Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Some photos

Seeing as I go on about golf so much these days, I thought I'd show you some pics of my course so you might appreciate what's so good about it!! The views of the Valley are amazing - Win Hill, Bamford Edge, Shatton, down towards Hathersage and over to Mam Tor and Castleton.

We're often up there and see the RAF doing low flying exercises with Chinooks or Tornados which is strange - standing on the edge of a hill watching a plane of chopper flying below you.

Down the 14th looking over to Shatton.

The view from the 17th tee with Win Hill in the background. You'll be sick of Win Hill - it seems to get everywhere in my photos!

My somewhat overblown swing...

Anyway, can't chat long as I'm just grabbing some wifi in a cafe. We're off playing golf this afternoon in Stockport and then away for the weekend. 2 rounds of golf at a nice country hotel in hereford followed by a trip down to Bristol for a couple of nights there. (And the final away game of the season against Bristol Rovers tucked in on Saturday afternoon.)

Enjoy the Royal Wedding! We'll be on the golf course but I will check out the highlights!!

Some photoes

Saturday, 23 April 2011

busy standing still

This not having broadband is a pain...I'm picking this out on my phone on a coach down to Walsall of all places. We're on our way to a Wednesday game which entailed being picked up at 8.30am and starting the day with a couple of pints and a full English in the pub before being driven to yet another pub (in Burton Upon Trent) and then onto Walsall! It's a glamorous day out in the Midlands for sure....

Last night was another big night out in our local watching a Rolling Stones tribute band. The Stoned Angels. They were great, the lead singer was a dead ringer for a young Jagger. A proper night out but I think we'll be looking forward to a night in by Tuesday which looks like being our first chance for a rest!!

So, mindful of not wanting to pile on the lard, I have been trying to fit in exercise as well. I got up yesterday and went straight out for a run. It was such a gorgeous morning even Shelagh deigned to enjoy herself. I did my usual chimp management and told myself that I only had to do a short run but then, once I got going, I carried on for a good, hilly 4 maybe 5 miles. It was truly uplifting; sunny, musical from the birdsong, lambs gambolling (there's no other word for it), dogs snuffling in hedgerows, blossom everywhere. I popped into the new florist which has just opened in the village (a very posh departure for Bradwell, wonder how long it'll last) and picked up a pretty Easter posie and felt for a moment that I could be in a movie. It was just that picturesque....

Then back down to earth for a day cleaning, unpacking and sorting the house out. We have Rich's mum, sister and 2 nieces coming over for Easter lunch/supper after golf tomorrow so had to make sure the house is shipshape. To be honest, I doubt we'd ever get it sorted if not for the threat of visitors so I'm quite happy with what we achieved. It looks great (downstairs) now.

So, on the exercise front: a run, vigorous cleaning and unpacking involving lots of lugging boxes up and down stairs and a dog walk in the evening. A very healthy supper (smoked haddock poached in milk) all washed down by too much cider and beer!! Hey ho, you win some, you lose some!!

Hope you're all enjoying a glorious sunny weekend. Long may it last.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

I Heart Sunshine...

It seems to make everything easier and nicer:

Doing the laundry in winter – not one of my most hated tasks by any means – I quite like the feeling to putting the wash out on the dryer or folding the dry stuff up and putting it away clean on hanger or in drawers. But I wouldn’t say it’s fun.

Doing the laundry in summer – yay – excuse to go outside – call the dogs, listen to the birds, see what the neighbours are up to, pull up a couple of weeds while I’m at it. Admire the crisp dry clothes billowing on the line, how fresh they feel, how little ironing is going to be needed. Yay!!

Exercise in winter – raining outside, cold, slippy pavements, freezing fingers, clothes, lots of clothes. Erm, no thanks, not today – perhaps a nice stodgy supper with a bottle of wine instead??

Exercise in summer – stay inside? I don’t think so – golf, lots of golf, any excuse for a run, a dog walk which becomes longer and hillier than planned, photo opportunities, the sights and sounds of spring, not many clothes (in fact – shorts!), suncream, guilt-free supper (and a bottle of wine – some things don’t change!!). Swimming during your lunch hour and not minding about wet hair on the way back to the office.

