Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Coming Home

My sister is coming home. She's decided (with her boyfriend) that they can't earn enough to marry and bring up a family over there at the moment, so they want to come back in time to get settled so they can keep up with her timetable for her life (kids by 30). The problem is that while she works year round in Gran Canaria, his work is seasonal, so if she's off work having babies, they won't have any income for half the year. Isn't it really scary when your little sister starts to talk about (a) children and (b) being 30. That's a sign of ageing if ever I saw one.
I'm really not sure where this leaves everything. My mum wasn't hugely keen to go out there at first, and kept threatening to come home for the first year or so. I'm sure that my sister being there has helped to keep her there for the past four years, but if we're both in the UK, particularly if my sister has kids, I suspect my mum will want to spend more time over here. And as for my dad, he's still only easing his way back into diving after the scare in Egypt. If my sister isn't there to take over, and he needs to employ someone to take over her job as well as his own, will the business still be viable? Would they want to stay?
But if they came back, what would they do? And where would they live? Could I afford to buy them out of my house or would they expect to live there with me? Everything just seems to up in the air at the moment, I wish I knew what would happen down the line.
Anyway, one thing's looking likely, which that I probably need to get myself a new car. When they first went out there I sold my car and used my mum's instead. She got the money from my car, but I didn't pay her anything extra, and there was always an unspoken understanding that when Annette came back the car would be passed on in a similar way (i.e. with not much money changing hands). Annette settled down over there for longer than I was expecting, and I had actually started to think about selling the car and buying a new one anyway, then she decides to come home and the original plan looks viable again.
I've got until October, I suspect that the six months I have will be needed to work out (a) what I want and (b) how I'm going to pay for it. I'm not one of these people who uses their car as a status symbol. The trainee, for example, plans to buy a BMW on qualification. I don't think she's quite thought about how much it will cost and how much she'll actually get paid (as opposed to how much she'll get paid in her dreams). No reason other than that she wants a swanky car. Me, I want something that will get me from A to B without breaking down or costing me too much.
Because I bought my original car so long ago, and then didn't pay anything for this one I'd kind of forgotten how expensive cars are. I don't have enough savings to buy one outright, and was looking at roughly how much the repayments on a loan would be, to give me an idea of what my budget might be. The monthly repayments looked bad enough, but when I thought about the insurance, tax, petrol and maintenance I'd be paying on top I have to admit that my first thought was whether I need a car at all! (OK, I already pay the extra stuff, but in terms of the total cost of car ownership, it all adds up). So it's probably a good thing I'm not looking for anything flashy, as I'm not sure that I'd be able to afford it even if I was. Well, I would be able to afford it, but not without cutting back in other areas.
As I'm on my being green kick I suppose small and economical is also good. I only need to carry me in it (and very occasionally a single passenger), and I don't need anything fancy like sat nav or a posh badge on the front. I think it's been 2 years since I had anyone in the back of the Clio, so legroom back there isn't much of an issue! I'm not exactly planning to impress anyone with it.

Anyway, this is all pretty dull so I'll leave it there, but if there are any car experts out there with recommendations, feel free to pass them on!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Old and New Friends

Today while I was at the rugby I exchanged texts with a couple of friends. The contrast brought home how I've changed, and how my friends have changed along the way.

The first exchange was with a rugby friend I've not seen for a while. We'd provisionally arranged to meet up at the game, but we said we'd talk this morning to decide what the weather was like etc. By about 3pm I hadn't heard from her so I texted her, to get a reply at about 5.45 (before a 6pm kick off) saying she'd just got up because she'd gone out last night and got to bed at 7.30am.

The second exchange was with someone from running club, wishing me luck for my half tomorrow. She's doing a 10 miler tomorrow and said she was having a quiet night in front of the tv to prepare.

I feel guilty about the friends I haven't seen for a while, but the truth is, they seem to fit into my life less easily now. In the past I'd go to two or even three rugby matches a weekend to see my rugby friends. I'd watch my own team on a Friday night, then see where my friends teams were playing and pop along. For the company, but also as an excuse to have a couple of drinks.

Now, it's not so easy. Long runs and races eat up time on a Sunday morning, and recovery eats up time in the afternoon. I usually don't feel like a drink, and I don't necessarily feel like standing on the terracing either.

