Corona Lock down Diaries – 3D Printing.

Getting our print on!

At Christmas I tried to convince my 11 year old that a 3D printer would be a great idea. At the time, however, he had his heart set on a particular pair of trainers so it never happened. In April I suggested it would be a good idea to have one for his 12th birthday, and given that I had been telling him about them for a few months he was admittedly interested, but not enough to not ask for a Nintendo Switch.

I knew it would be good for him as he has quite the enquiring mind, would provide him a wonderful creative outlet, would let him explore…oh who am I kidding. at this point it felt like I was never getting a 3D printer.

6 weeks into Covid, with the stresses of isolation weighing on the family (I am trying to keep a straight face here) I suggested it would be a good idea to get one as it would allow him to do something different as he was not able to play rugby or cricket and school was already a distant memory.

At this juncture Mrs Afterwards suggested that if I want one I should get one and stop pretending it was for Tom. Tom though was now super interested and following a little research our Flashforge Guider 2 was winging its way to us. It is freaking huge, weighing in at about 30KG and about the size of an old style television. It pings and dings and lights up quite wonderfully too…

For those not familiar with them they mostly print things from plastic extruded through a hot nozzle using files you can make or download from the internet. Now that the remodelling is done we have been able to unpack it and have spent the weekend in the cellar printing cool stuff.

So far we’ve printed a couple of badges from 2000AD, a Totoro, a buffed up bulbasaur, some covid door hooks and even a couple of rings. It is such good fun! I even let him have a turn 🙂

Corona Lock down Diaries – Building work

5 months later…

Ok so 5 months ago we started a building project. Then the world closed because of the Corona Virus and for most of 2020 we lived in a building site. Up until this weekend. The builders packed their stuff last week and departed and at last we have our house back.

Now I haven’t posted or really been near my blog for the last week as I have been painting walls and doors and pretty much anything that looked like it would benefit from a lick of paint and after a long week of late nights the place was ready to move into and over the last week we spent many an hour trying to get the rooms set up, the home gym assembled and things mostly in place (though there is still a lot to do).

I now have somewhere to get some exercise as I really don’t like going outside and at last have a lovely space to work and write.

Now I just need to paint the other 3 floors of the house!

Before and after of the coal cellar. I had never actually been right into it in 16 years as it was too terrifying…

Before and after of what is now storage/home Gym/3D printer room/Games machine room. I even managed to sort out all of my tools and that made me feel particularly manly and I may have stood, hands on hips and legs akimbo following a particularly methodical organising of my drill bits.

And then lastly the living room/office thingy. It has a fridge and bar area dedicated solely to alcohol which is odd as I don’t actually really drink though I think perhaps I might try and get into wine because I am of an age where I feel I ought to know more about wine than I do. I lit the fire for effect, and while it looked lovely it was bloody boiling. I also put on the underfloor heating which added to the generally unpleasant temperature and made me sweat in all of my creases…not nice at all.

So now mostly for the rest of forever this is where I intend to be 🙂

Well worth the 5 months of filth and building work! So right that desk is where I am sat.

Really looking forward to getting back to normality, if anything about this new world can be thought of as normal!

Corona Lock down Diaries – Intermittent fasting and calorie deficit.

The ongoing saga of the right old state our doors were in…

I know were not still strictly locked down but I figured I’d carry on with this anyway. Last post I wrote on this is here if you want to catch up first.

So after 2 months I about 16kg/35 Lbs down. Roughly back where I was when I last did the Whole30 thing, so whilst a real boost it is rather annoying that I have just lost weight I already lost previously and then put back on. But if you’ve ever been overweight then you will be familiar with this cycle. Losing it can be easy but maintaining it often seems to be the difficult part.

This time round I have tried calorie deficit combined with intermittent fasting. I really like cooking, and I love eating and I just don’t think it is possible for me to not enjoy the things I love to eat so I have endeavoured to simply have what I want – just less of it. Looking at a calorie deficit of around 500 and you’ll lose about one pound a week, but I have probably ran a little more than that and I do tend to lose weight really fast when I start getting things under control. Apart from the last week where I have pretty much maintained my weight because I could not stop eating bourbon biscuits and jammy dodgers! I have a real problem with them…

So in addition to the calorie deficit I started intermittent fasting and broadly eat in a 5 hour window between noon and 5pm. This really helps me to focus and helps me with the discipline I usually do not have. I know there are all sorts of actual benefits of intermittent fasting and there are great sites out there that will extoll those but for me – it mostly stops me eating about 11 meals a day at all hours. Simple really.

To help me keep track of what I am doing I use two apps each day. Fastic helps me to track my fasting hours and I use MyFitnessPal to track my calorie intake. The former does have the ability to track calories but I prefer the latter as it has all the foods from most stores in its database so I can be more accurate with it.

There have been hiccups and blips along the way, and I have struggled at times like you do when youre trying to fix something that has been a problem your whole life but this time I do feel different about what I am trying to achieve. Perhaps it is because I am 50 next year and know I cannot carry on like I have been. That pending sense of mortality can be a real awakener.

