Staying Sane During Isolation

So by now the reality of the situation has set in for most of us and the harsh reality that life as we knew it only a few weeks ago is now over, movements are restricted and monitored, and we are not even being given any indication when this may or may not end, people are losing their jobs already as an economy largely built on debt and the management thereof fails almost instantly the “just in time”repayment money fails to appear.

It would be easy to fall into depression, in fact that is one of the things that is worrying governments around the world, people will take longer to recover from the effects of having their lives taken out from underneath them slower than the world will take to beat Covid-19.

The important thing to remember at this time is that although this seems insurmountable it is not, it literally is just a matter of time, and frankly the conspiracy theorists out there claiming that governments have a cure but aren’t letting on are dreaming, there is no government anywhere in the world that would allow the demise of millions of registered tax payers if they could help it.

After the Boxset

Initially I think the majority of people will turn to Netflix (and other streaming platforms) with time on their hands, but once you have binge re-watched your favorite series what then, twiddle your thumbs? the reaction that the world had to being told they should stay in doors was almost completely uniform.

Majority of people had to get out and see other people, not because they suddenly had the desire to be social but because they were frightened about losing the ability to do something.

Our minds need stimulation and leisure activities are designed to give us a break from the stress and planning of normal daily modern life, if you think about what you would normally do in a typical day it is quite a long list, juggling work, home, activities, money, emails, social media, planning holidays, dealing with children and their problems, worrying about children the list is endless.

But these worries are starting to diminish we are not going out as much, balancing all the activities that we would normally do in a day and a night aren’t there any more and our brains are struggling to slow down, this is where the boredom and the frustration comes in.

As we become bored we become aware of the lack of stimulation, and that frustrates us more, the lack of stimulation is the biggest change we can go through at this time because people with a normal active life are, if anything, over stimulated, modern life has dictated that we become 24hr people and suddenly we have been thrust back into a time long gone where there is very little to do and a lot of time to think about things.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, you do not have to succumb to the boredom and ultimately the cabin fever, all you need to do is find a source of stimulation, a path of mental and physical occupation that means you are expanding your mind, believe me it will make that boxset even sweeter in the evening if you have been busy all day.

My Tips to Stay Sane in this Insanity

  1. Start a course online, literally pick a subject and start to learn it, if ever you needed the time to learn a new skill this is the perfect excuse.
  2. Spend time with your family (in your household of course) you would be amazed how little you know about each other really, as modern life forces the “ships passing in the night” on all of us.
  3. Make good use of Social Media, I hate it personally but not because of itself but rather the applications that humans find for it, usually the instrument of either hate or bullying or pornography, instead we now have the opportunity to use it for face to face communication, and to catch up with people you possibly haven’t had time to before.
  4. Read, reading is by far and way the easiest way to lose some hours while engaging your mind, read fiction and your brain will conjure images and emotions as well as improving skills that can be useful for education purposes, most of us fall out of the habit and struggle when we pick up educational books, not because of the subject matter but because we are out of practice with reading.
  5. Enjoy the time together, partners, children and pets are awesome we rarely (in most cases) get the opportunity to really enjoy time as it is always so finite but now the rushing around is out of the way you can truly enjoy the time together.

I hope this helps to at least give confidence that the way people are feeling is normal, and that there are ways to ride this thing out, it will be (and is being) a very challenging time for the world, but we will get through it, and who knows, with a helping of luck come out the other side a bit better connected and with a better prospective on the life we were living and how important some of the priorities we had were.

Finally some calm amidst the chaos

Finally after we all got told not to go out and meet up with old friends and to strip the shelves bare like a plague of locusts the message appears to have hit home, finally there is stock back on shelves, not all stock is back admittedly but there is a good chance that when we go to the shops tomorrow there will be food and toilet roll, so what have we learned ? nothing, not a damn thing in my opinion as the time frame so far is to small to effect a change in human nature, you see the problem is that we still have companies doing everything they can to stay open, bending the rules and attempting to subvert the government at every turn, all in the name of profit, and this (to some) is reason enough to doubt the validity of this pandemic, there are demonstrably those among us that need to feel that if they are disobeying advice, coercion and ultimately instruction that somehow makes them free, even if that freedom endangers the lives of themselves and there loved ones and in this case can go onto to infect and destroy the lives of others not even known to them.

