Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Scales of Doom or Scales of Destiny

I've just spotted these photos of my walk up Win Hill a couple of weeks ago. The weather wasn't wonderful but the heather was in full bloom and spectacular.

We start just above Thornhill on a leafy footpath:

You can turn off the steep hill here but don't 'cos the views are brilliant. Just a little further now!See, we're not even half way up but it opens up here for the first glimpse of the views. This is Ladybower reservoir.
And looking back towards Bamford and Stanage moor beyond.
Straight accross to Bamford Edge:
The winding river valley unfolds as we gain height:
Now a peek of Shatton and Bradwell:
Minty takes a breather as I admire the contrasting colours of the gorse and heather.
And the thick lichen covering this hawthorn bush.
A repeat view of the Ladybower and the Yorkshire Bridge estate.
Drink stop for the girls. Shelagh is content merely to drink but Minty has to go one step further and immerse herself....sigh....
The lovely flat grassy path just over halfway up which gives you a breather before tackling the really steep bit.
The steep never gets any easier. I can't believe I actually ran up here in the Bamford Fell Race in 2007!!
Nearly there. Looking towards Bradwell and the Lafarge Cement works.
Right on the top. I love the conical summit wih 360 degree views and so do the girls!
Looking across towards Hope Cross and the Great Ridge (Lose Hill, Hollins Cross, Mam Tor)
And the other way towards Sheffield and the A57.
The girls admiring the view.
Meee! Somewhat sweaty and very windblown but happy to be on top of my favourite hill with my favourite girls.

Yaaaay! We're going home.....

So this week is the first big test of my nerve and resolve. Can I stand by my oft-repeated mantra that "I don't care how much I lose as long as I lose and I'm enjoying life"...etc....

I'm pretty confident that the modest drop of half a lb last week has not bothered me overmuch. I'm slightly disappointed, of course, but I'm also aware that I had a 4 day weekend and several social events which involved drinking or eating. I was also, if I'm honest, a little too relaxed and a tad blase.

One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that I was standing on the scales every morning and seeing a steady drop. So, after the previous week, I started to believe that I could "get away with" the little extra syns and drinks which had crept in. And of course, you can't. Maybe for one weekend but not for 4 days!!

I mentioned the scales in class and the leader recommended that we do NOT weigh ourselves in between classes. She said, if you're losing, you think you can get away with it (yes, that's me) and if you're gaining you might become disheartened and say to hell with it (no, not really me).

I weigh every day as the discipline of standing on the scales is like a reaffirmation every morning that I'm dieting and trying to follow the regime. It's a way of reminding my chimp of the reality of the situation. But, I suspect in this case, that my chimp has learned to twist the daily weighing to her benefit by fooling me that we're losing despite knowing in our hearts (does that make sense??) that we're pushing our luck on the food and drink intake.

So, ever willing to mix it up and try new things, I have pledged to NOT weigh my self at all this week. The leader was pleased with me. (Wags tail and pants engagingly...)

This morning was the first day of this new endeavour. I had put the scales away last night to avoid forgetting and just getting straight on out of habit while half asleep. It's strange, like there's something missing. I think that not weighing will keep me a bit more "honest". I only have the plan to stick to now and can't justify any extras by a drop on the scales so I just have to put my faith in the plan and hope for the best.

I think I'll be very nervous come next Tuesday evening though!! Wish me luck.

Scales of Doom or Scales of Destiny??

So this week is the first big test of my nerve and resolve. Can I stand by my oft-repeated mantra that "I don't care how much I lose as long as I lose and I'm enjoying life"...etc....

I'm pretty confident that the modest drop of half a lb last week has not bothered me overmuch. I'm slightly disappointed, of course, but I'm also aware that I had a 4 day weekend and several social events which involved drinking or eating. I was also, if I'm honest, a little too relaxed and a tad blase.

One of the reasons for this, I believe, is that I was standing on the scales every morning and seeing a steady drop. So, after the previous week, I started to believe that I could "get away with" the little extra syns and drinks which had crept in. And of course, you can't. Maybe for one weekend but not for 4 days!!

I mentioned the scales in class and the leader recommended that we do NOT weigh ourselves in between classes. She said, if you're losing, you think you can get away with it (yes, that's me) and if you're gaining you might become disheartened and say to hell with it (no, not really me).

I weigh every day as the discipline of standing on the scales is like a reaffirmation every morning that I'm dieting and trying to follow the regime. It's a way of reminding my chimp of the reality of the situation. But, I suspect in this case, that my chimp has learned to twist the daily weighing to her benefit by fooling me that we're losing despite knowing in our hearts (does that make sense??) that we're pushing our luck on the food and drink intake.

So, ever willing to mix it up and try new things, I have pledged to NOT weigh my self at all this week. The leader was pleased with me. (Wags tail and pants engagingly...)

This morning was the first day of this new endeavour. I had put the scales away last night to avoid forgetting and just getting straight on out of habit while half asleep. It's strange, like there's something missing. I think that not weighing will keep me a bit more "honest". I only have the plan to stick to now and can't justify any extras by a drop on the scales so I just have to put my faith in the plan and hope for the best.

I think I'll be very nervous come next Tuesday evening though!! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Artificial Intelligence

Right, that’s it….the scales KNOW when it’s a Tuesday! I have reached this conclusion on the, admittedly limited, evidence of 2 consecutive weeks but it seems compelling to me. Every day this week I have stepped onto the scales first thing to see either a small drop or a maintain. I was looking sweet for a 2lb drop at WI this evening. This morning, however, I step onto the scales to be greeted by a 2lb gain, back to my starting weight for the week! WTF??!

So, it’s back to the “starvation” routine for the last day – grapefruit for breakfast, swimming at lunchtime followed by salad and fruit for lunch and hoping that by WI time, my body will have reverted to its original behaviour of gradual reduction.

To be honest (and fair to the scales), I would be lucky to achieve a 2lb drop this week as I have had a 4 day weekend and, as a consequence, have been more relaxed than normal. But I’ve certainly not given up or gone madly off-plan. There has been some drinking but there has also been a lot of compensatory sensible eating and exercise. Hmmmm, maybe slightly less exercise than usual which could be the key to the slower than usual drop.

My last post took you up to Sunday morning and a very virtuous run over the fields. From there I drove over the moors to Glossop to visit my friend Jenny and her 2 kids. It was the most stunning drive over Snake Pass – the heather is just at its best at the moment. I should have taken photos but it’s tricky to find places to stop on that most windiest of roads and I was a little late (as usual!). I did take loads of photos of our walk with the children and dogs though but then left my jacket with my camera and some blackberries in the pocket hanging on the banister in her hallway…grrr We walked up the steep hill behind Jenny’s house and picked blackberries, and took the kids into some overgrown quarries for a swing on the ropeswing. It was very wholesome and fun with happy kids, dogs and adults. So, not big exercise but not nothing either.

We were incredibly good foodwise as Jen had made a gorgeous sweet potato and chorizo soup for our lunch (not much chorizo in the scheme of things so not a problem SW wise). I will be making that recipe myself as it was extremely tasty and not at all diet-y. Then abstinence until a late supper in the pub of a small portion of homemade chilli and crusty (butter-less) bread. So, foodwise, extremely good.