Oh there is one more thing I have been doing. Drinking a lot of water. I have a glass that takes 500ML and drink about 6 of these a day. There are studies out there that show drinking more water helps with weight loss and it does seem to have helped me – perhaps I just feel fuller I don’t know -there will be science to it. Mostly though it just feels like a useful part of the routine I am developing.

The one thing I haven’t really done yet is exercise. I’ve barely been out during the last 4 months and my step counter on my watch struggles to get to 5000 most days. I will be remedying that though over the next few weeks when our building project completes. We’ve put in a small home gym and I will have a cross trainer, static bike, treadmill and rowing machine.

So there you go, you’re up to speed with what I have been doing on that front. Here’s my head 2 months apart and some of the food I have been making…

Corona Lock down Diaries – Day Meh – Haircut

Snip snip buzz

Okay so strictly speaking we aren’t exactly locked down anymore. We have commenced with an experiment to see how many pub goers we can kill off which seemed to commence without too much drama at the weekend. London saw some dumbfuckery in particular and there were pockets of shenanigans country wide so now we wait to see what the impact of it will be.

Hairdressers and barbers also opened and against my better judgement me and the boys managed to get a slot at our local barber this afternoon. Asim moved into the area a few years ago and is a top chap and the boys have always enjoyed what he does to their hair so off we went.

During lockdown the eldest seems to have somehow grown a fringe that when brushed out goes below his chin. The youngest was looking like Boris Johnson on one of his particularly bad days. Not that the twat has good days, but hair wise imagine him at his blondest and most boufont…

Oh me you ask? Well I have half a Mohican (given I don’t have to go into the office any more) which I have been doing with an old beard trimmer so mostly look like a fat extra from a shit fan film version of Mad Max.

So a few hours and a couple of quid later (he has rightly put up the prices – now we know who the crucial people actually are in society) we are all shaven, coiffed, tidied and presentable. Mostly.

I decided to actually keep the Mohican and get him to do it properly. Looks a bit mental and like I have a dead animal on my head but meh, there’s a bloody apocalypse going on – it actually seems more appropriate than ever…Mrs Afterwards didn’t mind as much as I thought she would. Maybe that’s because we don’t really leave the house anymore…

Happy apocolypse! Stay Safe!

Corona Lock down Diaries – Day Twelvtytwo – Renovations

I’ve got a house full of manly men…

About 3 weeks before lockdown we started a cellar renovations project that we had been planning since we moved into this house 15 years ago. The cellar compromises 3 rooms which we have used for storage and a play room for the kids when they were younger. We had a big screen and a projector down there for a few years which was pretty cool too.

It was never a really clean and tidy space though and had damp in places and lots of exposed pipework and wiring. So, after a few years of saving it was time to get the builder in and see what he could do. It was going to take a few months but we figured we could live with the mess for a short while and proceeded to box everything up we wanted to keep (and trash everything we didn’t).

Then we went into lockdown and everything stopped for a few months…

Whilst they are back now, and there isn’t long to go, it has certainly been an experience. We have patiently waited as they have done a great job in truly transforming the space and…even as I write this I am struggling to concentrate because someone is fucking drilling so loud in the room below me that I could just…Bloody hell get done already, you’ve been here since March!! Our living room barely has enough room to fit the four of us in, I cant actually even see the TV screen in a lot of the room because things are piled 5 foot high! And stop drinking chuffing cups of tea…build something damn it, anything. Hammer, cut, saw, plaster, shovel…I don’t care just do it. Do it NOW! Finish my fucking house you bloody buggering bastards!

Ahem…Anyway, here are a few progress photos of one of the rooms. Lots more to follow somewhen but it’s getting close to being done.

I think they just put the frigging Kettle on again! Twats!

Only kidding…I actually really do like them 🙂

Corona Lock down Diaries – Day 4800. Weight YoYo-ing.

The ongoing saga of the right old state our doors were in…

So…The doughnut returns.

For those of you not familiar with it I wrote a lot a while back about food, dieting, whole30 and generally trying not die prematurely. It went quite well for quite a while, and I lost quite a lot of weight. About 30lbs as I recall. I then proceeded to put it back on again plus another 10lbs. I then lost that but no sooner was it off than I put that back on again in double quick time. Plus probably a but more.

If you’ve ever struggled with your weight then you know how it goes.

The most recent weight increase was following a health review I had at hospital in December. Despite me having concerns I was in a pretty bad shape, my weight aside I was apparently not doing too bad. This emboldened me to embrace the Christmas and New Year with wide open arms and an even wider mouth and before you know it I am in lockdown and as heavy as I have ever been.

Anyway…fast forward three months and I have managed to shift close to 30lbs and am now close to where I was when I did the whole30 thing. So a long way to go but I have undone a year of cocktails, pies, meat feasts and general gluttony. Just another 48 years worth to do now…

This time round I have concentrated on calorie deficit and intermittent fasting. The fasting helps me to be disciplined in terms of when I eat, and the calorie deficit keeps what I eat under control. I am using the Myfitnesspal and Fastic apps to track things and it really does seem to work for me.

