Sunday, 27 October 2013

Pretty pictures for a stormy night

Actually, now I come to look at these photos, the weather was very similar to today's.  I walked through this big field this morning and it was grey, glowering and blustery.  The dogs were loving it - the wind sets Minty off into a frenzy of barking, and pouncing on poor, long-suffering Shelagh.

This is my pal Nicola enjoying the views and the hills.  Rather different to her home near London.  She'e recently taken up triathlon as a hobby (nutter) so the hills were a breeze.  I had to puff a bit to keep up with her long legs (she's 6 ft!).

The sun peeked out  towards the end.

Shelagh didn't bother looking - too busy sticking her head deep into the undergrowth looking for God knows what.

Two grumpy rams (they call them tups round here) glared at us - especially Minty who chose their field to run into having a last look for long-departed swallows.  Sigh.

I got her back and gave her a good talking to about unauthorised entries into sheep fields!

We've had a lovely quiet weekend.  Rich has worked both mornings which is a shame but it's been nice taking it easy and catching up on chores and telly programmes.  I went for a good long run yesterday morning and took the dogs for a decent blustery walk this morning so exercise not too bad and food fine too.  No damage done but I doubt I'll see a drop tomorrow.

Now, we're just waiting to see who is going to be leaving Strictly before I head out to the quiz.  I could live without seeing Dave Myers back next week to be honest - fear he has nothing more to add and his dancing freaks me out it is so bad!!

I've cracked it!!

Clearly not the dropping lbs I'm afraid.  But I've been within the same 3 lbs for the last 3 months.  That must count for something?? 

As you can tell from my somewhat sardonic tone, I'm not exactly thrilled with this latest development.  How is it that I was able in September last year, to start a regime and just drop a stone over the next few months, without any great effort??  Yet this year, I'm doing the same and staying the same.

The answer of course is that this year I'm NOT doing the same and thus I'm staying the same.

As we all know (yet I try to forget from time to time), you cannot drop weight without cutting actual food out of your diet and without doing actual exercise (in my case).  So, while I'm doing a reasonable amount of exercise (I wouldn't say I'm doing lots to be honest, just a steady amount), I'm not cutting out a great deal.  Enough to stop me gaining and even to drop for a few days each week, but not enough to see me shrink.

This was put into sharp relief last weekend when I had lovely visitors to stay.  Peridot and Seren came up and down respectively for the weekend and we had a lovely time.  (I'll get onto that later.)  I noticed that Seren was what I call "actively" dieting.  Eating what she'd budgeted for, not having the little extra treats that Peri and I enjoyed (not massive excesses of anything) and generally eating like a sparrow.  While not going on about it at all (kudos - I tend to talk of nothing else when I'm in the midst of true dieting zeal) she stuck to her guns with grace and seeming acceptance.

And then I read that she has dropped a stone in 4 weeks!!  Aaaah - pennies tumbling around me - maybe THAT is what I should be doing??!

It's just ridiculous isn't it?  How many years have I been treading these same boards?  With a great deal of success overall too.  But I still don't want to believe that you have to say "no, thanks" in order to drop weight.

So, on that note, I'm going to stop avoiding exercising, stop blogging for now and take the dogs out up a hill somewhere.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


I went running again this lunchtime.  That's the third run this week - get me!  I'd say it was my best run for ages.  I kept up a decent pace and didn't get distracted by taking photos or picking blackberries.  Slowly I can feel my fitness returning and the pleasure of running (yes, really) made a brief but definite appearance.

There is one downside to this running lark though.  You know how soft-hearted I am about animals and wildlife??  Well there has been a family of swans hanging round "my" stretch of canal this last couple of weeks.  Mum, Dad and 2 kids, erm, signets.  I'm starting to look out for them and feel proprietory towards them.  In a grim place like an industrial canal running through Rotherham this could be a heart-breaking development.

I've started noticing (even more than usual) the horrific levels of rubbish in and around the canal and the towpath.  It's hard not to see it when you're watching a family of swans chugging through the weeds and algae alongside a sinking armchair and numerous floating bottles and cans.  Then I started to think about those awful, heartrending photos lodged in my brain of birds trapped in plastic can holders (you know, the tough plastic rings in sets of 4 holding your cans of Skol together). 

I know I can't pick up all the rubbish I pass as I run - my runs would not last very long although I suppose dragging the hundred weight of cans and other trash would be exercise of sorts.  But what I can do is pick up every plastic can holder I see.  In the hope that "my" swans don't end up trapped in one on my patch.  So that's what I do now.  I feel a bit daft by the end, clutching a handful of plastic but it's worth it - 4 on Tuesday (I only started looking halfway back) and 7 today.

