Quarantine Journal Entry #3

Day 9.

I have too many friends with children to complain about sleepless nights. But that sleep was suboptimal.

Then I had a rude yet wholesome alarm clock, sounded by my nieces at 8am, hollering, “Hairy eggs and bacon!” 🙂

Last night my friends in Latvia cooked and ate the jeanbar – vegan beanjar – recipe I left them upon my departure. Makes me proud to know that Guernsey cuisine has found an international fandom! Looks the part, eh?

Polished and published my notes for Quarantine Journal Entry #2. It has occurred to me that these entries may be mundane, maybe even boring. However, they please me to write, and I have faith they will please at least a few of you dear readers, so they are worth writing. What the hell else do I have to do anyhow?

Shout out to The Guernsey Weigh for delivering my second batch of goodies since entering quarantine. It is spiriting to see a business take the initiative and set up a sustainable market without unnecessary packaging and plastics. Amongst other bits and bobs, I’ve bought several kilos worth of beans and lentils – organic and cheaper than the supermarket alternatives – fresh fruit, vegetables and spices. Happy days.

Knocked out twenty snatches each arm with a 32kg kettlebell. Phwoar. Short but heavy work. Sun salutations with my warmed up muscles thereafter.

Writing time. With clear intent and focus, I write out the rest of the Seneca article, ready for reviewing and editing tomorrow with fresh eyes. Conscious intention prevents dissolution of focus. Whenever I begin to procrastinate, I go and do five front-squats with the two 24kg kettlebells, punishing me into concentration. Twenty-five squats means five times in the space of a couple of hours, not half bad by my standards.

Broke my fast three hours shy of the full 24hrs. For the last two years I was working in an office, I would for the most part fast all day and eat in the evening, though I would exercise and dip in the sea every morning, sometimes swim or workout on lunchtime, and often in the evening too. My brain and body works better fasted. It is lighter, sharper.

All-day fasting whilst confined by law is more complicated. For the most part it is working grandly. Today, only one meal, and will break the fast at the same time tomorrow – in theory.

Today was the first day I didn’t eat jeanbar in nine days.

Today’s quote is from Pavel Tsatsouline, the ex-Soviet superman who popularised kettlebells in the west. It is written in respect of exercise but should be read apropos life in general:

Everything in your body is interrelated and isolation is a myth.

Day 10.

Careering through quarantine – double figures!

Falun Dafa meditation, coffee, journal. Set for the Friday!

I am in the habit of sending voice messages to friends and family first thing in the morning, especially on Fridays – “Merry Frimas!” – just to throw some chirp around the block and see what bounces back. I started doing this regularly during lockdown in spring, and on Friday afternoons I’d sit down with a fat glass of wine and phone friends to see how they are holding up.

Speaking of wine, this is the tenth consecutive day I have not drank a drop of alcohol. That is probably my longest streak of this year.

Chirping to my sister in the UK makes me realise just how blessed and lucky we are in Guernsey, where we have returned to some semblance of normality.

Polished and published an article on friendship, inspired by Seneca.

Smashed out 120 snatches with a 24kg kettlebell. Highly, highly recommend to boxers. As with boxing, it’s all about the legs and hips, and transferring that power through the torso into the arms. If you look at a snatch or a punch, they look like arm movements. They are not. Arms are just the cables through which power generated in the legs and hips is transferred, into either the lockout position of the snatch, or the face or body of an opponent.

I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I love coffee, but caffeine does not agree with me. Makes me jittery, messes with my focus. Generally I think it is not good for health, essentially being mild hypertension, self-administered via a delicious cup of heaven first thing in the morning. If I swim in the sea, even in winter, rarely do my fingers go white for long. If I’ve had coffee, they will remain dead-man fingers for more than an hour afterwards. That cannot be good, can it?

But, one upside of caffeine: ENERGY!

Ground out ladders of double clean and press with the two 32kg badgers, totalling 50 reps in total. That’s more than one and a half tons lifted overhead today, not including the snatches – I’m chuffed. Then a kettlebell burpee finisher, 60 reps with those same blasted badgers. Stretches, sun salutations – phwoar. Finished for the day.

Broke my fast just over 24hrs, one big and beautiful meal with all the beans and veggies.

Sink into the sofa, watching a documentary about musicals, then a Top of the Pops from 1990. Every darned song “sung” on that show was mimed, every singer and every band member pretending to sing and play their instrument – like a music video, only there was a false pretence TOTP being a live performance. Well. More egregious crimes were committed in plan sight on that God-forsaken show.

To bed, reading Haanel and Hitchens.

My quote for the day, written by Albert Salomon in 1948. It is chosen in recognition of the solace Seneca has provided me through sticky times, and I hope provides you via my article on friendship.

“Philosophy as a way of life makes people free.”

(N.B. ‘Free’ does not just mean being ‘free to‘ say, do or think whatever you want. It also means being ‘free from‘ what you do not want, be it oppression or discomfort of the body, mind or soul. The Seneca article shows how stoic philosophy can free you from feelings of resentment, for example.)

Day 11.

Piiing. Up like a bolt at 6am. The tighter my eating window, the tighter my sleeping window apparently – and I feel fresh and recovered from kettlebelling yesterday, oddly enough.

Falun Dafa, listening to some ethereal music, and the hoolie a-blowing outside.

Thereafter, I write the journal, whilst beholding the pink and peach-blossom streaks shot through the morning sky. Reminds me of this time two years ago, when I had my almost-quarantine-buddy 500-Burpee Luke for company in throwing punches, lifting kettlebells and sea swimming at the crack of dawn, praying to Venus, the last light shining in the sky before the sun rises to wake everyone else up.

Derek Chisora vs Oleksandr Usyk tonight. The big, bullish, swinging Chisora against the wily, fleet-footed, unorthodox Usyk. A very, very interesting fight. Prediction? I wouldn’t dare. Definitely leaning towards Usyk by unanimous decision, though there is some part of me rooting for Chisora and his overhand right.

Blasted ten sets of ten kettlebell swings, 40kg one-handers. Feeling snappy, feeling strong. Did a clean, press, front-squat complex, five rounds with the twin 32kg badgers, then five rounds with the 24kg puppies. Going one exercise to the other like that teaches you something about tension. Some chirpy Drum and Bass enthused me throughout – a great pacemaker for boxing too, I might add.

The 87 year old Grandlad phoned me, asking if I need anything. I tell him, “I am well provisioned.”

He replies, “Well, I was only saying it to be polite, it feels like something I should say.”

“I see,” I reply, “You are offering with no expectation of actually doing anything.”

“Words don’t cost anything,” replies Grandshag. We both laugh at the glorious cynicism – all in jest of course. Or is it?

Broke the fast in the afternoon with a salad. Not too long after that, jeanbar. Phwoar. Full. However, in the evening I still manage to scoff some rice and beans whilst watching the boxing. Bulking day, let’s call it. I think my stomach has shrunk with this fasting lark.

A boxing dictum: a boxer beats a slugger. Even a boxer coming up a weight class without great power, such as Usyk, against a relentless and powerful slugger almost three stone heavier, such as Chisora. Usyk, too fleet of foot, too slick. Chisora, perhaps too one-dimensional, without a Plan B, without the speed or stamina to remain dangerous for more than three or four rounds. Great fight to watch.

Usyk should fight the winner of Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin, and the winner of that should fight the winner of Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury. But this won’t happen. This is messy, sectarian, corrupt sport that prevents the fights we want to see happening in a timely manner.

An apt quote for Usyk’s performance tonight, in reverence of the greatest ever to lace them up:

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.

One thought on “Quarantine Journal Entry #3

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