Suddenly summer

Back to the intervals today…

…because Geth wants to start doing intervals, so he came running with me this morning to observe how they work. I only did half the number of sets I was doing a few weeks ago though!

It’s not been a great day. I had an absolutely terrible night’s sleep last night – partly due to the muggy heat and partly due to ongoing stress – and then we had some bad news this afternoon. I had hoped to get some work done on my next adventure game today, but there have just been too many distractions. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to lose myself in it a bit.

On the plus side, we did go for a walk in the glorious warm sunshine, largely because we needed to get out of the house. Spring has felt a bit sudden this year due to the lockdown; the world has been on hold, but obviously the seasons haven’t. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of walking over the summer, even if we can’t do much else.

Ukulele collection
My ukulele family has expanded this week, thanks to a generous gift from Dad! Looking forward to having a good strum over the weekend.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Ollie Wride – ‘Back To Life’
Daniel Bedingfield – ‘If You’re Not The One’

Finding balance

I went out for an absolutely beautiful run this morning…

…with perfect sunshine, and perfect energy, and so many lovely spring flowers along the way. I’m planning to do a few new and different routes this week and am really excited about my morning runs. They get me out of the house for just long enough every day that I don’t feel trapped or cooped up by the lockdown, and am perfectly content to stay inside for the rest of the time.

In all honesty, other than the general feeling of apocalyptic dread and accompanying nightmares (which I’m guessing is the case for everyone at the moment), I have been lucky enough that the current situation is working out quite well for me:

  • While my day job work has slowed down a bit, it hasn’t stopped completely, and I work from home anyway so haven’t had to adapt my work setup.
  • Obviously I was hugely disappointed a month ago when it was announced that the London Marathon was postponed, because training had been going so well. However, I’m really appreciating the more relaxed approach to running I can take at the moment, and I hope that I’ll be able to build on the work I’ve already done and run an even better time in October, presuming the new date goes ahead.
  • Stress-wise, I am actually benefiting hugely from life going on hold. For the last couple of years, I have felt as though I have had far too much on and have been constantly falling behind with my to-do list. I end up dreading going away on trips, because I know it will disrupt my daily routine so badly and lead to weeks of stress as I try to catch up with everything. But right now, I have nothing getting in the way: all my trips and events have been cancelled or postponed, and all my weekly classes and meetings are on hold. Every day is exactly the same, and for me, it turns out that that is exactly what I need. I am going to have to do some serious thinking about what life is going to look like for me after the lockdown is over.

I feel pretty guilty that it has taken a horrible worldwide pandemic for me to have the free time I’ve been dreaming of for years, but it has given me the impetus to reassess my priorities in life.

Tomorrow is a Wednesday, but that doesn’t really matter right now. I’ve got no middling-distance midweek run to do, no ukulele class to go to, no worries about fitting everything else in inbetween. It will be very similar to today, and that is absolutely fine by me.

Cat in spring garden
Another paparazzo shot of next door’s cat exploring our garden. He’s a little confused by the shorter grass now that Geth is out mowing it regularly again.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Cast of The Lion King – ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’

Spring-ish

A very blustery run this morning…

…which I was a little surprised by, as I’d hoped we’d be done with the strong winds by now (the nice spring weather we’ve been lucky enough to have for the last couple of weeks has been a real silver lining for me, as it really helps to lift my mood when I get out for my run in the morning). It certainly made the run a bit more of a challenge! Hopefully it’ll be calmer again tomorrow.

I slept a lot better last night. I think the secondary evening workout is helping (I tried some YouTube yoga last night – it’s basically very similar to Pilates with lots of hippy talk thrown in. It was a nice workout though so I will persevere), and before bed I also did a bit of reading – I picked up the book I’d abandoned last autumn, on Mum’s suggestion. Fingers crossed that will be my pattern sorted again now.

I’ve done a bit of day job work this afternoon, and am now going to crack on with my text adventure/Camp NaNo project. The first game (a prequel to the main project) is nearly ready to playtest!

On the whole, I’m settling into my ‘new normal’ daily routine now, and I find I’m striking a good balance between work and me-time.

Spring blossom
A definite sign of spring: the blossom is opening on one of the trees in our front garden. I love spring blossom and these trees are one of my favourite things about the two gardens we acquired when we bought our house.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Revo – ‘Battle Normal 1 [Bravely Default II Soundtrack]’
Duran Duran – ‘Violence Of Summer (Love’s Taking Over)’
Endor – ‘Pump It Up’
The Beatles – ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
The Beatles – ‘She Loves You’
Fountains Of Wayne – ‘Stacy’s Mom’*
Cast of Aladdin – ‘Prince Ali’

*RIP Adam Schlesinger.

That unFriday feeling

Just a short run this morning…

…and then I just had one last chunk of admin to do before declaring it officially the weekend… which will feel largely the same as the week, I imagine! I’m planning to spend it playing the Bravely Default II demo (I had a first go last night and it was just as good as expected) and doing some coding for my newest text adventure game.

Hoping for a nice fast non-parkrun tomorrow as well!

