I’ve got a fitbit thingy, courtesy of my health insurers. It monitors sleep quality among other things (it seems I manage about 6 hours of “good” sleep most nights, with another two hours of restless sleep depending on how long I’m in bed). And there is a definite deterioration in sleep quality if I have red wine…as I have done the past two nights, when I’ve been out for dinner with either Dad and N, or my friend S.

S and I went to the Telegraph Shopping evening at Fenwicks. It was lovely. I’ve discovered a new range of dresses (Goat), bought some expensive tights (I am so fed up with tights that bobble – and, it seems that while 15-16 year olds are all enormously tall nowadays, their tights are not long enough for my legs, so I bought some thick Falke tights as an experiment), and S bought some makeup brushes. We discussed shoes and had a general gossip about mutual friends in a very friendly manner (R seems to have settled, and we’re both loving the baby photos on FB). All terribly civilised: there were jazz singers on each floor. We just missed the prize  There was mulled wine (I do like mulled wine).

Tuesday saw us at The Art of the Brick. It was rather good – but chilly, and deserted. Dad and I both found that it was far more fun looking at some of the exhibits without our glasses on, as blocky pictures turned into something very clever indeed when viewed from a couple of feet away and a focal length of 6 inches.  This is one of the reasons that I refuse things such as laser eye surgery.

I’m onto the front of the Christmas Party Sweater. Why did I think a sweater in Kidsilk Night on UK 10s was a good idea?



My peak flow is beginning to recover

It’s only 10% down on usual now. Which I think means I can continue with just taking extra inhaler and skip the oral steroids. Howsover, if it’s not at 5% below normal by Thursday, I may reconsider. I wish to be back running soon.

We saw The Imitation Game yesterday. It was very good. If worthy. N now feels he wishes to see something frothy and funny with lots of shooty-bangs and explosions in it. I want to see the Paddington film. We got very excited part way through the film, as some of it was shot on location just where we had our wedding reception. And, we now have a trip to Bletchley posited. Anyone want to come with?


Sharing is caring…

But, dearest ninja GodDaughter, I really could have done without you sharing your croupy-cough with me. Still. By the power of Herbal Covonia (which tastes just like the Liquafruta of my childhood, and which helpfully smells just like mouldy citrus fruit, so it has to be doing me good), I am recovering.

I’ve also been to the dentist. I now have a tooth whitening kit, and I still have NO FILLINGS. If it weren’t for the tea stains, I’d be a walking advert for Crest+ or something. I’ve not been to the dentist since 2010. I’m particularly impressed, as my latest asthma medicine lists tooth-decay as a side effect. I was having a brief worry, but it turned out to be gunk caught in the deep fissures which characterise my molars. I am very pleased – I was panicking that the wisdom teeth (deeply buried, but with the top edge exposed) would have to be hoiked out. They won’t. Phew.  Meanwhile, in my efforts to earn my Guide Fitness Badge (it seems that if I get that one, I can have my Fitness Emblem), I’ve been flossing more frequently. This is helping with oral health in general. Go me.

So. Day one of my week off, following a weekend vegetating at home with an Interesting Chest Rattle and a Peak Flow that’s dropped by about 15% (if it’s not creeping up again by tomorrow I may invoke oral steroids). Teeth up to scratch, if tannin-y. Bank details dropped off and verified. Hair highlighted, and appointments made through to June 2015. Christmas cards written and posted. Christmas presents wrapped and posted, other than my ninja GodDaughter’s hat, which I can give to her when we go to Stockholm. Parental presents/N’s presents to be wrapped when it’s actually Christmas. Gift Aid for Brownies submitted. Gift Aid for Division re-started. N’s socks completed, along with Mum’s Christmas Cowl, but both require blocking. Christmas sweater for me started (I am too mean to buy the one I quite liked in Coast. I liked it, but not £55 liked it. And I’ve been promising myself that I shall knit this sweater for years, so I’m Doing It). Division Guidemin up to date (mind you, that changes on a daily basis). I have concluded that 11 year old phone bills, in the wrong name, at the old flat, can be binned. I have shredded the ones for here. A 10 minute job that I’d been putting off and putting off and putting off because it’s so BORING. I have ordered a new food caddy from the council (both contents and caddy were taken away today, which was a bit over-zealous).  I have cleaned out three drawers, two shelves, and have my eye on the wardrobe. I have revisited my stash. I do not need more yarn.


