The Next Challenge

So, January is done. The walk every day went very well. I did between 8,000 and twelve thousand steps a day. I feel better, less stressed. I do a lot of thinking on these walks. I plan meals, plot books, listen to podcasts or music.

Buying a new coat the other day, I discovered I had gone down a size. That was not my intention, but it is a welcome side effect.

I want to keep walk every day up. When the distance has been too far to walk, or I am in a hurry, I have been taking the bus. I love buses. So much time to see things. No frustration or stress from driving.

However, now is the time to choose a new challenge for February.

It’s reading. In preparation for this I rejoined the library. I do read for a little while before sleeping, but I want to do more. I have decided to read a book a week. Of course, some books will be longer than others. So it’s three books every three weeks. From the library.

Tomorrow is February 1st. My three books are waiting in my library bag.

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Quite a few of my colleagues are doing RED (run every day). I have decided to walk every day instead. This is my January challenge. I am lucky enough to be able to walk to and from work. It’s 25 minutes and ironically uphill in the morning and downhill in the evening.

On my very first day at work, it was raining very heavily. I almost bottled it, but I decided to start as I mean to go on. I got soaked. 

On my days off I walk or take the bus to anywhere I need to go. I am really enjoying it. I feel happier and have more energy than before.

Apart from the occasional soaking, the only other disadvantage is I poo. I poo all the time. (I apologise if you are reading this over breakfast.) I like to think that it’s all the calories that I am burning  up.

Halfway through the month, I have kept this up longer than any resolution I have ever made. 

Onward and upward. 
 These boots are made for walking. 

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New Year? More like new month

So, Happy New Year.

I have decided not to do New Year Resolutions.  Every year I make them, every year they are gone by Jan 6th.  A year is just too long to keep it up. So I had this idea.  Why not make a new month resolution. Twelve different improvements that I can keep up for a month and if I like it, maybe longer.

January is the month of walking to work and generally walking more.  I have a fit-bit so easy to track.

Of course, I decided this prior to Storm Eleanor hitting the British shores. But I shall not be put off.  January, I walk…February?  Haven’t decided yet.

Whatever you do, Good Luck.

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Driving on the pavement

So it snowed and snowed and snowed.  It was the heaviest snowfall in the UK in seven years.  And joy of joy, snow day! Yes, all the schools were shut an the hard working, underpaid staff got a day off.

Of course, the weather was so awful, I didn’t go out.  I sat at home, eating chocolate and watching Christmas films. And not good ones at that. The films I mean. the chocolate was fine.

That night the temperature dropped to -7 in London and the whole bloody lot froze. Although the conditions were actually worse, the schools reopened.  I later found out the main reason for reopening was that it was the day of our Christmas concert and lots of parents had taken the day off to see it.  She had a point I suppose.

However, I am jumping ahead.  So on that icy treacherous morning, I decided it would be safer to walk.  I am a nervous driver anyway and ice did nothing to reassure me.

I used to walk everywhere, back in the day.  But then I got a car and I would come out the house and it would be sitting there waiting for me. So I had sort of forgotten the rules. For example, I was picking my way through the ice, keeping up a fair pace. But then I caught up with the woman in front of me. I wasn’t going fast enough to overtake so I just sort of hovered behind her.  Plus I have a nylon coat so i was making a swishy sound right behind hr.  Must have been terrifying for her.  I resolved to cross the road once we were round the corner as I did have to be on the other side.  Horrors! She crossed before I could. Now I couldn’t follow her as she would be completely freaked out. Had I been driving I would have indicated, overtaken her and sped (within the speed limit) away.

Coming home was not any easier. I encountered someone I had good reason to believe was intoxicated. He weaved from side to side on the pavement.  In the car I would have got away from him as soon as possible. At one stage he lurched to the side and looked over his left shoulder. He could probably hear the swishy coat.  Seizing my chance I passed him on his blind side , and sped (within the speed limit ) away.

Tomorrow I will take my chances in the car.  At least I know the rules there.

On the bright side, I easily did my 10,000 steps.

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Semi retirement and all that

When I came up with my semi retirement plan I had this vision of copious amounts of spare time which would be filled with writing my blog and dare I say it, my novel.

