Wednesday, 30 April 2008


I really really didn't want to get out of bed this morning, much less go for a jog particularly as I knew that it would probably be raining.

Nevertheless I managed to drag my carcass out of bed albeit a little later than usual and was mildly surprised to see that although it was damp outside with puddles everywhere it wasn't actually raining.

So, I kitted myself up, including a cap on my head to keep the rain out of my eyes should it start raining, and dashed out the back door. After my usual five minute warm up of walking briskly, I slowly jogged down the road and round the houses until I ended up back at home dry as a bone!! I have to say that I didn't actually jog ALL the way round!

It has been raining on and off all day so I do consider myself lucky to have had half an hour of drip-free weather! Having said that, I clearly needed to go to bed earlier last night as I am tired today and on top of that I have a funny little muscle ache in my right cheek (a nice little polite euphemism for you!)

I am so glad I made the effort though as I just know that if I missed just one session it would only be the start of a very slippery slope!!

Monday, 28 April 2008

Week Two!

I am still jogging!! It hasn't gotten too difficult yet, so I am not that surprised that I am still jogging, I may need to psych myself up later in the programme.

It was slightly harder than last week though - last week I was alternating 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds walking for twenty minutes, this week I am alternating 90 seconds jogging and two minutes walking also for twenty minutes.

Which doesn't sound like much does it? And to be honest, it wasn't that different from last week, I still need to learn how to regulate my breathing though. At least I didn't need to lie down on the kitchen floor to try and do some deep breathing to get my breath back like I did on the first day - was trying to concentrate on breathing from the abdomen rather than the chest and I find that lying down helps!

The nice thing about today's run was the sunshine, it was a bit cold, but the sunshine was glorious and it really was quite a pleasure to be outside getting some endorphins! I now have a nice little route through the village and thanks to a useful website I can now map my route and see how far I have gone and the last two runs I managed to cover just over two miles! (Yay me!)

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Book challenge update!

I expect that some of you have forgotten that I am even working on the 888 Book Challenge - I had practically forgotten myself!!! So here is a quick run down of some of those books in the challenge that I have now read.

The first one that I want to talk about is Alistair Cooke's biography as written by Nick Clarke. For those of you who have never heard of him, Alistair Cooke had a weekly radio programme called "Letter from America" which was very popular. Anyway, the biography was very interesting, I had expected it to be somewhat dry - a mere listing of facts and figures to do with the man. I wouldn't say it was "unputdownable" as it isn't really that kind of book, but Nick Clarke certainly managed to give a very good impression of the man - one who was quite old fashioned and a stickler for manners, but who also had very little financial awareness and it was only on the part of others in his life that Cooke managed to get paid anything at all for his work, particularly for the Guardian. In an interesting aside, I came across a word that I had never seen before and definitely had to get the dictionary out for it - psephologist - a political scientist who specialises in the study of elections; an electoral analyst or commentator - I bet you don't hear that word much these days!!

The other books that I have read recently are my Australian books (which would make sense as four of them I bought whilst out in Australia and I either read them whilst on holiday or shortly after I came back).

Tony Parson's "Silver in the Sun" has on the back cover - "an authentic Australian story about one man's spirited efforts to transform a whole town" - that much was certainly true, but I did feel that it was rather a formulaic story and would have benefited from a far deeper insight into the lives of the characters in the book; for instance so much in the book seems to be skated over and I just want to know more about the where and why. Having said that, I did enjoy the book as it gave me some idea of what the Australian outback was/is like.

Jojo Moyes' "Silver Bay" is all about a small community that has to deal with a possible new hotel that could affect the local dolphin and whale watching companies due to the environmental effects of jet boats and other water sports. This book was quite moving and is not just about the new hotel as there are other stories woven into this one with a quite unexpected twist at the end of the book and I shall be giving away no secrets - go and read it - I enjoyed it!

The other fiction book from Australia is "Beneath the Southern Cross" written by Judy Nunn - of Home and Away fame no less! (I was recommended Judy Nunn as an Australian author who writes about Australia and was a bit surprised when I recognised her photo on the back page!)Anyway, this is a saga in the true sense of the word as it covers a span of time from 1788 right up to the present day and deals with one family that splits into two and covers much of the issues of what makes Australia Australia. I certainly enjoyed this book very much and would definitely read Judy Nunn's other books if I came across them.