And if I met up with them, I wouldn't be able to keep up any more. I know for an absolute fact that they would drink me under the table within about 5 minutes. The person I was texting tonight once went out drinking in London and woke up in Amsterdam, not knowing how she got there, and on another occasion was putting cocktails on a tab, and when she looked at the receipt in the morning there were over 50 on it between two of them. My other rugby friends aren't much more sober either, although they don't have such impressive stories to relate.

I've never really spent much time with any of them away from the match or the pub, and they certainly don't understand what it is that drives me to get up early on a Sunday morning and run long distances. I've changed and they haven't, and when I meet up with them it's hard to reconcile my new lifestyle with what they expect of me. When I did the Eve article the journalist asked whether they were "toxic" and that really isn't the word I'd use. I don't blame them in the slightest for my weight, and I still like them. But we tend to communicate by email and text rather than meeting up in person, because the common ground is falling away.

The new friends on the other hand know this as me, they don't know about the other, binge drinking, pub crawling me. They understand why I don't drink before a race and have an early night because they do the same thing.

They're different, and they reflect very clearly how I've changed. I wish that this process hadn't put that space between me and my old friends, but I suppose if I hadn't changed I wouldn't have met the new ones.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Catalonia in Winter

So, this year's big trip to Catalonia has been and gone. Well, I say that but I actually typed most of this in a patisserie in Girona, but will only get it onto the internet once I find an internet connection. That's one of the good things about Catalonia, by the way. The proximity to France seems to have encouraged the development of far more tempting patisseries than the pastelerias I'm used to in Gran Canaria. (Subsequently edited in Girona airport too and at home).

The reason I'm in here typing up stuff for my blog and not outside exploring is that it's raining, and I got soaked enough yesterday to last me a lifetime. So I'm taking a quick break inside, and using the laptop (which I'm carting around with me because I didn't want to leave it in a car, either mine at the airport, or the hire care wherever I managed to dump it) as cake displacement activity to make me eat it SLOWLY. I don't want to have to go outside in a hurry, and when you're drinking espresso it's over too quickly to even justify sitting down sometimes.

The rain yesterday (Saturday) was relentless. Heavy and relentless. After a 3.30am start (and that was with the airport hotel rather than driving there from home!) I landed in Girona and it wasn't too bad at first. I drove to the hotel at Figueres and it was a bit heavier. I decided to do some inside stuff that I'd planned for Sunday in the hope that Sunday would be better, so I went to the Dali museum, which was actually better than I was expecting. I'm no real art connoisseur, but I started picking stuff up, little details and stuff. I had lunch there, before heading up to Perpignan.

Last year I did a mad dash across the border from Cadaques after slightly misjudging how fast I would be able to cover the distance on windy coastal roads. This time there was no such stress and I arrived in Perpignan a good three hours before kick off, already checked into a hotel. There was a snag though, by the time I got to Perpignan the rain was torrential. I parked near the stadium because I wanted to park while it was still possible (I had been slightly thwarted in my parking plans by the hire company's decision to upgrade me. I saw the car and my first thought was "how on earth am I going to park that". I'm used to my compact little clio at home, and didn't relish the thought of trying to navigate anything bigger down narrow Catalonian town streets and into French and Spanish syle parking places). The stadium was about 2 miles from town, but despite the torrential rain I decided to walk into town. Well, that's a bit of a lie. Having made it to France, I was developing French sweet stuff cravings. I'd had a fairly light lunch, and decided not to get dessert there, but to wait til I made it to France and have either French cakes, waffles or crepes. Not all 3 though. But there wasn't anywhere suitable near the ground, so because I knew there was in town I decided to walk in that direction, if I came across something on the way I'd stop there, if not I'd go all the way to the place I was thinking of. Plus I didn't fancy spending the next 2 hours sitting in the car near the ground, so I had to do something.

Yes, there was a bus, but why get a bus when you can walk? I'd have got soaked waiting at the bus stop anyway, so why not burn off that cake. Despite some decent sightseeing walking in Figueres, I felt like my legs needed to be stretched, so I walked. Predictably I made it to town before I found somewhere suitable, serving cakes that tasted good enough that even at 1000 calories per bite they'd have been worth it. Well, I exaggerate, but it was good. Then I walked back. All the other Wigan fans were waiting for buses, and getting soaked at the bus stop. I didn't even know whether they'd all get on it when I turned up, and I knew it was only about a half hour walk. I got there just as the second bus arrived, so I reckon that if I hadn't got on the first one it would have been no quicker on the bus, plus I appeased my cake related guilt a little more.

