Wednesday, 22 December 2010

An open letter...

Dear Car driver who knocked me off my bike,

Please forgive me for addressing you in such an impersonal way. I would love to be able to address this letter to you personally, but as you have failed to report our incident to the police, or admitted any involvement at all, i am forced to address you as i have.

How are you? I hope you are well, and looking forward to Christmas with your family. For your children, a joyful time, with, i expect much playing in the snow. Unfortunately, i am not able to play in the snow with my children, as i dare not take the risk of falling, and doing further injury to my back. But of course, i am sure that doesn't bother you, or cause you to lose any sleep at night. By the way, how do you sleep at night? better than me i hope. It is very hard to sleep with a broken back. You see, i cant move around much, i cant roll over or get into a comfortable sleeping position. But then, i would imagine it isn't easy to sleep with a guilty conscience either?

In case you have forgotten, we met on November 12th. I was cycling home, from the swimming pool, when you pulled along side me, in your car, and turned left, staright into my bike. Do you remember? I was wearing a fluorescent yellow jacket, a helmet and had lights on my bike, if it helps to jog your memory? Notice the somewhat ironic use of the word jog there? That is something i cant do at the moment. The doctors has assured me i should make a full recovery, but you never can be sure can you? anyway, where was i? oh yes. You turned left, straight into me? Do you remember? It must have made quite a noise as your car turned into my path and i slammed into the side of it. My head and shoulder hit your car quite hard, so hard i have pain down both sides of my neck still, and cant turn my head quickly to either side. I wonder, did my lights flash across your interior, as i fell to the ground behind your car? Do you remember the words you said to me, once i came round, lying on the cold wet ground, in agony as pain blossomed up my back? You said to me that you thought i had gone past. Do you remember? When i was able to mutter anything and pointed out to you that if i had gone past you wouldn't have hit me, your brother, or at least i assume it was him, told me off for cursing. I am sorry, does your God not permit me to swear? Is a shame then that your conscience does not allow you to tell the truth.
My back hurt. You cannot imagine how much my back hurt. But lying on the road, in pain, frightened and cold and wet, shaking in pain and shock, i just wanted to go home. i wanted to be safe. So i allowed myself to be picked up and you brought me home. Probably the last kindness you showed me. You brought me home, and you, your brother, my husband and my children helped me into the house, as i could barely walk. You said sorry, again and again, and then gave us your first name, and a phone number, and said if there was anything you could do to call. And then you left.

And that was, probably, as far as you were concerned, was the end of it. Except it wasnt, was it. why werent you prepared to admit what you had done? Why, when the police called you, and when i called you, did you deny it? Why did you tell us your name was one thing, and then answer the phone and tell us you were someone else? Are you ashamed? do you feel guilty? I am sure you felt that everything was fine. And nothing to do with you. Well, allow me to fill you in a little on what happened, after you drove off that friday night, slightly delaying your return home, because of what, i am sure you felt, was a minor inconvenience.

I should perhaps interject at this point in my letter and just tell you a little bit about me. I am Emma, i am a 39 year old mother of 2. I also happen to be a long distance triathlete. Is this relevant? i think so. I love my sport. It has given me a release, a social life, a network of friends, and more confidence and joy that you can probably imagine. In any given week, i will probably ride my bike, run or swim up to 3 or 4 times each. In fact, i had just completed a 2k swim session on the friday night we met. It had gone really well. I was feeling strong and fit, and was really looking forward to the off season, when i would get to ride my new mountain bike, and take part in some off road races, some adventure races, and some off road duathlons. I was also looking forward to getting some good solid base training in on the bike, as i was on the waiting list for ironman lanzarote, and was hopeful of a place. I am the captain of my traithlon club, and i also run with the local running club. I was signed up to do cross country with them this winter, which is always fun.
 In addition to my sport, i have 2 lovely happy active children. Right now they are spending the first part of the christmas holidays with their grandparents, as i am unable to look after them properly. In this weather they want to play in the snow, on their sledges, and i cant do that. Currently i am also not able to drive, so even if they were here, we would be stuck indoors. I have a job that i love. I cycle to work every day, and once there, i am a lab manager. This means i have quite an active job. I fix things, i carry things, and i work with some pretty awesome equipment. I work with huge magnets. Really big ones. I love my job.

But. Lets get back to Friday 12th November. When you left me, i was on the floor, unable to move or breathe properly. I just put it down to a bit of muscle spasm, but after 20 minutes of gas and air, the paramedics who had arrived thought that i ought to go to the hospital, just in case. They had trouble getting me up, and i had to take on so much entonox, i thought i was going to be sick. However, it helped, and i made it to the trolley, so the paramedics could get me to the waiting ambulance. The journey to the John Radcliffe, was fairly uneventful. Bless them, the ambulance guys were really sweet, even doing their best to avoid speed bumps, as they could see how much pain i was in. On arrival at the hospital, they put me in a cubicle, on an x-ray mattress on a trolley and bid me goodbye, as they had come to the end of their shifts. I want to say thank you to them here, if you don't mind. That was probably about 7.15, a mere 85 minutes after we met. I then spent nearly 4 hours, in my cubicle. Alone. They were very busy at the hospital, so no one came to check if i was ok, or if my pain was being managed. Unfortunately, the paramedics had forgotten to hand my the call button before they left, so i was unable to call for any assistance. I dont mind telling you, i did cry quite a lot. I was cold, wet and in pretty bad pain. Nothing life threatening, but it was pretty bad. The side of the trolley was up as well, so i couldn't even get off the bed. This wasn't such a big deal, until i realised i needed the loo. As i was alone, and the staff were so busy, i had to call my friend, who lived down the road. Bless her. She got her lovely daughter out of bed, so she could come to the hospital and help me go to the loo. What price friendship eh? At about 10pm, she managed to find a nurse to give me some pain relief, which was a blessing i can tell you. She then had to go home, taking her sleepy child with her. About 45 mins later, a doctor came to see me, who poked my back a bit and said i needed an x ray. The girls in x ray were lovely. Very gentle with me, even though they were busy, they took their time and were very understanding....and then, some time after 11, so really only 4 short hours after we first met, i was told i had broken my back. Incredible really. Apparently, when i hit the ground, behind your car, i hit it so hard that my pelvis tipped up and compressed one of my lumbar vertebrae. No wonder i was in such pain.

I spent the friday night on my trolley, in casualty. They were very busy you see, and had no beds anywhere. It was quite an eye opener, i can tell you. There were police, security men, drunks, people who had been punched, or glassed, all sorts of patients. So i spent a sleepless night in my cubicle, on a thin mattress, trying to get some rest and not move. As i am sure you can imagine, it wasnt a good night.

The next morning, i am taken to trauma, where i am fitted with a brace. It is a thing of beauty. I wish you could see it. The top of it goes across my sternum, then it goes around and down my sides, and there is a big bar across the front of my hips. And then it has a big flat plate that goes across my back. I have been told i have to wear it all the time, apart from when i am sleeping at night....It isnt very comfortable. A lot of the time, when i sit down, it rides up, into my armpits and digs in. After a spinal appointment, the week after the accident i am told i will be wearing it well into the new year.

I am then discharged, to go home. Still in pain. Since then i have taken painkillers, every day. Every single day. At first, i took codeine, but taking them meant i couldnt go to the loo. Eventually, when i did manage to go, the pain was unbearable. So i stopped taking it. It means the pain became less manageable, but at least i could go to the loo. For the first 4 days after the accident, my hip flexors were so sore, i couldnt manage to dress myself. I had to ask my husband to help my put my underwear on, as i was unable to lift my feet more than a few centimetres off the floor.

I havent been able to work since the accident. as i told you earlier, i love my job. Unfortunately i am not able to do it, so have been signed off since you knocked me off. Partly this is because i work with magnets, and my brace is made of metal, so is magnetic. But mostly it is because i cannot sit, or stand for much longer than half an hour at a time. I havent been able to concentrate much either. I have read a total of 3 books since we met, which is just not like me. I cannot walk very far, because my back starts to hurt too much, which has meant that i havent been able to take the children to and from school. I havent been able to go out and visit people, because i cant drive either, so am mostly housebound. I am reliant on my friends and family, visiting me and looking after me. And of course, i havent been able to do my beloved sport. My friends reassure me that i will be able to again, but sometimes i have bad days when i question that. The realisation of how much i have lost came with an email, telling me i had made it through the waiting list and got a place in the last Ironman Lanzarote. Nevermind. There will be others, i am sure, although this one is special. Lanzarote is probably the toughest ironman there is. I have been to Lanzarote for the past 2 years, training on the island, and am all booked up to go in March again. Another thing that i wont be able to do properly...

