Sunday 29 November 2020



Welcome to a rather grey and miserable South Manchester in the North West of England. We are still in lockdown here in England but will be released on Wednesday into a Tier system that still sees us effectively in lockdown. The only difference is that shops and gyms will be open and I will be able to go the barber for a haircut. However, we cannot go the pub or a restaurant so effectively we have really been in lockdown in my part of the country for 261 days now. 

And I am bloody sick of it, if the truth be known.

We can “socialise” for Christmas though, which means that between 23rd and 27th December inclusive we can form a “Christmas bubble” (or perhaps better a “Christmas Bauble”) with three other households. 

All this means that my two sons can come to visit on Christmas Day – so that will be good.

The problem is that I haven’t seen my friends for so long now that I have almost forgotten what they look like in the flesh.

All I can say is that now there are three vaccines about to be unleashed I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sadly it will probably be another couple of months before we see the signs. I am so desperate to get out of the UK and travel somewhere that you wouldn’t believe it. 

Anyway – enough of COVID-19; I want to think of good things. 

I noticed that in America it was Thanksgiving last week so I couldn’t really answer the questions on that topic in Sunday Stealing because we don’t have it in the UK. But this week is different. So let’s answer some silly questions from this week’s Sunday Stealing selection

1. My biggest barrier to weight loss is...

My biggest barrier to weight loss is my love of food and drink. First of all, I should say that I am not a fat person, just slightly overweight. When I was younger I could literally eat a horse and not put on weight but ever since my mid-forties I have had to be more careful and now as I approach 60 years old, it is more of a struggle. I weigh thirteen and a half stones (about 190 lbs if you are American) and at a height of 5 feet 11 inches that gives me a BMI of 26.4. That puts me about 10 lbs overweight.  

2. What is your relationship with food like?

Excellent. I eat and enjoy most foods but I try not to over-indulge. I generally eat fairly healthily, avoiding burgers, pies, chips (fries), cake and other things that are supposedly bad for you. 

3. What was the last time you had fun that made you smile for a few days

I don’t think that has happened in 2020 due to this bloody virus. It was probably Christmas 2019. Actually, the arrival of Ziggy and Star has been a fun experience. As I type, they are racing around the house chasing each other.

4. What are triggers in your life that lead to eating?

When I’m hungry. Why else? 

Actually, I can see that there is a problem with things like “comfort eating” and, to be honest, this lockdown has been so desperately dull at times that there has been a temptation to just buy snacks and scoff them all day. 

In the early days of lockdown in April this year, we bought cakes, treats and biscuits (something we don’t normally do apart from at Christmas) and ate them to help cheer ourselves up. My weight increased and so in May or June we decided to stop doing it again and my weight has stabilised. Christmas is coming though so I imagine we will succumb to the festive spirit (as I usually do to be fair).

5. What inspires you to be healthier

I used to be really fit but in my mid-forties again I slowed down and actually stopped exercising until perhaps I was 47, at which time I decided to resume again but walking. 

Over the past ten or so years I try to walk every day and reach a monthly rate of a least 7000 steps a day. Last year I calculated that I had walked 1500 miles which sounds a lot but is actually quite easy (that was an average of 7500 steps a day). 

Walking at my age is a perfect way to stay active and I would love to increase that rate next year. It is a great activity that helps me clear my mind, gives me a good workout (depending on how fast I walk) as well as reducing stress. 

The healthier I am, the happier I am and that is inspiration enough.

6. Name two foods that you think are “bad”

I like to think that you can have anything in moderations, even food that is supposedly bad for you. It is perfectly fine to have deep fried food once in a while as long as it isn’t every day. 

The only food that I would say is bad is rhubarb and apricots. This is not because they are unhealthy. It is because they taste absolutely dreadful and make me wretch just thinking about eating them.

7. Are your expectations for yourself too high?

Not at all. I know what I want and what I like and what my limitations are. I occasionally step outside of my comfort zone (I should do so more often to be honest) but I certainly do not push myself to limits that I don’t expect to be able to achieve. 

