Monthly Archives: January 2015

Writing, Dieting and Exorcise

I have organised my day so that I have half an hour to spare before breakfast. More if I can drag myself out of bed earlier. I’ve made sure this is spare time, so no housework, no work, no facebook. The purpose was to take a walk every morning to improve my fitness and hopefully lose weight. After two weeks my legs stopped aching, but I’m waking up with a headache and I’ve gained 2lbs in weight. My sister reckons tree pollen in the park is causing my headaches but I’m not sure if that can happen in winter. My mum says the 2lbs is just fat turning to muscle, her previous theories about puppy fat doesn’t work anymore because I’m getting too old.

I didn’t go for a walk on Sunday as that meant getting dressed and I was very cosy on my PJs, so I laboriously wrote 500 words of a short story. Over the course of the day my headache disappeared and I didn’t appear to gain any more weight. This morning I erased the 500 words and laboriously wrote another 500 words. Tomorrow I shall probably repeat this chain of events.

I could spend the extra half an hour catching up on my beauty sleep as my other two activities appear to be fruitless if I wasn’t being haunted. It’s the usual stuff, creaking floorboards, rattling pipes, doors banging in the night and the occasional groan. I fear an exorcism would have no effect as these manifestations are not caused by any spectral visitation but by my insomniac relatives. Then again…

ghost funny

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Tea Rooms and Rickshaws

A few weeks ago I was in London and took the opportunity to do a little shopping down Oxford Street. I was hoping to grab some end of sale bargains. I didn’t find anything but I did enjoy my afternoon. There is something quirky about London which makes it so very different from other cities I’ve visited, or maybe I’m just biased because I love it so much.

I saw my first London rickshaw, although they’ve been around for a while, coming down South Molton Street (pedestrian zone) carrying two women and it was a near collision between them and me and my mothers wheelchair. The driver skillfully dodged us. There were more parked at the end of the street. Rickshaws have increased in numbers over the past few years but regulations governing them are a bit sketchy. In fact they appear to be a law unto their selves. They look fun and there is something enticing about ignoring traffic regulations. Its not something I would ever travel in though after a near death experience with a rickshaw in Paris.

Paris has an unusual public transport system. You can’t just hop on a bus and pay, you have to buy a book of tickets which you can use on any public transport. Anyone I have spoken to who has used Le Metro has been mugged so that was a definite no go. You can’t flag down a taxi, it has to be pre-booked, you can’t book a taxi from a hotel unless you are a resident. The best way to see the sights is by riverboat. A ticket lets you ride the boat all day as much as you like which is fine if you want to be near Le Seine. Walking through a park we saw some rickshaws, tired, hungry and wet from the steady drizzle which had started I bundle our party of three adults and two children into two rickshaws thinking a nice ride through the park preferable to trudging the rest of the way. Much to my surprise the drivers turned out of the park and onto the main four lane carriageway which runs through the centre of Paris along Le Seine, a road my father an experienced taxi driver will not drive down, and positioned themselves in the central lanes. It was rush hour, the rain started to pour in earnest, horns were blaring all around us and Le Seine was beckoning to the right of us. I clung to the two children while our driver seemed oblivious to the torrential weather and maddened cars surrounding us. We arrived safely at our destination, I gave the drivers a hefty tip and told the children never, ever to tell their parents.

Londons roads are nowhere near as hectic as Paris and public transport is pretty easy to cope with and safe, although I wouldn’t recommend travelling on a bus with any luggage or large bags there just isn’t the space. After our near collision and my Parisian flashback I decided it was time for cake and coffee.

As it was 5.30pm we ended up on House of Fraser as most individual coffee shops were closing and the restaurants weren’t open yet. The Tea Terrace on the 5th floor was still open for tea and cakes, any hot food and coffee finished at 4.30pm. We nestled ourselves in to a cosy corner in a couple of chintz armchairs big enough for two people. The table was covered with a lace cloth, the tea arrived on a tray in a huge floral patterned teapot with little mismatched china cups and the slices of Victoria sponge and lemon drizzle cake were the size of doorstops. It was like having afternoon tea at home with homemade cakes and endless fresh tea. It made a pleasant change from Starbucks and Costa. And yes I do have huge chintz armchairs, lace doilies and a mismatched tea set for afternoon tea.

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New Year New Me?

New Year new me! Isn’t that what we all promise. To live a better life, eat better, work better, do everything better. Well this year I’ve made no new year resolutions, there seems little point as by twelve o’clock I’ve broken every one, all except the ‘ I will not have midnight snacks’, but that can be rectified as soon the hour hand takes a full turn. So instead of looking forward into 2015, divination is very tricky and nerve racking, I shall look back over 2014, much easier to do.

I gained a stone in weight, I am totally out of shape but otherwise I appear to be healthy and haven’t suffered from any lengthy colds or bugs. So we will call it evens.

My social life is less then none existent, partly due to bereavement and family illnesses. But my friends are still there when I do call, I’ve rekindled some old friendships and I’ve made a couple of new ones. So I think that’s a plus.

My sister found a brilliant new hairdresser. My thick, unruly hair often resembles a bramble thicket caught in a tornado so I was nominated Guinea pig. The hairdresser was a man and straight but we won’t hold that against him. The cut was perfect, my hair fell in bouncy curls with no effort on my part. Unfortunately on my next visit I asked for something a bit more specific instead of letting him do is thing. Had he been a woman or gay, he would have ignored my request. As it was he wanted to keep me happy. The result was what I asked for, but I am not happy. This little episode says everything you need to know about relationships between men and women. I’m willing to forgive his transgression and booked another appointment in the spring. Verdict is out at the moment.

Its been an unusual year for writing. I haven’t achieved the things I expected to, but other opportunities have arisen. I keep suffering from writers block but I’ve managed to write regular blogs, once a month, and people appear to be reading them. I’m writing regular articles for an online magazine, Bibliophilia. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year or start editing previous novels or write much fiction. It doesn’t matter because I can call myself a writer and not feel a phoney. Another plus.

Two out of four is not so bad. Its been a mixed year, my Grandmothers death has affected me deeply and in turn has effected all areas of my life. Unseen opportunities have arisen. I can’t say I’m optimistic about 2015.

2014 was full of the unexpected, some good, some bad, but the events of last year have been life changing for me. If there is one thing I’m taking with me into the new year its the knowledge that the unexpected can happen, there is only so much I can foresee, there are only so many plans I can. The best I can do this year is deal with troubles when they happen, seize opportunities when they arise, keep living, loving and writing, and maybe try to lose a little weight. I’ll finish this cake first.

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