Midsummer evening

Midsummer evening

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

I'm quite tired now....

It has been one of the, if not the, loveliest Christmases I've ever had.  Christmas Day was, as I mentioned, bliss.   Just to be spending the day together, not having to go anywhere or do anything to any particular timescale.  We had a brilliant time together, cooking and listening to christmas songs, walking the dogs, popping into the local.  We laughed and laughed, watched abit of telly (but not a lot really) and ate and drank well. 

We managed a round of golf on Boxing Day with Rich's younger brother, James, so we had a dose of much-needed fresh air and exercise.  Which we then ruined by heading to the pub to see a friend's folk/Irish band play.  They were very good but I think it was a few pints too far for Rich, poor man.  I was driving so not a problem for me!! 

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a heavy day - it seemed as though everyone picked that day for their various events.  We had a lunch party at Rich's brother's in Sheffield (roast beef sandwiches....mmmm) which was a mainly child-centric do but nice and relaxing.  Then back home for a mad 2 hour cleaning and sheet changing session.  Then up to his Mum's for more food.  This time a buffet but I think she thought she was catering for three times the number of people....a mind-boggling amount of food for 7 adults and 3 youngsters!

And then off to the station to pick up a couple of mates who were arriving to go to another band on in our local.

They saw them once before so we thought it would be another good night.  Which it was.  But not watching the band because they didn't turn up!!  How rude.  The landlord was fuming - he'd advertised, put up posters booked a band to boost his Christmas business and keep his customers amused and then didn't even have the courtesy to phone him to cancel!

Still, the pub stayed pretty busy and we had a good time with David, Nicola and James (Rich's younger brother again).  We drank far too much wine and set the world to rights, finishing up back at home with cheese and Christmas cake (yep - I've finally got round to cutting the cake) and port etc etc while watching cheesy pop classics. The port was what inspired me and James to try Christmas cake and stilton - a combination I'd heard was good but had never tried.  Mmmmm very nice.

Today we're off to my parents in Lincolnshire.  We are moving extremely slowly and looking forward to a quiet night in tonight - no booze and plain food.  Maybe a spot of sale shopping in Lincoln tommorow and then supper at my sister in law's tomorrow night.  Rich is quite excited about her cooking.  She is an excellent cook and he loves Asian cuisine so I hope she comes up with something spicy!

Then back on Friday in time for a weekend of football, New Year's Eve and more football.

Sheffield Wednesday has provided the only sour note of the holiday so far by losing in extra time against Walsall thus dropping down the table from 2nd to 3rd and allowing our local rivals, Sheffield United to go ahead of us!!  Very disappointing to concede 2 goals in 3 minutes of extra time.....glum....

But there is still along way to go and we have plenty of time to come back.  Preston on Saturday and Tranmere at home on Monday....


Come on yo Blue and White Wizzaaaaards!!!

And then we diet...

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas

I don't think I've ever posted before on Christmas Day but today has been so perfect so far (and reading the comments on my last post has made it even better) that I just wanted to come here and say - Happy Christmas everyone!!

I hope you've had/are having a wonderful time.

I've had a lovely, lovely time this Christmas - it could not have been nicer - and I hope that you all have been as lucky.

I know that sharing your lives in this little cyber way makes a big difference to me so I hope it does to you too.

Big kiss.  Mwah!!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Santa's Scramble


Do Lady Golfers have a bad rep??  I never know how we are received.  I certainly know that there's enough goes on in golf clubs that we SHOULD (collectively) have a bad rep.  I've never come across a bunch of more snobby, old-fashioned, narrow-minded and hidebound traditionalists and I LIKE tradition!!

That said there are  many many more lovely women who just want to play a fun game in the outdoors, enjoy the competition, enjoy a sport they can play well into old age and with their partners.  So it's not all bad by any means.


These are a few pics I took of our Santa's Scramble competition a week last Wednesday.  What a laugh.  Due to a date change, my original team collapsed so I was "re-distributed" and ended up playing with the Lady Captain.  A bit of a groan when I realised that she wanted us to dress up!!


Luckily, however, the costume was not too onerous - We were snowmen (I had been wearing a hood and hat like the others but was too hot at this stage!) and it just involved a pair of those paper overalls, belt, scarf and hat.  It was a tad awkward to swing in but otherwise very toasty and warm.


 It was a slow old round so we were forced to keep warm on a mixture of mulled wine (from a flask) and damson gin - the Cinderella team playing behind us enjoyed this bit too!  Below an Ugly Sister swigs down the last of the Damson gin!


Me and the Lady Captain before we set off!


A collection of penguins and some Dickins characters....I believe that some costumes were then doctored to allow golf playing afterwards....at least I hope they were...bare legs in December a bit worrying!



 The reindeers were disconnected from their sleigh before play....I would have enjoyed seeing them traipsing across the fairways with their golf clubs...


Christmas Trees!! Such a clever costume although I think they cheated and, whisper it, BOUGHT their costumes!! 


And, in case you were wondering me and my team won.  A Texas Scramble is a fun format - you all drive off then pick the best ball and all take your next shot from that place and so on.  In theory you should score really well as each time, you're taking the best of 4 options!  As I hit quite a long ball it worked well for our team, especially as the others were quite high handicappers.  tee hee...

 

Who will YOU be missing this Christmas??

Please don't think that I now base my life around the diktats of the Daily Mail Online but, once in a while, they do throw up a thought-provoking question. One of yesterday's articles in Femail had 4 writers explaining who they would be missing around the Christmas table and why. Which got me thinking. 


As I'm having Christmas in a very small, quiet way with Richard, will I miss anyone or everyone this year? Which then sets you to thinking about which Christmases have been the best over the past decades.


I honestly don't think I'll miss anyone this year. I love my family, truly, but I'm used to not always being with them. It's not as if we ever had a settled run of adult Christmases together or a series of set-in-stone rituals or anything. We have always been quite a semi-detached family I suppose. Probably because we lived abroad throughout our childhoods so went to boarding schools, travelled a lot and now live miles apart. I feel that we're close but close within a losely-linked, widely spread unit rather than being tightly knit geographically speaking. We don't need to be together physically to feel close to each other.


So, not being with my parents or siblings on Christmas is not unusual and won't make me MISS them as such.


That was true within my marriage too as D worked on the rigs so was, more often than not, away for Christmas leaving me to make the best of things. I often found myself being a bit of a spare part at Christmas, tagging on to someone else's family arrangements and, because I was the one on my own, doing most of the cooking and the "fitting in". I didn't really miss him all that much (which is telling when you think about it) as I was used to him being away but I did used to miss being part of a couple. So, I won't be missing D or that feeling either.



