A heatwave is coming but it’s certainly not here yet. It’s a tad bracing on the knees.
The weeks keep passing without going for a run. So needs must. My old exercise bike is getting some hammer. Last year I started a Creaky World Tour. How far can I get round the world by exercising in Yorkshire. Initially using the Pokemon Go app to track my runs and dog walks. Then as our family lockdown tightened that became mainly using my battered old exercise bike. The last time I checked I had made it to Volgograd. So let’s check in again.
The bike is showing just under extra 2000 miles. Wow didn’t think my little legs could go that far in 20 odd weeks. So where am I?
Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. (All the photos from Tripadvisor)
No rest for the wicked. Let’s see how far I get in a few more months time. Plenty of months of exercise biking still to come.
“Dad the government is telling everyone to goon a diet. Boris apparently is going on one, bet that Cummings told him to do that.
Like everything else my money is on our so called Leader delegating his dieting to someone else. He’s far too busy having time off for things like that.
“Dad your on a diet….”
And with those words from Hawklad, I’m on a diet. I’ve been on this temporary fasting diet for a while now but it’s been an effort. I just haven’t been able to get the food alternatives that my body will accept. So I’ve been forced into eating and drinking far too much soya (soy) 🙄…. Basically my body and face balloon up with the stuff. Not helpful when your trying to look like your losing weight. But hopefully I’ve managed to get hold of a few more nicer foods this time. So here goes. Going to combine my partial fasting diet with a significantly healthier food range. It helps as my garden has finally decided to yield some vegetables. Just got to find them amongst the weeds.
But dieting is only part of it. Need to do something with exercise as well. I am working out each day and pushing myself. But I’m missing the long runs. They are just not happening due to circumstances. So I need a challenge. I had this initial idea of trying to build up to run a garden marathon. Others have done this. I’ve managed 50 minutes of running round our small garden. But I was so dizzy and cheesed off after that, the prospect of 4 hours worth of that is just a complete nonstarter. Lets not forget the epic route map from that.
So here’s Plan B. At the end of August I want to build up to a mega exercise bike marathon. Let’s see how far I can get on the bike in 4 straight hours. But to ensure it’s not just a gentle peddle session, I’m going to dig out the old HR sports watch. 4 hours with the BP somewhere near 150. That sounds like a challenge which I can do in the garden. Watch it rain and watch the bike collapse again….
Ok Boris for once I’m going to listen to you. I’m going to lose some weight. Are you?
It’s a hard life for some. Not sure if the hard life applies to The Cap or to that old sofa. The Cap is resting after a hard morning of causing chaos. This sofa is 17 years old. Over the last few years it has had to endure sustained cat and dog attention. Currently it’s covers are being washed for the millionth time.
It’s a hard life for my bottom as well. This morning I was blasting out a few miles on my equally old exercise bike when it basically fell to bits. It collapsed. One minute I was dreaming of summiting the Alpe d’Huez and leading the Tour de France. Three seconds later I’m sat on the floor surrounded by bits of exercise bike. Oh how the mighty fall. Now I know what it feels like to fall of your bike and forlornly watch the peloton scream past you.
Thankfully ten minutes later the bike was reassembled and the snapped retaining bolt replaced. The rest of the stationary ride was completed while I sat on an ice pack and a soft cushion. Bruised buttocks are not fun. But on the bright side, it’s much easier to ice pack your posterior than it is to ice pack your ego.
Bizarrely we were watching the Dora The Explorer movie last night. Yorkshire really knows how to live the dream. Near the start of the movie, poor Dora was dancing at a school ball. It was such a random odd dance that all the other kids were laughing and poking fun at her. Poor Dora, I really felt for her.
“Dad she dances like you.”
Really, I’m not that bad am I….
“In fact worse, much worse. At least Dora is coordinated. Your dancing is that bad, that if I’m within 50 miles of you, you are banned from any dance floor.”
The shame. How the mighty have fallen. I’m telling you that I once won a New Years Eve Blues Brothers dance competition.
It’s the end of another school at home week. These weeks are just merging into each other now.
School at home has gone pretty well over those whatever weeks. Son has adjusted well to it. He’s been pretty relaxed but we have a cloud on the horizon. Next week the school is starting to bring in virtual classrooms and live teaching via Microsoft Teams. Son hates the thought of being videoed. He really struggles with it. Plus with the other kids present he will retreat into his shell again. So this new teaching development has filled him with dread. The technology will work. Will it work for all kids. Will it work for those kids with special educational needs. That’s a bridge to cross next week.
