It has been a long while since I last blogged and a lot has happened since. It’s difficult to know where to begin. I thought it best to start with our house move.
After living 20 years in our last house where my daughter spent most of her life growing up we made the tough decision to sell up and move. There were several reasons for doing this and I can’t say it was an easy step to be making in the middle of my life. We had no mortgage and no real financial worries. We were happy with living in Oadby, Leicestershire near great shopping facilities, the gym was up the road and my parents just three doors down. So, why move? We weighed up extending the house and went as far as getting an architect to provide us with some ideas of what we could do with the old house. However, the conclusion was that it was going to cost disproportionately more plus a massive amount of inconvenience to bring the house up to the standard we required. So, in the summer of 2019 Mary and I went house hunting. Cut a long story short we fell in love with a beautiful new build in Wigston, 10 minutes away. Well, I should hasten to add that it was myself who fell in love with this particular property. It was more sizable than our last home and had the requisite double garage. The latter, not because I wanted to park my nonexistent Ferrari in it but because I wanted a space for my gym. Having a gym with a treadmill has been an ambition of mine for such a long time. Our old garage just wasn’t fit for purpose. It was full of junk, dirty and smelly. Sound familiar?
So, in the New Year we bit the bullet and part-exchanged our old house for the new. We got a great price for the old property and the beautiful brand-new house was ready to move in to. It was now just the logistics of getting a mortgage and agreeing exchange and completion dates. Happy days! The developers wanted us to complete by 27 March. However, I had already booked a week’s leave at the end of February and with no chain we decided to move in early. At this stage we had absolutely no idea what was coming around the corner, or should that be corona.? (.
So, we hired a local removals company who helped us pack. While we were being assisted to pack all our worldly possessions into boxes, the owner of the company asked me what I did for a living. I explained that I worked in the world of equality and diversity. He then asked if I knew a certain individual (who happened to work in my field). As soon as he mentioned the name I had that OMG moment. It turned out that the removal man was best friends with this guy. In fact, I used to manage him several years ago. The removal guy told me that he was best friends with him at school and that they had travelled the world together but that recently life had taken over and that they had lost touch. It made me text message my ex-colleague and reconnect with him which was lovely. In fact, in these very challenging times I think reconnection and connection is incredibly important.
Back to my story of moving to a new house. So, on 28 February our removal company arrived, loaded the van and we moved into our beautiful new house. There was still a large dose of disbelief for all of us. After 20 years living in one house, moving to our dream home was the stuff of fairy tales. For anyone who has taken the time to read about my life story will know that I grew up in a large Victorian villa house in London which I loved and, finally I was moving in to a house which, hopefully, will allow me to relive some of those feelings of space and freedom which I didn’t really feel from the house in Oadby. However, I knew also that there was going to be a great deal of adjustments I would need to make in my new surroundings.
Once all our belongings were moved in by 7 pm, we had the unenviable job of having to slowly unpack (more of a challenge than packing in my opinion)
I knew that the big issue for me moving in my new house was learning about its layout and then where everything was going to be stored. In the first week, I was so disoriented and kept banging my head on door edges and the alcove under the stairs. My daughter had the ingenious idea that I should wear my bi-cycle helmet. Instead I decided to don my baseball cap. It has certainly saved me from further serious injury.
I also had to learn new routes with Walt and we went for a few walks, in the days when you could go for a few walks. I used a combination of Walt’s fantastic memory for routes and an app I use which tells me where I am and what roads and intersections are coming up. Nonetheless Walt still insists on going left from my drive rather than to the end of the drive where I like to cross. It’s a real battle of wills. He also likes to cross a road that we walk up because he hopes I am going to let him run on the green area which we take him to if Mary or Ayeisha are with me. IN fact a couple of days ago Walt and I ended up walking the wrong way up a road). We were heading West up Guthlaxton Way but should have been heading East. I realized my mistake but then asked someone behind me (keeping my social distance) whether I was heading towards Newton Lane. This guy assured me I was so I carried on walking. What I didn’t realise was that Guthlaxton Way meets Newton Lane at two points. Anyway, I ended up taking a rather protracted route. A half hour walk turned in to an hour jaunt! Well, at least Walt enjoyed the adventure.
I started making plans to kit out my gym prior to our move date. On 24th February Ayeisha and I went to Northampton shire to visit the Fitness Superstore to order my treadmill, squat rack and bench. It was a Tuesday and I felt it would be a good time to go being the middle of the week I thought it would be quiet. I was wrong. It was incredibly busy. It even took the staff by surprise. This was a couple of weeks before there was any real fear of lock down.