We had a lovely weekend. Rich took my car into work on Saturday morning as his is in the garage so when I got up an hour later (really – who starts work at 7am on a Saturday!!) I jogged the 2-3 miles across the fields to his workplace with the dogs. It must have been a nice morning as even Shelagh did not complain too vociferously about the running business. I wouldn’t say I was pounding or anything but it was my first run for a couple of months and it was pain free and not too shabby in terms of pace. We then went to the football in the afternoon which was an underwhelming win for the Mighty Sheffield Wednesday (note heavy irony) but at least it was a win. Perhaps we have turned the corner on our terrible form??

A quiet evening as Rich has a horrible cold/cough. We watched “Date Night” with Tina Fey and Steve Carrell. Not bad for that sort of easy-watching comedy. It actually had several laugh out loud moments and some of the scenes were tear-inducingly funny. I wouldn’t watch it expecting it to be the best film ever but if you go in with moderate expectations and just want a light-hearted, entertaining but not brain-dead romp, you will be pleasantly surprised and pleased. Tina Fey is very funny and very clever; it’s not often a female comedian steals the show from an established male star and she did it. Also, it was nice to watch a film that was “not too long”! I hate this modern fad for epics….just ‘cos it cost a bomb to make we don’t want every film to last 2 ½ hours!! Self-indugence….harrumph...

Sunday was golf – in the sunshine – heaven. Then a lovely long walk up Bradwell Edge which was way hillier than we’d bargained for having set out just to walk along the valley floor and then got carried away by the loveliness of the afternoon. Still, once we’d reached the top, the views were spectacular, looking down on our house and paragliders and having the whole valley laid out below us. And it certainly made us feel as though we’d earned the roast chicken I’d prepared for supper! Mmmmmm….guilt-free roast dinner…..

All that fresh air though – I could NOT keep awake and totally slept through the bulk of Lewis, no idea who killed the pretty blonde girl….presumably the wicked research assistant (they’re always wicked in Mor-Lew-H'away).

Last night (Monday) was dancing again. The last for 3 weeks due to the bank holidays. We're going to be rubbish when we get back. I tell you what though - that Rich DOES like the was really romantic whatever he thinks...

And I'm happy to report that I made it to swimming this lunchtime too (52 lengths)so the regular exercise is creeping back into my routine. And I have a date for a walk in the sunshine with Rich and dogs as soon as I get home.....can't wait.....

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Forensic Profiling (can you tell I'm reading a Val McDiarmid novel??)

Ironically (I type this as I munch on a digestive biscuit) I’m about to start getting back to formal exercise rather than ad hoc stuff. (By the way - thanks for reassuring me that I still do lot of exercise - I suppose I did know that and the moving certainly was hard work but I also know when I'm not doing as much as I could....) This means, in the short term, a trip to the pool this lunchtime. Yikes….not sure if I can remember the way it’s been so long!! But I do feel a tiny green shoot of enthusiasm for the idea of going so I count that as “a good thing”. I’ll let you know if this enthusiasm translates into actual pleasure when I get back from the pool.

Last week, while I was in my old house cleaning and tidying up, I was glancing through my books as I sought to jam more of them onto the groaning shelves. I’m not an inveterate buyer of self-help books but I do have a chequered history with diet books. Several are still there – Atkins; Paul McKenna’s “I can make you thin”; Marisa Peer’s “You can be thin”; Beck and probably a few other, older incarnations. I even found my old crib notes from when I followed the Beck diet and several old notebooks marking previous spells of food diarising. Then, in the rest of the house, there was a pile of old Slimming World magazines, the Weightwatchers pack and a few before and after photos from Lighter Life. A bag full of Lighter Life merchandise, DVD’s, books, bands, shakers, even a couple of hidden packs now aeons out of date… Various pieces of discarded exercise gear – a fitball, a mini trampette, a rowing machine (although that was D’s really), exercise clothes and trainers in a selection of sizes and degrees of wear and tear. Evidence of loads of different fads in sport and exercise, the most recent being the mountain bike stuff from last year (which WILL be resurrected!). There was some good stuff too – notably my medal from running the Sheffield Half Marathon and the plaque I received from the RSPCA in recognition of raising over £1500 for them. And, most damning of all, clothes in sizes 12-14 and 18-24 (well, the few that I hadn’t sold on ebay years ago).

