I woke coughing, yesterday’s day out hadn’t really done my Australiapox disease any good. I felt rubbish. I stayed in bed, it seemed the only sensible course of action


I was eventually forced out of bed by the forces of nature. I felt that I really should do something useful around the house so I got the hoover out and set about sucking up the dust and dirt.


It was embarrassing to admit that due to my weakened state the cleaning had tired me out. I sat on the sofa at one, closed my eyes and opened them at four


For yet another evening I watched more brain shrinking television until Loved One’s hot toddy kicked in and drove me to bed.



Red tape

I’d had a go at getting a medical card a few weeks ago and failed. I’d done a little more research and realised that I now had all the required bits of paper to get the card. This meant that I had to visit the office again to make the application. It doesn’t matter how nice the office is, if it has something to do with benefits it will always be a grey soulless office to me.


After a short wait during which I was amused by the most wonderful passive aggressive conversation that went on between a couple. I’ve never heard the word “babe” used so aggressively. I was called to a desk. I laid out all the documentation and the woman on the other side of the desk picked up a few items, tapped a few keys and suddenly I was in possession of a medical card. I can now be ill officially.

Show bus

We took the buss to the agricultural show. The bus company had put on a special bus that took us directly there, it was almost like being chauffer driven there

Show Bags

I heard a lot of chat about show bags on the radio in the preceding days but I didn’t really know what they were. Not until I entered the show bag hall. There were show bags everywhere, each stall had bags of different sizes, colours and contents.


We grazed our way around the food hall. It seemed that every stall wanted us to taste a small sample of their wares. We moved from cheese to pasta to sausage to cut meats to tea and to spices via a whole host of over flavours. Even though it was lunchtime I didn’t feel that hungry.


We settled down by the side of a small track to watch some pigs racing round. There were two races. I hadn’t realised that pigs could run quite so fast. It was all good fun but I doubt it will catch on as a sport. The finale was a flying pig! It jumped off a high board into a pool of water.


One of the attractions in the sideshows are the clowns. These are strange things. They are a model of the head and shoulders of a clown with its mouth wide open. The heads rotate left and then right and I think that the aim is to throw a ball into the mouth. These lines of clowns looked like something from a horror writer’s imagination to me.


I had to see the cows, all the side shows and sampling stalls are all fine and good but this is an agricultural show so it has to have cows that have been cleaned to within an inch of their lives. We found them on the far side of the arena. The cows were pristine and clean, the handlers were covered in the sweat and grime of toil. This is as it should be.


We popped into the poultry hall in a hope of escaping the noise of the funfair. That was a bad move. The cockerels did a wonderful job of drowning out the noise. We cruised round the cages and found the chickens that looked like puff balls. I sometimes feel that selective breading has gone a little too far


I like a good firework display and there was going to be a display in the main arena. We found a suitable place in the grandstand, out of the rain, chewed on a corn on the cob and waited for the display. The announcers started warning that the weather may affect the display. The wind was getting very gusty. They managed to put the display on but there were a few obvious gaps where the sky-high fireworks should have been. It didn’t stop my enjoyment.


The show continued with cars sliding round the arena. The conditions on the track were truly appalling for the drivers and that made it so much more entertaining for us.


Then we had some trap racing. I’ve never seen this before and it was really quite fun to watch. There was mud and sand everywhere.

Rocket Man

By far the noisiest display was the Australian rocket man. This was the stuff of my boyhood dreams. A man wearing a jet pack flying across the arena. I so wanted to be that man.


We left after the second firework display, again it was slightly marred by the high winds not allowing the high ones to be released into the wild but I didn’t care. Two firework displays in one day is just wonderful. I went home happy.



I woke myself up with my own snoring. Loved One mentioned that she felt that she had been kept awake by my snoring too. I was still ill.


For the second day on a row I played at being the spotter whilst loved one played in the waves. The sea was a lot wobblier today and looked to be a lot more fun. I really wanted to be in there splashing about but I knew that this irritating cough and general feeling of not being very well meant it was not to be.


