Scribbled thoughts of a mad woman

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Bikini Lines

My strimmer’s broken – and yes, I did replace the wire!  This is the fourth one in as many years.  I know they’re not expensive but what a waste!  I’ve mowed the lawn but there is a definite unkempt look to the garden still which would have been helped greatly by the strimmer.  I call it the bikini line syndrome.  When the sun comes out bikini lines are the first thing that get tended to!

Men of a sensitive nature ought to leave this blog entry now.  The others will tut and… less said, I think.

Now, on a personal level I have decided that I am going to go down the laser route.  I hate shaving, waxing is sooooo painful and that sandpaper thing really just rubs me up the wrong way (pun definitely intended).  So, the next option is ipl.  Well, I made the decision and then realised something – while I wax, shave, etc at home, by myself, when it comes to ipl someone else has to do it!  So, eyes glued to the floor, I explained to her why I’d suddenly changed my mind, despite having showered, douched and showered again.  I’m shy when it comes to ‘that’ part of me.  It takes me months to work up the gumption to see the nurse for my smear test and I have to do that.  Of course the ipl lady thought I was a real nutcase.

So, the sun is shining and I’m going to relax, enjoy the rays and see how I feel on Monday.  Bikini Lines all intact – mine through shyness and the lawn’s because I’d rather pull the tab on a fizzy drink than shop for a strimmer.


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Where are my keys?

Keys-in-Fridge

As a child I was interested only in getting away from my parents, having fun outdoors, being allowed to stay up late and getting my hands on as many sweets as I could carry – I lived in a sugar-filled bubble. 

Friendships were only marginally important – as long as Ihad someone ot play with – until my teens and then it was incredibly important that I have time to see and talk and be with them, second only to my angst over failing exams, the death of the world, population explosions, and human tragedy stories – the world was a dark and violent place. 

We’ll skip over college because, apart from knowing you have to pass the finals, there is only one thing on our minds.  Well, three things. 

Then, studying was over and I worried about my job, size of my company car, my salary (in relation to everyone else’s), my holidays…whatever happened to my concerns about the dying planet and carbon emmissions?  I’d gone from deep to shallow in the space of one contract.

Then came mortgages and children – with sticky children nothing else has a chance to cling.

I never once worried about my decaying body but now it is my first thought as I creak open my eyes, roll over – because sitting straight up is now uncomfortable – hunch right over to search for my slippers – I can no longer stretch first thing – consider putting in a winch (or a contraption similar to Wallace’s) to haul me upright and shuffle into the bathroom, all the while trying to remember what day it is, how long I have to wake up properly and whether I’d foolishly promised to do something for someone first thing.  Morning sex is now restricted to holidays. (Okay, this is a lie).

My mother, at the age of 74, is extremely active.  I can see how tired she is, how much her bones and joints ache, but she never says a word.  She and her little coven regularly vanish off to the wilds of Gloucestershire to a meditation retreat where they have to lock away their mobile phones and problems for nearly two weeks at a time.  During that time the only contact we have with her is either via the centre itself when I have had to call and let her know her brother has died (yes, I did this more than once) or if she’s broken down on the way.  These women are amazing.  They just never stop.  They’re up with the larks and planning while my head is still trying to work out what day of the week it is.  How do they stop themselves from lying-in?  I feel as bemused by this as my eight year-old self wondering how adults stopped themselves from spending all their money in sweetshops. 

My body is already showing signs of wear and tear – take my hilarious decision to do the London to Brighton bike ride with my overweight body (what’s the point of forking out extra for a bike that is 20lbs lighter when I’m four stone heavier?), dodgy knees and anaemia?  But if it wasn’t for my decision to sign-up for the ride I wouldn’t be forcing myself out of my comfy bed at stupid O’clock on a cold, drizzly Sunday morning to ride 24 miles with friends.  And it is for my friends, because I don’t want to let them down – or so I tell myself – that I do it.  So, maybe I do know why my mother hauls her little group up to Gloucs ever few weeks.  They chivvy each other along. 

I still don’t get why she doesn’t moan about it.

So, while my brain is slowly forgetting everything it’s every learnt and the glue that allows new information to stick has dried to a fine powder, while my body screams at me that it’s not time to get up yet and while I can barely bend over to tie my shoelaces, my friends and family tell me I can do this and get up with me to slog our way over mile after mile of beautiful countryside.