Those are the dark days. The days when no one visits and i am alone all day, unable to get out. The days when people are too afraid to touch or hug me, in case they hurt me more. In case their hugs or actions may cause me to end up in a wheelchair. The days when i get cross with my children because they are boisterous and energetic and i cant do anything with them, and i am frustrated. The bad days are the ones when i hurt all day. When my back aches so much i could just cry. When it is a beautiful day and i would love to be out, riding my bike, or running in the winter landscape.  When i remember that i cant. When i cant play with my kids, when i cant pick them up and dust them off if they are hurt, or crying. When i cant pull their sledges in the snow, or make snowmen with them, or have snowball fights...

And now it is nearly Christmas. We are going to Devon again. Normally i go for a run or a ride on Christmas morning, and take a swim in the sea on Boxing day. I wont be able to do that this year. I wont be able to help with the family dinner, whether it is laying the table, carrying food through or washing up, because i cant carry or stand for too long.
I wont be able to take advantage of the time off work to ride my bike, and train, as i normally do. To meet with my friends on New Years Day and welcome in the new year by riding in the fresh January air.

At the moment, and i hope you will forgive me for being a bit melodramatic now, but the night we met, November 12th, you ruined my life. It will get better, but right now, you have ruined it. And you have ruined my bike. It is a write off. My lovely bike was my first road bike, and i love it. And that too is ruined.

So, I guess i can close this letter, by wishing you a very merry Christmas. I hope you can sleep at night.

Cos i cant.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Bye bye beautiful puss cat.

As this is my attempt to fill in the gaps in my blog, i am working will start with saying goodbye.

We got Tori when she was 10 weeks old. Along with her brother Oscar, she was a little bundle of fluff and claws, who was frightened and timid and spent much of her time hiding in a cupboard. Whilst Oscar was, and still is black, Tori was the most beautiful tabby cat. She was a brown tabby, with big swirls on her sides, and a long stripy tail, and a pretty face. Her fur was thick and lustrous, and she was a very lovely cat.

Admittedly, she had her problems. she didnt cope well when we got Holly a few years later. and expressed her displeasure quite clearly...mostly by leaving puddles around. But slowly, over the years she adjusted, and settled down...

She would sit on the landing, looking out the window, chattering at the birds, and would then come down the stairs, and ask to be let out the front door, only to appear 2 minutes later having walked around to the back of the house...and come in the cat flap. I think she got most of her exercise this way! She would then walk back to the front door, and request it be opened. Again.

In later years, after Holly had died, she would come indoors and come upstairs to the bedroom, and get on the bed. She would miaow for attention, and if you ignored her, she would pat you with her paw...and demand it. For much of the time, she would sleep her days away, on our bed...

She was a lovely sweet cat, who was patient with the children, tolerating them and their childish affections. She rarely hunted....although she did once manage to bring a frog through the kitchen and into the hall by pushing at it until it jumped away. I dont remember her catching anything else, she was just too happy to sit and watch life go by.

In the last few months, she lost a lot of weight. Initially, this was no bad thing,,,,,as weighing in at over 11lbs at one point, the vet had advised a diet. But when she started to look thin, we took her to the vet, who diagnosed a thyroid problem. We gave her twice daily medication, but it didnt seem to be helping. Sadly, it seems that the thyroid problem masked another more serious condition, which, i am sure would have been picked up in due course, but when she went severely and suddenly downhill, it was clear that it was not going to be something from which she would recover. She came into the kitchen that last morning, a very different puss cat from the one i had said goodnight to the night before, and she asked me to help her. The last moments i spent with her were quiet and gentle. She knew the end was near, as did i, and she knew i was helping her. I sat with her, held her, and told her i loved her.

She was a good cat.

We still have Oscar, who at 12 1/2, like his sister, has started to slow down. He has spent the last few days indoors with me. Hiding from the cold and the snow, but also, i suspect, feeling a bit lost without his sister's companionship. We have found him a new friend, who we will be bringing home next week, a  little black and white 10 month old she cat called Calliste, who we hope he will like. And in turn, hope that she likes him. Our house seems odd with just one cat.....

Monday, 13 December 2010

For simplicity sake!

I want to buy a train ticket. nothing too glamorous. A ticket to take me from Oxford to Birmingham, on friday. Going onto a well known ticket website, tells me i can buy a single ticket for £21. However, if i go on 2 trains, getting off at banbury and then 2 minutes later, getting on another train to birmingham, i can save £6.50. But, how do i discover this? i have to go and price through each individual step. If i wanted to buy a return ticket, the website suggests, most helpfully, that 2 singles may be cheaper, but why can i not find the same information for a single outbound journey? I am not fussy, it wont take me that long to get to my end destination, i just dont want to spend more than i have to.....I want a cheapest journey option. I can have a direct/non direct option....but i cant find an option to give me the cheapest. Is it any wonder that people dont use the train any more? I like train travel. it is fun and exciting and a bit exotic to me...probably a sign that i dont do it very much....and with the difficulty i am having this morning? it is hardly suprising!!

hello dear readers

It feels like it has been a very long time since we caught up. which is a shame. As i type, i am sat up in bed, having been off work for the last 4 weeks..and not expecting to go back for another 4.....which is, suffice to say, a little tedious.....
My children are going to school, or should be. In fact i believe them to be procrastinating downstairs.....wending their merry way towards the christmas holidays.....only 4 1/2 days left...poor things are worn out, and over excited. a mix which is somewhat explosive at times....
The last few months have been interesting. If i was a better blogger, i would have updated at the time. Now i seem to end up with a million things to write about, dating right back to september.....which i should have blogged about, but havent. Maybe i will start with the most recent and work my way backwards...
saturday just gone: Saw a new cat.
Thursday last week: beautiful puss cat put to sleep :-(
12th November: Knocked off my bike and broke my back.
28th October: My birthday. my last one of my thirties...
22nd October: Tri club dinner, and a gift of tampax
September; Doula jobs :-)

There we go. bear with me, as i will endeavour to detail all of these things...and probably a few in between...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Shameless stealing...and a bit of mummy pride...

You can skip most of it....but make sure you read the middle bit :-)
Finn at BICS

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The times they are a changing.

The sparklers saw an illustration of an Overhead projector this morning. Apparently they asked daddy what it was.
Oh god. Suddenly i feel old.
But on the plus side, i have, according to the BHF website a 30 year old heart. Yay me!

I signed up for a race next year, and i have 3 cross country races booked for November. Fun? Hmmmm.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

The secret of my success....

i have got to thinking the past couple of days about success, and how we measure it. And indeed, can it be measured? i think it depends on what we are talking about. Success at work, in sport, in life......success as an individual or as a team. how do we quantify it?
I havent made the tri club shortlist for improver of the year. I am a bit gutted, but can quantify my success as so much more than this.
Looking across my life, i think, sometimes it is a small miracle that i have made it this far. As a depressive, sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning is a success for me, and for many others. To have made it to this point, without any major illnesses, no hospital admissions, no breaks of significant bones, no criminal record.....not too bad.;-)
in 3 weeks i will be 39. what successes can i count across the years? A difficult childhood, my mum dying when i was 9.....being, like many others a somewhat tormented teen, but making it through to my twenties....being fat, then slim, then fat, then slim, then well, what am i now? Muscular and athletic. I have had my heart broken along the way, and have broken a few too......i have been a bride, a wife, and now a mother. My children are strong and healthy, happy and settled......this year alone, i have run the london marathon, taken 11 % off last years ironman time, and have had the honour of being at the births of two beautiful healthy babies.I had a good holiday, where i managed not to have a single argument, and i have lost half a stone...

Is that a measure of success? since July 18th, i have felt a failure, mostly as a triathlete, but sometimes in other ways......but that has mostly been the knock on effect of my inability to train. After 50k on the bike in germany, my back seized. Since then, i have not been able to run, or ride. having gone from 15 hours a week training to nothing, i have been hell to live with. Grumpy and moody and just incredibly frustrated......

The past few weeks i have been seeing a chiropractor. I was sceptical at first about whether he could help me, but in the past 2 weeks i have been able to run, 4 times, with no pain. But cycling has eluded me.Why, i am not sure. But fear is a powerful de-motivator. having felt the unbearable pain in germany 3 times since i have been back, made me too scared to ride out, even for an hour or so.

but today i can measure my success in 4 simple words.

i rode my bike,

and it didnt hurt.