The final Australian book to be covered in this section (as I haven't read any of the others yet) is "Black kettle and full moon: daily life in a vanished Australia" by Geoffrey Blainey. Clearly this one is non-fiction and describes a small section of Australian social history, indeed, the author recognises that he cannot possibly cover everything! Blainey still manages to cover areas like how people lit their homes, what meat they ate and fascinating facts such as the delivery of ice all the way from Boston in America!! While the book contained fascinating sections of history I did think that it was a bit heavy going - it was definitely written by a long-term history professor!! (of the University of Melbourne no less!)

So, that's it so far - I still have plenty more books to read and will be back later to tell you all about those! I still hope to finish the challenge by the end of 2008 as this is what it's all about!

Saturday, 26 April 2008

the early bird...

...nearly treads on the worm!! Went for another jog/walk this morning at 7:30am - yes I know - I am actually up that early on a Saturday morning (or at least I haven't gone back to bed with a cup of tea and a good book after feeding Phoebe!). I would not normally do this kind of thing on a Saturday or Sunday, but I started my C25K programme on Tuesday instead of Monday for some reason, from next week I should be running (hobbling?!) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

It wasn't bad this morning, said hello to a few people walking their dogs or coming back from the shops with a newspaper under their arms! Early morning people seem to be social people! It's not quite the same on a weekday morning as there just doesn't seem to be anyother other than me outside, aside from those hurrying to work in their cars that is!

It is now nearly lunch time and if I am honest this is about the time that I would normally be thinking about getting up, but today I have already popped into the village, had my hair cut (I had a bit of luck there, I popped in to see if there was any chance of a space that day and she was able to whisk me off into the chair there and then!), browsed the farmers market, bought some charity books, got a back door key cut, picked up some bits and pieces for lunch and dinner, and collected a picture that had been framed for me - all before 11am - I was really pleased with that! Sometimes the warm cosy bed is just too much of a lure!!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

tiny lungs

Well, I went for the second session of my C25K programme today. I very nearly didn't because I woke up late and debated whether I would have enough time, but in fact I still got to work on time! Which clearly shows the benefit of having ironed my clothes at the weekend instead of waiting until the day I need them!!

My legs don't seem to have much trouble with the jogging, it's the lungs that get me, but I am quite sure that will improve with time as I figure out how to breathe properly while I jog so that I don't feel as though I am gasping for air! Some people advocate a pattern of breathing in and out as the left (or right depending on your preference!) foot hits the ground.

But, I have enough to think about just propelling myself forwards and timing myself to add breathing into the mix, so I am just going to let my body work it out for itself which is probably the best way to do it as it has to be more natural that sticking to a pattern.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Mentos Fountains!

Have you ever heard of such a thing? I hadn't until I came across this very enlightening piece with great photos in the Telegraph.

It looks like great fun, I am tempted to go and get myself a coke bottle and some mentos (whatever they are!) and experiment - although I do think that that would be a waste of a drink - not to mention totally and utterly messy!


I might be deaf, but I still take for granted that I will have two working hearing aids, which it why it is so annoying when one stops working!

The left hearing aid was being a bit wonky a couple of weeks ago and then early last week it conked out altogether! And as I really can't stand not having a pair of working ears (as far as I can get them to work that is!) I arranged an appointment with audiology to get a replacement, which was great except that it only worked for a few days!!

I discovered on Saturday morning that the replacement wasn't working, which gave my annoying little brother enormous scope to wind me up!! As I was fiddling about with my aids to see if I could get them to work he kept either whispering or talking loudly or mouthing words in the middle of sentences!! Grrrrr - but we laughed!

Anyway, the upshot of it all is that I had another appointment with audiology this morning in order to have an audiogram done, try out some new hearing aids and get some new earmolds done. I expect that many of you have never had an audiogram done, but basically this is just a test to see how much I can hear - I sit there wearing headphones and holding a buzzer and the point is that every time I hear a sound I press the buzzer so that the audiologist knows that I have heard something.

The trouble is that I end up listening so hard that I start to imagine that I have heard something or start to ignore sounds that I have heard because I think that I am imagining things - you see the trouble I have?! Anyway, the audiogram shows that there is no difference in my hearing from what it was a few years ago, so that is something.

