Friday, March 22

On Nutrition

Post swim daily
I am experimenting with sports nutrition as I train for swimming.  Accordingly I have pre-swim nutrition (Gu gel), during-swim nutrition (Gu; SIS Go Electrolyte; High 5 Electrolyte; Coke drained of its fizz and sugar added; ISO Isotonic drink; Ovaltine with water; ginger cordial) and post-swim nutrition (High 5). Each is measured to the teaspoon and mixed into a one litre bottle of water for rapid consumption.

Admittedly the sports drinks are for exertions of 90 minutes or more and , since my workouts are about an hour, they don't really do much. The aim is to find the ones that don't make me sick for longer efforts. To judge, c half-way through a training session I guzzle the full litre and see what happens. So far, I like the Coke best.

The Fixx

Anthony and I meet up to see 1980s new wave rock band The Fixx. Beforehand we have dinner at a suitably trendy North London spot where Ant knows the owner then I get a lift in his electric bike which makes me a bit uncomfortable as cars wizz by. 

The Fixx opened for The Police's "Synchronicity" tour in 1983 and at the peak of their powers. Their album, Reach The Beach, is one of the few I listen to from soup to nuts every few years or so. The others ? Pink Floyd's Animals and The Wall; Beatles Let It Be and Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; Koyaanisqatsi; Prince's 1999 and Sign O The Times. Green Day "American Idiot". Not that many.

In other news, Eitan has settled in to his life in Washington DC, living in a brownstone with four other young people and working 9-5 at the Progressive Campaign. Having scant news I consider to be a good thing.

Monday, March 11


Sonnet and I, joined by Stephanie and Andy, see Lutrell in Brixton which keeps us out until 4AM. The club has two floors and we grab a booth from 10pm and watch the scene get started, then do some dancing. Sunday is a wreck and I sleep it off for most of the day.

Friday, March 8

My Mother and the Movies

30 minutes early eg right on time
Grace and I go to the movies a couple weeks ago - American Fiction - which has been, and remains, one of my mother's favourite things, and she is always up on the cinema. Since my father's passing, Grace has been mentally sharp and, while mostly indoors due to parkinson's, which both my parents have/ had, she keeps in touch with her dear friends, which are like gold dust, including Katrina (Montessori sister), Sue Barton (movie dates), Jeanine Saperstein (lifelong discussions), Laurie Berman (shared worldviews), Alan (Moe's law partner and Harley rider) and Ellen (Jewish mother) and her two sisters, Marcia and Carla, who were in Berkeley last week.  I am certainly missing other friends who bless my mom in this universe. 

Leaving Astorg has allowed me a lot of time in Northern California, a place I love. 

56 year friendship

Thursday, March 7

And Some Updates

Tomatoes seeded, spring around the corner
I am banging out the swimming, this morning 3km with neighbour Gareth who, very conveniently, has a beautiful 25m swimming pool in his backyard complete with a Lane 4 diving block and old-school analogue clock with big red and black hands indicating the seconds. We crank out sets of 200s, 100s and 50s.

Eitan has relocated to Washington DC to intern at Crossroads Campaigns, a non-profit organisation advising on progressive elections across the US. I believe he would wish to join a congressional or senate race following the internship - this is the year to fight fascism in America.

Madeleine, in her final semester at Manchester, is working on her dissertation which reports on anxiety and depression in UK prisons.

Friday, March 1

River Swim

Hampton canoe club
Kim has introduced me to swimming in the Thames, which opens up a completely new way to view the river. About ten years ago, when I started swimming in the SF Bay, the natural open-water venue in London is .. the Thames and Sonnet and I spent some time walking up and down the muddy riverbank to find an acceptable jump-in point, none found (we did explore Eel Island, famous for Rolling Stones and Jim Hendrix jam sessions but it, too, was slick and uninviting). 

Kim, however, is a veteran and there are stretches of the river which are fantastical and make me think of Huckleberry and Jim going down the Mississippi River, pulled by the water flow. We always swim West of Teddington Lock, where the river is fresh-water from a source near Oxford vs. East of the lock which is salt-water tidal (and passes through the center of London). On cleanliness, the Thames was declared a dead river in 1981. Today, there are otters and a dolphin sited only yesterday; there is talk of the ancient salmon-runs coming back.

In winter, the Thames can go as low as 1C requiring wetsuits, gloves, booties and a thermal hat ("skins", the Brits call it). We always swim in two's otherwise dangerous from cold or boats (rowers, propeller, sometimes barges). Spring and summertime the temps will reach 16-18C. Whenever it rains we have to be extra careful about the current which can run 2-3 knots and impossible to swim against. 

In short, the river has a personality that is worth getting to know.