After having our sons back for the week over Christmas, followed by an excellent New Year dinner party with 6 good friends, the first few days of January felt a bit flat (and a little bit fat).
I decided to go with the flow and didn’t exercise, instead we did a difficult jigsaw and took down the decorations and stored them back in the attic (it’s a rock and roll lifestyle). I accompanied my wife to an informal school reunion (more negative lateral flow testing), proof-read some college work for our younger son and took the minutes for a cycling club directors’ meeting.
By Tuesday I knew I should get back to some sort of exercise (if only to address just over 2 kgs – 5 pounds – of excess ballast acquired over the holiday) but it was cold, wet and windy. Rather short of motivation, I turned to the turbo trainer – at least the extra weight was going to be less of a penalty.
I planned to go (even) slower than usual but for an hour. As it was, youthful exuberance took over and I went faster than intended so I gave myself 15 minutes off for good behaviour – 45 minutes @ 30.3kph (18.8mph).
I ran with my wife on a cold Wednesday – one of those days when you know you can’t get the clothing right but I was grateful – as ever – for my D2T buff/neck warmer. We ran one of our usual routes for 7.2km (4.5 miles).
Cold and wet again on Thursday but I did manage a slower session on the turbo – I’d like to say it was all self-restraint but, in truth, I’m not sure I had any more speed in me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do the full hour but discovered that the best technique is to cycle for 45 minutes and then push the pedals round for another 15.
I went to the gym, before the usual bike shop stint, on Friday morning – it was cold (not quite ‘see your breath cold’ but close) and hard. I appreciate that a ‘proper’ gym session is not supposed to be easy but I am only doing all this for pleasure – I need to manage the difficulty to make sure it doesn’t put me off going. I researched it and the advice seems to be: heavy weights; fewer reps; more sets; explosive lifting. Oh dear.
Our local side were televised live in the FA Cup (and lost 4-1) on Friday. No disgrace in a 4th tier side losing to the team well clear at the top of the Premier League. Saturday was wet so I did an hour’s turbo session watching another match – 28.5km (17.7 miles). For added jeopardy I did 100 revs sprinting per goal and 30 per corner (3 goals, 10 corners). For the last 15 minutes I watched a quiz – 15 revs sprint per right answer.
Cold but brighter on Sunday and I did not really want to run but, happily, my wife and I encouraged each other to get out and I did hill reps – 8 of the usual hill but horribly hard. This time it measured 8.9km with 282m of ascent (5.5 miles and 925 feet).
That is me (very) finished for the week.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: However long the night, the dawn will break
2. BBC News website: Antarctic outpost hit by Covid-19 outbreak
Since 14 December, at least 16 of the 25 workers at the Belgian Polar Station have caught the virus. The first positive test was in a team that arrived seven days earlier.
Last year, a number of Chilean military personnel at an Antarctic research station were infected after sailors on a supply ship tested positive for the virus.
It’s official, nowhere is safe!
3. BBC News website: French car-burning returns for New Year’s Eve
A total of 874 cars were set alight during New Year’s Eve celebrations in France. The interior ministry said the number was much lower than in 2019. Car burning has effectively become an annual event in French suburbs since riots in 2005 in several cities.
The local “I live in Faringdon” Facebook page was ablaze with outrage at fireworks being set off to celebrate New Year – thank goodness the town hasn’t yet turned its attention to cars …
4. BBC News website: Thousands injured in household accidents
The 2020/21 figures for England showed that accidents fell in many categories as people spent more time indoors, however:
- more than 5,300 people were admitted to hospital after falls from playground equipment such as swings and slides, including eight people over the age of 90
- more than 5,600 required hospital attention after coming into contact with an electric hand tool and another 2,700 people sought medical attention after an accident with a non-powered hand tool
- 349 were admitted to hospital with injuries inflicted by lawnmowers
- 2,243 people needed attention after hot drink, food, fats and cooking oil injuries
- 7,386 people were admitted to English hospitals after being bitten or struck by a dog, while 60 others sought assistance after encounters with venomous spiders
- the number of people needing assistance after being struck by lightning rose from three cases in 2019/20 to 18 in 2020/21.
It’s a miracle that the human race survives
5. BBC News website: Taiwan buys 20,000 bottles of rum destined for China
Taiwan is sharing tips with the public on how to drink and cook with rum after the state-run media said Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp purchased the rum after learning that it could be blocked from entering China.
It comes after Lithuania established a de facto embassy in Taiwan, a potential sign of growing ties between them, after which, just days later, China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania.
Locals were urged to buy rum at the end of January, when the shipment would be on sale and the National Development Council shared recipes for a Dark ‘n’ Stormy cocktail, and rum-infused French toast, steak and hot chocolate.
A state sponsoring drinking alcohol is not the typical way things go
6. BBC News website: Teacher locks son in car boot as he tests positive for Covid
A US teacher has been arrested after allegedly locking her Covid-positive son in a car boot (trunk) to protect herself from exposure to the virus as she drove him to a testing site. She is reported to have been charged with endangering a child.