended out ultimately to 6.25K. Very good time – 5K was just over 30 mins with a lovely pace of around 6 mins per kilometre.

Victorian picture of naked man walking

And then my usual big 10K on Sat morning. I was very worried that it would not happen with the pouring rain on Friday going through into Saturday morning. But twas OK, the rain held off and it was simply very wet under-foot – so a worry about slipping arse over tit. An OK time of just under 1 hour, 3 mins and 45 seconds. I think I was expecting better but that will do; I live to fight another day. 🙂 Still want to get under that 3 min marker and then down to an hour.

Slight concern that my achilles is hurting a wee bit, aggravated by my jog runs. I am doing lots of stretching and am on holiday next weekend so there won’t be a 10K which should give the achilles time to rest. Also funny how my 10K on Sat morning knacked me out so I needed a big sleep on Sat afternoon.

Yoga

woman doing tree pose

My other form of exercise was yoga last Mon morning. I was looking forward to doing it in the park again but it was too cool. So in the studio but a nice session. I really do have a problem with my hamstrings. 🙁 Thought about pilates but couldn’t really afford it and focused on the gym.

Weight

Just over 13 and a half stones. That’s good and I would like it lower though I am not really in the mood to do a proper diet. My main thing is to continue effectively doing a 16 hour fast from 8 pm through to 12 noon. And do as much physical activity as possible.

Details on jog-run times and weight can be found here (note particularly the weight loss whilst my sabbatical has been ticking down since April)

Friends

I love my social media friends 🙂

Couple of nice experiences with friends last week. One meeting up with my old mate Daisy and the other being contacted by people on social media who I had not heard from for a while. People slag off social media but it has been brilliant in enabling me to re-contact with people I haven’t seen for ages and make new friends. Surely that is a good thing? The idea that friendships have to be based solely on physically meeting is so not twenty-first century.

Daisy

I have known Daisy (the affectionate nickname for my friend Daisy) for about 3 decades. We met up for dinner on Thurs evening. He is fine and we discussed our mutual problem with hoarding; is this something that affects all people as they get old? Perhaps it links into my thoughts around dying – we try to physically store our memories but it is useless as ultimately everything physical we have is crap and will turn to dust (as will we).

Death

Death (skull) - our lives ticking down

Funny to talk about death in the ‘Friends’ section but I have been thinking recently about this. Indeed, it is a topic I often turn to. I’m not afraid of it though I’m not looking forward to it. But being in contact with old friends like Daisy makes me think about other friends (and family) who have gone due to AIDS, cancer, murder, suicide and old age. I suppose the message is to enjoy yourself whilst you can, time passes, and do not worry too much about anything.

The Week Ahead

  • Only 2 weeks till my sabbatical is over. 🙁 So me and Dave are off on Thurs for a long weekend in Antwerp. Going by coach with carbon offset so my climate impact is minimised. Be nice to sample the gay scene plus also experience some local art and culture.
  • Exercise aim is gym on Mon, yoga in the park on Tues, and 5K jog-run on Wed. Latter should be interesting with predicted temperatures of over 30 degrees.
  • INR blood test on Mon to check if my blood is clotting OK. Have missed some warfarin doses so fingers crossed…
  • Aiming to finish ‘Rabbit is rich’ and looking forward to starting the final book in the series ‘Rabbit at rest’ – Harry Angstrom’s winter. Plus will carry on with ‘The Binder’.
  • Continuing to use the Duolingo and Drops apps to improve my language skills.
  • Probably won’t get to do much coding practice but would be nice if I can. And I am going to carry on trying to keep my email inbox to zero unread emails.
  • Need to contact work to start the arrangements for my return.

And Finally…

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