The other downside of this enhanced awareness of litter is the suspicious looks I'm giving to (possibly) innocent passers by.  Where I would normally puff out a friendly "hello", I now find myself glaring at anyone carrying a can or other item of food.  I'm assuming that they're going to drop it when they finish it.  To be fair, the evidecen would be on my side in this assumption but it is not fair on the occasional good sort.  I found myself glaring at one chap with a can and a bag and then, once I was well past him realised that he was actually picking up litter today.  Whooops!  I hope he noticed the can holders and realised that I'm a kindred spirit.

I'm feeling the need to do more but am not sure what.  Not sure I have the personality to organise and litter pick or something major, head-above-the-parapet like that.  I'll probably fall back on that bastion of the English middle classes and "write a letter"!

In other news, we're not going to Cappadocia.  I'm gutted to be honest but Richard didn't have enough leave.  If we'd gone he would have had no leave left for when (note - WHEN) we move.  Cancelling my provisional reservation was tough as it is a place I'd really like to see and the trip really was a bargain.  We'll get there one day I hope.

The house move is frustrating too.  Everything is sorted apart from one issue.  The house our seller is going to move into needs electricity and there is a problem with the connection which requires the attention of British Gas.  This is not good - being at the mercy on British Gas is not a comfortable place to be in. It had better happen before Christmas tht is all I can say!!!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Gorgeous day

It is a stunning day in Rotherham today. I was working from home yesterday so was totally spoilt and could take the dogs out for a nice run at lunchtime. Today, stuck in the office, it is just frustrating looking at the sunlight lighting up the closed blinds and picturing how nice it is outside. That said, I have a date with the canal towpath in an hour so, once I get over the pain of running 2 days on the trot (stiff leg muscles), I WILL enjoy it.

Life is a bit overwhelming at the moment. Both home and work lives are full to the brim. My lists are ridiculous. I could spend all day adding new things to be done without ever starting on actually DOING anything. It is a bit scary to be honest.

And it's only going to get worse once we eventually have a date for our long-delayed house move. At the moment I'm dimly aware that I will have to sort out removals, switching bills, telephone, TV, addresses on everything and packing etc. As soon as the date is finalised those tasks will land on our heads like an avalanche. Eeeek.

I'm not helping myself though. In the midst of all this, a proper bargain of a holiday opportunity has appeared and I'm seriously tempted. I think it's because we have not been on holiday all year, just a few weekends here and there. Initially we didn't book a holiday because of Rich's captain's duties up at the golf course, then it was so that we could save some days to decorate the new house....ha....but now, as the year slips by, we both want to get away.

I'm fine, I still have loads of holidays to take before the end of the year so I could afford to take a week when we move as well as just over a week for this possible trip. Rich only has 9 days left though. So his new house decorating days would be limited. Hey ho - I can do what I can without him and I'm sure his Dad would give me a hand and then he'd have to do a shift over Christmas and at weekends now that the golf is drawing to a close. It'd be worth it I think.

I blame my sister. She offered us a cheap week in Spain that she couldn't use. This then fell away but left us both with the desire for a break. The current temptation is an amazing offer (from a golfing website) on a trip to Cappadocia and Antalya in Turkey. The scenery looks amazing and it is somewhere I've long wanted to visit. Just to stoke the fires, I rpicked up a detective story by chance recently which was set in the very region and that has just made it worse. I suspect our fellow holidaymakers might be somewhat geriatric but hey, for a last minute trip it could be just what we're after.

So, item number 52 on my list is now trying to find a decent week for this trip, which won't clash with our house move (ha), isn't booked up and which doesn't involve missing too much football.


Update - I just telephoned the company to find out about availablility and, despite there being literally dozens of dates listed from 6 different airports, there is only one possible date available and that is in a couple of weeks time! Typical. I've reserved it and now will have to see what Richard thinks.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Hello again!

My laptop is  very temperamental - working one day, notsomuch the day after.  But today it has relented and  allowed me in.  The first thing I did was to back up all my photos.  I have had the hard drive ready to do that sensible task for many months but it was only the proposect of losing them all which finally goaded me into saving them.  Done now so, phew!!

