Sunday, 27 September 2009

Heading for the big 5 0!

It's fast approaching and on one hand it doesn't bother me but on the other I do still look in the mirror and wonder why my mum is looking back at me! Do I go all out and celebrate this half century birthday or keep it low key. Do I want to do something very exciting, something I'll remember into my old age or let it go with a damp squib!!!!!

Arthur rode the van Vlaanderen along with Ed, plus me and Nick to share the rest of the weekend which just happened to coincide with his birthday and for once my Spring term break from work. But my birthday is 3 weeks after the Christmas break and the next half term isn't until the end of February, I could write to the School governors for permission to have time off for a special occasion but what to do?

Arthur has plans for me/us which he drops hints about every so often but what do I want to do to mark this birthday? Need to give it a lot more thought!!!!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Glasses and fitness

Had my first ever sight test in April (apart from the colour blind ones we used to have at school)and was given two prescriptions one for reading and one for watching TV. Couldn't make up my mind on the day whether to have two pairs of glasses or one pair of varifocals, so left it. Kept putting off making the decision until trying to read a map on the way to a time trial very early in the morning when I had to put on Arthur's glasses. Realised this could be a problem when we go to France in a few weeks.

Well I finally gave in and chose a pair of varifocals. The optician said I'd probably end up wearing them all the time but so far I tend to put them on once I start watching TV. Walking up and down the stairs hasn't been a problem but just general walking is odd as the focus changes can catch me out. Not tried driving in them although had them on when moving the car on the drive, again the sensation was weird. Put them on today to watch the tour got up to go into the kitchen and surprised my self by suddenly thinking 'Oh I've got my glasses on!' So not so bad after all.
Have made another big decision for the summer, I've rejoined the local health centre, I'm hoping that I'll get into a routine before I go back to work and that will set me up for the winter. Got talked into the most expensive package but I do get a personal trainer for 3 sessions and she'll work out the best sessions for what I hope to achieve. I've had inductions at gyms before and once the trainer shows you the machines they never seem to be around again to help or advise on how to advance your training schedule. Hopefully with having someone there for the first few weeks it'll give me more incentive to keep going back. I'd like to start swimming again too as this is a good exercise for general all round fitness. I'll update on this subject after my first session.
Well the first session went well the usual machines on offer plus a few awkward exercises using a gym ball, I can never do those too many things to think about. Any exercises using the legs doubly hurts because those muscles are used for cycling and not used to being stretched and holding position. I take it things will get better, have my next session on Thursday, watch this space....................

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Vegetarian Eats Out

Having turned vegetarian over 10 years ago, I have had plenty of meals out some good some not so good. It seems that restaurants are not so bothered these days to cater for vegetarians especially the larger chain restaurants. Usually two starters one being soup and two main meals are offered if you are lucky and why do they think all veggies like blue cheese? And the biggest bug bear 'do you eat fish?' NO I'M VEGETARIAN!!!!!!!!! When's the last time you saw a fish growing in a field or in a tree?????? Meat eaters get pages of choice why do we have to suffer poor choice.

In recent years the best restuarant we've found was an italian place across from Shepherds Bush Empire, loads of choice but not easy to get to for an evening out. Recently I went to Maldon with Ellie and we walked up the main high street looking for something to eat and saw a small cafe and thinking I'd get the usual veggie burger and chips or the stand by jacket potato or the last resort an omlette, we were greatly surprised to find a good 8 or 10 veggie dishes, even Ellie chose to go V that day! We both picked the same thing but to be told the chef only makes so many dishes every day and there was only one left so Ellie chose something else which was equally nice.