However, by this stage I was soaked. Not so much my top half which had benefitted from my umbrella, and the waterproof effect of my coat but the legs of my jeans were completely drenched. Three years ago I travelled to a match in Limoux and had similar weather on the Saturday when I went to look round Carcasonne. I only had one pair of jeans and spent all of Saturday night and much of Sunday in damp clothes. But did I learn my lesson? No. Once again I brought a single pair of jeans and a multitude of tops. Must remember what to do next time... (At this point I was also cursing having checked into the hotel, because I'd dumped my bag there, and was really craving a dry pair of socks, if nothing else).

Thankfully the stand at the ground was covered, and although I didn't dry out much (and worried that the water would turn to ice as it got colder), at least I didn't get wetter. And the game warmed me up quite nicely in the end, although there was a point when I was considering running for somewhere with a heater to do something about my legs. Apparently it only went ahead after a late pitch inspection, and I don't know what they'd have done if it had to be cancelled, with a couple of thousand Wiganers on short trips over there, some even on day trips. Thankfully it went ahead and was nice and tight throughout, with a fantastic match winning try for us with about 90 seconds to go. That woke me up nicely after the early start!

Then back to Figueres, stopping for a pizza on the way back (and an impromptu run when, having eaten, I realised that I'd taken my wallet out of the bag to pay some tolls on the motorway on the way back into Spain, and forgotten to put it back in. I made my apologies to the waiting staff - in Spanish - and legged it to the car and back before they realised I couldn't actually pay them...). I also had a bit of a chat with my mum, taking advantage of actually being in the same country as each other, with my Spanish phone on its home network.

This morning (Sunday) I got up and it wasn't raining. Or not properly anyway. It's grey, and there's lightish drizzle occasionally, but nothing compared to yesterday. I'm being a bit of a wimp hiding in here really, but I thought I deserved a sit down. After breakfast at the hotel (adequate, but a little disappointing considering the hotel restaurant is michelin starred), I headed up to Besalu for a while, before heading to Girona. Both are really lovely, but there's something strange about sightseeing on a Sunday morning in February, when it's drizzling. There's not much open (Spain as a whole still clinging to the idea of not shopping on Sunday), not many people around, and my camera complained about the lack of light every time I tried to take a picture. I'd love to come back in summer, hopefully next year they won't give us a February game again!

Eating wise I've not done badly. When I'm on holiday I tend to just relax and enjoy it, as long as I get my 5 a day in. I modify it to 3 plus juice and dried fruit, I try not to count those normally but when I'm on the road I give myself more leeway. So yesterday I had a pret breakfast pot thing and an orange juice at the airport (berries and juice, for two down), some dried apricots as a snack, a slice of leek tart with a side salad for lunch, and a pizza which had plenty of veg on in the evening. And the cake. Today I had some grapes at breakfast, more orange juice and dried apricots, a huge salad with apples for lunch (incidentally - what is it with the Spanish and undisclosed meat - since when does a salad with apple, pine nuts and goats cheese come with three slices of undisclosed bacon on top?), and even my cake had some raspberries on top. OK, I'm struggling to call that fruit, but at least it wasn't chocolate cake. Small victories. And even though my evening meal tonight is a cheese sandwich, I've had a fair bit of bread, and I'm not running I'm still doing plenty of exercise walking round sightseeing, and carrying this bloody laptop to burn it all off. For those who haven't been, Girona old town is most definitely built on a hill. And anyway, I need to keep my energy up for the drive home tonight. On the plus side, the car and the drive home tonight mean that barely a drop of alcohol has passed my lips. Less than a single cana last night when I got back to Figueres.