8. Would you like more fun in your life?

At the moment, yes, because in this pandemic I am hardly having any fun at all. 

9. What is your one comfort food?

Cheese. I love cheese. I especially love cheese on toast. I try to limit my intake but if I am peckish, I will pop to the fridge and slice off a chunk of cheese.

10. How would you give someone encouragement?

I would talk to them and gently tell them that they can do whatever it is they need encouragement to do.

11. Do you get enough sleep?

I have been watching a few TED talks recently and I was particularly fascinated when the subject was sleep. 

My usual amount of sleep is seven and a half hours a night (almost timed like clockwork) but there are times in the past when I have either gone to bed to late or just had a poor night’s sleep and woken up feeling groggy, irritated and grumpy. The TED talks basically told me about how important sleep is because it gives your body the chance to cleanse, heal and clear itself down after a hard day. Consequently I have tried to go to bed earlier. The good news is that I have now started waking up before my alarm clock having had a great night’s sleep – still about seven and a half hours but sometimes longer. And I feel better for it. 

12. What activities make you feel more relaxed

As I said above, walking helps me to relax as does reading and listening to ambient music like this:

13. Where do you need to practice forgiveness in your life?

I don’t think I do need to practice forgiveness to be honest. I will forgive if necessary but I don’t tend to bear grudges.

14. What is one thing you have not done because of how you looked?

I’ve not entered a beauty pageant because I don’t look like a beautiful woman.

15. What would you like more of in your life?

I would like more freedom from coronavirus restrictions. More generally I would like more freedom anyway but only in terms of not being tied down to a career in the rat race. When I retire, I hope that freedom will materialise.


CountryDew said...

I'm sorry the lockdown has been so hard on you. Hopefully by this time next year, things will be looking much better. I certainly hope so.

I am impressed with people who have a good relationship with food. I do not.

Kwizgiver said...

I'm virus-weary, too. And though I appreciate that life as we know it will probably never return to pre-Covid status, I'm ready to move into post-Covid, hopefully with less restrictions!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD,

It's not been that hard - I was just moaning. We're in a routine that heps us through it. Basically I'm just bored!




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

I think life will return back to normal - hopefully in summer 2021. I think we have to endure some more pain before then though.




2 gators said...

I enjoyed your post and your answers. we are all tired of this pandemic, here in the US Kansas we are about to go on lock down yet again, like you I am so tired of it. hope you have a great week

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi 2 gators,

Sorry to hear that. It is annoying isn't it?




Elephant's Child said...

I feel for you. I really do. And hope that the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter and closer every day.
And of course Ziggy and Star are bringing some brightness and smiles into your life. Along with the dreaded kitty litter duties.
Cheese is a big weakness of mine too. A big, big weakness. I like rhubarb and apricots too though. Sorry.

Bev Sykes said...

No matter what time I go to sleep, whether early or later, my body wakes up almost exactly 3 hours later. I get ~7 hrs sleep, but in 3 naps over 24 hours.

zippiknits...sometimes said...

Knowing your own limits is pretty wise stuff. Food for now is not a problem as neither of us likes sweets. I am, however, developing a BIG attachment to recipes on Pinterest, and have saved three thousand forms of cake.

We are all sick of the Pandemic, and I hope that that it's over by the end of spring. That's about how long it will probably take, if we are honest.

I know you will stay safe, not eat too very many Pringles. I enjoy reading your posts.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Oh yes - cleaning litter trays - one of my favourite pastimes. I would rather clean their trays than eat rhubarb - that's how much I hate it.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

Sorry to hear that - that would infuriate me. I have had times like that (usually because of jet lag) but I usually get over it. Have you tried taking anything? It may help.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Zippiknits,

Resisting Pringles will be my toughest challenge and I know that the pandemic will be over soon enough - in time for the warn weather hopefully. I hate winter, which is why it is getting to me slightly more often than usual. Especially with Christmas coming up and the dreaded Janaryand February (which are bad even when there isn't a pandemic).

I will prevail - I always do.