Our local Chef and Brewer does have a few items for me to choose from but they can be rather small portions compared to a meat based dish, and a cannelloni made with aubergine? I wanted pasta!!!! The newer restuarant in Hockley is rather 'up market', nice food but rather rich, special occasions only I think. And don't get me onto the indian restaurants with frozen veg!!!! I could do that at home :-(

Last week on a trip to London we decided to have a big lunch rather than grabbing a sandwich and went into an italian restaurant opposite Macari's music shop where Arthur had just purchased a 12 string guitar (that's another story). Instead of the usual tricolore salad which I normally go for as avacado is not one of Arthur's favourite foods and it's nice to have occasionally, they had a salad that included artichoke another fav of mine that I can't be bothered with at home. This starter and Arthur's could have made a main course, yummy. The vegetable lasagne I ordered which normally would be two or three sheets of pasta and a few lumps of veg turned out to have at least 10 thin sheets layered to get the thickness and plenty of veg. I was really impressed and now I know how to get more pasta into my home made lasagnes (when I get round to making one again). This place is definitely on our 'to visit again' list.

Choosing to turn vegetarian is a big life change all round and eating out is a problem at times especially abroad but it's not something that has happened all of a sudden, or a fashion fad so why do restaurants treat us like some sort of nuisance, I know a lot of meat eaters that quite like to eat veggie when out so there is the market to do something different. I could go on but I think I've made my feelings clear.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Mick Gray gets an outing!

Well Summer must have arrived as my Mick Gray road bike got it's first ride of the year. I thought it would take me a while to get back in the swing of riding it again after using the Bob Jackson for so long. But I rode round the E21/25 course while Arthur rode the Maldon open and although the outer chain ring didn't get used I felt really comfortable on it, managing to fit in 17.5 miles before Arthur finished.

Hopefully riding laps round Welwyn athletics track whilst Arthur participates in Team Welwyns track training will get me a few more miles in the legs. I realised that there is less than 3 months to get fit before we go to Beurrieres in Auvergne and looking at Google Earth it looks rather hilly (read that as mountainous). I've ridden the MG around Brittany in the past but I'm rather glad that Bob has the gears I know I'll be needing. MG will be used to ride the Steeple club 10's and riding various courses on weekends so it won't be stuck in the garage missing the sunshine we're bound to have.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

A woman's view of Calshot

When it was first put to Arthur and I to go to Legro's training camp it was sold to me that I could do the road ride on the Saturday along with Ellie. Unfortunately Ellie and I have had a bad time health wise so that was out of the question. I also discovered that the rooms would be as in hostels - single/bunk beds and shared facilities, I as a middle aged woman have now got used to home comforts when I go away and this filled me with dread. Sharing facilities with sweaty cyclists urgh!!!!!!

We arrived sometime after 7pm having already had an evening meal at a Services to be told that the bar food was really good, oh well some you win some you loose. Arthur and I were in the oldest building with potentially 10 people sharing two toilet/shower rooms. A decision was also made that Arthur and I would squeeze into a single bed rather than fighting over who should have the top bunk, lol! A choice that made Ellie squeamish. We went to sleep with the sound of the sea on the pebble beach - beautiful.

Saturday saw me up at 7am to get to a shower before the rush but I needn't have worried I think the older riders in our 'hostel' decided to forgo that as they were going on the road ride straight after breakfast then on the track straight after lunch. Result! Ellie on the other hand had her 'own' shower room opposite her room but it was used by several of the younger riders who some how kept forgetting to lock the door. Nearly some red faces!

Whilst the men and Mel went for their road ride Ellie and I walked along the beach past all the beach huts to what I later found out was a 'Folly' built for habitation that is now rented out. We turned back thinking we'd get a cup of tea before the others came back. As we neared the Activity centre Arthur rang to say they were back. We all went in for lunch - one level up from school dinners but edible.

Then onto the track for the first time. Riders were split into two groups Legro's and Rob's. So far so good. Unfortunately Legro was working on a time 5 minutes behind Rob which was rather awkward when Rob asked me to work the lap board and Legro tried to over rule. But I got a system going and everyone seemed happy. Ellie was busy taking loads of photos.