And...I now have new hearing aids which means that I have to get used to them as they are a different make and have been programmed slightly differently to see if they work for me. The new ones have been programmed to boost the more soft sounds like the fan in the office, the coins dropping in the cashbox, or paper rustling close by - which is all very nice, but as much as I want to be able to hear as much as I can I don't know if I want every little detail as it gets annoying!!

I am going to have to take some time with these hearing aids and see if I do get used to them or whether they do even offer any benefit over my old ones as different frequencies are now at different decibel levels which means that voices are a little quieter than they used to be. I do have a follow up appointment in about a months time so I do have time to get used to them and see how I get on!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


my thighs!! I can walk ok, but going up or down stairs or simply bending my knees to sit down and they creak and groan!

Oh well, hopefully they will limber see, I have taken on a new challenge - C25K for short, which stands for Couch to 5K, which is a beginners running programe that aims to get lazy gals (and guys!) like me running 5k (3 miles) in two months.

Now, whether 30 mins of jogging actually amounts to 5k I don't know; and whether I will actually get to that point I really don't know! About the only thing that I do know is that my thighs hurt today and today is only the first day of the first week of the whole thing! Erk - lets hope it gets better.

The main reason that I am blogging about this is that I am hoping that this will give me incentive as otherwise you will all think that I am a lazy so-and-so and just lack the stamina to do something like this. Besides which, it will actually give me something to talk about as I appear to have lost inspiration at the moment.

Monday, 21 April 2008

The weekend

It's a good job I don't get car sick as it seems as though I spent most of the weekend in the car!

I drove down to see Mum and Dad for the weekend and to help Matt celebrate his 23rd birthday! It isn't actually that far, but I drove down Friday night and then back on Sunday which doesn't seem like much, but then Dad, Matt and I went to Heathrow airport to pick Mum up as she returned from Dubai - jammy thing!

I don't think that Mum would ever have gone to Dubai on her own, but her sister and brother-in-law moved out there about 18 months ago and of course, we all immediately began angling for invitations!! Mum got in first and spent last week out in Dubai doing some shopping and sightseeing - I have already seen all the photos!

If you have ever been to collect someone from the airport then you will be familiar with those people standing at the barrier with pieces of paper that have names on them as they have no idea what their passenger looks like....anyway, we decided to do something silly and stand there with a piece of paper each - M, U, M - we got a couple of smiles and funny looks from people, and sure enough, we picked up the right person!!

Like I said earlier - it was also Matt's birthday and he got exactly what he asked for, which took away the surprise element, but he was definitely one very happy bunny on Sunday when he saw his Indiana Jones hat for the very first time! I know it sounds a bit geeky to have an Indy hat, but it really does look rather good even though it needs a bit of breaking in to get rid of that shiny new look.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Licence to be extra bossy!

Although many people will tell you that I don't need a licence to be bossy as I just am!

Anyway, I had some good news today, but first let me tell you a bit of the background story.

About two years ago all the NHS staff had to go through a pesky process called Agenda for Change, which basically meant that we all had to rewrite our job descriptions in order to be matched to an appropriate band and the whole idea was to make jobs/salaries far more transparent and equitable.

So instead of lots of different bands and scales, we ended up with a nine band scale and I was duly placed on a band that was seen to be appropriate. However, and it is rather a big however, when it came to my accreditation, I discovered from one of the assessors that I was actually on a pay band lower than all my colleagues in the area!

Huh - well, that was a bit of a surprise. The thing is that at the time of Agenda for Change, I thought that my job was at the right level and in the right band, but I did have trouble deciding for myself whether I was in one band or another when I am probably actually halfway between the two! Anyway, as you can imagine, one of the recommendations of the report following the accreditation was that my job be reassessed and banded more appropriately.

What happened next was that after a bit of research into similar posts and redrafting my job description (and chatting with my manager who actually said that this was apparently a particular problem in the Trust where I work), everything went to a Board of some sort, I don't actually know which one!

Then today I got confirmation that my job has now been rebanded!! Which of course, gives me licence to be more bossy! It does mean a bit of payrise (yay!), but it also means a bit more defined responsibility (yuk!). So, now I need to go into work tomorrow and be more like a manager than just someone who works in a library! All those reports to read and write!