(ok, that is 8! :-) )

Friday, 10 September 2010

Challenge Roth. The aftermath.

Well, i did it. And yes, So did Chrissie. Her time of 8.19, was a new world record by 12 minutes. She is an incredible woman.An incredible athlete...and incredibly nice! She was there, at the finish, as FT and i crossed the finish line, chatting and smiling at people, and handing out medals. I think FT fell just a little bit in love that day. He, along with the rest of us, fell, just a tiny bit under the spell of Chrissie Wellington, triple world ironman champion, MBE, and all round lovely person. And he got a medal! Chrissie, in fact gave both the children medals. And they deserve theirs, as much as i deserve mine. Mine i earnt for achieving my goal, to complete my second IM distance race. They have put up with my distance, my absence, and my grumpiness, tiredness and general grouchiness that comes along with IM training. and W deserves one too. He has supported me, helped me, listened to me moan for months. And i couldnt do it without him.

So. what happened next? I crossed the finish line, and was enveloped in a huge hug, from my children, AND CW....i chatted with her, then headed the athletes arena to collect my stuff. Handing the kids over to S, i collect my finishers t shirt, and head into a marquee, full of people....eating, being massaged, milling around. I can only focus on one thing. i have to get my bags. Where are my bags? I cant find them, and i dont even know where to begin looking......

I approach a helpful looking chap, who, in near perfect english, asks if i need an ambulance. No, i need my bags. I am just tired, i just need to get my bags and sit down.Am i sure i dont need an ambulance? No, I am just really tired.

Suddenly, it is all just too much. The tears start rolling down my cheeks, and i lose the ability to stand. I dont need an ambulance. But it is very clear that i need help. And i need it now.

Now, have you been paying attention? Remember the water bottles? i have not, with the exception of a small handful of crisps, taken on any salts all day. I have been exercising, in 26 degree heat, in the blazing sun, in the wind, for nearly 15 hours, and my body has had enough.

i am helped by two attendants to the medical area, where it is quickly established that i am in dire need of electrolytes. Within 10 minutes, i am hooked up to a drip of Ringers solution, with added calcium. Within half an hour, i am feeling better. At this point, i realise that W is probably worried about me. i try and find someone with a phone that works. No phone appears to work. I cant get through to him. I am starting to stress. Suddenly a motherly looking woman appears, telling me a friend of w's is outside. It is S, who has, at W's request, come looking for me. After searching the marquee, he concludes i might just be in the medics area. Within 10 minutes i am reunited with my bags, my t shirt, and, more importantly, my phone. I manage to text W. It transpires that his phone was out of credit, so was unable to accept incoming calls. By the time he realises something is up, he has added funds to the phone, and we are able to speak.

After an hour, i am able to go. I find W and the sparklers fairly soon, and we return to the car. We are all tired, weary and hungry. But most of all happy. S and S have collected Ruby from T2 (thank you!) and i reluctantly relinquish my faithful, hard working (and still muddy) bike, back to the Berkshire fire service. She did me proud.

Heading back to the hotel, the kids fall asleep in the back. W, bless him,carries the 2 sleepy bodies to their beds, while i make my slow, painful way upstairs. I am hungry. SO hungry. and salty, in need of a shower. Except the shower in the hotel, is a bit...crap. So, a bath is in order. Which is fine, except it is a corner bath. which means i cant lie down. So, 21 hours after i first get up, i can be found, kneeling in 6 inches of warm water. Eating. Cheese. A whole packet of cheese. God i love cheese.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Challenge Roth July 18th 2010

The finish line in an ironman is a long way from the start. The race itself is a 2.4mile swim, a 112 mile bike followed by a 26.2 mile run..or a marathon in normal language. The journey of course begins several months before, with hours and hours of training. In the dark, in the wet, in the cold, and, ever so occasionally in warm, bright sunshine. Life stops. It becomes a bit neglected. the kids get up on the weekends, and i am not there. They go to bed after school, and i am not there. They go away for the weekend, and i cant go, because of training. Everything revolves around ironman; training or recovering from training, prepearing to train, eating to replace the calories burnt, or sleeping. SLEEPING......only to get up the next day and do it all again. In amongst all that, you have to try and work, and have some kind of life. It isnt easy. My family go through a lot, just for me to pursue some crazy dream.

For my family they havent just had to put up with this once. Challenge Roth was ironman number 2.....

The day before IM consists of last minute panicking, racking of bikes, checking checking and rechecking your kit. For me it involves driving to the swim start, only to remember i have forgotten my helmet, so we have to go home again to get it, and then try again.My lovely bike, which had only arrived the day before was left, shrouded in plastic, with 2000 other bikes, all different, all race ready and all very much loved by their owners. My bike lives in the house. To leave it in a field is a wrench, and i have to hope that she will still be there in the morning.
A supper of wild mushrooms and rice is follwed by an early bed, as my start is at 6.20 next i will have to get up and eat at around 3am. It hardly seems worth going to bed, as my sleep is not exactly restful, but sleep i do. I get up, accompanied, somewhat bleary eyed by W. He also has a long day ahead of him...looking after the sparklers.
I breakfast like a king. Or like a lamb to the slaughter maybe? either well, i eat a satisfying breakfast: Yes, this ironman ate chocolate spread and peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast!!!
I leave, feeling anxious, having said goodbye to W, knowing there is every chance that i wont see him, or the kids until 18 hours later.
Getting to the swim start, i find myself swept along with the lithe and fit. I stick out like a sore thumb. Firstly i am considerably more chubby than many of the athletes around me, and secondly, i am distinctly more female than a lot of them. Women dont so ironman. or so it would appear. THIS one does. Having got this far, i am hopeful of a good day, even if it is a long one. The plan for the day is simple. get through it, enjoy it, and cross the line in one piece. Under 15 hours. Simple. that means losing an hour and a half from last years time. Piece of cake :-)
The pros go at 6am. Chrissie Wellington has the weight of history and expectation on her shoulders. She won last year, and as the triple world IM champ, she has yet to lose an IM race. Last year she broke the world record. Will she do it again?

I would like to say i swam past Chrissie. It is true. i did. except she was on the return leg of the long swim to the bridge, and i was still making my slow way through the steaming water. An hour and 35mins pass, and i am out of the water. Slightly disappointed with my time, but had already started making inroads into the time i had to lose. 5 minutes on the swim. Into the change tent, to eb confronted by a lot of german bottoms. Saggy ones. Why did they send the veterans off before us? where were the lovely young lithe athletes? Wandering round transition mostly. Through T1, and off to find Ruby, my faithful steed, and companion for potentially then next 7 1/2 hours. As we leave, i hear my name shouted, a friend from the tri club....i wave and set off.

The bike is fine. Apart from my back going at 50k, a couple of hills....oh, and throwing my bottles of isotonice drink away before the first aid stop. i drank water from then on. Remember this. it becomes significant later.
 I look down at my speedo. I am through 70miles in 3 54. I have NEVER ridden so far in 4 hours before. It dawns on me that i could possibly do 6 15 on the bike. :Possibly. Chrissie comes past me, as i start my second lap, she flies past me, just a blur of red. I shout Go Chrissie, and carry on. Pain being the demon i carry with me always digs his heels firmly into my back. He is not letting go. My pelvis and lunbar spine are locked solid, and no amount of stretching or dropping out of the saddle will help. As the miles tick round i find myself begging for it to stop, and for the finish to come. Before i know it, it does...and i am helped from my bike. Ruby is taken away and i dont even get to pat her saddle and thank her. Again, she has done me proud.

I realise that pain has taken its toll on me, so am thrilled when i realise that the 15 hour deadline is within my sight. I have taken 57mins off last years bike time. If i walk the whole marathon, again, i might just make it. But i have to get going first. Into T2, i cannot take my shoes off. I am so tired, and so, so hungry. I have never got off the bike and been so hungry before. EVER. Eventually, when it feels like i have spent a week sat in the tent i get up and start the long road ahead of me. 26.2 miles await me, in searing heat and blazing sunshine.

