Life Jim, but not as we know it.

Low Steppage

Because of the issues with the car last week, it meant I actually got out a lot less than usual.

I’ve written before about my general aims to get out more, walk more and so on – although I do a lot of walking anyway, in comparison to most people.   As part of that, a couple of years ago now I started using the FitBit activity trackers and so on, which allowed me to keep an eye on things.

I have a 5,000-step-per-day ‘target’, which I normally blast through (although some days are closer than others) and average around 50,000 steps per week. Last week, for the first time since getting the FitBit,  I did about half that, and didn’t reach my daily target on most days.

A lot of that was simply that I was working from home, rather than in my office in Milton Keynes. That meant I didn’t go out for a walk in the morning, nor to get lunch and then take the ‘long’ way back to the office – all of which contribute to those totals.

Additionally, I wasn’t feeling great – just a bit burned out, and with this nagging cough (nothing serious, it just keeps tickling and being a twat) it meant I didn’t want to go out as much as I usually do.  And then not doing my usual weekend stuff of going to the cinema, walking round Milton Keynes etc. – it all conspired to make it my worst week in two years.

Of course, my worst week’s activity is still a lot better than that of a lot of people, but it’s annoyed me anyway.

Final High-Mileage Weekend

As per previous posts, January has been a busy month, with a fair amount of travelling every weekend. That’s not a complaint – hell, I kind of planned it that way (well, events combined to make it all into busy weekends, but I allowed it to happen, so yeah, that qualifies as planned) but it’s definitely been busy.

This weekend was the last weekend of high mileage for a couple of weeks. (The week itself is another matter, but we’ll gloss over that for now)

Yesterday, I took my dad in to London to see Billy Connolly at the Hammersmith Apollo – and it was a really good day. We got in to Hammersmith really easily (despite a large number of tosspot drivers etc.) and parked, had food, and enjoyed the show. (I’ll write more about the show itself later in the week) Once that was done, got dad back home, and drove home myself. As usual, getting back around 2am. (I don’t know how that’s been so consistent over the month, but it really has)

Today was a far dafter plan, involving a blast up to the outskirts of Manchester and back.  Basically, I’m up there on Thursday for a concert that I’m going to with two friends, and it’s been spiking my brain that the tickets are with me, and I don’t want them to miss out on the concert if there’s problems on the M1 for me on Thursday.

So I took the opportunity today to blast up there, drop their tickets off, and come back. It means that whatever happens, everyone’s happy – I’ve got my ticket, they’ve got theirs, and we don’t have to go through hordes of organisational stuff for meeting up, getting everything sorted, and that if anyone’s transport screws up, it doesn’t fuck things up for everyone.

All told, it’s been the best part of 600 miles this weekend.

I must be a complete barmpot…

Car Health – Back On Blocks

I spoke too soon – when I took the Saab out this morning, the exact same problem occurred as had been ‘fixed’ yesterday.

Safe to say, I am unamused – and the garage are aware of this unamusement.

It goes back in on Tuesday, as I haven’t got the time to sort it before then, due to travelling.  It’s a good job I kept my booking for a hire car for this weekend’s idiocy…

Car Health – All OK

The car, it turns out, was fine.  The problem was that the hose(s) to the turbo had perished, and were leaking, which was roughly what I’d thought was happening.

So, that’s been fixed, and the MOT has been passed with flying colours. A couple of advisories that I’ll address in the next month, but really, all good.

This has made me much happier than I’ve been the rest of the week – while I may have been ‘pretty sure’ of what the issue was, I don’t have the confidence in my own technical knowledge to be 100% certain. Knowing that it actually was a minor thing is a weight off my mind.

All good – onwards and upwards, mes amis!

Car Health

Last week, my car started playing up – not enough to be serious, but enough that I wasn’t entirely confident in it while I was ferrying others late at night and so on. As a result, I hired a car for the weekend, and as it turns out, I’m glad I did.

