It could be the weather teasing me, but it looks like we made it through another winter, and a pretty miserable one, unless you are a penguin. (Apologies to readers in Berlin who still have another month to go from the sound of things. And to penguins.)
This week temperatures reached double figures for more than two days running. The sun has shone, bulbs have flowered, washing has dried on the line, hats have been shed, light jackets have been worn instead of big coats, and some people have even been seen in sunglasses. Passing a local private school I saw one groundsman mowing grass and another painting the white lines of a rounders pitch – two of the textbook Signs of Spring.
After long dark months of hibernation and stodgy food, the first Signs of Spring traditionally fill me with unaccountable energy, and I can’t resist the urge to just get out and walk. Everywhere. All the time. While this can be inconvenient when there are pressing things to be done around the home or at a desk, this compulsive walking is saving money on bus fares, petrol and gym fees.
A 30 minute brisk walk (approx 5mph) burns off nearly 200 calories. I calculate that this week I have clocked up at least 3 hours on foot in trips to the South London Gallery to see Michael Landy’s Art Bin, Herne Hill for a meeting and home made hot cross buns, and Dulwich Pots for, er, pots – plus roughly half an hour a day on weekdays to and from and to and from school. That’s 2,200 calories by my reckoning. Or nearly 13 Creme Eggs.
Looked at another way, I’ve also saved £4.80 on bus fares and about £2 on petrol. That’s still 13 Creme Eggs – proving the reliability of the Creme Egg as an SI unit of measurement, hereby officially abbreviated to ‘Ce’.
To walk ‘correctly’ you should apparently hit the ground with your heel and roll through your foot and push off from your toes, hold your arms at a 90 deg angle, keep your pelvis in ‘neutral’, your spine and neck long, your chin up and your eyes forward. Not stomp along hunched up, handbag pulling on one shoulder, neck disappearing into coat, forehead pushing against the wind. You should start each walking session with some simple stretches and, here’s the bonus, make sure you keep up the carbs (but not after 5pm).
On my travels this week I have happened upon:
a derelict building filled with balloons;
a fight outside Primark;
South London’s smallest and newest independent bookshop, Herne Hill Books;
an eclectic junk shop, The Good Companion, selling sideboards, carrot cake, and taxidermied stoats;
Nemo Converse (with fin) for kids;
plus all the crocuses, birdsong and grass cutting.
That’s quite a lot of pleasing diversion. Or, in SI units, 13Ce.