Friday, 25 May 2012


Sorry for the radio silence - I've been very tired and very busy getting ready for our hols.  You know the way works suddenly takes a turn for the hectic just when you want to slope off out the door?? Well, that!

Anyway, while I wait for my slow as hell work laptop to finally load something, a quick post to say hi and update you.

I couldn't make WI on Tuesday as I had a last minute golf match.  Turned up, glorious sunshine, really looking forward to the game.  Our opponents did not turn up!  Grrr  We phoned them and have managed to book a matchtime for the day after we come back from hols which is also the deadline for playing that round.  It was a very weak excuse too - oh I thought you meant next week!  Oh yes, I'm very likely to book the Tuesday night when I'm in South Wales and I specifically rang you to sort out a date before we went...!  Hmmmm

Anyway, we had a nice round anyway an I had an unofficial WI - a stay the same.

More golf Wednesday night - not very good but a gorgeous evening nonetheless.

And manic ever since.  I literally cannot wait to finish up here and pack.  We're going to a gig tonight - Reverend and The Makers at the Leadmill in Sheffield.  That'll be good although would have been better 2 weeks ago when it was originally scheduled.  The lead singer pulled his back so it was re-scheduled for tonight.  I suspect our drive down to Pembrokeshire will be a little subdued tomorrow!

Hurrah - document has loaded - better get back to my final task for the day.....

Friday, 18 May 2012

Farewell to Haddocks..

When did I start getting sensible?? I've been looking forward so much to our holiday a week on Saturday but I have noticed an alarming number of "sensible" thoughts creeping in.

Take the booking, for example. I spent an age looking stuff up on the internet, talking to people who had been to Pembrokeshire (as I have not) and selecting the "right" town/village for us. My younger self would just have plumped for one at random. My considerations encompassed all sorts of sensible thoughts like, shopping opportunities, pubs and restaurants without having to drive or taxi (if readily available taxis even exist in such a remote spot - they don't really round here).

Then actually trying to plan our holiday more than 2 weeks before we go - this is new behaviour for me. As it happened we had an epic fail here but that is more because a suitable week suddenly became free in our diaries earlier than we'd expected. (We had blocked it out as we'd fully expected to be going to Wembley for the play-off final so getting automatic promotion was a brilliant bonus.)

Then, while trawling exhaustively the extremely limited selection of cottages for rent which will accept 2 dogs and are located centrally within my chosen town (well, city actually as St David's is Britain's smallest city), I got it down to a shortlist of 2 and this is where my newfound sensibleness really kicked in.

The first, the cute, trendily furnished and extremely chic looking "Haddocks' Rest". The second, unimaginatively referred to on the website as "Bungalow".

My younger self would have plumped for Haddocks' Rest immediately without a second thought. The bespoke website packed with a gallery of professional photos. The sanded down wooden floors complete with bright rugs and one-off pottery and pictures. The gleaming paintwork in just the "right" shade and the pretty stonework with tiny, flower crammed rear patio/garden. It's central location bang in the middle of the village. Who could resist?

Especially compared to "Bungalow". Dull white and grey 2 bed bungalow on a cul de sac just off the village centre. Fresh but generic furnishings, boring garden.

Well, I went for the grown up choice and I still can't quite believe it. And for such sensible reasons too.

Haddocks' Rest opens straight out onto what passes for a busy road in St David's, no hallway or parking out front - not great for muddy dogs and humans after clifftop hikes. The parking is in a carpark at the rear so would have meant walking round. Bungalow has a driveway. This is golden when you have 2 dogs and play golf! Our dogs do not sit quietly in the car waiting for their leads to be attached then exit the vehicle in a calm, controlled manner. Oh no! They hurl themselves like the demons from hell at the doors and windows in their desperation to get out into the traffic, all the while barking, howling and wriggling. Trying to deal with that either on a busy street or in a public carpark would have got old quickly. Also lugging golf clubs around is not amusing after a while.

So - just call me Ms Sensible!

