Absent from my walks lately have been the Swanlings (known by pedants as cygnets). I’ve not seen them for quite a while, and had wondered where they were when I strolled along the river during the last couple of weeks.
Until Friday morning, when I spotted the swans on the opposite bank near an electrical substation.
It was early and the two fully grown parents were sleeping, surrounded only by ducks, and seemingly alone.
It was a different picture to when I first started noticing them in May.
At this point – thanks to a chatty and keen eyed old lady I had learned that there were originally four babies – and that one had already fallen by the wayside.
By early June though things were still going OK and it looked like the chances were good that no more would be lost from this fragile little family. I reasoned that since they were now bigger than a lot of the ducks it would be likely they could protect themselves and have a pretty good chance.
Furthermore they looked healthy and happy – and still adorably cute.
Since then I hadn’t seen the swanlings again, and assumed that they had migrated to another park, or were further up the river by the castle. After all – such regal creatures deserved to be in the very best of surroundings.
My heart actually skipped a beat yesterday when I noticed on the opposite bank, camouflaged by the concrete near the substation a single remaining swanling. I couldn’t see enough to tell whether it was fit and well, but it had grown significantly.
I waited for a while to see if it would venture into the river, but it didn’t so I continued on my walk.
By the time I reached the same point again (one of the many benefits of doing two laps of the park) they were now on the water, and came towards me as I filmed them
I couldn’t tell which one of the brothers/sisters this one was, but it was thankfully very much still alive. The fluffy brown feathers are now beginning to lighten and be replaced by larger adolescent ones. It’s looking more grown up and its tail feathers have a fully formed pointy swan like appearance.
I wonder when it’s beak goes orange? I could Google it but honestly I just want to wait and see what happens.
Either way – it makes me happy the little guy has survived, even though I find it equally sad that the others are gone.
It’s just the nature of things I guess, and next year I’m sure the whole cycle will begin again for all of the wildfowl in the park, including this fellow, who by then will probably be protecting a little brood of its own.
As well as this uplifting encounter, the completion of my stroll around the park also marked a new record for my weekly walking. Previously I managed 7.5 miles in a week, and was tremendously happy with this (which honestly was not easy at the time.)
I’ve now managed to extend that to 10.5 miles!
As well as feeling pretty darn epic about managing it I am beginning to notice some other little changes. I can now stand for much longer periods without my back hurting, and I don’t get out of breath quite as easily as before. I’m also feeling generally more alive and in control – and I’m pretty sure my shirts are looser.
I’m getting closer to my stock of 7x shirts, which will all need washing and ironing soon as I noticed they actually have dust on the shoulders inside my wardrobe!
However the biggest indicator that my dietary and exercise changes are having a positive impact is to be found in my blood sugar readings. Yesterday morning I had eaten two apples and a bowl of oats (35g) with 250g of natural yogurt, strawberries and blueberries. It was sweetened with cinnamon and Truvia (stevia extract which has a low glycemic impact).
About 45 mins after I’d eaten my breakfast this was the result.
For those non-diabetics out there a good range for someone with Type 2 (and I believe type 1) is 4-7 mmol/L after eating. So this is absolutely spot on. To put this into perspective before I gave up drinking in in late January and started Slimming World in April this had been creeping up to the dangerous levels of when I was first diagnosed.
I’d regressed to between 11 & 14 mmol/L.
If this wasn’t good news enough I also got an all clear letter yesterday from my diabetic retinopathy scan. This reported that there had been no changes inside my eyes. All was well with the blood vessels they examined – so yay for tangible benefits!
As I write it’s early on Saturday morning and I’m going to step on the scales in a couple of hours. I’m excited and because of this woke up early. I almost decided to go to the 8.30 weigh in – but I like my little 10.30 group – so instead I’m waiting.
As always I’m wary. I want my 3st certificate – but I also want to meet the target of a 4lb loss that I set with Angie in front of the group last week. Although I don’t expect this every week I want to keep my average up with a good loss so that I keep the momentum going. A bad week is just fine as long as I sort it out the following week.
(goes to Slimming World.)
Nuts. Frikkedy frick frick. I missed my target by half a pound! Not quite the goal crushing I had hoped for – but 3.5 lbs off today means I FINALLY get my 3st award.
I can’t help feeling a little disappointed though – but I have no reason to be.
This is supremely good news. I’m now on my way to four stone via three and a half and the back of my book is completely covered in stickers. I’m going to have to start on the front now!
Also – today I walked to the meeting from home, which I’ve not done before – and I have no idea why as it’s way way way closer than I thought it was. As long as it’s not slashing it down this will be my new weekly thing. I’ll leave the car at home and get the extra exercise.
I’m also really glad I didn’t go to the earlier 8.30 group. There’s a lot of camaraderie in the 10.30 one (although I’m sure the other is lovely too) and it’s great to chat with everyone before everything starts.
Although I felt a bit shortchanged by my 1/2 a pound shortfall on my goal by the time I’d nattered to the girls (and boy) in group today I felt really good.
As a bunch they’ve got a lot on. They’re going to Greek weddings (with a cunning Malibu related plan), avoiding samosas and bacon butties at work (and consequently having a great loss), enjoying busy new jobs (and feeling rightfully epic) – to a heroic lady working in the ultimate den of syns. A bakery. 😐
I have nothing but respect for anyone that can make and sell pies for a living and STILL loose weight. They’d have to crowbar me out of the loading bay door after a week working in such a place, and she can actually sit on the little blue chairs.
(They’re smaller than the little red ones and designed for dwarves! And children…. Maybe actually just children…)
Honestly – I’ve nothing but respect for all of them. That’s why I go there and that’s why I stay for the talks. They and Angie put EVERYTHING into perspective and it’s so encouraging to see the normality of it all.
The natural fluctuations of proper healthy weight loss affect everyone the same way. My nearby chat companions either maintained or lost weight this week – but the one unifying factor was that none of us ever knew quite what to expect – and even on weeks when we’d metaphorically walked on water nothing went quite the way we thought it would.
Overall though everyone’s trend was downwards – and I think staying and sharing this ‘slow one week and down the next‘ phenomenon removes the sense of pressure and isolation that’s all too easy to feel when you think you could have done more and begin to beat yourself up.
Internet – I don’t think I could do this on my own, and frankly I don’t want to. I take just as much pleasure in the success of the people I see every Saturday as I do feeling my trousers fall down when I take the wheely bin out (true story. It happened).
Well done US!