Being home 24/7 and being able to plan and cook has made a huge difference too. There are far fewer takeaways and processed foods have mostly been replaced with freshly cooked meals. I;m even growing my own herbs to help with some of the dishes I have been dabbling with.

Anyway, I will write more about this I am sure – just thought I’d share a little as a starter for now. Pun intended.

Oh and we are putting a gym in in the cellar as part of the renovations. But that is also for another post…

Bon appetit!

Corona Lock down Diaries – Day…Er? – More Backdoor Shenanigans

The ongoing saga of the right old state our doors were in…

We’ve lived in this house for about 15 years and am still not quite convinced which is the back door and which is the front. We enter through the door straight into the kitchen from the small road at the back of the house. This would make me think this is the front door. But the traditional front door, which leads outto the garden, is far more ornate and has the feel of a front door which means what I think is the front door is probably the back door. We were discussing this with a neighbour just this week and she said she thinks of the backdoor as the one at the kitchen so its probably right that what I think is the front door is actually the back door.

Whenever Mrs afterwards and I need to reference one of the doors we generally point to it. Seems easier.

Anyway, as I wrote about here I recently sorted out the front door? Last weekend I sorted out the backdoor as it was also in need of some TLC. I will admit there were quite a few ‘backdoor’ jokes during the 5 hours it took me, none of which went down particularly well. Best I got from Mrs Afterwards was an eye roll I think.

Anyway this was the before and after. The surround took some serious filling and its a bit scruffy close up but from a distance I think it looks alright. Still going to add a transfer to the glass pane above the door with the house number on it (once I clean up the stray paint).

I painted the 2 stone teddies too.

So I think that makes me an official backdoor officianado. (Cue eye rolls).

And yes, there is a skip outside my house. Has been since March. Will be until July…

Corona Lock down Diaries – Tuthwedday – Renovations

Want me to sort your back door out?

When we bought this house 16 years ago we did so (or at least on my part) because it had a great garden and a wonderful cellar. Two weeks before lockdown we started a building project (which I will write about some when) to eventually turn the cellars into something usable, and the plan is to create a small gym, a TV room and put a toilet in. Oh and add a new entrance to the garden.

That work continues (with a 6 week off site in between) but inspired by the manliness of the chaps working still I thought I would have a crack at sprucing up the back door. Whilst I will willingly try my hand at DIY my track record is not great.

There was the time I tried to install a kitchen worktop and measured in centimetres but cut in inches. Took 2 weeks to get a new top delivered and I had to prop it up with a broom. Or the time the oven door handle broke and I bolted an old coffee table leg onto it. I thought it was genius. Mrs Aftewards disagreed. Oh and there was that one time I thought I could tile the shower. It had more undulations that a scenic drive out into the country. So as willing as I am I just seem to actually know what I am doing.

Oh that reminds me of when I thought I could change the taps in the kitchen. We had to keep a bucket under the sink to catch the post installation leaks. I thought that was a perfectly reasonable solution. Again, Mrs afterwards suggested that perhaps it was not.

Anyway, inspired by all the handiness going on in the house I renovated the back door. Yes I accidentally painted it grey instead of blue, but I think it looks ok. We have blue paint but for some reason I just picked up the wrong paint. It has been suggested I did not listen and I will admit that may carry a degree of truth.

So with some filling, priming, painting and sealing I spent a couple of days last weekend sorting it out. On close inspection there are things I would do better and that I will apply when I do the front door, but with the added paining of the handrail and the addition of some lights I think it looks okay.

Keep on living that lockdown dream!

Corona Lock down Diaries – Day Eleventytwelve – Green Fingers

In an English country garden…

I’ve never been one for gardening, the extent of my green fingered interests lying mostly with occasionally mowing the lawn and popping to the tip to throw away all the dead plants Mrs Afterwards bought in an attempt to brighten up the back way.

About 2 weeks before lockdown we started a building project, a cellar conversion is underway with a new entrance meaning the builders had to dig our where previously I was cultivated a lovely collection of weeds, hosepipes and rusting bicycles. As they dug out for the steps and the new door they discovered a mass of old stone which seemed to have been used as backfill when the house was built in 1906. Driven, I think, by my love of cutting corners and looking for shortcuts I insisted that they not worry about moving it but to leave it and I would instead build a rockery.

I then went away to research rockeries.

Anyway, long and not particularly interesting story short, Ive spend the past many weeks putting together what I think passes as one (who knows how long has passed – we are, as you know, in lockdown time and that doesn’t move like real time) . Something I am sure will be proven by bearded scientists in years to come in an attempt to explain just how it was possible that people got so fat during quarantine when they swear they went for a long walk everyday and ate lots of salad.

There was membrane laying. rock piling, soil carting, plant planting, fountain fitting, light fitting and pebble placing. The photos below show my progress.

I would note that as pretty as I think it looks, I am currently having some problems with finding it all a little creepy and unnerving. The plants (I just went for alpines and succulents) are spreading at a phenomenal rate. The succulents doubled in size in a week and I swear to Jeebus they sing this sweet little song when I look at them but I know that they want to lay spores inside my orifices and control me and make me do their bidding.

Fuck them! Might just lay a patio.