Spring garden
I ventured out into the back garden for some more state-approved fresh air. It’s starting to look a bit more springlike now, if slightly overgrown – Geth is planning to get the mower out and tidy it up tomorrow.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’
Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
Food Network – ‘Denise Van Outen’s Christmas [Main Theme]’
Kuana Torres Kahele, James Ford Murphy and Napua Greig-Nakasone – ‘Someone To Lava’

Quietly springlike

I did a very short-feeling six-mile ‘long run’ this morning…

…and it was a lovely day for it, with bright blue skies and buds on the trees and daffodils everywhere. Spring is most definitely here… not that anyone’s really thinking about it at the moment, understandably. Years ago, Geth and I would probably have celebrated a sunny March Sunday like this with our first beer garden visit of the year. I’ve been avoiding beer gardens for over a year now since getting sober, and anyway they’re all currently closed by government order. Life is very different to what it used to be, especially in the current strange situation.

Instead, we are in the house as usual, working our way through our videogame and boardgame collections. For once, I’m hopeful that I might make a bit of a dent in my gaming backlog this year!

Back to work tomorrow.

Daffodils
Daffodils growing in our garden, looking extra yellow in the sunshine.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Unflinchable Courage’
Duran Duran – ‘I Believe/All I Need To Know’
Take That – ‘The Flood’
Levellers – ‘What A Beautiful Day’

A quietly busy Friday

Just a short run this morning…

…and then I headed to my counselling appointment. I’m starting to feel a bit more focused in the sessions now, and find that I’m able to look at things from angles I hadn’t considered before.

I spent the afternoon doing day job work, and am now having a quiet evening before a hopefully speedy parkrun tomorrow!

Crocii
More spring flowers – the crocii are out in the parks now! Spotted a few early daffodils in the wild as well…

Today’s earworm playlist:

George Ezra – ‘Paradise’
Bon Jovi – ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’
Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’
The Connells – ”74-’75’
Dee Cooke – ‘Money’*
The Midnight – ‘Lost Boy’

*A truly awful rap track that was unwillingly conceived by my brain circa 2013. Not for public consumption.

A dreary Thursday

Short run today…

…and a bit of a disappointing result at Slimming World – only half a pound off despite working really hard for it this week 🙁 Still six pounds away from target range. I really had hoped to get there by the end of February but it’s looking unlikely now.

I’ve spent the afternoon working on house stuff and admin. Other than my counselling appointment, it’s looking like tomorrow will be similar.

Snowdrops
At least the snowdrops are out now! Always appreciate these early signs of spring when the weather is still miserable.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – ‘Jason’
The Midnight – ‘Collateral’
The Midnight – ‘Vampires’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’
FM-84 and Ollie Wride – ‘Running In The Night’

Day out at South Shields

Due to my all-encompassing work project, Geth and I didn’t get to enjoy the bank holiday last Monday, so we arranged to take a day in lieu and go for a day trip today instead.

South Shields seafront
The weather has been a bit strange over the last month – rather than having a spring, we’ve basically gone straight from winter to summer, but I’m not complaining.

We had a lovely walk along the seafront and climbed right up to the replica self-sinking gun on the cliff.

Replica of late 19th century gun
1987 replica of 1887 gun. You know me and 1980s stuff!

According to the plaque, the original gun was tested in 1887, and did work in terms of being able to sink back into its foundation after being fired, but because it took far too long (eight hours) to prep, it was never actually used.  This replica was installed in 1987 for the 100th anniversary.

South Shields beach
On the beach at South Shields. After such a long winter, it was so nice to feel the sand under my feet!

We then walked back to the seafront and had lunch and a couple of pints in the Sanddancer, which is the best place to go in South Shields when it’s not Great North Run day (on GNR day, because it’s the first pub you get to after collecting your goodie bag, it’s absolutely rammed, so you’re better off going to another pub a bit further down the seafront).

After that, we went back to Newcastle, did a bit of shopping in town and went for another couple of pints.  A perfect ‘bank holiday’!

Suddenly summer

I can’t be sure, because the days are sort of melting into each other at the moment (only three more twelve-hour shifts!  I can do this!), but it seems that we’ve had about two weeks in a row where the weather’s actually been quite nice – warm, sunny, blue skies.  There are also lots of flowers in our new garden, mostly weeds like dandelions, but still flowers.  The ice-cream van shows up every day around one o’clock in the afternoon with a creepy jingle straight out of a horror film.  And Geth’s actually been mowing the lawn.  It’s beginning to look a bit like it might not be winter anymore.  In fact, leaving aside the only-just-beginning-to-bud leaves on the trees, it’s beginning to look like summer.

I’m pretty happy about that.  The winter was so long and awful (still snowing in early April) that it was starting to feel like it would never end.  But because of that, it sort of feels like we’ve skipped spring and gone straight to summer, which I’m thrilled about (I don’t like typical British springs – wet, windy and not yet warm enough!).  This has meant that I’m actually starting to get excited about all the stuff I’m doing in the summer – I’m just a bit worried about having enough time to prepare for it!

Of course, sod’s law means that as soon as I’m done with work at the end of this week and can actually go outside, the nice weather will disappear.  At least that should mean that it won’t be too warm for running at the weekend!

Feeling the cold

We’ve finally seen some spring weather in the last week or so.  Outside, it’s been lovely – the winter was so long and awful that being able to walk around in bare legs and light jackets last week felt like being on holiday somewhere tropical.

Inside, however, when I’m sitting still (which I’ve been doing a lot, obviously, as I’ve got a lot of work to do at the moment), I’m still really feeling the cold, and have had to have the electric fire going next to me most of the time now that we’ve pretty much switched off the central heating for the summer.  It’s one of those disadvantages of weight loss – I just don’t have that excess blubber to keep me warm anymore.

I’m definitely looking forward to it warming up more for the summer – I feel silly having the fire on this late in the season!