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Turbo, turbo, turbo, run, run, run – lacking imagination, me?

Next week … I’ve booked a session on Wednesday, the day it reopens

As usual, on Monday I woke with an unhappy right Achilles. I opted for an evening turbo session – 30 minutes of aimless spinning, with a hard last 15 for 22.35km @29.8kph (13.9 miles @ 18.5mph).

Some good news on Monday was the announcement that gyms will be allowed to reopen after the current lockdown ends on 2 December. On the ‘be careful what you wish for’ principle, if I go back to my usual 2 gym sessions a week, something else will have to give on the exercise front – but on a global scale, that’s really not a big issue.

Tuesday was cold so I decided on a second turbo session in the early evening. It also gave my Achilles a second day of relative rest as the turbo never seems to stress it like a run can. I went for 30km (18.64 miles) rather than a time target, and managed it in 1 hour and 25 seconds, in the usual pool of sweat.

It was raining Wednesday morning. I quite like it if it rains while I’m running but find it harder to get out for a run if it’s already raining hard – especially if it’s cold rain. There was never a plan to do three turbo sessions in a row but that’s how it worked out with the expectation of better weather for the second half of the week. I managed another 30km (18.64miles) – it was hard but I did it 50 seconds faster in 59:35.

One thing I don’t understand (among many things) is how I am more exhausted after an hour on the turbo than I was at any time during my everest, which was 18 hours of cycling over 22 elapsed hours – and the turbo doesn’t involve any climbing.

There was a hard frost Thursday morning which showed no sign of clearing but, although it was cold, it was dry and bright so we ran – 7km (4.35 miles). The first very cold run of the winter but it was worth it to ensure that the turbo would be off the agenda later in the day. I was wearing three layers, gloves, neck warmer and a woolly hat – we met another runner in shorts and a t-shirt. I am a terrible wimp when it comes to the cold.

Friday was very similar in temperature (hovering around freezing) and foggy. It felt like a rest day and that’s exactly what it became.

Saturday was a little milder but dank and misty. I did more soggy circuits of the old hill fort for 11.2km (7 miles), pleased to be well wrapped up (but no hat!) and wearing some trail running shoes that seem to have shrunk and gave me a blister.

During the week we’ve been going through box after box of belongings of my late in-laws (and sometimes their parents): letters they wrote to each other before they married, diaries going back 30 years, personal files, birthday and valentine’s day cards and hundreds of photographs. Sad work in many ways but they were terrific people and they live on in hearts and minds, not bits of paper.

Saturday afternoon I had a bonfire to burn the personal stuff and finished it with the burning of my father-in-law’s tweed jacket and cavalry twill trousers (almost uniform for the rural surveyor, auctioneer and land agent). Both were well worn and not suitable for a charity shop. My enduring mental picture of him is as he would come out (they lived next door) with a flat cap, garden fork and cigarette to join me as soon as I lit a bonfire.

I wore one of his flat caps – it seemed appropriate.

It was still very cool and foggy on Sunday but I got out for a bit over 11km (nearly 7 miles) at 5:40/km. It was quite hard work at times but I really enjoyed it and saw 21 other runners and 2 cyclists in a fraction over an hour – it gives you hope!

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: The place the child knows is where the rain falls

2. Mitch Benn, who I mentioned last week for singing a coronavirus song on youtube, was a contestant on ‘Only Connect’ (a very obscure and erudite TV quiz show) on Monday – and performed out of his skin in the ‘missing vowels’ round.

3. Oxford Dictionaries has expanded its ‘Word of the Year’ to encompass several ‘Words of an Unprecedented Year’.

Its words are chosen to reflect 2020’s ‘ethos, mood, or preoccupations’. They include bushfires, Covid-19, WFH, lockdown, circuit-breaker, support bubbles, keyworkers, furlough, Black Lives Matter and moonshot.

4. BBC News website: A strange metal monolith has been discovered in the Utah desert by a helicopter crew.

The pilot, Mr Hutchings, said a biologist counting big horn sheep in the helicopter was the first one to spot the structure from the sky.

“He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’. And I was like, ‘What?’. And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there – we’ve got to go look at it!’,” Mr Hutchings said.

… but if ‘he was like’, and ‘I was like’, and ‘he’s like‘, what actually happened?

