Friday, 29 June 2012


Getting divorced doesn't half make you realise who your real friends are. Over the last year many people who I would have thought were friends (and for me that word means something important) have showed that, in reality, they were only ever acquaintances. Jolly, good time, "see you when we see you" pals/mates/chaps and chappesses from the pub.

This was quite a shock to me at the time but I have gradually assimilated this knowledge and got used to it and emerged pretty much unscathed by the "loss" of them on the whole. I suspect it's more hurt pride than anything. At the time I was in the habit of believing D's assertions so half-accepted his oft-repeated sneer that "everyone hates you" "no-one will talk to you" etc etc etc Maybe because I knew that I was technically the wronging party in our relationship I didn't want to go out there and reinforce ties of friendship during the difficult times, thus leaving the field clear for D's version of events to be spread far and wide.

But now, with distance, I can see that the friendships which seemed so important to me during the hell of the later years of my marriage, were just sticking plasters. Despite what I thought, I didn't give much to them other than time and boozing because I didn't have much to give. I was overly concerned with being "popular" and, crucially, I was just trying to survive. Looking back, I existed in a bubble. Yes, I would arrange events and meet-ups but mostly to make sure that I had company, to hide the fact that D and I didn't value spending time alone together, to distract him from hurting me and to insulate me from my misery. I tried to be there for friends in need but I suspect my attempts were haphazard as I was constantly treading on eggshells at home and protecting my own psyche.

I can see this now because, with the true friends I have now, I may not see them all the time but when I do it is with pure pleasure and desire to spend time with them rather than any need to "be in a gang". When I have a friend in need, I am genuinely concerned about him or her and have time and energy to try and help out in whatever way will help him/her. It is much healthier.

That doesn't let my fairweather friends off the hook. I know I would not have ditched one half of a couple just because it was awkward or because she moved down the road. Maybe it was easier to see me as the "baddie" and let me go. Maybe it was too uncomfortable to look beneath the surface and accept that I was terribly unhappy but I hope I would have at least tried.

By the way, I'm not saying I don't/didn't like my former pals or that I have fallen out with them or anything - I did and had lots of wonderful times with them. I would prefer that they were my present pals and that this post was not relevant. But they're not around so I can only look on with that knowledge.

And, on the positive side (as ever), many, many people have been there for me and a few have even come out and said that they understand what was happening to me. One, because it had happened to her too so she knew how isolating and disorienting it was. The true friends I have now seem to be steadfast and fun and we seem to be able to just get on with life, enjoy their company and forget the past. Some of them came over to Bradwell on Wednesday night for the quiz and we had a jolly night - gentle, amusing, lowkey and like old times. They staggered down to the bus stop for the last bus back to Bamford and I walked home in the balmy evening air with a massive smile on my face. I know moving on happened a long time ago but Wednesday night was one of those events where you "see" how far you have come.

So, sorry to harp on about the past. I don't want to be one of those women who is always banging on about her divorce (I don't think I am) but periodically, I have phases where I need to process a new stage in my development and talk here (in my personal place) about what it means to me. It's not something you can just put in a box and say that you're "cured" or "it's over". I need from time to time to examine my wounds to make sure that they are healing right and also to think about the wrongs I have inflicted . To make sure that I don't make the same mistakes again with friends or partner and that I behave better and with more integrity too.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

NOT eating.....

I found some random walk pics from May.  As you can see, they are a little out of date as the lambs are still only babies and we're wearing fleeces...well, maybe that last one is not so relevant given the weather we're having.  It's not exactly June-like is it?

These were taken above Hathersage near Stanage Edge and Lees hall.  One of my favourite short walks - it only takes an hour but there are fields, a wood and stream, a ruined papermill and chapel, the the looming rocks of Stanage Edge and then Lees Hall itself.

Doggie on a Rock!

 The view down towards Hathersage.

Although it was sunny - we had to keep our speed up to avoid the imminent thunder storm.

The Hall is let out as a holiday let  by the Vivat Trust I believe.  I'm sure it costs a packet but what a building and what a setting!

It was a struggle after Zumba last night to haul myself back out onto the golf course this morning but I'm glad I did.  We were first out and sailed round in 3 hours.  It is called Millionaire Golf - when you have no-one in front of you and no-one behind.  We saw hardly anyone else on the course although it was busy by the time we got back to the clubhouse.

