We stayed in London on Sunday night and drove to Stansted Airport on Monday to fly to Corfu – our first real holiday since skiing in January 2020 (and after the aborted trip to Madrid that Spring).
Air travel from the UK had been a complete disaster all week in the prefect storm of the schools’ half term holidays meeting the airport and tour companies’ failures to recruit quickly enough to make up for the redundancies during the lockdowns.
Being cautious types we decided to get to the airport early but that proved unnecessary as everything held together pretty well – more dead time hanging around waiting, but was probably worth it as insurance. Of course, we got off the ground late but the flight was fine and the hotel had provided something to eat even though we arrived around 11pm Greek time (a short transfer from the airport to the resort was a blessing).
The drive in from airports is often a bit depressing – lots of sad looking car rental and other tourist-based businesses, usually with signs in English. I appreciate that tourist money is vital for many economies but, in visiting, I hope we don’t trample their national identities. Fortunately, I believe that Greece has a bit of history of its own (!!!) and will survive our trampling.
First day we tried both pools which were good – the larger of the two was very long and in all I swam about 400m (among people gently bobbing about, cooling off) but the area surrounding the pool was rather small which made the sun loungers squeezed together (and there were still too few).
On the second day we went down to the hotel’s small private beach which was lovely. I swam about 800m in the Mediterranean (more accurately, I guess, part of the Ionian Sea) which was like a mill pond. Fewer people, plenty of loungers and a good snack and drinks bar so we stuck with it for the remainder of the holiday.
I’m not really one for the heat (just as I’m not really one for the cold) but am happy to sit in the shade and read (this holiday it was F Scott Fitzgerald’s Babylon Revisited, a memoir of the Falklands war by a friend and neighbour, Richard Osman’s The Thursday Night Murder Club and an anthology of short stories by Anton Chekov – which, I think, counts as a properly eclectic mix). I enjoyed them all. The Chekov was very good – as long as you don’t want your short stories neatly tied up in a satisfying conclusion – and if you don’t want them to be happy and uplifting.
We’d booked an ‘all inclusive’ package, more for simplicity than gluttony but within a couple of days it dawned on me that I was eating twice what I would normally – for no better reason than it was readily available. I put that right on a cloudy and breezy Thursday and felt better immediately. Encouraged, I tried the very small and very hot fitness room (barely 5m x 3m) – I did 5km on the treadmill in 27:10, and some weights.
Friday treated us to a fine thunderstorm early on but it improved by midday before the rain returned later. I swam (500m in the sea), ran (5km in on the treadmill, 27:35) and did some weights again.
Back to glorious weather on Saturday so back to the beach, swimming (800m) and later treadmill running (another 5km in 26:50) and an excellent meal in the pool restaurant in the evening. I managed to stub my toe while sea-swimming on a glorious Sunday – I swam about 1km but the badly bruised toe meant no treadmill later (what a shame) so I settled for the static bike (30 minutes @35.12kph) and some weights.
As always the final day of a package holiday is less fun as there are hours to kill after vacating the room and living out of a packed suitcase – but it passed happily with reading and (yet more) relaxing before the stresses and strains of the journey back (what a way to spend our 35th wedding anniversary). Surprise, surprise, the flight was late and the communication non-existent. However, we made it back to the flat in the early hours of Tuesday and I drove back later that (this) morning while my wife is staying to watch the tennis at Queens.
A great holiday with the hotel and the location making up for a poor tour company performance. The 15km of running, 3.5km of swimming, a session on a bike and some weights would be a good week’s exercise for a holiday – shame it coincided with a training plan requiring 65km of running. Oh well.
|Week (of 20)||Event’s training plan (km)||My actual (km)|
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: Love, like rain, does not choose the grass on which it falls
2. BBC News website: First sub8 and sub7 ironman distance triathlons
Britain’s Katrina Matthews became the first woman to finish the full Ironman triathlon in under eight hours with victory in the Sub8 in Germany. She finished the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and marathon run in seven hours 31 minutes and 54 seconds, beating the previous best by 46 minutes.
In the men’s Sub7, winner Kristian Blummenfelt (from Norway) finished in six hours 44 minutes and 25 seconds.
There were two athletes attempting each of the records and all four competitors finished inside their respective time barriers.
3. BBC News website: Isle of Man TT
I struggle with the TT races – a great spectacle and no doubt something that competitors love and for which they accept the risks – but a cause of way too much loss of life to my mind. After the TT races had a 2 year absence because of Covid, this year, a rider died in practice, another died on Monday and one of a French sidecar team died on Saturday.
If it could be made worse, race organisers have now confirmed that they named the wrong French sidecar competitor to have died. In a statement, they said rider Cesar Chanal had now been confirmed as having died in the crash during lap one of the first sidecar race of 2022 on the Mountain Course. Last Saturday, they wrongly said passenger Olivier Lavorel had died (but he remains in a critical condition in hospital).
On this Saturday, a father and son sidecar team both died in another crash, making five deaths in this year’s event.
Way beyond sad, my thoughts are with Oliver Lavorel and the family and friends of all affected by the terrible accidents.
4. BBC News website: Taxing cow and sheep burps
New Zealand has unveiled a plan to tax sheep and cattle burps from 2025, in a bid to tackle one of the country’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases. It would make it the first nation to charge farmers for the methane emissions from the animals they keep.
New Zealand is home to just over five million people, along with around 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep. Almost half the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, mainly methane.
5. BBC News website: Woman in for payout after having sex in a car
The US woman said she caught the human papillomavirus (HPV) from having sex with her then-partner in his car. She claimed her former partner knew he had virus but did not disclose his condition, leaving her with “past and future medical expenses” and “mental and physical pain and suffering”.
She and her former partner entered arbitration. The arbitrator determined “there was sexual activity in [insured’s] automobile” that “directly caused, or directly contributed to cause” the woman to be infected with HPV. In May 2021, the arbitrator awarded her $5.2m in damages, to be paid by her former partner’s motor insurers who appealed the judgement. A three-judge panel has confirmed the lower court’s ruling and said the insurance company failed to defend its own interests by entering a defence on behalf of the insured man.
6. Last and, by every means, least: They told me I’d never get over my fixation with Phil Collins – but take a look at me now