This week's diversions

Well I am running out of things to say about coronavirus  It persists.  The new variant first identified in India seems to be more transmissible and is now dominant here in the UK.  Case numbers remain relatively low but are rising.  Will the big opening up which we are expecting in England on 21 June happen?  I don't know.  Will we get to France towards the end of the summer?  I don't know.  Will we be allowed to mix inside here in Wales soon?  I don't know.  So here is a taste of the variety of ways in which I have been distracting myself.

Running.  I am trying to get back to being able to run 10k in readiness for the Chester 10k which with luck will take place in July.  I have only run 10k once before and that was last year just before the lockdown struck when Ian and I ran the Chester 10k together on the 8th March 2020.  I was totally delighted to do it, even if I am slow as a slow thing.  I don't really care if I am slow.  That is just the way it is.  I finished last year's 10k determined to do another one and intending to keep training.

Then the first lockdown threw my running badly off course.  We had to exercise from home and I was living up a very steep hill where there was no way to go which did not involve ferocious inclines.  I lost my way a bit and then returned to running last summer when we were once more allowed to drive for exercise.  By October last year I was back to running two or three times a week and getting up to about 8k.  Then a mini disaster struck.  I had a suspected TIA and was told to stop running.  After a month or so my GP said I could start again and then we hit winter and we were moving house.  Running slipped down the priority list.  I always tried to do something but by the time we moved here in February I had lost a lot of fitness.  So since February I have been trying to get back to doing longer distances and to running more frequently.  Somehow I had got myself into a mindset that left me wary of running longer than 5k, feeling that the longer distances were beyond me, feeling intimidated by them again.

This morning I really wanted to run at least 8k, perhaps even 9k if I felt ok.  And I have done it.  I had to walk a couple of the steeper bits of hills and I really should have carried water with me because I was aware of struggling with the heat.  But I did it.  It is so good to be able run in a rural area.  Birds were whipping in and out of hedges.  The wildflowers were overflowing on the verges.  The hawthorn is in bloom and every now and then the breeze hit it and a great waft of warm scent drifted past.  I will do a couple of short runs this week and maybe next week have another go at 9k and see if I can run all of it.  But I am chuffed.  I am getting back to where I want to be.


Reading.  All through this period of coronavirus I have read as I used to read when I was a child and a teenager, gulping up books, racing through them, losing myself in them so that it is a slight surprise to lift my head and find that I am here, in 21st century Wales, not in New Caledonia (Rachel Joyce's Miss Benson's Beetle) or 1930s India (Alys Conran's Dignity), the Swiss Alps in the 1950s (Stella Gibbons' A Swiss Summer) and, at the moment, 17th Century London (Andrew Taylor's The Royal Secret).  I haven't read anything I haven't enjoyed.  I have become far more ruthless as I have got older.  If a book does not draw me in within the first hundred pages or so I abandon it.   There are so many wonderful books out there to read and reread and life is short.

Knitting and making things.  My beloved Icelandic jumper continues on its slow way.


  A couple of days ago we met up with younger daughter and her family for a walk and a cake and five year old granddaughter offered me a ball of blue wool wondering if I would be able to make a dress from it for her baby doll. 


 I like having lots of things on the go.  I shall start this today probably as if I put it in the queue behind the jumper Grace may be waiting some time.

And this is my absolute favourite time of year.  There are swallows in the sky, Queen Anne's lace by the path, and the sun is warm.





And there is salmon and mango to cook for tea and Michael Palin to watch on the television.  Is all of this my own way of putting my fingers in  my ears and singing to drown out the sound of politicians talking fudge and scientists predicting doom?  No doubt it is but it works for me!  

What is keeping you sane in insane times?

Comments

  1. Like you, reading keeps me sane, and adding bits (my touch) to the existing garden here at our new home. There will be curtains made shortly, and more decorating done on wet or, now it's June, very polleny days.

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    1. Reading, gardening, making your home comfortable and beautiful. Important things!

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  2. well done with the running. glad you got your mojo back.
    I am with you on the reading now - 100 pages and if I am not drawn in I stop.

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    1. I would have been astonished at the idea of giving up after 100 pages when I was younger. I used to plod on! No more!

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  3. One hundred pages is generous. I will give each book a fair chance - but tend to decide quite quickly - no - I can't read that. Next!
    Recently read about slaves on sugar plantations in Jamaica - written by a woman now living in London, writing the story of her own ancestors.
    Now a different sort of novel about tourists in the Caribbean, who don't want to think about That Stuff.

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    1. Was the book Sugar in the Blood? Very impressive if it was! I've also recently read a novel, Blood and Sugar, which I would really recommend.

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  4. That's really impressive that you've already managed a 9k - bodes well for July. I've been doing a lot of walking and hiking, with Cruiser my constant and delightful companion. I belong to a book club and we read a book each month to discuss, so I don't have the luxury of jumping ship after 100 pages. We've read some rather hard-going non-fiction recently (including Daughters of Yalta - very interesting but not a light read) so I'm longing to get back to a good novel. Is there anything particular you'd recommend? I also have at least one knitting or sewing project in progress at any time. I just finished a lovely sweater for Emma with quite a complicated cable pattern and I'm underway with shirt for Mick - not sure it's worth the effort with the collar, cuffs and buttonholes when you can buy them just as cheaply but he really liked the fabric. Also, we have not been locked down like you. We're currently on our first trip since the beginning of last year, to Tennessee. The impetus was the National Garden Railroad Convention in Nashville, which Mick wanted to attend and was participating in, but we decided to add on a few days to visit Chattanooga and Knoxville as well. Just rode on the Tennessee Valley Railroad steam train, a huge steam engine. Brought back fond memories of our train rides with you and Ian in Wales. Hoping to get back to the UK next year some time.

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    1. All the books which get a mention above are really worth reading. I have also really enjoyed doing a concerted reading of books from the forties and fifties published by Furrowed Middlebrow. Dorothy Whipple is fabulous and hugely underrated in my opinion. The only problem I have with reading so much is that I get faster and faster and can't make the books last long enough! But as you say, combined with some knitting and other projects it works well. That was a great train ride wasn't it? Do hope you can get over here in 2022!

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  5. Admire you running. Love the photos of the countryside. Reading has been my salvation here. We have both had colds and coughs for 6 - 7 weeks and have only been outside for necessities. Not been able to have flu vaccine or, after that, covid ones. I will have a look on the library list for the books you mention.

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    1. Totally agree about reading being a salvation! Heaven only knows how I would have managed without it! Hope you are recovering!!

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  6. Good for you for bringing you running distance back so quickly. With that base, you'll surely be able to complete another 10K! I'm not trusting myself to run again yet, but walking, doing strength and stretch workouts, cycling, etc. -- getting outside seems to make such a difference to mental outlook.
    Reading and knitting (and my language learning) have kept me sane over this last year or so as well, and it looks as if we'll be able to travel a bit soon == within our province, BC, which means many outdoor possibilities, if not the European cities I'm itching for -- and which will allow us to visit our son's family on Vancouver Island. Daring to hope we might be able to see our family in Rome in, say, the next six months, but there still seem to be many uncontrollable variables out there. Or should I say variants?!

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    1. I should have mentioned language learning too in the list of sanity savers. My weekly Spanish sessions and Welsh class have both provided a much needed structure and a mental challenge. Do hope you get to Europe soon! It is so hard to know what will happen. At the moment I have just parked our hope to get to France in late August. Wouldn't work right now but who knows what might have changed by then, in either direction!

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