I tell you, it wouldn’t have taken a razor sharp forensic profiler long to work out that he or she was dealing with a fattie (former or otherwise)!!

What else does it tell me? That I’m a trier. That I am a bit of a dilettante. That having problems with my weight has been my constant companion for decades. That I’m not happy with myself.

But wait. This is my old house and the things I have (temporarily at least) discarded. The things I felt it was not necessary for me to take to my new place and into my new life.

What would the forensic profiler find in my new house and what might they reveal?

No diet books and no diet magazines or formal diet detritus of any kind. A set of worn bathroom scales in a prominent position which are used nearly every day. A fridge full of fresh food (as well as chilled beer and wine) and bin full of evidence of home cooked meals (and last night’s fish and chips)!! A basement containing frequently used golf clubs and golf shoes, muddy boots, trainers, gardening gear (oh, and somewhat sheepishly a neglected mountain bike with a flat tyre and a WiiFit still in its box!). A washing basket containing sweaty gym kit and drawers full of clean gym kit. A fresh swimming kit in the car ready to go to work. Clothes on the hanger ranging from size 14 to size 16 only (admittedly the ones at the more generous end of that scale are the more recently worn). Dogs – frequently walked, fit dogs, one of which is probably still smelling of the unspeakable stuff she found to roll in yesterday! A calendar with a set of varied pastimes noted – dancing, football, golf, socialising, walking. A computer and cameras crammed with photos of the outdoors, the dogs, and a happy me and Rich.

Maybe, just maybe, I have really changed. Maybe I can start to believe that I have left that often sad, sometimes manic, nervous, bullied, trier behind and turned her into a positive, happy woman who is not perfect but who enjoys life and believes in herself. Maybe. I’m watching this space.

Update following the great lunchtime swim: it was fine. There was no chimp resistance to going which was good so I didn't have to drag myself there. The first 16 lengths were brilliant - I felt like a hot knife in butter, slicing through the water and loving the feeling of swimming after so long. Inevitably fatigue set in and this feeling wore off and by the time I got to 39 lengths it was hard, hard work. But I stuck it out to 50 and the last few, once I had slowed down a bit, were alright. I'm pleased with 50 as that's around where I was when I was swimming regularly. It means that I haven't lost all my fitness and I haven't dropped all the way back to my minimum level of 40. Now I just need to make it to 50 without the tiredness towards the end, a bit more smoothly. Pleased with myself today.

Now, can I manage to go for a run tomorrow morning and really banish some ghosts???

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Update time

I have scrounged some wifi off my french teacher so you can have a massive update of my week off and this week in a oner to wade through!! You lucky, lucky folk.... he he he

I didn't achieve as much as I wanted to on the house in my week off but I have done a LOT! I suppose it is human nature always to be optimistic and to fondly imagine how much work can be packed into a week but you’d have thought that I would have learned by now!

I had initially budgeted for 2 weeks’ work on the house anyway but, due to being thwarted back in March, this had to be crammed into this one week in April and I’m afraid that 2 weeks do not fit into 1, however hard you try! So, something has had to give and it is not going to be me. I reckon I'll end up taking another week's leave at the beginning to May to finish off.

Rich and I have decided that, in order to preserve our sanity and energy, we will back out of the Three Peaks Challenge this year. We are not, with his minor foot injury, moving out of his flat, us moving house and my getting and keeping my old house ready for sale (not to mention the showing it etc etc), going to be able to fit in enough training and we do NOT want to let our team down by slowing them down or, even worse, collect sponsorship pledges and then not perform. Better to pull out now with 3 months to go when nothing is booked that can’t be cancelled than at the last minute.

I know it was the right decision because I felt a huge flood of relief having made it but it’s still sad as we were enjoying what training we had done and were looking forward to it.

Having realised that I was not going to finish the house stuff this time, I only did Saturday morning and a few hours on Sunday in order to have a bit of a rest before getting back to work. I have still got several evenings' and weekends' worth of work to put in which is dispiriting to be honest.