And so it begins. The long march. My plan to run 5 minutes and walk 1 is already thrown out, as i cannot run at all. My back is so tight, i end up shuffling along. Within the first KM i see something to make my heart sing. My beautfiful children, there, by the road side with W. They have missed me at every turn until now, as my bike was faster than we all expected, so to see them now is heaven. I grab hold of the kids and dont want to let go, drawing strength and resolve from their embrace. I ask for some food, and am offered crisps. My salt levels are now so depleted that i wolf them down, and reluctantly say my goodbyes. 100yeards later i come across a small group of english girls, picnicing by the path. They shout my name, and i am again overwhelmed. I steal food from them, and carry on. Slowly, painfully the km pass. The pain demon does not like marathons. I feel him loosen his grip, and eventually i am able to lengthen my stride and run. and run. I run 200m, then walk 200m, each time, feeling that i can run again. The time, and the distance pass. I eat watermelon and banana, and wash it down with water. I eat a handful of jelly babies, from the berkshire fireman. Slowly slowly, i make my way closer to the finish, keeping an eye on the time, as it creeps ever closer to 15 hours, and the official deadline.

I run, eventually, through Roth itself, and past 2 of my fellow hotel guests. They stand and shout to me, and then they too are gone. suddently i pass the 41km mark. 1km left to go. At the rate i am now running this will take me just over 7 minutes. I have less than 10 minutes to go until i am done. I am tired. I am sore, and i know i am going to make it. Not just make it. I am going to blow it apart.

And so i run.

Challenge Roth 18th July 2010 14.47.12 :-)

Cobwebs and dust

 My blog is looking distinctly dusty and unloved. Have I a reason for my total lack of blogging for the last.......2 months? Um.......not really. As a friend says of himself, he is always full of good intentions....

Me too. Just they dont transpire to anything as useful as siting down and blogging! Still, here i am, bursting with hang on in there....this might take a while.

Before Roth
Now, where shall i begin? I had a big bust up with someone in Mid July, which left me very unhappy......details are, i am afraid going to remain sketchy, but suffice to say i will probably never stick my nose into a relationship break up EVER again. My idea of caring and concerned were interpreted as interfering and nosey, and i have learnt my lesson. It was a lesson that found me in a little heap (ok, actually, quite a big heap) sobbing on the floor, the weekend before Roth......questioning EVERYTHING?
NOT GOOD.After several texts and phone calls to other friends, (W and FG were away, so poor FT was left trying to console his mummy) my friends reassured me that no, i wasnt a bad person, nor was I a 'psycho lesbian wannabe bitch' (i paraphrase) and i was a good friend.

But, there has been an apology, so since then, the slow repair of bridges has been occurring, and i think we will get back to where we were before. The person involved knows that i love them to bits, and that i was trying to help....but i know my place.


So, you remember this Ironman thing i have been training for for months and months and months? Well, it happened on July 18th. It went well. I think :-) The journey to Roth was mostly uneventful...apart from the traffic jam on the autobahn.....which left us sweltering in the car for 3 hours, with a little girl who had been sick, and no idea of how much longer we were going to be sat still. If your sat nav tells you a 10 minute is LYING to you!

But we arrive at the most darling hotel in a little village near Roth. Absolutely charming with a beautiful bedroom...although the shower was crap....and there was NO fan or air con...but apart from that it was lovely. especially as it had a cherry tree in the garden..which was covered in fruit. And we were allowed to eat it! :-) We arrive on the thursday, Race was on the Sunday, and it was lovely to meet so many others who were doing the race too....leaving a couple of days for last minute prep. and for me that involved NO training. AT ALL....

I was described by someone as a recreational ironman though, which was a bit....annoying to say the least. Ironman, by its very nature is not the sort of thing you just rock up to and try to wing. It takes months of training..even for someone as sedate as me! So to then be called recreational was, i felt belittling to me and my achievements...and to all those BOTPers, who try really hard. I have a job, 2 kids, a family, hobbies OUTSIDE of triathlon......and i do my best!

Anyway. Roth. WOW. This town really embraces Triathlon. Driving in, we spot banners across the road....This place really gets behind the race, as the entire town becomes a part of it. The run course even goes through the middle of the town, where townsfolk sit outside and have parties and drink beer, celebrating and supporting the 2000 plus athletes who pour through the streets. It is AMAZING to be there.
The build up to the race is fine....apart from the fact that i discover it is a split transition. How did i not know this? The swim and bike start are in one place, and the bike end/run start are in another. I am such a wally! So, friday afternoon sees the four of us off in the car to find the swim start.....ah. did i mention the heat? no, obviously not. It is about 35 degrees celsius. We are melting, and i am in great fear of being able to race AT ALL, let alone in this heat.....Will my back hold out, will my nutrition plan, training, race plan come together? or will the stress of the last few days prove too much?

We find the swim start. It is a field. next to a canal. a very BIG canal. There in the hazy distance is a bridge. That i have to swim to. And back.Gulp.

Well, how hard can it be? As MC says to me on a regular is just a swim, then a bike, then a run...
Or if it was easy it would be called football. Both gems that regularly fall from his mouth. Neither of which offer any comfort at this time.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Its been a while.

Not for any particular reason. A lot has gone on in the past couple of weeks, that i have thought, ooh, i could blog about that, and then i dont get around to it.
Today though, i have been prompted by a friend, who pointed out i havent written anything for a while. So here is an entry.
Am not feeling particularly perky right now. Roth is next sunday, and i have reached the point where i feel like i cant be bothered. I am a bit tired, a bit weary and just fed up. The mooncup is enjoying another outing and i feel like crap.
I bloody hate tapering.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Difficult conversations to have with the kids.....

Sometimes you want to protect your children from the worst in this world. You try and cushion the news that is broadcast, or explain things in such a way that they understand, but arent to shocked or traumatised. Sometimes it is just too hard.
Some of the tougher things i have had to explain to my children are why Michael Jackson died. Why MY mum is dead..and subsequently, what is cancer. And then when will i die.....Afghanistan has come up, as has the oil crisis in the gulf of Mexico. All difficult and challenging issues for any parent.

We have had the period conversation with FG, and the mummy egg and daddy seed conversation with both of them. Our hands were forced the other day by the animal rights issue, thanks to the mum at school.

But what do you do when they see a news headline or news broadcast and want it explained?

Tonight, FT saw the news about Jon Venables.The catchy 'Bulger Killer on Child porn Charges' headline meant i was drawn into having to explain something i never ever wanted to. How to explain to an 8 year old, the horrors perpetrated by 2 boys, only 2 years older than him? How do you begin to explain even what Venables is back in prison for now?

Somethings just cant be explained. And i wish i wasnt put in the position where i have to try.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Unleashing the mummy monster.

Last night my cousin told me i 'held back' on my blog. I am not quite sure what he meant...maybe he thought i hadnt put enough of me into it. Hmmmmm. we shall see.

So. The tale of the veggie booklet continues. After my rant last night, i was feeling slightly calmer. A bit riled and indignant, but less blazing with fury. I enjoyed reading peoples comments on my facebook page, and was left feeling that i was right to go to school and make a complaint, and that being calm and level headed was a Good Thing.
I came downstairs this morning, fixed FG's packed lunch, and noticed a very subdued FT, not eating his cereal....pushing cereal around the bowl with his spoon.When asked what was up? I was told that ' X's mum told me that milk has pus in'
My calm exterior melted and the kraken was awakened. I went MAD. Trying to rein it in a bit, i said to him that did he really think that mummies would give milk to their babies if they thought it would harm them? Having breastfed him till 14 months, and then his sister till she was 2 1/2, i like to think i know what i am talking about....

I reminded him that if he EVER wanted to know ANYTHING about food, he was to ask me. 'You werent there though mummy' he said with a sad face. I know. But i am now.

And so off to school, to have words. I rode my bike round, because i was going straight to work, but i didnt put my shades on.....result being 2 great big fat tears rolling down my face when i get there, from the chill wind... I rock up and the school administrator is standing at the gate, as she does every morning, I ask to see the after school club leader. She isnt in. Can i see the Head then? All the teachers are in a meeting because Ofsted are in. DAMN! Just my luck....

She then asked, was i ok? I said no, i am which point the big fat tears turned into the real McCoy...I showed her the bloody booklet, and told her what had happened, and she immediately said right, come on, lets sort this.

Whilst waiting to see the school manager, i grabbed a couple of seconds to compose myself, and noticed a piece of FG's school work in the front entrance to school. About a visit from the fire brigade. Her writing is lovely, and i am very proud of her.....
The administrator came out and took me into see Mrs B. It would appear they had no idea and she was as shocked and horrified as i was. Apologising perfusely she said it would be sorted, and wanted me to be absolutely sure of that. She said the school would be taking it very seriously, and that they clearly needed to review their vetting policy. She was very angry with the parent in question, and said, on several occasions that the school is not a political arena, and the mother had had no right to behave in this way. She then, very sweetly went on to say that she had only really learnt about the reality of the meat industry when she was in her late teens, and the thought of it still upset her. So she understood absolutely how enraged i was feeling, and said it was entirely justified. I demanded an apology as well, and i sincerely hope that i will get one. She and the head will have a discussion, to talk about the best way to address this with the children who may have seen it. I shall be very interested to see what is decided upon.