Define freedom

Unfettered, ungoverned freedom is a flawed concept, it simply cannot exist within a civilized society, the very fact that we are civil is based on rules and etiquette we do not simply voice an opinion or carry out a threat every time we feel like we could kill somebody for a wrong they have done us, and many of our freedoms are afforded to us due to these rules, the fear of recourse from breaking a rule provides the barrier to the vast majority of human impulse.

The past couple of weeks in the UK have been surreal, the lack of constructive advice from recognised authority figures and the mass dissemination of opinion presented as fact on social media caused panic and mayhem in the lives of ordinary people, it stripped us of our freedom the freedom that can only exist with rules and guidelines, the freedom to eat when we want and to drink when we want, to feel the comfort and assurance that living in a rich western country provides through abundance of resource, there was no supply chain issues other than the ones caused by the panic buying, this situation will pass and hopefully it will take some of the values of the human race with it.

Fresh Start

When the dust settles on this and we look back, I would hope that we will see money and the acquisition of money for what it really is, nothing, money and wealth are nothing unless they are applied to a situation, my point is that if you never go anywhere and never do anything but you have a million pounds in the bank then you may as well not have it, if you don’t believe me take out a note right now, it is a piece of paper, nothing more and nothing less, but imagine that there are no more people, what then ? what if there were no more food to fill the stripped shelves ? what is you had all the money in the world but your family were sick, if there is no cure then believe me one cannot be bought, I am hoping this makes us not stop the pursuit of money, but rather make us pursue the things that money provides, freedom of movement, cultural and academic education for our children through travel, time to relax and enjoy what is truly a beautiful planet, sure pursue money start your business, buy your stocks and shares but when the money starts coming in apply it to life and enjoy the freedom of controlled and grown finance.

You have a choice

Just because certain shops are open and trying to entice people to gather make a choice for you and your family as well as the rest of the human community that you are likely to be in contact with, you do not owe these retail giants anything, and they will not turn you away when this is over, in fact a drop in profits may very well make them realise the value of their customers and maybe they will change how they operate in the future, becoming fairer and more focused on the person rather than the value of a persons spending power, above all you must preserve your life, and that does mean staying as far away from this silent killer as much as possible, sure humans have always gone out to hunt and provide food since time began but the sports equipment or a pair of jeans will not feed anybody, leave them today and ensure you are alive and well to buy them tomorrow.

Above all stay safe and look after yourselves.

Don't fall victim to virtual Corona

As the world comes to terms with the new way of working and of course the huge loss among our number it would appear (as if it is a surprise) that there are certain quarters looking to profit from or use this pandemic as a way to push their message, we personally have already seen fraudulent transactions on Paypal, ordinarily not really a problem just call and they will fix it, but this time PayPal customer services are CLOSED yep closed, even in this age of distributed call centres they are closed, and this is the real problem, as some businesses just simply pack up and shut their doors others seem determined to put profit over and above public health, not a huge revelation but there you go.

So for the foreseeable future you should really pay attention to the following.

  • Check Bank accounts for unauthorised payments
  • Be very wary of visiting websites that provide information on Corona stick to easily verifiable sites
  • Don’t spend a fortune on supplements to boost the immune system, some help is good like vitamin C and so on but companies are already selling “immune packs”
  • Remember that it is going to go on for a while, so stay alert and always check who you are talking to before handing over any credentials, companies will use messaging apps during this time make sure it is the company you want to talk to on the other end.

Stay SAFE

The Subtle Art of Giving a F**K!

It was with sadness that I saw yet another book extolling the virtues of not giving a F**k as a way of selling copy, I cannot possibly believe that I am alone in being just a little tired of this sudden trend to get the F word in as many places as possible to sell books, get readers for blogs or simply as a way of covering up a persons disappointment at how their life has turned out, I mean after all I have even included it in this title to entice more readers!

the sad fact is that it does sell books and make people look twice at a blog that they would normally just pass over, the F word is still very much a taboo in polite society ( and probably should stay that way ) and so the sudden appearance of this on book titles or even as the headline for this post spark interest in the same way as we all slow down at the site of a crash on the motorway, we are not inherently bad people or wish any ill on the unfortunate people involved we are just captured by the shock of the situation, and so we gaze on and then have forgotten the event once we are a couple of miles down the road.

I have in the book section written a short opinion of the first book I became aware of that uses this strategy (in my opinion) to sell a basic collection of simple facts and re-tell them with the authors own style used expertly to disguise the fact that you (and I) have read and listened to this same message a million times.