Having returned the hire car on Monday, I went out in mine to get some stuff done, and while doing that, the engine management light came on. The performance is still OK on it, and it got me home etc., but still, it’s not something I take lightly.

As things worked out, it’s due for – and booked in for – the MOT test on Thursday anyway, so I’ve let the garage know about the extra issue, and I’ll see what they say.

I’m hoping it’s nothing major, that it’ll be a quick, easy (and generally cheap) fix – but I’m hedging my bets right now, and preparing for the worst.   I’ve got another car booked for next week, as I’m doing a bundle of miles and travel, and that’ll give me time to sort out whether I get the car fixed or replaced.

Health Check

A couple of weeks ago, I got a letter from my local GP, asking me to go in for an “NHS Health Check”. It was a bit annoying, as the accompanying leaflet said that my surgery ‘needed to update their records as I hadn’t been in for so long’ and so on. Considering I was in there for a check in November 2014, that was kind of worrying – implying that my records weren’t up to date and so on.

Anyway, they then called me up to chase getting an appointment, and today I went in. It wasn’t anything special, but still, always good to know what’s going on.

It turns out that what they meant was that this Health Check thing needs records less than three months old – which is understandable, things can change in that time. But it would’ve been good if their own bumf had actually said so, rather than implying that the record-keeping at the surgery was bad.

Still, onwards and upwards.

The Health Check is basically a quick check of the key figures: weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and the like, as well as various health factors (smoking, drinking, activity etc.) and comes out with a ‘risk’ factor at the end of it.

All told, the figures came out pretty well :

  • blood pressure was fine at 130/80,
  • blood sugar was fine – although I can’t remember the exact figure, it was well within acceptable limits
  • cholesterol came in at 4.5 (anything under 5 is regarded as ‘good’) with ‘good’ cholesterol of 1.8
  • weight is still ‘too high’, but has kept on coming down, so *shrug*

The final “risk factor” figure was 4 – which supposedly means I have a 4% risk of suffering a heart attack in the next ten years. They’re happy with anything under 10, so I shouldn’t need to darken the surgery’s door on that score for a while.

Obviously I’m going to keep on working on losing weight, and being healthier/fitter, but having a quick summary like that is good for pointing out that I’m not doing too bad, and could be doing one hell of a lot worse than I am. I can live with that, to be fair.

Barbican, Rollins and Mileage

Yesterday was another Rollins gig, this time at the Barbican in London.

It was a bit more complicated than last week’s gig in Bristol, as it involved collecting another friend of mine from over by Oxford, then getting a train to London, across to Barbican, getting food, going to the gig, and then a similar journey for the return.

All told though, it went really smoothly.  I’d booked pretty much everything in advance, including the train tickets and reserving a table at the restaurant of choice, so it was as organised as humanly possible.

The restaurant in particular was a real success – the Jugged Hare, just round the corner from the Barbican itself. I’d seen it before, but never eaten there, so went for it when the chance came up, and booked for their pre-theatre menu. I am truly glad I did.  They specialise in game of all sorts – it’s definitely not a great place for vegetarians! – but there’s enough variety in the menu, if game isn’t your thing.

To be fair, there is a vegetarian option on the menu – well, it says “Vegetarian – £14”, so it could be a fillet of vegetarian, for all I know.

The three-course meal was great – particularly the venison haunch, and their sticky toffee pudding was amazing. (as was the accompanying mince-pie ice cream, which has to be tasted to be believed)  Knowing how easy it is for me to drive to Barbican in general, I will be returning. Several times.

The gig itself was great – Rollins spoke for three full hours, with no breaks. The show was about 50% the same as the one I saw last week in Bath, but I can live with that – it’s better than being entirely the same!

The journey home was OK – getting the trains back went smoothly, and then a drive through snow to drop off friend, and then another hour and a bit on motorways in heavy snow (though thankfully not settling) to get home, which happened just after 2am.

So a long day, but an entirely worthwhile one…

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