Drinkwise, erm, not so much. We trawled into town on public transport (bus then tram) and out to Hillsborough to a brilliant pub called the New Barracks to see a couple of bands. The first, out in the beer garden (appropriately for August festooned with gazebos and heaters) was Frank White a local rock and blues guitarist. Excellent as ever, very mellow. The second (thankfully indoors) was called Reasons to be Cheerful and did punk and new wave covers. Very well. The singer was a dead ringer for Ian Dury. What a great atmosphere. Packed out, loud, good music, dancing (well, jumping up and down), beer spilling, fist pumping stuff. Such fun! (Yes, that is a reference to Miranda’s mum….)

I had a good laugh but Rich LOVED it. It was as if the years had peeled away before my eyes and he became 17 again. Really joyful, happy and exuberant. The lead singer clearly recognised a kindred spirit as, on one of his forays onto the floor, they had a bit of a brotherly tussle in a punk stylee….I think that’s good, right?!

I had a couple of pints to start but then switched to white wine spritzers and slowed down. So only 5 drinks in all. Not TOOOOO bad I suppose, especially combined with all the dancing/jumping and the extremely limited food. Rich on the other hand stuck to his much stronger bitter and was wrecked on Monday morning!! Ha ha ha

I was golfing Monday afternoon and he was not, hence my semi-sensible head the night before. I was playing in the Bank Holiday Mixed Foursomes at my club with a mate called Nigel. We didn’t play well which was a shame as I won the comp this time last year. I was going alright but Nigel did NOT shine and I wasn’t doing well enough to make up for him. But it was a nice round with good company and we didn’t get too wet. Rich joined us for the meal afterwards which just made me laugh. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a little bit stuffy. Not the worst golf club by any means but definitely a bit elderly and conservative. So there we were wearing posh frock and jacket and tie respectively listening to the sound of muted chat and clinking cutlery when the night before we had been watching the be-bondage-trousered lead singer of a punk band pouring most of a pint of beer over his head while singing “I am an anarchist…”!!

Just as we were leaving I was called over by the Lady Captain and the Vice captain who are both really nice women and not at all stuffy. The Vice grabbed my arm and asked me, very earnestly, “Your fella, is he the baldy or the old one?”! When I spluttered that it was the baldy, she collapsed against me and said “Oh thank God!.....Because you’ve been seen with the other chap quite a few times, we were all wondering whether he was your new chap”. Nigel is a nice bloke but he’s a very staid and sensible 60-something. I know age means nothing but I think I’ll stick with Rich, thanks! By this time Rich had wandered over so I was able to introduce him and while I got my coat and bag left them trying to talk him into joining the club!! One day.

In all seriousness, I was really happy to have brought him into the club and introduced him to a few people. D never once came to any club functions in all the years I have been a member (12), not even when I had won a big comp and asked him there for the presentation. He criticised it and the other members and made it hard for me to go and to play. Having a supportive partner who understands how golf clubs work is a refreshing change.

So, all in all, no big blowouts but a few too many “not perfect” days. I’m therefore not particularly hopeful for a decent drop but, as I’ve said before, that doesn’t matter. I don’t think I’ll gain and I’m heading in the right direction albeit slowly. The next couple of weeks should be relatively quiet so hopefully I’ll be able to put some good work in before our holiday and even then, I don’t intend to go madly off plan, just relax the reins a bit. I suppose I could have done without Rich scoffing 2 packs of Haribo over the weekend in front of me, not to mention the Fruit Pastille lolly and that wretched double cheeseburger. But honestly, looking back, they didn’t tempt me much and didn’t spoil my mood so what harm.

Update - Well, I was right - only 0.5 lb off. Given the long weekend I'm not surpirsed or particularly disappointed. But will focus my efforts a little more this coming week.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

New me??

It's 9.30am on a Bank Holiday Sunday and I've already been out for a 45 minute hilly run!! Go me. To be fair, this virtue is borne of fear of the effect of a night out tonight and the admission that I haven't done much in the way of exercise for 2 days now but hey, it's still pretty good.

It's been a decent but not earth-shattering Bank Holiday thus far (I hope your birthday weekend is proving a bit more exciting Peri?!). I had Friday off as Rich's work gives them that Friday but the weather was woeful so we ended up spending a bit of a nothingy, quiet day. We had planned to take a picnic out into the hills and go for a really good long walk but as it rained solidly all morning and half the afternoon, this was NOT going to happen. So it turned into chores round the house, shopping, putting up some pictures, unpacking a box from the basement (yes, we still have several of those left!!) and just generally feeling irritated about the weather. A traditional Bank Holiday in fact!! We did make it out for a walk leter on I suppose.

Yesterday was better - a nice lie-in and dog walk and then off to the football. Wednesday pulled their fingers out and played well for a 3-2 victory against Scunthorpe who proved very tough opposition. We were 2-nil up at one stage but they just wouldn't give up so it was very nervy right 'til the end. Then after the game supper with Rich's Dad and stepmum which was pleasant (how nice not to cook).

Diet wise, though both Friday and Saturday have been slightly "on the edge". Friday was pretty good except that I shared a bottle of wine with Rich. Well, you have to have SOME treats! Saturday was harder in that I had beer at the pub before the game, less of it but still 2.5 pints. And then supper cooked by Carolyn was a lovely beef stew with yorkies and apple crumble. I was starving as I'd deliberately not had lunch and only a brunch of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon to save room and I kept the portions moderate but still...not SW friendly.

On the not having lunch issue - how hard was that?? Watching Rich and our other footie pal, Rich tucking into double cheeseburgers as we walked to the game??! Murder, I could have committed it....

So, not bad but not losing behaviour. And we're going to see a band in town this evening. It's in the pub we go to before matches and after must be our Sheffield "local" by now! Hence the running before breakfast.

As Rich is playing golf now, I'm off to see my friend Jenny in Glossop. She's been primed to plan a nice light lunch and I think it's butternut squash and chorizo soup which sounds lovely.

The scales showed a small loss 3 days ago and have stayed steady since. So I really need to hold onto that and hope for an excellent last 2 days before weigh-in to try and keep the momentum going. 1 lb off would be most acceptable this week, or even a half!!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Long Haul

We’ve all been there; that realisation after the initial flurry of excitement that this regime is not going to transform you instantly. There is no switch to be flicked or wand to be waved. It’s going to take time.

I think that’s why Lighter Life was so attractive to me. I could my life on hold for a relatively short period of time – my mantra was “I can do anything for 16 weeks”. Lighter Life BECAME my life for those months. Which also explains why I didn’t see it through to the end. Oh, I lost all the weight I wanted to lose, I got to my target weight, but I didn’t see the course through the Route to Maintenance section which aims to reintroduce food gradually and reset your eating patterns. Being realistic I don’t think a diet programme which involves NOT eating can ever reset ones’ eating patterns.

I’m definitely not dissing Lighter Life though as it was, for me, a lifeline. I had so much weight to lose and so little confidence in myself that it was the only way I could approach it. The all or nothing, surrendering myself to the programme and dropping the weight incredibly quickly was all I could do at that time. I reckon that is natural - if you have 2 or 3 stone to lose ten you can face 6-8 months of gradual dieting but if it's 8 or 9 stone, the mountain becomes unsurmountable unless you are very strong-willed. Lighter Life means you can tackle the mountain knowing that it's not going to take 2 or 3 years to climb. It was not, however, the answer to my problems, just the first step for me.