Rich and I did a couple of hours work on our new garden on Saturday. God, that was knackering - all we managed was to clear and sweep the pathways, steps and patio and it took us ages! And we filled 4 bin bags with rubbish. That leaves the back yard which is like something out of Shameless with rubble sacks, rusting fridges etc etc (but can't be seen); the side garden which is just a mass of weeds/brambles and the front likewise. I will post pics so you can get a sense of the task ahead of us! I suppose any place which has had a tenant on the verge of financial meltdown in for a decade, then been unoccupied for ages and then had the builders in is going to be unkempt! At least the house is perfect though. The weather was gorgeous though wasn’t it?? So lovely for early April.

I still managed 11 holes of golf on Sunday afternoon so the weekend was not a total bust. I have started playing golf with one of Rich’s work colleagues who is a member at my club which is great as we’ve both been struggling for partners on a Sunday. Me because most of the lady members play on a Wednesday not a Sunday and him because he is only a 6 day member so can’t play in men’s weekend comps on Saturday mornings. So it’s great to be able to enter the comps (albeit playing them on a Sunday) and get more money’s worth out of my annual subscription. Rich plays in comps at his club on a Sunday morning during the summer so it would be annoying not being able to play myself while he is out and about. Nigel is chuffed too and he’s a good golfer so I hope I’ll pick up some tips and start to improve rather than just treading water.

In fact, as I think on, I did loads on Sunday. I picked Rich up from his golf club after my round where he had had several ciders and was decidedly merry! Then we took the dogs for a walk/stumble. Rich in his "adventurous" state decided to find out about that cave I mentioned a few weeks ago. I had said something about wondering whether anyone ever went in it when walking on the other side of the village and seeing the entrance to it from across the gorge. Well, now that we live where the cave is and walk in that field we decided to investigate. This involved crawling through a sheep gate in the wall onto the cliff side above the road. (High up above the road so no-one would be able to see us.) Then wandering (carefully) around the grassy, rocky cliffside looking for the cave entrance. We eventually got our bearings and found it and I have to say that it was pretty impressive. I imagine cavers might use it as an entrance to a limestone system as one passageway seemed to head into the hillside. We, obviously, did not venture too far though! Still it was nice to have an adventure and the dogs love snuffling around in unexplored spots!

Then on Sunday evening, I left Rich glued to the final round of the Masters (genuinely exciting this year I think) and headed out to the Finals night of the pub quiz league. My team was in the Plate Final (like the Europa Cup to the Champions League, the second one down). And we aced it (to use an old schoolgirl phrase I remember fondly)! We won by 68 points to 49 (the teams in the Cup Final next door only managed 55 to 53 so the night was ours!). We also won the cup for the highest score in the league all season - 71! So, what I'm saying is that we were proper clever clogs and felt very bouncy and pleased with ourselves. I'm sad that the quiz league is over for another summer though - I do like a bit of beer and intellectual stimulation of a Sunday evening!! Will have to go to the "normal" quiz and slum it now!! Tee hee

Monday night was dancing as usual. Oooooh, it's getting really good. I know that's because we're spending ages doing the waltz which is our favourite but even so.... Monday was more practise of the new steps, a little addition to the spin turn where the chaps get to be all manly and kind of raise us up; tips about floorcraft and turning etc and just general improvements to our holds and footwork. It's beginning to look like proper dancing. I feel as though I'm adjusting my feet to his so that we're properly toe to toe and he is leading more confidently which means I can be more elegant and get more rise and fall and stuff like that. Just lovely. Oh, and a spin added to the end of the jive and a new little section to the tango where you do that fast, dramatic turn and walk to the side, cheek to cheek with your hands pointing out....a very strange dance the tango......

Tuesday night was a couple of hours scrubbing at the old house. I was dreading the thought - it's really not what you want to do after work and cooking supper is it? Heading up to your old house and cleaning?? In the end it was good though - I took advantage of phone signal to speak to my father while I was cleaning. With my mum's Alzheimers, he misses chatting with someone who can remember what he's just said sometimes so we had a really good natter for well over an hour. He is beginning to understand why I left my marriage and beginning to believe that I'm happier now so our conversations are less fraught and more fun than they were a few months ago. I'm glad now that I didn't push him to move faster than he felt comfortable with.