I played well but let a few too many go on the greens so my score was only okay rather than good.  I cracked my driver last week ( it is dead now) so was playing with what I hope will become my new driver and I LOVE it!  I didn't hit a bad shot with it all the way round.  Yay - happiness is a secondhand Ping G10!

On the diet front, I am exercising restraint.  Wouldn't it be nice if you lost weight by NOT eating stuff.  I mean if you got "credit" for not eating things which you wanted to eat??  I almost ate a Magnum bar today, almost had toast or cereals for breakfast, a glass of wine at lunch, a chocolate bar during my round of golf.  But managed to turn down or put away all of the above..  Heroic!  Instead, I had bacon and egs for breakfast, leftover sausage and butterbean casserole and rice/salad for lunch (hardly any sausage left in it - mostly just the veggie/bean casserole) and strawberries with yoghurt instead of the desired Magnum.

Honestly - that Magnum is becoming a trial.  I bought it weeks ago - before we went on holiday and they have been sitting in the freezer calling to me ever since.

I'm off out to take the dogs for a walk now and then some appointments later on so my day off is not going to be a lazy one.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Golfing issues

Some golfing pics from a couple of our rounds in Wales.  This was St Davids which was a stunning course.  Well, the course itself wasn't gorgeous being sort of featureless but the views FROM the course were gorgeous. 

And this was Newport Links which was a truly stunning course with views of the beach and hills beyond.  The Brains bitter beforehand was pretty good too....whistles....

So, I mentioned that I played golf today.  It was first for me - a Scratch match!  For non-golfers, this means a match against another club where it is assumed that you all play off a zero handicap so there are no shots given to the weaker player.  As I actually play off an 18 handicap, this could mean that I have to give a huge advantage to the other side so the whole concept was a little scary. 

Anyway, we were short of a team and a work meeting had just been cancelled so I agreed to play and today was the day.  It was good fun.  I went out last so was in the weakest pairing and, despite my fears about Scratch, we were pretty evenly matched.  After a ding dong battle I eventually won my match on the 18th hole which meant that the team won the game overall too.  Pat me on the back!

What I hadn't appreciated was how much faffing around there is in these matches.  We arrived at 10am and had tea and sandwiches, then played, then changed and had a meal and finally finished at 5.30pm.  For me that means a full day's leave just to play golf.  Which explains why I have only played in one match before (an A team match when you play off your official handicap).

It also explains why I didn't make it to my weigh-in.  I didn't know how long it was going to go on for or, crucially, that we would have a 3 course meal afterwards!  I could just about have made it to WI but didn't fancy it with soup, salmon salad and strawberries along with a glass of wine and 2 coffees sloshing around in my tummy!  Also, I would have been going to the later WI so would have missed Zumba.

I concluded that I'd rather Zumba and burn off supper than weigh it and get all depressed!

For the record, my home scales were showing a STS or possibly a small gain this morning so the weekend and the lurgy haven't been toooo cruel considering.

Update - lest anyone think I gibbed out of WI, Zumba was HARD!  I have worked my little socks off and feel happily and sweatily virtuous.  Hopefully I can make this a new Tuesday routine (without the golf match).  Work, WI, home to change and straight to Zumba.

Clash of the Titans

Well, Hope and Enthusiasm were no match for Feeling Poorly.

They fought valiantly but there were defeated by an occasional but racking (wracking?) cough which left me feeling weak and pathetic and sorry for myself. To be fair, I think Hope and Enthusiasm did help me fight a rearguard action and ensure that defeat did not become a rout. I have not succumbed to the worst excesses of Poorliness but there has been no proper exercise, just feeble dog walks and one round of golf last week. And there have been a few poor choices (Wednesday evening's toast bonanza and Sunday night's vat of red wine spring shamingly to mind).

It is, therefore, likely that I will not have dropped any blubber this week. The tentative green shoots of recovery peeked shyly above soil level and then failed to grow. Still, they have not been crushed so there's always next week.

