Monday, 17 December 2012

Quotidian deflections

No riding and no running since last we spoke. There are any number of reasons for this. In no particular order......

Work; but quite frankly, I've written about this so many times it's dull and repetitive, so I'm going to move swiftly on to.....being ill. I've had a cold for a fortnight now, which is very unlike me, but probably not surprising given the number of environments I've been in over the last few weeks - holiday parks and mass crowds in Wales, the usual trains, tubes and buses, Christmas parties, racecourses, and hotels. Then last weekend I felt truly awful and had to take to my bed for a couple of days. I ached all over, felt nauseous, and slept constantly, waking only to run to the bathroom for ghastly horridness to occur. At the time I didn't realise norovirus was doing its usual winter rounds with more vengeance than usual, and I hesitate to say it was definitely what was going on, but there was a strong resemblance between its reported symptoms and mine. Hey ho, it's gone now, but for a while the world did indeed full out of my bottom.

As previously advertised, Mrs K and I flog Christmas trees too at this time of year. It started as a bit of a joke almost about 5 years ago when we bought just a few from the local agricultural market for family and friends, but when we realised what we were buying them for, what garden centres and the like charge, and how we could still make a healthy profit by undercutting the usual outlets, we decided to expand. We now do 4 - 6 ft trees, potted trees for our Green customers (environmentally-conscious I mean, rather than Martians), of which there is steady increase in number year on year, wreaths and tree stands that we acquire on ebay in January for £1, and sell on for £10-15. Last year we sold 137 'things' off that list, and whilst we won't be retiring on the proceeds, the profits comfortably cover the cost of Christmas and our trip to Brittany. Apart from the financial aspect the main reason we do it each year is that it's a really good way of meeting the neighbours, being seen about the village, and generally getting in the Christmas spirit. Our reputation now precedes us - several people have knocked at our door this year on days when the signs haven't been out to enquire whether we're selling trees. We won't hit last year's heights this year - we only bought 105 trees in the first place, but it's been as enjoyable as ever, and to be honest does stop me from going for a brief ride. Carrying the damn things from the back of the house to the front in the morning, and reversing the job in the evening does, in any case, constitute a pretty good gym alternative.

Then in the last few days I've had the eldest two with me, having finished at their respective universities on Friday. This happens all to infrequently these days, both because they're obviously at uni, but also because their out-of-uni time has to be split between me, their mum, and respective boyfriends and girlfriends. That means I tend to drop everything to do stuff and generally hang round them like an annoying smell. We had a cracking walk though yesterday to my favourite spot in the UK, Shutlingsloe, a hill at the arse-end of the Pennines just 5 miles from where I'm writing this. Here's proof:


The only thing that would have made it better would have been the t'youngest being with us, but she was at home in Plymouth preparing for another in the seemingly never-ending round of GCSE exams. I will see her, and the other two, on Boxing Day however, when we're en route to Brittany.

I will ride my bicycle in Brittany, but I'm also hoping to get out a couple of times or so at home before then. I love pootling round on my rubbish winter/touring bike, built by me, total cost £175 (£135 for the frame, £40 for the wheels, everything else begged, borrowed or cannibalised from old bikes), mudguards, 7-speed only and all, and just, well, taking in the sights of the countryside that you don't get in summer when there's full leaf cover on the trees.

At some point I will become a disciplined training machine again, but at the moment I seem to be finishing 2012 the same way as most of the rest of it turned out as far as exercise is concerned - letting life get in the way.

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