And then I spent the next few years (since October 2007) increasing, decreasing, learning, learning and stabilising gradually. Looking back over the last few years I can see that the swings have become smaller, the ups more constant, the downs fewer and farther between. I’m still not at the weight I want to be but I don’t think I have “A Weight Problem” anymore.

So now, at the beginning of a new regime – Slimming World – I have experienced the initial excitement of starting; that first week when you “feel” slimmer even though you’ve only dropped a few lbs; the Zeal. But now I’m experiencing the realisation that I still have a long way to go. In the past I have characterised this as a come-down but I don’t feel that now. I genuinely feel that this time I really will be satisfied by edging down the scales slowly. That each lb is a bonus and living life well is more important than hitting artificial targets. You know the internal bargaining one does – the “if I lose 1.5 lbs a week than I’ll be X by Christmas/the wedding/summer and I’ll be able to fit into such and such a dress” etc etc Not for me this time.

I think attending the class is going to make a real difference too. I always knew that, for me, attending class rather than just nipping in to get weighed meant that I was more likely to stick to the regime. But now I feel that I will GAIN from the content of the class itself too. The leader at my former class was so downbeat that I never felt as though she had anything to do with my Pollyanna outlook on life. This one does. She’s older and still pretty large to be honest but she has a positive outlook and is sparky and energetic and funny. She genuinely inspires you and her enthusiasm is infectious. She’s also realistic but not in a wishy washy way. She’ll tell you truth about the programme, sanction some cheating from time to time but also make it clear that you have to put the effort in.

I like several of the class members as well although it’s early days and can see there being some truth to the marketing clichés about “Going to Class make all the difference; it’s so supportive” etc etc. Never felt that before but am hopeful that I will now.

And Richard’s matter-of-fact acceptance and support is so helpful in this newfound attitude. He has just taken on board the new status quo without judgement. He doesn’t whinge about changes to our food or drink and sees it as entirely my choice. He doesn’t flaunt any treats he has that I don’t but nor does he comment (even teasingly) if I choose to have a treat. He asks how I get on each week and is pleased for me when I’ve done well but I know there’ll be no cold silence or negative ramifications if I were to maintain or gain. I explained that I’m not aiming to drop the weight quickly and he hasn’t dismissed this as me “not really trying” as would have happened in the past. It is refreshing and supportive to know that he loves me with or without the weight, on or off a diet and irrespective of how much “fun” I might be in the going out stakes.

So, the upshot is that I hope to be going to SW classes for a long time to come and hopefully well after I hit my target weight, whatever that might be!!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

New Heights, or should that be new lengths....

Well, as you can probably guess from the previous post, I went swimming at lunchtime. It was particularly frustrating today. There were several swimmers (including one woman I’m sorry to report) who were just slightly slower than me so I could race past them but couldn’t stick behind them either. And none of them would let me past at the end of the lane. So I had to really kick out and push myself to accelerate past them, not once but several times. It’s irritating as I like to get into a nice steady rhythm and power through my 50 lengths.

On the plus side, however, my irritation with these swimmers and my frustration from a morning of dealing with divorce stuff caused me to swim faster and further than usual. It’s been a steady 50 lengths in 26/7 minutes for the last few weeks but today I jumped up to 60 in 30 minutes! That’s quite a leap and I’m pleased with the speed and fitness.

I went to my weigh in with very little confidence. Having watched the scales inch slowly but steadily lower over the last 6 days, I got on them this morning to see a small gain, back up to this week’s starting point. Grrr, how do the scales KNOW that it’s weigh in day?? So, I was stellar all day, grapefruit for breakfast, ham and egg salad for lunch, no snacks and lots of swimming. And.....

Somehow I was rewarded with a drop of 2.5lbs!! How did that happen?

I'm very pleased. I need to know my limits and obviously last week was within them (providing I keep doing loads of exercise!). The weekend was a tad TOO relaxed but not far off being ok. So now I know. And good progress made - 5lbs off in a fortnight.


Lane Swimming Rules

Now that I’ve been going swimming in my lunch hour 2 or 3 times per week (on and off) for a couple of years, I feel qualified to produce a Guide to the Unofficial Rules of Lane Swimming. You may not be aware but there are actually 2 versions; one applying to men and the other to women:

Male Rules

1. Enter swimming area and go straight to the fast lane irrespective of how good or bad a swimmer you are.

2. Swim in the direction indicated, eg. Clockwise or anti-clockwise.

3. Never check at the end of each lap whether the person behind you has caught you up indicating that they may be a faster swimmer than you.

4. Never let anyone who has caught you up, ie. who is a faster swimmer than you, past. They will enjoy having to accelerate out of their comfort zone to overtake and risking the clout of a kicked foot in doing so or a head-on collision. Really.

5. If someone does start to overtake you, drift into the middle of the lane and kick more vigorously. Especially if that person is a woman. She is mistaken; she cannot be faster than you as she is a woman.

6. If you notice someone catching you up in a convenient place for that person (ok, that woman) to overtake you, do NOT let this happen. Speed up randomly leaving her having to either race you or to fall back. She will appreciate the extra exercise and will enjoy nearly being drowned.

7. As you soon as you have thwarted an overtaking manoeuvre, immediately slow down again so that the person (ok, woman) is forced to stare up your backside for a lap of breast stroke. She will enjoy this.

8. If anyone allows you past at the end of a lap, there is no need to thank them.

9. At the end of any lap, stop to chat to your mates and make sure that you use all available space. Other swimmers will enjoy having to squeeze between you and not being able to kick off against the wall.

10. Once you have finished your workout, take full advantage of the unisex changing areas.

Female Rules

1. Enter swimming area and decide which lane is the appropriate standard for you. (It’s the fast lane for me.)

2. Swim in the direction indicated, eg. Clockwise or anti-clockwise. If you’re not sure which is which, look at the little arrows on the sign and follow everyone else.

3. If it’s the slow lane, you will have at least one friend with you. Although others may be swimming nose to tail, this is not compulsory; if you need to continue your chat, by all means do so. No-one will mind.

4. If it’s the slow or medium lane, on no account dip your head underneath the water. A sedate breast stroke is all that is required.

5. If it’s the slow or medium lane, ensure plenty of breaks between laps; roughly 50% of your time in the pool should be spent stationary at one end or the other.

6. If it’s the fast lane, check behind you at the end of each lap to ensure that there is no-one catching you up.

7. If there is, wait courteously at the end to allow them to pass. They may thank you.

8. When overtaking somebody for the first time, try not to kick too vigorously or swim too close to them as you do so; there is no need to disturb them just because they are swimming slower than you.

9. Try and observe your fellow swimmers; remember their trunks and costumes and their pace relative to you.

10. If you are forced by an inconsiderate slower swimmer (ok, man) to overtake repeatedly, despite the fact that they are demonstrably slower than you and that they could easily pause momentarily at the end of a lane to allow you past, disregard rule 8 above. Instigate a teaching programme of swimming progressively closer and splashing ever more vigorously. They may learn and, if they do not, it is entertaining trying.