I have a friend whose daughter asked ‘can I have, like, £10?’ He gave her £5 on the basis it was like £10.

Turbo, run, run, run, turbo, run – and a small milestone (kilometrestone?)

Another thing about wearing the Vapour Glove minimalist shoes – my feet are noticeably chillier in cold weather

I guess there is a reasonably fine line between exercising hard and constructively – and over-doing it and risking injury. I also guess that the line is drawn rather more conservatively for us over 65s.

Underlining that, after a tougher than usual week, my right Achilles and left knee were a little unhappy on Monday and didn’t feel motivated to get out for a run. I did get on the turbo trainer in the early evening – 22.08km in 45 minutes @ 29.44kph (13.72miles @ 18.3mph).

My wife and I ran one of our stock routes on Tuesday, 7km (4.34miles) – and we ran a shorter route on Wednesday, although I added a bit on to make 9.22km (5.7 miles).

We ran again on Thursday – I did laps of the old hill fort for a total of 10.7km (6.65 miles). The run saw a (very small) milestone as I passed 1000 running kilometres for 2020 (taking a little over 100 hours and with just over 10km of ascent).

Miles and kilometres are slightly strange bedfellows here, but a milestone of 621 miles doesn’t really work – and I’m not sure about having a kilometrestone.

Thursday’s run (which also saw the retirement of my favourite running shoes) made it 6 runs and 2 turbo sessions in the previous 8 days so I took Friday off exercise. Strangely, I really wanted to go for a run or get on the turbo but managed to hold firm against that.

Happily, the England v Ireland rugby watch was on terrestrial TV on Saturday so I went for the hour on the turbo watching it, again with a ’15 second sprint per point scored’ commitment. They were kind to me – 12-0 to England at half time – so an hour for just 29.7km (about 18.5 miles).

Sunday morning was cold but, having self-diagnosed as an under-pronator (supinator) who should have well cushioned shoes, I ignored the science, had a cup of coffee and took my minimalist shoes for a very enjoyable 10.2km (6.3 miles) run at 5:34/km, to finish the week.

Only a couple of weeks into the second lockdown and I’m missing the gym. Not only is lifting heavy bits of metal enjoyable in itself, but it adds welcome variety in the form of a third string to the run/cycle bow. I’ve also realised that I’ve got into the habit of stretching at the end of gym sessions – a habit I’ve not developed after any other exercise. I must remember to stretch more (or, indeed, at all).

One trivial outcome of the lockdown is that I have had a very easy duty as route-setter for the cycling club. My first of a four week stint was the last Saturday before the lockdown – but we won’t set routes now to avoid any suggestion that we are encouraging group riding. Happily, we have built a very large on-line library of rides for all three of the groups we run and we simply encourage people to pick their own, if they do want to ride.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: The frog wanting to be as large as the elephant ended up bursting

2. The world’s gone mad: Our local supermarket has ‘Wild Bird Suet Balls’ for sale. The back of the packet says ‘Allergy advice – may contain peanuts’.

Do they think people are going to eat them, or are they worried about wild birds with nut allergies (and if so, how are the birds going to read the warning anyway?)

3. BBC News Website: The German government praises the nation’s couch potatoes as the country battles a second wave of coronavirus

The first advert depicts an elderly man looking back on the winter of 2020.

“The fate of this country lay in our hands,” he says (in German!). “So, we mustered all our courage and did what was expected of us, the only right thing. We did nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

There is a funny youtube video by British comedian Mitch Benn with a song in a similar vein but with rather more robust language to replace ‘absolutely nothing’.

4. BBC News Website: New Zealand crowns chubby cute parrot bird of the year

New Zealand has voted the kakapo its Bird of the Year. Only a complex election system allowed the big flightless parrot to triumph over its closest rival, the Antipodean albatross.

There were allegations of election rigging (sound familiar?) when hundreds of votes came from a single IP address. But in the end, the kakapo won, marking the second time New Zealanders crowned the chubby parrot their number one bird.

Ahhh

Goodbye old friends ….. confessions of a supinator

Left shoe with the tread worn away from the black pads to the outside of the heel and the ball of the foot and hardly touched everywhere else

Getting in from my run on Thursday I realised it was time to face up to facts. Time to take a tough decision. Time to say goodbye to old friends. Time to retire my favourite pair of running shoes.