We couldn’t get our usual hot chocolate at the surf club as the place was solid with people. It was a special day apparently. We went to the little café on the corner instead. The only food option there was the buffet breakfast so we felt obliged to take this option and eat as much as possible on the strict understanding that we would not be eating again during the day. The buffet contained mushrooms: many, many mushrooms. I like mushrooms. I may have eaten far too many.


I started to fade at about two in the afternoon. It may have been the food and it was almost defiantly the cold. I needed sleep and there was a warm and comfortable bed tempting me to lie down. I was asleep in moments.


For yet another evening all I was good for was watching something mindless on the television. Loved One made me one of her lights out hot toddies and that effectively brought the evening to a halt.



I woke coughing again. This was a sign that I would not be going swimming this morning. I had hoped that whatever infection I had would have magically disappeared over night but I was sorely disappointed.


Loved One still wanted to swim as she is made of sterner stuff and didn’t have a cold. I said that I would act as her spotter by walking slowly along the beach and taking photos. The water looked so inviting but I knew that even a short dip would lead to me being a coughing mess for the rest of the day.

Hot chocolate

Loved One felt that she deserved a hot chocolate after her swim in the sea. I didn’t but I had one anyway. As neither of us had had breakfast we had the hot chocolate with a bacon and egg roll. Again, I didn’t think I had done enough to deserve this treat but I ate it so that Loved one wouldn’t be eating alone.


We popped into some friends on the way home. We’d not seen them for a long time so there was a lot of catching up to do. We chatted about photography, bikes, gardening and coffee machines. All the important things that make the world go round.


As the weather was reasonable when we got home we decided that the garden needed some work. There is a lime tree in the corner that needed a little more pruning to bring it back into the fold. This was a two-person job and as luck would have it there were two of us. We spent a lovely few hours hacking away and applying our will to the shape of the tree. The results of our labours were quite pleasing

Hot Toddy

I had no desire to do anything beyond sit in front of mindless television this evening. Loved one made me one of here world renowned hot toddies. It contains honey, lemon juice and enough brandy to intoxicate an elephant. The evening didn’t last long after drinking that



I slowly came around to the sound of the alarm. I hoped that last night’s feeling rough had dissipated into the shadows but I was disappointed. I reached for the first tissue of the day and emptied the contents of my head into it before cleaning round the edges with another metric tonne of tissues. I was not feeling well. I was annoyed that I’d picked up a cold, I hate having colds as they are so debilitating in a minor way. They don’t stop you from doing anything, they just make everything so much harder and saps the will to actually do anything. I wallowed in my self-pity for a long while after Loved One left for work.


I spent most of the day in a little haze. I had a list of things that needed to be done and I spent the day diligently avoiding doing any of them.


We had arranged to meet one of Loved Ones friends for dinner tonight. This would be the last opportunity for a lone time for them to meet as she was going to disappear back up north in the very near future. We made the long journey across town to where she was staying. We used the SatNav to guide us there even though it took us along the wrong roads at the wrong times and kept changing its mind over the best way to get there.


We had a meal in a small Indian restaurant in a marina. We had been told that the food there was good but not to expect it to be busy. We found it easily, it was the almost empty restaurant. The place had twenty or thirty unoccupied tables and two other guests. It all felt very strange. Despite the actual emptiness of the pace we still had to go through the whole “have you booked” and “we’ll see if we can find you a table” dance.


The food was excellent, it was enhanced by the continuous showing of a Bollywood movies, they were being projected onto the wall. We had some garlic shrimps, Chicken madras, a fish disk and an aubergine and lentil dish. It all had the right level of spiciness, hot enough to taste it but not so much to overpower the meal. I have no idea why there was no one but us in the place.


I managed to completely not follow the SatNav instructions on the way home and as a consequence the return journey took a lot longer. It also seemed that every major road had road works on it or at least they had signs that claimed roadworks were underway.



My arms felt like someone had laid on them all night. They ached and felt heavy. It didn’t take long to link this feeling with last night’s swimming. I tried to kid myself that this was because I was fat and unfit but then I remembered that my arms always feel like this after an evening swim session.