Several glasses of Rioja on Sunday night watching the football did not help. Why did I not stop after 3? Why did I carry on to 6? My head hurt yesterday and I'm gloomy about the effect they will have on this evening's WI. I blame Italy for failing to put us out of our misery in normal time. I had a chance of stopping the rot if we'd been defeated in 90 minutes but an hour of extra time and penalties added a couple of glasses to accompany the nail-biting and then a final one as a consolation in defeat. I admit it, where football is concerned, my resolve is as weak and feeble as a newborn kitten!!

In other weekend news - erm, not much. A quiet day of chores and a cold, wet, windy walk on Stanage Edge on Saturday (only 90 minutes or so but "brisk"). Then on Sunday morning our respective golf games were cancelled due to waterlogged courses. We replaced golf by taking the dogs on a very pleasant 5 miler around Ladybower reservoir so all was not lost. It is becoming a struggle to find interesting walks which will not be mudfests but this one is pretty good being on decent footpaths or tracks. Then there was the fateful football watching in our local....

I have resolved to reintroduce exercise into my life now that I am almost recovered from the lurgy. Dancing tonight. Then there is a new Zumba class up at Richard's golf club on a Tuesday evening. They have held a class on a Thursday evening for a long time now but that clashes with French but, as Rich plays golf on Tuesdays, I have no excuse now. I should be able to get to my WI and then over to Zumba with no trouble but rather a lot of windy country roads. Obviously, it would be better if I could do the class BEFORE WI but that could be cheating... I also have a golf match in half an hour - off scratch - I'm going to be slaughtered! - and another tomorrow. Training on Friday so just Thursday to fill.

As to Rich's diet, heralded with Hope last week, well, I've not seen much evidence of it starting as yet although it has been mentioned in despatches a couple of times. I have provided healthy bread-free lunch options and will have to watch this space!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Oh, it's you again....!

In honour of the grey, rainy day we're experiencing in Derbyshire today, here is a study in grey from our last afternoon walk in Pembrokeshire.  A grey, but mild walk along a grey, pebbley beach.  I love the colours, so muted and blurry and gentle.

Shelagh randomly attacks a pile of seaweed - think there might have been a crab in there somewhere.

She still doesn't like the frothy foam though...

At the start of our walk there was no room to walk other than on the pebbles but eventually there was a sliver of wet sand to walk along.

I'm experiencing a familiar feeling. VERY familiar. Yes, it's our old friends hope and enthusiasm back to play. Every time I get back in the diet groove, or at least back somewhere where the groove is at least visible to me, I start feeling like I can crack this. It happened to me last time I was at 4.5lbs off about 6 weeks ago (I could check back but will leave some mystery...). I keep running over in my head - not far off half a stone, not far off 'til I've jettisoned a recognisable chunk of blubber and can at last feel as though "I've made a start".

As an aside, how do other nationalities work it? If you don't have stones, do you think in chunks of 5lbs, 10? If you're in kilos, do you have to have dropped 5 kg before you're off and running? Half a stone is a nice, manageable chunk (obviously not easily achievable for me this time although it has been in the past). 10lbs would be more of a milestone but also further away - I'm not even halfway there!!

The enthusiasm is helpful though - it is assisting me in resisting the booze or biscuits at least.

Another potential help could be that Richard has finally acknowledged that he too must join the flab-busters. He has always had a bit of what he refers to, somewhat coyly, as a "bay window" but in the last year, it has definitely expanded. Trousers are tight and in some cases not fitting!! I shouldn't laugh but it is funny. He says he wants to lose some weight and has asked for assistance in cutting back on treats in the house (that'll be good - no excuse for me to buy in biscuits or sweets "for Rich") and also to think about a bread-free lunch for him at work. It's tricky. He only gets 30 minutes so fussy, microwave meals would be out. I often cook extra so he can take that to work but on the non-leftover days he takes sarnies. I think the only option is salads for him which will also help me to to have them. That way I can make sure we have plenty of nice cold cuts, hard boiled eggs, homemade coleslaw to distract from the no bread situation. This could be good for me too.

I have, however, made the point that the easiest thing for him to do to drop the blubber would be to cut back on beer!! He'd lose a stone in a couple of months if he gave it up altogether but I suspect it would not be happy couple of months for him!! He doesn't drink a huge amount, certainly not every day - 3, sometimes 4 times per week but even at 3/4 pints a time, that would be a saving of around 4000 calories a week! If he had low fat milk, less bread, fruit instead of crisps and fewer sweet treats, he could easily drop a stone in a month.

