In that?

On Friday, yesterday’s post mentioned that I had decided not to take my usual walk in preference to completing the concrete screed laying in the outside toilet. I said I might take the walk today instead, that is Saturday but that was before I realised we were in for some nasty weather. The latest storm was on its way and was currently over Ireland in the west. Although we were not supposed to be getting the worst of the wind we would still experience gale force winds. I went to bed early just in case the worst of the weather had passed over by the time I was thinking of going out. It hadn’t and in fact was just reaching its peak and it was raining heavily too! There was no way I would be going for a walk in that so I decided to eat breakfast and later work out on the gym equipment instead. I had eaten breakfast and was standing at the kitchen sink looking out of the window when I saw something which alarmed me.

The mixer was standing in the same spot as in the first picture but covered as shown in the second picture, that is when I left it on Friday. As I looked out of the window it was still in the same position but lying on its back in front of the bench! The bag covering it had been blown away and was now behind the large greenhouse diagonally across the lawn. The same place gets filled with leaves very often when it is windy. My first thoughts were of astonishment and unbelief. Then I realised just how strong the wind had been and was wondering if there had been other damaged but then realised also that the wind had most probably blown inside the bag which forced the mixer to fall backwards. Had I simply placed the mixer facing the opposite direction it would have remained standing. Then I thought, ‘I hope it isn’t damaged’, which would have been a catastrophe. I need not have been concerned for when the mixer is lying on its back as how I have to put it to allow the stand to be inserted into the base before lifting it upright, the motor is just clear of the ground. My main concern was that the motor wasn’t damaged. I am truly amazed it was alright after testing it. Needless to say I moved the mixer near to the side gate where is is sheltered from the wind and I also placed it with its front facing away from the prevailing wind. Furthermore I tied the bag through its handles around the base of the stand. So it was now standing where the large bags of sand had been just outside the outside toilet entrance. Whilst there I looked in the room to see how the screed had set. I wouldn’t be going in there again until Monday. I did exercise on the gym equipment later using the cross-trainer, the treadmill and the cycling machines. I get more exercise using the equipment but it isn’t quite the same as going for a walk in the fresh air………………….. Shirley Anne

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Drained

I thought with being so tired on Thursday night that sleep would have come easily but it didn’t. Well not exactly. I had taken a shower for doing so always helps me to relax and I usually then find falling asleep no problem. However it took me a while before I nodded off at ten-thirty or thereabouts and then I found myself awake again at two o’clock! From then until about six o’clock I couldn’t get more than a few minutes of continuous sleep. Too much on my mind perhaps? Friday (Good Friday) morning would normally see me taking a walk in the early hours but I hadn’t set the alarm to get me up before five. As it happened that didn’t matter for I was already awake though I hadn’t any intentions of going out at my usual time. I had decided to take my walk in the sunshine for once because the weather forecast indicated a very warm and dry day. Temperatures did rise to around 20 deg C and there was little wind. It remained sunny all day long. I thought I would take my walk around nine o’clock and return before lunch. I ate breakfast at seven and left the house just after nine. I chose to walk south along the main trunk road to Ainsdale, something I very rarely do as I prefer walking along the beach or though the dunes to get to Ainsdale though I often take the coast road too. At first it was very pleasant but by the time I had reached the beach I had walked around three and a half miles and it was getting too warm to walk without cover. A combination of tiredness, a lack of sleep, my age and the warmth of the day took their toll and by the time I had returned home (roughly seven miles round trip) I was feeling rather exhausted. A nice cool drink and my already prepared sandwich which I had made after breakfast and popped into the fridge saw me feeling better. After lunch I spent some time on the patio relaxing and did nothing else until four o’clock when I had to make the effort to water both the front and rear gardens. It is surprising how long that takes for the gardens are not small and the plants need plenty of water when the weather is warm and dry for days on end. It had certainly been warm and dry for many days. I gave the lawn a watering too which I don’t do as often. After lunch I also opened the door to the room I had been working in to give it ventilation and help it to dry quicker. The concrete had set but for a few more days it would be ‘green’ and needed leaving alone before I could lay the screed. That I planned to do on the Monday. Two more days of rest……..Shirley Anne

