Sorry I've been absent (again) - the evenings have had me too tired to write to be honest.
It was a good weekend up here. Little sister, as I may have said before, came up on Friday night. she and I set to work giving the house a cleanup on Saturday morning, and (hurray!) I got to skype with Grace and Rachel from about 10:30am. They're loving being back at school, and they got to see their grandfather and aunt while we were about it.
I don't know why the photo is mirror-imaged!
At around midday I went into Shepparton to the Winter Market to help out at the SES's flood awareness stand. I'm pleased to say I think I did a good job. That is, I was able to strike up conversations with passers-by and outline issues with flood risks to them pretty effectively. A lot of the information we gave out will disappear down the memory hole, I'm sure, but if it only leads one person in ten to prepare for flooding (always a risk) then it's worthwhile.
After we wrapped up I went to Harris Scarfe to pick up a slow-cooker. They had them on sale, and it'll be a godsend for making sure the parental units eat good healthy dinners at least. Regular readers will know that the old boy's habit of going for very low effort (and very low nutrition) meals is a constant worry for me. I'll feel a lot happier if I can set things up for both of them so that they simply need to flip the switch to "on" at 9am and do nothing further for the rest of the day. If you have any slow-cooker recipes to share, fire away!
I went to see mum in the hospital after that: she seemed tired and bored and I know she's keen to be discharged. As I was leaving, I ran into Dad, Little Sister and Second Oldest Sister and so we all went back to see her. Having a crowd there certainly brightened mum up!
I was booked for the Shepparton Half-Marathon on Sunday morning and I headed off to it bright and early. I'm surprised to say that I was feeling pretty flat as I headed in, and quite without the sort of spark that I usually get on race day. I reminded myself not to think too much about it and to simply get on with the job at hand, which was to try and post a roughly two-hour time, which seemed optimistic given that the cold and being back at work has really made it hard to run and so I've been doing most of my training in the gym.
As it turned out, I ran a pretty good race - actually, much better than I expected to. The course wound up and down the Goulburn River and around Victoria Park Lake, and was basically flat about 95% of the way. Conditions were perfect: crisp and cool, warming up to a sunny morning. I only checked my pace twice and was pleasantly surprised each time, finding I was solidly under 6 min/km. In the end I finished in a time of 1:51:41 which was much better than I'd expected.
Directly after I'd finished I went for a session of pilates-on-demand at the gym to encourage my legs to bounce back as quickly as possible, what with having ANOTHER half marathon next weekend(!). A shower at the gym was heavenly.
Because who doesn't love bling?
I got back to the farm about 11:30am and gave Second Oldest Sister a hand in the kitchen. Little Sister had already gone to town to pick up mum from the hospital and they got back about 12:30pm. Second Oldest Sister had done a pork roast for lunch which was incredibly good, and I think mum was deep-down pleased that we were all trying to help out and do the right thing.
By 4pm it was time for both sisters to head back to Melbourne and mum back to hospital. I decided to rack up some more miles for the weekend and give the my legs a bit more work, so I took the dog on a good long walk across the paddocks and brought up another barrow-load of firewood.
The evening was a little stilted. Because it was just dad and me conversation was awkward: I really have to watch what conversations I start because so many of them end in him going off on a rant (a case in point: on Saturday evening I passed to Second Oldest Sister a flyer the local volunteer fire brigade had put out of a fundraising market they were holding - this lead to a long diatribe from the old boy about how he was hostile to the Country Fire Authority because there hasn't been a fire on the home place since the 1840s but he still has to pay a fairly expensive Fire Services Levy). I love the old boy dearly, but it's getting harder to respect him as his personality becomes more dominated by his resentments.
I woke up a bit sore this morning, but that's fading as the day has worn on. A good protein-heavy dinner should encourage suitable muscle repair. The day at work has been quiet, and I've taken advantage of the lull to start scoping out other jobs. I can't bear the thought of being out of work again and Lord knows I'd like to find some work that's a bit more satisfying. Frankly, rescue work would be ideal for me. Just have to keep looking!