In an effort to establish a new normal I got up early this morning and jumped on my exercise bike. I plan to start the day this way for the whole week.

I’ll admit to being a little worried at the moment about how I’m going to keep my activity at the same level when I start work and I’ve concluded that the only way I’ll do this to start with is to develop a ‘like it or not’ morning routine, so that even if the day at work proves to be sedentary I’ve still done something.

This means using my exercise bike. It’s the quickest and most expedient way to get done what needs to be done in the morning. 30+ minutes on it caters for the ‘hold diabetes at bay’ recommended daily cardio exercise level and is the bare minimum I want to do.

My walking (which in contrast to my rather boring bike I get a LOT of pleasure from) still needs to be built in elsewhere. I’m hoping this will happen naturally when I discover things local to my new job to do in my lunch break or afterwards when I get home.

Today I started working out earlier than I normally would because I was off to meet a friend in Summertown (Oxford) which for a coffee. This is a really nice little area of the city with a lively street and cafe culture.

I’d planned to set out early so that I could avoid any of the usual issues with A34 jams on the way in – however there was nothing in between me and the sweet sweet caffeine. The journey was over in about 50 minutes and was totally hassle free.

Until I arrived – because Oxford appears to have (in my absence) declared war on the motorist.

I had originally planned to be clever and park further out so that I could walk a mile or two into town and get some more exercise but every single empty frikkin street all the way to the outskirts of the city is now resident only parking 8am – 5pm.

Seriously! I s##t you not! It’s infuriating!

There are NO CARS parked on these streets. Just road after road of empty space for miles and miles with unfilled dotted lines everywhere. I drove further and further out, for around 20 minutes – back in the direction I’d just come – but it was completely in vain. It was all the same wherever I looked.

Oddly it’s a different story at the unreasonably expensive and tiny Summertown car park (that’s swarming with parking attendants) where there is almost no-where to put your car.

It wasn’t like this the last time I came to this part of Oxford – so I can only imagine the unbridled glee that this must have provided for the local council’s goose stepping petty dictators when they realised that with next to no effort they could screw legions of visitors over and extort increasingly exorbitant parking fees from them.

There may be a park and ride service – but what if you want to walk?!


Running out of time I parked, opened the required financial artery, let the lifeblood of my bank account seep into the pay and display machine, put the ticket in my window and walked the teeny distance up the road to Joe’s Cafe where I was meeting my friend.


This place is a little oasis of cheerful calm that she introduced me to several years ago that’s hidden amongst the hustle and bustle of the street outside. Although it does get busy around lunchtime (which is always the sign of a good cafe) the service is continually friendly and the place is never over fussy. They just serve routinely well cooked and simple food with reasonably priced drinks.

As well as the usual circular cafe tables with chairs there are nice cosy half moon booths along the wall that shelter you from view and allow quiet contemplation of the daily paper over a pot of tea and some avocado on toast – or lively chatter with some friends. If you want a nice ‘traditional’ sausage, bacon and egg breakfast instead (which my friend ultimately went for) then this is the place to go.

In my case I wasn’t all that hungry and indulged my usual obsession instead…


Whilst waiting for my friend to arrive I considered the caramelised biscuit sitting at the side of my saucer. The little window on it showed a representative section of the crisscrossed surface, and it looked really really nice.

I bet it tasted as good as it looked.

I set it aside on the table and sipped my coffee whilst waiting.

By the time my friend arrived (and ranted about the parking situation, having also just driven around in pointless circles for 20 minutes too) I was on my second coffee – and placed another biscuit on top of the first.

It too looked very nice.

As we sat and chatted the cafe slowly emptied its lunchtime crush onto the street outside and the hubbub died down. We talked about healthy eating, children, jobs, and for a little while my internal wrangles over my mother’s paintings and what to do with them.

We can natter for hours, my friend and I – barely pausing for breath and moving endlessly from subject to subject without ever needing to explain context or a back story. It’s the kind of chat that comes with the benefit of years of mutual understanding – and I’m always left thinking how rare and precious friendships like this are.

Thankfully although geography often separates us we always make the effort to keep in contact – and even when there are longer than normal absences it never feels odd or forced when we do. We just say hello, and pick up (after a good hug) from where we left off.

A pot of tea arrived shortly after my second cup of coffee, with another biscuit perched suggestively on the side of the saucer. While my friend availed herself of the nearby facilities I turned it over and looked at the back.


From what I could see this innocent looking little (fair trade) biscuit weighed around 6.3 grammes and would set me back ‘only’ 29kcal. That’s 1.5 syns in Slimming World terms, so it’s not going to break the dietary bank.

However, by the time we’d finished there were 4 of them on the table, and three belonged to me.

Eating mine alone would mean that around 1/4 of my daily syns would be gone in 87kcal and much less than a mouthful. To many this isn’t an issue. To be honest -in syn and calorie terms it’s not to me. I hardly use my syns, so I could definitely ‘afford’ all of them.

However – my thought process is very different to what it once was. I prefer not to have empty calories. There’s nothing in these tempting saucer dwellers that will benefit me from a dietary perspective.

I don’t disagree with those who like their sweet treats – but when I consider what will make me full and satisfied (and not wanting to immediately eat even more like this short sharp hit of carbs will) a biscuit isn’t on the list.

In my case my planned (and very hearty) meal for the evening was a broccoli, mushroom and onion stir fry with Bachelor’s Super Rice (Golden Vegetable – 3.5 syns) and four pork medallions.  Although I’m having four of them (Bad Davey!) a tasty piece of protein like this will set me back 134 kcal.

Or I can have four of these teeny tiny biscuits and still feel hungry.

So the biscuits got left behind.

When I got home I made a really really filling meal and currently sit feeling both satisfied and certain that I made the right choice. My whole meal came to around 1100kcal and it was pretty tasty.

Although I’m not focused solely on the numbers on the scales at the moment I’ve become slightly preoccupied with the figure of 22st 12.5 lbs.


I never thought I’d get to this number when I started my weight loss journey – but I’m now under half a stone away from it – and when I get there I’ll be the same weight as I was at Weight Watchers on the 11th November 1999 – and the lowest weight I have a record of since around 1992.

It would be nice to start my new job and have this accolade under my belt at the same time, just for a sense of synergy, although I doubt it will happen. I’ve had some terrific losses lately and I expect this to slow or even halt for at least a week while my body takes stock of what’s going on.

However internet – you never know.

I’m not stressing about it – but I’m also quietly working towards it by not eating one biscuit at a time.



One thought on “Summertown

  1. Loved this! Your strength and determination is so admirable. I felt the same way when I was on Weight Watchers a few years ago, but this time around I seem to be lacking in those attributes. Well done you! Can’t wait to read more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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