Bit of a tussle

It is Monday 18 th Feb. The weather is in a bit of a tussle at the moment hovering between nice and warm and cold and windy. Despite that we are told to expect a warmer week. As far as I can make out the worst of the weather is behind us as we approach Spring. Well all I can say is wait and see. I am more concerned about any frost we may still get and by that I mean a hard frost lasting days. Why is that I hear you ask? Well after lunch today it became rather warm and sunny so I made the decision to remove the frost protection I had provided for the more susceptible plants we have in the garden namely the Phoenix Canariensis (palms). Last year they took a battering from the easterly winds which brought about a severe frost. We seem to have been fortunate this year and the weather has even been unduly warm. So off I went into the garden and guess what happened? The sun went in and the wind picked up and it became much cooler. No matter it was just cool and not freezing! After I had returned indoors say half an hour later the sun re-emerged the sky went blue and everywhere warmed up again. Just typical of my ‘good’ fortune. One of the bags in which the pebbles had been delivered came in very useful for storing the pieces of bubble-wrap I had used to protect the plants. They can be used again though I did purchase a large roll of bubble-wrap which would last for years.

Hopefully there will be no hard frost in the remaining weeks of Winter. This morning I had taken a longer walk than I had done for months and walked southward to Ainsdale taking the coastal road. I wasn’t that warm even though there was a south to south-westerly breeze. I walked down to the beach there, lovely at any time of year. The tide was just turning as I arrived and was beginning to recede but was still high upon the beach. I didn’t stop there too long because of the wind exposure and turned toward the dunes to make my way back home. It was the first time this year I had taken that route. There was far more shelter from the wind in the dunes though the line of trees and undergrowth on my left afforded the most protection. To my right were the main part of the dunes the other side of which lies the coastal road. By this time the sun had appeared and was warming by back from the right. I met a couple of people walking their dogs and one or two others out jogging. Finally I was back home and having an early lunch as I had skipped breakfast but feeling well and invigorated.

Shirley Anne

A better day

I was wondering if and when my muscular problem would improve and hopefully disappear for good. When I arose on Tuesday morning it was still with me but a short time later after my prayer session (I have one every morning) everything changed – no pain whatsoever and it stayed that way throughout the day. An answer to prayer? I think so, though I know not everyone will agree. The day itself was wet, and cold as expected but that didn’t matter, I was staying indoors anyway. I wasn’t about to replace my lost aches and pains with a bout of cold! With not being so active lately I was inclined to stay that way I decided to remain that way for a few more days. Maybe at the weekend I would venture out on a walk once more. I value my health and like to stay fit as far as I am able so it is important to me that I get back into an exercise regime as soon as I can.

This time next month I hope to be able to report a healthier me, not that I am not healthy right now but it does feel that way for me.

As we get older it becomes more necessary and important to stay healthy if we are to live out the rest of our lives feeling the best we can. That is true for people of all ages and not just for older folk. I’ve not been totally inactive though, I have spent a little time out in the garden pulling out bluebells and montbretia as they appear. I mentioned a couple of years ago whilst digging out the many hundreds of them from our flowerbeds that it would take time to be rid of them totally.

Shirley Anne

Warm

Again I was tired when I went to bed yet found it difficult to nod off to sleep. Finally I did of course but ended up only getting five hours. That in itself was never a problem before as I had been very used to having only four and a half hours of sleep for a number of years. However on Friday morning when the alarm woke me at two I lay in bed for another hour! Now that was unusual for I normally get up straight away. I still felt tired and was about to go for my early morning walk. Despite it being an hour behind my normal routine I left the house only a half-hour later than I usually do. It was quite warm outside as I left the house and I could feel no wind at all. It was only as I reached the seafront later that I could feel a welcome breeze for by that time I was feeling too warm having walked briskly the whole way. By the time I had reached home I had cut around ten minutes off my usual time for that particular route. 

My tiredness had disappeared and I now felt great. How long would that last I wondered? When working at something I never feel tired until I stop and then I sleep well but if I have nothing to do I get tired yet can’t get to sleep. At the moment I am doing very little work at home except routine stuff. My latest project cannot be completed until I receive the pebbles I ordered which will be weeks away. I will need to find something to do in the meantime but the weather is warm and I don’t feel like it. 