When we went to D's family in Ireland I always enjoyed myself but their rituals were so different to those of my family, that it was often a bit disappointing. I remember one year waking up quite late because we'd been in a pub 'til late and walking down to the front room to find that everyone had already opened their presents without us. So, we sat, pretty much by ourselves and opened our presents before lunch - not my idea of Christmas!! I also used to go to a different church to the rest of them which created a sort of aloneness. I would have joned them at the catholic service but it was never suggested and I didn't fancy standing out in a churchyard listening to the service from outside as D used to do!! If I'm going to church, I'd rather BE there and sing some hymns!!



So, so far, can't find anyone or anything I'll be missing.


I know who I missed last year. Richard. I spent Christmas at my parents with some family friends. It was the right thing to do as Dad was still a bit raw about the whole split and he needed help with their guests who are a lovely family. It was a nice Christmas but I was aware all the time that I would rather have been somewhere else and couldn't wait to get back home. I suppose I am missing singing hymns in my home church on Christmas Eve. But I've already arranged to plug that gap as I'm going to a carol service in my new home village.


So this year, we're going to start our own traditions and rituals. We're going to put our little unit at the forefront for a day and hopefully build something lovely for the present and the future. 


Are YOU going to missing anyone or anything this Christmas? I hope not, but if you are, I hope it's not long before you're with them again or, if that's not possible, before you can remember them with joy.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A Christmas run

I told you I was going to go for a run at lunchtime!!  It wasn't the most inviting of days, chilly, misty and grey but not freezing cold and not chucking it down so bearable.



I slogged up and over the hill and then along this lovely walled lane which has a decent incline but is not as steep as the other paths I could take on this side of the road.

In case you're wondering where Shelagh is, she did come with us but doesn't approve of running so hangs back by way of silent protest.  once we hit the road and are on the homeward leg she catches up with us and joins in a bit more! 
I found a new path through the lovely (but grey) village of Bradwell.  At least I can't remember being on it before.  I suspect I have but that there have been lots of trees taken out hence now the views (of cloud and greyness!) 




Despite the grey wetness of it all, it was a lovely run.  I didn't go very fast and stopped to take some piccies as you can see but there were 3 decent hills and I was out for 40 minutes so not a bad little trot. It really set me up (and warmed me through) for an afternoon in my little office at home.  I'm getting to enjoy this working from home lark.

I'm enjoying an abstemious few days after all the Christmas lunches in advance of the festive madness.  But still looking forward to cutting back in January!!

Life before Christmas

I thought you might like a bit of Christmas spirit....a decorated house, all ready for Christmas lunch.  Well, actually these were taken before Rich's brothers and sister came over a couple of weeks ago but it should look a bit like this!!
I was chatting to a couple of friends from my "former life" on Sunday night. I was in my old local pub for the pub quiz league match and they were in as usual. This time I had a little more time to chat so I made a point of stopping to pass the time of day. It's strange, I used to think I was really close friends with these 2 guys but time and not having been in touch with them has stripped away the guts of a real friendship.




They stayed very close to D when I first left him and it has obviously been too tricky for them to go out of their way for me too. Maybe it's a boy thing. Maybe they didn't make that much effort anyway and once I moved out of the village and wasn't in the pub they weren't going to stay in touch anyway. I can't see them being pally with Rich although at least one of them has been friendly with him in the past. Maybe it's just too awkward for them to try and steer through the morass of being friends with both of us!!




I suspect women find this a bit easier.




Last night though, they were both really friendly and chatty and seemed pleased to see me and have a chat. I struggle a bit with that sort of surface "chat" knowing that neither of them offered a real hand of friendship when I needed it. But I chatted away and it was (a bit) like old times. Who knows, maybe we will become proper friends or at least friendly acquaintances again one day.




But what really struck me was how different I am now than I was a year ago. My life has changed so dramatically and I'm a new person, and a happier one. I could see the doubt in one of my pal's eyes as he asked how I'm getting on. "Is everything ok??" he said. I said no, not ok - brilliant thanks! But I'm not sure he got it. But I could see the pleasure in his eyes to be catching up again and that reminded me how much I used to like him. What a shame eh?




Anyway, enough of the ruminating. I may be light a few friends but I'm heavy on love, laughter, new friends and fun stuff.




Light on dieting too. I just cannot get into it at the moment. I'm busy so not doing enough exercise and eating what I fancy (which seems to include several Christmas lunches!). Well, it is what it is and I'm actively looking forward to knuckling down to healthy eating and exercise again after Christmas and that's all there is to it. I'm not piling the weight on but certainly not losing it and definitely feeling a little fatter round the middle. To the extent that I'm going to go for a run tomorrow while I'm working from home and am actually looking forward to it!




In terms of Christmas plans, all is going well. Well, well-ish. I have still to ice the Christmas cake although it has been marzipan-ed. I wrote my Christmas cards and have distributed most of them but still have a few to deliver. The house is decorated but needs cleaning again. The presents are bought but most have still to be wrapped and delivered. The food is planned and partly bought but I've not purchased a turkey! It's a kind of "halfway-there" Christmas.




I'm not sure if I mentioned what we're up to. We had invitations to both families but, somewhat daringly, have decided to stay at home and have Christmas "a deux" ("a quatre" if you count the dogs which I decidedly do!). I can't wait and Rich seems to be looking forward to it too. The plan for the big day is nice long lie-in due to having been carol singing/drinking in the White Hart the night before. Prepare lunch and put the turkey in then go for a good long walk with the dogs (and maybe "pop in" to a pub for a "quick one"). Then back home for food and lazing around until the evening when, if we feel like it, we venture out for another trip to the Hart. 






The landlord is putting on a games evening involving Wii, darts, giant Jenga, Connect 4 etc. Apparently it has been great fun the last couple of years and sounds like a nice, jolly communal event. We'll probably be joined by some of Rich's family as they sounded quite keen too. I like the idea of going out on Christmas evening as it prevents that bloated sensation of existing in a fug of heat and food. You are forced to walk into the bracing evening air and then stand upright for a while which has got to be better than collapsing in a prone heap in front of the fire for the entire evening!!




We will, of course, be getting out and about after Christmas to see our respective families. We also have plans for some bands and some football so the entire festive period is now looking somewhat booked up but that's good too. It's the same every year - you think that you have ages but, in the end, the 10 days disappear in a blur.




I hope you all have the Christmas you want planned (and that they work out as planned!!).


Thursday, 15 December 2011

A proper catch up - and on time too!

I have no idea what happened to the formatting of the last post. I tried to justify it and sort the paragraphs out but Blogger stubbornly refused to play. I wouldn't mind but I typed it in exactly the same way as usual so now I fear that all posts will be odd and randomly formatted.


Hey ho, I'm here posting and that will have to be enough for now.


