[17:15] Well, a considerable amount has happened since the last journal update.
Let me get right down to it. Shortly after my last journal entry Rachel and I
had a much needed night away in a nice hotel. There was a nice meal,
a lovely room, some time away from everything else, a gym and swim in the
morning, and a cycle both ways, which was far more delightful than driving, or
getting a train, or anything like that. A bit after that Rachel took me and
her nephew for joint birthday/Christmas present trips to an indoor water park
(think slides and pools and things, but in a building), and then for our very
first ever time trying downhill skiing. I've done cross country (which I love,
other than when there are downhill bits that I don't think I can control myself
on), but never downhill. I picked up the basic snowplough stuff in a few
minutes, but just couldn't master turning for the life of me. I just didn't
seem to be able to work out which leg to lean on, how to turn the skis, and
generally do what's required. It got pretty frustrating after while. I'm
really glad I got to try it, though. I might even do it again... some time!
That trip was combined with seeing my parents who, a few weeks later, decided
it was finally time to give up the car and depend solely on public transport.
I'm really, really proud of them for that, and hope that it's not too much of
an inconvenience for them to do things and go places, now. Anyway, the week
after the skiing and water park adventures Rachel, her mother, and I took a
Eurostar to Paris (the first time we'd been out of the country in over two
years, I think... maybe more) to see something of Paris, have a day watching
masters tennis at the Roland-Garros and sample some French cuisine. Everything
went swimmingly, I think, although I was a bit out of sorts for no reason.
Other than that there's been lots of travel back and forth between here, London,
and Rachel's new home near her mother's (mostly by Rachel, but I've done a bit,
and I intend to do a lot more to save her having to do it all). Rachel has
been slowly accumulating necessary items for her home, as well as getting the
heating working, white goods delivered, and ensuring she has somewhere safe to
leave her bike which isn't the kitchen. I've attended an actual social event
in town, which I struggled with a bit in terms of COVID-19 exposure (which was
totally justified when someone in the group actually came down with as a result
of the evening), and even considered a few more for the future. And Rachel and
I have had some discussions about work/life/relationship balance. I don't think
we've come to any significant conclusions yet, or at least not enacted them
fully, but we're certainly trying very hard, which makes me extremely glad. I
have convinced my old running coach to take me on again to get me ready to do
better at my next marathon (April 2022) and I'm training hard at the gym as well
as at home to strengthen my legs with the help of some exercises from a physio
And that brings us completely up to date. All that remains is to tell you what
is coming up in the next few weeks (until probably just before Christmas). I
think that boils down to dinner with Shaun and his family next week (Cormac's
invited, but he hasn't surfaced on anyone's radar in months), and a trip up to
see Rachel in early December when I'll be taking my bike on the train both
ways, which was an epic undertaking to book (hopefully!) successfully. We'll
have to see how that goes. I'll be packing plenty of bike lights, reflective
clothing, a helmet, bike repair kit, lots of warm clothes, and a full set of
waterproofs. I have a feeling I'm going to need them all at that time of year!
More just before Christmas, or over it, or after it. Before 2022, anyway.