So, the good news does come with a bit of sting in the tail, but at least with all these mortgage scares I keep hearing about, I should be able to keep up my payments!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

My first award!

Aww, how sweet, Alice has chosen me for a bloggie award - blogging friends forever.

Not a "real" one you understand, like travel blog of the year or something like that, but an award given in the spirit of friendship and so means a little more to me.

I don't care how many of you will be gagging and thinking "how twee", I think that it is very nice and goes to show that it is possible to make friends around the world without ever meeting them!


Huh - I've typed that word so many times now that I am no longer sure it is correct! But yes, the dictionary confirms it and explicitly states "to put off what should be done immediately".

Trace was talking about procrastination on her blog and it sparked such a response in me, so I thought that I'd write about it. She could have been talking about me as I too am a procrastinator in the true sense of the word, I put off things until they really have got to get done.

It is a peculiar response too as I know that I would feel better if I did something there and then rather than leave it until it becomes something that glares at me everytime I walk past. But no...I prefer to say "oh, I'll do it in five minutes"; except that those five minutes can stretch and stretch until I realise that I should have done it last week!

What I simply don't understand is that if a tidy house or bout of exercise or a nice pile of homemade greeting cards makes me feel better, why don't I do it, why do I decide that I'd rather read a book or watch television or lie in bed on a Sunday morning and ignore everything else, why?

I think that Trace and I need to get our heads together and work out a solution for this! It's certainly not making me happy being like this, but I can't seem to shake the habit! If anyone has any thoughts on the subject do let me know - do you procrastinate or are you like my fantastic sister-in-law who couldn't procrastinate if someone paid her to!

Flippin' spam!

Apologies to those of you who have been reading my blog lately as there were a couple of spam comments attached to my latest post - most irritating!

Anyway, the upshot of that is that they have now been deleted and I have turned on comment verification - you know - those annoying little string of numbers and letters that you have to type if you want to say anything.

So, sorry about that, but I think that it is a small price to pay for not having to read comments that try and sell you products or entice you to websites that are probably malicious.

Thursday, 10 April 2008


It's been a while (not including last night) since I've posted! But at least I have a way to go before matching Mum's gap between posts, which is about eight months! (I wonder when the next post will appear!!)

But what do you do when you think that you haven't got anything to say!? Waffle on about everything and nothing and send everybody to sleep or just leave it until you do have something to say, only by which time everybody thinks that you have abandoned your blog and so they wont visit again!

Anyway....have been back from Australia for just over two weeks and two things are apparent to me; firstly - was it really only two weeks ago? It feels more like four weeks! Secondly - I miss being on holiday! All that lovely sunshine and utter lack of responsibility!

Coming back from a holiday (particularly a far-flung one) is strange, there is the usual let down of having to go back to work again, but also there is that sensation of wondering whether you have actually been at all!! If it weren't for my tan, you'd hardly think that I'd been away at all. I almost have to say to myself, emphatically, "yes, you have been to Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and the Whitsundays".

I have had lots of lovely comments about my holiday photos and there are some that I am particularly proud of - here are a few!
Firstly - proof that was I indeed there and it wasn't all a figment of my imagination!!

Took this one on the ferry heading towards Sydney, I think that it was the day I went to Darling Harbour.

Sunset off Brighton (!) Beach in Adelaide where the temperatures hit 40 degrees!

Waterfall in the Blue Mountains just north of Sydney.

How's that for a little selection of the 800-odd photos I took in three weeks!!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

itchy trousers!!

I was given a pair of woollen blend trousers a few weeks ago and have worn them twice without too much trouble, but on the way home tonight, I just got itchier and itchier and as soon as I walked in the door, the poor cat was treated to the sight of me whipping them off as soon as I could!!

Don't worry, I haven't got fleas, just an itchy reaction to scratchy clothes!! I even have to test jumpers before buying them by sticking my arm down the sleeve and testing my reaction! Sometimes, I don't even get that far down the sleeve before I have to snatch my arm out and rub that itchy feeling away!

There aren't many clothes that make me feel that way, but they are invariably woollen! I wonder if I'd have the same reaction to cashmere, not that my purse can stretch quite that far!