After a good 20 minutes, before i left, Mrs B asked me very sweetly to avoid the parent in question. if i were to bump into her in the play ground.

Of course i promised......although the temptation to shove a piece of steak tartare down her scrawny opinionated neck is sooooo tempting......

Monday, 14 June 2010

When i want your opinion.....

I like to think i am a fairly laid back soul. I try and adopt a fairly laissez faire attitude at home with the children, about a whole range of things. I try not to cause fights over food, tv watching, bedtime etc. I like to think the kids know when to push and when is enough. Both W and i try to have a relaxed approach to our bodies, and bodily functions....and although it is hard for me, I am better about being negative about myself, cos i dont think this is good for them to hear. I also try very hard not to demonise anything, or anyone. I figure that everyone has a right to their own opinion, and i would welcome a debate with them, if it is something i maybe dont agree with. (there are exceptions to this rule.....There is a certain 'politician' who i will have no truck with whatsoever. And would quite happily see him and his racist 'party' take a long walk off a short pier..)
The one thing i really dont like is people shoving their opinion down my throats, especially when i havent asked. Still, as an adult i can tolerate even this.

However, i have been made exceptionally angry tonight, by the actions of a parent, of one of the kids in FT's class. She is a strict vegetarian, which is fine. I dont eat mammals, but do eat poultry and fish. (However, i would never say to you that i think you are cruel for eating bacon....)Apparently, she came to After school club today, bringing veggie food with her, and talking to the kids about vegetarianism. If i thought she was giving information to the kids in an open and unbiased way, then i really wouldnt mind. The kids have been doing projects on healthy eating, and good vegetarianism has its place. Sadly, this parent appears to think it is ok to bring in Animal Aid leaflets and give them out to our kids. I dont mind my kids being told about their diet options. However this leaflet is aimed at 'young veggies'. I suspect this means 10 plus.... It doesnt have any guidelines on it, or any warnings that it may contain graphic images or content. It innocuously features a picture of a cute happy looking piglet on the front, along with the very trendy suggestion to 'Be cool, not cruel!' On opening the leaflet, on page 3, one is confronted by  a picture of a cow, shot in the head, next to a paragraph about Animal Slaughter. A very much alive pig, alongside the paragraph on Animal suffering, and  further down pictures of bits of meat and animal carcasses. And all on page 3!
Turning the page we go onto the suffering of farmed animals, and then how are they killed? With graphic images of animals, and language that even i find upsetting.

I am a realist. I know people eat meat. I know it isnt all fluffy little lambs in meadows bedecked with buttercups, whilst chickens scratch in the earth searching for worms. I know this is not a genuine reality for every animal that may end up on the plate. Thank fully, so do my kids. We have talked about where meat comes from, although i have not gone into graphic detail about the precise nature of field to plate. They are only 6 and 8 for goodness sake. They still believe in Father Christmas.

How DARE this parent assume that she has the right to give out this material to my kids at school?

I will be having words.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Water thoughts

I love to swim. Sometimes in the pool, and sometimes in the lake. Occasionally in the sea. It doesn't really matter that much. I am a creature born of water it would appear. However, I definately have a place that i feel more comfortable in. In the pool, that is the second lane from the changing room side. Why? I dont know. i have no idea. This morning i had to swim in a different lane. Well, i didnt, but it was a different empty lane, or one with people in. At 7am on a thursday morning, when i have had a minor ruck about putting the bin out with W (sorry love!), a lab meeting at 8.30, and a hard swim set to empty lane is better. For all concerned.

So, this morning i swam in the lane but one closest to the window. This means i have to swim up the opposite side of the lane to the side i normally do. And it just didnt feel right. The water is no different, the lane ropes are the same, the only thing that is different is i am swimming with my left side closest to the lane rope, instead of my right. And i just dont like it. Like someone has taken my normal comfy swimming thing, and given it a little shove...a little nudge to the left.
I still did the swim, and i made it to the lab meeting in time, but it just felt ever so slightly off kilter. I dont imagine tonight will be much better, as i am heading to the lake....which is fine and dandy, but will be wearing my replacement Blue Seventy. I sent the Helix back, and will be wearing the second hand Synergie that i bought second hand on ebay. We shall see.

Talking of the normal world, but slightly off kilter, i had coffee with my lovely friend Dr L yesterday. She had some lovely good news, which is so exciting, but comes with a caveat. She is expecting identical twins....which is wonderful. But, like all twin pregnancies, not without its risks. So, instead of being delighted and happy, as she should be, she also has to reign it in, just in case. Her normal happy go lucky self is just ever so slightly tilted, shadowed with caution and fear.
If you are reading this sweet girl, hang on in there.....and grab onto the lane ropes if you need some support....

Monday, 7 June 2010

Scattergunning. Other wise known as spreading.

I have a bit of a bad habit. This is simply allowing myself to be spread a bit thin. I am better at saying NO than i used to, but still need to remember my needs and that of my family come first. I think someone once called it volunteeritis, where you have an inability to say no to anything, and end up doing half jobs on everything, simply because you feel you cant let anyone down.
Since taking up Ironman, i have learnt that this scattergun approach to life, running round leaving little bits of myself everywhere is impossible. It just cant be done. Or at least it cant be done with any semblance of dignity or satisfaction. You can please some of the people some of the time.....
For the most part, the house is mostly clean and tidy, usually a bit more of the latter than the former, but it is ok. Not sure Kim and Aggie would be best pleased, but it has a long way to slide before i see them knocking at the door. We all wear clean clothes which, mostly down to W are usually crease free. There is usually something tasty on the supper table (tonights was delish,..and even better NOT made by me :-). But some things do get neglected. I was reminded of this as i brushed the sparklers teeth this evening.

I got a text message. This, in itself is not an unusual thing! My phone is rarely from my side, and i have been known to send upwards of 1000 texts in a month. What was unusual was that it was completely unprompted and a lovely surprise. In my attempt to cover all the bases, when i am IM training, some things get neglected a bit. One of these is some of my friendships. If i have a friend who is more enthused about something than another currently, i will usually spend a little more time with that person. If someone wants to go for a bike ride i will do that. It is, i think human nature.
This means however, that i spend a lot of my time, feeling a bit like a rotten friend to the others, who i dont get to spend as much time with as i would like. So this text was a lovely surprise as it said that my friend also missed me, and that she looked forward to us spending more time together. (she also said i was a nicer person to be around this year, which i am relieved about)

Some of my friends i have leant on in the past few years more than maybe i should have. who have done their best for me, looked out for me and stood by me, perhaps when i would have thrown up my hands in disgust. It is to them i owe a duty of care, to try and spread myself less thinly, but with more care and attention, and to stand up and say to my friends i love you guys. That having you in my life makes me a better person, and i am honoured that you want me in yours. Thank you.

(If i havent put a picture up here of you and me. It isnt because i dont love you to bits. It is probably because i dont have one......this is something i aim to remedy!)

When will you make my doorbell ring?

I am waiting for the postman. Sat here at home, when i should be at work, waiting for my replacement wetsuit to come....I tore a hole in my beautiful, and very expensive Blue Seventy Helix. I am gutted. And unsure as to whether it will be replaced, repaired or just ruined forever. Have been in touch with the company i bought it from, in the hope that they can sort it. And in the meantime, i am sat at home, waiting for the postman to bring me a second hand Synergie...which is almost as good. but not quite.


Am in two minds about going into work today, or just taking the day off and going in on friday instead. Am i up for a 4 hour ride this afternoon. Hmmmmm.

Plus point: it isnt raining. Yet.But i think it is only a matter of time. On the other hand. I am knackered and dont know if i can be bothered. Am not in the right mindset today, asi was intending on going to work, but the later it gets, the less sense it makes.....

Sunday, 6 June 2010

There will be tears before bed time....

I have been somewhat erratic about taking my tablets recently. I have been on this particular drug for quite a long time now, at quite a high dose. And i have been rubbish at taking them. It isnt that i forget, or cant be bothered, i just dont seem to remember..and i feel ok for a few days, and then start to feel rubbish again, and then remember....

