D4D

There's never a stungun around when you need one

Archive for the category “London”

Snowbound

Yesterday, the weather effectively enforced a day off for me, doing nothing outside.  Nothing major, but we had a fair amount (for the UK) of snow overnight, which led to lots of issues with accidents, blocked roads, etc. etc.  For my own village, the two main roads out were completely blocked – one by a jack-knifed lorry, and the other just by drivers failing to get up the hills.

So technically it wasn’t the weather itself, so much as the sheer number of people who can’t bloody drive in snow. But still, day off.

In honesty, it was much needed. As I’ve said before, I’ve been ridiculously busy for the last two years – I’ve just counted up, and I’ve had stuff booked in for 48 weeks of 2017 (I’ve counted up til the end of the month) and even on those four ‘free’ ones I was still doing stuff – and December hadn’t provided any real change in that.  That’s nothing short of barmy.

So anyway, I’d spent Saturday in London with a mix of food and theatre stuff, so it’s not like it’s been a write-off of a weekend, or anything like that. But a day of doing sod-all – barely going outside, catching up on recorded TV etc., doing some reading, etc. etc. – was definitely A Good Plan.

Whether I feel better for it is still to be determined, but regardless, it was a good day.

Operatic

On Saturday, I went to my first opera – a production of Aida at the London Coliseum by English National Opera. As with going to plays and so on, I went in with very little knowledge of Aida or what to expect.

I did enjoy it – although it’s not necessarily something I’d plan to go to on a regular basis, or to see this particular opera again. I don’t yet know – but as with other things, I’m not going to base any judgements or expectations on a sample of one, so I’ll definitely be going to at least one more production.

*Personally*, I found that the first half dragged, but the second half was better. The staging throughout was really interesting though, which did help things.

The plot/story is hideously melodramatic (in my opinion) and would’ve been rejected from most soap operas as being too ridiculous. So yeah, the odds are I won’t bother with Aida again, but there’s plenty of others I can try instead.

All good fun, though…

Back To Walking

One thing that was good about my London trip over the weekend was that it was the first decent walks I’d had since I stuffed up my feet around the walking Marathon.

Since then, I’ve taken it a bit easier – I’ve still been walking a lot, but in much smaller distances than usual. But at some point I had to get back into it, and this weekend seemed as good a time as any.  I knew the routes I’d be taking, and all the stuff I wanted to do – plus I was prepared.

So on the way to Taste, I purposefully took the Tube a couple of stations further than I usually would, so that the first walk back would be three miles instead of the usual five.  I was back to wearing the newest walking boots, and everything was fine for the three mile walk. Even with my intention to ‘take it slow’ I was back to pretty much my standard speed and so on, and that was successful.

On the way back – a different route, as I was heading to central London – for another three miler, it was much harder. Miles five and six, in particular, hurt bits of my feet still.

Fortunately, I had a backup plan, and it all worked out fine. I had a lot of time to kill once I got to central London, so I ended up using that time, getting the tube back up to where I’d parked the car, changed my boots and socks, and then headed back to the same place.

All told, I covered 12 miles on Saturday. My feet got sore, but there was no damage. That’s definitely a win. And once I’d changed boots, it was all fine again.

I do think that the boots haven’t helped – it’s not just that they’re still not properly worn-in, but also there are design differences between the new and old ones that rub in all the wrong places. I think I’m going to have to look at some other alternatives, different boots and talking to retailers and so on that actually know what they’re doing.

Annoying on the score of the boots, but all told I’m happy with how things are going.

Weekend Of Idiocy

The weekend just gone was the one that had been noted as being a completely daft one, even by my standards. It involved a lot of mileage, a fair amount of walking, and a piss-poor amount of sleep.

Saturday had been “planned” for a while, with a full day in London – starting off with the festive version of the Taste festival at Tobacco Dock. I’d got in early (as usual) and walked down to Tobacoo Dock, getting there in plenty of time.

Also as usual, the organisation of Festive Taste was… kinda flawed. The tickets said it started at 12-noon, the email from the ticket people said “Ooops, sorry, we meant 11.30“. Except it actually opened at 11. Genius.    And once we were in, it turned out that none of the food places were actually starting until at least 11.15, and in some cases nothing was ready ’til 12.  Not good – but standard.   The Festive version also appears to be far more focused on booze than on food, which (for me) is annoying, but there we go. It was still worth going, but I was out within 90 minutes.

In the evening I was at the theatre, seeing Stockard Channing in Apologia. It’s an interesting play, and I really enjoyed it – there may be more thoughts later, I’m not sure yet – and then headed home, getting back at around half one.  Which would’ve been OK, except that…

On the Sunday I was on the road by 7.30, heading up to Middlesbrough to see friends, and then on to Durham in the late afternoon to see the Lumiere festival, one of my favourite events. Again, I’ll probably write more about it later on – for now though, The Guardian has great pictures of a lot of it here.

