Back in March, I wrote about my starting to get back into archery after way too long – it’d been a decade or more since I last went, and this year I found a local(ish) club and went through their ‘beginners’ process (for insurance purposes etc.) before getting my bow checked over and slightly updated. In a spectacularly piss-awful piece of timing, I got that done on the same day that lockdown was announced. Bugger.
Fortunately, the club has its own field, so it’s been possible to use it during the lockdown. I had to sort out a first induction meeting (to establish that I knew their rules and so on) and get my membership card, and from there I’ve been able to go on a regular basis.
So far, I’ve been for eleven sessions, and enjoyed pretty much all of them – last week’s one was less good, but that was just weather and environment being a bastard, plus a healthy dose of hubris from having had a really good session the week before, and it all just clustered up into a shitfest.
As it turns out, it seems I’m generally OK at the whole thing. I’ve been taking my time, building up my strength and stamina through the sessions, rather than aiming to be super-competitive or anything.
The thing for me is that I’m good enough. As with a lot of things, I find I don’t have the obsessive side of things, so I lack that desire to do everything exactly the same way, that push for perfection and rigid routine. Indeed, the people who are like that bore and annoy me. I’m doing this primarily for fun – I like the challenge of getting things right and doing well – and it’s another way of building up my strength and stamina, which is fine with me. But no, I don’t think I’ll ever be at the high end of the club’s score table and so on, because I get to the point of “That’ll do”, and it’s enough for me.
But I’ll keep on going, and see how things go.
As I said in an earlier post, I now have new glasses again. I had been due to get my eyes checked back in March, but as I was getting to the time when it was due, of course Coronavirus did its thing, and we all got locked down.
I’d known that my eyes had changed, that things weren’t as clear as they had been. It wasn’t anything major, but definitely something that needed to be sorted.
So when I finally got an email from Specsavers saying “You can book again for an eye test“, that’s what I did. The process was a pig – I haven’t seen browser-specific stuff in a long while, but it took a change of browser before things got sorted. But it got sorted, I got booked in, and on we go.
The actual eye test was smooth as usual – although there were fewer people in the store at any time, no drop-ins, and everyone wearing PPE – but it all went fine. Somehow my left eye had improved, and my right had got worse. I’ve no idea how that’s possible or makes any sense at all, but there we go. Anyway, I chose the frames I wanted, paid a metric sod-load (even with one set of frames being free, the lenses I need are still cocking expensive) and waited two weeks.
The collection of them was the only thing that was a pain – because of current situation, they weren’t doing the usual proper fitting appointment, so collection was “we’ve adjusted them to how we think they’ll work for you” and off you go.
Safe to say, those adjustments weren’t right for me. For whatever reason, the initial fittings never do – I assume my head/face just doesn’t fit in with the standard fitting algorithms and so on – so I made an appointment to go back and get them redone. That also didn’t work, so I called them back again and pushed for a proper “no, we need to re-measure this” appointment, got that, and got it all sorted.
All told, it took a couple of weeks longer than usual (just because each re-fitting took a week to organise – they’re ridiculously busy, with the reduced number of customers allowed in at any time) but I’m now happy with the new glasses. Hopefully it’ll be another couple of years before I need to get anything else sorted!
As a (pretty much) lifelong wearer of glasses, having dirty lenses is one of those little niggling everyday things.
Earlier this year, I bought a special lens-cleaning thing called a “Peeps”, which I’m not linking to, because it was shit. The design was really nice, like a pair of large tweezers with a microfiber pad on the ends for the actual cleaning. But, for whatever reason, they just didn’t work as advertised, and even put a small scratch on one less (thankfully, on a less-used pair)
So instead I went back to basics, and went back to microfiber cleaning cloths. They always seem bloody expensive, but a quick look on Amazon and I found a ten-pack for £7, which is still not cheap cheap, but it’s a massive reduction on the usual prices I’ve paid from places.
And I can’t deny, I’m much happier with these. They just do the job. And they’re cheap enough that you’re not annoyed when you lose one, or when it gets dirty. (for some reason I also find washing microfiber cloths generally knackers them)
So now I’ve got some new glasses – which is another story – I’ll be sticking with these new cloths for the forseeable future.
Recently I’ve noticed something odd on my journeys to/from the office that really annoys me. And it’s to do with speeding (as the title may have suggested)
Particularly on my way home, the drive contains a variety of country roads and towns/villages, so we fairly regularly swap between speed limits of 60 and 30mph, with one small stretch at 20mph. Which is easy, so long as you’ve got a brain, and some awareness. (And you’d pretty much hope that a driver has both)
But no. On a regular basis, I see drivers who decide to drive at about 40mph the whole way, regardless of what the limit actually is. It means they’re either going ridiculously slowly, or stupidly fast.
It’s not really a problem as such – it’s just annoying, and I truly don’t understand the thinking that leads to this behaviour. It’s all just bizarre, really.
I said a while ago that I’d write this, and then never got round to it. (I also thought I’d written it before, but a couple of searches didn’t find anything. Which is odd.)