Yesterday was such a high day. I love marshalling at triathlons, absorbing the feeling of high energy, anticiaption and overwhelming excitement. Helping people achieve something they never thought they could achieve, even if it is something which i do with a relative amount of ease. Surrounded by my club mates, and introducing a good mate to triathlon, before he does his first. Seeing him alive with the atmosphere was a real priviledge, and a memory i will treasure.

But today, i feel sad and flat.  I should take my tablets and go and collect the new set of pills, but it feels a bit pointless right now. Which is a symptom of the disease, and not really the way i feel. I am tired and needing sleep. My beautiful children are home again, and W is coming back. All is good with the world.

But there will be tears..

and they will be mine.....:-(

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Overheard, whilst lying in the bath.

It has been a hot and tiring day. Lying in a cool bath, with bubbles popping gently on my skin.......the window is open, and i hear voices from the garden behind.

Billy! Stop feeding your brother to the dog. You know how it upsets his bowels.

At least. I think that is what she said. Maybe i had soap in my ears at the time.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Bins in the ladies and things

It is very quiet at Maison Sparkly. The small sparklers are staying with their Nanna and Danna, in Devon. Thank god for grandparents! They are due back on sunday....and i await, with bated breathe, to hear which crisis has been narrowly avoided.

This time last year, i got a somewhat frantic phone call from Nanna...after she had been forced to tell  FG what the bin in the ladies toilet was for.....Previously, she had asked me about the paper bags, but i guess she figured she would test Nanna this time. Being a mother to 4 boys, i am guessing that Nanna had never found herself in this situation before. After trying to bat FG off with some feeble answer, which was roundly rejected..she had to explain about...shhhhhhh....periods. Fortunately the sparklers had already been briefed on mummy egg and daddy seed, so when poor Nanna got to the end of her long explaination, FG's response was, oh, ok then. Am somewhat worried that having spent a week sharing a bedroom with her rapidly devoloping brother, FG is going to come home, asking about masturbation. Wonder if i can leave that one for Danna. Or daddy ;-)

I have missed them. We took them to devon on sunday, and on monday spent the morning on the beach. We had found somewhat randomly, cheap wetsuits in Leigh Delamere services. (2 questions. Firstly, who names these bloody places? and 2, who decides what they sell, because it is wierd! Wetsuits, garden chairs and giant cuddly dogs seem to be the order of the day!), So once on the beach, after i had disappeared into the churning water, surrounded by surfers, ( Do you have any idea how far you have to swim in North Devon to find a patch of sea without surfers in? It is quite a long way. But diving into the waves that they are trying to catch is awesome!) the sparklers both managed to convince daddy that wakeboards were the order of the day. (I called them surfboards, but was thoroughly chastised!)

So, i emerge from the sea, to find two small and very happy kids.........if not a little cold!

Since we have been home, we have been so busy. I am not actually sure we can find time for the two sparklers to come home! Tuesday i saw the most adorable wee girl, N, who was born on 10th May. After a tense few weeks for her mummy and daddy, she is home. And i spent two hours cuddling her. I dont want anymore kids, but just occasionally, i feel a pang, when i smell their lovely milky smell and hold their tiny hands.

Wednesday we saw Ironman 2. This is what most people think you are talking about when you mention Ironman. I consider it my duty to reeducate the world :-)
And then we had pizza. Oh boy, was it yummy. and i had too much wine. Well, it doesnt hurt now and again.

But i MUST stop telling the kids that wine makes mummy clever. They both know perfectly well it makes mummy snore. And fall asleep on the sofa. Sigh. My secrets are out.

Last night was a lovely ride/swim/ride combo. Which would have been great. Apart from the 4 inch gash i now have in my wetsuit. I am hoping the nice people at BlueSeventy will pity me and change it for a new one,. If they dont..i can knock any plans for an ereader on the head!

And then today. Nearly 50 miles on the bike, followed by a run, in beautiful sunshine, through rolling countryside, with an aerial display by a Red Kite. STUNNING! I nearly gave myself a crick in the neck watching it, but then, that would have countered the ache i had from riding on the aerobars i suppose.

And now. As i sit, there is a strange piece of plastic, or rather, according to the literature, medical grade silicon, boiling on the stove. I have bought a mooncup. Which will confuse FG even more. I want to be there when she asks Nanna about this one :-)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

You only get one shot so make it count

I am not, by an large, a fan of manufactured pop. However, this line, from manufactured pop band JLS, struck me as appropriate.
On Sunday morning, i sat in the garden, with a friend D, putting the world to rights. She drank water, and i drank tea. Lots of it. The subject of Ironman came up. And i began to try and explain why i do it. In much the same way as mountain climbers feel a need to climb the biggest, hardest or most challenging peaks, i guess the answer comes down to because i can. Because it is there. Because life is too short for dull underwear. Because, just occasionally, something happens that turns your world upside down, and you might never get this moment again. Every day is a day to celebrate being alive. For me, it is a day that i feel i have to make the most of, for my sake and that of my mum. She didn't get the chances that i have. So i push and push. I make my body do stuff it doesn't want to. I make my mind twist and turn inside out. Because sometimes it feels that to settle for anything less is cheating. My sister said to be life is too short to be miserable. She is of course, absolutely right. Do i push my body to its physical limits, and my mind till it hurts as a mask for being miserable? Who knows.

A tri mate of mine, TW, died doing a race on Sunday. Pushing his body to the limits, it just couldn't take any more. As triathletes, we accept a degree of danger, when we ride and train. Acknowledging the fact that we might have an accident whilst riding our bikes. But we don't expect our bodies to just give up on us. But sometimes, i guess we can only push so far, so hard and so fast for so long. I came home from work yesterday and decided i needed to ride. Hard. So i pushed myself on the bike. i was doing 27mph on the flat at one point. Which is nothing for some people, but is getting on for nearly double my normal average pace. I felt it was a fitting tribute to TW. To make the most of the moment; the evening sunshine; being fit and being alive. I sincerely hope he would have approved.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

would it be cheating...

to add one more? Not a self portrait, but one taken by W, of me and the sparklers. Again, last year on holiday. We were in a relatively posh restaurant, being treated by the grand folk. The kids are at the age where certain things are funny. Farts? Of course. Burps? quite possibly...and now....Bunny Ears.

Self Portrait.

Over on Tara's blog, she is running a gallery of photographs. This weeks subject is self portrait. I hate having my photo taken. I always look rubbish in pictures, unless, bizarrely enough, i have taken them. Maybe it is to do with the person behind the camera, i dont know. Maybe it is because i can be much more critical of my own photographs, whereas those taken by other people i kind of feel i cant really make a judgement on. Often the pictures they like, i hate. But, there are some photos of me that i do like. here are a couple.

This one was taken by me, on my phone, just after having had my hair done again. It was this colour for about 6 months last year. I love it. A friend told me it was the worst photo of my he had ever seen. I think he was being unduly harsh.

By rights, this photo should go into the 'this is awful' category, but i kind of like it. Why should i hate it? well, look at it. The fat, i mean. It is horrible. i have rolls! <shudder> But actually, i really like this picture. I am happy, i am laughing....i am having a wee. ;-) Taken in the south of france last summer, by W. Admittedly, it isnt a hugely flattering photo, but i think it is a natural, relaxed and happy photo. Maybe i need to learn that that is more important.

My final photo. Taken by FG a few weeks ago, at a family party. Looking happy, relaxed and, possibly a little bit tipsy. Dressed up, but still a bit eccentric.

So, there we have it. 3 totally random photos of me. This is my legacy that i hope to leave my kids. That mummy was a bit different, a bit mad, but, mostly enjoyed her life.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Piss the bed...

I am confined to my house by my boss. I have the lurgy and it is rubbish. Started on sunday and i have finally conceeded defeat and called in sick. Only cos i knew if i went to work she would send me home again. We had a nice chat. The woman is a workaholic. She is supposed to be on holiday next week. She wont be. Crazy lady!
So, having lain in my bed all morning i thought i would get up. Only to lay in the bath a while. I hate being off work sick. Especially when i dont even feel that bad! felt MUCH worse yesterday. I always feel like i am swinging the lead a bit. Or taking the piss indeed.....But i guess having a headache that makes your vision go fuzzy might not be a good thing? My peripheral vision is to be quite precise a bit rubbish.

So not only am i banned from work, coach has banned me from training too. Arse.