11. If anyone allows you past, thank them.

12. In the unisex changing areas, do not permit eye contact with anyone, ever.

Ok, ok. I know that not everyone is as bad as someone of these “rules” may apply but you’d be surprised how often you encounter sheer bad manners. Grrr. I’m often the fastest swimmer in the lane and yet it usually takes ages for the blokes to accept that and actually let me past without a fight. The women in the fast lane tend to be much more considerate (although this is not always the case - come on sisters - get it together!!). Sigh…

Monday, 22 August 2011

Lessons from the Weekend

It was, for once, just a normal weekend. So it was useful to be able to see how the new SW regime will fit into normal life. Not bad is the answer. I did relax the reins a little but not far, only enough to enjoy a few drinks here and there and cook slightly different meals.

Friday night we went to see Inbetweeners Movie. What a great film! Hilarious, laugh out loud, crude, real, soppy, nostalgic, clever, silly, puerile at times, good romping fun. The audience was mostly made up of teens and 20-somethings. We oldies stood out a little with our general fat-ness and baldheaded-ness (not both together obviously) but there were a few other kindred spirits dotted around. I would recommend it if you like the series and, if you haven’t seen the series, check it out… For the record, I resisted all treats and stuck to a cinema sized vat of diet coke….saint-like virtue.

Saturday dawned and I dressed straight into my running gear but then, for some unknown reason, couldn’t quite make myself go for a run. I usually enjoy them so don’t understand my resistance. Instead I waded through chores as a penance. I was meeting my pal Kerry at her house for lunch before the football as Rich wasn’t going due to a golf match (the shock!). I thought lunch at Kerry’s would probably be lower cal than a couple of pints and a steak sandwich at the pub which is our usually routine! What I hadn’t factored in, because I didn’t know until I got there, was that Kerry had also invited her parents over as it was her mum’s birthday. So lunch was a slightly more festive occasion than I’d anticipated.

It was lovely, all pretty salads outside in the garden with champagne and strawberries etc. Very “magazine photoshoot” for Sheffield! But, despite being salad based, the meal was not “SW salad” based. There were a couple of pizzas for a start and then the salads involved nice things like sundried tomatoes in olive oil with mozzarella or that giant cous cous stuff which I adore. And lots of pulses….mmmm. Delicious but tricky. In the end, I decided just to have a modest meal of everything I fancied and to hell with counting. Although it wasn’t great SW-wise, it was not by any means a blowout so I don’t see the point of being all prissy with my mate for the sake of avoiding a few hundred calories. And I had a glass of champers…surely calorie-free when eaten outdoors on someone’s birthday???

The match was good too – after a couple of rubbish away defeats Wednesday is back to winning ways on home ground. Not brilliant but steady and solid. Something to build on (I keep saying this – when will I learn?).

After the game, I had a few hours spare before Rich returned from the golf club so, probably as result of going off-plan at lunchtime, I finally felt ready to go for a run. Initially I told myself that it would just be a quick one, a token run if you will but when I came to the proposed turnaround point, the dogs slipped under the gate as if to carry on, so I did too! Good doggies. In the end I went on my standard long, hilly-ish run and, although it was a bit of a struggle, did it in the usual 55 minutes. Go me!

Rich rang earlier than expected for his lift home and when I got there I ended up joining him for a couple of glasses of wine but managed to stop at that point. I also managed to make sure that my much-delayed supper was very diet-friendly despite the wine – SW sanctioned chicken salad. Halo well and truly back in place!

Sunday was golf in the morning, a modest lunch of roast beef sandwich and a SW supper of steak and mash/veggies. And another couple of glasses of wine in the sunshine outside pub with the dogs on our way back from a gorgeous evening walk.

So what I have learned about weekends and SW is that I’m likely to relax the rules a little from time to time and add in a few glasses of wine here and there. But what I must NOT do is allow myself to fall off the wagon just because I’ve done so. So, if I have a generous lunch, I should make sure that supper is virtuous. If I have some wine, I should not have dessert. If I miss exercise somewhere, I should fit it in somewhere else. It’s do-able without too much stress as long as I remain vigilant and keep in mind that it is ME who wants to drop the lbs so there is no point in feeling bad about the restrictions I have imposed. It is MY decision to do this.

I still step on the scales every day and they are still showing small drops every other day. I’m hopeful that, unless I have relapse tomorrow, I should achieve a decent loss this week which was all the incentive I needed to make myself go to Pump this lunchtime and swimming tomorrow lunchtime before weigh-in tomorrow night. I was a little scared of Pump and hoped it would be easier than last week. It was not....aching now - in fact even typing is sore!

Friday, 19 August 2011


I hadn’t realised how far I must have strayed form sensible eating. I suppose I should have as my weight had increased steadily for a few months and then plateau’ed stubbornly for a few months after that but still.. Now that I’m following the SW plan (more or less) I’m noticing the sheer number of “good decisions” I’m having to make on a daily basis and realising that this means I had wandered far from the path of righteousness. Damn you chimp for leading me astray with your wheedling ways…


I had gone from the occasional MacDonald’s cappuccino to a daily capp 4 days a week (I work from home one day). This had begun to be extended into weekends with a milky coffee becoming an increasingly regular weekend “treat” as well as stopping for one whenever we went anywhere in the car. At @200 calories a pop this is not a wise regular addition to one’s diet.

Sweets or biscuits from the snack table at work were an almost everyday occurrence.

Wine or beer at home had gone from 2 or 3 times per week to 4 or 5.

I had bought icecream for the freezer at home and had started to eat it regularly rather than just occasionally.

My lunch had expanded from sushi/yoghurt/fruit to (big) sandwich/possibly sausage roll/fruit/sweet treat

My cooking had become less conscious of fat control – more slosh in the butter/cream.

I was eating a lot more bread – toast, sandwiches, snacks…and biscuits from time to time too

This has all been reversed now:

I haven’t had a Maccy D’s coffee for over a week now and I think I’m through the withdrawal period now (I swear they drug that stuff!).

No treats AT ALL from the snack table – even though there is homemade flapjack on it at the moment….sweet Jesus, why??

Apart from my previously documented blowouts, I’ve not had any booze at home and only the odd one out. I will have the odd glass of wine from time to time but only once I know that I’m losing steadily.

Lunch has shrunk again and does not include bread. I tend to have either sushi/yoghurt/fruit or a cold meat/egg salad with fruit.

My cooking style has readjusted – the Fry Light is out again. I’m still cooking the same dishes which were essentially pretty healthy and involved fresh ingredients and lots of veggies, just cutting back on the fats.

And finally, the full fat Bradwell rum & raisin icecream (made in my home village doncha know!) has not been touched. I did, however, buy a pack of Fruit Pastille lollies in case of sweet emergency (only to discover that they are Rich’s favourites so I’m going to have to defend them from him!!) Re biscuits, I only buy the dark chocolate ginger ones which I’m not really bothered about so Rich can still enjoy the odd one.

I have always done a fair bit of exercise which probably explains why I hadn’t absolutely piled on the weight despite all the straying listed above. But now I’m being a bit more strict about that too. This week it has been Pump FX (killer) on Monday, swimming Tuesday, Golf and dog walk Wednesday, training Thursday, swimming Friday. I’ll go for my Saturday morning run tomorrow and golf/dog walking Sunday. Not bad at all. Eagle eyed readers will spot that I was meant to be going to Zumba this lunchtime! I fully intended to and was looking forward to it. I had set out my kit to bring to work this morning and then failed utterly to bring it in! Stupid woman. Luckily I had my swimming kit in the office anyway so I went swimming instead. Now I can’t try Zumba for a fortnight as I’m off work next Friday…..grr On the plus side I had mentioned it to a couple of colleagues and they sound keen so I might have some gym pals which always helps and makes exercise more fun.