My main source of despair is that the message is incorrect in every literal sense, we cannot and indeed should not go through life not giving a F**k, there is literally a medical term for people that live like this, and we usually get introduced to them under the glitz and glamour of the front page headline when they have committed some heinous crime, sociopaths are generally devoid of emotion and lack empathy as a result, there is no sense of right and wrong and they generally do not function well within society, or do they?

You see it is my theory that the reason we are so obsessed with not giving a F**k is because we see people that live that way and they seem to be successful and happy, in fact it often a positive comment about somebody and said with awe and respect “Dave is awesome, he literally doesn’t give a F**k!” problem is that we have missed the point for the same reason we blindly follow people on Instagram and YouTube believing that their lives are as glamorous as they would have us believe, as a general rule we don’t tend to dig below the surface, we simply take things on face value and move on, the problem is not entirely with the varying publications or the authors of these publications, it is what happens when people read and then try to implement the lessons contained within, the “motivational” industry is vast, it has the ability to package and sell the opinion of a person as fact without requiring a shred of evidence that they used the same techniques to get success or that they are qualified in any shape or form to offer counselling and life advice to the general public, in fact with the growth of the internet it has quickly become “he who shouts louder makes more money”, we have all but forgotten the flip side to that which is “the empty can rattles the most”.

I am not saying that there is no place in society for ambivalence, quite the contrary I am positive, 100 percent convinced, that the ability to not care about something is valuable, healthy and some cases outright necessary to our well being, but this is seldom the message, and the popularised message is the dominant one.

You see there is two main issues with living your life “not giving a f**k” the first is possibly the most destructive and will certainly make you less happy than you were before, this is the uncomfortable fact that we are, on the whole, caring empathetic beings, we process information and then by default we consider the outcome and how we would feel in that event, so to try and force ourselves suddenly to not care, and to not give any consideration to the future is to go against every instinct in our bodies, as an example just think of something you are scared of, spiders, heights that type of thing and remember back to the last time you were in a confrontational situation with that fear I am sure you will be able to remember very clearly the feeling through your entire body that what was happening was wrong and the urgency to move away from it will have ultimately become to much to bear until you removed yourself from the situation, well, same thing here, if you are a generally caring person of very analytical and you try to change that to become hard faced and reactionary as opposed to pr-active you will feel wrong because it will be going against your grain, and this will make yo unhappy as you struggle with the situation that sparked the change in approach in the first place and now, on top the feeling of discomfort and conflict this new way of life is causing, secondly, if we adopt this attitude of not caring and not being emotionally attached to anything, simply dealing with life as it comes without thought just rational thought and action, the people around us are likely to notice a marked difference in our attitude and relationships with them, this will alter many dynamics most likely at the heart of the family and showing signs of hurting the people that you started down this path for, we have to realise that there is nothing wrong with us, it is all too easy to blame ourselves for every ill that befalls us without reasoning it out first, if we start to alienate the people closest to us then we are unhappy and lonely, this can be a very dark place unless you are a sociopath !

And that is why we need to practice the subtle art of giving a f**k, it is the ability to choose what we care about that gives us power, the focus on the here and now instead of juggling a million future events and losing focus on any of them, and most importantly it is the ability to know when to ignore a situation not because you don’t give a f**k but simply because it is out of your control, it will be what it will be because it is the will of others, it is legislation or rules drawn up by people external to us that we have no influence on, or it is the opinion of a person or persons that have no say in our lives and ultimately have no control over how our lives are to be run, that is the real power, and once mastered will set you free to accomplish the things that you put your mind to.

Levelling the Land

We are faced today with a plethora of problems that society is facing for the first time, as well as rising debt causing misery for millions, more and more people are becoming depressed and ill as a result of piling pressure, money as always is at the heart of this, companies buy up bad debt for pennies in the pound and then use bullying tactics to force people to borrow more money to pay them back at a huge profit, others, while trying to climb corporate ladders stand on the shoulders of others to elevate themselves to the next rung of the credit score ladder, our children ask for toys continuously after watching YouTube videos of children whose parents sold out their childhood for the mighty dollar and we try and keep up with the Instagram lifestyles we scroll through every day looking to escape the reality of life in our front rooms.

The first and possibly most important lesson is this, we are equals, I will just say that again we are all equal that means that the arsehole on the phone when you are behind with a credit card payment may very well be trying to sound superior but they have the same fears and worries as you, the interviewer at the job you want so desperately is probably as nervous about meeting you as you are at meeting them, and the entrepreneur selling you the program to make you rich was (if not still is) as skint as you are, this isn’t to say that you should approach any situation with a sense of superiority as this will lead to animosity and scupper any chance of negotiation or rapport, simply know that are equal and act accordingly, meet aggression with measured confident response, adjust to awkwardness with kindness and open consideration for the other person and do not hold anybody aloft simply because they appear to have money.

