Yesterday (Saturday 13th March) was the 52nd notparkrunday. That’s a whole year without parkrun. When Covid-19 caused parkrun to be suspended back in March 2020, Mrs Chippy and I decided we would carry on with our regular 5 km runs at 9 am on a Saturday morning. Originally, we called them Socially Distanced Runs, until the notparkrunday word was created. I don’t think anyone expected parkrun to be suspended for more than a few weeks – there was astonishment when we reached 13.
After the muddiness of our trek-through Cranbury Park, we looked for somewhere with better paths for our next walk. We visited Riverside Park in Bitterne Park, parking near the White Swan at Mansbridge (better known to locals as the Mucky Duck) and walking to Bitterne Triangle and back.
It’s a smidgeon over 3 miles in total, so ideal for a Sunday afternoon stroll. [Read more…] about Another walk in another park
Looking to expand our repertoire of “walks withing five miles of home”, Mrs Chippy and I recently explored the public footpath through the Cranbury Park estate.
The Chamberlayne family of Cranbury Park once owned much of the land in what is now Eastleigh town centre. The names are preserved in the names of Cranbury and Chamberlayne Roads, and the Chamberlayne Arms pub. I think that Desborough and Nutbeem were something to do with the estate as well, but I forget what. [Read more…] about A walk in a park
I admonished (in the nicest possible way) a friend this morning for inappropriate positioning of her mobile phone on her windscreen. As the friend was Madame Editor, she instructed me (also in the nicest possible way) to post something about it. So here goes.
The Department for Transport guidelines divide the windscreen into two areas. Zone A is “a vertical area 290 mm wide, centred on the steering wheel and contained within the swept area of the windscreen.” Zone B is the rest of the windscreen covered by the wipers. [Read more…] about How clear is your windscreen
One of my childhood family’s traditional Christmas holiday pastimes was to complete a jigsaw puzzle (or two). Christmas presents generally included at least one puzzle. This year’s Covid-19 restrictions on travel and socialising made it a good time to resurrect the tradition with my adult family.
There is something incredibly relaxing and therapeutic about tacking a jigsaw puzzle. You can’t rush a jigsaw; it takes as long as it takes. They are addictive too – once you’ve started you have to keep going. One evening, Mrs Chippy and I had to remind ourselves that it was 11.30 pm and we really should be going to bed. I have been known to stay up into the early hours in order to finish a puzzle. [Read more…] about The Christmas Jigsaw Tradition
Headlines across many of the today’s Sunday papers have been along the lines of “Christmas is Cancelled”, “The virus that stole Christmas” and other such hyperbole. No, Christmas is not cancelled; Christmas has not been stolen.
December 25, Christmas Day, will still arrive this Friday. OK, it may arrive in a different way than expected and we may have to spend a couple of days this week in reassessing and rearranging our plans. But arrive it will surely do.
Negative language such as “killed”, “cancelled” and “ruined” gives pessimistic connotations to the thought of a scaled-back Christmas. So rather than a problem, let’s see this as an opportunity. [Read more…] about Rumours of a cancelled Christmas have been greatly over-exaggerated
Christmas may unexpectedly be being scaled back in many households, but there is still time to give yourself an indulgent treat.
Following the success of the takeaway afternoon tea in the summer, the Blackbird Café at Pavilion on the Park (Kingfisher Road) are offering a festive afternoon tea, available for delivery in the local area up to Christmas Eve.
Two rounds of sandwiches, a small Yorkshire pudding with beef and horseradish, a pig in blanket, two slices of cake (one fruit, one sponge) and a mince pie. A Christmas cracker is also supplied, and a tea bag for the essential accompanying beverage. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available. [Read more…] about Festive Afternoon Tea
In my last post I extolled the benefits of my new fitness watch – mainly in accurately measuring the distance and time of my runs, but a few other (less important) features as well.
But the data doesn’t have to stay on the watch. I can upload it to web-based applications and, Oh wow! What a plethora of fun and procrastination that opens.
For example, I can view pretty-coloured graphs that track my daily health and fitness, such as movement and heart rate and progress towards daily step goals. [Read more…] about Living with a Fitness Tracker – Part 2
So, as pondered in an earlier post, I decided to treat myself to a fitness tracking watch. I justified the expense (both to myself and to Mrs Chippy) on the basis that it was less than half the money I was saving on fuel by working at home. I didn’t really need to justify the expense to Mrs Chippy at all; within a few days she had bought herself one too!
