How I Spent My Last Days of Freedom

That title sounds a bit like a tabloid headline for an article about being sent to prison, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, it’s nothing as alarming as that! It’s just that I realised today was my last completely free day, possibly for the next three years, since tomorrow I’m volunteering at the PowWow Literary Festival all day (if you live in the West Midlands you might have spotted the item about it on Midlands Today last night, although I wasn’t there when they were doing the filming as I was off having another cookery lesson) and then on Monday I start my new degree!

I finally got sight of the timetable for Freshers’ Week today. We’ve had the timetable for the term for a couple of weeks but Freshers’ Week was left blank. Now I know that I’m in every day except Wednesday, which is the Freshers’ Fair. Since I have no intention of or time to join any societies and clubs, and no need for five dozen free pens and a mountain of flyers, I won’t be going to that.

I’ll probably have to spend Wednesday attempting to rescue my undelivered post; on the Wednesday just gone, I was in the city centre showing my brother the new library and missed a letter which needed to be signed for. I’m very much hoping that it’s the Disclosure and Barring Certificate which I need for university enrollment, although it’s not a lot of use to me sitting in a sorting office somewhere and I’ve managed to mislay the Something for You non-delivery notification. I rang up and the helpful man told me that although I couldn’t collect it without the piece of paper, he would contact the delivery office and see if it could be redelivered. He promised to ring me back this morning. He did not. I wasn’t expecting that he would.

So, what genuinely exciting things have I been up to? As I said, on Wednesday my brother came to visit. I met him at the train station and dragged him off to my new favourite eatery, The Warehouse Cafe, which offers lots of delicious vegetarian and vegan food. We had lunch – he kindly paid for it, which is an idea I’m going to have to adjust to: my little brother is earning more money than me! He has a real proper grown up person job! – and then went to my second favourite place in the city centre, the Library of Birmingham. I gave him the full tour, and we tested out every style of seating we could find (my favourite were the swivelly winged arm chairs in the Book Browse section). Then I loaded myself up with reading material and we came home to tidy up my flat and cook dinner.

On Thursday I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed (I’m still working on getting my sleep schedule diurnal again, although it’s much better now!) and we headed off to Birmingham Nature Centre which involved a ridiculous amount of faffing in order to obtain the precisely correct change for the bus fare.

The nature centre gate with its elaborate sign
The nature centre gate with its elaborate sign

I had high hopes for the Nature Centre, because I had seen internet rumours that there was a petting zoo! Alas, alack, no petting zoo could we find, but we saw lots of adorable animals including baby meerkats born just a couple of months ago. They were practising the classic meerkat lookout pose, and frequently falling over in the process. (I do have a video of this, but I can’t work out how on earth to upload it!)

Lemurs having a hug!
Lemurs having a hug!

I also liked the many different tiny monkeys, although Xander was most taken by the sugar gliders which were hidden away in a darkened section of the centre. Once we’d eaten our packed lunches next to the lemur enclosure and seen everything there was to see, we caught the bus back to my flat – passing a rather exciting hedge fire on the way.

After a short tour of the village and an early meal of leftovers from my cooking class on Tuesday, my brother set off back up north on the train and I failed miserably to go out for running club. I did manage to trick myself into going for a run on my own today though; I told myself and indeed a friend on Skype that I was not going, but then got changed into my running gear and decided not to waste all that effort. I’m finding it tricky to motivate myself to train for this half marathon now that the weather is getting miserable, but there’s not long to go now! I made the unexpected discovery today that I’ve lost 3kg since I last weighed myself, which means I’ve lost 7kg (more than 1 stone) overall in the last 18 months just by exercising regularly and eating more healthily. I’m quite pleased with that; it puts me comfortably in a healthy weight range and I don’t feel that I’m doing anything other than making a few lifestyle changes.

Yesterday and today I spent mostly lounging around, with a bit of tidying, washing and cooking in between. The flat is looking almost how I imagined it – I’ve finally unpacked the last suitcase of clothes, and now all I have to do is move a few boxes to their permanent homes out of the way, figure out where on earth I’m going to keep my KitchenAid, and maintain the tidyness!

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