My absence has not heralded a massive slide from grace although nor has it been caused by so much exercise and virtue that I just didn't have time to get to the computer!!  It's just been busy as I'm sure you lot are too, although you seem to be coping a bit better than me this year.


My weight is sticking at around the 14.7 mark which is a few lbs over last year's total but not many.  I'm not unhappy about that, especially as I am confident that I will be straight back into losing after the festivities are over.  I'm not going mad in the meantime, just not losing and I'm still going to weigh-ins so feel that I've not "gone off the diet" which would necessitate a big effort to "get started again".


It has been a struggle though - so many eating and drinking opportunities - Team Christmas lunch on Tuesday; Golf Club Santa's Scramble lunch (or which more later) on Wednesday; Department Christmas lunch on Friday; Rich's work do on Saturday night; and another works girly Christmas lunch on Monday!!  Just how much turkey can one fattie eat??  Actually I have varied the menus and tried to pick the sensible dessert options so not too bad.  It's saving me a fortune in suppers as I'm hardly eating in the evenings, too full!


Last weekend was lovely - I'm pleased to report that the tree and all decorations are up and look gorgeous.  I went for the chicken tartiflette last Friday evening and it was gorgeous too (though I say so myself).  Rich's brother and his wife had to turn back when coming over from Sheffield due to snow so there was one left over which I sent home with his other brother for his Dad and Stepmum over the weekend.  She had had an operation so I thought it would save her cooking. Lovely and creamy and cheesy (sorry SW!!)


We also managed nearly all the Christmas shopping with the minimum of fuss and actually had a good time in Meadowhell! (Or Meadowhall Shopping Centre as it is known outside the environs of Sheffield)  I think the economic doom and gloom is putting people (or at least annoying people) off shopping because I was able to spend several hours in Meadowhell without wanting to kill anyone....it was a first! 


The football in Oldham was good too - 4000 happy Owls travelling over the Pennines to watch Sheffield Wednesday beat Oldham and cement our second place in the table.  It's by no means secure but we have a teeny tiny cushion over our nearest rivals - Huddersfield who we're playing on Saturday (yikes!) and Sheffield United (say no more).  So we head, nervous but happy, into the Christmas period and just hope that our Bue and White boys can hold on for automatic promotion this year...pleeease!!


This coming weekend is going to be equally busy.  As mentioned above, there is the scary prospect of Huddersfield on Saturday closely followed by Rich's works do.  That is going to be a loooong night as we're being picked up on the coach at 6.30pm and the coach doesn't leave until 1pm.  Much drinking, eating and hopefully dancing too.  I'm looking forward to it but am also hoping that I can find some people to have fun with as the 2 friends of Rich I do know quite well have both gone away for Christmas, coincidentally both to visit family in Bangkok although totally different families!


Sunday we're going to my parents for a pre-Christmas visit.  As we're not going to be with them for Christmas, I wanted to deliver presents and see Dad before.  We're going to stay just before New Year for a couple of night too though!


So - I'd better get on with icing my cake and finishing off my Christmas cards as tonight is my last opportunity!  I hope you're all happy and organised and looking forward to a lovely festive season.

Whoops... unpublished, out of date post...t

Warning - this post is a whole week out of date. I posted it LAST Thursday but for some reason it didn't publish and I haven't been online much so didn't notice until last night. So everything happened LAST weekend. Also, I've NO idea why it hasn't published all the way across the page and can't seem to correct it.

I like this time of year. Especially taking time off "just because". Richard and I have arranged a long weekend and I can't wait. That said, the first morning of it is starting
at 8am tomorrow with personal training! How hard-core is that?? I figured that
Rich will want a lie-in as he's at a charity darts and dominoes night tonight so
I will slip out and go and sweat for an hour to start my long weekend the right
way! The rest of the day will be busy anyway as we have his 2 brothers, one
sister in law and sister and my sister in law coming over for supper tomorrow
evening. The house still needs to be decorated and food prepared....yikes! I
have made a start but there is still lots to be done and it looks like me who
will be doing it tonight....hmmm.


It's been tricky choosing a menu for the festivities. Firstly Rich's sister in law is ostensibly
a vegetarian, but she will eat organic free-range chicken (I don't get it). I'm
not a great veggie cook and certainly wouldn't want to serve a veggie meal for a
dinner party (especially as other siblings aren't keen on veggies) and not to a
presumably experienced veggie cook. So that means chicken. Much as I like
chicken, it's not what I would usually pick to serve. My familiar chicken
recipes are all pretty workaday - roast, fajitas, stir fries, curries etc. I
was leaning towards a Malaysian chicken and prawn curry but that had to be
scrapped when my sister in law (who IS Malaysian) said she could come after
all! I am so NOT cooking Asian cuisine for her - she is a brilliant
cook!


So, it was down to Chicken Tartiflette or a Chicken Tagine with preserved lemons and apricots.
Rich looked a bit dubious about the tagine idea so tartiflette it is. I'll do
one version without the lardons for the chicken-eating "vegetarian" and one
with, for me.... Chocolate fondant for dessert. We haven't entertained much in
our new place - just family lunches - so I'm looking forward to it. And, no, I
won't be counting the syn value of the meal....I won't even be thinking about
it!


Ooooh, that reminds me - I lost 3 lbs on Tuesday night's weigh-in. Not bad, over half of the recent gains are history. Hopefully I can reverse the rest this week and then I'll
(nearly) be back down to my lowest. Not the most sucessful diet ever but I'm
still on it (just) and that means I should begin January with a head start over
my usual routine!


Anyway, back to non-diet stuff. The tree is bought but not decorated yet - that's tonight's
plan. Rich's love of Sheffield Wednesday has finally come out. It's been
indicated that he doesn't like red decorations! How annoying is that?? So my
"folk" decorations in red, white and green are being side-lined in favour of
purple, gold and green this year. Or maybe just gold, haven't quite decided. I
have flat-out refused to go for a blue and white/silver tree - don't like them -
think they look cold and it wouldn't go in our house anyway. I was briefly
taken by the new "jewel" decorations that seem to be everywhere this year -
bright reds, turquoise, emerald green, purple, and pink. Trouble is though -
I'd have had to buy EVERYTHING new and couldn't use my much-loved old
favourites...so I'll stick to a more traditional look. Does everyone else have
these dilemmas or is it just me??