So this afternoon I did a bit more wandering, and possibly get something more to eat before heading to the airport for my 9pm flight, then the horror drive back home from Stansted. Get home at about 2.30am (edit - that prediction was bang on!), all being well, before getting up bright and early for work, then running club. (Incidentally, I felt a brief pang of guilt for not turning out for cross country this morning, but it didn't last long). Whether I go to the gym on the way to work depends what time I get up. I might just go there for a shower on the basis that it's quicker if I drive in then shower, than if I shower then drive in, because of the traffic. (Edited to say that I made it to the gym for a 45 minute swim on the basis that a 3 hour sleep plus some exercise tends to refresh me more than 4 hours asleep, but I then started to crash at about 3.30 pm, plus my legs are inexplicably sore, so I decided to give the run a miss and have an early night).

After last year's stress when Ryanair cancelled my flight with two weeks to go (which partly led to the arriving in Perpignan late stress) I've had a really good time this year, doing exactly what I'd planned to do last time round and enjoying it. I'm glad that I decided to concentrate on Spain this year rather than staying in my normal hotel in Perpignan like last year and 2002. I spend so much time in Spain that I'm starting to find the language a lot easier than french, despite French A level. I understand french OK, but I open my mouth to reply and Spanish comes out. In some ways this is still quite unfortunate, given that they speak Catalan here rather than Spanish, but never mind...

Plus I've been to Perpignan twice already, and while it's perfectly nice, I'd never been to Figueres, Girona or Besalu, and as my flight had to be via Girona, I thought they were worth exploring. Also, and this is the snob tendencies coming out again, the thought of spending the weekend in the company of beered up Wigan youngsters wasn't overly appealing, hence the limited amount of time in Perpignan. I wasn't up for that sort of weekend (I never am), so decided to do something completely different rather than letting them wind me up with their interesting approach to Anglo-French relations.

It still makes me realise how amazingly lucky I am that I can just head off to a random corner of Europe on my own, and not be daunted or phased by the prospect. I have the money, I make the time, and I just do it rather than wishing I had someone to do it with. Not everyone can say that. There's something unbelievably smugness inducing about rocking up at work on a Monday morning, having someone ask what you did at the weekend, and being able to reply "oh, just a relaxing weekend in Catalonia..."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Welcome to food hell

When did I turn into such a food snob? I thought I'd done well. Because I'm doing one of my stupidly timed flights from Stansted trips this weekend I jumped at the chance for a meeting in Hertfordshire, from where I could go to a hotel (on the basis I wouldn't get back to Leeds before 5pm) and get a decent nights sleep rather than driving down overnight for my 4.45am check in.

I found a hotel with a gym, and I was all set. But seriously, the hotel is in a decent food desert. The hotel itself isn't too bad. I mean, it's not luxury, but it was cheap, and it has a gym. So I managed an hour on the treadmill. It wasn't the long run I should really be doing this weekend, but at least I managed to do something, which is an improvement. Usually I book a hotel with a gym with good intentions but don't quite make it through the doors. This time I did, so that was good.

But driving through, and searching on Yell.com I wasn't entirely encouraged about the prospects for eating. The place seems to be a new town. Or at least it seems to be an endless stream of retail parks. Even following the signs for the town centre didn't lead me to anything that I'd call a town centre, or anything that wasn't franchised fast food. I'm not even talking your good little local takeaway where things are fresh, if greasy. I'm talking endless strips of McDonalds, or Burger King, or stuff like that. Despite my cravings for junk, I wasn't craving that sort of junk.

And the only pub I found was a Brewers Fayre. I've eaten there before and it didn't kill me, but it was hardly what I was looking for. In the end I ended up at a tapas place. Despite what it says on the website, it's like no night out in a Spanish city I've ever been on. Proper tapas is smaller and... more Spanish really, rather than being on a retail park in a soulless building. But at least it got me in the mood for the weekend, and they had some stuff resembling vegetables on the menu. And at least it's not somewhere I've seen before, even if they have a few locations.

But I just started imagining what it must be like to live somewhere based on ring roads and retail parks and soulless housing estates (which is the main reason I decided to run inside rather than outside, I think it would have been even more depressing than the treadmill!). At least where I live in Leeds has decent pubs and restaurants, and I can get to places that aren't parts of the mega chains fairly easily. And places that have menus that differ from the place down the road.

Sorry if anyone reading this lives here, but it's not somewhere I plan to come back to...

Thursday, February 15, 2007


This is bizarre. Truly strange.

