Freckles, Kassaba and a charity shop

It’s early morning and I’m tired. For some reason I’ve been up and down to the toilet all night and I think I must have expelled an oil tanker’s worth of fluid.

This always worries me a little (it happens occasionally) as it reminds me of  what made me realise I had diabetes. Going to the loo every 45 minutes had become an embarrassing and irritating necessity – and the final straw was actually wetting the bed one night a couple of years ago.

Thankfully nothing like that is happening at the moment. I have been eating lots of veg and drinking lots of green tea. I guess the water from all this has to do somewhere and I’m glad it’s not chosen to take up residence in my ankles like it used to when I sat on my ass all day long.

Sunday was a day of rest for me – intended originally to be a zen haven of video game nirvana – but ultimately it became a telephone battle with Virgin Media’s inept billing dept (which sounds like it’s in India) who don’t listen and kept transferring me to another endless queue.

I spent nearly two hours on the phone – approximately 90 mins of which was on hold to a ‘customer retention department’ who ironically never bothered to answer the phone in an attempt to retain me.

I used up 2/3rds of my talk time allowance on my mobile and ended up fairly livid.

By the time I went to bed I was still not a happy boy – and on Monday decided that I’d rather spend the day out walking (or doing anything) than I would trying to resolve this again.

Thankfully I had a trip around the park planned with a lovely lady from Slimming World.

We’ve now been meeting up once a week for a few months, and each time spend a couple of hours nattering, sitting on benches and strolling around looking at the park and swans. Yesterday was a lovely day for it and as I walked over the canal toward the park from home I couldn’t help but marvel at the clear blue Mediterranean sky. The day was pretty cool and fresh but there wasn’t a cloud to be seen!

When I arrived at 10am to meet my companion St Nicholas looked like it had just woken up for the day. Not only were there brand new roses blooming on the path into the park but the swanling (now almost grown out of it’s baby feathers) was eager to come and say hello.

By the time I’d done three laps of the park, walked home and completed various other chores I had managed to finish the day with 18,500 steps and 8.5 miles under my belt (and had not a single thing to do with Virgin Media)

Today I also have a busy one planned – and the entire day revolves around ex colleagues who I’m either going for walks with or meeting for a meal. However – before all that happens I need to do a bit of hoovering, so I’ll be back in a bit!

(hoovers house, meets mates, has a looooong day out)

Well today has been wonderful. First of all Freckles came to visit and brought her driver with her (who just happens to be an ex colleague).

Our original plan had been a walk around Memorial Park in Coventry. My friend had read about it in a previous blog (that time accompanied by Boris the French Bulldog) and was keen to explore a new dog walking space. As it happened the thick early mist of the morning quickly cleared and turned into yet another blue sky day peppered with little white fluffy clouds.

We did two brisk circuits of the park – which is three and a half miles according to Apple Watch. It’s fair to say that all three of us had a good workout – and a cold drink back in Warwick was called for.

Irritatingly the last time Freckes had visited Warwick I hadn’t thought very hard about where to go (after our St Nicholas park walk) that had outdoor seating – and we had ended up sitting in a Sainsburys car park outside Starbucks.

It hadn’t even occurred to me until later when Freckes was on her way home that the Saxon Mill would have been a good place to go – so this time around I was determined to remedy that. As pubs go it’s pretty special, and given its fully working water wheel it’s not just a nice place to sit by the river – but a genuinely interesting piece of local history that’s VERY dog friendly.

After we’d all had a little rest (and Freckles had lapped at a bowl of water) I suggested that we wander to the St James the Great church over the river, and meander around the edge of the corn fields there toward Old Milverton.

Neither of us had anything better to do, so this seemed like a plan. I did however have an ulterior motive. I was having a meal out with friends later and I needed all the exercise that I could squeeze out of the day.

We did a full leisurely circuit (about 2.5 miles) of the fields and the churchyard before heading back to the car.

By the time we had arrived back to my house my friend, Freckles and I had walked around six and a half miles. It was clear that while she enjoyed all of the exploring his pooch was now a little tired. It took her less than five minutes to get to grips with how exceptionally comfy the thick underlay beneath my living room carpet was and start her little doggy snores while she dreamed about squirrels in Memorial Park.


Eventually my friend and Freckles left and I headed with another mate to a dinner at Star City in Birmingham.

This was with several friends that in some cases I hadn’t seen for several years. We had planned to meet for 6pm at Kassaba, a Turkish grill restaurant, and apart from a little hiccup with traffic from the NEC everyone mostly arrived on time.

The decor of the place was immediately to my liking. I adore the colourful opulence of Turkish and Moroccan art and furnishings.

I’d not eaten much prior to arrival (a baked potato and a tuna salad) but I was keen to not damage my diet too much, so I tried where possible to make some healthy choices. In this case the lamb and chicken kebabs on skewers were fresh meat without fat and were accompanied with boiled rice and salad. As a main meal they seemed like a good way to go.

Since I never normally have a starter I decided to live a little and have some meatballs in sauce. Complimentary bread and houmous arrived at the table too – and I had three pieces with a few generous dips.


As regular houmous is 2 syns per level tbsp I think I had maybe 8 syns – and I’m guessing that the bread (a ciabatta style sliced roll) would have been about 10 syns. There was also some oil in the dressing and the meatballs probably weren’t syn free either.

I’m thinking the meal came in at about 30 syns or thereabouts – but given my walking for the day (my active calories burned was 1,662, my total cardio time was 32 mins, my steps were 18,842, and the total distance 8.83 miles) I think I’ve done OK and struck the right balance between exercise and reward.

I’ve never eaten at a Turkish restaurant before – but I think I’ll be eating there again as the food was flipping delicious – and the hot tea at the end was the cherry on the cake.

When I add to this the great conversation from old friends too seldom seen it’s no surprise to me that three hours of eating and chatting had passed before any of us noticed the time. When we finally asked for the bill it was well past nine o’clock and unfortunately those of us with children, jobs, pets, and addictions to walking were beginning to tire.

We paid up and headed for our cars and home – agreeing that we should meet up again soon.

Honestly I’ve been invited to these meals before – but due to embarrassment over my weight, and worries about seeing people and being bigger than the last time we met I’ve turned the opportunities down.

Lately though I’m turning nothing down. I’m open to (almost) anything. I’m not making the same mistakes and excuses again.

Yesterday and today are stark reminders of the simple pleasures that can be found in a healthy lifestyle – and it means more than just feeling physically well, it means feeling mentally fulfilled too.

I feel both this evening as I type.

I’m tired from all of my exercise, proud that I’ve done so much, happy that I spent so much time with my friends, and looking forward to whatever tomorrow has to bring.

(but before I sign off)

Today I FINALLY took 13 pairs of jeans (ranging from a 66in – 60in waistline), 17 8x shirts, 6 8x teeshirts, 2 8x hoodies, 2x pairs of 8x shorts and one 8x pair of tracksuit bottoms to the Age UK charity shop in town.

It was very VERY hard to do, and I’d put it off and put it off, but now it’s done and I no longer have a clothing fallback position.

The only way for my weight to go is downward. Financially I can’t afford to replace them.

I’m wearing the smaller 7x’s I have and the larger 6x’s. There will be more to go to charity soon.

Scary, but happy times Internet.




3 thoughts on “Freckles, Kassaba and a charity shop

  1. Pingback: Lego teracotta army – daveywankenobie

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