Saturday, 1 October 2016

I did this, then I did that

Orange lily
Krakow Botanical Gardens, July 2016
This is getting more like a diary than a blog - a succession of things that seem to fill my life sufficiently so that I am rarely bored and mostly have too much on my plate. Literally and metaphorically. The weight loss plan is not going brilliantly, despite me having completely stopped buying bars of chocolate. Bother.

Topic 1: Health - physical and metaphysical

I have had an ultrasound of my shoulder which identified some inflammation and degenerative changes typical in a person of my age. This was followed by a consultation with a specialist physiotherapist who diagnosed slow onset frozen shoulder. He offered a steroid injection to address the pain temporarily, which I declined because the pain doesn't bother me that much. I just feel resentful that my body is finally rebelling and giving me some trouble, just to remind me that I'm not as young as I was. With time, the shoulder should get better, but I doubt that I'll get any less grumpy about being as old as I am. This is as good as it gets.

On the other hand, I have started looking forward to the meditation and Buddhism group. I started with a four-session introductory course in April, then carried on attending over the summer, and now they are holding another introductory course and it feels very much like school when the new kids arrive and you're in the second year and not the youngest and littlest any more. I can very nearly remember everyone's name, although if they sling in a multi-syllable Sanskrit name I forget it in less than 2 hours. I spent one of my days off with the Buddhists I know of old, and pumped them mercilessly for information, and am still processing the results to decide whether to just stick with the meditation and mindfulness practice or to dip my toe further into the metaphorical Buddhist pond.

Topic 2: Food and drink

I have already mentioned the chocolate reduction plan, and I think I have reached the stage of acceptance in the continuum of despair-anger-denial-acceptance that I was once taught follows a trauma. Back when I was taught about this, the examples used were having your car stolen and sight loss, but it seems to apply to no end of situations including, it seems, breaking a serious chocolate habit.

I have continued my tour of Leamington Lunches on my days off - there are more restaurants than I have days off in a year, but I'm trying to pick those who charge less than £10 for lunch. There are still plenty to go. This Tuesday's was Cuban - I had a stew involving peppers, sweet potato and chickpeas and some amazing yellow bread that appeared to have been fried.

Other eating and drinking highlights in the recent past included a night out with work colleagues starting with drinks at Pub Next Door and progressing to a very fine Turkish/Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in town. It was such a success that those present immediately formed a Dining Club and set a date for the next outing. There was also my second Whisky Tasting evening with Mr M's whisky collection and matched food. I am very lucky to have been invited on two separate occasions, and there may even be a Whisky Tasting On Tour event in Leamington at some point. I discovered that I am starting to like whisky. It's always worth persisting with these things.

On the same trip to London there were two more food-related experiences. The first was the local international grocer where this time I picked two random tins of spinach-based and aubergine-based slop (I've already tried the spinach-based one topped with an egg - yum). The second was a Japanese restaurant in Notting Hill, where five of us ate until we burst for only £15 a head. Delicious and good value.

Topic 3: Housing and the LTRP

Not much progress to report on the LTRP, although the architect has now surveyed and drawn up plans of the ground floor in anticipation of our next meeting, in which we will define the alterations. These are primarily to allow more light into the kitchen and replace the stairs, but also to extend the kitchen a little to provide a utility/boot room. Olf the builder who worked on the garage finally came round to accept payment (I had to chase several times!) and he may be able to lead on the kitchen works whenever that time may come.

I'm still gradually emptying the loft (books and motorbike parts in the last fortnight) so that Ilf the handyman can sort out the electric lights in the upstairs rooms. In the meantime Mr M and Lola II stole Ilf and he decorated large parts of their house. Now that I've been to see it, the work done looks absolutely lovely. Ilf then came round and gave me a bunch of flowers to thank me for referring the job to him.

Topic 4: Financial matters

  • I researched and bought car insurance A WEEK BEFORE IT WAS DUE. I am so proud of this.
  • I bought fancy carbon fibre walking poles for my holiday A MONTH IN ADVANCE. [Can you see a theme developing?]
  • I joined a team of four Young People and we won a tenner each on the pub quiz, with a score of 76 out of 80. I probably contributed no more than 4 answers out of 76, but I like to think that without my 4 we would have come second.
  • The posh butcher in town sharpened three of my knives for free. Unfortunately they only gave me two of them back, but produced the third when I went back to enquire. Still, I now have three sharp knives, which is lovely.
  • I have listed quite a few random items on ebay, one of which has sold! I am not optimistic about any of the others. So after postage and commission I am £1.43 in profit. Now I'm ready to start on the postal mechanisation material. Hang on to your hats for literally pennies of profit.
  • With the help of Mr M I have switched my current account and opened another three accounts including transfers between them in order to maximise interest rates. Now every time I am faced with paying for something I have to think for five minutes about which card to use depending on whether I qualify for cashback or Clubcard points or a foot massage or puppies/kittens. However, not only is this a great problem to have, I am about to spend a whole load of money on my kitchen, so maybe it won't be a problem for long.

Topic 5: Work

I have had my first abysmal failure with a patient whom I will not see again (nor would the patient want to see me). Much reflection and 'what could I have done differently' but it's someone who's been within the service for years and years and nobody else has done much better. Apart from that, I have delivered three DESMOND courses for Type 2 patients in the last month and am looking forward to not delivering any more until December. I do enjoy it though, seeing how much people learn.

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