Yesterday was another day off "just because". I'd signed up to play golf but that was
cancelled due to the snow and wet but I couldn't face working once I'd got
excited about a day off. So I got in touch with my pal Vicky who is still on
maternity leave with her 11 month old twins and arranged to go out to play with
her and Rosie and Joe. Chores all morning then off for a nice lunch in
Tideswell (I was half virtuous with the soup and half sinful with the drop dead
delicious brownie) and spot of light shopping in Buxton. The twins behaved
beautifully and it was nice to be able to give Vicky a hand too.
I don't know how she manages to do anything with the pair of them on her own, the logistics
of changing, strapping in and out of chairs and coating up etc are pretty
daunting. But I'm full of admiration for her as she has embraced motherhood
with such grace and a brilliant sense of fun. She is obviously so happy with
her lovely pair but doesn't do what some mums in my experience have done and got
totally obsessed and over-protective of them . She is happy to let you do your
bit and help and that makes going out with them much more relaxing and
"grown-up" somehow. Maybe you have to be like that twins? You certainly have to
leave them in high chairs or cots even if they cry sometimes as you simply can't
be dealing with 2 at the same time!! It is also possible to have a
conversation with her that is not solely about babies. I do like children but
it is nice to still have your friend to chat to as well as a new
mum....


So, that's Friday sorted. Saturday we're off to the away game in Oldham with his Dad (snow and
gales permitting), Sunday is miraculously free (so far) and Monday is dedicated
to Christmas shopping. I can't wait.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A silver lining!!

 Our lovely lunchtime walk in the slush.  It is extremely wet at the moment - all through the summer I've wondered about these stepping stones over nothing - now I understand!

 Very friendly horses approached me at speed - cue much Minty barking and dancing around but the horses just wanted to nibble my pockets for treats...unfortunately I had nothing for them (and wouldn't have fed a strange horse anyway!)

 The swollen brook - all summer this was a meandering, stony trickle!




And this isn't even a stream at all - it's the road!


Throughout the summer this part of the brook totally dried up due to some cavers diverting an underground waterway up in the hills somewhere.  Now it's back for sure!



(The title to this post is apt for me in more than one way - Sheffield Wednesday's "traditional" pop song is Jeff Beck's Hi Ho Silver Lining which is played as the team runs out so I have a soft spot for the song.)

However, in this case, I'm not referring to football.  Remember how grumpy I was about our new office and the detested "agile working" which it brings with it??  Well, I have found a silver lining.  And it rests in the folds of snow clouds. 

It snowed last night and was white over this morning and still snowing lightly although forecast to turn to rain.  Not a deep blanket by any means and somewhat wet and slushy but enough to make the journey into work stressful.  Although not bad in the Valley, the road was bound to be nasty over the tops and then I know from experience that traffic is always terrible through Sheffield when we have even a dusting of snow.

I knew I COULD make it to work but I really didn't fancy the hassle of the trip and then the worry about whether it would be nasty going home again.  Not to mention the fact that I'm trying to bank some flexi hours and a long journey would eat into these.

So, instead of slogging in, I took "them" (whoever they are) at their word and elected to work from home.   Initially I was just going to work an hour or so first thing and then drive in later once it was light and the traffic had cleared a bit.  But after an hour it just seemed silly to go in at all.  I have everything I need here and this way could do a decent long day.  My boss was fine about it (not my immediate line manager who is a bit tricky about the whole working from home issue but the team manager) so that is what I did.

And it's been lovely.   I've got loads done, as well as some washing; I was in for the postwoman so don't now have to go and collect a parcel; and the dogs have had company all day.  We went for a slushy, muddy walk at lunchtime and I took some photos as you can see.

So, if you wait long enough, you can find the silver lining in most things!!

Weigh-in tonight - wish me luck!


Social Dancing and plans not working out

It was a weekend where things didn't really work out as planned. Not a bad weekend but not how I thought it would be.




Friday night was lovely - I was working from home so, at Rich's suggestion, stuck a sausage casserole in the oven when he got home from work and then headed off to the pub for a few early doors glasses of wine. Mmmmm. I do like that Friday evening drink in the local, just chatting away and planning things and then heading home to a lovely smelling kitchen, crazed hounds and a scrummy meal. So that was a better evening than I'd expected!!




Saturday was a lie-in as Rich usually works but had banked some extra hours to get a weekend off which was nice. But then we had to do chores and we intended to go for a nice walk. Well, after chores the weather intervened and spun from crisp sunshine to gloomy rain. We ended up tramping along in the cold, muddy rain which neither we nor the dogs particularly appreciated. After 40 minutes, we accepted defeat and headed back but that still meant a long cold walk back in wet gear with sulky pooches!




Then came the much heralded Social Dance. You know how things can just "go wrong". Well, it was one of those days. We didn't have the right sort of food in the fridge so ended up having a KFC (yes, I know!!) in town and then trekking over to the dance studio on the tram which involved my walking in my dance shoes. We got there on time but there weren't many people there so there was that horrid sensation of walking into an unfamiliar place where you know no-one and suspect that you're going to have a terrible evening. Sober. And it's brightly lit. Blegh.




But we soldiered on and it did improve. Luckily, on closer inspection, there was one other couple from our class there (although not the couples we had been meant to meet up with!!) so we had someone to go and sit with. We don't know them as such but they were friendly and at least we didn't feel like Billy-No-Mate Beginners among a sea of old-stagers.




Rich is less gung ho about things in general than me. Whereas I'm happy to leap in and see how it goes and don't mind making a chump of myself, he prefers to be confident that he is going to be able to do something BEFORE he starts! Neither of these approaches are wrong as such but they do clash. So, where I wanted to get straight onto the floor and have a go at a waltz, he flat-out refused until he'd had a drink and chilled and got the measure of it. We managed NOT to have a row about it but the atmosphere was a little touch and go for a while. But eventually we compromised. I bought a bottle of red to loosen us up and he got up and danced when the cha cha cha came on to get us going sooner than he felt comfortable with. (I felt that we had to get out there or we would be clinging to the edge of the dance floor like a couple of maiden aunts all night!)




There were a couple of sets of 3 or 4 tunes for each of the standard dances throughout the night and we managed 2 goes each of the samba, cha cha, rumba and tango. I was sad that Rich didn't feel brave enough to tackle the waltz and we gave up quicker than I would have liked on the jive but both of these are understandable as well as a little disappointing. Both of us were agreed that we weren't going to go near the quickstep or foxtrot....need a lot more time on those!!




The dancefloor was full for the waltz and, not only that, full of confident whirling couples! We haven't done it for a few weeks and I do appreciate that Rich was a bit nervous about steering us around...really. I was just sad 'cos it looked so lovely to be whirled around; dreamy and romantic. Next time. At least we tried a jive but the music was quite a bit quicker than in our class and we struggled to get going and I didn't push the point. Also, next time!




