48) Spend a day with me.

My daily agenda has been asked for by some. I dont know why, but here we are..

Hi.. I see you’re already here?

I don’t need an alarm. Every morning I’m awake at 5. If I’ve to be somewhere, then the previous night I just doze and am forever looking at the clock but in general I sleep well. So today, as usual, we’re up at 5.30. I have a wash and take care of the essentials, loo, brush my teeth, then take a look out of the window. I’ve a thermometer on the outside and dress for my run depending on what it shows plus ten degrees as that’s about how much my temp will rise during the run. Wind and rain will make me wear a tight fitting rain jacket, but I usually dress in just a sports bra, running shirt and leggings, minus the shirt if it’s warm. As I’ve mentioned previously, lots of Arena stuff is sent to me, so I take a quick dip in the drawer for clothing, it doesn’t matter what. My trainers are, at the moment, Nike Revolution 4. They’re a bit past it at three years old, but by far the best shoe I’ve had for running. New running shoes are always at the back of my mind when I put these on, but they just feel sooo good I don’t feel like parting with them just yet.

I do eight miles a day, normally. Having just done a Google map thingy to check my route for you, I see that it’s more than it’s actually about 9 and a half.

That’s good for the ego!

My route changes but typically it’s up to St Mary’s lighthouse then back past my house to Collingwood’s monument. For a change and if it isn’t a work day, I can go to North Shields, hop on the ferry, then run along the South Shields coastline. Depending on the weather, who I meet, what I see, the run can take as little as an hour and 25 to two hours, but if I get chatting, or depending on how long the bacon sarnie van queue is, this can stretch to two hours or more. Then back for a shower. You won’t mind if I close the door?

Breakfast? I change what I have. For example if there has been a sandwich van incident, I wont add anything else to the stomach. If not, then cereal or toast and strawberry jam or lime marmalade and a giant mug of tea, (Yorkshire, one sugar and a splash of real milk, none of that semi skimmed rubbish), then teeth again. I’m a bit of a demon for brushing my teeth. I use a Braun electric thing, and find this much better than a manual. If I’m at work I head out, if not, then I catch up on emails, do some spreadsheets for work and home. Excel and I are the best of friends! Housework proper will be done as well if there’s a day off as I love a clean house. This can take a couple of hours at Tynemouth, four floors will do that, but in Durham everything is on the same level so takes less time.

If it’s a workday, then at about 8.45am I have a slow journey to the pool in County Durham from Tynemouth. This can take a while, but the Metro to Newcastle then the train to Durham city is nice, I can watch the scenery and the people. I keep a bike near the station in a lockup, so use that to cycle the few miles to the pool, or I run if I feel like it. Once there, a shower, change into my pool gear, say hello to the staff already there, check pool chlorine levels, and if anything needs doing such as making up doses of chlorine or rota adjustments, and at last head into my pool. I say my pool as I’ve been there eleven years next month and in my mind it’s miiiine. My precioussss. There is my splashdancing for pensioners at 11, followed by any swimming lessons I’ve had booked in. I can have lessons all day in the school holidays. In total I do eight hours “work” there, which consists of what you’d expect, watching from my chair for swimmers that are doing badly, offering tips, swimming myself, and maybe some letching.

If I’m on lates then I can start at 4 and finish at about midnight, but as we are open 24 hours a day I can be on nights as well. I love the nightshift, less people about, gym is quieter, I can choose my own music to play over the speakers, and I can get some proper cleaning done. We have specialist cleaners but to me they don’t do everything they should do. For example, the toilets should be checked every hour at least. I’ve been saying this for ten years and, since lockdown has eased, the frequency has been upped to every two hours, but sometimes at peak times this just isn’t good enough. Cue me and my marigolds.

The cafe is closed at 5pm, so night staff take in their own food and we always have a share. There are times when we have no customers, so let the pool olympics commence! Our inflatables are .. well.. inflated, and a doughnut is put up for the winner. Or a race on the gym’s running machines… a mile or two?.. Go on then.

If I’ve been there all night then between 5 and 7am is the busiest time for us, as people visit before going into work, lots of police and paramedics included.

Whatever time I finish up, I go around to see if all’s well, then have a shower, dry my hair, but only enough so that it isn’t soaked. A good dry will take 30 minutes. Then onto my bike to the station. These night-time finishes are the times I go to my Durham place, there being very little public transport about. When at home I have a sandwich and sit down to write in my diary what’s happened on that day. Mostly boring to others, but stuff like the weather, who I’ve seen, the general things in the world. I’ve a shorthand of sorts, so Tynemouth becomes TY, Durham DM, etc. Anything intensely private goes into my other diaries, these being kept in the safe. Nothing bad, you understand, the bodies are buried where no-one will find them anyway, haha, but private to me. Anyone can read my usual diaries. The gushy cringey words of my teenage years are behind me now. The blog is written at the same time, although with far less detail.

Then it’s bath-time, and me time. If you’ve read this blog in order, and (if not, why not?) then you know what that means. Radox.. ooh I love Radox. However, Radox hates my hair so I use it only once a week. Other bath-time additions are Laura Mercier honey, it even comes with a drizzler.. I could eat this, or Jo Malone bath oil. To be fair, bubbles don’t generally do it for me, so anything non-foaming is ok. Again, I’ll just close the door?

An hour later and we’re in the kitchen preparing something more substantial than a sandwich. Cooking is a skill picked up over time and living on my own means I like to cook lots, then freeze most of it. I don’t own a microwave, preferring to use the oven. I tend to do lots of pasta bakes, bolognese, lasagne, and casseroles etc for wintertime, in the summer its usually a salad with chicken or tuna. What about fish and chips? Shhh.

I might have an hour online to catch up on the news, read emails, and perhaps chat a bit on the phone or online, or have either a sea or river swim depending on where I am before bed for ten or the equivalent if on nights. Of course if it’s a Saturday then a Skype with Ellie will happen. Since she’s moved to her new place I can indulge Skype on more occasions. Sunday’s are a bit different. I never work on a Sunday, but use the time to do my usual morning routine then go to church. For those new to the blog, (hello!), I’m not religious but love the architecture, the peace, and the ceremony of a mass. In more normal times I would have headed back to Father Dave’s for lunch, or the same at the Gib Rock or Ellie’s parents.

If I’ve no work than I can read further into news events, visit the parks, meet up with friends, the usual stuff that folk do. So you see, my life is no different to anybody else’s!

I’ll see you out. I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit.

As ever, thanks for visiting.



20th June, 2021


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