Ed, the magnificent European Eagle Owl.
I've hardly been out on my bike but did finally get out yesterday for a decent ride. I went to Lyndhurst to meet my sister in the morning. It's about 5 miles and took me half an hour (each way, obviously). The weather was on the cool side when we met up but had warmed up considerably by the time we parted. It was a lovely ride - the local authority has paved the track beside the road and it's a flat, smooth ride right into town. I'm definitely not in the best shape but the beauty of having so many gears is that you can always find one that works for you. :) It felt really good to be out on the bike.
I picked up a pair of shorts in anticipation of some decent weather in Ireland in September when I go hiking with Jane again, something I'm very much looking forward to. We've got almost all the details organised now, just need to book some transport from place to place, and are counting down the days.
Our trip starts in Dublin, then we spend two days on Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands on the West Coast. Technically we have two days hiking while we're there but we may opt for bikes, depending on the cost, for at least one of those days. 8 days later we arrive in the town of Westport, on the mainland, before heading back to Galway for three nights. After that it's Cork for 2 nights and a visit to Blarney Castle to kiss the Blarney Stone (!). Back to Dublin and we go our separate ways again. I have total confidence that this trip will be as great as last year's - despite not really knowing each other before last year, we got on extremely well so this year promises to be even better.
I've wanted to visit Ireland for DECADES, so this is literally a dream come true for me. Being able to share the experience with a friend just adds to the joy. SO excited!!
In other news, I've changed my car insurance this year to a different insurer. I just about fell over when I got my renewal form: £381!! That's half of what I paid for the car, really not worth it. Fortunately there are about a million other options here so I plugged in some numbers, got some suggestions, et voila! I've got a new policy that's saved me £120. My current insurer couldn't match it, so they said 'thank you very much for your custom' and let me go without a fuss, which I appreciated. I would've stayed had they been able to match it, but it wasn't to be. At least not this year. But I'm pleased nonetheless. Every little bit helps.
I'm less disappointed about Brexit now that I've had time to think and learn more about it. It sounds stupid to say that post-vote, but I haven't lived with the EU for 40 years, so despite a little reading pre-vote there was only so much I could absorb and understand. The English have been living with this for decades so have a better idea (or at least stronger opinions) about it. Now that all the 'Leave' campaigners have bailed, however, it will be interesting to see how things pan out - but a woman Prime Minister is pretty much a given. I know nothing about the women running, so it appears I'll have to do some more reading, but it wouldn't surprise me if, despite being the firm favourite (and part of Team Remain), Theresa May doesn't get the job. If it goes to a general election, it's quite likely the People will continue their decimation of the privileged and bring in someone entirely unexpected.
As I said before, interesting times!
I took myself to the doctor last week and had a chat. It wasn't with my regular doctor (who doesn't work this day or this day and is the emergency doctor that day...) and I actually felt like I was listened to. I went because I'm slightly concerned by the fact that I'm almost permanently bloated in my legs (started about two years ago). He wrote up a bloodwork request and included kidney numbers (harking back to my issues in Whitehorse), which I was pleased about. Oedema can be caused by heart or kidney issues.
He took the pulse in my legs and feet and my blood pressure and said he wasn't at all concerned that it was my heart (phew!), as the pulse was strong and the blood pressure right where it should be.
It also includes iron numbers, as I've been taking my iron supplements since February or March. I've definitely noticed an improvement in my breathing and energy levels but sometimes think I could use more, so I suppose I'll have to wait until the results come back before asking about that. I'm positive that some of it is menopause related, but not all of it, so I'm glad there is this bit of follow-up.
Work has been quiet this week, partially because two of our surveyors have been on holiday, and also because of the air of general uncertainty that's hovering around the economy at the moment. People are still buying houses, but even in the past two weeks things have noticeably quieted down. I think this initial uncertainty is going to be around until the new year. In the meantime, I've managed to get some long, long overdue filing started (stuff from 2010!). I have spoken with the MD about putting in some extra hours to get this organised, but I may save that until the fall, when the weather is really rubbish and I don't want to spend my weekends trying to get out on my bike. I had suggested that I take some extra time off for extra hours worked (1:1), but may take half cash, half time. That would get me a little more each paycheque without losing most of it to tax, which I can then put towards debt, and 'save up' for a bit of extra time off here and there.
Anyway, apart from library visits, a day trip to Poole with my sister, watching some terrific British dramas, lots of reading and talking Ireland with Jane, not much else has been going on.
Hope you're all enjoying your summer!