Monday, 2nd May, 2022

[Day 777]

The gloomy spell is continuing but we hope not for very long as the forecast for the next few days ahead indicates that a high pressure system might be heading our way from the Azores so that we have something approximating to May rather than April weather. According to the weather app on my iPhone, it was going to be cloudy and gloomy all day but no actual rain was forecast. Meg and I were just about prepared for this but no sooner had we got outside then a few splatters of rain started to fall, so we cut our losses and decided to go by car. We picked up the newspaper and then made our way to the park but even for a Bank Holiday the numbers in the park were reduced apart, of course, from the inveterate dog walkers, who like us brave the elements almost every single day. We were not surprised not to see any of our park regulars so after a chilly episode drinking our coffee we made for home where we made short work of polishing off the beef that we slow-cooked yesterday.

After lunch, we thought we would entertain ourselves a little by looking at some old films broadcast on ITV4. Whilst tuning into this channel, i saw the last five minutes of ‘Bridge over the River Kwai‘ (British POWs captured by the Japanese) and was just in time to see the denouement of the film which I vaguely remember from about sixty years ago. In this final scene, the British hero played by Alec Guiness collapses on top of the detonator which happens to blow up the bridge built by the British in Burma, just at the point where a train was crossing and evidently plunged into the river below. I was glad not to have seen any of the preceding action because I stumbled upon the most memorable part of the film at the very end. Then Meg and I started to watch ‘Spartacus‘ (made in 1955) but this was so naff for modern tastes that we abandoned this fairly quickly. Flipping through the channels, we found a ‘Mr Bean goes on holiday‘ type of film but this was not particularly funny so we abandoned this as well. Having got to this stage in the afternoon and as the weather had brightened somewhat, I decided to go and spend some 20-30 minutes carrying on the big job of lawn edging/gully clearing. I must say this was not the most pleasant of jobs when everything was still a bit soggy but nonetheless, I made a bit of progress. ‘En route’ I took out some enormous dandelions that had established themselves in the back lawn. I have a specialist dandelion ‘rooter’ which is almost exactly like the old fashioned tack lifters but on a bigger and heavier scale. In theory, this should enable you to take out the whole of the dandelion the roots of which might extend for several inches into the earth. Sometimes, though, the dandelion root will break off half way down but at least its regenerative powers ought to have been severely compromised. This being completed, I came in for a cup of tea and then deployed a certain amount of willpower to start off again with a series of ‘stepper’ routines to keep myself fit. The theory here is not only to reduce carbohydrate intake wheever this is possible but also to increase your exercise quotient slightly so that your body responds to these two extra demands by burning off some fat reserves. I have a particular ‘stepper routine’ video which I have used for about four years and have found very good. The video figures a yong American instructor called Kelly Anne who I think has a good instructional technique and after some warm-up exercises, you enter the main body of exercises which each take about a minute. All in all, the entire regime takes about 12 minutes and to ensure that I am in the right mind set for this, I change into the track suit bottoms which I wear for my Pilates exercises each Tuesday. Not having done these exercises for a bit, I must say that I found them somewhat on the ‘tough’ side today compared with how I found them four years ago but that is only to be expected, I suppose. I am hoping to achieve a steady but unspectactular weight loss of about 2lbs a week (a kilo per week) and at least I know I have done this all before. One factor impelling me onwards is a recent article in The Times extolling the virtues of losing ½ stone in weight so I keeping it and re-reading it every so often to keep the goal before my eyes. Earlier in the day, we have made an arrangement to have a meal with four of ex-Leicester Polytechnic colleagues and we have now found a date and time in about a couple of weeks and a location which is relatively central for all of us (Leamington Spa in a little bistro that we used in out last pre-pandemic ‘rendez-vous’)