This week hasn’t been the smoothest of lockdown. I think that’s probably the best thing I can say about this week.
And yes a few things have changed.
I’ve been a bit concerned about how static the website has been looking for so long. Basically the only bit that’s been updated recently is away from the front page, and that didn’t make a lot of sense.
I was contemplating a complete re-write and relaunch of a website. But there didn’t seem to be a lot of point. Whilst the opportunity to do some coaching is higher now than it has been for a few months it doesn’t feel like the right time to be launching something shiny and new. Things are still pretty messed up out there so perhaps it’s better to draft out some ideas which could be put to better use once the time comes.
In the short term, the blog is back on the front page, rather than lurking behind a menu out of the way.
Social Media switch-off
Other changes? Well I mentioned last week that I’d stepped back from Twitter for the time being. This week I did the same from Facebook as well. I don’t really need a personal profile on there as all I use it for is to share the posts I’ve written on my business pages. Which is fine except for the fact that when I load into Facebook my feed is filled with all tales of woe and frustration and annoyance. And it’s not that I don’t understand those feelings, I do. The problem is the impact it’s having on my poorly head, which copes pretty badly at the best of times. And now is definitely not ‘the best of times’.
So if you’re wondering what is happening, that’s it. Having found a way to manage the business without a personal profile, that makes a lot of things easier. Yes the world is unfair, unjust and, quite frankly, screwed. But it’ll be that way whether or not it’s being forced down my throat.
Anyway, what happened this week, being the first week of June.
After the long Sunday run trying to make sense of a no-sense named trail I decided to let the lets recover for a few days. To be honest, I wasn’t feeling great; too many people in the area acting in an antisocial manner and whilst I try to avoid it affecting how I feel, I’m not very good at it. I had a job start up today for the whole week and as I needed to drop off some supplies to do it, I had a rare trip out in the car. Again, that’s a stressful experience around here with the idiots that have somehow obtained a driving license being generally the ones that are out on the roads.
Anyway, I knew I needed to get out and do something, so I had a short cycle ride. Nothing crazy long or hilly, just a gentle pedal around some quiet lanes.
Tuesday was to be the last day of the glorious and settled weather. In the 11? weeks since lockdown happened in the UK, we’ve had a sustained period of very settled and warm weather. Very little rain. Which has been a godsend from the point of getting out for some exercise and as you’ve seen from the posts to date, there’s been a good opportunity to take advantage of that weather.
Knowing that this was the final day before normality resumed, I didn’t want to waste the day. I went out for another ride, taking in work and heading back the long way. Again, another short recovery session on the bike with having the virtual race coming up in less than a fortnight. I’m never going to be race-fit, but as long as I can get the distance covered over whatever terrain I ultimately choose, that’s all my aim is.
Today’s route took me into Cheadle, which is where I got to on my run on Sunday before giving up with a route that just didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. I thought, given that much of this latter stretch was allegedly a cycle way that I might at least find what I missed out.
It turns out there wasn’t a huge amount more; the bike ride was longer as I followed the 1-day signs around the bowels of Cheadle which wouldn’t have applied to me as a pedestrian. I even saw a sign mentioning ‘Ladybrook Valley’ which was as close as I’d managed at all in finding acknowledgement of its existence in the physical world.
The cycle way then immediately turned into a trail footpath, so I pushed the bike along to see where it went.
It turns out the Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail (LVIT) starts/ends in a gap between a cemetery and the M60 motorway. Just here in fact:
Needless to say, I don’t I’ll be making a special effort to run the whole LVIT in the future. It’s purpose is not clear and I really don’t understand how it got listed on the LDWA website, being that it seems to be a collection of unrelated paths stitched together into something they couldn’t even be bothered to make signs for.
On the plus side I went home and did some baking. I mean I had to, the garlic & herb loaf I made a few days earlier had suddenly gone furrier than I like when I’m consuming bread. And I needed some chocolate brownies.
If yesterday’s ride was classed as a gentle non-event, then I’m not sure what today’s could possibly cover. As forecast, the weather had turned into a cold showery mess of all the things we haven’t been subjected to for 2.5 months.
That said, I’ve had an exercise every day streak since March 30th, and I wasn’t going to let bad weather end that. Not yet anyway, I’m not that desperate! Instead, I commuted to work by bike, but unlike yesterday didn’t go on a sight-seeing tour of local cemeteries or motorways. Today’s ride was probably best described by ‘Meh’.
In all honesty, writing this blog a few days after, I can’t think of a single notable about today’s ride, other than ‘I was there’!
I hadn’t planned on not running all week, but I didn’t feel the enthusiasm to get out there. I did feel that I needed to do it though, before my brain forget how to make my legs do it. On the plus side with the now-wonky weather, most of the numpties were off doing something other than being annoying or in the way.
I’m missing my pirate map 🙁 But perhaps the ‘wild west’ map is more appropriate these days.
Anyway, it was a quicker run than I’d anticipated, but it felt slow at the time. Everything seemed to be a lot of effort, although that might in part be the over-active segment of my brain looking for things to get upset about. Darn you, head. At least this time when running through the golf course the wind wasn’t blowing me off my feet which is an improvement over last time’s attempt!
I got home and was messing around on the synthesizers again.
A track I’d started at the weekend and have been poking ever since finally reached the point where I had something to mix. When I say ‘mix’ we’re still in the ‘monkeys with typewriters trying to write Shakespeare’ phase of mixing. I’m working on the assumption if I keep trying I might actually get competent at it one day.
Anyway, this became ‘Moogy Mood’ and you can enjoy it here:
I then spent the rest of the afternoon messing around with another music website, Reverbnation, which I guess is a little bit like soundcloud.