Wednesday, a blessed night in at home!! Yay! A couple of drinks early doors in the local and then a double bill of Waking the Dead - it surely can't be the last ever??! I've only just discovered it! Booooo.... So nice to have a night in.

And then today - french.

Erm, have you noticed something missing??? Exercise perhaps?? Yes - my guilty secret is that, in the last 3, maybe 4 weeks I've hardly done anything. Personal training on a Thursday is a "non-negotiable" (as Mrs L used to say) and then lots of dog walks and golf but no gym, no cycling, no swimming and no runs. Hmmmmm. I read about Peridot cycling and walking; LoveCat doing unspeakable stuff in the gym and playing badders etc etc and I think - what have you done recently Lesley?? What? Now we have actually moved and are no longer hauling things around every weekend this must change!! So - I pledge to do some form of exercise tomorrow (Friday) - either a swim at lunchtime or a run in the evening. I pledge it - ya-hear!!?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A quick helloooo!

So, I'm stuck with no phone or broadband after our move thanks to the unbelievably incompetent and useless Sky. Don't get me wrong, they are great for television. Dish was installed and fantastic HD plus up and running dead on schedule with no fuss not once but several times. But...if you're ever tempted to use them for telephone and broadband, think again. They are awful.

So, after much frustration I've terminated my contract and now must find a new provider. Blegh.

I'm tapping this post out on my lovely Samsung Galaxy S which is great but still not the quickest way to say hello.

I'm still embroiled in the house cleaning up which is getting dull but the way seems to be clearing and I can see the end in sight. Hopefully May?? Sigh.....

I'm also enjoying my book at the mo - American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld. It's a thinly (un) veiled reference to Barbara Bush but very engaging and gripping stuff.

So, hopefully normal service will be resumed shortly but in the meantime, think of me scrubbing away in my marigolds and have a good time!!i

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Same old, same old...

Some pics of our new walking haunts in and around Bradwell. This is the view looking back towards our house from the field at the end of the road. Great for a quick doggie run when you've not got much time! Win Hill in the distance.

And this is the view looking the other way with Bradwell Edge on the left.

Pretty Bradwell Church in the sunshine.

I must admit that I am feeling a bit low today. After 4 days of solid cleaning, clearing and tidying at my old house I'm bored, tired and disappointed that I'm nowhere near as far on as I'd hoped to be. Didn't intend to use this blog to whinge about my ex but honestly, I'm cheesed off. The place was so dirty and uncared for, don't think he'd emptied a bin since I left. So, instead of spending the time preparing the house to be sold, I'm just cleaning and skivvying.....Grrrrrr

I'll not go on - not very interesting to anyone I know - but had to get that off my chest.

I suppose it's like anything, if you're working towards something positive you can see the end in sight and that gives you strength. In this case, although I know it has to be done, it's a bit depressing to be wallowing around, up to my elbows in dust and rubbish, in what is effectively the dregs of my marriage. Blegh...blegh blegh blegh blegh blegh

Right, enough of the moaning Lesley, buck up and get on with it.

In nice news - the sun is shining; I'm playing golf tomorrow afternoon with Rich and my new golfing buddy Nigel; and the Masters starts today so 4 days of non-stop golf on the telly. It's all good.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Thanks heavens for Wifi

I know I should be up at the old house cleaning away but the sun is shining and I've just come off the golf course instead! I played atrociously but it was still fun with lovely weather, views and company. Luckily my poor play was not of the slow variety so I didn't put off my playing partner who shot an excellent score under par.

With any luck this bad round will set me up for a good round on Friday afternoon/evening when I playing with Rich and a couple of mates...fingers crossed.