But I find I like getting old and staid. I like throwing myself into the anticipation of a holiday: the planning and laundering and making of lists; the research and poring over websites. It's part of the holiday itself and one I have not fully appreciated in the past.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

'Fessing up

Before I get round to my confession, Peridot quite rightly pointed out some startling omissions from my recent football based photographs - I can't believe how I missed them!  She noted that they were entirely lacking in "cute cows, lovely countryside and dogs". 

I afraid I haven't got any recent pics of cute cows - they all seem a bit surly round here at the moment - maybe it is the calving that's getting them down?  I do, however, have some lovely countryside and dogs for your delectation. 

These were taken one lovely day last week or the week before (can't remember now) on a lunchtime run while working from home.  I drove up to my old village and ran along the route of the railway track which was used to build the dams up to Ladybower reservoir and then looped back.  

We've just started out near Bamford Rec:

The view towards Bamford with the Mill in the foreground from the railway track .

Up towards Bamford Edge.

We're just about to tackle the big hill to the dam wall so stop for a pic of a little stream rushing down off Win Hill...

Made it to the top!  The reservoir is overtopping into the sinkholes (one at either side of the dam wall) which is always impressive I think.  That log stayed balanced there for days.

Looking into the water surging down the hole was hypnotic - maybe it was because I didn't want to start running back just yet....

I found a nice passerby to take my pic and he did a decent job for a change, even got Shelagh in at the bottom.

The water from the sinkholes comes out at the bottom (as you'd expect and flows off down the Derwent River. 

Rich tells me that "when he were a lad" he and his pals could walk up the overflow pipes when the sinkholes were overtopping and slosh through the knee high water.  Nowadays I imagine that heath and safety has (quite rightly IMO) put a stop to that sort of caper for 8 year olds!!   But it is something I'd like to do now of course...

Doggies on a rock!

Lots of water - the river was much wider than usual and the waterfall much more impressive than its usual trickle.

Now I've done the photos, I haven't much time before I play golf for my confession...

I went to weigh in yesterday and had GAINED 0.5lbs.  After 4 blameless weeks of tiny but steady drops, a gain and in a week when I had no events to excuse such a gain. Grrrr.  I'm annoyed with myself because I got complacent.

No more.

I did manage my big run last night though and added a good 0.5 mile loop to it too so I'm pleased with that.  I've got golf this evening and training on Friday.  And food has been good these last few days so I feel as though my slack week has not been too expensive.  Still annoying though as it pushes by half stone target backwards not forwards!

Anyway, no more time to chat for now! 

Monday, 14 May 2012

Overdue update...

Oh, the vagaries of the scales....I have had a much better week and yet the scales are not minded to be kind. I do not appear from my morning interim WIs to have lost anything at all this week and may even have gained. My official WI is tomorrow so I am mighty a'feared. Shivering in my very timbers to be honest.

So - have I REALLY been good this week?? Probably not that good if I'm honest but, because I haven't gone out and drunk a shedload like I did last weekend, I FEEL better than last week. The joys of subjectivity. If I'm honest with myself (and you) there have been far too many (relatively blameless) extras. Each one will not individually present a problem but if you're having 2 or 3 a day, er well, you can see my problem.... A piece of toast here; a pint of fruity cider there (cover your ears Peridot - I know you think it is an abomination!); a slice of tart somewhere else...sigh. It's been fun kids, but you have to go!

In between there has been much sensible eating, not much drinking, plenty of exercise and, as I say, "relatively blameless" living. But "relatively" is not good enough it seems. Hey ho - hopefully no damage done, especially if I go for the mother of a run tomorrow and am totally blameless until then and I will learn my lesson for next week in advance of our holiday.

The exercise has been fun, especially as we have actually had some decent weather after an eternity of wetness. A lovely, yet hilly run Tuesday, a mile swum on Wednesday, nothing Thursday (too busy), personal training Friday, walking Saturday, golf and walking Sunday, dancing today (Monday). I'm trying to cut back on the running to once or maybe twice a week as I can feel the beginnings of my plantar fascitis coming back and do not want to wreck my golfing season so it was great to re-discover the Hathersage pool and manage a smooth mile ploughing up and down.
Dancing was good again tonight - Rich was not feeling very well so I was touched to see that  he still wanted to go to dancing even though he had to go to darts afterwards (the team would have been short without him due to Sheffield United's playoff game!).  I had thought he might choose darts over dancing but he managed to find the energy for both....sweet.  Luckily the dances we did were not too energetic - cha cha, rumba, tango and foxtrot....
So, I'm smiling now even if I do feel porky....BIG run tomorrow methinks!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Excuses excuses.....

