Treading Water – Lockdown, week 9

Sun 17 – Sat 23 May 2020

So my patience of last week’s blog has now become a feeling of just treading water. These ups and downs are what lockdown is all about. Indeed, we are not totally in lockdown now but in a sort of semi-lockdown (not applicable to Dominic Cummings obviously).

What we have lost is clarity on what is allowed, this is where the government is failing. By saying it is up to ‘common sense’ and letting people getting away with rule breaches so the public are effectively being given licence to do whatever they want (crowd onto the beach for instance) and risk a second death wave. 🙁

Life will go back to ‘normal’ at some point but until then we just wait. It’s very frustrating, feeling like life is just passing us by rather than happening to us.

Health and Efficiency

Injury

Health and efficiency magazine cover

My feeling of just treading water has not been helped by limitations on the jog-runs I have been doing to replace the fact I can’t go to the gym. I mentioned previously that I had been having lower back problems. They are still there as well as discomfort in my hip and abdomen. Checked with my GP who said without the crisis she would refer me for an ultrasound but not possible at the moment. All that can be done is to monitor the situation. My injury may be to do with increased jog-runs combined with general lessened exercise. So I took advice we are all given and don’t like – rest and recover.

Jog-run

I did only one jog-run last week before my resting started – Sun morning. First run using my new timer watch. Though I also used my old timer just in case… Interesting that the new watch showed me performing slightly better than the old timer. I’ll assume it’s to do with the new timer being more modern and up-to-date. 🙂 A 5K done in 31.33 mins, pace 6.14 mins per km, 451 calories used.

Walking and weight – my new watch helps

In light of my running restrictions, I have been treading water and focused on the gentler exercise of walking. Each day I go for at least an hour’s gentle walk around the streets or the park. And I have been trying to reduce my calorific intake. Both have been helped by my great new watch which also measures my heart rate, daily steps, and number of calories used. Result is a small decrease in my weight. 🙂

Sleep

Tired man asleep

In an ideal world, people would sleep when they need rather than at specific times. But it’s not always that simple primarily due to work. Nice after my jog-run on Sun to have a 2 hour snooze; it felt wonderfully relaxing and energising. 🙂

Generally my sleep patterns are good at the moment. How are other peoples. Still having some weird dreams. Though I’m still stuck in the rut of being exhausted and asleep by 10.30 pm but awake by 6 am. 🙁

Books and Reading

‘The Mammoth Book of Modern Ghost Stories’, edited by Peter Haining

Death

Finally got through this near 600 page long compendium of small font-sized and tightly packed pages. It’s a real mix of stories from the late nineteenth century onwards. And it includes some huge writers such as M.R. James, D.H. Lawrence, Dennis Wheatley, H.G. Wells, and Philip Pullman. I didn’t find any stories particularly scary but this is an imaginative, thought-provoking, and eclectic collection. I actually think I prefer horror stories because they work my mind rather than that I like being scared. 

Science and classics

Since finishing the ghost stories, I have been reading two books; I love compare and contrast reading. 🙂 The first is a ‘popular science’ book looking at attempts to see if we can increase the amount of years humans can live. Reading this on my kindle (battery seems to be winding down 🙁 ) which means it’s easy to read as I’m walking around and exercising. The second is an updating of a classic story – the Trojan War. Both very good. 🙂

Personal Development

A great free WordPress webinar

Big success of last week was tuning into a webinar about the Gutenberg system that WordPress is based on; this is what underpins mine and most other websites. This was run by by Pootlepress which is a great company who do stuff around WordPress. I learnt things about Gutenberg I didn’t realise and it made me think more about how I should modernise my website.

Other areas of progress

  • Continued usage (generally daily ) of Duolingo to top-up my language learning across several different languages
  • No real progress on my coding learning 🙁
  • Totally keeping on top of my work and personal emails so I don’t feel overwhelmed
  • Remaining active on social media

Family and Friends

Mum and family bingo

Mum remains isolated safe and well. But I miss her. 🙁 As I have said, I am so looking forward to going home and spending time with her but only when I feel it is safe to do so. That will signal my lockdown has really and finally ended, hopefully not to be repeated. I am still phoning her twice each day, morning and night to double-check she is OK.

It is great to participate in family bingo every Fri evening where I can hear her plus see my brother and his partner as well as my niece and nephew. My brother calls the numbers and this time threatened to take off an item of clothing each time a line or full house was called. 🙁

Reaching out to ‘lost’ friends

No real contact with friends last week. Though I did reach out to some work-based connections. Not for any reason apart from I enjoy talking with them and we haven’t communicated for ages. Isn’t that the point of friends? 🙂

Art and Culture

‘The way he looks’

Finished watching this movie via my BFI subscription. A really nice film in Portuguese about a blind teenager discovering he is gay by falling for his new friend. Though this does upset his best female friend. The usual teenage gay coming-out angst that so many gay films focus on. But different by being combined with the story of a young man coming to terms with how people view him and how he can live his life in light of his disability. Highly recommended and just the right length at an hour and a half.

Work Life Balance

Relegated to the end of the blog as with last week to emphasise this is not the centre of my world.

Working from home goes well but there is a sense of treading water with the limitations of not being able to do visits or face to face meetings. Plus being in the same space for living as for working. People in government are largely still working as before which probably explains why they can’t understand the frustrations of the rest of us.

A full week at work, no days off. And full of zoom meets, 1:1s, emails, and phonecalls. Great to meet up with my team (via zoom of course) on Wed afternoon and just have a social catch-up. So hard to plan ahead at the moment as everyone know things will be different but we are not sure how. That is what I mean by ‘treading water’ again. 🙁

The Week Ahead

Well, keep treading water and…

  • A day off on Monday so another short week working – must use the time off for myself and not for work stuff
  • A jog-run on Sun morning and perhaps one midweek if my ‘injury’ feels OK
  • Continue to do daily walks and watch my weight. Will try to bring in some stretches and body-weight exercises as well.
  • Will finish both my current reading books and write about them in more detail next week
  • Don’t think I can make the next Pootlepress webinar (work commitment) but will definitely catch up on the recording afterwards
  • Keep checking in on mum twice a day and look forward to when I can see her in person 🙂
  • Must make progress on art and culture even if it just watching some more movies

And Finally…

Sitting is the new smoking

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