A great day, but a long one – and then drove home, getting back about half two on Monday morning. It would’ve been earlier, but it turns out that the M1 was closed (and hadn’t been announced anywhere when I was driving up) for two whole junctions, and the diversion that was in place added a good forty minutes to the drive. Which was a pain, but there we go.

And even that would all have been sensible (ish. Kinda) if it weren’t for the fact I was also on-site in the other office on Monday morning, so I was in Chesham by 8am…

I really am an idiot.

Situation Standard

Yet again, I appear to now be idiotically busy over the next few weeks – well, really ’til the end of the year, what with one thing and another.  I still don’t quite know how I end up doing this to myself, but it’s pretty much standard behaviour these days.

I’m not complaining – in general I like being busy, and prefer it to days doing nothing  – but every so often I look at the calendar, and the board that holds all my upcoming tickets, and think “Lyle, you really are a bloody idiot“.

So, just in the next six weeks, and in no particular order, I will be…

  • Seeing Sir Ian McKellen as King Lear in Chichester (and staying overnight, possibly stopping off in Oxford on the way back)
  • A one-day conference in Birmingham, which may or may not happen, depending on other work commitments/stuff
  • A day-trip blitz run to Sheffield
  • A day in London doing a food festival in the morning, and a play in the evening
  • followed the next day by a day-trip run to Middlesbrough and Durham (for reasons I won’t go into now, as it’d identify the dates I’m away)
  • a weekend in Newcastle (which is, of course, not the same one as being up in Middlesbrough, despite proximity and so on)
  • A day trip to Cambridge
  • An evening in London, via Oxford (there’s reasons, but yeah, still idiotic)
  • And at least two other visits to London (with another one in early December)

Not just those travels, but somewhere in there also needs to be

  • Finally getting the starter motor on my car replaced (a hassle/fight that’s taken way too long, and will get written about some other time)
  • Seeing a number of films, which I’ve already got tickets for
  • other (more local) food things
  • Working (of course)
  • And finishing off two other projects.

In short, all a bit mad.

I know I’ve said it before – but for next year I need to start doing a little bit less, not being so booked up, and allocate some downtime for myself.  I just need to get some perspective on it all – because ‘downtime’ for me is also car-time and driving-time, it’s time where I can just float a bit, figure things out and so on.

Mind you, that’s also what I’ll be doing over the next six weeks, so I can figure bits out and what I want to do (and how) in 2018…

Fancy Footwork

[Caution : Contains a post about semi-manky feet.]

Following on from my foot woes two weeks ago, yesterday I went to a podiatrist to find out what the hell had gone wrong, and what could be done to fix it.

Happily, while the damage is unpleasant (you know that when even a podiatrist says “Oooh, that looks nasty” – fuck being someone who has to look at feet fot a living. *boak*) it’s not long-term or massively serious.

Indeed, what it looks like is that basically the whole ball of both feet was covered by a layer of corns and calluses. That was, in general, fine. However, when I damaged them at the end of August, the blisters disrupted a lot of them.  And the healing process added a layer of hard (but effectively brittle) skin over the corns and callouses. So the walking in the marathon attempt split that brittle skin completely, reopened the mostly-healed underlying wounds, and generally made things a whole lot of Not Fun.

So yesterday she spent time taking off the layers of corn and callus, which has left them a bit sore and raw, but also feeling a lot better.

I’ve also got a treatment plan for improving my feet and hopefully not getting a recurrence of the same problem.  But if they do recur, I’ve also got the plan in place for going back, getting them sorted again, and establishing a timeline for how long it takes to happen.

All told, I feel pretty positive about it all.  There are a couple of other smaller foot issues that I’ll be working on sorting out at the same time, but the primary problem appears to have been sorted.

It’s also been a far more optimistic resolution than I’d been expecting – I’d had visions of needing two or three months worth of treatments, but thankfully that now doesn’t seem to be the case.

I’m still going to try and take more care of my feet, and carry on finding out more about what I need to do for next September’s re-attempt at that Marathon distance…

Fluffy

This evening, I’m off to London to see a comedian called Gabriel Iglesias (AKA “Fluffy”) at Hammersmith Apollo.

It’ll be the second time I’ve seen him, and I’m looking forward to it. When the tickets were announced, I got them straight away – at the same time griping about it being a Friday night gig, wishing it could be a Saturday, but there we go, it was the one that was announced.

The Friday sold out pretty quickly, so there’s now a Saturday night gig too – which is kind-of annoying, but still, I’m happy to be going for the original date, the one that should have sold to the people who really wanted to see it, rather than the also-ran “yeah, kinda interested”s, who’ll end up at in the Saturday one.

It makes for a long old day, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

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