I’m not sure that I could have chosen a better week to have off work – and quite unexpectedly (given the weather over the last few months) the time that I’ve had to myself over the Bank Holiday and following week has been pretty much perfect from a weather perspective.
I’ve carried on tidying the garden (the flipping ivy is back!!!) and making sure it looks neat and tidy – and even though I have quite a bit more to do around the borders and bushes (I actually rather like the shade from the colourful overhang on the left and am leaving it alone until the blooms disappear) it’s all happily under control.
There have been some lucky escapes in lawnland however – and thankfully I had the mower on a high enough setting to pass completely over this terrified little frog who hunkered down and escaped trimpocalypse by what must have been millimetres.
You’ll all be glad to know (well almost all – I do have one quite vocal ranidaphobic reader) that this little fellow was just fine and after figuring out I didn’t plan to do him any harm he hopped off into the cover of a nearby bush where there were no mulching power tools to threaten his existence.
As well as tending to my own green spaces I’ve also out and about in the ones past the end of my front path – wandering up and down the canal, around the park and into Warwick, Leamington and Kenilworth day after day.
This has been both with and without company and I’ve either been enthusiastically twalking the day away instead or listening to chilled out music as I stroll through fields watching the seasons change around me.
Everything is growing again. The meadows are full of beautiful little flowers and little baby creatures are starting to appear here and there.
The canal in particular is alive with baby ducklings hopping in and out of the water and then back to the safety of a protective wing.
Butterflies are also all over the place and the sun has been so warm, and the breeze so gentle that it’s been possible to get in really close here and there just in time to take a quick snap.
Amazingly this close up shot was taken with my iPhone.
This gorgeous little specimen just sat there accommodatingly posing for me before fluttering off to find the next snap happy walker.
I absolutely love this time of year because on a personal level it reminds me of when my life started to open up again. I began walking round the park for the first time two years ago in weather just like this and every time I see little babies tucked under their mothers wings I’m transported back to those times again.
It makes me feel wonderful on multiple levels mind you – and the new generation of birds is just part of it.
The hot weather used to be a real problem and when I started walking in May 2016 it was a very very sweaty experience.
In May 2017 I was still looking very much like I’d encountered a child with a water pistol during my walks unless I wore a teeshirt under my shirt (which I was always careful to do) but now I’m as comfortable as a man can be (I barely perspire at all these days) and today went out with a gilet just in case the sun went in.
These photos have almost exactly a year between each of them.
Clothing wise this year I’ve also been able to branch out into relatively new territory on the really hot days (wearing shorts in public still feels very alien to me – I didn’t used to wear them even as a child unless I was forced to at school) and after a few spots of luck charity shopping in the mid part of the week I feel that I’ve found some pretty nice (and seasonally appropriate) items to wear.
I was dressed this way yesterday as I was strolling slowly around St Nicholas park with a friend (recently injured and slowly on the mend thankfully). As we passed the boat house by the bridge I spotted a lady (and her delightfully yappy Finish Laphund – it’s so cute and fluffy!) that I haven’t seen for a while and enthusiastically greeted her.
She immediately recoiled and clearly didn’t recognise me.
This has been a bit of a theme this week – and even those that know me really well have wandered past me without clocking who they’re right next to. It happened to me on Wednesday, Thursday and again today while I was waiting for a friend in Warwick.
Although it was kind of fun for a while I’m a bit over the whole ‘I didn’t recognise you’ thing now. People only seem to figure out who I am when I get up close and smile, which was what happened with this lady.
In her case though it had been much longer since I’d seen her last (around 8-9 months) and she seemed quite shell shocked.
‘I didn’t recognise you until you smiled!’ she said.
Her companion (someone who I’d also seen semi regularly in the park) also let out a gasp.
‘This is the weight loss man!‘ the lady reminded her. The then penny dropped for her companion too.
‘I saw you in the Warwick Observer a while back!’ She said to me.
‘Yep!’ I replied.
Sometimes people just need a moment to look me up and down. I find it’s better to just let them have a good gander and then they can ask the usual questions.
‘How much have you lost?’ She finally said.
‘Twenty stone and two point five pounds’ I replied.
Then the other thing started.
I’m used to the questions about how much I’ve lost or whether I have loose skin or the ‘do you feel different?’ line of enquiry – and for the most part have developed standard responses. However, when people start going down the route of ‘you don’t want to lose any more do you?’ and start telling me point blank NOT to lose any more I’m a bit flummoxed.
I don’t really know what to say if I’m honest.
People saying that I don’t need to lose any weight, stating that they’re worried that I’ll try to lose more – or even telling me not to carry on is still really alien to me.
However thats apparently now a ‘thing’. People have moved from queries about ‘how on earth?’ to cautionary statements that effectively boil down to ‘No more! Thats enough!’
They all mean well though and everyone I speak to is universally happy for me – which is a wonderful thing to encounter in often random and very unexpected places. After time I suppose the novelty will wear off, I’ll bump into most of people that I’ve known for a while, have this chat (or a variation of it) and it will eventually stop happening.
Maybe I’ll miss it – maybe not.
I’m not sure.
I have to admit to being in a bit of an odd place mentally with this whole process at the moment – because I’m now very much aware that having achieved what I always wanted I’m now left with ‘normality’ – and that is altogether a very different thing to deal with.
If I’m honest I often don’t know how I really feel about weight loss no longer being the sole focus of my life.
Things seemed really simple in many ways when it was the guiding force of every day – and I’d cultivated a rather healthy obsession with a very compelling subject. Self improvement as a hobby was continually tangible and easily quantifiable.
Every week seemed to bring something new to experience and presented some kind identifiable step forward in my sense of well being and health. Now – in contrast – I just feel continually great. There are still some things I would like to change about myself – but for the most part I’m insanely happy with who I am currently.
This is of course flipping awesome – and I am in no way complaining – but at times it’s hard not to feel a tad deflated at the end of what has been a really long road.
Annnnd there we have it.
The paradox of the human condition.
When we want something sooooooooo badly that it hurts we often aren’t exactly sure what to do with it when we’ve got it.
Thankfully there’s no rush to do, feel or decide anything about anything.
Life is good intenet. It can come to me as quickly or as slowly as it wants to because I know that I can deal with it – whatever shape it takes.