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Covid Clear & Digging Deep

Well in the strangest lottery I have ever unknowingly been entered into my name was plucked at random from my general practitioners to receive a covid 19 test. So in a weak moment of curiosity combined with the sense of doing ones civic duty I agreed to take part.

exploring how to keep covid clear

Parcel arrived & I got to grips working out what to do, the trickiest part seemingly was to master the ‘origami like’ box construction as the cardboard seemed determined not to co -operate.

Rising early on the allotted day I began the procedure that basically involved copious hand washing & poking a stick down the back of my throat & up each nostril. Twizzling it 5 times & putting in a tube to send for analysis. Box sealed & collected it was time to complete the online survey.

I’ll be honest, up until this point I felt it was a useful thing to be doing however I began to have doubts when trying to answer the questions. For example one asked if I had been out & about & own up as to whether for ‘essentials’ but visits to pubs & restaurants? Honestly the chance might have been a fine thing. Unless I had been inhabiting a different time & space continuum to that of the author of this quiz all these places have been shut many never to reopen. Equally baffling was the one asking me to whether I thought I had actually had previously contracted the condition.

I suspect that unless one had contracted the severe form requiring hospitalisation then it would be very difficult to differentiate between covid symptoms & other infections with similar symptoms with any certainty. Anyway the result was that I was negative on swab day so now I know for certain that for 24 hours I didn’t have it. As for any other day it’s back to guessing along with everyone else & wondering how this kind of testing & data collection is informing us in the longer term.

dressing up like a bandit with daughter to go shopping for a new phone

As the lockdown eases so we can expect to get out more but in reality this is still a slow process. No word from the dentists surgery yet but the makeshift tooth repair is still holding which is good but will be interesting to see what he makes of my handiwork when I finally to get the call. Maybe its the upside of having to wear a mask outside!

All this ‘me time’ as enabled me to go mining to see if there are any nuggets of creativity lurking within. So far I have drafted the lyrics to the perhaps aptly named ‘Isolation Song’ & now working on the music all the while trying to work up the courage to record it in a sort of ‘warts & all’ video. Its not the first song I wrote that is still lying around & I revisit it occasionally but to be fair the second is closer to being finished.

in my office

I have also been practicing my juggling & unicycling but perhaps its currently safe to say that I am unlikely to be running away to join a circus anytime soon.

Stay safe everyone what ever you are up to.

Buns of steel & washboard abs

When we slipped back into the UK it was evident that life was entering strange times especially as my daughter was soon gripped by in-depth spring cleaning. On discovering a long abandoned 30 day shred dvd lurking at the back of her wardrobe we decided to give it a go given our normal classes were going to be off limits.

With Lockdown now in full swing & were nearing the ‘shred end’ we had become incentivised by the definite changes that were taking place. So on discovering our exercise guru now had an app we signed up immediately. Having decreased 1 cm over all the key measurements I was keen to capitalise on the progress. I may not quite have gained the sculpted look of Jill’s ‘best girl Nat’ from the dvd but for the first time ever I was starting see discernible abdominal muscles!

Jillian Michaels

photo credit : Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED.COM
seems to be working for me even if I never look as good as Jillian
photo credit : me at home alone with my iPhone

So tantalisingly promised ‘buns of steel & washboard abs’ we find ourselves now 12 days into ‘bangin bikini body’ & the outcome may prove akin to a modern miracle in my case if the promise comes true. Though maybe stealing a pecan slice to go with my post exercise coffee & sit down might make it slightly less deliverable.

can’t beat a drop of Malbec

Following the regime daughters on app means that Jill gives us exercises based on her considerably younger profile rather than mine so its somewhat of a triumph that I am sat writing this at all. I discovered the difference between the workout regimes whilst sipping wine on a beanbag watching mine run through to keep the days in synch. After all that effort I am not missing out on the credit & virtual badge.

Foam rollering can be a tad painful but necessary especially as I am not able to have my regular sports massage at the moment. I started to invest in these as a means of helping me avoid injury & bringing back flexibility.

Home Gym

On a rare sortie to the supermarket my daughter was able to purchase two firmer, & slightly textured 14cm rollers which a are a little easier to use than the 33cm we already had. Sadly not so much luck finding heavier hand weights, who knew that these items would be rarer than hens teeth in the thralls of a pandemic.

I have harboured the suspicion that there are a few who still consider older women incapable of participating in strenuous exercise let alone a martial art. Revelation of attendance at the annual summer camp is usually met with some degree of surprise mixed with incredulity.

Me training on the beach at a Summer Camp – the sky is grey as it is a British Summer!

So the prospect it will not run this year brings a tinge of sadness & the likelihood I will not be attempting the timed run to the beach. I recall the first camp & my horror at the prospect of even walking up the hill at the start. Shamed by the fact the team had to go at the pace of the slowest I made a pact with myself to improve. After struggling at the next couple of camps I was assigned to a team where one member who’s ‘day job’ was that of a personal trainer. Gasping out my plan as we approached the hill she started to coach me. Indeed over the week she totally transformed my mental approach & running style. Right up to the day of the timed race I was uncertain whether to participate but in one moment of madness I felt my hand go up when they asked who was running.

I think I genuinely shocked some & whilst I harboured no illusions of winning I dearly did not want to be the last. Perseverance over the years finally paid off as I was the third lady over the line last year & given the first was at least 25 years my junior it remains a personal triumph. All of which I was reminded of by Jill Michaels who points at Nat’s stunning torso & says ‘You want to look like this? You got to work for it!’ & how true that is for exercise as well as other aspects of life.

My guitars Ryan & Dan

Which leads me to reflect on my approach to learning to play the guitar. I embarked on this a couple of years ago when thinking I would have time to fill during early retirement. Trying to play everyday if only for a few minutes & it does seem to help improve cognitive function & dexterity as well as a means of escape especially now when the ‘mental claustrophobia’ of lockdown starts to bite. I love to travel & should have been on an adventure as I write but this obviously was cancelled leaving me channelling my energy else where. So have been attempting to write music & lyrics but it remains to be seen whether these will ever be let loose on an unsuspecting audience any time soon. Still it has served to increase my love & understanding of musical technique if nothing else. Who knows maybe I will find the courage to at least post the lyrics at some point.

So until next time I bid you adieu & hope you stay safe.

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