2020 weeknotes 24-26

Another couple of weeks have floated by, as if on the wind.

The weather has changed over that time, too, from bright sunshine and temperatures over 30 degrees, to heavy rain, high winds and even some thunder. Nothing too unusual for summertime, but more noticeable than usual, perhaps.

Have managed to be outside a lot these past few weeks. A couple of socially-distanced picnics were attended – one in east London, where we decided to cycle over instead of taking the train, which was pretty pleasant. And that picnic was a lovely one as it was an annual affair and felt almost normal.

No team sports this time round, but nice catch-ups and some lovely smiles.

And then another smaller after-work picnic with friends who brought a solar oven which… almost worked! But late sun is less powerful, and trees kept obscuring the sunbeams.

I also took my recent daily routine of walking an hour before and after work to running before and after work most days. Initially I wanted to see how my body would react. Some days I run and feel like I could go again later, while other days I run and for days after, running is the last thing on my mind.

Turns out, my body (and mind) took to it rather well. I clocked up nearly 50 miles / 75 km in a week where I ran up to 5km before and after work, and then a half marathon on the weekend. One of those shorter runs was in M’s VivoBarefoot shoes, and I have to say I really enjoyed the new sensation. They make me feel very in contact with the ground – much more mindful of the surface I’m running over, and looking for edges and small sharp stones. Even running over the nobbly pedestrian crossing paving stones for visually impaired folks is a touch uncomfortable.

The motion is quite different because, unlike padded trainers, you’re on your own. Every impact and movement is just… your feet and ankles and knees. So instead of foam and air bubbles and padding, it’s your tendons, muscles and bones that need to absorb every step and push off for the next. It makes one hyper-aware of your gait and pace and position and the way your feet land.

I ran again in the Barefoots today, and spent a long day of walking in them last week. I’m on the verge of needing new running shoes and am at a crossroads: do I go with a new pair of VivoBarefoots to call my own? Or play it safe and replace my tried-and-tested Asics for a third time? Decisions, decisions…

In other news, I made some more progress in Zelda: Breath of the Wild. For a while now I’d been coasting, and using the progress map to explore places I’d somehow ignored so far. Inevitably there were a few places around where you first start the game which I’d overlooked in my ever-exploratory journeys.

But last week I tackled my third Divine Beast of four – Medoh, the bird one. I have a suspicion that I could have tackled this one earlier, as it felt easier than the others I’ve done. I always wondered if they were all equally difficult as you can tackle them in whatever order you like.

The ‘reward’/super-power it gives you is also not quite as profound as the other two I have so far, and would have been more useful earlier in the game as it helps climbing when your stamina isn’t high enough to tackle big climbs.

But anyway, a nice milestone and I will continue to level up my hearts – my stamina wheel is now full – and get into a better routine of re-stocking on weapons, meals and clothing before tackling new areas. Then it’s one more Divine Beast and then… well, the endgame I guess.

I have definitely been procrastinating because, although it’s a cliche, I never want this game to end.

Robin activity in the garden has diminished somewhat. The next set of fledglings have all but gone, moved on to pastures new. One adult returned one day looking extremely sorry for itself, and having ‘lost’ its tail. Very peculiar.

We’d had some pretty unsettled weather, so maybe it had an accident – or a run-in with a cat. Either way, we see this one now and then, but after seeing blue tits, great tits and even coal tits recently, we now see very few birds at all. I suppose that’s just the way of it.

Hopefully we’ll see some more if the robins get another brood in before summer ends.

I did have one lovely moment with one of the robin babies who visited the garden all on its own and perched for what was at least three or four minutes, almost motionless, just occasionally moving its head around, looking up, down, all around, just taking it all in. Quite a remarkable sight. I couldn’t look away.