So, all in all, not an unmitigated disaster but not an unqualified sucess either. But at least I know there will be a next time. Both of us ended up enjoying the evening and it was inspiring to see the good dancers strutting their stuff. Trouble is, I suspect it will take a long time to get good (if we ever do) on one hour's tuition per week! We were talking to one other couple who were not particularly skilfull but admirably enthusiastic and they told us they've been coming for 4 years!! Yikes. But great to see the new steps we will eventually be learning. When you make such slow progress, it can get a bit boring so it's nice to know that there is still loads to be learned.




We finished off the evening in our football local which, conveniently, is next door to the studio watching a blues band. I was a tad overdressed in my LBD but it was a good band and a nice finish to the evening.




I was so chuffed when Rich checked out the date of the next dance in January....it hasn't put him off totally. I was also chuffed that we managed to steer through the unpromising start to the evening without blaming or arguing. In my previous existence, the evening would have turned into sulks and recriminations and probably a horrible row once we got home. What am I saying - I would never have got as far as the dance studio in my previous existence!! It makes me happy every time when we DON'T have a row in a situation which previously would have been "all my fault". Such a refreshing feeling.




I suppose anything new and totally out of ones' comfort zone is bound not to be perfect but at least we can learn from the experience to make next time better. Next time I'm going to suggest that we go for a light bite to eat in town, share a bottle of red for courage and then take a taxi straight there. And make sure that our pals actually turn up too!!




Sunday was meant to be golf with his brother but the weather fouled that up too. I wasn't sorry - getting cold, wet and muddy 2 days in a row is not my idea of fun. So, a quick road-based dog walk (sorry girls!) and then into town for a shop and to buy our Christmas tree!! Yay! Last year Rich resisted a tree and decorations so my efforts were a tad half-hearted but this year he seems happy to embrace the Full Monty. A nice looking 6-footer is propped up awaiting lights and decorations. We have to get them sorted before Friday when we have his brothers, sister-in -law and sister and my sister-in-law coming over for supper and drinks! I'm really looking forward to it.




We narrowly lost the pub quiz but won the beer round and all is back being right with the world. Well, apart from the first snow of the season and having to battle over the hill through unploughed, slushy/snowy roads to work this morning to be greeted by a bright, clear, sunny day! Rotherham exists in a different meteorological zone to the Peak District only 20 miles away, that is for sure. I'm sure my colleagues think I'm mad when they see me arrive bundled up in boots and coats, gloves etc

Friday, 2 December 2011

Positivity returns - feeling healthy roools!!

I'm pleased to report that, after 2 days of feeling healthy (or at least on the mend), I'm still going strong. I managed to keep my food options healthy and restricted yesterday and the day before - no treats bar a glass of wine. Even on the golf course I had a banana rather than one of the Go Ahead bars which live in my bag!


I had plans yesterday to go swimming at lunchtime although I was kind of dreading the hassle of getting there and back. No - "courage, mon brave - you can do it" I said!! Trouble is, I also had a stack of lunchtime type chores which needed tackling. Now that I work from home more often, I have fewer town-based lunchtimes in which to accomplish these. As it happened, the phone and email went mad around lunchtime so I could not have gone swimming in any event...grrr, thwarted.


I'm feeling less overwhelmed than I did around the time of my "Grumpy" post but I remain to be convinced that this new office is a truly productive environment. I sniggered at Peridot's comment that her tea collection would not fit into a locker let alone the rest of her gear! Yes, exactly - everything has to be culled to the bare bones and then you find that you don't have what you want/need! I timed it this morning - from arrival to productive working takes around 15 minutes - there's the finding of a desk which is not too far from the rest of the team; the setting up of laptop; the adjustment of desk, chair and screen; the changing of shoes from trainers to office pumps; the trip to the locker for papers, pens, mug, etc; the first cup of tea of the day and, eventually, you can get cracking.


I'm working from home today and about to head off to personal training at lunchtime so at least today will be virtuous. Nothing planned during the daytime tomorrow bar chores so I will definitely aim to go for a run. As I write that, I'm mindful of the Yoda-inspired comments a few weeks ago that one should "do or not do - there is no try" (or something like that). But even a day in advance is quite early for me to commit to something!! Who knows what may crop up - the weather may change for the worse (looking likely); the chores may expand into trips to town or major endeavours; we may decide to go for a "proper" walk... I will say that, if the day is not horrendous and I can reasonably carve out the time, I will definitely go for a run!


Actually, the idea of going for a decent walk sounds good - we haven't done that for a while. It's been a case of one of us whipping them round the fields for their daily exercise when we can, or relying on the dog walker chappie. A family hike could be in order on the Saturday if possible as we're golfing (weather permitting) on Sunday.


So - things going well, the gains are slowly being reversed. I'm going to limit the booze this weekend (despite the upcoming Social Dance) and try to actually hold onto the losses of this week into next for Weigh-In on Tuesday! That has been the pattern recently: lose steadily Wednesday through to Sunday then see the weight (and more) come piling back on Monday/Tuesday. Grr. Not this week.


PS. Yes, I know I shouldn't weigh every day. I now. But I need to get back into the swing of things and this is the best way I know how!

Scary stuff

I just tried to log in and received a message saying that my account had been disabled and blog suspended!! Yikes. You realise how vulnerable you are to hacking when you're trying to negotiate the maze of Google Help and FAQ's, none of which seem to fit the situation.

Anyway, in the end I managed to reset the password and it murmured something about "detected unusual activity"...no apologies.....aaaargh!

It makes me realise how much I like my blog...I'd be very sad indeed if I lost it. Perhaps I should have a back up. Does anyone have one? If so, what and how?

Phew!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel

The dogs have had a much delayed haircut! As you can see from the above "before" pic, they were beginning to resemble yetis and I was spending several evenings per week hacking at matted bits which they detest!

Below is the "after" - so smooth and sleek. Minty's fur is not as thick as Shelagh's so the groomer managed to preserve her leg "feathers" but Shelagh had to be taken back to skinny prongs which is not flattering for her more matronly frame!! Still I think they both look gorgeous - biased much??!

They're not natural models though are they? The expressions give the impression that I'm about to set about them with some sort of drill....




It was my weigh in last night and things got worse with yet ANOTHER lb on but, just to make a change, I didn't feel too bad about it. I'm glad I went because it means I'm not hiding from reality . I had hoped to STS or even lose 0.5lb but it was not to be. Now I know where I am and can really get cracking (and mean it) on reversing the gains.



If I hadn't started this latest push with SW, I would have been 5 lbs heavier than I am now and would probably have put even more on. So, yes, I have wasted a lot of time and gained weight that I've already expended effort to lose, but, in the grand scheme of things, it's not the end of the world. I'm still going and will continue until this is beaten.



The main thing is that I can finally feel my health and strength beginning to return to me and with them comes the motivation to say no to fattening food and yes to exercise.