Sunday saw me up early again ready to fight my corner at the bathrooms but no worries. Quick breakfast and back to the track for the next session. Arthur unfortunately had an off after an argument with the wall, luckily didn't bring anyone off although there was a near miss. I was manning the lap board and after checking that he was up and still had all his limbs I rushed back to my 'job'. The morning flew by with the groups practising Madison slings and trying to improve their flying lap times. Quick lunch and then off for home via parts of Southampton that Arthur had lived.

From what had seemed a worry at the beginning of the week, what would Ellie and I do all weekend? Could I cope with the facilities? It actually turned into a great weekend and I'd have no worries about going again next year.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Furking weather

After having a great end to my cycling season in 2008, getting a PB for the first time in 8 years, riding my first 100km solo audax, and riding the Gate Weekend solo, only 35 miles but as usual it was up and up and more up, thanks to Arthur putting all those ride up the side of a mountain gears on the Bob Jackson. I had great hopes for my season this year. But the weather has got me at every side, cold for weeks before Christmas, then icy after. My op that has taken all interesting thoughts out of my head, and now snow, ice and rain!

Just a short walk into the 'village' with Arthur and Bailey has had me breathless and feeling tired. I can't get my head around riding the turbo or 'rollers' though I know I should be doing at least one session if not two when Arthur rides the cyclo cross. I even chickened out of riding the 40km Club reliability, which was cancelled in the end cos of the furking weather!!!!!!!!!

Hopefully in a week or so the weather will improve and I will get the impetus to get the bike out of moth balls and even put Orbit back on the 'rollers' put some good music on the MP3 and ride, ride, ride.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

I have followed the 'moon bears' rescued by Animals Asia ( for some years now after seeing an interview on a news programme. These bears are captured and endure pain and cruelty for their stomach bile for 'traditional medicines'. I give what I can when I can for the sanctuary helping to rebuild a safe and happy life for these beautiful and engaging animals.

Recently Animals Asia have begun a new campaign to save dogs and cats used as food in China and Thailand. I will be the first to admit all my dogs have been part of the family and maybe I may have a soft heart where these animals are concerned. Bailey is allowed the run of the house when we are home and I let him take part in Christmas, 'wrapping' presents for him just for the fun of seeing the enjoyment he has in finding a chew or biscuit in the paper.

I can see that animals we consider as pets are a source of nutrition to some countries, Guinea pigs in South American countries, horses in France etc. etc. But surely these animals are allowed a decent life to help us live, when an animal is stacked in a small cage half starved, then beaten and cooked half alive because it is thought the meat tastes better, some education is needed. I became vegetarian around ten years ago firstly for health reasons and because some of our abattoirs were not killing animals outright before they went into the processing but at least we have Government agencies to keep an eye on these processes whereas it takes charities and dedicated people to help the animals in 'less developed' countries than ours. I'm not saying that everyone should rush to give money to this charity but I just had the need to get these thoughts out of my mind.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Recovering from the op

Here I am on my own two days after the op that I was to have had 3 weeks ago. After the initial fear of anesthetic it wasn't that bad, and I was home by lunch time clutching numerous leaflets and medicines. One of which I will be using is to guard against infection the other strong pain killers which so far have not been touched.

Arthur has done a good job of 'nursing' me, mainly making tea and feeding me when necessary, but today he has gone back to work and I am going it alone. Is it just in the mind or do I actually feel worse today. I filled the washing machine and the dish washer not too energetic I thought but felt definitely woozy. I decided to carry on by hanging out washing and putting recycling in the bin and realised I wasn't 100% in any shape or form. How glad am I that:-

1. my head teacher already said that I could take 3 days off and with the weekend that will give me 5 in all.
2. that the hospital gave me a certificate for 3 to 5 days.

So no feelings of guilt that I'm doing absolutely nothing and still feeling tired. Poor Bailey may have to wait for that walk after all!