The scales gave me some good news for a change, I was over a kilo lighter than yesterday. I know that it is probably dehydration but I’m going to ignore that inconvenient truth and celebrate the loss with an extra cup of tea this morning.


I headed off for my almost regular twelve-minute run walk surround by half an hour of stretching. The achillies are still slightly sore so I tried not to push the pace. I still ended up travelling slightly further than last time. I would like to end these little runs without any soreness in the achillies but I somehow think that is a distant dream.


I felt flush with success after my massive run this morning so I decided that I should go for a cycle ride too. It was part of my push to get my fitness back and my weight under control. I decided that I would run the gauntlet of the mobbing magpies and head to the bridge of doom. Last time I was mobbed on the way back but this time the corridor of feathery fury was close to the beginning of the ride. I felt a thump at the back of my helmet. This time I knew what it was and greeted it with the customary phrase that translate roughly to “would you kindly go away and not bother me again”.


My nose started running in the middle of the afternoon. My use of tissues started to increase from hardly any to quite a lot. I had to admit that something was wrong. By the time loved one arrived home it was obvious that I had a cold to everyone except me. I was in a state of deep denial. I wanted to do more running, cycling and swimming and a cold tends to mitigate that.


I sat in front of some mindless television and came to the realisation that I was ill. I felt terrible, my nose had turned into an open tap and my head was full of cotton wool. I was not happy. Loved One made me a honey and hot lemon with added sleepy juice. Sleep came soon after.



I drove loved one to work today so that I could use the car to do a few things today. Loved one and I have different attitudes to driving. I will try to avoid driving whenever possible but if I have to do it I like to take my time, go with the flow and relax into it. This may result in getting to the destination a few minutes later but I’m really not bothered about that. Loved one believes that if I’m driving we should leave five minutes earlier.


I left it a while before venturing to the shopping centre using the pathetic excuse that there might be some traffic about. It wasn’t a difficult drive, I’ve been there many times before. The shopping was easy, I had a list and just wandered round until I’d ticked everything off and put a few unlisted items into the basket as well. I’m not quite sure how I missed the turning for my house on the way home but I did. One moment I knew exactly where I was and the next I was at the other end of the road. I suspect I may have blinked


I went for a ride along the river this afternoon, it was sunny and I needed to get out for some fresh air. I took a similar route to the last time I went this way. I went up to the bridge of doom, gingerly crossed the bridge and tried to stay on the other side of the river. This plan was only slightly spoiled by the path rebuilding. The sandy bit I cycled up last time was now covered in wet cement. I had to cross the river peddle to the next bridge and then cross over again. One day I’ll be able to do the ride I intend to do. Somewhere near home I felt a thump on the back of my helmet. At first, I thought I had just touched a tree branch. Then it happened again. This time a caught a glimpse of feathers. I’d been told about the magpies mobbing people here but I thought it was rather rare. It turns out the it isn’t. Now I understand why wearing a helmet here is mandatory.


I joined a master swimming group for a training session this evening. It was the group that Loved One belongs too so I had plenty of introductions seeing as Loved One has a massive network of friends. The session was held in a private pool in the grounds of a very rich private school. My memories of school pools are not good: cold, miserable, algae lined places. This pool was very different. I approached the session with a little trepidation. It has been a long time since I have done a structured session and even then, it was a for front crawl only. This was for four stroke swimming. I looked at the set, it could have been in Chinese, all the nomenclature was completely different. I was used to the tri club’s style. The session was an hour and a half long, all my previous sessions were an hour, Loved One helped me on this point by saying that we could leave after an hour. The strangest thing was the pool wall. I’m used to the top of the pool wall being close to the water. At this pool it wasn’t. it was like a cliff edge with the top vaguely in sight. This crippled my already poor turning style. I survived for an hour and a quarter by substituting any other stroke for crawl and faking my way through the session but by the end I felt exhausted. It’s been a long time and in that time I’ve got fat and unfit.


