Winter in Bradwell

Winter  in Bradwell

Friday, 17 February 2017

Nearly a week has passed since my last post. It has flown by. My weight has NOT flown anywhere. However I am still there or thereabouts at 16.6 so the extra panto-related exercise is counteracting the extra panto-related calories. I'm managing to keep my daytime intake to the norm but am then adding: some sort of cake or biscuits during the show, sandwich and chips at the pub afterwards and 3 or 4 pints too. Gulp. 

I don't care though. It's fun. The show is going down well, good audiences and lots of laughs. I'm making some new pals and feel part of something special - it'll be the group's 50th anniversary next and that is a great achievement in a relatively small village. I've had some lovely compliments too. All in all, I like panto very much. I have not been nervous, which is strange, and have remembered all my lines (so far). 

The pics below were taken on a glorious walk on Monday lunch.  The snow had stopped but the remnants still dusted the far hills. So pretty. I think I'll go and see what I can see today. 

I was so tired yesterday I decided to take today off and it has been a fabbie, lazy day so far. Just need to walk the pooches and make supper before tonight's show. I might be a bit nervous for this one as Rich, his dad and Carolyn and a load of friends from the pub are there tonight. Eeeeek!!


Saturday, 11 February 2017

Surprise View

It was a glorious day one day last week and Surprise View popped into my head. Off we went and it did not disappoint.  I love it up there; you feel as though you're on top of the world or at least the Peak District. I'm standing on a rocky outcrop looking over the Hope Valley. 

Since that day, I'm pretty sure it was Friday, the weather has deteriorated steadily. Today we had near constant snow showers and the roads out of the village are grim. That made no difference at all as I spent most of the day in the Panto technical rehearsal. It was exciting - first time in full make-up, first time in full costume, first time onstage going through the whole show, songs'n'all.

It threw up loads of issues - my make-up sweating off for starters and a very tight change from rat to camel and back. In one case 4 of us rats were in a rather large wooden dinghy singing "I can see clearly". We got to the line "I can see all obstacles in my way" as we were trying to "row" off the stage - we couldn't due to a large wooden obstacle which we were unable to see!! Had to sing an extra chorus while the stage ├╣hands shifted it....he he he

Anyway, there has, just for today, been no stepping and no calorie counting. We have had cake and wine and a wonderful day and a lovely relaxing evening with my boy. 

Here's me in full face:

Pre-Panto catch up

Basically I've been doing pretty much the same every day or so: work, panto rehearsals, other appointments (french, dancing, darts and dominoes, etc) run or walk, repeat.  So I have no idea when I took these pics.  I'm guessing last weekend.  Whenever it was, it was real puuurrty.  This is probably my favourite run at the moment.  4.8km and quite hilly.  Although much of the route is in a wood alongside a giant cement factory so not desperately scenic it is lovely at the beginning and the end.

This is the beginning:

And this is the middle.  We've just emerged from the wood and are heading down towards the golf club.

I've been meaning to take a pic of the building below. Nowadays it is part of a campsite aimed at childrens' and youth groups but it used to be an old lead mine.  Historic stuff litters the Peak District and is seldom remarked upon.

Here we are on the golf course. It is part of the cement works so the chimney is visible but it does not spoil the vistas.

Now, weight.  It is very frustrating.  I think it is heading downwards and then it bounces back.  I am still bouncing between 16.4 and 16.7.  The parameters are heading microscopically slowly in a downwards direction but I'm not hitting fresh fat with any great regularity.  I'm beginning to wonder if my chimp is fooling me into thinking that I'm doing well, when in fact, I'm not really.

It was something Steve Peters told me to watch out for.  He said my chimp was extremely clever and quasi-rational (unlike most which tend to the emotional and childlike) and could fool me into thinking I'm doing well when I actually treading water (my chimp's aim being to avoid change and discomfort of any sort).  His advice was objective evidence - weighing every day, keeping records etc.  Well these show that I've been hovering around the same weight for ages but I am sort heading in the right direction.