Anyway. Back at the start of 2018, I did my semi-regular checkup visit at the local GP, which all worked out as “fairly healthy in general“. As usual, the main ‘problem’ was that I’m significantly heavier than I “should” be. So I asked for help from the GP, asked what they could do or suggest. And the response? “Oh, you’re not obese enough to get NHS treatment“. Well OK, that’s about as helpful as a kick in the cock.
So, being me, I pushed for some referrals – I already wanted to lose weight, but that kind of attitude really steamed my piss, and I wanted to get some better figures and find out more about what was going on. I’ve been logging my food intake for years now, and also keeping track of what I walk and so on, so I knew beforehand that my usual calorie intake was around the recommended 2,500 a day mark (albeit with some days/weekends of excess) and I walk an average of at least 10,000 steps a day.
First, I got a referral to Slimming World – and the less said about that, the better. An unremittingly negative and unhelpful experience all round.
I also got a referral to the Dietician service at Bedford Hospital, which wasn’t much more positive, but did end up with some good connections and results.
With the service, we tried a set of calorie-reduction diet plans, none of which worked. However, through it I also got a connection to the Uni of Beds’ Sport Science department, where I was able to (finally) get one of the tests done that I really wanted – an RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) test, to establish what level of energy I’m actually burning. RMR is basically a measure of the calories the body burns if it’s simply laying in bed doing nothing. No food intake, no exertion at all. It took about an hour to run from start to finish, and then a couple of weeks to crunch the data and produce a report.
So. My RMR is 2,800 calories a day – even if I just laid in bed and did sod all, I’d need more calories than the recommended 2,500 a day. Taking into account calories for digestion, as well as exertion, It’s likely I’m burning around 4,000 a day. (As it turns out, I did write about BMR/RMR – ten years ago!)
On the downside, this information never really sank in with the Dietician. They kept on insisting that eating less had to result in losing weight. And in all honesty, it should – but didn’t. Looking at the figures, I’m already taking in less than I’m expending, and dropping the intake simply widened the gap even further. All it did was leave me even more tired, and seriously grouchy.
It ended up with a bit of an argument as my sense of humour finally failed, I wrote a full bulleted list of what was happening (with all the information from above) and why I suspected things weren’t working. That actually finished things fairly positively, although they didn’t have any better suggestions once we were outside the standard answers.
Also along the way, I ended up joining a local group called “Gutless” for overweight men. It consisted of two hours a week, one of food education, and one of physical exercise and workouts. For me, I didn’t learn much from the food education, but the training was positive, and started me doing more than I had. And since the Gutless course finished, we’ve maintained the exercise routine with the same trainer, which has also remained positive.
All told, I feel happier with how things are – if nothing else, my health record contains the whole list of things tried from the Dietician, and the RMR figures from the Uni of Beds. It means that when the GP tries their “you’re overweight” thing again, they can see what’s been tried.
However, I don’t really know what the answer is. My food intake has stayed much the same (and some of those weekends of excess actually make me lose weight) and I do more, with the extra workouts twice a week, and the archery I’ve recently re-taken up as well as maintaining the walking I do. I’m far, far stronger than I was, my shape is better, my stamina is fearsome, and I feel far healthier – but somehow, my weight hasn’t actually changed in a good decade, no matter what I do.
I’d like to lose more some – it’s just that still, everything I try isn’t working. I think that at some point I’ll have to go back and get more data and ideas, but really I don’t yet even know the right questions to ask.
I’ll figure it out one day, I’m sure.
Roughly a year ago, I finally caved and bought a big proper bug zapper for the house. One of the side effects of having cats is that the food – if they don’t eat it all immediately – attracts flies. It can be pretty skanky – particularly in Spring and Summer.
I’d had other smaller and different zappers over the years, and none of them had been particularly impressive or effective. So this one was slightly more expensive – but still less than any two of the previous zappers.
I wasn’t sure if it would last into this year, but so far it’s doing well, and is thus also making itself into even better value for money than buying a lesser zapper every year.
Obviously I’d rather not need to have any bug zapper – but while I do need one, this one seems to be a good option.
I’ve known it’s coming for a while, but this coming fortnight is probably the one that’ll grump me the most about the Lockdown so far.
It’s the time when I had a lot of events lined up, all of which have now been moved to next year. Among other things, that list includes
- Tonight, when I was supposed to be seeing Skunk Anansie at the Royal Festival Hall
- Tomorrow, when I was likely to have been at the Taste festival in London
- Saturday, when I was supposed to be seeing Jessica Chastain in “A Doll’s House” at the Playhouse Theatre
- Next week, I was supposed to be at the Lead Developer conference in London for two days
- Next weekend, I was supposed to be seeing Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe
So yeah, bit of a slump of “I should’ve been doing [x]” for the next couple of days.
I had a similar slump a while back when I got a load of “this won’t be happening” emails over a couple of days, and this is much the same. I’ll get over it, and it all could be much, much worse.
But still, blah.