Early indications are that weight loss will be slow this week. The scales are grudgingly showing a small (just less than a lb) loss and I still have the weekend to negotiate. I’ll have to stay strong in order to make this work as I do NOT want to fall at only the second hurdle. But, even a half lb or lb off would be fine – I’m genuinely not going to be greedy about this.

In other news, we’re very excited as we’re going to see The Inbetweeners Movie this evening!! I know I know…how old are we?! But I think the TV show is hilarious and I’ve heard very good things about the film. The trailers looked very funny. I will be good. Either a drink OR an icecream NOT both. And no toffee popcorn…..sob…..

To be honest a bit of mindless fun will be a welcome break from the ongoing misery of having to deal with solicitors over the financial side of the divorce. We have been officially divorced since May but the financial side has still to be settled. It’s been agreed in principle for months and months but for some reason D will not quite sign it off. It’s very frustrating as I just want to be shot of all this and finally free. It makes me wonder what is motivating him to keep hanging on? It’s very confusing as he seems to have moved to Thailand (yeah I know, tacky or what…) so one would have thought he’d want to get it sorted too.

So there’s me up to date. I hope you all have a wonderful and healthy weekend!!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

A truly surreal experience at the Golf Club

The power of blogging really does exist. I posted yesterday that I had had a few too many extra treat-like mouthfuls here and there at golf that morning and needed to put a stop to it. Well, I did. I went back to the Club for the presentation and dinner yesterday evening and managed to stay strapped to the straight and narrow despite the direst of provocations. Let me explain:

I love golf as a game but the social side of it in the Ladies’ Section can be, well, too girly, too Daily Mail, rather elderly and pernickety, a bit cliquey and privileged and overall pervaded with floral dresses and Estee Lauder. Not really my scene. Individually, nearly all of the women I’ve played with over the years have been nice, pleasant, good company (some more than others obviously). But en masse I personally find it a bit of a trial. I think I’m used to male company more than female and I tend to mix with a younger less rarified crowd. However, I love golf itself and believe in mixing in and doing my bit so I persevere and am gradually finding the women I CAN connect with and learning which ones will drive me mad in 5 minutes flat!

To that end I decided that I WOULD go to the Lady Captains’ dinner after all. My early playing mates from the club were surprised and were not going themselves so I knew I’d be “on my own”. I turned up at 7 to find the room already nearly full and loads of groups, none of which looked particularly promising. Luckily it was allocated seating and my table was one of the drinkier, rowdier tables with a few women I knew and with an average age under 100. Just to give some context, I’m 41 and I’d say I was the second youngest woman there, by several years. The easy way out would have been to say, to hell with it, written off the diet, arranged with Rich to pick me up later and signed up to the never ending flow of wine. But I didn’t. Maybe next year if this diet is successful. I had one glass of wine spritzer and then water.

Foodwise, I was good as well. Catering for 100 women the menu was not overly stodgy or fatty. A salmon terrine with salad (I left the toast) to start. Roast gammon with veggies (I chose the new potatoes not the roasties) for main and for dessert I asked for plain summer berries rather than pavlova, cinnamon choc mousse/tart or cheese and biscuits. What virtue!

And I had a really good time. Unusually the captain had arranged for one of the new members who sings professionally to entertain afterwards. This could have been a serious flop. There was that moment of English reserve when she first started – that “Oh my God, she’s singing – what do we do??!” feeling. But then she sang a 60’s classic – Daydream Believer – and, being of a certain age, they all got going and sang along heartily, arms were being waved in the air and it was off. I thought a bit of singing along was a good result for the golf club but, no, more was to come.

After a couple of songs, the singer mentioned that there was a tiny space if anyone wanted to dance….back came the English reserve…..much giggling and looks of horror at the thought. Then S, one of older less straight-laced women, got up to dance and grabbed another woman (well against her inclinations I can tell you). It was all a bit awkward. S, like the singer, is the elder stateswoman of a growing lesbian contingent in the club. It makes absolutely no odds to me what she or anyone else is or does but it is definitely remarked upon in the section albeit it in a generally tolerant, friendly way; more giggling ignorance than malice.

So, when S got up to dance it all could have been a bit awkward – exposed. Then one of women on my table said, come on, let’s ALL get up. So we did. Our table got up to dance and then nearly everyone else followed. There must have 60 or so mostly middle-aged or older women dressed in uber respectable style grooving on down (well, sort of), waving arms in the air, singing along and not a man in sight. It was surreal but kind of sweet and fun. I really enjoyed it. But it was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at a golf club!! At one point I looked through to the bar and saw the barman and a couple of husbands who were in the billiards room waiting for their womenfolk to finish. They had come to the door of the dining room and were just looking at our carryings on in absolute disbelief!! So funny.

I told Rich about it and his comment was “we won’t be dancing at OUR Captain’s dinner on Saturday!”. Which is true. Can you imagine a group of (straight) men all getting up and dancing together after a meal, relatively sober at around 9.30pm with not a woman in sight?? Only if they had guns trained on them…..

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Pictures of the Past

Well, I promised you some 1980's nostalgia - here's me and Rich in our finest 80's "fashion"!

Also featuring were Boy George and the Birthday Girl in the "style" of Sonia.. (Actually she did very well with her costume given that she was born in 1981! Her make-up was spot on!)
Don Johnson made an appearance...
And Jacko crossed with Madge. Great Coyote Ugly bar dancing!

Much fun. And much white wine spritzers....
I played golf this morning. Not very well. I have allowed a few too many mouthfuls of snack to pass my lips today and must stop the rot. It was Lady Captain's day so there were baskets of sweets in the changing room, treats on the 13th tee, a glass of bubbley as we finished our round (at 11.15am!) and nibbles while chatting by the 18th. All tiny but NOT good.
I had a stern talk to myself this lunchtime as I prepared a parsimonious salad by way of recompense. I'm going to the Lady Captain's meal this evening which will be very nice and not too fatty (catered for women in mind) but I must resist the wine and dessert. It is only Wednesday and one good week does NOT give me licence to splurge.
That is all....

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Week 1 weigh in

A very quick update as supper is nearly ready and Rich nearly due back from the golf course to eat it with me. But I thought I'd just report that I dropped 2.5lbs in my first week.

I'm pretty pleased with that. I know I've lost way more than that in first weeks before but a) I was usually heavier than I am now and b) I didn't usually go out and have a great night partying during that crucial first week.

But this is how I want to be; this "diet" has to become part of my life so that it is sustainable. I'm getting there.

I stayed for the class and the leader is a LOT more chatty and entertaining than the one from the class I used to go to - Misery Central.

I've been pretty good today - sore as HELL from the Pump FX class yesterday but fully intended to go swimming at lunchtime. Trouble is, I'd forgotten that it was a team lunch for a woman who's leaving on her maternity. I could have missed it but we're trying to foster some team togetherness so didn't want to let people down. Gotta put your money where your mouth is sometimes eh?

It was in a greasy spoon cafe (don't ask!) but I managed to choose well - jacket spud with beans and salad. I also nobly resisted the gorgeous looking chocolate cheesecake so am sure that contributed to my weightloss!!