The reward for finishing the set was a handful of sweet from a table beside the pool, suddenly the future looked rosier.


We had pea and ham soup with something on toast for tea. It was late in the day and neither of us wanted anything too heavy.



The plan had been for me to have use of the car today so that I could do the food shopping. My failure to wake up put pay to that.


I’d not been for my little run over the weekend. I’d taken my kit but my Achilles were sore so I decided that I wouldn’t. They were still a little sore today but I felt that a twelve-minute run walk would do more good than harm so I trotted off down the usual route. I think I felt better after the run, I just wish I could do more to help lose the bulk I’ve gained over the past six months.


Sometimes there is a pleasure in just pottering around the house doing the odd job here and there, this is how I spent most of my day. The washing got done and dried although the ironing didn’t. I finally got round to cleaning the back windows and in the process made the house smell slightly of vinegar. I even attempted to tighten the bolts on the bed to stop it squeaking every time I roll over. I was a blissful way of spending the day.


We had intended to do some food shopping this evening but loved one was tired and I had no inclination. We hunted in the freezer instead and came up with some salmon and stir fry vegetables instead. It made a lovely simple evening meal.



Michael was on Barbeque duty this morning again this morning to cook the bacon and eggs that we all had on toast for breakfast. Most of us had to head back today some there was a lot of packing up and putting away happening. This needed the bacon and eggs for fuel.

Botanic Gardens

We visited the Botanic Gardens as they were quite close and meant to be very good. I got the feeling that we arrived a few weeks too early. Spring is waiting to burst forth, buds were swelling and leaves were sprouting. Despite this it was pleasant to wander round the gardens for an hour or so. The added bonus was all the plants were labelled so I knew what they were.


We were stopped by the fruit police to check that we weren’t carrying any elicit fruit across the border. I understand all the reasons behind it but that doesn’t stop me thinking that it was a little strange to have a massive inspection post in the middle of nowhere.

Hot Chocolate

After many hours of driving we needed to stop. As the thought got bigger we managed to pass a number of small townships that had no shops. This was disappointing. Eventually we found a town large enough to support a bakery. It seemed to be built in a large tin shack full. Inside was the usual mix of serving counter and shelves of strange items for sale. I have no idea who buys these things but they must be bought by people otherwise they wouldn’t be on the shelves. The bakery served hot hot-chocolate, not the tepid stuff that is usually served up by feckless teens in chain coffee outlets. I can forgive them anything for this one thing


It was good to be home after a long journey, we sat down in front of some mindless telly to relax. At the end of the program we found that a friend had proposed to his partner. There followed a frenzy of texting to find all the details.



The day started unusually early for a Sunday as it was day two of the swimming gala. There was a lot of activity that I tried not to take part in. Fruit and yogurt was being consumed and dry swimming clothes were being sought. I had a cup of tea and tried to look useful. I probably failed.


I took up my position by the three rows of chairs ready to guide swimmers top their events. At least this time I had a clue about what I was doing. In the beginning, I felt that there was something missing. It became obvious when the organiser came over with the sheriff’s hat with the flashing badge. If you are going to marshal you need to look like a marshal. I only made a few mistakes but hopefully no one noticed.


I’m not a great fan of pizza, it’s not that I don’t like it however if there is an alternative then I will always go for that. The after-event presentation featured a lot of pizza, there was no alternative. Loved one collected wine and medals for her efforts in the pool and I was given wine for my pathetic efforts. I have a feeling that they were grateful for someone to do the job.


The real reason I’d come was to swim across the Murray. It is a traditional end to this swim meet for the group of swimmers I was with. We started from the house boat and headed for a point on the other side taking into account the flow of the river. It was nice to be in cool water after a weekend in an overheated swimming pool. It wasn’t so nice to have acid indigestion whilst I was swimming.


There was an open house on the boat for all the swimmers at the gala. The entry requirement was a bottle and a plate. I recognised most of the people there due to the marshalling but I couldn’t remember their names. I wasn’t the only one, one guy kept calling me Tom. I’m not called Tom or anything that sounds like Tom.