I've thought about the dilemma and have decided not to change anything until after the panto (so another week) and see if I have genuinely dropped into proper fresh fat (16.4).  If not, then I need to tighten up my calorie intake and make more of an effort with the dieting side of things.

And to that end, I had better get out for a run (in the cold and snow no less) before I meld into the sofa!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Exotic Lincolnshire

These are some pics from my visit to Lincolnshire to see Dad.

I walked into the dining room at my dad's to set up my laptop and start work and what do I see sitting there, totally undefended??  Only my favourite chocolates!!  Aaaargh.  I had to hide them away in the absolute classic of a Hostess trolley.  Out of sight and out of mind, at least until lunchtime when I had a couple for dessert....

I love running in the flat of Lincolnshire so we went out before lunch.  It was gloomy but cool and dry.  I had not allowed for the strength of the wind though.  Ruinous.  Luckily I was running out against the wind so had it at my back on the way back.

As we ran down this stretch of road, we were preceded by a kestrel.  It swooped from branch to post to hover just 20 or so yards ahead of us for a long distance.  Spellbinding.

This is an exotic sight to me alright?  A huge stockpile of beet (or possibly turnips).  No idea why it sits there just one of many agricultural mysteries to ponder over as I run along with the wind pounding against me.

I didn't intend to take this photo, it was a pocket pic but I quite like it as the dogs look so busy and engaged.

Another exotic sight to me - we don't have pylons in the Peak District!  They might be seen as eyesores but they are quite impressive to me marching across the countryside.  Maybe because the land is so flat and featureless, the pylons themselves assume a sort of grandeur.

It has been a full-on weekend.  Friday night learning my lines.  A lovely run of Saturday morning followed by a shopping trip to buy Rich's birthday present (golf gear, natch) and finished up with lovely meal out with Rich's dad and stepmum to our local.  Too much food and lots of drink may have scuppered a good drop this week....

Rich didn't have a dessert as he said he was too full and he would have been eating for eating's sake.  I realise that this is exactly what I did, but sadly AFTER I tucked into a sticky toffee pudding (which wasn't quite good enough to justify the extra calories).  Don't get me wrong, I'm not regretting anything or beating myself up about having a dessert once a week; I'm just noting that I would have enjoyed the meal just as much, possibly more, if I had NOT had the dessert.  Future self, take note.

Today has been bang, bang, bang.  Up, run, home, shower, lunch, friend over to counter-sign her kid's passport application (being a solicitor I get this a LOT), panto rehearsal, home, supper, drive to the quiz, home for 11pm having not sat down for more than 30 minutes all day.  We lost the quiz....

The panto is GREAT.  I love being a rat.  I nailed it, thought I say so myself and am having to be a lot more modest in real life than I am here, chatting to you lot!  Got lots of compliments from the cast and heartfelt hugs from the director and his wife.  I get the feeling I am saving some serious bacon by stepping in and being okay (well, brilliant, obviously) in the role.  To be fair, just learning my lines would've been enough...

Here's me in my ratty-ear trilby.  It really helped to wear it and get into the ratty body language.

Friday, 3 February 2017


I have had to.  I have had a lot on and it is only getting busier.  This is usually the time when I start to falter; when a legitimate excuse not to log, or exercise or eat well turns into a few days off, which can then turn into hiatus from diet and exercise.  Not this time.

I was in work Monday and Tuesday and managed a good run on Monday and a determined march around town on Tuesday.  Wednesday was working from home and then heading over to pick up Dad after his operation.  Work was demanding so I knew I would not be able to fit in a run but I managed a lovely walk around Hathersage before I set off.  It's a walk I don't do often and usually try to avoid in the wet as it can get very muddy but it was very uplifting on Wednesday.

You start by crossing the river Noe, running high after all the rain!

Past these magnificent chickens.They are very large and glossy black.  No idea of breed - Peridot, it's the sort of thing you usually know?? Their cockerel is a character too, strutting around bossing them all about.

You turn right up a track past the cemetary which must be one of the most scenic and peaceful resting places anywhere. Where we buried Mum is beautiful in a flat, Lincolnshire kind of way but I think this has the edge.