Shirley Anne

Getting used to it

Once upon a time I used to arise about two o’clock in the morning and go for a run before my working day which at that time began at five o’clock. Quite often I worked well into the afternoon too. That’s like fourteen hours or more of activity and I was no youngster either, in fact I was in my late fifties and early sixties and working full-time. I was used to the lifestyle so it was never a problem, in fact I looked forward to the early morning exercise and the work which followed. Now I am in my early seventies I still find it uplifting to go for early morning walks followed by some work at home. I spend some time on the gym equipment too a few times each week. So getting up early doesn’t bother me except that I have to adjust to different meal times. Lately I have been getting up at two o’clock, partly because I go to bed early and don’t sleep long and partly because I want to go for a walk and do some work, especially as it is much cooler at that time of day. Of course it is usually after four or four-thirty before I venture outside for my walk. As for the work, well some of it gets done earlier than that and some later. I have been cementing in the gaps in the gym floor in readiness for painting as there is no noise made when doing that kind of work. Who wants to use a hammer, a saw or a drill in the early hours unless they are far away from sleeping people? When there is no background noise every other noise seems amplified. The old saying ‘it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop’ is true indeed. I live in an old Victorian house that has creaking floorboards in one or two places. Going to the toilet in the middle of the night is difficult to do without making some noise. What little noise the boards make sounds much louder than it really is because it otherwise so quiet. I will be able to do the work in the cellar as early as I wish in the knowledge that I won’t be disturbing anyone. If I choose to paint the floor I will need the outside door open to ventilate the room. Even though I will be wearing the special filtering mask it is better the room is ventilated too but having a light on will only attract moths and other insects into the room. I will probably therefore leave the painting until after dawn. So far I have completed about a third of the floor (see picture above) which I hope to paint before moving to the next area. It is the area beyond the kneeling mat.

Shirley Anne

Cross with my trainer

I don’t know what it is but my trainer and I don’t seem to be getting along as we should. Despite efforts from myself nothing seems to be working right now. No, I am not talking about a personal trainer here for I think they are an unnecessary ‘extra’ for most people. Instruction is one thing but a little education regarding the use of exercise machines and how to keep fit in general serve much as good if not better. I am talking about my elliptical cross-trainer and how my body is reacting to my use of it. As with any equipment it is wise to follow the instructions and users guide to get the best out of it. It must be stated that any new exercise regime should be approached gently and any equipment used cautiously until we are used to them. Nice and easy at first and then building up gradually over a period of time will be of greater benefit and do less harm than if we rush into things. Naturally for those who are embarking on an exercise regime for the first time it is wise to get a health check beforehand. For myself, I have been exercising in one form or another for many years but still approach new things with caution. This has been the case with my cross-trainer. As for the treadmill, well I am well used to running so it isn’t a problem. The new exercise bike is also no problem as I have done much cycling in the past and still own a road bike. However, the cross-trainer and I don’t see eye to eye for sometimes after using it my upper leg muscles and buttocks suffer. I have always considered the type of exercise provided by the cross-trainer to be unnatural. It combines the exercises provided by a bicycle and a treadmill at the same time and even the ‘peddling’ action isn’t the same as a bicycle. So it needs a lot of getting used to and though I have had the machine for six months I still find on occasion my muscles object. Obviously it is down to myself to use it more wisely. Today, Tuesday, I went for a five-mile walk in the heat of the sunny morning. Tomorrow I will face the machine again and see if we cannot make up.

Shirley Anne

All change

I could sense the possibility of rain as I looked out through the window from my bed. It was Saturday morning (16 th) and five-thirty as I lay there contemplating the day ahead. I decided a walk was on the cards but I was hungry so I decided to wait until after breakfast this time. I had just finished breakfast and saw that fine rain was falling. I would need to take a raincoat if I was to brave the elements as they say. It wasn’t a warm morning at all, in fact it stayed pretty cool all day long. It was 16 deg C but it felt more like 10 or 11 in the breeze. I had put on my walking boots too thinking that lighter footwear was unsuitable for what seemed like a late Autumn day which as it turned out was a wise decision. The outward part of the walk was pleasant enough but I was glad I had put on the rainproof jacket for it kept me warm in the cooling breeze. I had reached the half-way stage when the rain began to pour down in earnest. It remained that way until I reached home when suddenly it stopped! As soon as I went indoors I realised just how cool it had been outside. There had been quite a number of women out running on the route I had taken and none seemed bothered about the driving rain. I knew how they must have felt having spent many a time doing the same thing years ago. I sometimes wish I could do it again but then realise how unnecessary it would be at my time in life. I get my exercising in other ways now not least of all taking a walk. It was Saturday and the afternoon was beckoning more activity. Did I succumb? I’ll let you guess.