There were three things that brought me to this conclusion.

Distance

First, they have clocked through 800 km (500 miles) and conventional wisdom says that running shoes generally have an expected lifespan of between 300 and 500 miles (500 and 800km). As I mostly run on roads and, at 146 pounds (66kg), am not a heavyweight, it’s probably right that I get a good mileage out of them – but they can”t go on forever.

Running form

Secondly, although they appear to be in pretty good shape, I looked at the soles and they tell a pretty clear tale of wear. The wear is almost entirely along the outside edge of each shoe, confirming what I have thought for some time – I am a supinator.

My foot lands with most of my weight on the outside edge but instead of rolling inwards (‘pronating’) or rolling too far inwards (‘over-pronating’), it stays on the outside edge (‘under-pronating’ or ‘supinating’).

All runners know the risks they take on whenever they leave the house. From the lower back to the tips of our toes, even the most technically perfect of runners is putting every joint, bone, muscle, ligament and tendon in between at grave risk of injury (or so it would seem from so much of the internet).

For us over-pronators or under-pronators, the risks are magnified – it appears that for me the risks include devil worship, eternal damnation and the end of civilisation as we know it.

OK, that last bit might have been exaggerated a little – but it is a bit of a surprise that I can still walk given the risks I seem to be taking every time I run.

What’s worse is that the wear on the soles of the shoes show that I run heavier on my left foot than my right. While I may have a mental picture of me running like a gazelle, it appears that I probably look more like a three legged wildebeest.

The fact that I am in a 5% minority of runners who supinate comes as little compensation.

Replacement

These were the oldest of two pairs of these particular shoes – the ‘Puma Ignite 500 Speed’. I ran the Rotterdam Marathon in them in April 2019 and the second pair are only a bit behind in mileage. I like them because they are comfortable, fairly lightweight, low at the back of the heel (good for my dodgy Achilles tendons) and reasonably priced.

I’ve been looking for new ones for months but with no luck – I guess they have been discontinued as all I could find were the occasional random pair in extreme sizes. However, I recently stumbled on a seller who must have some old stock and have bought two more pairs of identical shoes (unadventurous, me?).

It seems that we supinators need more cushioning in our running shoes to make up for the loss of natural cushioning from the usual pronation of the foot. We might also need arch supports to help spread the impact from the foot landing across more of the foot.

How that ties in with the fact that I can run in my minimalist shoes, which have no cushioning or arch support, is beyond me, but at least moving on to one of the new pairs of shoes should restore some extra cushioning. I’ll carry on with the minimalist shoes on a regular basis in the hope that they help to train and strengthen my feet which must be a good thing.

It will be interesting to see if I can tell the difference between new and old shoes. If there is no discernible difference, the old shoes might be reprieved and live on for muddier or wetter runs.

Interesting stuff this week (just wise words as it’s midweek)

African wise words: A man who believes that he can do everything, let him dig a grave and bury himself.

Run (x4), turbo (x3), gym (x0) and bike mechanic: a week of lockdown

The bluebells have long gone but running round Badbury clump is still a pleasure, even when it is soggy underfoot

On a normal Monday I’d be in the gym before 8am – but with the lockdown-lockout at the gym and two runs over the weekend it felt more like a turbo trainer day, after some gardening.

I pushed the turbo session out to 1 hour and managed 29.9km (18.6 miles). I guess the turbo will be getting more use now to replace one or both of the weekly gym sessions. That won’t be an entirely bad thing as the first challenge of 2021 is (scheduled to be) the sportive in April – and I’ve neglected the cycling for too long.

Soggy circuits round the old hill fort on Tuesday – 8.44km (5.2 miles). I’ve noticed that running in the morning is a bit harder after a tough early evening turbo session the previous day – who’d have thought it?

One thing that occurs to me is that when I use the turbo it is relentlessly tough. Either I get over the 30kph average for 45 minutes or very close to it if I go for longer. I don’t want to associate the turbo (exclusively) with extremely hard exercise performed in pools of sweat or I’m going to be looking for reasons to avoid it – so I got on for a gentle spin on Tuesday evening.

Unfortunately, my legs didn’t get the ‘take it easier’ message. I did limit it to 30 minutes but at 32.14kph (19.97mph) – and still finished in a pool of sweat.