After looking around and picking the equipment I wanted we were eventually served. I thought I had spent a lot of money but while we were there a couple who seemed to be buying equipment for their health centre gym had bought £12k worth of goods. I arranged for installation and was told that I needed to fill in an online form to arrange an installation date on which delivery and installation would take place. So as soon as we got home I got Ayeisha to fill in the form. I thought the form had been sent but after a week I heard nothing. So, I filled in the form once again and this time I got a delivery and installation date of 24th March.
In the meantime, as I waited for my gym equipment, getting to and from the Everyone Active gym Oadby wasn’t easy. After work I made the occasional trip via taxi to the gym and got Mary to pick me up afterwards. It wasn’t easy. The other issue which had been dogging me was the stomach cramps I was experiencing since earlier in the year, that were getting progressively worse. Running was becoming very uncomfortable after 20 minutes. The last Long run I had completed was with my good friend Graham Grocock right at the end of January. The run was 14 miles. Ordinarily this would have been a very manageable distance. However, after 7 miles my stomach began to hurt. We stopped off at the café in Bradgate Park so that I could have a loo break. We carried on running, however, I felt awful all the way through. I was very glad when the run was over. The IBS symptoms have persisted through February, March and now into April. So much so that I have been back to the GP several times and finally diagnosed with IBS over a week ago, at the beginning of April.
While my IBS symptoms persisted, I had good news regarding confirmation of the delivery date for my gym equipment. As I’m sure readers will be more than aware that it was becoming clear as we got to the middle of March that the growing cases of Coronavirus was going to lead to a lockdown situation in the UK. I was concerned that I wouldn’t get my gym equipment delivered and installed before lock down. However, the week prior to 23 March I got a text from the suppliers informing me that the equipment would be delivered on 23 March but that they couldn’t carry out the installation. Instead it would be via a local installer. When the equipment arrived, the Government announced that the country was going to go in to lock down and that non-essential travel nor services were permitted. I got a call from the local installers who then confirmed that they unfortunately wouldn’t be able to carry out the installation. I completely understood the need for this response to the epidemic.
However, I had a treadmill, squat rack and bench in boxes. I was really surprised at how heavy the equipment was especially the treadmill. I could hardly lift it. I clearly needed to do more heavier workouts! To be fair even the guys that had dropped it off earlier in the week brought the box in on a trolley.
My awesome daughter came to my rescue. Not to be put off by the size of the job she unpacked the treadmill box and read the instructions. It took us a lot longer than it would have an installer but we managed to put all the kit together over a couple of weekends. What a proud dad I am. I was so pleased to be able to get hold of all the equipment I needed at the right time. You can’t get hold of anything now for love nor money.
For me my season had already ended as my training ground to a halt with all the stomach problems I was getting. I’d already pulled out of Leicestershire Half at the end of February, Ashby 20 and the Manchester marathon. By the time mid-March came around all races were being cancelled anyway due to Covid19. It was a bizarre set of circumstances. While my luck was down for health reasons, so was it for many other athletes arising from the pandemic and the need to implement social distancing measures. I felt so sorry for all of those who had trained so hard and would have been chomping at the bit to race. For some it would have been their first marathon. I am a great believer in putting things into perspective. In the grand scheme of things there is always another race, another marathon on another day. Clearly the health of the nation comes first.
Since my IBS diagnosis I have tried the FODMAP diet. I’ll write a little more about this in another blog, but, in the short time I have been trying it my symptoms have eased slightly. Many will know that IBS can also be caused by stress and anxiety. I must admit I didn’t think that I was someone who suffered with this but I’m not ruling it out, taking in to account several triggers over the last couple of months which may have caused the illness. I’m still not out of the woods and have been referred to hospital for further investigations.
Well, now that is all for the time being. I do hope you enjoyed this blog. I’m hoping to YouTube in the not too distant future once I get set up and hope to do another blog soon on specific topics such as how I am coping with Covid as a Blind person, how I am coping with home working and more about how I am getting on with recovering from IBS. I’ll also keep you updated on my training, as tricky as it is when I can’t get out for a run with my friends. This social distancing doesn’t suit me at all. But, then again it doesn’t suit most people.
Let me know if there is anything else you would like me to talk about in my blogs. Please do leave a comment if you enjoyed the blog or have any questions.