Know who you are and stand on that knowledge

Who are you ? what do you want out of life ? some people spend years trying to answer those questions when the answer is simple, look in the mirror and asses what you see, think about how you treat people and thoughts that pre-occupy your mind, then stand on that, whatever it is because that is where you will be strongest, that is the position that no matter how much people try they will not be able to move you inside, as an example think of a band that you like, the odds are that even if you know several people that are into the same music as you, you will also know people that are not, and they will inevitably express their opinion whether you ask for it or not, but they will never be able to change your opinion because music is something we connect to on a personal level, it is a reflection of our personality and so we stand on our tastes because they are who we are.

the same can be said of all other aspects of your life, if you are a vegan or a staunch meat eater, then regardless of company stand on that, do not try and bend to the will of others just to make an impression, nobody will than you for it and you will be disappointed in yourself, this will lead to a lack of confidence and that will show to all like a big neon sign above your head, and don’t worry about offending people because that is the art of giving a f**k, the people that pass through your life offended will quickly move on and be replaced by people of a like mind so worrying about offending people is futile and simply a waste of effort.

Put simply stand your ground !

Conclusion

I hope I have illustrated why giving a F**k as as much of an art as people would have you believe not doing so is, we need to make sure we are true to ourselves and allow this truth to form our bonds with others, stand on your principals and you cannot be knocked down because they are your strength, the world would be an even worse place than it is now if nobody cared so give a damn and succeed!

Quitting is not always a bad thing.

Motivators and influencers will constantly shout at you that you should never quit, we are told that if we just work hard at something then success will come, sadly this is not the case and we need to try and identify when this point has been reached and how to bow out gracefully taking the lessons you have learned and using them to move forward in another direction.

Are you one of those people that just won’t quit? constantly banging away day after day not getting anywhere and making yourself depressed at the lack of progress and tired of failure, if you are then you are not alone, the huge runaway success of the internet and social medias early adopters has spurred on a global group of gold diggers all trying to make their name and carve out their own slice of paradise, the hours that go into the videos and the editing and the uploading, days trying to write blogs and researching different subjects only to get no actual views just likes so people get their avatar on your page should somebody else happen past it and think to click on their link.

And I can’t blame anybody for doing this, we all want to become rich and we all want the good life, believe it or not I do still think it is achievable, you just have to know when to quit something that is not working and replace it with a new direction and a new potential.

So I had a thought and have come up with what I think to be indicators that it is time to find another path, not everybody will agree with these and some of them are a bit hard to hear but ultimately as Paul Newman says in the color of money “find something you are good at and be the best and you will make money”.

Are you happy ?

Well are you? honestly? does what you are doing make you happy, if not then it may well be time to move on, emotions are transmitted very easily through the way somebody writes or holds themselves on screen, or even talks in a podcast, if you are not happy how can you expect anybody else to buy into you ?

Is it your passion ?

A passion is an easy thing to quantify, is this something that you would do even if there were no potential money in it ? I know this sounds like are you happy ? but it is not, eating large quantities of chocolate makes me happy but I am not passionate about it, I am passionate about health and education and the things that money provides, I am also very passionate about American Cars, huge V8’s that breathe and shake the ground as they pass, the subjects you are passionate about you will talk about for hours to anybody at anytime whether they like it or not!

Is it honest ?

By this I don’t mean are you trying to con anybody, what I mean is best explained by example, if there was a guru out there that claimed by simply standing on a carrot for 10 minutes a day you could flush all the toxins from your body extending your life and happiness, would you be able to extol the virtues of the system without trying it for yourself ? conversely if it turned out to be true could you push the subject even in the face of the opposition that it would surely get ?

Can you accept that you are not good enough ?

This is possibly the hardest thing to accept because we are told that we can do anything if we just try, and I suppose I do buy into the idea that with enough practice you can become proficient at just about anything, but we have to be practical as well, this whole blog and site is about trying to rise above normality, to become the best we can be and to make a future filled with life rather than slavery and toil at the hands of our masters, here is a secret, I suck at playing guitar, I still do it but I am slow and clunky and just haven’t got that spark of ability it takes to become a guitarist, I can however play along to quite a few songs and if you heard me you would think I was OK, but I could never make a living out of it because I am simply nowhere near good enough, you don’t have to look far to see how good life can be if you are the best at playing guitar, I am sure Steve Vai often thanks whatever force made him pick up a six string and start playing.