In this week’s New Scientist is an article about brain degeneration and, being of an age when physical deterioration is very important to me, I flicked straight to it.  ‘If you believe fading brainpower is an inevitable part of growing older, think again,’ says Michael Ramscar and Harald Baayen.

They also say, ‘contrary to popular belief, neuronal loss does not play a significant role as we age.’

I shall have to find time to read this article in more depth.  In the meantime, that tea’s gone right through me…

(NB: picture from http://www.insightfortheblind.org/blog/?p=216)

 


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Tri Lubes and padded pants

I did it.  I went and signed up for the London-to-Brighton bike ride in June. 

fat_lady_on_bike

What was I thinking?  My average speed is 5.5 miles and hour and I puff and pant up every single incline (they can’t even be classified as hills!).  I have 12 weeks to prep and I started off by scaring myself silly by pulling down elevation stats and training schedules that would see me killing myself within a week.

I was thinking: I turn 50 this year and I really ought to get off my arse and do something before I have to start looking at the price of wheelchairs.  But perhaps I have overstretched myself.  Last year’s London to Windsor at 30 miles was a great ride, if tiring, but this one is a doozer in comparison because it goes up, up, up and then, when you think your calves, knees and lungs are about to collapse, Ditchling Beacon rears its pretty head. 

I’ve bought a new bike and have been reading blogs by ‘beginner’ riders who say if you start early you can get to Brighton by 10 am, have a lovely breakfast and head straight back.  Yeah, right.  Beginner, my very sore arse!

The weather has been glorious(ish) the last couple of weeks and I’ve ridden to work and back a couple of times.  Nowhere near enough.  It’s only 4 miles each way but it takes me close to an hour (which means an hour less much-needed-beauty sleep in the morning) and I’m exhausted by the time I get home.  I can’t even begin to include the hill and interval sessions.

I have a feeling the ride is going to take me a good 10 hours to do and I’ll be a sodden wreck by the end of it…and the finish line will have been packed away.

So, I shall record my less than awesome journey into the mind-fuck that is training for London-to-Brighton, so you can laugh your arses off at my expense.

I have a woman’s (apparently a euphemism for wide) gel saddle, with gel cover and padded cycle shorts.  The comfiest days are when I’m on so I have that extra bit of padding.  TMI? 

I bought a new bike (which I have to take in to be serviced because it’s stopped going into first – I have a feeling the bike is rebelling) and it is a lovely blue colour – colour is extremely important.  An ugly colour would be demoralising.  I bought a new windproof (lies, all lies) jacket and tight long trousers (because, you know, I just have to display all my wobbly bits to scare the other riders off the road) – except I forgot that I’d be riding on the roads and these new clothes are all black.  Not a hint of fluorescent piping in sight.  I therefore need a fluorescent tabard as well.

I went and bought a puncture repair kit.  Now, I have to wait for someone to show me how to use it.  I’ll need a puncture as well.

I’m going to need lights.  My daughter’s idea of using the torch on my touchscreen phone is not, I think, a sensible idea.  Part from which I’d need another to go on the back.

My friend Sarah shared her lovely seed cake (energy booster bars) recipe with me.  I made some and let my friends try it.  It was unanimously decided that Sarah shall henceforth make all the seed cakes because they have to be edible.

We’ve booked and paid for a hotel for the night before the ride and I’m already wondering what we’re going to do for breakfast (my stomach and my brain are very close; like BFF close).

My friends and I went on a lovely long bike ride along the shore front in Brighton a couple of weeks ago, ending in a ride up a very long hill back to my friend’s house.  She’s lucky she doesn’t get nosebleeds living so high. 

Last weekend I rode around locally and covered approx 16 miles.  This weekend I’m hoping to cover 24 miles and learn how to lube up gears and stuff.  Unless it rains. 

If it rains – and the weatherman assure us that this non-winter weather is about to slink back to it’s correct month – then I shall get onto my special trainer.  A triangular device that clamps onto the back wheel of the back and turns it into a stationary bike so you can train indoors.

If nothing else, it’s got me out of doing housework…except no-one else does it either so the house looks a complete tip…

By the way, can anyone tell me what to do with chamois creme?  Is it for your bottom or for your saddle?  Pun unintended.