I managed to fix both of the bikes that I’d been allocated for the pop-up shop on Wednesday – mainly a question of brake adjustment and getting the gears working properly. Happily, one went from 4 to 21 and the other from 10 to 21.

Last week’s run across London got me thinking that perhaps one run each week should be a bit longer than I’ve been doing recently, so I did 13.4km (8.3 miles) on Thursday. Good running weather and at better than 6 minute kms. We then made a bad choice of route for Friday’s run – sodden, slippery and slow which made for a hard 6.5km (4miles).

Saturday was cool, grey, wet and windy. My right Achilles had been niggling for a few days but seemed to have improved overnight, so it was an easy decision to give it a bit more rest and not run. Instead, I did an afternoon turbo session watching the first half of the women’s rugby (England v France). The way women’s rugby has progressed is great to see, with high levels of skills and fitness.

I took a bravery pill and decided to incorporate some sprints into the session on an entirely random basis – 15 seconds for each point scored. They were fairly kind to me in the first half (10-10). At half time I listened to Italy v Scotland and sprinted for Italy’s 3 points.

I pushed on for the hour watching the women’s second half but immediately after I finished, England scored a converted try (7 points) and I felt duty bound to sprint for that too. The same happened again – just after I finished, England scored another converted try so I did the sprint for that as well. In all, 1 hour 4 minutes for 31.77km (19.74 miles).

It was raining heavily on Sunday and looked like it was set in for the day. However, as I sat down with a coffee and the puzzles from the newspaper, the rain stopped. I took advantage of clear blue skies (although it was still cool and breezy) and ran for a little over 10km (6.3 miles) at 5:37/km.

Seven sets of exercise in the week – one day doubled up and one rest day – in all, 6h 30m. In effect, I replaced the usual two gym sessions with two on the turbo and a run. All that and I’m still too far away from any of next year’s challenges to actually be training for anything. It’s a bit frustrating.

Lockdown continues much as before – we have had to cancel some drinks, suppers and lunches but we can still exercise and shop for essentials, so we are still among the luckiest ones. The most disappointing thing is not seeing our sons.

Take care out there.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: It is not from my mouth that people will learn that the king’s mother is a witch.

2. BBC News website: Popular app T&Cs ‘longer than Harry Potter’

The combined terms and conditions of 13 top apps including TikTok, WhatsApp and Zoom would take 17 hours and five minutes to read.

The documents contain a joint total of 128,415 words – longer than any one of the first three Harry Potter novels. The longest was Microsoft Teams at 18,282 words – or two-and-a-half hours of reading time for many people.

They must all know that when we tick the box to confirm that we have read and agree to the Ts & Cs, we are not entirely telling the truth. On that basis, I wonder how enforceable they really are?

3. BBC News website: Roblox gamers must pay to die with an ‘oof’

The “oof” sound that famously (not to me it isn’t) accompanies the death of characters in the hugely popular Roblox game will temporarily be removed, following a copyright dispute.

When it is reinstated, gamers will have to buy it, paying around around $1 (£0.76) or 100 in-game currency Robux. The developer who originally created the sound for a game released 20 years ago, will get compensation.

Suddenly, my lack of knowledge about any of this makes me feel very old.

4. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton on his 7th F1 world championship. Record holder for pole positions, race wins and now equal best with Michael Schumacher for titles.

Gym, labouring, gym, run (across London), turbo, run, run and Le Tour dilemma

After a late night on Sunday (and a glass or two of wine) I feared the gym on Monday was going to be a disaster but I managed all the routine with the normal weights, if rather slowly.

There were just two others in the gym – clearly, people were not rushing to get their last sessions in before it shuts as part of the new lockdown on Thursday.

I spent Tuesday morning at the cycle park barrowing concrete as we set up the pretty hefty bases for some exercise machines at the side of the track. The idea is that they might induce parents to exercise when they bring their children to cycle training.

The park is looking very good – trees have been planted, we have a small dirt course for younger children and are developing a more demanding downhill course through the adjoining wood. The whole thing is quite a success – the charity we set up alongside the cycle club has won local recognition for its work and has been put forward for national awards, something to be really proud of.

