31.2020 or “I can’t believe it’s August already”

I cannot believe it’s August already. August. Summer proper. We even had a day and night of significantly hot and distinctly Un-British weather (36C/96F in my part of London). Even with a fan it was difficult to concentrate in the home office on a Friday afternoon with those temperatures. So I felt fully justified in knocking off promptly at 5pm and heading out to join Husband and our household bubble friend who was visiting for a beer on the patio.

This week’s Couch to 5K progress: Session 1 started with a run/rest routine of 5/3/5/3/5. I thought this would be like all other weeks where you repeat the run/rest structure but this week they are mixing it up. So session 2 was run/rest/run 8/5/8. But the big one was session 3 which was the first long run of the programme – running for 20 minutes. While lying in bed the night before I was due to run, unable to sleep due to the extreme heat and the unexplained helicopter that was hovering over the neighbourhood for an hour at 3.30am, I didn’t doubt I could do it. But when I got up, I was tired from a night of bad sleep, I had a slight hangover, and it was already quite warm out there. And then when I got to the park I had to face the reality of pounding around the running track in the heat and dealing with all the little niggles that come up to make me want to stop – my feet are sore, my knee hurts, I’m tired, I’m thirsty. But I did it, I ran for 20 minutes. I might have run at the speed of an arthritic Nanna but it was still faster than walking. And I did it for 20 minutes. Next week the sessions have a similar structure – 3 x short runs, 2 x longer runs and 1 x long run. The challenge continues…

This week’s food mood: I’m sick of not having fruit or vegetables in the house, so I’ve signed up to Oddbox, a scheme where vegetables that are odd shaped or the wrong size or surplus to supermarket needs are bought up and delivered to your house to avoid them being sent to landfill. It’s really quite sad that we have been conditioned to expect nothing but perfection by supermarkets to the point where 60% of produce (according to an article I read some years ago) is junked, i.e. sold for animal food or ploughed back in to the field because it’s not worth the farmer’s time to harvest. We’ll see how Oddbox goes. This week we’re getting Potatoes, Onions, Courgettes, Beetroot, Beans, Carrots, Lettuce / Apples, Oranges, Melon and I signed up for two “rescue of the week” deals on habanero chillies and rhubarb.

This week’s reading: I’m back to reading the Rivers of London series, finishing book #6 this week, The Hanging Tree. This book was one of the better ones in the series and actually made sense (as much sense as a book about magical police work can). I’ve pulled a big fat book off the bookshelf to read next – We are not ourselves by Matthew Thomas, but I might read Lift as you Climb by Viv Groskop instead. Or I might read both at the same time because one is fiction and one is non-fiction and it’s less difficult to intersperse the two. Not to forget that Museum of Innocence is still sitting there with a bookmark stuck 2/3 way through, taunting me that I read so far and then gave up. Except I haven’t quite given up yet, I think I’ll get back to it one day, although Husband insists that life is too short to waste on boring books.

This week’s travel plans: Trips abroad look like being off the table for some time, so for our end of August holiday, Sheffield and the Peaks it is! I’m not sure what the outlook is for Covid infections in Sheffield, but I’m not counting on the hotel having all of its facilities open and available for guests. I’m hoping there will be some museums or galleries open by then to occupy us in the city. Certainly we are hopeful to sample some of the city’s locally brewed ales. After a few days in Sheffield, we head out for a six days in villages on the edge of the Dark Peaks – three days in Hathersage and three days in Hayfield, where we’re hoping for good weather and the chance to do some hiking. I’m assuming they won’t close the hiking trails if there’s a Covid spike. However we did take the option to book accommodation with free late cancellation policies, just in case. But I hope for no Covid spike, good weather and the chance to get out of London and be out in some gorgeous scenery and open air.

This week’s good news: I watched a webinar featuring Rutger Bregman a few weeks ago (I can’t recall now if I mentioned it here or not, but it is available to watch on YouTube). He’s written a book called Humankind that I want to read because I sounds like the kind of thing I need to read right now to believe that human beings are worth saving. The central tenet of his book is that human beings survived by cooperating and those who are out for themselves are actually atypical, and in our hunter-gatherer history, these self-prioritising people would not have survived. I found this interview with him where he gives a short summary of his book and the findings from this research. I’ll finish with this quote from the interview which I think is pretty positive.

“For thousands of years as nomadic hunter gatherers, humbleness was really a pre-requisite if we wanted to survive. You were not collecting possessions, because you were moving around; you were collecting friends, because friends helped you to survive. That’s who you could rely on in a crisis.”

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