Even when it is wet and chilly, nature was everywhere.  The hedgerows were alive with birdlife and we must have seen a dozen squirrels.  The birds were pretty good too - all the usuals - chaffinches, goldfinches, blue, coal and great tits, sparrows, blackbirds, robins, etc but also a stunning fat thrush and a cloud of long-tailed tits.  I love them with their fluffy pink and grey feathers.

Then under the railway track.  Those Victorian architects certainly meant their work to last.

I love this view up to the lovely big house on the hill, the grand park in front with their ancient trees.

This one didn't make it through the last storm a few weeks ago.  It still looks pretty grand though.

The fenced enclosure up ahead is a small caravan park.  I'm never attracted by the idea of caravanning but, if I had to do it, I would pick a place like this. Small, quiet but within easy walking distance of the village and its pubs and shops.

Then we turn onto the fields and walk towards Mam Tor in the distance, the Shivering Mountain as it used to be called.

A nice close up of my greying temples.  I really need to book a haircut and touch up before my big performance in the Panto; I don't want people to clock how old I really am!!

Back under the railway line with a beautiful view of Hope Church beyond.

And then back to Hope with Lose Hill (makes a change from Win Hill I suppose) ahead of me all the way.

Dad was in good spirits after his operation.  He said he hadn't felt a thing, not even the local anaesthetic so that was good. He has to put drops in 10 times each day for 2 weeks and can't drive during that time but he seems well able to cope.  I did a run around the house making sure that he wouldn't have to do any heavy lifting or bending etc.  His village is amazing though - while I was there 2 of his pals dropped by to see how it had gone and several more rang him to chat as well.  I must have heard the same stories about 6 times!!  He has offers of lifts to the hospital and  to the shops so I don't worry too much about him.

I had to leave him on Thursday evening to get back to rehearsals but I knew my sister and her husband were arriving on Friday morning for the weekend. It was at the rehearsals that I got the bad news that the 2 women will almost certainly NOT be able to play their parts as one of their mums is dying.

This is bad news for the panto (as well as for Alison's mum) as she in particular is a fantastic comic actress and really carries the show.  Her timing and her deadpans to the audience are superb.  And her part is pretty huge.  She plays a french lothario sea captain who romances the dame, Sherry Trifle.  The chemistry between her, a woman playing a bloke and the bloke playing Sherry is wonderful.  Now the poor old director is having to learn her part and step in and although he's pretty good, it just won't quite be as funny.  They haven't had the rehearsal time together for one thing.

I'm stepping in for her partner who plays the second-in-command in the Rat Pack.  We are playing the rats as 1920's Noo Yawk gangsters, I'm Deano Martino.  It is not a massive part but very comedic. There is a lot of interplay between the 4 rats and quick lines, not to mention the Noo Yawk accent which I have had to work on as well as learning my lines.  I'm getting there although my accent  is more "slightly camp black drug dealer" than "eye-talian mobster" for some reason.  It works though so it will just have to do!!

I have 4 main scenes and have learned 3 of them this evening as well as getting on top of the accent and the moves.  I will do another few hours on it tomorrow to really nail them and finish off the 4th short scene and hopefully will be off script on Sunday.  Aaaargh - this is scary.

Not only that, I still have to do the camel thing so have to work on the dance routine for that on Sunday as well as, while we can just about follow the moves,we have no idea where we should be on stage and how we are going to avoid treading on the junior chorus!

So, as a result of all this, I did not go with Rich and his dad to Wigan for the footie.  Instead I stayed as home and learned my lines and seriously freaked out the dogs.  They did not like my accent or my ratty moves!  I watched the match on the telly and, although we won, it was rubbish so I did not miss much.