The other thing which has stood out is observing the impact a slight change in school routine can have on our son. And it’s not just the virtual classroom idea. Sudden and unscheduled changes in teaching style, teacher, timetables…. All these have a major impact on him. He becomes deeply unsettled and stressed out. This really compromises his performance. I’m not 100% certain schools are aware of the impact these things have on kids on the spectrum.
But back to this week. What has this slightly bewildered parent learnt.
Son can walk, eat, drink and use his iPad at the same time with ease. I struggle to walk without crashing into walls.
Two words have the immediate effect of sending me into the kitchen to eat junk food and find coffee. French and Drama….
How many lessons does a kid need just going on about how to make puff pastry. Surely Food Technology can find another food to look at.
Apparently the term for you arm hairs standing on end is Piloerection…
When I get the feeling that I am right and the science teacher is wrong on magnetic fields, it’s probably best to fact check my knowledge first……
Occasionally giving a kid a little constructive feedback on work might be a good idea. Most teachers do. Unfortunately some teachers give nothing back. That’s something like 13 weeks with nothing. Really…
Practicing tennis in the garden is difficult when you can’t find any tennis balls.
Practicing tennis in the garden is difficult without balls and it’s chucking it down.
Practicing tennis in the garden is difficult without balls, in the rain when you can’t find the tennis racquets.
Online French classes seem to drain the iPad battery much quicker than any other subject. This is bizarre as French vocabulary seems to have exactly the same effect on me.
It’s rather emasculating when your Son decides to film his own art cartoon project. The words maybe getting the cartoon in focus might be a good idea do sting….
When your son has Dyspraxia and Dad has basically got the artistic talent of a Brussels Sprout – trying to free draw a pie chart on the iPad is basically a waste of time.
iPad voice recognition works with hundreds of languages but can’t handle anyone speaking with a Yorkshire Twang. For example how difficult can it be for a machine to understand someone saying ‘Royalty’. As hard as Son tried the iPad kept hearing Roll over and when I tried it heard Reality. Remind me not to try it with a word like luck.
I can’t remember how to programme the microwave or where I left the TV remote control but somehow I can remember school calculus. How is that possible.
The school has done a great job in getting the school at home IT working. But it hasn’t cut down the paper usage. Since the project started in April we have used up a full ream of paper….
So another week down. I get the feeling next week will see the return of the really sarcastic parent….
Remember those times before 2020. No masks or enforced social distancing. It seems an awful long time ago. So much enforced change. A world which has shrunk for virtually all of us.
After my partner died the world did shrink for me. No more holidays, no long distance work journeys, less visits to family and friends. No climbing expeditions. Things like trips to the gym even stopped. One thing that kept going was running. Son would go to school and my new found work flexibility would allow a couple of long runs every week. I got to see and breathe the local countryside. Run through the hills, valleys and woods. Every so often a little longer trip to the coast. The delights of a beach run. These became such an important part of my coping strategy. A way to manage my mental health and stay fit.
These runs have now stopped. The last run was in early March. Still there but out of reach. Out of reach until September when the secondary schools potentially go back. Maybe Son will opt for homeschooling and the runs cease permanently. But life goes on. It has to. So the runs have had to be replaced with exercise bike sessions – I have developed a pathological hatred of the piece of rock called the bike seat. Replaced with extra weights exercise in the garden. More CrossFit workouts. And yes with garden runs. A small garden doesn’t lend itself to a great variety of routes. Basically I can keep going round in circles clockwise and anti-clockwise. Constantly going round in circles. I measured it out, the longest straight line run possible is a massive 15 paces. Round and round again.
“Dad school have set a running challenge this week. They want the class to run and cycle. Using the Strava running app they want us all to work together to get to ferry in Doverand head off into Europe. Parents are encouraged to join in. Come on Dad. Get your running kit on.”
It’s a bit like my blogs creaky world tour but recorded using Strava. So I downloaded the app and dragged my tired body outside. I had already done my morning weights exercise routine. And off I went. Round and round the garden. Clocking up km after km. Bored out of my mind. Son did a bit of running himself before he went inside to start his next online class.
Eventually the knees said that’s enough. They can only take so much constant turning. And I went inside to send school the running results. The thing about Strava (and other running apps) is that you get a route diagram. A map of your run. They should look something like this…..