Bear in mind that

(a) I'm vegetarian
(b) I hate fish
(c) I prefer to eat stuff I've cooked myself
(d) I don't like greasy stuff

And then explain why I'm craving fish, chips and mushy peas. Very very strange indeed.

This almost works on the basis that my plan for eating in Spain was to consider eating fish, and I'm going to Spain at the weekend. Not that I'm craving the sort of fish they serve there, mind you. But also this is the one weekend when I don't want to crack from the whole veggie thing. From memory, my last meaty meal was 19 February last year, and I'd quite like to hit the one year mark.

Actually, it's not just fish and chips. Take away pizza is also high in the craving list. I really don't know what's caused it, or how long it will last, but it's very strange.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Extra Large Boy

(No, not a valentines day secret admirer...)
Finally being smaller has saved me money. I went to buy a new Wigan replica shirt and ended up buying a junior size rather than adults because it fit better. The neck was a bit smaller and it's more of a struggle to get my head through it, but elsewhere it just seemed to fit that bit more nicely. Yes, the adult small was a bit on the big size. Never thought I'd say that, I remember the last time I bought a replica top I bought the biggest size they did and it was too tight (there were lots of complaints that year, and I think the year after they brought out a bigger range of sizes).
So anyway, the label inside the shirt says "extra large boy". Wrong in so many ways, but as well as fitting better it was £10 cheaper so I'm not going to complain! (I think the boys sizes fit better because of my complete lack of anything resembling cleavage, maybe the adults shirts are designed to accommodate man boobs which is why they seemed too baggy across the chest area...)
It takes me back, I remember a friend of mine always used to buy childrens t-shirts from Gap because they were cheaper. Meanwhile I was struggling to find the biggest adult sizes. Maybe I ought to go back in there and see what I can find now I'm officially a child again.

I'm not going to be grumpy about valentines day. It still winds me up when people think I'm actually interested in their love lives, or depressed about my lack of one. I don't care, and I'd rather go out for a run (as I did) than console myself with wine or chocolate. But it still made me smile when a male friend sent me a nice message. In an entirely platonic way (he's happily married and old enough to be my father. Plus he's a Saints fan). But it was still nice to have someone thinking of me.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I'm still alive

And my fat clothes have gone! I've been a healthy weight for over a year, and at (sorry, below) goal for 11 months or so. And I've just got round to chucking them out. They weren't good enough for the charity shop or ebay, and I don't know why I kept them because they weren't even good enough for me to wear if the unthinkable happened and I gained weight.

But now they're gone, and it's kind of a marker that I'm not going back there. Not if I can help it.

(The really bizarre thing is that some of my "fat" clothes are size 14. Size 14 for **** sake. That used to be my goal, and now they hang off me. Wow).

Anyway, I'm trying to have a disciplined week to make up for the fact that I'm off to Spain for the weekend. And to make up for the stuff I ate when my parents were here. It was strange. I actually managed to get annoyed about the fact that my mother had bought a perfectly healthy soup for us to eat, when I could have cooked something so much nicer with the veg that I'd bought anyway. They needed to be cooked, we needed to eat, yet for her the solution was to buy some soup? I really must teach her better...

Right, I must head off and get myself an early night. There might not be too much sleeping over the weekend.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


It's all gone quiet over here because my parents are here and as ever winding me up with the little stuff. I've got used to this being my house, where things get done my way in my time. So I don't appreciate it when my mum puts my running stuff in the washing machine as I'm about to go for a run, however well intentioned she is. I don't appreciate my dad looking sniffily at my food and insisting on going out for meals. It won't kill him to eat something healthy for once, surely, and going out just isn't a treat for me.

I get frustrated when I get shoved in the back of the (tiny) hire car for a journey I do all the time, and which I would obviously have not got stuck in a traffic jam for. Last night Dad drove to Wigan. When I drive I'm usually there by 7, with him at the wheel, and with an unscheduled and unnecessarily long 20 minute stop at the services, we got there 2 minutes after the 8pm kick off. OK there was snow, and it was slower than normal, but if we hadn't stopped then we might actually have had time for a drink before the game...

And they still make plans for me without checking first what I have planned for the weekend. And insist on making the house sub-tropical with their overuse of my expensive gas. And buy bag after bag of sweets, and bring cakes and biscuits into the house.