Last night was a case in point - Rich was out at a golf club committee meeting (lucky man!!) so I was vegging at home after supper (sensible stir fry). I had the now familiar urge to roam the kitchen looking for "stuff" but managed to limit my intake to a few raisins, a small glass of sherry (don't ask!!) and a few satsumas. All in all not bad. And saying no to your urges once makes it easier the next time which helped me restrict myself to a sensible lunch of omelette today too.



It's weird, you'd think I'd be depressed by a gain but in fact I'm chirpy and positive. I feel I have weathered the storm and made it through to other side and I'm still lighter than I was when I set off on my journey.



I played golf this morning - one advantage of a strike day I suppose and it was tiring but pleasant. I didn't score very well but played some good stuff so it was quite pleasing and my partner is always good company.



So, what's coming up on the Lesley'n'Rich social whirl?? Well, this weekend we're going to our first ever Social Dance at the dance studio!! I'm very excited. Rich less so - "oh, thought you might have forgotten about that...!!" Luckily 2 other couple we hang out with at class are also going and I don't think they've been to a Social either so that will help. If it's too scary we can always disappear to the pub next door which has a band on!! I can't wait to tango in earnest (is that possible) but hope we can do it without someone shouting instructions and counting us in!!



I've no idea how dancing will go when we've had a few drinks?? Could be helpful, could be disastrous. I hoped to have a go at something at the Golf Club dinner last weekend but it didn't really work out. Last year, the dancing had started with a formal dance straight after the speeches but this year they had to move some tables and this meant that when the dancing did start it was straight into disco and the kids. We danced a bit but not anything ballroom-y. It's lovely though, even a slow dance at the end of the night feels lovely - after over a year of dancing together we're so "in tune". Aaaah....

Monday, 28 November 2011

Grumpy.....


A bit like Seren on WW Foodie was a week or so ago, I too am feeling grumpy this week (I just deleted the words "low level" - it's not low-level - it's full-on grumpy!). However for me, the cause is not November, or even Christmas being on its way. It's due to a combination of 2 things neither of which I seem to have much control over:

Firstly I'm STILL SICK!! This is really getting me down now. The horrible sore throat and cough which I developed on our return from holiday briefly cleared up before I started with a racking, violent cough which persisted for well over a fortnight. This improved but did not go away and has now morphed into a sneezy, runny head cold now with another cough thrown in for good measure. 3 separate illnesses with hardly any time off in between for good behaviour over the last 9 weeks. Grrrrr

I'm persisting with gentle exercise and trying to eat sensibly and healthily (lots of vitamin c) and not to drink too much but nothing seems to improve the situation. I'm tired of feeling poorly and not sleeping well. Boooo, whinge, groan, moan, grumble, carp, whine......I'm boring myself now.

The second factor is our new offices. We've moved from a frankly hideous 1970's monstrosity with a giant square open plan floor plan, murky olive carpets, mismatched furniture, opaque (and very few) windows and horrid strip lighting. It used to be a Grattan Fashion warehouse. Yes, it was terrible and needed changing but what we've moved to, while it's gleaming and shiny, makes life and work much much harder and is worse in so many ways.

We've moved to a brand new building in which the whole of the Council can be accommodated in one office (three 5 storey high "fingers") which should be better than being spread around town in a series of grim 1960's and 1970's concrete gulags. I suppose it may be one day. The offices are bright, clean, flooded with natural light and reasonably central to town. So, what are you whinging about woman??!

Well, in order to fit us all in, the decision was taken to drastically reduce the amount of space per person in the office to less than is actually required. In fact each team has been allocated 58% of the desk space it technically requires. So we have had to move towards "agile working". Ie. we do not have our own desk but share a number of "hot desks". We each have a locker and have to clear our desk each evening and find another one the next day. This involves unplugging everything, putting all pens, papers, mugs etc etc away which takes a surprising amount of time and culling all team facilities - pens, paper, staplers, hole-punches - all the usual officey things. Obviously holidays and meetings will only take us so far so we also have to work from home for a certain number of days each week or there would simply not be enough space for us all.

As you can see from the pic, the desks themselves are arranged in cramped pods with low level dividers and stretch across the open floorplan unhindered by walls or dividers. It is a call centre in other words, just one without the telephones and headsets. And few indian, geordie or glaswegian accents.

Our filing space is drastically reduced as well which doesn't affect most of my colleagues but is a pain for me being a solicitor who is required to keep adequate files. And don't get me started on deeds storage or IT storage allocations!!

The IT necessary to make up for the deficiencies of this new environment has NOT followed (presumably due to cost-cutting measures) and the overall effect is one of extra effort each day for less return in terms of work output. This adds stress and irritation.

The new office doesn't have any car parking so we all have to walk much further and also, because we're working from home much more, have to lug laptops and files home with us. I have already spoken about the extra effort involved in getting to the gym.

It's rubbish I tells ya!! Rubbish. No pictures on the walls, no plants, no team atmosphere, no character.

The one good thing is that now I care a whole lot less about my work and can work from home 2 days per week thus saving me petrol and dog walking fees and giving me extra time at home with Richard and the dogs.

Thanks for listening while I moan. I'm trying to stay positive at work so this has been invaluable. I just look across this soulless barn and want to scream.

I'm sure I'll get used to it one day and maybe, if I don't, I'll find something else to do when times pick up but, in the meantime, I'm stuck here, and will start to make the best of it once I start to feel better. Until then.....groan, moan, grumble, mumble, whinge, whine.......

Normal Pollyanna service will be resumed in due course.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

How many times??





The pictures are just a couple of snippets from everyday life round here. The flowers were a lovely surprise from Rich for my birthday. We had agreed no pressies as we're pooling resources to go on a long weekend to Rome after Christmas so purty fleurs were a bonus. The first ones he's bought for me too!!


The cake is our christmas cake (well, durrr..) which I am now feeding with brandy and will be icing soon. It's looking yum. I'm wondering whether I have the energy to make another one for Mum and Dad.


I should also have taken some snaps of the gorgeous sloe gin presently doing its wonderful stuff in the kitchen cupboard. I will remember next time I give the bottles a shake.....I made it a bit late for Christmas this year but the berries were bursting with juice and beautifully frosted so I'm sure it'll be a good batch. Can't wait.


Well, that's the Domestic Goddess stuff out of the way - back to 'fessing up re your "diet" Lesley!!!


I was right - I had put on weight over the 2 weeks since my last WI. I knew that first week had been bad but I'm pretty certain the second one wasn't too bad, I just stopped the rot so to speak. But overall I gained 4lbs!! Aaaargh! How does it go on so quick?? Especially as I had been even lower than my last SW weight midweek so the gain was actually even bigger.


Doesn't bear thinking about. So I won't.

