After a hectic week and a long Sunday seeing our older son up in London, Monday was taken fairly easily but Tuesday saw the start of a new project – building a series of stone walls in the garden.
The aim is to tackle two issues at once – we have a pathway between a hedge and a row of trees which needs more ‘definition’, and we have loads of excess stone lying around that needs to be used. There are several separate sections needing walls, separated by the trees.
Helped by our younger son, I set to it, not knowing what I was doing (nothing new there, then). After a day I knew only one thing for sure – if I ever need to become a dry stone waller for a living, I will starve.
The work was very hard both technically and physically so the run I’d planned didn’t happen. I think I read that a good stone-waller handles each piece of stone just once, instinctively knowing where it will fit. I do not aspire to getting anywhere near that.
Sensibly, we ran early on Wednesday before starting day two of the task, but still aching from the effort on Tuesday. Just over 5.5km (3.4miles) but the Garmin lost the satellite connection at one point and we were credited with a 400m which was 20 seconds faster than the current world record (of course, in truth, we were just a handful of seconds outside the record).
It was a good run but afterwards I made a grave mistake by agreeing to run on Thursday evening with a young chap who sometimes rides with the cycle club. He is a proper runner – I checked on Strava and he recently did nearly 8km at better than 4:30 per km. He has promised not to kill me.
More walling on Thursday – taken fairly steadily to conserve energy, then the run at 6.30. I’m sure that when I was a boy, hot days were hottest just after midday and then cooled as the afternoon went on. It feels like hot days now just carry on getting hotter into the late afternoon. That’s how it was on Thursday – possibly the hottest day of the year and still roasting for the run.
I must admit to having been a bit nervous at the thought I might spoil his run – but we did a very enjoyable 7km (4.3miles) on the shadiest route we could find. True, he was jogging as I worked hard to keep up, but despite a few hills and quite a bit of off-road he pulled me through it as fast as I’ve run for some months.
Bournemouth off limits for now
I’d planned to go down to Bournemouth on Friday for some garden maintenance but it’s been in the news headlines for a couple of days as the good weather has brought thousands to the english beaches (especially Bournemouth which has been overwhelmed with people and traffic). It’s been madness with gridlocked roads, rubbish everywhere, and full beaches that meant social distancing was next to impossible. What is it about the sun that makes people act so recklessly?
I’ll wait for the weather to cool before I try to get down there. Sadly, that meant more walling on Friday – making progress but if I want them to stand up for more than a few days I’m going to have to abandon the ‘dry’ bit and add some mortar to glue the stones together.
All three of us ran on Saturday morning – and I then added a bit, in the rain, to take it beyond 11.5km (just over 7 miles).
A social life (but not as we knew it)
Saturday evening we hosted our usual social group of six for an excellent al fresco supper – we dodged the rain but were wearing coats by 9pm. Even as the lockdown eases, we will not be able to have an indoor supper party involving three households for a while yet.
As an aside, my wife needed new running shoes. When I ordered them I also ordered for myself (encouraged by others, thank you Adam) a pair of ‘minimalist/barefoot’ shoes (Merrell Vapor Glove 4 Trail Running Shoes to be precise).
Incredible service – ordered online Friday morning and arrived Saturday morning. They are very light – most of my running shoes weigh about 300g each (10.58oz) – these are 342g (12oz) for the pair! I was thinking of trying them on Sunday but I ached a bit so am looking forward to playing with them by way of experiment next week – and I’ve got to get back on the bike.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African proverb: If the owner of a calabash calls it a worthless calabash, others will join him to use it to pack rubbish.
Yes. I had to look it up – it’s a hollowed-out gourd
2. Palm Beach County commissioners proposed mandatory wearing of masks in public. They were harangued by residents who accused them of obeying the devil, imposing a communist dictatorship and dishonouring the American flag.
One resident was quoted as saying ‘they want to throw God’s wonderful breathing system out of the door’.
I must have misunderstood – I thought masks supplemented the lungs rather than replaced them.
I hope the lady doesn’t take any medicine as, by her reasoning, medicines throw out God’s wonderful bodily health system …
3. Brothels reopen in Austria on 1 July. The Greeks were a little ahead of them – rules brought in by the Greek government include card-only payments, a time limit of 15 minutes per customer, compulsory face masks and workers taking a list of clients’ contact details in case they need to be traced.
Presumably, no social distancing rule?
4. Headline: United Nations chief ‘shocked and disturbed’ by video of car sex act in Israel
There is footage of an apparent sex act on the back seat of an official and marked UN car in Israel. Presumably the UN is going to adopt the slogan ‘Make love, not war’
Confirmed cases of Coronavirus for Oxfordshire: population c. 690,000
14/3 – 22
21/3 – 44 (x2 from previous week)
28/3 – 113 (x2.5)
4/4 – 356 (x3.2)
11/4 – 653 (x1.8)
18/4 – 1070 (x1.6)
25/4 – 1336 (x1.25)
2/5 – 1540 (x1.15)
9/5 – 1688 (x1.09)
16/05 – 1902 (x1.13)
23/05 – 2020 (x1.06)
30/05 – 2065 (x1.02)
6/06 – 2093 (x1.01)
13/06 – 2109 (x1.01)
20/06 – 2123 (x1.01)
27/06 – 2128 (x1.00)