Well – supercoat ™ has had its work cut out over the last few days.
Storm Doris may not have stopped the non-existent shipping in Warwick – but sadly there have been both injuries and loss of life in its wake elsewhere, as well as leaving people I know with varying degrees of property damage.
I’ve been out and about in it quite a lot and frankly it’s nice to see the back of it.
Yesterday while walking around Memorial Park with a friend we definitely got a good indication of the strength of the wind – and this was much milder than other parts of the UK. Despite my (not inconsiderable) remaining bulk I found myself at times leaning into the breeze with my companion to keep moving forward.
It was a very blustery day!
Today however it’s been quite different – and Davey’s monocolour dream coat has been in unzipped and configured for strolling mode. It’s warm snugglebugginess accompanied me along the canal with some companions in Kiddeminster.
As is right and proper in this region, since Freckles lives locally she agreed to show me around, and by happy coincidence her owner is someone I used to work with – so she invited him along as well to keep us company.
Someone after all has to hold the royal lead and pick up all the regal offerings that freckles leaves along the way.
The walk into town (theres’s a Starbucks at the end of the rainbow!) was absolutely delightful from her house and quite unexpectedly we had blue skies and sunshine for pretty much the whole afternoon (although it was a little chilly in the shade at times and supercoat got zipped up.)
The last time I was around this way was back in late October (here) and we were walking along different canals – and back then the red sandstone surrounding the Rock Tavern (a pub built into a hillside) immediately caught my eye.
This geology is clearly a feature of the area – and it was apparent on today’s walk as well – which in a relatively short distance along the canal into town showed the simply wonderful feats of engineering undertaken to put the network into place – and the rail infrastructure (the Severn Valley Railway in this case) travelling above it.
Although I know very little about this area of canal (the second picture is of Caldwall Lock) or the bridge I was impressed enough by the viaduct to look it up when I got home. It’s called the Falling Sands Viaduct (link) and it’s a redbrick construction – meaning the whole thing is made of individual house bricks.
It’s insane to think how long it took to precisely cement them altogether in perfect arches, and makes you wonder how many hoops of fire or processes and procedures (not counting the colossal money needed) that someone would have to jump through today to make either of these things possible.
Anyone that built something like this back then has my absolute and unqualified respect.
Given that today is my last day of unfettered freedom from employment I think it was fitting to go and have a look at these icons of industry and hard work – since that’s what lies in my immediate future too.
This morning I called the Department of Work and Pensions and informed them that I no longer need benefits and that I start a job on Monday. This is a scary moment in many respects.
Will the people there like me? Will I like them? Will I be good at the job and fit in?
If there’s one thing that I can say it’s that the last 7 months off (yes it’s been that long!) have been worth every last moment and penny that I spent on them. If I’d gone straight into a new job back then I’d have been eight stone heavier, a lot more self conscious, and significantly more worries about what lies ahead. As it stands at the moment I feel pretty capable and very mobile.
In some respects I now feel as fit (if not fitter in some cases) than many people smaller than myself. All week I’ve been establishing my ‘new normal’ and ploughing as much into my exercise as I can – wanting to see exactly how much I can do in a day before I fall flat on my face with exhaustion.
After some energetic tidying in my house I dragged a projector that I bought around 11 years ago out of mothballs and plugged it into an old games console in my newly emptied spare room. Initially I just thought it was cool to have a wall sized game of Tekken – where the fighters were 4ft high.
However – after my companion in Memorial Park innocently enquired whether I could use my laptop or even play games whilst on my exercise bike it got me thinking. Was I fit enough to do a workout as well as play a game?
Previously my bike had faced a blank wall and the only propellant had been my imagination – but maybe this could be a way to make things more interesting…
So yesterday evening I started playing video games whilst exercising. Although overall I cycled a little slower when concentrating on chainsawing aliens I also pedalled for longer – and it seemed to pass a lot quicker – which genuinely surprised me. When I took the above pic I was at it again early this morning – which provided me with much the same results (although my curtains let in a bit too much light during the day taking the same photo at night is next to impossible).
It also meant that yesterday I smashed my record for active calories burned and total exercise (cardio) minutes.
So – I’m on track with my plans to maintain a daily morning regimen of exercise before work to make sure I remain on track. Yay for planning!
Finally – I have a new toy.
This too is maybe a testament to how things have changed in my life. No longer am I overjoyed with a new piece of silicon chip based loveliness – but instead this is a workman’s tool that has one specific job.
Saving me money as I get smaller.
Check out the new neat belt hole in the centre compared to the penknife drilled one above! My new Draper punch pliers cost me £10 and cut belt buckle holes through leather like a warm knife through butter. They will make sure that when I arrive at my new office on Monday I’m not wearing my trousers around my ankles…
Now all that remains is to step on the scales tomorrow morning. Will I have lost weight? Will I still be in the 23st bracket or 22?
It’s been a busy week – and probably as a consequence I’ve also been rather hungry. I think I’ve been good – and I’ve worked hard, but will it be enough?
Only time will tell.
Fingers crossed internet!