Perhaps as a result of focusing on everything but diet and exercise, I have been good.  No time to cook or eat I suppose.  I went for a run when I was over at Dad's - opened my February account with a brisk 4.7 km - and was rewarded this morning with a glimpse of fresh fat - 16.5!  Wonder if I can hold onto it. I feel as though I might be brewing a sore throat or cough which is truly awful timing so I dosed myself up with a hot toddy this evening INSTEAD OF the piece of Christmas cake I had budgeted for.  Get me with the self- restraint and that.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Canal side run

It's been a couple of weeks since my last lunchtime run in Rotherham and several months since the one before that one. Also I had aborted at least 2 planned runs due to work pressure. So it was very satisfying to get out for a good long run yesterday. The weather was perfect for running: cool but not cold; no wind; nothing worse than a light, misty drizzle. You can't ask for more in January, believe me.

I managed a brisk and even smooth 5.43km taking me to a grand total of 60km in January. I'm VERY pleased with that. 

The selfies below were taken around my turning point at the third lock along. I'm confident that I will be able to run to Sheffield by the time the evenings are light enough later this year. That has been on my "list" of challenges for a few years now.

It was a bit of a sad run at times though. Last time out I met a nice lady out calling for her grandparent's dog Charlie, a lovely old Staffie chap. He had been scared by fireworks the night before and had run off. I advised her on a couple of Lost Dog Facebook pages and watched her search for him over the next 2 weeks. He was found eventually but sadly had drowned in the canal. Poor old Charlie.  Bloody, bloody, inconsiderate fireworks out of season. I hate them. 

Today has been a tough day. A hard day at work, train then bus over to Sheffield for dancing at 6pm, shopping then home for supper and wading through the last, exceedingly crappy, episodes of Silent Witness. I'm really tired so SW is probably all I can manage. I'm also a bit grumpy because Sheffield Wednesday only managed a draw against lowly Bristol City. We went ahead twice and they pegged us back. Very disappointing.

I think as a result of tiredness and having a demanding evening I have eaten quite a bit today. Normal breakfast and lunch but an extra chicken wrap before dancing and then a calorific salmon with noodles and stir fry and sweet chilli dressing. And a couple of glasses of white wine. No regrets cos it's not bad by any means but it's useful to identify danger periods and temptations for future reference.

It's not going to let up any time soon. My dad is having his cataracts done tomorrow (or possibly just one) so I'll be going over to pick him up from hospital and stay with him for a day and a half. I would have stayed longer but with the panto looming I cannot miss rehearsal on Thursday evening. Luckily my sister and her husband are coming over on Friday morning so they'll take over for the weekend. The show must go on and all that.

So - working from home in the morning and hopefully a nice, relaxing run or walk afterwards before heading over to Newark. And now, sleeeeeep!!

Monday morning musings

The scales have very grumpily relented this morning. 2lb off, just. It has been a struggle and I feel as though I have been hovering between 16.6 and 16.8 for AGES. In reality it is only a fortnight but, because I was between those weights before Christmas, it does not feel like "fresh fat". 16.5 WILL be fresh fat and I will be very relieved to see that new number, hopefully very soon.

However, I'm living well, exercising well,  eating and drinking without painful restriction and still dropping weight steadily, although slowly. Surely Shome Mishtake. This is just not me. I seem to be able to make the connection between calories in and out and weight in a way I have never managed before. I'm making choices throughout the day, without resentment, and sticking to them. Day in, day out.  I have stopped looking for miraculous diets where I can eat loads and still drop weight. If I want to eat or drink more I must work more and I still can't do it too often. End of story.

So, I have stopped day dreaming about dropping 4 stone before we go to Australia in December and now expect the drop to be more modest- 2, 2.5 stone would be marvellous. But in doing so I will also be a lot fitter from all the running so I might LOOK as though I have dropped more.

The running is going great guns. I have streaked past 50km in January, am already up to 54.6km and am hoping to fit in a run this lunchtime. 

The pics below are from my dog free trot yesterday morning. It ended up quite gloomy so I felt blessed to have had some sunshine and have seen that amazing skyscape at the bottom.

In other news the Panto is getting very close. I was feeling confident as I had learned my lines and most of my songs. Then the director dropped a bombshell - could I understudy quite a big part as the actress playing it has family troubles (a dying relative I think) and might not be able to make one or more performances. She is very experienced in physical acting and comedy and the part has lots of lines, scenes, comedy and songs. Gonna be a big ask but what can you do?? Line learning for me!!