It was a tough few hours and, coupled with bringing in a significant number of large pot plants from the garden in the afternoon (our first frost was forecast and duly arrived Tuesday night), I decided that it exempted me from the turbo trainer in the evening.

Working on the Joni Mitchell principle “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” I went to the gym again on Wednesday before we drove up to London for a meal that we had booked a few weeks ago. We took separate cars and I delivered one to our older son so he and his girlfriend could get to the house in Bournemouth before the lockdown started, rather than having to see it out in his flat.

I decided to run back across London from his flat to ours – from a South East postcode to West postcode. The road junctions and pedestrians (and the morning’s gym session) all took their toll but once I crossed Vauxhall Bridge and got onto the Chelsea Embankment alongside the Thames it was glorious – cool but sunny.

I think part of the extra enjoyment is something I discovered when I cycled out to the alps in 2018 – a ‘ride’ has the normal benefits of exercise and pleasure but a ‘journey’ has the added benefit of purpose. The same seems to be true of running. In all, it was a journey of 11.7 km (7.3 miles) at 5m 35 per km. A bit fast for me, like my last run in London – and my right Achilles is complaining about it.

The evening meal was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed our last opportunity to eat out for a while. Back to Oxfordshire and we woke on Thursday to the country’s second lockdown. Our thoughts are with those who will suffer so much worse than we will. I got on the turbo Thursday evening for something a little more gentle than recent efforts – 45 minutes, for 22.77 km @30.36kph (14 miles @18.9mph).

No exercise on Friday but I ran with my wife on a chilly Saturday – 7km (4.3 miles) before accepting a couple of bikes to be fixed for the charitable pop-up cycle shop that is popping up again in the run up to Christmas (cycle shops are exempt from the lockdown closures).

Another run with my wife on Sunday – 6.53km (just over 4 miles) and then hedge trimming to look forward to – it’s a rock and roll lifestyle.

Tour de France 2021

The route for the 2021 Tour de France has been released and has the good news/bad news for me.

One stage goes up the Cote de Mont-Saxonnex, Col de Romme and Col de la Colombière (all climbs we have done from the apartment) and finishes in Le Grand-Bornand which we have cycled through a few times over the years. The following stage starts in Cluses which is even closer.

That looks like it is easy to decide when my annual cycling trip out to the alps should take place next year (Covid willing) but the bad news is that those two stages are on 3rd and 4th of July … and my ultra marathon is on the 11th. I’d anticipated that I’d be going out after the ultra.

I wonder how good cycling up mountains is as ultra marathon training?

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: ‘Put down the meat’ is an order the dog cannot obey

2. BBC News website: Lockdown: Andrex maker has ‘100 million toilet rolls standing by’

When the pandemic struck in March, shoppers reported difficulty in finding toilet paper after panic-buying emptied supermarket shelves. But this time, Kimberly-Clark said it was fully ready.

But that’s still only about 1.5 rolls per person and the virus is very scary

3. BBC News website: After the unhappy libel case heard in London where Johnny Depp sued one of our national newspapers, I was reminded of a (very) old defamation case where a claimant brought an action over an allegation that he was a highwayman. Evidence emerging at the trial proved that he was indeed a highwayman. The claimant was arrested and subsequently hanged.

4. BBC News website: ‘Angels released from Africa’ to help Trump win

US President Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White-Cain says “angels have been released” from Africa and South America to help him win. “They’re coming here in the name of Jesus… angelic reinforcements,” she says.

Often (but I am prepared to make exceptions) I admire people who believe things that I can’t – but why have they been ‘released’ – has someone been holding them against their will? And aren’t there any angels in the USA? I’d have thought Africa and S America could find good work for their own angels to do at home.

5. BBC News website: Mugabe/Trump comparison riles many

Some people have taken umbrage against a tweet by a former US official comparing President Donald Trump to Zimbabwe’s late leader Robert Mugabe, over his comments alleging fraud, without evidence,

Q. Were the objections that the comparison:

  • portrayed election fraud as a uniquely African phenomenon
  • was unfair to President Trump
  • was unfair to Robert Mugabe

(this is just a – poor – attempt at a joke and I would have said the same if the story had been about Biden … this is a non-political blog!)

Gym, run, turbo, gym, run, run – and the impending return of lockdown

Domestic stuff on Monday but a gym session on Tuesday. Any expected benefit from taking it gently last week didn’t materialise – the machines were a random mix of the same, easier and harder.