I start getting defensive and stroppy when I feel like I'm not being treated like an adult with my own home and my own life. When I'm in their house I ask them before I use stuff, and I ask them where stuff goes. I don't just put things away where I'd keep them if it was my house, or take over how things are done. But obviously the way to deal with the situation is to act like a child, strop, and wage war over the remote control (I'm very successful with this one).

Tomorrow I really must try to be a bit more mature...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm back...

...and I ran home from work. Woo hoo indeed.

I've also come up with another stupid idea to add to my catalogue of stupid ideas. The latest one (which isn't actually the most stupid idea I've had recently, but the granddaddy of stupidity might be on hold so I'm not blogging it yet) is to run two 10k races on the same day.

As you do.

Even though I've seen promotion for the Pulse Race a few times, I've never actually done it. It's in the park down the road (where there's no Race for Life this year - boo hiss), and I quite fancy a race round there. But the first few years I lived here I didn't run, and last year I was on holiday. The date I've seen for this year is 24th June.
Except this year there's also the Run for All on the 24th June. In the city centre, and getting the sort of promotion that makes you think it might be something that goes onto great things, and you'd like to be involved in the first one. Plus, who can deny Jane Tomlinson a bit of fund raising? (Even at £18 for a 10k, grumble grumble)
So two 10ks I'd quite like to do, in the same city, on the same day. Just typical. Or is it... On closer inspection the Run for All starts at 9am. Last year the Pulse Race started at 11. The two races are no more than three or four miles apart. Hmm.
Hmm indeed.
But it gets worse. If you're going to be doing two races, you need a reliable way of getting between them. Without getting caught up in traffic or having parking problems when you arrive at the last minute for the second race. What could be more reliable than...
(you know what's coming, don't you?)
My main concern is that if the Run for All is anything like the Abbey Dash it would take half an hour to get out of the finish area so it might not be feasible, but equally, they might put the Pulse Race back a bit (there are no proper details for this year's race yet). Distance wise I'm not worried. The Run for All doesn't look like a PB course anyway (and certainly not with 10,000 runners on it), and the Pulse Race could just be a gentle trot round before going home. I'm happily doing long runs of 15 miles at the moment, so it's not impossible. It would be quite fun, two 10ks on the same day. (And I might relent and get the bus between them, if I was confident that one was going to turn up once I've looked at the timetables).
(And yes, the other stupid plan was even more stupid than this one. It involved mileage that triggers the use of the word "ultra".)

As I said, I'm feeling better again ;)

Monday, February 05, 2007


I can just feel it flooding back, which is good. I still don't know how I'll sleep tonight, but fingers crossed it will be good and I'll be back on the wagon with a vengeance. I'm planning a gentle swim before work to see how I go with that, and if that goes well I'll run home from work, eat, and then nip back to the gym to get my stuff. Running home from work is OK because if it is too much for me to cope with I run along my bus route, so I can just give up and jump on the bus. It's a sign of how much better I'm feeling than yesterday evening that I can even contemplate that, let alone look forward to it.

The fitness freak is back! Let's hope that's the last bug for a while.

Duvet Day

I called in sick. Or at least I tried to, but after experiencing the incompetence of call handling first hand, and being put through to the wrong department about three times, and then hung up on, I sent an email. I am feeling better than I was, but still I didn't sleep particularly well last night, and my cough still sounds pretty nasty so I felt kind of justified. I've got nothing urgent on at work, and I've gone in often enough when I maybe shouldn't have done, so this time I decided to listen to my body and get some rest.

And that means not going to running club tonight either, I promise.

It also seems like I won't be on my own in taking a sick day today. But I am genuinely ill, honest...

Anyway, I've had a surprisingly productive day in the end. Just after Christmas my laptop died. I'm no computer wizard, and with another computer in the house (my house is full of stuff, a legacy of all the bits and pieces my parents left when they emigrated - for example, I live alone and have 5 tvs, although one of them stopped working at the weekend, so I just swopped it for the one sitting in the junk room), I just moved to using that one. But today, when I wanted nothing more than to be under the duvet I decided to try to sort it out. After grappling with a pile of restore CDs for three different computers of the same make (the laptop, the downstairs one, and my old laptop which was stolen when I was burgled several years ago, with the current laptop being the replacement through the insurance), which all looked slightly different, but weren't marked to make it clear which one they belonged to, I finally worked it out and got it going. It took a full re-install of windows, and everything on there got wiped, but I'm pleased to say that it's working again and I can now surf the internet from bed. And watch dvds! Yay me!

