One week on.

4°C, sunny

It’s been a week since I went down with the ‘flu. I have reached a flat plane area with no sign of improvement from one day to the next. The first 36 hours were dreadful, with me feeling as ill as I ever remember. Now I long impatiently for some change each day that I get up.


9°C, white cloud, some wind

Frustration builds when there is no sign of healing. I relented in the end and went to the local GP. she said it’s true, i have the flu’. This is no heavy cold, it’s flu. So no more stupid jokes about manflu. A big part of me dislikes that variety of sexist putdown anyway. Just because it’s aimed at men, does not make it okay.

New book to read has arrived: Zona by Geoff Dyer.

Precious time

9°C, NW, light cloud

Half-term holiday is a precious time. It’s a time to re-build energy, recover from a stressful job and fix things that need repairing (the house, the car and me). It’s not a time to be set back with a devastating head-cold, running temperature and bostin’ headache. These things happen- yes. But it’s difficult not to spend time, while laid low, thinking of the good things I could be doing.
So the symptoms add up, heavy-cold + the urge to grumble = manflu.

Have I done that self-depricating joke before? Perhaps leave it then.

Magic telebox

2°C, dry but cloudy (getting warmer, huzzah!).

Over-run by remotes from new gadgets. I only intended to buy a Blu-ray player so I can watch my latest video rental. That first part failed with me feeling annoyed with Argos for mis-labelling the player. I wanted a player with built-in wireless which can then show BBC’s iPlayer on the TV. The catalogue was labelled as such but once I got it home and looked it wasn’t. For that model, you have to buy a USB dongle, otherwise no wireless. This was annoying because the Argos woman said I can’t return this unless it’s faulty. Anyway, they found an alternative, a Sony device with wireless built-in. But…

Behind the counter was a range of ex-display stuff including a FreeSat box that I intended to buy with next month’s salary. At half-price, I took it.

Good things: the best is the picture quality. Not so much the extra resolution, but far more convincing colour and tonal depth than the previous white sky box. the sound is better too. The set-top box will record from TV from next week’s schedule, setting is just too easy.

That draining cold is receding this week. It had better take my cough with it.

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Chopping Eucalyptus

-1°C, bright sun

This morning I had left is loads of logs, too big to fit in the fireplace. It’s a great way to warm up to chop logs though. My trip to the shops to get a wood splitting maul failed today so I resorted the mallet and bolster chisel. That mallet is a 4lb-er, short-handled type, but it was still rather hard work. The wood grips the chisel thinking it’s in an Arthurian legend.
There is a young guy who lives further down this road who is an arborist. He says it’s the eucalyptus that’s the problem. It’s a resinous wood that hardens as it seasons. I should have chopped it when it was freshly felled. Ah!
Nice guy, he has little work on this week and has offered to call round with his chain-saw.

Get the Maul

0°C, Ice is drying

Frozen roads this morning made walking this morning simply frightening. There was a glassy layer over everything. Railings and cards looked wet, but touch them and the glassy surface is dry and bitterly cold.

The firewood supply is getting lower but splitting the bigger logs I have takes ages. I’m going to try a maul. It’s a narrow headed axe with a nice long handle that should let me put a big swing behind it. If not, it’s still a good way to warm up on an icy February day.

Point me to Mecca

0°C, sleet.

There is a sort of ante-room leading to my classroom, it’s quite small and closed by a strong, fire-door. Sometimes kids go in there to quietly revise, socialise or just get away from it all during lunchtime. Today I nearly tripped over a girl dressed in black and wearing a headscarf. She was crouching down and then standing back up, time and time again. She must be Muslim and be doing the daily prayers thing. She’s lucky I didn’t knock her flying if I’d flung the door open at just the wrong moment. There was a mat laid out in the room and she knelt on there a few times. I went into my room another way instead.

Should I have popped my head round and pointed left to say “but Mecca is that way”? She was facing south west and Mecca is South-east from the UK.

If you’re ill below the neck- don’t ride!

-4 to +1°C
Every year I am troubled by the same decision- when should I start riding again after a cold. Every year I am hit by a two week common cold and left resenting the lost time.

There are a few sites that discuss this dilemma:


So the conclusion- If you’re ill below the neck- don’t ride!
Does that sound like a good slogan for a tee-shirt?

As ever, that’s not the only criterion, look at the outside temperature; last night -4°C. The air has been extremely dry, so dry that there was barely any frost this morning. There is a 200 yard sheet of black ice on the way to work though. It’s remarkable that no-one has crunched their car on that slope.