day 16 …

Day 16 of “restriction” – that is, a week of complete self-isolation, followed by joining the rest of the country in “not going out unless it’s essential – exercise permitted”. I went to the shop once, for milk, a week ago, and have been for some walks.

Despite sunny spells, it’s bitterly cold here, with a biting wind. Nevertheless, I managed a quick walk, prompted largely by the bathroom scales remaining stubbornly at 71.2 Kg … I don’t seem to have lost any weight for several days. Not good – my target is 65 kg, and I’m hoping to get there by Midsummer’s day! The weight was agreed with the “Pre-diabetes clinic” before they ceased operating, the timescale was not.

I chose to go at lunchtime, hoping that there would be fewer people, but in fact it was busier than tea-time has been. Anyway, down to the canal via the path by the cemetery, back up the hill. My thighs were aching a lot on the way back, which hasn’t happened on previously walks – maybe I was pushing the pace a bit ‘cos of the cold. The blackthorn in sunny places is nearly over, and that in the shade is fully open.

map of route

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blackthorn twig with blossom

Sunshine!

There was a light frost this morning, but by lunchtime it was bright sunshine, and I had lunch – in a T-shirt – on the patio. The blossom on the Worcester Black Pear is fully out now, looking great.

Then a walk this afternoon. Down to the canal, turning right up to Bilford Top Lock, then along the road past the recycling centre (closed, due to coronavirus), down and across the canal bridge, then up the hill home. Blackthorn blossom is fully out, except in the shadiest of places.

Pear blossom

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map of route

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blackthorn blossom against blue sky

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Bilford Top Lock

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sunny stroll

A very pleasant stroll in the late afternoon sunshine. I left it until after 5pm, as I’d hoped that there would be fewer people about. however, the towpath was quite busy.

Down the footpath to the graveyard, then along the muddy un-made-up path to the lock. Back along the towpath to the bridge, and up the hill to home. It came in about a mile – a bit less than I really should do (for diabetes pevention), but as it’s my first walk for a fortnight I think I’m allowed!

map of route

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canal, looking away from town

outside, and out and about

In the garden, the second (and main) flush of flowers is out on the camellia, which is great to see through the French window. Despite my pessimism, the purple crocuses next to the patio have eventually shown up, sticking up through the leaves of the cyclamen.

A lovely sunny afternoon, so I went for a walk down to the canal. It’s the first time I’ve been since the middle of last summer! It’s just too steep coming back up the hill for me to feel comfortable about doing it if I’m not walking well. The alternative would be to carry on along the canal to Lowesmoor, then catch a bus back up Rainbow Hill, which I might try to do occasionally. Today’s walk came in at 1.34 miles in 30 minutes – I remembered to set the app on my phone!

camellia in flower

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crocuses

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map of route of walk

remembering …

Today would have been Maurice’s 29th birthday, if he’d lived to see it. I miss him a great deal.

There were many good times (and some pretty grim ones as well) – perhaps none better than when he was exploring new things, out of his normal urban habitat.

Thinking of him, and his family.

Maurice and horses

town centre

The opticians was again not a good experience. Oh, the glasses worked fine (after all, it was the second attempt), but I caused chaos by asking for a copy of the prescription. After some discussion with several people, the best they could do was a printout of the wrong prescription, with a handwritten note of the changes. I think a different optician is called for next time …

 

I went for another stroll down to the river, in the dusk. Very nearly as flooded as it’s ever been – the Diglis gauge has been as low as 4.2 metres (flood risk is anything over 2.8 metres), though it’s now back over 5 metres.

images are “clickable”

frustration and floods

I went to collect new glasses yesterday afternoon. Distance ones were great – but the “reading” ones were seriously fucked up (they actually were worse than no glasses at all). The assistant couldn’t actually work the terminal at the desk properly, so a) moved me to another desk then b) kicked the problem upstairs to her boss. Some 20 minutes later, we managed to establish that the glasses were for a reading distance of 30-40cm, when I had quite specifically stated that for use on the laptop (where I do most of my reading) it needed to be a distance of 50-60cm. So, assorted different lenses tried, and we reached agreement … but then a ten-minute wait to catch a passing optician to actually sign off on altering the prescription. Not happy, I’ll have to wait another week for them to be done.

Then a stroll down to the river, to see how the floods compare with previous years. I think this year is the highest I’ve seen – I reckon that if I were sitting at the Cafe tables outside Browns on the quay, the top of my head would be about 18 inches under water. And looking through the back door of Browns, the door seals and pumps did seem to be doing a reasonable job – there was only a few inches of water on the floor of the bar. Photo gallery below.

I caught the bus home. The bus could not turn right out of the bus station as the road was flooded, and had to crawl all round the far side of the City centre in roads jammed with other diverted traffic. A 45-minute journey instead of the usual less-than-ten.

And when I got home, there was a letter from my GP surgery, relating to a blood test last September. When I originally rang for results from that, they said everything was fine, although I discovered by accident at my last GP appointment (for something completely unconnected) that I have now crossed the line and am “pre-diabetic”. An hbA1c level of 44, in fact. The letter enclosed a form referring me to a “Healthier You – Pre-diabetes programme”. It was a paper form, with the instructions “Email completed forms to …“! After some ferreting about on the net, I did eventually discover an online version of the form. It may take a month or more for them to get back to me, apparently.

catkins

Over at my Mum’s, and a stroll on the Common this morning. Exceedingly soggy underfoot! Snowdrops in abundance, and the hazel catkins are out, though it’s all a bit swamp-like to go looking for signs of other plants emerging.

catkins

OUT wake

Last night was the “OUT Wake” – a meet-up of various member of the OUT gay social networking website, of which I’ve been a member since March 2005. Sadly, the site is now about to close. It was great to chat to several old friends and acquaintances, though the venue (The Yard in Rupert Street) was, of course, very noisy. Still, being sort-of-outside, I got to smoke my e-cig, which I suppose was a bonus.

Here’s a pic of some of us – I’m sitting.

OUT wake

Leaving the Yard, I realised that I’d got extremely cold, and my back was playing hob. In fact, I started shivering uncontrollably, and even the heat of the tube didn’t really help. A brief stop off at Liverpool Street station for a hot chicken and bacon “megaslice” helped a bit. Back to the hotel – in Bethnal Green, the same one as I stayed in for Phoebe’s graduation. That had been the hottest day of last year, so I suppose it kind of makes sense that this time was the coldest night of the winter so far!

There was a glittering frost on the fields on my train journey home this morning (and a thick mist on the Cotswolds scarp between Moreton-in-Marsh and Evesham).

There are still frost patches in the parts of the garden that the sun doesn’t reach. The first flower (ever) is now fully out on my 2-year-old camellia – hopefully, the frost isn’t heavy enough to kill the rest of the buds.

camellia flower