That is really it, there is no section on how long you have been trying because in truth that is irrelevant things will take as long as they take, and as long as you haven’t got a bizarre idea like literally building a staircase to heaven you will get to where you want to be, but without the above I really don’t see that it is possible.

An important point to remember is that quitting does not mean failure it simply means a new beginning and a wiser traveller.

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pexels

Build the Ultimate Chest with 2 exercises

Recently on Quora I had a question about which exercise was better for building a big chest, Bench Press or Dips, and I had to stop for a moment and think, you see the big thick chests of the late 70’s Bodybuilders were built with both, as this was the way of things, in fact it was common practice to warm up with Bodyweight exercises like dips and pull-ups before heading onto the weights, additionally Dumbells were seen as finishing exercises or “concentration” and were normally left to the end, the question was interesting though as I have always thought of the Barbell Bench Press as quite an inefficient exercise as it tends to recruit a lot of help from the Triceps and Shoulders to complete the movement, but it cannot be denied that it is the exercise of choice and if anybody is going to lift weights you can be fairly sure that it will figure in their routine.

To decide what is best, we first need to understand in where the muscle is anchored as this will give us some idea of what movement it is bio-mechanically suited to performing, the whole idea behind all these new and strange looking machines that came out of late are all trying to move the resistance through the best possible motion to load the target muscle directly, there is a trade off with this though, when we do this we isolate the muscle completely and build it in size and strength, but if we concentrate solely on that type of isolated movement we do not bring the other supporting muscles up with it, and you can at best start to look a little odd as you have large major muscle groups with nothing behind or at worse you could liken it to hanging a chandelier from a thick heavy chain from a plasterboard ceiling with no extra support, sooner or later it will pull loose from the ceiling and the roof will come in, this what gives powerlifters and strength competitors that solid thick look it is all the muscle groups growing together regardless of aesthetics to create the strongest individual possible.

So the pectoral muscle has two parts the Pectoralis major and minor, the muscle we are all referring to when we think of this is the major as this is the most visible, this is anchored under the anterior Deltoid and attached like an open fan to the sternum it’s major function is to draw the arm across the chest and is used to push things away from us, the minor is also anchored under the anterior Deltoid but this is attached to the Ribcage and is activated by drawing the arms back over the head this would tend to be activated along with the Latissimus Dorsi and Serratus muscles.

Pectoralis Major

  • Bench Press
  • Flies
  • Dips
  • Cable Cross Overs
  • Dumbell Press
  • Cross Bench Dips
  • Press-ups

These all have an Incline / Decline variant and as discussed previously Bench Press can be done with Dumbells as well as a Barbell and in fact when training on your own it is probably advisable to do it that way to avoid dropping the weight on yourself!

The best way to determine which exercise is best is to try them, and variations of them, but I would say that as an integral part of a chest routine they should both exist, in fact I would go out on a limb and say that a routine consisting of just these two exercises would be sufficient to build a good think chest, I will explain.

Bench Press

Laying flat with your feet flat on the floor grip the Barbell evenly at just beyond shoulder width and by that I mean that the inside of your thumb should be just outside the line of the shoulder this will help to reduce the activation of the Triceps, there are several schools of thought on the arched back situation you often see but I will offer my opinion, a small arch that you could just about slide a flat hand into is fine any more than that and it is too much, lower the weight slowly and under control, do not bounce the weight at the bottom as this could cause damage, push straight up and do not lock out, it is bad for your elbows and besides it just rests the weight on your Triceps as they fight to keep your arm straight against the weight.

Dips

Traditional Dips at a dip bar are very difficult to get wrong as the body is suspended and pretty much just follows it’s own pattern, the trick here is concentration, mind – muscle connection plays a big part in this movement as you are concentrating on moving up by squeezing the pectorals together rather than simply straightening your arms, you will know when you have got it right because your chest will pump up instead of you triceps just feeling like balloons!

Flies

Done with Dumbell in a flat position keep your arms just shy of straight and put a small arc into the movement so instead of simply going straight up and down move your arms from the open position as if you were going to cross them over your chest but obviously stop as they meet at the top of the movement the best way to imagine this is to think about pulling from under your shoulder and toward your sternum as that is the path the muscle will want to naturally take.