There were a total of 6 other people there during my hour – twice what I’ve seen lately. Still not crowded and still feeling relatively safe – but I’ve come to like it empty.

Later I took our older son back to London and also managed two other very good things: seeing our younger son for a socially-distanced coffee, and then a run down the Thames Path to the Fulham football stadium and back. The run was very enjoyable but I seem to have pushed fairly hard – 7.4km (4.6m) at 5m 23s per km. Not at all fast, but quick for me.

On Thursday came the news that the City of Oxford (less than 20 miles away) will move into ‘tier 2’ of England’s Covid restrictions on Saturday. It appears that there was a proposal for the whole of Oxfordshire to move but that was rejected by central government. So, we in the village remain in tier 1 … at least for now – national lockdown on its way in the hope that it can be followed by a relaxation over Christmas?

The biggest difference would have been the loss of our ability for 6 people from different households to mix indoors. We have just such a gathering for supper on Sunday evening which can go ahead, but it might be the last for a while if the county’s experience as a whole gets any worse.

[and since that was written, we have had the announcement that England goes into a new, nation-wide, lockdown for a month from next Thursday].

Back on the turbo trainer for 45 minutes on Thursday evening – 23.1km @30.8kph (14.35miles @19mph) with four 90 second sprints and a 2 minute ‘hill climb’ to finish.

An hour in the gym on Friday and I ran with my wife on Saturday morning. The arrival of storm Aiden meant that it was raining and the wind was blowing over 40mph (65kph) so we did our short run – and I added some extra to make it 8.3km (a bit over 5 miles).

It was one of those days when you really don’t want to go out for a run – but once you do, *you really enjoy it* *you really wish you hadn’t* (delete as appropriate).

We ran again on Sunday – a gentle 7km (4.35 miles) in more wind but at least it was dry.

We will get our social supper tonight but a month’s lockdown starts Thursday next week. The general rule is to stay at home but we can still exercise outdoors – it’s a pain but we have to do our bit to fight the virus so we will live with it.

The gym will shut which is annoying as I’d just got into a routine (rut?) of three runs and two sessions at the gym and one on the turbo in a normal week. I guess weeks are not going to be entirely normal for a while yet.

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: The camel should not forget that it has a long neck.

I love the African wise words, but this one is a bit deep for me. I wonder what giraffes should remember.

2. BBC News website: Essex firefighters rescue three men from tumble dryer

Three men, thought to be in their late teens, crawled into an industrial-sized dryer at a derelict laundry on Friday. Two were in the dryer when the third’s ankles became trapped in the door as he crawled in.

I saw this on the day of the announcement of Sean Connery’s death. As the tumble drier wasn’t working, I assume they were shaken, not stirred

3. BBC News website: Police officer raiding illegal cockfight gets killed by rooster

A Philippine police officer has been killed by a rooster during a raid on an illegal cockfight. The rooster’s gaff – a razor-sharp steel blade attached to the leg of fighting roosters – cut his left thigh, slicing his femoral artery.

Cockfighting has been banned during the virus outbreak. Before the pandemic, it was allowed only in licensed cockpits on Sundays and legal holidays, as well as during local fiestas.

Incredibly sad and so unlucky. Not for me to comment on the practices and traditions of others but I don’t think I could go to a dog, bull or a cock fight, legal or not

4. BBC News website: Cancer patient’s leg treated in separate Glasgow hospital

The patient remained in Clydebank while her left tibia was removed and sent on a 20-minute journey where it was treated with radiation at a Cancer Centre before being returned to Clydebank and reattached.

I’m delighted for the patient but what would Mary Shelley say?

5. BBC website: Indian doctor duped into buying ‘Aladdin’s lamp’ for $41,500

Two men have been arrested in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh for allegedly duping a doctor into buying an “Aladdin’s lamp” that they promised would bring him wealth and health. They even pretended to conjure up spirits from the lamp, in line with the tale from The Arabian Nights, Indian media report.

The men had reportedly wanted more than $200,000 for the lamp but settled for a down payment of $41,500.

Judging by the price reduction, the market in magic lamps must be suffering during the pandemic. They are very cheap on ebay – and every bit as magic.