Anyway, I've got to dash. Will chat more tomorrow.

Big Weekend

I’ve still got ‘The Zeal’ but it has been tempered by some realism. Having saved up a few days’ worth of syns to allow for a proper drink on Saturday night, I then proceeded to totally overdo it! And I don’t care! Foodwise I was alright, sticking to meat and salad from the buffet and ignoring all the tasty looking burgers, chips, fried things etc. Drink wise – LOTS of white wine spritzers. So, I did nod to SW – wine spritzers are definitely better than pints of bitter – but the volume probably was not what Margaret Miles-Bramwell had in mind! But we had a really good night out with nice people and danced and socialised and had fun so what harm?

I’m slightly disappointed in the photographs (which I WILL get round to posting soon) – they don’t do my dress justice. It is very nipped in at the waist which doesn’t come out and the shoulder pads are huge. However, trust me, it had true 80’s impact and I was proud of it! Rich’s shell suit went down well too. It was a strange experience for me seeing him with hair – albeit a cheap, shiny platinum blonde mullet. I got just a flash of how handsome he must have been in his youth before the hair retreated and was shaved away!! (For the record – I think he’s good looking now but the hair definitely made him look younger!! Looking at the photos, though, I realise that I must have been pretty tipsy to be fooled by THAT wig!)

It wasn’t the biggest party ever as quite a few people didn’t show (don’t you hate that when people make an effort to throw a party and then get let down?). But the people who did turn up were all really fun-loving and sociable; everybody was in costume and everybody was up dancing and mixing. None of that hanging round the wall chatting only to the people you know (which in our case would have been each other, the birthday girl and her fiancée!).

I am pleased that, although I had a blowout on Saturday night, I did not use that as an excuse to stray during the day on Saturday and nor did I lapse on Sunday. As you know from my last post, I went for a decent run on Saturday and my pre-party eating was good. Sunday was, obviously a much slower affair but we still headed out for a good couple of hours of hilly tramping up Bradwell Edge in the afternoon which really blew the cobwebs away. I ate a fair bit on Sunday – a pub lunch when picking the car up and then a roast chicken supper – but it was chosen carefully and was not bad in terms of SW’s strictures. Plenty of vegetables and salad and no sweets apart from fruit.

I think this is likely to be the pattern from now on – strict and careful during the week and slightly more relaxed at weekends to allow for the odd blowout and a few treats.

The other change for this first SW week is that I went to a class at the gym this lunchtime rather than lane swimming! Swimming is good and I’m still going to be going but I think variety is the name of the game for me and a Pump FX class which incorporates weights will be ideal. I tried swimming last Monday and it was a nightmare. They close half the fast lane on Mondays in order that 1 or 2 people can learn to swim! I’m all for people learning to swim but it seems to me that inconveniencing 20 or more people to cater for a couple is not good use of space – surely you can learn to swim outside of lunch hours? Especially as most of the people I’ve seen appear to be of retirement age! Grrrr…..ok now, rant over.

So – Pump FX it was. And it was HARD! Only 50 minutes but lots of weights and lots of repetition. Not a nice, stretchy mellow class by any means. I asked the woman what I needed before we started and was a little gung ho about the weights. She recommended 5kg on each end of the bar so I went along with it. It was only when the class started that I realised that I was the only woman with orange weights - everyone else was on lighter apart from the leader! Still, I stuck it out and I must admit it was a good workout. My arms are a little shaky now and my legs weren't too steady going down the stairs but I'm sure I'll survive. I’m going to try a Zumba class on Friday too….I know I know, Zumba has been going for ages now but I'm not an early-adopter, me…..more of a follower of the herd many months if not years after the event…

I’ve got the big first weigh-in tomorrow night. Dun dun deeeeerrrr…. I’m hopeful of a decent result judging by my showing on the scales each morning but the hangover from weekend drinking can pounce at any time so I’m not saying that I’m confident exactly!!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Quick Saturday morning update

It's amazing how much difference a few days' focussed dieting makes. Already I feel noticeably (to me) slimmer, more energetic and more positive about life. After my little slump a few weeks ago, it is a great feeling.

Supper last night was another good 'un - pork chops with mash, the remains of the ratatouille and sweetcorn. We finished off with strawberries, blackberries and cream for Richard, sweetened yoghurt for me. What's not to like? No wine or beer and I didn't even feel envious of Rich tucking into one of those heavenly ginger cookies. It helps that I know I'm having a big night out tonight so I was able to use this as a reminder that I need to save up my syns in order to be able to enjoy a few guiltfree drinks.

My chimp was very quiet this morning when I started thinking about my planned Saturday morning run. She tried a nominal effort at resistance but really it was pathetic. In any event, I had a peek at my post from yesterday in which I said I was going for a run and that was enough motivation to ensure that I got dressed straight into my running gear.

We took a different route to the usual. It had been getting a bit stale. The trouble is, there aren't many choices round Bradwell for non-hilly routes; the old run is pretty much it! Today's route was very hilly although gradual, not many steep bits and I walked those couple (I'm not a martyr!). Over the big field (Hazelbadge) then up a limestone dale right to the top and then gradually meandering back down through the village and home. Gorgeous views at the top.

I ran nearly all of the way and had a couple of extra (and very much begrudged) hilly loopbacks to retrieve stupid dogs who had got themselves stuck in fields in their desperation to chase swallows. And, on the way downhill when I could finally breathe again I realised anew what a gorgeous place it is I live in and how lucky I am and I got my mojo back - just like that!

I doubt it had gone far but I have been feeling a little more sluggish than I like so this mini injection of energy is wonderful.

So, on that chirpy note, I'd better get dressed (still in a towell) and go and do the shopping. Have a great weekend all!!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Day 2 in the Slimming World House...

(I hope you adopted a Geordie accent to read the title of my post….)

The housemates are eating rabbit food….one of them is happy but the other is not so sure….salad when it’s cold and raining?…..hmmm, the missus is on one of them diets….

I defend my choice to the hilt. It was a robust salad nicoise with lovely fresh tuna steak, lush new potatoes, green beans etc. Beautifully fitting into the SW ethos of filling your plate with veggies and very tasty. I don’t know why I haven’t had a salad nicoise for aeons but it will be making an appearance again before too long, mark my words.

Preliminary results from the morning step onto the scales are positive and indicate a 2-3lb drop which is fuelling my new diet zeal to new heights. I zapped away offers of wine with the meal last night; brushed aside thoughts of the delicious chunky/chewy stem ginger cookie which Rich was tucking into; foreswore all treats at the petrol station (my absolute cavern of temptation for some reason) and generally have been a nerdy swot of a SW follower.

Seriously, I’m not really seeking any kudos for this as I realise it has only been 3 days but it’s a good start. You need a good start to steer you through the tough patches which come later. I’m also aware that I’m not going to be abstaining from booze so I need to have good, virtually syn-free days during the week to allow for drinking now and again. And this weekend I have that 80’s party on Saturday night to contend with – the first big test!

But it has been good so far. I’ve really enjoyed the meals I’ve had, more so than when I wasn’t dieting to be honest. The extra thought and care you have to put into the preparation seems to make them more pleasurable somehow. And visually, the fresh vegetables and salad on the plate are very pleasing. Yesterday’s meals were: breakfast of bacon eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes with wholemeal toast; lunch of couscous and chicken salad with yoghurt and fruit snacks and supper of salad nicoise as above.

