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Sunday 23 October
resumed in mid-sentence from the entry for October 22

and was back on the road at the foot of the hill at 5:05. Off the map — I never bought the maps for that far south — I had vague memories of the Azienda's map of Umbria putting Acquasparta at 6.7 km from Montecastrilli so estimated my arrival time in Acquasparta at 6:26.

In fact, there's a town in between — Casteltodino — and the 6.7 was from there. The sun set as I was on the road to Casteltodino; the two towns, 4½ km apart, are rapidly coalescing due to housing developments to the NE of one and to the S of the other. Between the two the darkening road, marked by a sign saying "soft shoulders" — a euphemism for none — was also narrow and very busy, everyone going back home for dinner; like the rest of the evening, unpleasant walking. Passed a carnival at the foot of Montecastrilli. The actual sunset hidden from me by the ridge to my left, and I had to pay too much attention to road to enjoy the rare breaks.

Under such circumstances, Casteltodino is not going to get a fair shake from me; in fact it may deserve another walk along with Collesecco to its west that I walked 270° around but never got to.

Arrived at Acquasparta train station after several hops off the road for oncoming cars, after being blinded by headlights a few times, after once having had the feeling I'd overshot Acquasparta, and with no idea of the time so walking rather fast, at 6:33 — only ten minutes off estimate despite three extra miles. Doublechecked that the Terni 18:45 left Acquasparta at 19:07, then walked 300 m back up the hill, plopped myself down at one of the 4 chairs in a caffé, had a cappuccinoº and a tartufo without thinking of my weight, and blanked out for fifteen minutes except with my eye on the clock, also a growing sense that I'd cramped my left calf — Train on time and back to Todi, bus at Ponte Rio, and back to the apartment with pit stop at photo developers who close at 8 P.M. — Massaging my calf often, whenever appropriate, and a few places where mildly inappropriate. [. . .]

Apartment smelling of Gorgonzola, intentionally left out. A small handful of grapes and some fizzy water — not hungry, I didn't even eat all those cookies, not counting the ones I fed to dogs, to a horse, and offered to a cat, which in typical cat fashion declined — a hot bath — hot water back to normal — then caught up on my diary in bed, interrupted once by James with general office news —

Now 8:00 A.M., looks like another warm day, partly cloudy; yesterday I got some good tan; also weighed 78 = 171½ on returning (a loss of two pounds despite 3 lbs. of liquid and almost a pound of food) — this morning at 77¼ definitely = 170.0, a new low. [. . .]

Cramp 98% gone. Did not wake up in the middle of the night with agonizing cramp as has often happened in the past —

The day is over, and it was not a good one. Because of (a) [. . .] — 40%; (b) bad weather — 35%; (c) tiredness from yesterday — 25%, I stayed indoors all day, going out only at 8:15 to take myself to dinner at Le Scalette — another mistake; apparently in Italy the single patron gets the shaft, I waited forever for my meal and my waiter came to me asking me if I wanted the check before I had my main course. So — no more restaurant meals — saves money anyway —

I spent the day Atlasing —

At about 7 P.M. I remember my skips and both before and after dinner wrestled with them very unhappily (24 max) The real problem is (a) general awkwardness; (b) no feel for where my body is; (c) no sense of timing or rhythm; (d) breath. This axel is going to be hell on wheels.

Brute force, I continue to have. I did 126 situps; and only 20 minutes after dinner, as an experiment, I did 90, quitting before I'd given it my all; on the other hand it's the first time situps have given me a sweat. The pushups are at 10.

Of my four targets (800 km, 30 pushups, 150 skips, 150 situps) therefore only one looks right now like it'll be met. I only have 3 more weeks of exercise —

After dinner, 79 = 174; the whole day had been at 77¼ —

[. . .] μεριμνας και σκυλμους[. . .]a

Later Note:

a μεριμνας και σκυλμους: The passage in Ptolemy on mid-life which he viewed as ruled by Mars — Tetrabiblos, IV.10 (§ 206) — so struck me when I first read it a few years before that I'd memorized it. Since only an English translation is provided at the link given, I supply the original Greek of the passage here:

Μετὰ δὲ τὸν ἥλιον ὁ τοῦ Ἄρεως πέμπτος, ἐπιλαβὼν τὸ τῆς ἡλικίας ἀνδρῶδες ἐπὶ τὰ ἴσα τῆς ἰδίας περιόδου πεντεκαίδεκα ἔτη, τὸ αὐστηρὸν καὶ κακόπαθον εἰσάγει τοῦ βίου, μερίμνας τε καὶ σκυλμοὺς ἐμποιεῖ τῇ ψυχῇ καὶ τῷ σώματι, καθάπερ αἴσθησίν τινα ἤδη καὶ ἔννοιαν ἐνδιδοὺς τῆς παρακμῆς καὶ ἐπιστρέφων πρὸς τὸ πρὶν ἐγγὺς ἐλθεῖν τοῦ τέλους ἀνύσαι τι λόγου ἄξιον μετὰ πόνου τῶν μεταχειριζομένων.

The passage stayed on my mind (with good reason as it turned out); another squib of it shows up in my diary two weeks later.

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Page updated: 7 Dec 20