So i am stuck as to what to do. I could go to the DIY store and buy some compost but that feels even more like taking the piss, so it might be an afternoon of crapola tv and ironing......or sleep.
IN the meantime, i have just come in from hanging out the washing. Now, W is a good man...he makes a decent cup of team but i have to say, his talents do not extend to the garden. In particular the mowing thereof. So much so, that i am considering mowing the lawn this afternoon. With this thought in mind i decided somwething had to be done about the dandelions. Not only are they rampaging across my lawn, but now the blighters are setting seed!FG thought our newly planted salad leaves would be happy to have a showering of dandelion i had to remove the seeds from the beds...and yes i KNOW you can eat dandelion, but getting the kids to eat salad at all would be a mitracle..but getting them to eat anything that resembled a weed would be nigh on impossible. So i have just spent ten minutes crawling/ walking in a squatty stylee dead heading dandelion bloody clocks into a plastic tesco bag, so that i can then mow the lawn. Or at least suggest to W that he might.

Damn i wish i was at work.

Monday, 10 May 2010

I dont believe you.

If someone you knew, who had a dysfunctional relationship with food, and a slightly obsessive nature had said to you, dont bother about cooking for me, i ate a big lunch. would you believe them?

No. Me neither.

When is a chav not a chav?

I got called a Chav on saturday, by a man in his mid 50's. In a car park. This was clearly the basest insult he could think of. And all over a parking space.

Picture, if you would, a car park, out the edges of the centre of Oxford, if that makes sense. It is saturday lunch time. The car park, is, predictably full. I enter the car park, as there are no useful signs saying FULL, and decide to try my luck, as this one does have a fairly high turnover. There are two cars in front of me, the lead one is a silver 4x4, and the male passenger is not in the car, but is obviously on space guarding duty. A woman approaches her car, which is parked close to where i am waiting. I reverse a little, but think better of it, figuring that i should wait my turn..stealing a space when i am 3rd in a queue is churlish and naughty. Silver 4x4 see's the woman approaching the car, so turns round pulls up alongside me and indicates. Ahead, another space becomes available, so car 2 moves. This, i figure puts me next in line. So i wait a bit longer, answering the kids as to why we are just sat here....when i see a man, approach his car, and get in it, and reverse out of a space. BINGO!

So, i move around the car park to the newly available space, when lo, who should appear in it but male passenger from the 4x4! i gesticulate, and, opening my window, politely ask him to move. He then says, but we have been waiting the longest, we have been here for ages etc etc etc. I then point out to him that he had made the move on the first space that came available. It transpired, although i hadnt seen, that the owner of the original car, had approached her car, chucked her shopping bags in, and walked away again. I pointed out to him that that was not my fault, and that he or rather his partner had made the decision to go for that space, at which point he got all stroppy, stormed off and shouted 'I hope you have a happy life' To which i said, oh i will, thank you! Sweetly, of course.

Parked the car, and proceeded to walk across the car park to get my ticket. At which point, silver 4x4 came driving towards me, VERY aggressively. The man was now in the passenger seat again, and they were both clearly very agitated. He opened his window and yelled at me, and called me a chav! I approached the now stationary vehicle and looked at him and i asked 'why was i a chav? Oh, the piercings, of course! Well, i might be a chav, but i also had a job at Oxford university....'
'Oh really? what in?'
'Cardiac metabolism, actually.Tell me,' i said, ' If you had been in the queue in Tesco, (ah, this clearly gave the game away, i was a Chav after all! Should have said waitrose!) and you realised you had forgotten to buy eggs, and had gone, with your trolley to get them, would you expect me to wait for you to return?' I tried to explain that as far as i was concerned they had given up their 'right' at the head of the queue, when they chose to chase up the first space. The fact that its occupant didn't leave, was not actually my fault.
  'Still,' i said, 'you are setting a fine example for my children'
'Your children? They aren't here, are they?'
'No, i said. They are in my car. in MY parking space.'

Smiling sweetly i continued on my merry way, whilst they drove off. Chunterring and revving their engine. Agressively.

I dont think he actually realised i was nearly 40. Should i actually take it as a compliment?

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Falling on deaf ears

My dad used to have a Gary Larson cartoon, of a man and his dog. The man is jabbering away to the dog, and the speech bubble about the dogs head is just full of squiggles and stars. The caption of the cartoon was what we say and what they hear. I feel a bit like that. A lot of the time.
The kids, especially FT seem to suffer from selective deafness. I have been led to believe this is natural. So, in a given conversation i might say it is time for dinner, turn off the tv. All they hear is TV dinner. How does that work!? Or can you get out of bed please, it is time to get up, and they hear the get your lazy ass out of your pit and get to it NOW. Which isnt what i said at all. Interestingly though. If i say come on, we are going for a walk, and we might get some ice cream..all they hear is ICE CREAM. Totally bypassing anything else.....of course, the solution to that one is to make them walk miles for said ice cream. But that does have an annoying habit of backfiring.

No, the deafness i refer to is more profound. It is the one where you sit in the car, and in a break in general arguing ans shouting i make a comment. There is a further pregnant pause, and the screaming carries on. Maybe i imagined i said it? Did i just say it in my head or did i mouth the words and nothing came out? Sometimes this happens with trivial things, like asking someone to put a cup in the dishwasher, instead of next to it, but other times it can be important stuff. Stuff that means something.

Today is the anniversary of mummy's death. She died 29 years ago. How many lifetimes have passed by, with no one noticing? How many tears have i shed, in the intervening years since she passed away, and how many have been wiped away, with a proffered tissue, by a loving hand? The sad truth is very few. And so, i spend another lonely day, musing to myself about how i am a special and valued person. When in fact i feel like i am standing on one side of a sheet of sound proofed glass......screaming and begging for someone to hear what i am saying..but all they hear is a series of squiggles and stars.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Spring is sprung!

And the ground is a carpet of least the woods are. I took this last night, whilst out on my bike. My first longer-than-a-commute ride since London. Was lovely, but my legs are sore today...and i really should remember to take my non tinted glasses with me. A choice between flies in the eyes, and not being able to see cos it is too dark is not really a choice at all..i ran the fly gauntlet. Only got caught once too.....

This was out near Cuddesdon. I have discovered so many beautiful parts of Oxfordshire, so close to home. Like the field of pale lilac poppies near Great Haseley, last year in September. Or the sunflowers. I have discovered that by going out and getting lost we can come so much nearer to finding ourselves.

Time for some pics maybe.

Me, after 3 hours in a hair salon!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Continuing my musings post marathon, i remembered something vaguely amusing..but most definitely strange.
I have over the years had issues with going in public. You know. Letting go when there is someone next door. And they can hear you. What i suffer from is PUI. Public Urination Issues. It isn't just peeing either. Number twos are Out of the question. Even in my own home if there is a guest in the house (yeah, OK. i admit it. i am a wierdo).

Peeing in a wetsuit is different. We all do it. Sometimes it is the only way to get warm. And peeing in front of the husband/kids is not such a problem. Nor is peeing in front of a sibling..though i might draw the line at my little brother....who is 6ft tall now.I have, to the shock of my daughter, been known to pee in the bath in cases of dire need; like when she is on the loo and messing about and i am SO desperate it is perch on the edge of the bath or burst.

In Lanzarote last year, a friend of mine came face to face with my PUI, when i finally conceded that i just had to go, half way around a 180km bike ride. She has no such issues, and can just go on the side of the road. Me? i had to dismount the bike, run across the road, hop over a wall and then ensure that i couldn't be seen by ANYONE, least of all the NASA space satellite orbiting 5 miles up.......then, and only then could i go. Such blessed relief.

So why is this relevant, post marathon? In the start areas were the usual loos. and the usual queues. There were also tented areas for the men to go to their urinals and pee. And this is the first time i have ever come across female urinals. Manned, or should that be womanned by a slightly embarrassed young lady, i went in..more out of morbid curiosity than dire need. I was handed one of these , a small sliver of cardboard that unfolded. The idea being, clearly that you stand up, put this between your legs and use it to direct the flow of urine into the urinal. Knowing me, and my PUI there was NO WAY i was going to master this.....not without feeling the burning shame of everyone around me....and probably getting wet feet.

In a sudden and unusual display of balls (or not) i took the more lady like approach. And squatted. Along side several other ladies. And we joked about the small cardboard willy things. Has my PUI been cured? I don't know....but at least i didn't get pee feet :-)

Oh, and one more thing.

ON the kit list letter that came home with small boy before Cubs was the usual stuff, socks, pants, comb, etc etc. One word was written in bold and underlined. SOAP

Small boy came back WITHOUT his coat. but with a brand new UNOPENED packet of soap. I mean, come on. 19 cubs, how many bars of soap do they need. Especially when over half were of the male variety of the species!?