I haven’t succumbed to sweet cravings as yet and am going to try and stay away from sweet stuff as long as possible. I seem to recall that, once you break the cycle of eating sweet stuff, you can do without relatively easily. If I do want something sweet I tend to make a cup of tea or coffee with sweetener instead which is allowable. I do have some meringue nests in the cupboard in case of emergency (to be eaten with fruit and sweetened yoghurt as a sort of ersatz pavlova).

On the exercise front I played golf on Wednesday, training yesterday morning (which was a killer) and swimming this lunchtime. I’m plotting a Saturday morning run with the dogs and post-party dog walking on Sunday. Not too bad. I think I’m going to try and build a couple of gym or exercise classes in at lunchtimes instead of swimming. Swimming is good but I suspect that, because I’m a strong swimmer, it might not be as beneficial as say body combat or somesuch. This is the plan anyway…

In other news, Sheffield Wednesday were live on Sky last night. I presume you all watched it? Yes – thought so… For those of you who unaccountably missed it, we beat Blackpool in the first round of the Carling Cup after 120 dreary minutes and penalties. Yes it was a dull nil-nil draw but, as Blackpool, amazingly, are in the division above us, it was a decent scalp. Our Carling Cup “run” will be coming to an end shortly, however, as we have drawn Blackburn Rovers away which is a Premiership team. Bye bye Wednesday.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Slimming World

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve finally taken the plunge and signed up to the dreaded Slimming World. It is a relief to be honest to have finally taken some concrete action. I’ve been thinking about dieting, “mulling” and not really getting stuck in for too long so now I’m really feeling ready for a structured regime. I’m not beating myself up that it’s taken me a while to get going – I think there is always a right time and sometimes you have to work up to that right time.

I went to a different class to the one I used to go to years ago. Although that class is more local, the leader is the glummest, most dreary woman you can imagine. She never smiles and she is pretty unimaginative in her “Image Therapy” section. While she is pleasant and certainly seems to do a good job, she just isn’t inspiring in any way and you feel the life being sapped from you as you sit there week after week; I just couldn’t face her again!

So, I’ve found another class in a village a few miles away. It should work out well as it’s earlier than the Hope class at 5.30-6pm so I can go straight there from work and it won’t eat into my evening. I’ve paid for the first 6 classes up front so I’m committed to give it at least 6 weeks! But I’m hopeful that I’ll do a lot better than that. I have that “new diet” zeal. (Which is not particularly impressive given that it’s only been a couple of days!)

But, before I wax lyrical about my hopes and dreams for SW, I first have to confess to the absolute balls-up I made of the very first night!! I was not organised foodwise for a meal straight after the class. Rich was out, first at golf and then going straight to his last darts match of the summer season (a crunch match which they needed to win at least 7-1 to win the league!). I’d arranged to have a few drinks locally with my neighbour. We’ve chatted outside the house and hit it off but not been out socially. So I thought it’d be good to go to the pub Rich was playing darts in – hopefully there’d be a decent atmosphere for me and H to get to know each other a bit.

But I digress. Food in the fridge was not helpful – I was tired and lazy and not in the mood. I decided that I’d done the hard bit, ie. actually going to SW and enrolling, so I’d forget about that night and start afresh in the morning. Supper was, therefore, a mishmash of toast and bits and bobs. I did NOT intend to drink a great deal with H as it was to be just a midweek chat. She agreed – she was on medication so only wanted a couple. Perfect.

It didn’t quite work out like that – after 2, I asked if she wanted to go home and she said, nah, let’s have another, then another….and then another. I was, by this time pressing to leave and she chose that moment to share with me a personal confidence. As she is very private, this was huge (it was huge) and she and Rich (who had joined us shortly after the confidence) then talked me into one more drink. It was a good night, I think I’ve made a friend which is never bad, but it was far too boozy and late for a Tuesday, especially when I was due to be playing golf at 7.45am the next day!! I didn’t get to bed until 2.15am for heaven’s sake!

Suffice to say that golf in the morning was a pretty tired and hungover affair and my score reflected that. Which is a shame as it was the first part of a 36 hole competition for Lady Captain’s Day….another opportunity to shine missed.

But, on the plus side, despite my hangover, I had absolutely NO inclination to slide and not get going on SW yesterday morning. Despite the hangover, I cooked (without oil of course) bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomato for breakfast to fuel my round and keep me from snacking. Lunch was an exemplary jacket spud with beans, cheese (from my allowance) and salad. And supper was steak and mash with masses of veggies including a ratatouille from a big batch for the fridge. So, 3 delicious, nutritious, tasty meals all cooked without fat. None of them felt remotely like “diet” food. Most heartening.

I’m excited about the new regime which allows you to eat both protein and carbohydrates in the same meal provided that at least a third of your meal is comprised of veggies or salad. This allows for much more “normal” meals than in the past when you had to pick a red day or a green day and then were stuck for the rest of each day eating off one particular palette. Thinking ahead, I anticipate that the limit on cheese will be frustrating and suspect I will start to crave sweet stuff so will need to plan for that.

I was touched by Rich’s reaction to my telling him that I’d started the diet. “Why’re you doing that then?” Interested in how it works, jokingly worried that he’d be on “rabbit food” but otherwise he treated it totally as something I was doing for me because I want to do it. Which is exactly how I feel. In the past I remember going to SW as an emergency measure following the latest vicious row; to stave off the next round of criticisms and even to save my marriage, ie. having been given an ultimatum. Of course, under those circumstances, I usually lost a bit but soon gave up. I was simply not in the right frame of mind to care enough for myself to lose weight. I have had success with SW in the past – I lost 2 stone plus a couple of times but, at that time, the mountain was just too high and the SW path too slow. I needed to lose 7 or 8 stone and didn’t have the confidence in myself to achieve that through SW.

Lighter Life was what I needed at the time (back in 2007!) – a quick fix and a life saver. But now I think SW will fit the bill. For starters, I only want to lose a couple of stone. I want to do it while living life to the full and enjoying myself. Every lb off will be a bonus not “needed”. I’m taking the long view that as long as I’m heading in the right direction and enjoying the journey, I don’t care how long it takes me to get there. My emphasis will be on getting fitter and healthier as well as slimmer and on establishing a way of staying fit, healthy and slim which will work for me longterm. And, in the meantime, I have a bloke who loves and fancies me as much now as he did when I was 20 lbs lighter and as he will once I’m back there. It is simply irrelevant to him. Bliss.

PS. They didn’t win the darts league – they only won Tuesday night’s match 6-2 so tied for points but came second on the number of games won overall – he is gutted!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A quick update and musings from funeral and christening

First, a quick update. I was pretty good over the weekend; not starting a diet as such but certainly reining in and cutting back. I've started my diet proper this week and have actually joined Slimming World!! I'll keep you posted.

I had the afternoon off on Friday to go to a funeral. It was of a friend from my old local and quiz team compatriot, Jim. He wasn’t nearly old enough for his death to be in any way “alright”, not that many are, however old the deceased. He was only 61 but, to be honest, years of hard living and not looking after himself had led to him looking much older and to his early demise not being a huge surprise. Such a shame though as he was a good bloke (and he knew a LOT of sporting, movie and old pop music trivia!!).