We had a wonderful weekend.  My tall pal Nicola came up from London on Friday afternoon for a packed programme of events.  We worked out we hadn't seen each other for about 3 years!  It's amazing how time flies by.  It was so nice to catch up again and we both promised not to let so long pass before we get together again.   Shelagh and Minty will be nagging me to invite her up again soon as they really took to her.  Climbing onto her lap and begging shamelessly.  She lapped it up as only  a true frustrated dog lover could.

So, a quiet night in on Friday eating, drinking wine and chatting.  Then a good long dog walk on Saturday morning before heading into Sheffield for the pub and then the football.  We met up with mutual friends Jim and Kerry in the pub as well as the usual football gang.  The match wasn't bad, but not good either.  Yet another draw.  That's our 6th and no win yet this season.   I don't think Jim or Nicola were particularly impressed and they certainly haven't missed the last few years without that!

Saturday evening was a bigger night out with Jim's partner Kate and Kerry's partner Rolie joining us for a smart meal in town.  It was great although somewhat frustrating to be honest.  Too many of us to really catch up properly.  Still, when you haven't seen people for a while you have to start somewhere.  Baby steps etc etc

Sunday was a lovely big cooked breakfast followed by another hilly walk in the glorious sunshine before saying good bye to Nicola.  As soon as she left Rich and I looked at each other and headed out onto the golf course to really take advantage of the blue skies and unseasonal warmth.  We met up with another couple so played 10 or so holes with them which was pleasant.  Good to be sociable and play with another couple as I'm used to being one of the boys!

It all finished off with the first match in the winter quiz league.  It was an away fixture in my new local pub.  A resounding victory 70-57!  70 always a good score so we were all chuffed with ourselves.

Too much booze, food but plenty of exercise.  The diet started again this morning and I managed a run this lunchtime out of pure guilt and feeling-fatness too.  Getting there, albeit rather slowly.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


I was reading “A Stone to Go” on and the writer was recounting a minor but significant success in buying scones and cakes with her children but not then going home and eating them mindlessly as she might once have done. She went on to say that it was a petty success but, petty or not, it hit a chord with me.
Any time you can turn away from a temptation and, more importantly, feel good about it is a good day. I did it the other day and even thought about blogging about it (and then didn’t – God, I’m a slacker these days!). I was in a petrol station on my way to my parents’ filling up and buying a coffee. On my way to the till I also picked up a mini pork pie and a bar of chocolate!! I stood for a few seconds and thought about why I had picked them up (habit – I’m in transit – it doesn’t count, etc etc) and what it would do to my otherwise good day so far then placed them back on the shelf.
My coffee tasted all the sweeter as did my lunch on arrival at Mum and Dad’s.
That brief action made it much easier the next time I found myself in a petrol station – then I only picked up one item but returned it to the shelf even faster. So, I’m making progress.
I’ve been lurching between 15.6 and 15.9 for the last several weeks, gaining then dropping the same 3 lbs. Yesterday, however, I feel as though I’m finally heading downwards and although yesterday morning I was back to 15.6 it was the first Monday in a long time that I have been at the bottom of that 3 lb swing. This morning I'd dropped down to 15.5. It is a start.
The trouble is we have a big weekend coming up. My erstwhile football buddies Jim and Nicola are in town. Not together – Jim with his partner hotelling in Sheffield and Nicola staying with us. We are going to the match on Saturday (the poor things!) and then out for a meal and drinks with Kerry and her chap. Judging by the restaurants we are discussing, it is not going to be an abstemious afternoon/evening. 
So, I must have an abstemious, exercise filled week in preparation.
The week started well with a hilly run on Sunday morning. I hadn’t bothered fixing up a round of golf so did some chores and then took the dogs out running. When I think about it, this was another minor but significant success! I had intended to go on the old railway track up to the dams and back but realised that this was my chimp chickening out and picking a flat route. Instead I made us take the hilly field route from my house which I used to run often. It was a struggle but not that bad and I managed the full route without walking except for gates and stiles. So hills are now back on the agenda.
I had personal training yesterday too which is usually on a Friday so maybe that helped as well. I noticed while I was training that my fitness levels have improved from their low a few weeks ago which was heartening but annoying also. Because I'm that little bit fitter, I can push myself more and do more reps. So I'm just as knackered after the hour has passed. I'm also planning a run tonight and have gone so far as to arrange meal times with Rich in advance so that there is no chance that I'll use "Oh, I've just eaten" as an excuse not to go out!! Ha! In your face chimp!!
If I get moving and motivated I can be back out of the 15s in a matter of weeks if I put my mind to it and this is my aim. I hate the 15s!!