I am back being mindful of what I eat and resisting the worst excesses. Back doing regular exercise and cutting back on the demon booze. The scales are assisting my endeavours by grudgingly heading back in the right direction. There are few positives from a nasty cold/cough which caused me to forget what had been a reasonably sucessful diet and pile on 4 hard-lost lbs but let's have a try at finding them eh??
I'm back on track and I did not actually fall off the wagon.


If I hadn't started the diet and lost some weight, I would be even heavier now - I'm still half a stone or so lighter than I was when I started and who knows how much I could have added to THAT total?!


It's not the end of the world and will give me motivation next time I feel grotty not to let it all hang out....I will try and remember this sickness ambush and guard against it.


In other news, we're off to Meadowhall tonight to try and find something nice to wear for the Golf Club dinner on Saturday night! I had hoped to be able to fit into some party gear from a year or so ago but I'm prob at least half a stone off that.....grrr. Hey ho - I like having some new gear every year and we might be able to do some dancing this year - they might play a waltz or even a tango and there's always the cha cha or a jive. I'm not really looking forward to Meadowhell at this time of year....especially not with yet another cold brewing - this one a runny headcold, just to ring the changes...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Big Birthday Weekend and crawling back again

My Birthday Trip to Tranmere! It was more fun than it sounds, honest! This is my pal Kerry slightly shocked to find herself with a pint of bitter in her hand at 9am as we ordered our full English breakfast in the pub while waiting for the coach to arrive. Tee hee...
Usually we would go to a village pub somewhere on the way to wherever the match is. It was different on Saturday as the coach broke down on the M62! That could really have put a damper on the proceedings but, luckily, my mate Jim knew the area well and knew there was a pub only a mile or so off the motorway with a coach-friendly carpark. The coach was able to limp back to the pub and we enjoyed our pre-match beers there instead.
It was not the sort of pub we'd usually go to - it was a v. smart gastro-inn (The Turnpike Inn near Ripponden if you know the area) all set up for a wedding later that day! Luckily they were happy to serve us and we enjoyed the sunshine out on the terrace looking over the reservoir and the M62 across the moors.
Eventually the replacement coach arrived (in the background there) and the boozy, football-beshirted hoards could depart and race over to Birkenhead! I think the pub was relieved that we wouldn't be getting in the way of their swanky wedding crowd who were not due to arrive for another hour or so but they were also happy to have sold out a barrel of beer (it was called Dam Fine Ale - what a great name for a beer!) as a Brucie Bonus on a Saturday lunchtime.
Our friend and my quiz team colleague, Richard (left) and Rich's Dad, Gordon (on the right).
Team photo:
It was very sweet - the landlord of the pub had told the rest of the coach that it was my birthday so they made a big fuss of me and even arranged a brownie complete with icecream and candles and sang a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday!! Not what you expect at 42....but very nice.
So that was Saturday - we were only a few minutes late for the game and Sheffield Wednesday duly obliged by winning 2-1. It's very tight at the top of League One this year so we have to keep winning just to stay in 3rd place. Annoyingly all the teams around us also won so we didn't climb. Better than nothing though.



Sunday was another good day. My brother and his wife drove over from Lincolnshire and we went out for a pub lunch. Then, while having coffees and desserts at home, Rich's mum and auntie popped round for a chat so now 2 strands of our families have met which is nice!



Diet wise it's been pretty disastrous. After holding on for one week, the second week of being ill cost me big and I reckon I've gained several lbs (missed WI so not sure how bad it is). However, I'm better now and got back to my exercise routine last week with swimming x2, running and training and being better with food (which, as you can tell, all went out of the window over the weekend!!).



I've changed my training day to Mondays now when I'm working from home so that'll free up Thursday for another session.



We've moved offices now so I'm 15 minutes further away from the gym. This could have been a disaster but, in an uncharacteristic move for me, I planned ahead! I bought a secondhand folding bike which I can leave at the office and use to cycle to the leisure centre in about the same time that it used to take me to walk. It works fine so I have no excuse for not going swimming! Not bad eh? Usually I would have done nothing until after the move, whinged for a few weeks, got totally out of the habit of exercise and fallen off the wagon and eventually had to make a colossal effort to get back to it....perhaps I really am changing??

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Flagging

This cough is really persisting and I seem to have lost the will to diet!

After a very promising beginning and middle of last week I only maanaged to drop half a lb which is fine but uninspiring. I'm not surprised though as I've been too poorly to exercise and have been "treating myself".

What a bore.

This week is likely to be even worse unless I pull up my socks. Which is doubtful.

I'm not often as despondent and uncaring about success as this. I think having a painful wracking (racking??) cough which keeps me (and Richard) awake most nights for over a week now has taken its toll.

Grrr.

So - I'm not going to be hard on myself. Just going to keep trying and if I don't get anywhere this week, well, what harm? I can turn it round later. I think damage limitation has got to be the name of the game for the next few days though...

Sorry to be gloomy peeps. I'll try and cheer up soon. The cabin fever from staying in isn't helping. And nor is the fact that we're moving offices tomorrow so we've been chucking stuff and packing as well as trying to do our work for the last fortnight.

Blegh



So - what's been GOOD about this week??

Well, dancing was good on Monday night (apart from the last 5 minutes when we couldn't do the jive). Lots of cha cha and we just about got the hang of the tango.

Managed to finish my packing on schedule on Tuesday despite feeling like death warmed up so at least I know that my files will fit on my allocated shelving in the new office!

Worked from home on Wednesday and had a lovely evening in with my boy - a bottle of wine, roast pork and apple crumble (see what I mean about the treats??) and lots of cuddles to cheer me up.

Had a course in Manchester today and I actually made it to the seminar!! I so nearly didn't get on the train and just went home to bed but I didn't. I persevered and learned something (admittedly on the very boring topic of the new planning legislation and the Localism Bill....snoooze....). Worked from home in the afternoon and had our chimneys swept so we can now have fires in both kitchen and dining room. Yay!! Not only that but I got some very tough work jobs out of the way.

So you see, although it's been a tough week, there has been something good about every single day so far. I don;t have good feelings about tomorrow being our actual moving date (and 2 big meetings too...not helpful). But who knows? Something might turn up.

A better week next week....

Monday, 7 November 2011

The weekend

I'm battling my second lurgy of the season ALREADY! That can't be right. Usually I only have 2 colds each winter and it's only the first week in November. This one is not as bad as the first - I feel mostly fine but have an infrequent but violent cough which really knocks me out. It also makes sleeping tricky as it's worse when I'm lying down. 6 days and counting tho...grrr...