I have to say, I am impressed. Obviously, it tells me the time and date – it is a watch, after all – but it will also fairly accurately track how far I run, walk or cycle – it’s even clever enough to work out what type of activity I am doing. [Read more…] about Living with a Fitness Tracker – Part 1
There have now been 23 Saturdays without a parkrun in the UK – or indeed most of the rest of the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that, for the first time since its inception in 2004, all events were suspended in March. Since then, only New Zealand has been able to restart (but has subsequently been re-suspended). Yes, we were 90% proud of New Zealand parkrun, but 10% jealous!
How have we coped? How have dedicated parkrunners managed without our weekly fix of running and camaraderie. [Read more…] about parkrun – it goes beyond running
I’ve written before about how one of my favourite local walks is the stretch of river from Bishopstoke to Highbridge. As part of our “keeping it local” lockdown exercise, over the last couple of months Mrs Chippy and I have been exploring the rest of the river.
We started by running the stretch from Woodmill to Winchester and back. No, not all in one go; that would be silly. We took it in four stages – each stage a round trip of around 8 to 10 km (sorry to die-hard imperial measurers, but I measure exercise in kilometres – probably because the numbers build up more quickly).
The longest stretch was from Bishopstoke to Woodmill. It takes a lot of perseverance as, once you leave Bishopstoke, there is no crossing point until Mansbridge, 6 km away (the M27 doesn’t count). It’s also (possibly for the same reason) the least busy part of the path; we passed very few people. It was quite a surprise to see lots of people once we reached Mansbridge and completed the short section through Riverside park to Woodmill. [Read more…] about Exploring the Itchen Way
In recent years, afternoon tea has become the new decadence, being offered at a number of cafes and tea shops.
The Blackbird Café at Fleming Park’s Pavilion on the Park has come up with a great way to put our love of cake, sandwiches and tea (but mostly cake) to good use during lockdown: offering a takeaway afternoon tea to help fund a lunch club on wheels service for people who are isolated during the pandemic and might not otherwise get a hot meal.
I bought a new mobile phone recently. Here it is.
Anything wrong with that? Yes, it’s not a fruit-flavoured smartie phone. Much to the bewilderment and frustration of family and friends, I refuse to own a smartphone. Why? No one has yet convinced me of the need. The phone I have makes and receives phone calls and text messages and that is pretty much all I need it to do. [Read more…] about Smart Phone – No thank you
Taking our COVID-19 permitted daily period of exercise is good for our health, but the restrictions on “keeping it local” can make it bit monotonous. So why not add a bit of variety and adventure to your walk by finding a route where you can spell out a word or phrase with the first letter of street names.
In true Blue Peter fashion, here is one I made earlier. [Read more…] about How to make the daily exercise more interesting
While queuing outside Tesco, I thought that the tape marking the 2-metre social distancing spaces should be replaced with brass (a bit like the brass studs that mark the boundary of properties in shopping streets). They can then remain as a legacy after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Why? So that in 20 years’ time when our grandchildren ask what they are there for we can tell them about the great lockdown of 2020.
So, what other legacies might the crisis give us? [Read more…] about What could the Covid-19 legacies be?
How are we all doing with social distancing and self-isolation? It’s something that cats have been doing for years.
Here are a few tips about what’s changed in daily life. Apologies if it is reiterating what you know already, but hopefully there are a couple of new pieces of information. And there’s a quiz (nothing to do with lockdown, COVID-19 or shopping) at the end [Read more…] about Life under Lockdown
For many people, working at home has suddenly become the new working practice. This may be familiar for some, but a big change for many. Working from home is notjust working from the office without a commute. There are a number of things to be considered on both working practicalities and home life. Here are a few reflections after two and a half days of working from home. I was going to entitle this piece “Broad thoughts from a home”, in tribute to the poem of similar name by Robert Browning, but didn’t think I would get away with it. [Read more…] about Working from Home
The M27 will be completely closed in both directions between junctions 3 (M271) and junction 4 (M3) this weekend – from late evening Friday 31 January to early morning 3 February.
Later this year Hampshire County Council (HCC) will be introducing a registration scheme to use the county’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). Barriers and Automatic Number Plate Registration (ANPR) systems will be installed to allow access only to vehicles with a pre-registered number plate. Non-registered vehicles will be subject to a £5 charge – for each visit. [Read more…] about Registration required for Household Waste Recycling Centres
It seems that pretty much every singer has recorded a Christmas song. Some are originals; some are covers (which may or may not be better than the originals). Some of the songs are quite enjoyable; others are less so.
Here are some of the less well-known songs that have made it to my Christmas playlist. You may or may not agree with my somewhat erratic and eclectic selection.
I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayla Peevey is possibly the oldest recording in the list. This is such a fun song that it is permanently on my MP3 player – proving, perhaps, that a Hippopotamus isn’t just for Christmas but for all year round. [Read more…] about Christmas Songs