As my dad used to say to my brother, next time you have a wash, stand a bit closer to the flannel.

Okay..maybe i should explain....

Why it is now May 4th, and 9 days have passed since the marathon and i have only now got round to blogging about it. Monday and Tuesday of last week were spent in a haze of tiredness, blister popping (eewch....but kinda satisfying too)and walking down the stairs backwards. Any time when i wasnt working or sleeping was, quite frankly, wasted.

Tuesday evening (i think) was spent kitting out FT for a cub camp. We went to the camping shop and bought him: new shoes.....nice sort of walking/offroad shoes, made by Hi tec. he declares them very comfy, and now refuses to remove them from his feet. A new jacket. This was to replace the previous one which he has partly grown out of, and partly destroyed. People warned me about how destructive boys were, and how they were 'hard' on their clothes. I laughed, nay, i my good well behaved son came home with perfectly intact, my son destroys shoes and school coats. What else? two pairs of trousers with 'zippy offy' legs. These are great, very useful and hopefully tough and hard wearing. The only issue being perhaps, that i have to label them LEFT and RIGHT otherwise we will get into a state.....or he will do what i have done, with my nice expensive cycling/running jacket with the zippy offy arms....i have lost the main body. And two arms/legs are not a lot of use without the main bit to zip them to.

Wednesday evening i went for a swim. Most of my leg stiffness was gone. Or at least i thought it was. Until i tried to get into the pool. My graceful entry was not what it should have been. IN other words, dear reader, i fell in. In front of several members of my tri club, who did, at least have the decency not to piss themselves laughing....or at least no more than they normally do at me.....

Thursday evening consisted of rushing home from work, shoving all of FT's new and labelled stuff into a rucksack and shoving him out the door to cubs, and then hot footing it to the running club....where several of us were comparing blisters, missing toenails, (still only 2 at this point) and then going out for a short gallop. Mine was about 5k, and that was PLENTY :-) Home quite early and then i suspect as per usual with me, falling into bed and snoring....

Friday, i spent being beautified. It takes 3 hours to do my hair. But it is fab when it is done. When i get around tuit, i will upload some pics, but as you have probably noticed by now, round or even square tuits are in short supply around here.
Off loaded Small boy to cub camp. With nice shiny coat. (remember the shiny coat).
Made big fuss of FG who was now the sole child at home, and so, could, in theory have her way with whatever she wanted....which in this case, involved getting up at stupid o'clock (5am)to go to May morning with Daddy....

Whilst i stayed in bed till 6.45 before getting up and venturing into our nice shiny new lake for the first open water swim on the season. It was nice. Not too cold, once you had been in for a while.....did 2 laps and several pees, which was great ;-) There is something oddly satisfying about peeing in a cold lake.....
The rest of the day passed in a haze of shopping, offloading FG for a sleepover and going to a gig...(the Levellers..they were ok....not as good as last time, but they did play Devil went down to Georgia, so they are FORGIVEN)

Sunday morning we have EJW christening followed by what i had assumed was going to be tea and cake....Sunday was also our wedding anniversary, so we were planning on going to the christening, then to a pub for lunch. But no need. After the service we all retreated to the local community centre to a feast for a king. And Pimms. Lots of pimms. and wine. Mmmmmmmmmm too much wine. I made some nice new friends, got reunited with someone i hadnt seen for a while and drank TOO MUCH WINE! Fell asleep in the car, then for 4 hours at home.......ate chicken, and enjoyed watching Lewis...with a glimpse of FG at about 7 mins in. After that, went to bed!

YESTERDAY! Phew, nearly at the end! Hang on in there......

Got up, coach Jo arrived, looking like she had been blown from here to there and back again.....warmed her up a bit, fed her, had a good meerkat session, before she got back on the mighty two wheeled steed, and we headed off to collect camp boy. (i mean a boy who has been at camp, rather than a small 8 year old doing John Inman impressions..) Collect small boy. Bring him home. Unpack his bag.

Small boy is missing a towel. the top part of the zippy offy trousers.

And his new coat.


Tired legs. 3 cracking blisters, 3 missing toenails and a HUGE smile.

Nuff said :-)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Leading up to london!

Well. it has been a few days! Weekend started last thursday really. with another accupuncture session. Am not sure it works......some of the points JB chose were REALLY painful :-( Is just one of those things. I dont know if it actually works, or if it placebo effect or something..but anyway. I might go back..though he is a bit bonkers...and seems to have an unhealthy interest in mucus....and not from my nose of mouth!!!! ;-)
Little run thursday evening, gave the legs a gentle work out, all of about 3 miles....felt good. Aimed to run about 10 min/miles....ran the measured mile along the road. Watch said 9.58.59 :-) That will do.

Friday i took the train to London and met Tory boy..who took me to the excel centre to get my stuff. Long story short. Got to excel, after listening to him ranting about how much he earns and the government. Much as i love him, i had forgotten what a tory he is. Sigh. Still...deep down he is ok ;-) Got number and goody bag, which contained a can of London pride :-)

Went for a mooch around london, including crossing the millenium bridge, which is one of my favourite places....drank wine, then went to hotel and crashed out....

Saturday..bit more mooching then met lovely CB for wine and gossip. Spent the day laying in Lincolns Inn fields...was very peaceful till the Capoeira lot turned up. Just when we were sniggering and taking the piss, the kick boxes in their fancy pants arrived, and destroyed our peace and quiet with all the huffing and puffing and grunting and stuff..... Sigh.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

As mad as a bag......

This sunday i am running the London Marathon. Not my first marathon, but my first London, and most definately my worst prepared for marathon. Have done loads and loads of biking, but running has been a bit...fraught. As such have been officially grounded since last sunday. And no volcanic ash in sight....

I have been slowly but surely going around the twist..(anyone remember that kids tv program round the twist? was vaguely amusing) Anyway. Tapering is hell. It is official. Your body is tired, so you sleep. Your body is hungry so you feed not only are you NOT training as much, but you are still eating loads. Net result. FAT. Great. Isnt it enough that i have to run with 32F boobs, without the rest of me wobbling along behind?
I was described as a large runner the other day. I was a bit miffed. In fact, a lot miffed. But then my friend LJ complimented me today, whilst he was rubbing my legs, telling me he thought i had a lovely figure (i was paying him to do so....the leg rubbing, not the compliments, they were free :-) and then at the pool tonight, a girl friend, VP made me cry, by telling me if she wanted to speak to anyone about motivation, she would come to me!

So, after an hour of mostly arsing around in the pool, with a bit of aqua jogging thrown in, a nice massage and a cup of tea..i am feeling slightly less mad..and more looking forward to the marathon. Even if only because i was to get into my ironman training properly. Cue more madness. Lots of it. And IM madness is much much worse :-)

Political Volcanic Ash

Ok. I am not a great one for politics. As far as i can see, they all give with one hand, take away with the other and at the end of it all, it just comes down to who has the ability to take the insults the best. Anyway, this morning a Tory politician is being interviewed on the beeb, about the decision to reopen airspace and allow flights to take off and land again. There she was, laying into the government, about how they acted in haste, shutting down airspace, based on evidence which was now proven to be wrong. Now, excuse me if i appear to come across as a labour supporter here, which is not the case, but if a plane had flown, into the ash cloud, and crashed, the government would have been lynched for not grounding everything. So, they ground everything, based on the best available advice, and now they are being accused of jumping the gun and over reacting. Well, you are damned if you do, and you are damned if you dont.
Rant over.

Am reading a Mark Billingham book at the moment. Called Blood Line. havent read much, but is quite good.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Cat f***ed off...

Magic hands lady stroked my poorly legs this evening. Oooooh It felt good. And supper was a hit. Herby crusted Chicken with roasted veg. Even the little sparklers ate AND enjoyed it. Now if they would go to bed!!!! Sadly, we are reduced, again to a shouting match, followed by uncontrollable tantrums. What do you do with an 8 year old boy who has issues.....mostly issues that mean his parents want to scream and shout and throw uncontrollable tantrums!

Today was mostly brought to you, by several cups of tea,accompanied by the Ironman 2 soundtrack. :-)

Day one. Rang Bell

Went to the bookshop at lunchtime, and asked them if they had a big book of names......where i could look up my current author du jour, and find others i might like. They didn't. So i thought i would do my own. This is my attempt to do just that. And i might put some other stuff here too. Like music i like. Or films. Or blogs. Or just stuff.

My favourite food right now is bagels. Caremelised onion ones. With cream cheese and smoked trout. Yummy. Try it. You might like it.