Hurrah for the chiropractor

Having mashed my right foot yesterday while running, today I am unmashed. Sore, yes, but ummashed. And, as a bonus, I have taped it both correctly and neatly.

Think I actually did the damage leaping off a slippery stile on Sunday, but it was the 4.5 mile bimble that did the damage. The problem with a single loop run during the lunch hour is that there’s no short cut home if it all goes a bit wrong: but the time.constraint precludes limping slowly back to the office.


100% of the way through War and Peace

I shall be embarking on “A suitable boy” when I have finished Stephen Fry’s latest oeuvre. Kindles make long books easier, now that we don’t tend to get them in separate volumes.

I have also had my first uninterrupted night’s sleep in about a week. This too deserves noting.

In the interim between these events, I took photos of some rather nice Christmas lights. The photos are appalling…but the lights lovely.






98% done on War and Peace

I’ve become slightly bogged down by Epilogue 2, and its historiography: never my strongest point at university, it must be said. It’s not half as fun as Epilogue 1 (which brings us up to speed with the lives of the protagonists since the end of the war). It appears to be a proto-marxist dialectic. However, I’m skimming this last bit, and I doubt any of it will actually stick with me. I shall be reading something utterly frivolous on the commute next, thus freeing up brain power to read “The Red and the Black” by Stendhal, at bedtime. I was getting a bit confused as, stylistically, the translations I’m reading of each book, are far too similar. So, for the last few nights, I’ve been reading one of the Dresden Files at bedtime. Supernatural pulp fiction with slightly gory bits, and grand fun.

We’ve had a lovely weekend away with the guide leaders. No internet, no phone signal. Peace, quiet, proper darkness, excellent excellent food, and some raucous laughter. I’ve finished a pair of socks (apart from cast off) and a pair of booties (including buttons!). I am almost at CampBlanketZero. We had a go at Free Being Me, and improving our body confidence. On trying to explain this to my mother afterwards, her two comments were “but I need makeup”, and “it’s important not to go too far the other way, and to still be neat and tidy.” The latter comment, I think, has a point. While trying to attain the body beautiful that the media presents to us is a total waste of time, effort and emotion: how many of us have felt better for a little bit of pampering? A wash and blow dry from the professionals. A manicure. Really nice healthy food, rather than something laden with fat and sugar. A session or so at the gym, or a run, or a muddy walk. New mascara or lippy. It’s about balance: the question isn’t as black and white as we might think. (now I’ve tried paying forward about body confidence, do I get my badge?). While we don’t want anyone to be obssessed with their appearance, or to make themselves ill and unhappy about it, or to miss out on doing fun things because they feel diffident about their body…at the same time, it’s important to remember that feeling good about oneself is about feeling good about everything. So, while I may not care that I look hot-and-sweaty post-run when I’m among my friends, I’d still prefer not to have my photograph taken until I’m slightly less pink and slightly less smelly! This isn’t an option when I’m racing (they just leap out at you, and then it’s out there for everyone to see you suffering!)

There was, naturally, alcohol. And cake. And we made little felt owls (photo to follow). And bird scarers. And bird feeders. And marshmallow baileys shots.