Cable Crossovers

These are done on a cable crossover machine (surprise) and are easy to get wrong, it seems that some people are trying to replicate a pressing movement by literally closing and opening the arm at the elbow, this really makes it a Tricep exercise and at best the Pecs just had a stabilising support, You need to imagine the same movement and intent as the Fly but stood up, this exercise also targets the Pectoralis Minor due to you bringing the arms down and across from overhead, once performed right you will know because the resultant pump from both the Major and Minor muscle groups is huge and you will notice it.

Press ups

Photo by Sabel Blanco from Pexels

I would (and do) use this exercise as a warm up, it is a brilliant one to warm up the shoulder joints and the elbows as well as the chest and when performed correct you even get a lot of AB activation as well as some Hip Flexor assistance, the right way to do this is with a flat straight line from your ankles to your shoulders and hands in the same shoulder width position as with Bench Pressing, slowly lower yourself to the ground so that the whole body touches at once not the face or tummy first, and then in one movement the whole body lifts back to the starting position, this is a little rough on the wrists though so make sure to roll them out after each set.

Conclusion

As you can see the two exercises that stand out as having the most activation on the Pectoralis Major are the Bench Press and the Dip as they naturally sit across the muscle girdle and move in the same direction as the muscle can pull, Cable Crossovers are a very close third as they also target the Minor and this will lift your chest up and make it appear bigger over time, I do not subscribe to the Incline / Decline theory because it is so easy to over do, benches just aren’t adjustable enough unless you are lucky, and tend to be too high on incline, moving the stress to the Shoulders and too low on Decline because you have to put one end on a step to achieve it and you end up pushing with you triceps, if it is possible to do so and you are determined to do it, then an incline or decline of no more than 2 inches would suffice more if you have shorter arms to allow for the lever effect, so in the end after being forced to think it through I realised that done correctly Bench Press is a very good exercise and has a good amount of activation across the chest, the trick is to get the hand spacing right and think about the movement rather than the ego boosting weight, because if you go heavy to soon you just recruit every other muscle and leave the Pecs just supporting.

Jeez what a day!

So I am all set now for the start of the Holiday Challenge and one of my brain waves was to go to the local swimming pool to get some widths in to provide a kick start to my cardio for the week, but I could not have been more wrong, if you imagine being stuck on the London underground in rush hour, up to your waist in warm water semi naked (as is a swimmers want) that is exactly what we walked into, I can assure you however close the analogy there are a lot more awkward moments when you are wearing a swimming costume in close proximity to others than when you are in a business suit!

However my daughters loved it, and managed to thoroughly enjoy the slides and chutes as well as the wild water section where an artificial current drags you round a circular pool, one thing that made me laugh was given the close proximity of parents and children funnelled into a whirlpool you really had to look twice to make sure you still had hold of the same child at the end as at the start! but I finally made my way from the play pool to the main boring square one that had no slides, chutes, flumes, whirlpools or plastic dragons firing water at me from varying angles, and so despite the odd cannonball from an over excited child ( usually my eldest daughter ) I managed to get some swimming done before setting off back home for a family barbeque.

I have cooked on a barbeque previously but only for us and relatively small quantities of food, so the prospect of cooking for the in-laws as well was frightening, I was further shaken by all forums and instructions on the NET stating that the charcoal was ready to cook on when it was covered in grey dust and the grill could maintain a steady temperature of 250 degrees, nowhere and I mean nowhere did it make reference to the charcoal being 50/50 black and grey and the temperature a good steady 300 degrees (largely because that was as high as the gauge read) while being put under pressure by a line of people with plates of raw meat, so I just took a chance and cooked on it open, and despite having slightly thinner eyebrows and a stronger facial tan the whole thing was a success.

we even managed to get some gardening out of the in-laws, which is a bonus because I am far from green fingered, and the disapproving looks, sighs of disappointment and the more than occasional exclamation of sheer surprise at the wife’s and my gardening skills is a small price to pay for transformation they seem to be able to make in only the time it takes me to cook a chicken breast to the point that I have to identify it to my daughter as she is picking what she wants to eat.

I am having my before photos done tonight as well as the Mrs did point out that for a fitness and finance blog I have only two pictures of me to illustrate that I have made any progress at all! and as yet nothing on finance, but in my defence I still haven’t found any financial that is worth talking about!

So if you read down this far, thank you, and I will catch up again later.

main Photo by Min An from Pexels