It’s strange when you go to a funeral of someone you’ve only known for a few years and then only in a limited context. Suddenly the rest of their life is opened up to you and you learn all sorts of things about that person which you didn’t know before. Rich had known him for a lot longer so had already told me some stuff but it was good to see a couple of albums of old photographs which some loving relative or friend had put together showing his former sporting prowess (he had a trials for Wolves apparently!) and the fun he had with his mates and former wife back in the 80’s and 90’s. All those posed pics of trips to the Races or Christmas parties or just larking around in the very pub we were mourning him in.

It makes you think, of course, about lots of things, all funerals do.

He and his ex-wife had remained on good terms and she came to the funeral and mixed with his family which was good to see (and not a little poignant for me). They looked so happy in the photos but had obviously parted and somehow stayed friends. I wish that could have happened for me but it will almost certainly never happen.

He had no children which is starting to ring some chords for me now too. I suppose I’ve always somehow assumed that I “might” still have them. But this seems unlikely now and, while I don’t really want to go for it, to upset that applecart, it is something I’m having to process and make peace with. All those thoughts about the future generation which I have at the back of my mind have at some point to be put into a box and forgotten because it’s just not going to happen for me. But it would be daft to rush into trying to have kids at this late stage just because the thought of NOT having them is unsettling. I think one should positively WANT them first…and Rich seems to be of the same opinion. I think…..God, even now I can’t be certain about this and it’s pretty damn major really. Sigh.

The nature of friendship is another thing I’ve thought about. Who are the ones who will stay close? Who will be there for you in years to come? Going through a divorce tends to bring friendship (or otherwise) into sharp relief but also, now that I’m emerging blinking out the other side, it has highlighted the importance of friends and the fact that I should not take them for granted. This is also especially true now that so many of mine are having children….and I’m not (can you detect a theme here?!). My friend Jim warned me right at the outset that I would lose some friends and I would discover who is a true friend while going through the divorce and, boy, has he been right!

So, nothing serious then!!

So that was Friday. We went out in the evening but were both so tired we could barely stay awake so only had a couple before staggering home and collapsing into bed.

Saturday was the first match of the new football season. Sheffield Wednesday were playing at home against Rochdale. It was a very heartening victory - 2 nil. Not spectaular apart from one amazing volleyed goal but solid, organised and hard working, all of which are new attributes after the rubbish they served up to us last season. So we left feeling cautiously optimistic....weird.....

Sunday was the christening. My friend Angela and her husband were christening their daughter Isabel. She was brilliantly behaved and it was a nice party which allowed me to catch up with several people I only see a couple of times a year so all very satisfactory. On the kids thing - I realised I wasn't particularly wistful about the baby, not wistful at all to be honest so I suspect I've pretty much made my peace with it anyway. It must just have been the funeral making me ponder.

But then that's children as a concept for you. Often the sheer work of raising them seems overwhelming when viewed from the outside so why would you want them? But what you don't see from the outside is the joy they bring and the difference they make to one's life. And also, the having them there, grown and whole as you get older.

However, I think that as I've never had that visceral "need" for children, just a sort of wishy washy "I'd like to have them one day" feeling, I suspect that I will be happy either way and as that is looking like not having kids, well, so be it.

Golly - that was all very deep. I'm going to post this now despite the fact that I've got all sorts of news (nothing exciting believe me), diet and exercise updates and a few vague notions of other posts I'd like to write. You've got to stop somewhere eh?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Mishmash of things - carnival, 80's gear and diet...

So much for frequent posting...that didn't work out too well did it?! In my defence, it's been chaotic here: work very busy and demanding (but enjoyable for the most part); life full; family visits; Bradwell Carnival; golf etc etc.

Bradda Carnival is part of a week long Wakes Week which started last Saturday with a procession and fete on the playing field. It's quite a big affair round here - all the local carnival queens travel from miles around and there are several local floats who put in a massive effort with their floats, costumes and dance routines. Very amusing. We might be tempted to join in next year....

Our friends from the local pub dressed up as Smurfs and said that they had rehearsed a Macarena dance routine but, to be honest, I didn't see a lot of evidence of rehearsal!! The winners were the Bradda Dads (a local, charitable organsiation of village dads and mums who seem to "just get on with things"....very laudable) who had a Yellow Submarine float and were all dressed up in white navy uniforms (a la Richard Gere) or Sailorettes in the case of the women. The kids did a hornpipe routine and the adults managed something from the Village People!!

It's all very hokey and funny and involves lots of water balloons being hurled into the crowd and from the crowd and much standing outside of pubs!!

So Saturday was NOT diet friendly - a gorgeous sunny day which was mainly taken up with beer and ice cream and whose main nutrition was a cheese burger!

Sunday was the most hungover golf I've ever played and otherwise very quiet.

Monday we had taken off from work to go shopping for a fancy dress outfit for Rich for a 30th birthday party we have coming up. I already have my perfect 80's outfit from New Year's Eve 2 years ago but he needed to be kitted out. What a nightmare shopping with a bloke can be!! He was so easily disheartened by the smallest setback. Do they not learn how to shop??

Anyway, we persevered and eventually found him the "perfect" shell suit in a vintage clothing shop. It is truly horrendous! Turquoise and aqua slashes in lovely shiny fabric....mmmm. We will borrow a blond mullet wig from another mate and he is good to go. He will NOT, however, match my stylish canary yellow "power dress" in the style of Dynasty or Dallas!!

Monday night was the Carnival street party outside our local pub. They could not have booked a nicer evening, I think serious deals have been done with devil.... It was continental - gorgeous, sunny, warm, mellow. All the things which carnival street parties in the UK are usually NOT. A great night. Bradwell has a bit of a reputation locally for fighting but there was not a hint of bother despite the hundreds of people of all ages drinking and dancing in the street til the early hours. Well done Bradwell!!

Not surprisingly, Tuesday was another hangover.

So, as you may have deduced, the diet is not going well or at all really. I am hanging on by a thread. Not gaining but not losing. And it's beginning to drag me down. For the first time in ages I have felt those old feelings of depression about my weight. Feeling less confident and less happy in my skin and even less attractive to Rich. I have had a serious talk to myself about this as, weight or not, feeling bad about yourself doesn't help in any way and Rich has made it clear that it's all in my head and is not coming from him at all.

Actually, I think my saying that I've not got going on the diet is not quite true. While I've had too many big days and nights which have scuppered any progress, I have actually implemented many of the changes I was mulling over in my last post. I had salads every day last week instead of bread and cut back on treats. It's really the holiday and weekend days which have been the problems. Accordingly, now that those days are over for a while, I have tightened up again and over the last few days really knuckled down and cut out the rubbish and upped the exercise. It has had an effect and has stopped me gaining but I need to carry it on. Really need to learn from the bad feelings and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!

It's happening peeps - yesterday was stellar, I deflected bad choices left, right and centre and this morning has started well with grapefruit for breakfast. That's all I need to do - keep on making the good choices and remember that it's ME who wants to lose the weight, no-one else, so there is no point resenting having to cut back.

The exercise has been alright too - after my mulling post last week I reinstated swimming as I pledged, playing lots of golf and have been doing a little bit of running too. So, I have a decent base to work on and I will do it!! Wish me luck.