I'm also working my way through all the stuff I have saved on my sky+ box, which is a perfect way to spend a Monday. Utterly lazy, but sometimes you need to rest to get better. Or that's my excuse anyway...

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I've had an incredibly lazy day today. I managed to drag myself to Tesco to get some medicine (which worked surprisingly well), cooked some lunch (those veggies need to be cooked, and I need to eat, whether I'm feeling ill or not) then disappeared back under the duvet for an afternoon sleep.


I'm definitely feeling a lot better than I was this time yesterday. That's not to say I'm feeling 100%, but fingers crossed I'm on the road to recovery. The sad thing is, that I want to be better tomorrow because it's running club rather than because of any deep rooted desire to go into work. I just worry that if I miss work and then run I'll be spotted and my cover will be blown...

It's been a while since I've taken a day completely off exercise, so it's been kind of weird, but also nice. I know I should rest more, but when it's a lovely day and my legs feel fine it's sometimes hard for me to resist temptation. I never thought I'd say that! But hopefully once I do get back to exercising my legs will be all the better for the rest, and I can get back into it pretty quickly.


Bear with me while I moan for a while. I don't have anyone living with me and taking care of me, so I'll have to get all self pitying on here.

Last night I felt absolutely shit. For a couple of days I've suspected that my throat might be preparing for the onset of something nasty, and about 6pm it hit. Actually, possibly earlier than that thinking about it. I did a 15 mile run in the morning, and during the afternoon I went into town to pick a couple of things up, and I felt like my limbs were really heavy and unresponsive, but put it down to the run.

Anyway, at about 6 I started feeling really weak, and my throat really started letting me know about it. I started having sweating spells and shivering spells, I was coughing, my arms and legs felt horrendously achey, and I just generally felt rubbish. I did manage to cook something (I still wasn't sure whether it wasn't just a fairly minor cold combined with the after effects of the run and not eating enough during the day), but I just got worse and worse.

After a spell shivering I did manage to fall asleep on the sofa for a while with pyjamas, dressing gown, knee high socks and duvet, and that was actually the best bit of sleep I had all night. I went up to bed at about 11 and after that it seemed like I was literally waking up every 3 minutes to cough or try to find a comfortable position, or drink, or go to the loo. I haven't felt as bad as that for a long time, and I've never been so glad for morning to arrive.

And then a miracle. I actually started to feel better. From feeling like I really wouldn't even be able to get downstairs if you paid me, I actually started to feel like I might like some breakfast, and I might be able to drag myself to the shops to get medicine, papers and chocolate. That's a huge improvement on how I was feeling during the night. As I type this I've actually managed to get myself dressed, which isn't something I thought I'd be up to.

It's the main downside of living alone, not having anyone to go and get supplies when you don't feel up to getting out of bed.

Fingers crossed I'll carry on improving through the day. Not that I'd say no to an excuse for a day off work tomorrow, but I hate feeling like this.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Last night was a bit of a test of the new more mature relationship with alcohol. Running club curry. Actually, I wasn't bothered about not drinking at all, and I decided to take the car over rather than drinking and relying on buses or taxis to get me back home. I wasn't sitting there wanting a drink, I was more than happy with the water. So that was good.
The real eye opener was realising how much I would have drunk. The slowest drinker on my table got through four pints of cobra, and I'm sure that I'd have matched her given the opportunity. Not only would that have doubled the price of my curry (the food worked out at £10 each, and the cobras were £2.60 a pop), but I had quite a shock when I worked out how many calories I'd have drunk my way through.
I was already feeling a little guilty about the amount of food I'd eaten. I don't go out for a curry too often, and everyone else was having starters so... lets just say that with popadoms, starters, a main and rice it was rather more than I usually eat in an evening. I enjoyed it, and it wasn't a huge falling off the wagon moment, but I couldn't do it every week. But if I'd had those four pints then a little blip would have turned into a rather bigger blip I fear. I don't know exactly how many calories are in a pint of that stuff, but if I go for a figure of 200 that's 800 extra empty calories just from the alcohol, on a night when I was already splurging and going over what I normally eat. Eek.
There's nothing new here. It's not like I didn't know any of this before, but somehow sitting there enjoying my sparkling water watching them drink really hit home how little value there is in that stuff. I don't particularly like the taste, I don't particularly like being drunk, I don't particularly like having to rely on public transport late at night, and I don't particularly like trying to drag myself to the gym the morning after. And yet I'd have been perfectly willing to load 800 empty calories into my system in addition to the curry just because it was a curry night and everyone else was drinking. Now there's logic for you.