Well mine was a masterpiece. It’s my finest work of art I have ever produced….
The final ironic element to the story. A couple of hours later…
“Oh Dad. Just had an email from school. You had better sit down…. Apparently a few parents have complained about privacy and the schools online Strava Running Club. So they have had to delete the club and cancel the running challenge.”
Most runs around here end up with one last slog up this winding hill. A number of cycle clubs use it for races. The British Universities use the hill for their national road race championship. The 25% twisting ascent is a real leg sapper.
But on the bright side it’s a rapid, helter skelter of a descent. On one cycle decent I lost control and ended up in the farmers field. Still not as bad as one cyclist you apparently was rescued after being found face first, stuck in the roadside hedge. You could only see his legs sticking out. That would have cracked me up. As Monty Python would sing – Always look on the bright side….
Over the last couple of years I’ve learned the importance of laughter. It really has been a life saver some days. Really dark thoughts have been broken by a random laugh. A few weeks after my partner and my mums funerals I was as low as I have ever been. But a random chance encounter with Python’s Holy Grail movie lifted my spirts. It was bizarrely the scene where Eric Idle was collecting the dead bodies on the cart and John Cleese tries to get rid of a ‘not’ dead old man. It just touched a nerve and I laughed a lot. It just seemed to brake the spell.
Yes laughter breaks the spell. It’s distracts me. In computing terms it seems to reboot my system. The problem is that often when you need that reboot the most. At your lowest ebb. The hardest thing to do is laugh. The mindset is that your not allowed to enjoy a bit of life. Laughing is just not acceptable. Almost as if it makes you a bad person. Really. For me the two of the nest things I’ve learnt about grief
It’s really ok to cry AND
It’s really ok to laugh as well.
The news is unremittingly grim at present. Nothing like a pandemic to bring out the worst in our leaders, our media and sections of the population. Today the media was full of misinformation and photographs of empty supermarket shelves. Panic buying has started. So with some trepidation I ventured into the supermarket for a bottle of milk and a loaf of bread. What a pleasant surprise to find a well stocked shop. Then one last gift. With a sense of humour the store was running a promotion on Corona Beer. Clearly with shoppers loading up with the stuff that it was selling really well. Certainly better than in some parts of the world. It’s a shame that I’m on the wagon and that I never liked the stuff anyway. But it did get me thinking – maybe the World Health Organisation should continue naming viruses after products. Especially if it leads to heavy discounts. Maybe the next pandemic could be called the Cadbury’s Cream Egg Virus. I look forward to that discount….
For just a few minutes the clouds parted and summer made a brief appearance. Back to rain now. It was nice while it lasted.
I woke up this morning and like most mornings – half asleep. Few minutes later I’m peddling away on the exercise bike. Starting to feel more awake now. 28kph – come on lazy pants bit quicker.
Dad your squeaking.
And with that his bedroom door shuts. (Most unusual) I most be squeaky. So my morning mini Tour De France is interrupted. Why is it that when you need something from the toolbox it somehow develops cloaking technology. The oil was in the box. Search abandoned and cooking oil is smeared over the noisy bike. I wonder if this is common practice in professional cycling circles.
So we start the cycling again.
Dad can you hear the strange noises outside.
The resulting investigation seems to indicate the side gate banging in the wind.Quickly fixed with a brick. It’s tough for our son. So easily unsettled.
Can you move the bike into my room.
Tell you what why don’t you bring your blanket and try to sleep on the sofa next to the bike. The dog will happily join you. Few minutes later he is settled in with his four legged hot water bottle. So I try to start cycling again.
For a few brief moments I get into the zone. Good speed. Then the mind starts to wander. The biggest problem with indoor cycling. It was an August Sunday three years ago at about this time when the phone rang. It was the Doctor saying sorry but the last treatment option had failed and it was now time to move partner into end of life care. Shiver down the spine. Feel completely sick. Tears starting. Then anger. Why. Tell me why.
Anger fuelled peddling. Speed is now becoming breakneck.
Dad your squeaking again.
And with that it’s time to get off the bike. Squeaking wins the day. Come on son let’s have an unhealthy breakfast.
Can I have waffles.
You can have anything you want son. So like the sunshine. Today’s exercise was brief and my healthy eating regime is broken. Too brief to make a difference.