This hasn’t happened. And really for reasons that should not make me unhappy.

My eBay business has really taken off.  I sold so many things that some nights i was still packing parcels at midnight. I am on first name terms with the local Post Office staff.

I have been going out with my friends on a regular basis. Charles Dickens museum in London. Do go if you ever get the chance.  Quite small but very interesting. I also went to the Churchill Rooms in London.  Huge! allow a whole day.  very very good,

I have done dog walking galore,  helped my steps no end.  On those days getting to 10,000 steps is a breeze. Its lovely to see my friend and her two German shepherd

And we went to Amsterdam. Becasue I now have Friday off We were able to go there for the weekend and a  bit.  It a lovely city and the people so friendly.  Their English is better than mine.

So why am I complaining.  well, i am not really. No, the main problem is that spouse delights in nagging daily that I am doing nothing every day (not true) while he will have to work until the day he dies (also not true).  it’s just so tiring having to justify my decision. And it’s not that it was sudden.  This was a year in the making and I included him in every step.

And its not like my work life is any better.  Bitten, kicked, punched and jumped on, on a daily basis. I know I work in a special school but still.

In the end I said that if he wanted to retire, to come up with a plan as I did. We have not lost out financially.  In fact, if my tax bill is anything to go by, its possible we are getting more money now.

He says less about it now, but there is still the odd dig.

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Who knew eating out would be so hard

So it’s near the end of term and I am in the middle of a union meeting. Things have been going badly wrong at work and as the union steward I felt a meeting was called for to get everything out in the open.  I held it in the local carvery because they have a large (generally empty) bar and a massive car park.  Feelings were obviously running high because most of the workforce came and it lasted just shy of three hours.  All this time, although I was concentrating and taking minutes I was also smelling roast dinner.  Three hours of roast potatoes, gravy, stuffing etc. By the time I arrived home, I was tired and craving roast dinner.

I sold it to the spouse by saying “kids are out, lets go on a date night”

He was agreeable to this until I suggested the Carvery. He wrinkled his nose and proposed a a pizza. I wasn’t feeling Pizza. I was also a little surprised that he turned down carvery.  He NEVER turns down carvery.  He turns down sex more than carvery!

However, I booked a table and off we went. Once there he stood behind me when I was giving the details to the Waiter.  Behind me!  The waiter saw him and said “Hello Jim”,  And my! Was Jim sheepish. He squirmed on the way to the table.

Eventually I got he story out of him..Jim is a regular visitor to this establishment, had been there the week previous and had imbibed too much (not unusual for an alcoholic)

Jim had picked a fight with this man and told him the beer was off.  Its unclear, but he may have been escorted from the premises.

This is not unusual.  I have lost count of the number of places we cannot visit because he has been ejected and subsequently banned. You kind of get used to the embarrassment.

i must say the waiter was politeness itself and totally professional.  i just hope he didn’t spit in our drinks.

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Stress, cats and herbal cures

It’s a beautiful autumn day. Despite the fact that it is mid October I am in the garden in my t-shirt. I am pottering about, pulling weeds and sweeping leaves.

We have a swing in the garden.  It’s like a sofa and swings gently in the breeze, it was a present from the children for their father. Misty, the cat, has purloined it.


And, amazingly, we let her.  Because according to the vet, Misty is suffering from stress.  She is an over groomer.  She has washed herself so much that she is quite bald on both back legs. Any attempt to stop her washing gets us bitten. She is also quite bad tempered.

The vet prescribed herbal capsules for her, which can be sprinkled on the food.  They are pleasant to taste so the cats will eat it.  Will they heck!  she knows there is something on there and flatly refuses to eat.  I even mixed it in cream and she wont touch it.  In desperation I got a plug in diffuser with soothing  fluid in it. I put it in the lounge (her favourite spot after the swing.  She refuses to go into the lounge.  Does she want to be stressed?

Haunted catts

Meanwhile she continues to wash, continues to be bald, continues to be bad tempered.

It seems the only cure is to gently rock her on the swing.  If nothing else it momentarily stops her washing.



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