Still, I have not let it drag me down and it has only slowed me a little bit. I took Friday off as felt very weak but ended up having a busier day than usual. I was pottering round getting the house sorted for my weekend visitor (Natalie from London), shopping, picking up the TV from the mender etc etc when I got a call from Rich - "Are you alright to pick me up from the Hallamshire?". The Hallamshire is one of the Sheffield hospitals and the nearest A&E's to us! Hmmm... "Why?" "I've drilled my finger". Apparently his drillbit broke and jumped into his finger - he was lucky as it didn't go through nail or bone and came out cleanly leaving no metal shavings. He said it didn't even hurt until the nurse started prodding at it!! So that used up half my day and left Rich with a big fat white bandaged up finger for the weekend (it wouldn't stop bleeding!) which fascinated the dogs. I think they thought it was some new form of tasty sausage as they kept on pouncing on it! Anyway, he had it re-dressed yesterday and all is well - phew!

I do like having visitors - it is nice to to have a shiny, spotless house with flowers on every surface and a fridge full of goodies. I know my house is not normally a pit or anything but you make that little bit of extra effort for friends.

Because I wasn't on top form healthwise we didn't go for the most strenuous of walks but we did have a lovely 2-3 hour tramp round the reservoir on Saturday and a nice hour out on Sunday in the glorious autumnal sunshine. The colours were spectacular and the dogs were in seventh heaven. We took in a bonfire, a meal at home (a non-SW-compliant sausage casserole with gorgeous Borworst sausages from our local butcher) and a few glasses of wine with friends on Saturday and another meal out on Sunday combined with the local Farmers' Market. You can't beat it.

Nat is such a good friend too - so caring and upbeat. She's facing a bit of an uncertain work future at the moment (the markets and all that) but doing it with such grace and calm - I really hope the worst does NOT come to pass for her. It's so nice to see Rich effortlessly fitting in with my good friends too - he doesn't try to dominate or impose his wishes on the proceedings, just lets us enjoy ourselves and as a result everyone relaxes and has a good time.

Foodwise I didn't go mad but treats WERE taken. We were ravenous after our walk on Saturday so stopped into the little cafe which has just opened in my village - cappucino and tiffin....mmmmmm.....tiffin.....drooool..... Red wine on Saturday evening...quite a lot of it! Sunday lunch was not too bad and I did not partake of the apple and blackberry crumble (go me!). But I did weaken in the face of my Farmers' Market goodies and have a couple of pieces of Tablet (well, she halved the price - it would have been rude not to....). The single slice of delicious New York style cheesecake is still in the fridge though and will be shared this evening after dancing (mmmmm....cheeeeeesecake.....)

One of the stalls at the Farmers' Market was honey based but the chap had such a good sales patter and was so engaging that we ended up buying loads of stuff. I didn't know how versatile honey could be! A jar of honey, natch; a tasty tomato, garlic and honey ketchup; pickled onions with honey and balsamic (for Rich as I can't STAND pickled onions!!); and finally mustard with honey.....hmmm, reaching the limit here. Rich and I weren't too bad though - Nat bought a couple of mini hampers for presents as well!

Nat left on Sunday afternoon for the long drive south - belly full, sleep caught up on ("It's so quiet here!") and hopefully lungs and limbs refreshed by the good country air.

I rounded off the weekend by standing in as captain for the pub quiz league match. As I mentioned before, our usual captain Dave (formerly known as "Quiz Dave" but now possibly "Dave the Bus") was knocked over by a bus and is still in hospital. Thankfully it looks as though his injuries are not as bad as first thought so he may be out by next weekend but I had to stand in for him in last night's Cup match. It was another resounding victory! We're getting quite good at this - 45-63 is a decent margin, especially without Dave who knows a hell of a lot of stuff! My captaining skills only let me down once - I picked one wrong answer when the correct one had also been suggested...but apart from that the team was firing on all cylinders....aaaah - all in all, a very satisfying weekend.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

"I can't" (yes you can Orville!)

As I get older I come to hate those 2 words more and more. They just seem to represent such a defeatist attitude. I know they must be justified sometimes, after all there are things one just cannot achieve but often they are a self-fulfilling prophecy.


2 recent examples of this spring to mind:


In SW class on Tuesday night, one of the women had had a gain. She has never been a particularly perky or positive member and has obviously been having trouble dropping weight for ages but this week her negative attitude really struck me. Phrases like "I just can't" or "that wouldn't work" tripped off her tongue without her really thinking about what was being suggested. Beth, the Leader was really trying to get to the root of the problem with her as to why she is slowly but steadily gaining weight (half a stone since summer apparently). She said that her meals were all SW compliant but that it was what she ate between meals at work which was the problem. I think she works in the Health Service and apparently any chocs and biscuit gifts are left in her office and she can't (there's that word again...) resist them.


Beth asked for suggestions. They came pouring in as we all tried to come up with helpful solutions for her: put a brightly coloured sticker on the box or table to make you pause before you indulge; set mini-targets of half a day for resisting and build on each small sucess; tell people that you're not having anything in the hope of shaming yourself (your chimp!) into resisting; suggest pooling all the gifts and distributing them by raffle or rota once a certain number has built up so they are not opened at work (seemed like a good one to me); put them away, out of sight; etc etc etc. We spent quite a while on this topic and I thought that, out of these suggestions, one at least would work. But then I looked over at her and realised that any suggestion other than a magic wand to instantly make her thin would have been too much effort for her. She seemed to ENJOY her failure to lose weight and her face was totally closed off to the possibility of doing something about it. It's a shame as she seems like a nice woman and she has a very funny turn of phrase.


But, in the face of such resolute negativity, what can you do?? Who knows, maybe she'll surprise me next week and report taking action. I hope so and I'd be happy to eat my words (calorie-free as they are). I doubt it though.


The other example was less dramatic. I played golf yesterday with a very nice, very posh older lady. In most respects she was pretty positive. She was out playing despite struggling with the after-effects of a broken wrist. Her game had suffered but she still enjoyed the sport despite not being able to hit the ball as far now. But yesterday her putting and short game were terrible! It was costing her shot after shot. But instead of slowing down and focussing on trying to change it, she got more lacksadaisical and casual, just walking up to each shot and bashing away without thought or care. She kept on saying "that's it, I just can't putt today". "My putting is rubbish today, I just can't do it!". She effectively talked herself into playing badly. I'm sure that what she SAID made the difference between a mediocre round and a terrible round. If she had said - "right, I really need to focus here, I can do better than this" or "I'm going to have a better back nine" or "I'm not going to 4 putt again" or something, I'm sure she would have improved.


So - I'm going to watch what I say and make sure that the dreaded negativity and tentativeness do not creep in. Beth agrees with me: she pulled a few people up for saying that they were going to "try"....and asked why they don't just "do it" instead??! A good point.....