Contributions from our Members
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Gary Adams provided the following ideas about keeping active and added his thoughts on looking forward:
For indoor exercise it is hard to beat the Concept 2 rowing machine but be prepared to pay anything from £700 - £1200; but that price should motivate people to use the machine. I personally have a bike on what is called a “turbo” in which the back wheel is jacked up and fixed to a resistance device which makes cycling harder or easier depending on which lever is pressed. They can be had on eBay for less than £60.00. But of course the better quality models are going to cost more than that… in some cases considerably more. I got a perfectly satisfactory model from Halfords for £120. On a foul winter’s day it beats being out in the rain and cold. That said I am firmly of the view that, if you can manage it, outdoor exercise is best.
Opera and ballet has been available via live streaming for several months, and most Friday evenings I have watched something from the Royal Opera house, although I have to say viewing on a laptop screen is a pretty poor substitute for the real thing or watching it at the Odeon. The English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Northern Ballet, and Sadler’s Wells have also started live streaming. There is a small fee to be paid; however I regard it as worth it.
The French and German language groups quickly adapted to Zoom and have been meeting online throughout lockdown, and have even attracted new members.
I am probably most looking forward to the chance to resume foreign travel even if it is just to places like France and Germany, which we used to take for granted.
Margaret Trowbridge sent a photo of her Amaryllis (see the Spring Photos section in this website). She was particularly pleased to see that it had 7 blooms at the same time! She wondered whether we ought to start a competition to see if anyone had a plant that could beat this. (No prizes, but there’s a challenge for you!)
Lizzie Smith has discovered an app called Duolingo, for learning or brushing up on a language. “It tests you to see what level you’re at and you’re off!” says Lizzie.
She has also downloaded an app to track mileage, calories, and number of steps when walking. The first time she used it while on a walk it turned out that what she had estimated as being 3½ miles turned out to be 5! A great incentive to get walking!
Vera Hughes has been writing her own personal account of last year. Below are a couple of extracts:
Domestically very little changed for us and there were compensations. We were allowed an hour’s exercise per day so we started walking round Beech Hurst Park behind the Council offices. We had spent a great deal of our lives in thirty years waiting to cross Salisbury Road. Now it was quiet, almost traffic-free. Bliss! We gradually got to know every tree in the park, the conifers, the cherry trees, the horse chestnuts, the oak, the stunning silver birches and the beech trees. We realised that the immense conifers at the edge of the park formed a backdrop to the outlook from our own garden. We hadn’t realised they were so near, so majestic. We watched the trees as, week by week - it seemed almost day by day - they opened their leaves to the spring and blossomed in their turn. It was nesting time for the birds and, yes, the dawn chorus did seem louder.
We celebrated VE Day (8 May and David’s birthday) by wearing red, white and blue when we went for our walk. Also the Liberation of the Channel Isles on 9 May. Margaret next door comes from Guernsey and Wendy (a friend from Uni, who lives about ten minutes away in what we call the Wendy house) comes from Jersey. I found the Guernsey flag on the internet - red cross on gold background - made a little paper flag and we enjoyed fizz and cake in our front garden. It was good to celebrate something.