I set up an account on there, maybe 10 years ago, I’m really not sure. It’s set-up to be a 1-stop shop for bands to put out their music for fans to find. Except I don’t think many bands use it. I mean, I’ve not uploaded anything in 10 years, yet I keep getting emails telling me I’m #11 on their chart…….! Accepting that this chart I’m presuming is Electronica acts in Manchester UK, that reduces the field a bit. But #11 from what was essentially a dormant account with really bad recordings of some tracks I wrote in 1991? Ha!!!
In fact I’ve been using those files on Reverbnation as a reference now I’m re-programming these same tracks. It’s quite convenient to be able to play and repeat them on there whilst I’m trying to figure out what the tracks were doing in order to recreate them. It still made me chuckle. #11………
Come Friday and the weather had really got back into it’s groove of being grim. It forgot in April that it was supposed to throw anything and everything out, sometimes all at the same time, and now it seemed to be looking to make up lost ground. Cue strong winds, hail, rain, sun (briefly). Repeat.
I had wanted to get my run in, but I wasn’t keen on being battered to death by hail. In the end I thought it might be better to cycle and then maybe get a run in a bit later.
I managed to get to work where I could take shelter from the immediate hail storm. It was cold wet and windy. Three things I’ve really not missed, even though I’m not needing to water the garden now!
Another afternoon of synths. I started working on the last of the 1991 tracks which was the only one not recorded with the Atari notator / Roland D10 combo. I have a vague recollection being sat in the middle of my 1991 bedroom with my own keyboards (Roland E20 and Casio CZ-101 synth) and a 4-track recorder when this track happened. It was freeform even by my standards of sketchy composition. And this makes recreating it something of a nightmare.
In the end I found a couple of sounds that might work and got something recorded. Although it’ll no doubt need more recording and a lot of TLC before it approaches being vaguely acceptable.
In the meantime I noticed that my ‘activity’ on Reverbnation yesterday had moved me into the top 10!
I decided it was time to remove the old recordings and replace them with my new ones. It’s been a strange period of learning to love the reimagined tracks having heard the recordings of the originals for the best part of 30 years. When I first started the new projects, I struggled to be happy with the outcomes. But over time, when going back to the old versions, there has been a gradual acceptance of the new versions. And that’s built up piece by piece from me feeling them to be inferior to now being able to see them as the genuine article. It’s hard to let go of something that’s been there for all this time, but I’m genuinely happy with the new versions to the point I don’t mind replacing the old ones. Obviously I’ve still got the old audio recordings (including the post-marked original tape cassette which is my evidence of copyright – that’s how it was done back then!). But I don’t feel I need to keep comparing new and old any more.
Anyway, having done that, I decided it was time to do some cooking as I’d mostly cleared the freezer since the last batch cook.
I knew there was some fresh stuff on its last legs in the fridge. And whilst I saved some of it, the rest was sadly just too far gone. I don’t like wasting produce, so wasn’t happy about this. Sadly a few carrots and peppers really were only fit for the compost heap, as they were well on their way in that process already.
One curry down (the RHS set of tubs) and I decided that I could get out for a run and pick up a few bits on my way back in:
What did we learn from this experience? Running into the wind is easier downhill than uphill. And running with a bag of carrots in one hand and a bag of peppers in the other really messes with your running form!
After another wild, cold & wet night, the weather was far from done. Indeed I think that was a (chilly) warm-up for what was prepared for the day.
Having tried to make sense of the forecast, which was changing dramatically by the minute, I drove to work. And I’m glad I did as the heavens opened again when I got there, which would have been a very unwelcome dowsing had I been on foot or bike.
I got home to a drenching as I left the car yet before long the weather seemed to have perked up. I decided that I might have an hour max to get out for a run in the dry, so that’s what I did:
I really wasn’t feeling it to begin with and every step felt like a struggle. A bit worrying given I’m a week out to the virtual race where I’ll be doing a smidge more than 4.5 miles. Still, it was relatively quiet and those people I did see out were cheery and normal.
I was due to pop out to see a running friend to pick up my race number for next week, but ended up standing inside the front door watching hail flying sideways past the house. A minute later and it stopped and I got going. Once onto the main road out of the village I realised the pavements were completely dry. The hailstorm I’d seen was so localised it must have crossed the village south of the A6 and didn’t actually drop anything above it! Crazy
It was really good to catch up with Steve. The realisation I’d not seen any of the group running bar one since early March. We’ve all been out discovering new routes and sharing the stories via messages but I think this was the first time I realised just how much I’d missed running with them. At least now things seem to be a little more settled in the wider world we might be able to get out again and enjoy the company, albeit a little more socially distanced than before.
Reverbnation update? I’m #3 in their chart. Seriously?!!
I had a rubbish night’s sleep, but on the flip side I was up early enough to get out for a run with the ‘Tortoises’ group. My first Tortoise run since our consolatory half marathon on 16th March.
It was actually quite the turn-out, to the point we had to divide into three separate runs in order to meet the current COVID-19 guidance. One group went over to Lyme Park whilst the other two groups set off at different paces towards Ludworth Moor. And whilst the weather was on the soggy side, spirits were definitely up. It was just nice to be out with some other runners again after 2.5 months of solo running.
Our group, being slightly bigger than ideal ran in two sections as a five plus a two. Although we did manage to all get in the frame for the photo!
Having got home and dried off (the weather’s improved this afternoon too!) it was a time of domestic god-ness (I did the ironing) and some chocolate chip muffins were created:
Some of said sweet treats may have been consumed prior to the writing of this blog. Although I think I added too much raising agent as I’m not used to working with plain flour, which seems to be all that is currently available at this time. Oh well, I’ll have to eat them and make some more…………..!