I was a bit stiff on Monday morning, thanks to Sunday’s decorating. The aches eased quickly but it was blowing a gale so I just signed up for the early evening swim doctor session and we booked flights for a trip to Spain later in the year.
The swim class was full and I was put in the lane with the three fastest swimmers. To keep out of the way as much as possible I largely ignored the drills and just swam front crawl – about 1,100m.
Gym on Tuesday, which was much as usual, including a decent amount of work on the biceps. My chin-up challenge is still well beyond me but I’m not giving up on it. The big news is that my right elbow is improving a little – but my left elbow now hurts.
Wednesday morning’s blood pressure reading was the final one I’d been asked to take after the slightly scary 160/80 at the surgery last week. My week’s recordings averaged out at 122.5/70. I put the results in a letter and dropped that off at the surgery – let’s see what they make of it all. [They sent me a text on Friday saying they were very pleased with the results and that my records have been updated. I assume that is the matter finished, without any other follow-up].
Back to the gym later. I’m still struggling to work up the enthusiasm to get out to run in the cold, so I’m splitting some gym sessions between the weights and the treadmill. Accordingly, a 4km (22m 52s) run and just over half an hour on the weights.
My wife had been out for the day but reappeared later with a tyre warning light on in the car. I pumped up the offending tyre but could hear the hiss of escaping air and see the head of the nail stuck in it.
She took another car on Thursday – I dropped hers off at the garage and ran 5.2km back home. Later I walked in to collect it – normally I’d cycle and bring the bike back in the car but, after a Jeep Cherokee, a Merc estate and a BMW Touring, she decided she wanted a small car … it’s a Mini.
The usual Friday routine saw an hour in the gym followed by the bike shop session.
I spent Saturday in Kingston-upon-Thames doing more work on our older son’s house. Finishing touches to the main bedroom: touching up paint on the walls and putting up curtain rails and a picture rail (but that needs some final painting to remove my dirty fingerprints). I also managed to put up a shelf in the shed, replace and paint some skirting board in the sitting room, put in a level bed of mortar where a fireplace had been, and sort out garden hose connectors. Quite a constructive session but it left me knackered after the 4 hour round trip, in addition.
Many congratulations to Ireland for winning the 6 Nations Rugby Championship (and completing the grand slam).
Sunday was Mother’s Day so we drove back to London for our younger son to take us out for a very good lunch (I was just free-loading). Also well done to our older son, currently in New Zealand, for remembering to send flowers.
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water
2. BBC News website: Retrial after nearly 50 years on death row
Iwao Hakamada was sentenced to death in 1968 for murdering his boss, the man’s wife and their two children in 1966. He confessed after 20 days of interrogation during which he said he was beaten. He later retracted the confession in court.
He was released from jail in 2014 and granted a retrial by a district court, which found investigators could have planted evidence. After various appeals, the retrial will now go ahead and judges will rule on whether DNA from blood stains found on clothing alleged to have been worn by the killer matches Mr Hakamada’s. His lawyers have argued that it did not and that the evidence was fabricated.
3. BBC News website: What message would you send 3,700 years into the future …
A team of Israeli archaeologists have decoded the oldest known sentence in the ancient language of Canaanites. The inscription was on an ivory comb unearthed in Tel Lachish, the second most important city in the Biblical Kingdom of Judah and provides evidence of the use of the alphabet 3,700 years ago.
… and the message … something profound and full of historic meaning?
Not exactly, it was ‘May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard’.
4. BBC News website: Goodbye to a man who was certainly no flop
Dick Fosbury has died at the age of 76. He leapt backwards over the bar to win gold with a record of 2.24 metres at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, using a technique which became known as the ‘Fosbury Flop’ and is used by high jumpers today.
5. Barkley Marathons
The Barkley Marathons finished on Friday morning (UK time). It’s a wonderful event: 40 entrants, by invitation after submission of a written application sent to an address that is only known to pervious entrants.
No website; no course published in advance; no published start time (other than a 12 hour window); a $1.60 entrance fee (plus a car number plate from a first-timer’s home country); almost all off road with huge ascent and descent; 5 loops of a 20 mile (or perhaps 26 mile) course with a strict time cut-off for each loop; and a page (matching the entrant’s race number) to be ripped from a number of books placed along the course as evidence of having taken no short cuts.
Coverage is mainly by just one person tweeting from the start/finish line; the final loop is run in opposite directions alternately by competitor, and the start is signalled by the lighting of a cigarette.
Since it started in1995 there were only 15 people who had ever finished but this year 3 men completed the course – and a British lady vet got further than any woman before her, just failing to complete loop 4 within the time limit.
Now that’s a proper challenge
6. BBC News website: Do not pass ‘go’, do not pass border control
More than 1,000 UK Passport Office workers will go on strike for five weeks, from 3 April to 5 May, over a dispute about jobs, pay and conditions. The union warned of delays to applications and the delivery of passports in the run-up to summer.
I wonder why they would choose to strike now – nothing to do with the approaching holiday season, of course.
Happily, I renewed my passport in January. The tracking on the website still says it has been printed and that I will be told how to track its delivery. It arrived, unannounced, 45 days ago. I wonder if the person who is supposed to update the website is going on strike (and will anyone notice?).