Below are my final pictures of the football season (although, never fear, the season will start again in August!!).  It was our big finale against Wycombe Wanderers which we HAD to win in order to gain automatic promotion.  I hope that you will by now know that WE DID IT!!!!  

The ground was packed - normally, if you arrive 30 minutes before kick-off there are a few people milling around - last Saturday it was rammed.

My pal Kerry looking somewhat nervous as we make it up the long steps to the Kop.

Inflatables bouncing around - it was a proper party atmosphere.

Who would bring a full-sized paddling pool to a football match??!

Richard and his sister.

Me and Rich looking excited rather than nervous.  Makes a change for a Wednesday fan I can tell you.

The variety of inflatables was impressive...

The attendance was 38,082 (bigger than any other gate this season outside of the Premiership!) of which 478 were Wycombe fans.  You can see them in the blue corner section to the far right. The rest of the ground was packed out with 4 sides of Wednesday fans. Awesome.

The Wycombe fans were brilliant too.  478 is a good away support considering they had already been relegated.  There were loads in fancy dress and they joined in with our party, even staying behind to watch the celebrations.  Proper fans.  We clapped them and even applauded their players onto the pitch after half time which is something I have never seen before.

The giant flag making its way around the Kop.

During the game. 

The obligatory pitch invasion after the fulltime whistle. 

 Break out the Champagne!!

Me, Rich and Kerry and a few pints in the pub afterwards.  What a day.

So, it was alwasy going to be tricky to maintain momentum with my diet while also celebrating the biggest weekend in Wednesday history since 2005 (actually it was better than 2005 when we went up through the play-off final at Cardiff). 

But, I managed it, just.  I had my weigh-in last night and managed a 0.5lb off.  I think it was because, although I had a couple of days involving lots of beer and burgers, I also had several good days and did a fair bit of exercise.  I'm pleased.  It means I can cope with real life and still lose, albeit slowly.

So, so far I have crawled slowly to a drop of 5lbs over 3 (count them, 3!) months.  It's not impressive but it's my new reality.  That is 3 months during which I have not GAINED any weight and have not gone off the rails diet and exercise wise.  I may not have been stellar but I have been "trending" in the right direction.  The last few weeks have been better with an average of 1lb a week.  If I can keep that up, I'll have lost a couple of stone by the end of the year which I can more than live with.

I suppose my point is that I'm NOT dieting which has always been my aim.  I'm living in such a way as to gradually reduce my weight and improve my fitness.

We have, out of nowhere, booked a holiday too!  We looked at our diaries and the only week we could manage before the school holidays was at the end of May which didn't leave much time.  So we've booked a cottage in St Davids, Pembrokeshire at the end of May.  I have only 2 more weigh-ins before we go and want to get to my half stone off before we go.  Presuming that's the case, I will then replace my planned reward from dinner in Castleton to a smart dinner while on holiday instead.  I can then use the Castleton dinner for my stone reward.

I'm so excited about Pembrokeshire.  The countryside loks gorgeous, all pretty beaches and rugged cliffs and headlands.  We will play a couple of rounds of golf; do a boat trip out to the the islands to see the birds, dolphins and maybe even whales if we're lucky; lots of walking, a castle or 2 and lots of lovely, lovely time together with the dogs.  I cannot wait.

It's just occurred to me that we couldn't have gone if Wednesday hadn't managed second position as we would have had the play-off final that weekend.  So that is another reason why last weekend was just heavenly.  Now our rivals, Sheffield United, have that headache to cope with.  I hope they make it, to be honest as I like being in the same division but I am laughing my head off that they mucked it up in our favour!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


I could say that it was my impending weigh-in yesterday evening that caused me to feel sick with nerves and butterflies all day but that would be lying and my mother always told me not to do that!!   The cause of my nerves was/is the football on Saturday!! I can't believe it! It's only Wednesday and I have butterflies just thinking about the game (have had since 7pm on Saturday evening to be honest). I also have difficulty thinking about anything BUT the game. I suppose other people will have been through this in advance of a big game, maybe a Cup Final or something but or some reason, I have not previously experienced it anywhere near as badly.