Lucky devil - I have already cut out most of that stuff and do more exercise than him....dieting is not so easy when you're working at the margins! (I sympathise Peridot as I know you've gone much further than me in cutting out/back and are still struggling to reduce). It's not fair but it is what it is.

So - I need to capitalise on the hope and enthusiasm and make a plan to make Rich's new regime work for me as well. Hopefully that elusive half stone mark will be reached very soon and spur me on for the next. I've had a change of heart on the reward front too - the half stone reward will NOT now be a meal out. It will be a day's hike with picnic and Rich. He doesn't know this yet. Although we like walking, we get far too busy during the summer with golf and other events (and the grim weather hasn't helped this year). So my treat will be setting aside a Saturday or Sunday and MAKING us go for a good long tramp with a picnic, my camera and the dogs.
 Update - Now after all that hope and enthusiasm from yesterday, I had a bad night - felt hungry and bored and ate too much - toast and general stuff.  And then the scales this morning showed a 2lb jump.  Harrumph.  Gotta make sure I don't let it derail me for today and the rest of the weekend. 
Update 2 - well I've just been out shopping and got a load of fruit and veg for our new style bread-free  lunches.  It's a start....

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

WI update

Second to last lot of Wales photos - these are from our boat trip around Ramsey Island.  We'd had a curry the night before so I'm surprised Rich looks so happy here as we arrive as he wasn't that gone on the idea of a jet boat trip without having a dicky tummy.

So here's the boat...I was very excited with the whole life jacket and strapping yourself in.   I can't believe that the people in the shop had told us we could take the dogs - the idea of our 2 jumping all over this boat while it zipped over the waves is NOT a good one.  We certainly would not have seen much in the way of seals or seabirds!

The scenery was great and the jet boat allowed us to whiz in and out of arches and caves and see things you don't normally see from the shore.

At the mouth of the straits between the island and the mainland is a chain of vicious looking rocks called The Bitches.  Presumably as a resutl of all the ships they have claimed.  We were able to hover around them and it was, even in those calm and non-threatening sea conditions, it was extremely choppy. 

The Severn estuary is the second highest tide in the world after the Bay of Fundy which I've also visited as it's in Nova Scotia near wherer my brother and cousins live.  Because of the high tides, the water rushes over the rocks in a most exhilerating manner.  We were assured that the boat would be "fine" crossing which really reassured us.....


The colours of the coast were spectacular.


Gulls and things...

Can you see the elephant?  If so, which way is it facing??

Crashing waves.  Love 'em....

One of the many seals we saw.  BUT, they were all bobbing in the water so this was the best shot I got.

Caves are cool.

And so was the final high speed whipping across the bay at the end of our tour.  Woooo Hoooo!!

So, I went to my weigh in last night.  I didn't feel well but I went.  I didn't stay though as I didn't think people would appreciate me coughing all over them. 

And I dropped 2lbs!  Which, considering I had had a big fat curry over the weekend and had not been able to do a lot of exercise due to the lurgy, is not bad at all.

My overall stats are woeful, mind.  Since February when we came back from Rome and I started again (again, again, again.....) I have dropped only 4.5lbs!  Which works out at about a lb a month.  Hmmmm

I have STILL not hit my half stone and I'm nowhere near fitting into the piles of nice clothes I have sitting in a case in the spare bedroom.  But, this is not the end of the world.  I have dropped a few lbs and not gained any.  I'm living a reasonably decent lifestyle, am happy with my gorgeous boy and having lots of fun.  I'm back teetering on the edge of a good groove and WILL make this work.

Not long to my half stone now......

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Can you OD on sleep??

Some sunny beach pics to cheer me up from my sick bed.  I typed up the post below yesterday  when I was starting to feel poorly but I'm proper rubbish today so off work mooching around with the dogs.
Below are pics from an evening walk on Caerfai beach near to St Davids.  We'd been out golfing all afternoon so took the pooches up to the beach for a run around.  It was beautiful as you can see.

Minty likes a good bark in Shelagh's ear.  It must be really annoying...