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Companions Quartet Review

companion

For three years my daughter has been urging me to read the series (more so since Finding sky by Joss Stirling [alias pen name] became a hot favourite of mine) and I finally agreed. After the very first chapter I went to her and asked, ‘Are you sure I’m going to enjoy this? I mean, the main characters are in Year 6!’
Her reply: ‘Mum, you’re always asking me to give things a go, so please do the same. Go away, read and don’t come back until you’ve got to chapter 8. Anyway, the kids grow up!’ She didn’t see me for the rest of the evening.
I whizzed through those books, one straight after the other (the companions quartet is a series of 4 books) and am pleased to say they enthralled me to the point where I was very sad to read the last word.
The series covers everything I like in a teen book: paranormal, mythical beasts, magic (sort of), suspense, misunderstood teens, friendship struggles and, of course, the teeniest hint of romance (teeny because the hero and heroine are in their early teens and anything else would be inappropriate).
I’m now reading Dragonfly and after that The Ship Between Worlds.


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I cannot sing

Yes, it is, sadly, true.  Like so many of you out there I thought I had an okayish voice – despite being the only girl to be asked to sit out of the end-of-school song – until I heard it played back to me.  What an ear-opener.

But you know what?

I may not be able to sing, dance, play an instrument, paint or sculpt, but I can read and that is my door to freedom.

Now, I try to kid myself that I am able to write.  Whether I am a good writer, bad writer or merely competent is irrelevant because, like my singing, instrument playing and painting, I do it to assuage a desperate need in me to express myself.  If, by sheer fate, someone enjoys my efforts, then I shall smile and feel a happy little glow.  If not – ah well, that was not my aim and so I have lost nothing.

Do not let your apparent inability to perform hold you back.  Let your soul free for you lose nothing in the effort and gain everything in the experience.

 


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More sore arses

Richmond to Windsor 2013!  Yes, I did it!  Well, most of it, anyway.  Bike Events said the route was 29 miles, the commentator at the Finish Line said 27, but Map My ride, with its superior GPS, clocked me in at 33 miles – and that is discounting the additional 2 miles to get from Sarah’s house to the train station. 

The title of this blog is a lie: actually, my bum is perfectly fine mainly because I upped the padding factor using an overnight sanitary towel (sorry boys, a girls only thing) – many thanks to my darling daughter for giving me this handy tip – although after about 20 miles I did begin to feel uncomfortable.  It’s my right knee that took the brunt of it despite the brace I was wearing.  My man (thank you darling one) cheered us through the Finish Line armed with a fleece jacket (damn it gets cold when you stop), anti-inflammatories and an ice-pack.  We headed straight to Sarah’s (amazing stamina as she just kept going while I flaked out on the sofa) where she dished up burgers and some of her glorious plum crumble with ice-cream.  When I finally got home I dragged myself up the stairs and was greeted with a steaming bath.  [warm sigh]  I felt cherished.

So, I said earlier I did most of the course.  That is because at the first major hill my chain slipped off (no path to stop and deal with it).  I managed to get up the second hill in second whilst cursing my chain as I tried desperately to click to first and, before I knew it, we were at the top.  At the third hill I had to dismount halfway up because of traffic and walk up the pavement.  The final hill (I have my own personal name for it) was a doozer and I walked four fifths of it – even if I had been able to get my gear into first (yes, it was still playing up) I wouldn’t have attempted it – I could barely walk up it as it was.  So, I would say about half a mile was walked.

Humongous thanks to Sarah Ward (team leader and provider of the most delicious homemade energy bars – the carrot to my donkey arse) and Catherine Lawrence (if she hadn’t booked us on it we’d still be pootling around Windsor Great Park).  A little more hill practise and we’ll be ready to tackle London to Brighton…or at least we can kid ourselves we’re ready.

Do I have any tips?  Yes, if you’re new to cycling work out how to make the most effective use of your gears.  I thought I knew all about it, being used to driving, but I spent nearly half an hour yesterday reading about gear efficiency and boy was I wrong…now I just have to test it out.

Happy cycling.


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Extinguish Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

5 stars

extinguish

I understand the cover after reading the book and it is perfect. This is not a regular romance, no obviously defined HEA although there is plenty of promise.  It is intense because it pulls no punches about the characters’ intrinsic morals and attitudes – there is no other way it could have been written because the main characters are an angel and Lucifer himself.  A being of light and goodness and the other dark and evil. And yet…there is affection of a sort, perhaps it is compassion mistaken for something more, perhaps it is anger – whatever it is it blooms unnaturally and one could be forgiven for thinking the author took great liberties in the ‘everyone has something good within them’ scenario and ramped up the volume to establish a relationship that should not have been possible.  But I was sucked in completely and when I was spat out my mind was mushy. A wonderful piece of writing (if you can ignore the copy editing errors).

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