I started watching Wednesday when they were on the slide (big time) so have seen them be relegated 3 times and only promoted (through the play-offs) once. So I have been to big games, but mostly relegation deciders which we lost. It's not the same. In this case, we can't lose - we could end up third and in a play-off place rather than an automatic promotion spot, but even that is not "losing" per se. So why am I so nervous?? Surely the play-off final was worse than this?? Maybe, but I can't remember and I'm pretty sure I wasn't bricking it with 5 days to go!!

I think it's because it has been such a brilliant season and they've played well (almost) the whole way through so there's the feeling that we "deserve" to go up. Back in 2005 when we were last promoted through the amazing play-off final in Cardiff, it was thrilling but not this nerve-wracking. I think because we had not had that great a season. We had had a good run, right at the end and snuck into 6th place so getting to the final was awesome and winning it was a dream but it was not a season long aim. This year, we have been in the top 4 nearly all season so expectations of success have built up.

Then there's the fact that we're in competition with our local rivals so the thought of our losing and United profiting from our failure and being able to gloat is painful. And the fact that everything has gone right for the last few's so unfamiliar for a Wednesday supporter that you tend not to trust yourself, hence the nerves.

And possibly also the fact that social networking makes things much more full-on. Back in 2005, when we were last promoted, I wasn't on facebook and there were no football forums to chat on. I would email some pals and chat about it in the pub of course but D wasn't into football and used to get impatient if I talked about it "too much". Now, it's wall to wall - on the radio, on facebook, the forums, since I was on telly talking about Wednesday loads of people at works talk to me about it. There's no escape.

All I can say is, it's very real and it's getting worse! I'm pleased that I'm visiting my parents today for a day as it might take my mind off things. Being with Rich means that we both tend to talk about Wednesday more and that just ratchets up the pressure. I can't believe that I've turned into one of those people whose life is dominated by sport. It's not usually THIS bad though!!
Enough!  (I can hear you say)  What about diet and exercise and non-football related topics?  Well, it was my weigh in last night and it was a success!  I raced home from work, packed the car, picked up the dogs and kissed Rich goodbye for the day and then headed off to my parents, stopping at the WI on the way.  It was only a dash in as I had the dogs and had a 2 hour drive ahead of me but I am pleased to report that I dropped 2 lbs last week.  After much to'ing and fro'ing I've now lost 4.5lbs so only 2.5 to go before my first treat.  I CAN do it!  I WILL do it!
I did then ruin it Maccy D for supper as I drove over to Lincolnshire.  Bluuuergh...  I KNOW I could have had something much nicer and healthier and, very annoyingly, I didn't enjoy it at all so I will learn from this retrograde behaviour.  Stupid woman!
I am trialling  working from home from Mum and Dad's twice a month so that I can get over here and give Dad a break and Mum some company more often.  It is hard to find time at the weekends what with golf and FOOTBALL (there I go again....) so midweek visits could be the solution. 
As it happened last night was a good night to pick as it was Dad's first  pub quiz-master session.  He had been "volunteered" to set the next  monthly pub quiz a while back and had delegated this task to me which I duly did some time ago.  in the event the quiz was cancelled as hardly anyone turned up (think the weather was dreadful or something) so it was re-arranegd for last night.  It was quite strange being in a pub quiz not as a contestant but as the question-setter.  Still, it seemed to go down well, plenty of banter and arguments and good scores but not TOO good.  Dad really seemed to be enjoying himself as the quizmaster so it was great to see him mixing it with all his chums.
So far so good.  It's also been nice having breakfast with mum and then hearing her fussing over the dogs.  I think this could be a good idea.
Anyway, my broadband connection has finally clicked through so I'd better get on with some work!