Lockdown Week 1

A bit of context: I’m a secondary school English teacher therefore, in this current crisis, school is closed. I’m still working from home, setting work, marking work and generally keeping in touch with my students.

One of the tasks I have set students is to learn a new skill and the write about it. I’ve encouraged students to create blogs, and of course, couldn’t help but get involved.

So during the first week I took on the challenge of drawing animals and then writing a short description of each to create a story.


Day one – a fox

I saw him in the distance. The fox. Watching the way he seemed to glide across the ground barely touching it amazed me.

He stopped. Ears twitching in the light summer breeze, like a statue he stood, his eyes fixed on something in the distance. I could feel the tension in the air as he slowly lowered his body until it was hugging the contours of the terrain. Inch by inch he crept forward, never once taking his eyes off his prey: a rabbit. Moving closer….

Closer…

Closer…

My heart was in my mouth as I watched this unsuspecting rabbit sitting there, nibbling on grass, nose twitching, not a care in the world. Closer…

Day 2 – an otter

SPLASH!

The noise from the nearby river sending the rabbit for cover and the fox to drop his head and wander the way of the water to investigate the noise. As the fox approached the water’s edge, he eyed the cause of the noise. An otter. The strikingly streamlined body swam through the water, its great powerful webbed feet propelling it like a cruise ship in the open sea. SPLASH! Another otter joined the first, then another, and another, until a whole family of otters were playing in the water oblivious to the danger just feet from where they were. 

Creeping, the fox began to stalk his prey, hidden behind the long flowing grass that edged this winding river. Dark ominous clouds began to march in, hiding the early morning sun and taking away the early heat of the morning. The otters could sense it. They stopped their play. And with a flick of their tails they were submerged and gone.

Day 3 – a rat

 
 

Silently edging the riverbank, the fox spotted his nemesis: a rat. Frozen to the spot, the fox was unable to move. The damned creature, just sat there. About a foot long, with brownish fur, short legs and a scaly tail, it sat licking its whiskers. The evil-looking, diseased and cunning demon turned to face the fox. Their eyes met. Time slowed.

The silence was deafening.

No birdsong. No gentle breeze. No sound of the river. Nothing.

Suddenly, the rat with incredible speed and dagger-like teeth showing, together with a piercing deathly moan charged towards the fox. Like a lightning strike, within a fraction of a second, the rat was on top of the fox, teeth ripping into its flesh. Their dance of death went on for hours…until the victor appeared. Dragging its beaten body from the jaws of death…

Day 4 – a goat

(Forgot to write description)

Day 5 – a raccoon

The fox. It gets to fight another day.

Barely alive, the fox slowly begins its tedious wearisome journey back to the safety of its den. Entering the relative safety of the woods, the early morning sun reaching through the canopy of trees. An endless journey lies ahead, full of more dangers, a fox should not be out during the day. At night he is a king among animals. But in the day, especially in its injured state, a free lunch. 

Eyes watched the fox. Little glossy balls of light brown, like copper over honey. His black striped tail swayed back and fourth as he watched. The mask he wore explained his mischievous actions, stealing food, tearing rubbish bags apart, and taking advantage of any situation. He watched the fox, waiting for the opportune moment. He watched and he waited…


And that is your lot. What a point to leave a story!? But that was the end of week one.

Week two: learning to play a song on the keyboard.

Reflections on 2019

It’s that time of year, time to reflect on those ridiculous ideas that were had at this point last year.

I made plenty of ‘firm decisions’ at the end of 2018 in an attempt to make my already wonderful life, more wonderful.

So here goes…

Going Vegan

An absolute success. Actually it has been surprisingly easy – supermarkets and restaurants are definitely getting onboard the whole plant-based food bandwagon. It wasn’t long into the year when I stopped craving bacon and cheese, and now the only thing I actually really miss is fried egg.

RED January

Running every day January didn’t work out how I had hoped. Made it to day 16 before I somehow pulled my calf muscles when running up and down the stairs rather than actually going out and running.

Running

In general, running this year has gone really well. Managed 1000+ miles in total. I completed my first proper ultra – Chiltern Challenge 100km – that was a great experience. Also, I had the idea of trying to improve my Parkrun time, which I did, getting it down to 20.34. As well as completing 30 parkruns in the course of 2019.

Volunteering ✅❌

This was twofold: Samaritans and Parkrun. When it comes to Samaritans, volunteering has been great. As well as the listening, which I’ve done 188 hours in the year, I’ve also taken on board the website which I hope to further develop over the course of next year.

The Parkrun volunteering as been less successful, the grand total of 0 in the course of 2019. I like running them too much! Must try harder.

Project365

Posting a picture every day. In fact, only on two occasions did I forget to post the pictures online. On both occasions this was done the next morning. Admittedly the pictures were never the most amazing, but it was completed all the same.

Blogging

I did of course post a picture of the day on the blog, but actual blogging was something that never really happened. Except maybe a few extended project365 postings. Must try harder.

Allotment

Probably the biggest failure of the year. I had all good intentions, I just never really found the time or inclination to do it. I did produce some potatoes and carrots, but everything else just lacked the tending required. Must try harder.

Happy New Year!

#project365 #364

The 364th day of 2019.

Pretty standard day:

  • 5 mile run – I think the last run of the year – although I’ve given up on tomorrow just yet.
  • Pool – 90 mins at the Snooker Club, although it was very busy, so only pool tables available.
  • Movie 1 – Trainspotting – classic film – I could watch it over and over again.
  • Movie 2 – Ironman 2 – a return to the Avenger movies – movie 3 of 22 – my favourite so far. I love Gwyneth Paltrow, I love Scarlett Johansson, but I especially love Robert Downey Jr.

#project365 #363

Christmas has been pretty busy so today was a rest day.

Although more importantly, it was the start of the Avenger marathon. I have never watched an Avenger movie. Apparently there are 22 of them.

So once the last of the Christmas visitors had left, following a bit of a tidy round, it was movie time.

  • Movie 1 – Ironman
  • The first of the Avenger movies, if in fact that is what it is is, because it appears the actual order you should watch them is in dispute. Order of release? Or order in which they are set? Being new to this whole Avenger thing I plumped for order of release. Ironman, 2008.
  • I quite liked it.
  • Movie 2 – The Incredible Hulk
  • So in order of release date, Avenger film number two, also 2008.
  • Slightly predictable. But some nice nods to the original TV series.
  • Movie 3 – Zombieland: Double Tap
  • A break from the Avenger films. The original Zombieland film is a classic. The second is pretty close to the original – I liked it.