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Showing posts from 2021

The Thrill of the Chill

  ‘Let’s buy a paddling pool for the grandchildren this summer,’ we decide. And this is how it begins. Here, on this thinly populated edge of the west Wales coast, we are fortunate to have a large garden which wraps itself around the house so that even a large paddling pool doesn’t make much of an impact on the lawn. We set it up and rather than wait for the grandchildren, who do arrive, and a summer that lasts one week, we try the pool out just to see how it feels.  The water’s unheated so my first few attempts are torture as I ease in millimetre by millimetre whilst Tom - who takes the short sharp plunge approach - shouts, ‘In! In! In!’. I quickly realise that the shock of the cold is almost instantly followed by pure bliss; there’s the silkiness of the water, the novelty of the frog’s eye view of the garden and the sheer silliness of lying in a giant paddling pool which makes us both laugh. I’m not known for my love of the cold - I have Raynaud’s, for a start - so Tom is a bit sur

A Bump in the Night. And Beyond.

  Bedtime. I turn on my side to switch off my bedside light and the underside of my right forearm presses against something solid, something to do with my left breast. Something odd. I lie back and reluctantly prod at my breast. My fingers immediately find a large, solid mass. I explore the other breast, looking for its twin. Nothing. I return to the lump. Still there. Not true, surely?  Tom leans in for a goodnight kiss. Then he sees my face.  ‘What’s up?’ ‘Can you just,’ I ask, lightly, ‘see if you can feel a lump here?’ ‘They’re different,’ he confirms. We lie there in shocked silence. In my case, hoping that the next time I put my fingers to my breast, I won’t be able to find anything. Surely I would have noticed a solid lump sooner? Still there. I spend most of the night awake wondering something or nothing? Typically, with Covid regulations beginning to ease, we’ve made arrangements to catch up with family, but my trip to the GP the next day means these plans will now have to be

Fly Me to the Zoom Book Club

I have to admit to feeling a teeny bit nervous when I’m invited to join She Runs: Cardiff for their Zoom book club to chat to them about my running memoir/guide, Running Kind. This brilliantly supportive women-only social running group based in Cardiff deservedly won the Run Wales Group of the Year in December 2020 for their fantastic efforts to encourage and engage their 1.1k followers. Their lockdown activities, with a strong emphasis on health and well-being, have included virtual couch to 5k, themed runs, monthly challenges and a book club which has attracted great runners, popular authors and now, gulp, me. Zoom’s new to me so my daughters break me in gently with a rousing game of family unicorn bingo. Tom and I wear our unicorn headbands and there are tantrums - bingo cards upturned, a sin-binning - laughter and tears, not least mine when it’s over because it’s both so lovely to see the family and so painful wondering when we’ll see them for real. So I’ve Zoomed, I’ve prepare

Milestones and Moments

  Snowflakes swirl around me as I battle up the hill towards home at the end of a six mile run. I look up as shapes appear in my snow globe world. A young woman is leading her small daughter, who is seated on a pony. I stand aside to let them pass. ‘And that lady is also breathing oxygen,’ says the woman, with a smile. The little girl regards me solemnly. ‘Like my horse,’ she says. ‘Yes,’ the woman agrees, ‘like your horse. Now what else can you think of that breathes oxygen?’ It’s lockdown in a moment; permitted exercise, home schooling, a certain wariness of other people and - in the back of my mind - the appalling loss of life, of last breaths taken. T here have been days when I’ve physically ached with missing my family. January includes several birthdays; littlest grandson was one and we’re all very sad not to have seen more of him. It’s overwhelming at times, but I’m keenly aware that there’s nothing to be gained from wishing things were different - we just have to be patient. L