The new house is proving to be a good omen on the football front though. We went to the home game against Tranmere yesterday evening with some tiny rays of hope flaring after the good performance on Saturday afternoon and we were rewarded with a really good display of football. Wednesday beat Tranmere 4-0 which is sweet revenge for being turned over at Tranmere in February. That was a game we went to when we lost miserably on a freezing cold Tuesday night, the one tiny laugh being the chant from the Wednesday fans of "Shoulda watched Gypsy Weddings, watched gypsy weeeeddings, we should watched gypsy weddings!" meaning we should all have stayed at home and watched that Channel 4 series about Gypsy weddings instead of trawling across to Merseyside. A sentiment I heartily agreed with as an ex-Wednesday player (Enoch Showumni - great name - terrible player) slotted their 4th goal past us....

Anyway, Wednesday's change of fortune has coincided with our new house and I'm enjoying it. It was like watching a totally different team, one which had been introduced to each other and could give a damn. The last couple of months have been so disheartening to see. I hope this is it for now. We can't go up this season so all we're playing for is mid-table mediocrity but next year should be fun. There are going to be some good local derbies - Chesterfield will be coming up from League 2 and it looks like our bitter rivals, Sheffield United are going to be coming down from the Championship - yay!!

Anyway, enough football and golf for now. I've finished my coffee (and sneaky shortbread biscuit...) in this nice cafe where I'm using the free wifi and had better head up to the house for a couple of hours hard labour.....booooo

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Moving house, again.

GIt's been a week since I last posted and I have not fallen off any waggon, trust me. It's just been very hectic. We moved Richard out of his flat the weekend before last and then moved ourselves out of the cottage into our new pad last weekend. The second move was a much bigger job involving more furniture and more everything to be honest. It was all day Friday (8am 'til 9pm) most of Saturday and most of Sunday.

We finished at 2pm Saturday to take the van back into Sheffield and dash to the football and were mercifully rewarded with a win! Perhaps our move was a good omen as Wednesday haven't won at home since 16 December 2010!! Then Sunday was more cleaning and final bits and bobs. I have not been so tired for a long time. The final load in my car was almost too much, thought my arms were going to give out!

The dogs were funny in a sad kind of way. Shelagh hates boxes and packing so was getting stressed. We left them in the cottage on Friday while we were coming and going but eventually realised that this wasn't helping her as she was stressing out while we were taking each load up to the house and unloading there. We noticed that she had disappeared for a few minutes so went hunting and found her in a hole between 2 conifer trees in the tiny front yard. She'd dug the hole and was crouching in it hidden by the 2 trees!! Poor little mite. After that we took them up to the new place and they seemed to understand exactly what was going on, that this was their new home, and settled down straight away after a lengthy "inspection".

The new place has a garden albeit a very overgrown and wild sort of place, lots and lots of neighbourhood cats to make friends with/chase and a massive field at the end of the road so they seem to be in heaven.

We have just about got the new place sorted. Not unpacked fully by any means but the downstairs is functioning and it's beginning to take shape.

I know we're going to love it there, it's so comfortable and spacious and warm feeling. Rich looks really relaxed there and I feel confident that this is somewhere we'll be really happy together. Yesterday evening I was in the kitchen when he came home from work and it was so lovely to greet him home on our first proper day in our first proper place together.

I'm off work this week and I would love to be at the new place tidying, decorating, unpacking and really settling in. Instead, I'm up at my old house cleaning and sorting and getting it ready to go onto the market. It is not in a good way and seems very mucky and unloved which is sad to see as I did like the house. But that's the way it is so I'm trying to make the best of it and hopefully selling it will help us both move on positively.

Food and exercise? Well, officially very poor as we've just been so busy. But the busy-ness must have paid dividends as I have not snacked or eaten a great deal and the moving is good exercise. The upshot is that I've dropped half a stone in a fortnight!! I must keep on top of things so as not to let this boon go to waste!! Both of us are determined to get back to the gym and walking (which should be easier now with the light evenings) so that should help.

Dancing last night was brilliant. We practised the new waltz steps we learned last week and also added a spin turn to the very end of the routine. I had been wondering how we were going to turn around as we ended the new steps facing the wrong direction!! The spin turn is gorgeous and the whole routine is really romantic and elegant. Love it love it love it! Our dancey pals were admiring our form as we practised so we were feeling pretty good about it all. We still haven't tried going round the room yet though, so the proof of the waltzing will be in the turning!!