And I went for a 9 mile run up hill, down dale, through the woods and the dingly dells. And I didn’t get too lost in the process. I found myself by finding a pub (accidentally) and re-orientating my map from there. I should have realised that the compass hadn’t become confused about where north was, really. I had become confused about where I was on the map. However, this was a great improvement on last year, when I got even more lost, and didn’t have a proper map with me. I found myself far more speedily. I also saw a shetland pony, 1.5 brace pheasant (one of whom was female), squirrels, lots of dogs, bunny holes and fox poo. I have decided that I don’t want to live anywhere with a high incidence of single-track-roads-with-passing-places, as they are scary scary places, but, since I managed to reverse into a parking space with my father ‘helping’ at the end of the weekend, I am probably OK at reversing into parking spaces.  It is never fun to be reversing into a space with pa ‘helping’.

My eyelid twitch appears to have gone as a result of this nice break. Happy happy J.


Halfway through War and Peace!

And, according to the stats on the Kindle, I have about 9 hours more reading time left to finish it. If I really concentrate, and eschew my sudoko on the tube of an evening, I might be done in a week or so. Which would be rather lovely.

This morning, I felt happy and unstressed for the first time in ages. Didn’t last very long – just a part of the walk on the way back from volunteering at parkrun on the ‘eath: usually I run up and down. Today I got the bus up and walked down. It takes ages to walk down if you’re not running home! Then I got down to the town, had to get sausages, spent five minutes on the phone to the bank while in the square, and it started to rain (if you complain about the fact that you’re being called ‘dear’ and ‘darling’ by the greeter, apparently they give you some cash to make you shut up. If you complain about the fact that you can’t send money via pingit, they spend at least four weeks failing to do anything about it. Arguably, the second one was more annoying – I was wanting to get cash quickly to a friend in need. When I finally upgrade the phone in three weeks, I’ll be installing the mobile banking app and being done with it).

But, on the heath, with enthusiastic dogs racing past, in the breeze, and without any rain, it was lovely and I was happy and unstressed and aware of it and zen. And the vile miasma of pong occasioned by so many runners assembling in one spot dissipated fairly quickly. It was, however, noteworthy. Albeit thankfully brief.

Now I’m feeling busy and not unhappy. It’s slightly different.  I have tea in a mug made for me by a Brownie on the centenary camp. I have visited some Brownies this week and retrieved roll mats (hurrah, finally, after 5 months) and been hugged by one of them who was *so* pleased to see me. I have socks in progress for N and N (nearly there on both) and I’ve realised that J’s booties need to be knitted pronto, as I’m seeing her at the weekend. Busy and OK. But not stress-free and happy.

I think I need to work on more opportunities for happy and unstressed. I suspect I’ll be a more pleasant person to spend time with generally if I do this.


40% of the way through War and Peace

I don’t like the war bits. The peace bits are rather fun. And the masonic stuff is intriguing.

This weekend has involved a lot of running, some morris dancing, and finishing off the bunting. I am so pleased that the bunting is no longer part of my life. I am going to learn how to say “no” to requests for knitting. There have been so many other things that I wanted to knit, and I’ve been grumpy and resentful that N’s socks, other N’s socks, J’s booties et al have had to be put on the back burner while a total of 16 flags were knitted, and 17 more flags got their ends sewn in. Plus, I am an unashamed yarn snob, and dislike knitting with unnatural fibres. Does look pretty though. And N was fabulous at helping string them up (and that helped the stress-grump levels).

I’ve suddenly decided that colouring-in is the best way to de-stress before bedtime. Apart from the fact that I don’t have a pink colouring pencil. My Caran D’Ache set is only 12 pencils wide (and one of those is white. Why?). I am hankering after something with a little more variety.  I have a colouring book from Tiger. It is agreeably bonkers in variety.

I’ve just finished reading Gaudy Night. Harriet finally, finally agrees to marry Peter. And I have the most terrific crush on him…Ian Carmichael plays him most beautifully on the radio, but I really don’t want to watch the TV adaptations. While David Suchet is Poirot, personified, I’m not sure about seeing Wimsey. I think I prefer to imagine. And the covers of the Petherbridge Series DVDs really do not inspire confidence.