Shirley Anne

Worn out

Touching on yesterday’s post regarding the subject of wisdom I am glad I had been wise to follow an exercise regime when I was younger. It has been beneficial to me in keeping me fit and active over the years. Of course having an occupation which was manually orientated helped a lot too. Even so I still get tired after exercising if I push myself too hard. If I didn’t get tired at all it would mean I am not benefiting from the exercise as I should. At my age I am limited to how much exercise my body can sustain but being used to exercising I know I can do more than I could otherwise do. I love going for walks and for many years loved and enjoyed running. Some people my age still go running, I know, I see them when out walking. I have to say though that the running is more often than not like a trot. Still they are out actively enjoying themselves. I hadn’t been for a longish walk for some time so on Saturday (2nd) I made it my business to arise early and go for a longer walk than I normally take. I decided to walk down the coast to the district where I lived before I moved to my present location. I estimate the distance to be around six to six and a half miles or twelve to thirteen miles for the round trip. So with bag containing my water bottle and a couple of other items should they be needed across my shoulder I set off. My destination was the pine woods (shown above) north of my old house and I walked the coast road to get there. My return journey would take me along the beach and then through the sand dunes nearer home. As I walked northward along the beach there was but one figure in the distance ahead of me, a lady walking her dog. She was walking toward me when her dog dashed off toward the sea a couple of hundred metres away. The beaches along this part of the coast are very wide when the tide is out. The dog seemed to disappear but had in fact walked into a dip in the otherwise flat sand. The lady shouted to me that he always does this and soon enough he was back with her. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes and I discovered she lived locally. She asked where I lived so I told her adding that I too lived where she now does. She asked exactly where so I told her the name of the road then she asked which number so again I told her. ‘That’s my house’ she said, ‘I live there now’. What a co-incidence that we should meet out on a walk. She described the house as it is now and I described what it was like when we lived there and what work we had done in it. It appeared that the people to whom we sold the house in 1988 sold it on a couple of years later to this lady’s sister who then sold it on to her in 1994. She mentioned that I would know ‘Sylvia’ her neighbour and ours when we lived there to which I replied that I did but doubted she would remember me since much water has passed under the bridge since then. We parted company and I continued homeward. It is a fact that the effects of exercising or doing strenuous work don’t come upon us until long after we have ceased what we were doing. It was a short five minutes after I had arrived home that I felt worn out even so but I was soon back to normal later.

Shirley Anne

New editions

At last the weather turned to conditions more to my liking on Tuesday (8 th), cooler (17 deg C) and with a very slight breeze. For most of the day after eleven o’clock it remained cloudy and overcast and it rained once or twice too. It had been bright in the morning and E and I spent an hour or so outside just before lunch. I was dressed and ready for some exercising on the gym equipment soon after arising at eight o’clock and was about to go downstairs when I received a call from a lady for whom I had done electrical work  a year or so back. She wanted to know if I could do a small job for her. After I had explained that I was now retired I asked what the work involved. She wanted an outdoor circuit disconnecting from its source so that the wiring could be removed. I explained I couldn’t do anything immediately as I was about to spend time exercising but offering my services I said I would do it later in the morning. I went there at ten o’clock and was back home an hour later with a little extra cash in my purse. Around twelve-thirty I checked to see if the exercise bike I had ordered the previous week had been scheduled for delivery and discovered it would be with me within the hour. When it arrived the guy carried it into the garage for me so I could then take it indoors later. It came in a large cardboard box and only for the picture on the box could you tell it was the exercise bike. Obviously it would need assembling and that is what E and I did later and after lunch.For the moment we are keeping it where it stands because there is a spare power outlet there. If we decide to move it across the room I would have to install an extra power outlet there as I explained in earlier posts. So the machine represents the latest edition to our equipment but there is one final piece of equipment I am thinking of purchasing later in the year, a rowing machine. That would be the last purchase we make should we decide to buy one.

Shirley Anne