Monday, 25 January 2010

Feeling Fretful

Well, my case is packed at last so there’s nothing to do except have a good old fret about what could go wrong. For a spot of diversion therapy I had my nails done for only the third time in my life (and didn’t realise I was supposed to sit around for hours waiting for them to dry – the manicurist nearly fainted when I said I was going home to pack) and I had to have an emergency haircut when I mysteriously turned into Crystal Tips over the weekend.

That’s it, I guess, time to stop fretting and start looking forwards...

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Late Note

In a week's time we'll be on our way! I hope to squeeze out a quick blog before I go, especially if Ma's right about the cheap package tours (mustn't forget to put my head between my knees and kiss my a*se goodbye before boarding) but it's amazing how much stuff needs to be done before then... like allowing three hours for talking to deliver one spare key to our next-door neighbour and plenty of time for a heated debate in the factory outlet shop in Cardigan about whether or not to spend £5 on a travel plug.

One small piece of news, before I return to the OU TMA which needs urgent attention... I had a first peep of what the cover of Turning The Tide will look like, last night! Now I'm really excited about seeing the final version!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Skippity Do Dah... And a Farewell

The weeks of being surrounded by roads masquerading as rivers or ski-runs have blown away my training schedule for the Llanelli half in March. We left the nearest gym when they doubled the membership fee, but let the equipment fall apart. It’s not much fun jockeying for the last working running machine only, should you manage to set foot on it, to be circled by folks tutting and sighing if you dare to use it for more than five minutes. Mind you, since we can’t get out the road it wouldn’t really matter if we had a fully-equipped free gym with a bank of running machines, I still wouldn’t be able to use them.

In the meantime I’ve taken up skipping; I bought the rope some time ago in Lidl, fondly remembering how much I liked skipping when I was a little girl. Desperate to get some exercise, I dragged it out again. After two minutes I was totally knackered and my calf muscles felt as if they’ve been cut in half! Sheesh! I’m now up to a very hard won fifteen minutes, but I shall be quite relieved when the thaw comes and I can start running again.

‘You do know hotels in New York are full of bedbugs,’ says Ma. I refrain from reminding Ma that her eldest grandchild picked up ringworm during a school trip to a field centre in deepest, darkest Surrey. In any case, Lily, who did Camp America, managed to travel extensively in the States without bringing any little friends home with her so I can’t say I'm particularly alarmed. Ma tries a different tack, ‘Which airline are you flying with?’ I tell her it’s the same airline the underpants bomber used. There is a slight pause then Ma declares, ‘Well, that’s what you get if you go on these cheap package tours.’

And finally...
I was very sad to read, this morning, that Jessica Wales, who received an eleventh hour transplant of new lungs just after Christmas, died yesterday. I never met Jess, but the reason I feel so sad is that I know, through meeting Gorgeous Girlf and her sister, Emily how differently the outcome could have been if Jess had received her transplant a bit sooner, before she became quite so ill. My sincere condolences go to Jessica’s family.

For anyone who would like to find out more about the NHS Organ Donor Register, you can read the facts here.

Painting is 'Autumn Horizon' by Tom Tomos

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Changing Times, Times Square

‘I think we should sell the boat,’ says Tom.
I give him a hard stare just to make sure it’s the real Tom speaking and not some alien trying to impersonate him.
‘We’re just not getting the use out of it; the weather’s been rubbish, it’s not the easiest coast to sail and you’re scared all the time – where’s the fun in that?’
All true, but sailing is Tom’s love and I’ve always accepted that. So we sit and discuss alternatives; retain the ‘playing houses’ bit that I love by trying a caravan, buying a small fishing boat in which to ‘potter’ (see ‘we’re just not... etc’ above). Anyway, since boats hang around on the market for years, the first job is to see if the boat will sell. It does. Instantly.

‘Come to the beach,’ says Tom.
I’m not sure I want to; there’s a bitter wind and I’m nice and snugly, but, hey, there’s something wrong if you can’t be bothered to go to the beach with the person you love.
‘I don’t think we should rush into buying anything,’ he tells me. ‘I think we should go to New York.’
Ah, now I know why we’re on the beach – it’s so if I start screaming about the money, I’ll only frighten dogs and seagulls.
‘You’ve put up with the boat for years, and I know you’ve always wanted to go to America.’

So after browsing last-minute deals we’re off at the end of the month – just in time for the nuddy-pants scanners at Heathrow and a thorough pat-down. Oh, and assuming the roads and airports are free of snow. Okay, it’s not a very carbon friendly thing to do, but I think I can hold my carbon footprint up with pride; we only had one car for years and years, walked wherever we could and have hardly been abroad. And I promise to make the most of every second of it and soak up every detail. Some of my research may even find itself into the next book...

Painting is 'The Old Boathouse, Poppit' by Tom Tomos