The news on my dad isn't great. He's OK, and he's been discharged, but the problem is that the injury/illness is something which is aggravated by diving, and the main reason he's better today is because he hasn't dived. This is a slight problem when you're a diving instructor, and that's the family business. So even though it's possible for him to be perfectly healthy on land (or so we hope), as far as I can tell there's a huge question mark over whether he'll be able to go back to working any time soon. Which isn't good news at all. Fingers crossed it's not what they think it is.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


As everyone knows, accessories are the fat girl's friend. When you are fat, and have stupidly big feet at least a handbag or some earrings won't refuse to be seen with you.

So it was understandable that when my grandparents wanted to buy me something expensive and long lived for my 21st birthday, jewellery came out on top.

In fact, I've always had thin wrists. You know that "test" for frame size where you wrap your fingers round your wrist and see whether they meet. Well, mine overlap by quite some way, and there was never a stage where they didn't meet. I just explained that by the fact that I had long fingers, rather than believing that I was actually small framed underneath all the blubber.

So a watch it was, a lovely expensive Gucci watch. I've worn it pretty much every day for the past 7 and a half years, apart from when it's being repaired, or when I'm on holiday. It may be valuable, but it was designed to be worn, so I wore it.

The photo is of me and the watch at my first graduation, back in 1999. You can't see it very clearly, but it's essentially a solid band. There's a clasp to get your arm in obviously, but when it's shut it's solid. There are no links.

Over the years I've gasped at the cost of batteries, and at the cost of special gucci screws when the bracelet bit came unattached. And on Christmas morning it did it again. As I was handing out presents from under the tree the watch dropped from my wrist, the screws had gone again.

I took it back to the place where I had it repaired last time. £40 for some screws, par for the course it seems. Bloody Gucci screws. They said it would be three weeks (the screws have to come from Italy because they don't have them in stock), and finally phoned today to say that they can't drill the sheared off screw out and it would need a new case.


I tried to remain upright. There is no way I'm paying that on their say so without taking it for a second opinion, so that's what I'm doing as soon as I get it back. Last time it broke they did drill out the screw, so I can't see why they can't do it this time.

But, worst case scenario, I have to buy a new case, I really don't know whether I can justify it. That's a hell of a lot of money. I could buy a new DKNY watch for less than that (just to pick one thing I saw in a shop window on the way home through town). I could buy a cheap Next watch and not worry about it breaking.

It's my 21st birthday present and I love it, but £225 to repair it? And then to worry about wearing it in case it breaks again? And, and this is the important bit, when it doesn't actually fit me anyway. From having normal sized wrists when I was fat, now I'm normal sized I have teeny tiny wrists. I was trying on watches in Next on the way home, and they all just hung off me. The Gucci one slides up and down my arm and gets annoying when I'm driving. I've never wanted to see if they could replace the bracelet with a smaller one, because I suspected it would be around the £250 mark, and judging by the cost of the case I wasn't far wrong.

So I really don't know what to do. Repair the watch, buy a cheap one and save the good one for best. Cut my losses and either go with cheap or moderately pricey. Forget it and move on, or get my lovely, but loose, watch back.

Fingers crossed that the second opinion comes back good.


Today really wasn't good. I got a text from my mother saying that my dad had been up all night ill and was now on a drip in a clinic in Egypt where they're on holiday. She texted back later to say he had improved a bit and was now at home, but still, I don't like this sort of worry.

Well, February can only get better.


By the way, thanks for your comments on my last post. Some days it's not too bad, some days it just gets to me. I have found a film that looks to not tick too many of the "avoid like the plague" boxes, and I had actually been looking into volunteering. Plus I might have to get myself into town to go watch shopping at some point. I refuse to be an utter hermit, no matter how much I'd like to.