But Shelagh gets her own back by being a much better jumper-for-sticks than Minty.

Minty just can't seem to time her jumps properly!

And, despite the evidence of this picture, Shelagh is braver about the water and will go in the sea, even though she's not keen on the white froth of the waves....

Just look at those gorgeous colours!

I'm used to Rotherham Red sandstone but this pink was something else - almost shocking!

Shelagh finally found her courage and managed to go into the surf to retrieve sticks - doesn't she look jaunty and pleased with herself?

 Even Rich was running....

Consolation stick for Minty.

She might be a barky, cowardy custard but she is fast!

Then back up to the car and a quick pic of a scenically situated seagull (how alliterative!)
Rich was away Friday and Saturday on his club's Captain's golfing trip. Never one to miss a girly opportunity, I arranged for my pal Kerry to come over to watch the footie with me. She is in the midst of a tough time as her mother has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. How bloody terrible is that?! Her mum is a lovely woman in her 60's and now the family has all that to cope with. I know several of you will know exactly how horrible it all is. I feel so sorry for Kerry who is an only child, has only recently come through breast cancer herself and now has to face this.

Anyway, she came over and the thing she wanted to do was "have something bad" ie. a curry/chinese/fish and chips! I had been thinking I would cook a nice, healthy supper as Kerry is normally a very healthy eater and now she wants something bad! Rats. Ach well, a friend in need and all that - we shared a curry. Luckily I'd been good all day anyway and we didn't end up going to the pub so I drank much less than I might have done in the pub. I tried to limit the damage but really, a curry is a curry and is never going to be low cal.

That said, it was delicious and I made sure to get right back onto the straight and narrow on Saturday morning. We had a good night - a good chat and football too. Proper girls!

Saturday was a good long walk with Kerry and the dogs - she meekly accepted the hills I forced her to walk up as penance for the curry! At one point on a deserted farm lane, Minty spied a running rabbit. I tried to call her back but to no avail - the hunt was on. Yup - rabbit number 2 succumbed to my little hunter. It put quite a dampener on our walk, I can tell you, having to prise the possibly still alive body of a baby rabbit from Minty's jaws only to find that it was dead after all. Poor little thing. Minty has been annoyingly sprightly and pleased with herself ever since, as though she knows she's a proper huntress now or something. Gah!

And then, as Saturday descended into cold drizzle, we did a great thing! We went to a matinee at the Lyceum in Sheffield. It was full of  chirruping older ladies but what fun. We saw 42nd Street which is a cracking musical. Who doesn't feel cheery watching a big cast of gorgeous young things tap dancing and singing jazzy show tunes? The costumes and big set spectaculars were truly fabbie. And I didn't know so many songs came from that show - "We're in the money"; "Keep young and beautiful"; "I only have eyes for you"; "42nd Street" (of course) and several more beside which sounded half familiar. Loved it (and felt extremely youthful in the company we were keeping!).

So I was in a brilliant mood as I drove home from Sheffield expecting Rich to be home when I got back. But then (unbeknownst to me) I started feeling poorly. And with the poorliness came grumpiness. So, instead of being happy to see him, I was grumpy at his hangover and the fact that we weren't going out to the 40th birthday party I only vaguely wanted to go to in the first place. And soooo sleepy too. The grumpiness continued through Sunday morning when, although I enjoyed my game of golf, I couldn't snap out of my funk and played terribly. Of course this was all Rich's fault as well. Anyway, eventually, the cough and achiness came out properly and I realised what was going on (and Rich managed to cheer me up despite my gloom).

We both needed to catch up with sleep but we also both wanted to watch the final round of the US Open. What to do?? We hit on a plan which no sane person would choose - we went to bed just before 9pm intending to get up again at midnight and watch the last 3 hours. Thankfully, sanity intervened and, when we woke at midnight, we checked the leaderboard, realised that Lee Westwood had no chance and went back to sleep!! So that was an unprecedented 9.5 hours kip! And, although I'm still poorly (tickly, turning into hacking, cough, achy etc) I feel much better for the marathon rest.

Tonight - we're off to dancing (poorly or not poorly). But I'm looking forward to the sofa afterwards and do not envy Rich going back out to darts. Mmmmmm sooofaaaa......