first things first! My job is finishing on 11 Feb, and I will have to say goodbye to the most adorable and brilliant bunch of Year 3s since the ones I had 2 years ago. Ha! I will really miss them, and as I have a student teacher in the class at the moment I will hardly teach them again after this week. I am sincere, i do adore them and am not being sarcastic, I love teaching Year 3.
Second thing second! I have a long held ambition to do a triathlon, and R and I are doing one, this year, on May 4th. I started training on Monday, and in 3 sessions have already gone from not running EVER to doing 10 mins, then 2 minute break then 3 more minutes on the treadmill running. Its a 5k race so should do it in 30 mins, however it is cross country, so need to get some practising up and down hills. Also, I have never done front crawl (well, not since my Brownie badge) and having got goggles and a swim hat for Christmas I am now in the realm of swimmers that other people nod through, a novelty. I did a few single lengths front crawl last week and thought I would die, but on Monday, and then again Wed and today, I have done 16 lengths, 400m, in 10 mins with only brief stops mid lane or at the end if I have swallowed too much water and am choking. Its fantastic! At the end, I have to stand still and breathe and concentrate on not fainting, but I am loving the challenge of having something to aim for in my training. R is chuffed that he gets to build me a bike from bits in the shed as I apparently 'need' a racer to do a triathlon, so he gets a project, and has said he will stick with me and not run off ahead, or cycle off ahead, so I feel like we are sharing quality time! I am not cycling in my swimming costume, I am going to ask R to track me down some good cycling shorts. So, will be swimming in them! It says on the form that everyone gets a FREE t shirt, so if they hand them out at the start I will be fully kitted out. So far I have done all 3 disciplines, not full lengths, but not run from the gym to the changing rooms or anything like that, so it will be interesting on the day to see who bothers with moisturiser and hair straighteners after the swim. And do people wear a cagoule if its raining? Or one of those all over bike capes? And if so, do they swim in it?
I will keep you posted on my progress towards London 2012. Tomorrow is my ski crash course (no pun intended) so I will have to interrupt my top athlete training regime to get 'ski fit' and may have a stab at biathlon in the Winter Olympics. I watched it yesterday on the big screen at the gym and have to say that it looks exhausting having to lug a gun around with you on skis. I only popped to the gym to pick the rest of family bowen up yesterday, as i had girls god gang, which as it was only Emma I turned into tutoring her for her SATs, which is a free service I have provided over the years to all children in our neighbourhood in Year 6 at Kanes Hill. But Emma, bless her indeed, has a reading level coming near to A's and the chance of her getting a Level 2 is slim, let alone the all singing all dancing government required 4. I struggle a lot with Emma and family, as they have the odds so stacked against them by circumstance and it is hard to see how anything will make a difference, but as Rupert Bear or Ghandi said, 'Be the change you wish to see'. So, no point moaning about the shit parenting going on round the corner, might as well give her an hour a week of something resembling the family life God intends for all of us. But hey, if you want to gamble your money away on Scratch cards and then send your son round for a tenner for the electric, and can't heat your house and keep your kids warm, why not? I didn't give him any money, by the way, and R said if she had come and asked herself he would have done, but sending your kids begging is a bit low. At times like this (and there have been many) its when you have to decide in a split second how to help someone. I have made, for all kinds of reasons to do with my background and Protestant work ethic, the decision that I don't give money if people ask for it, but try to find other ways to give which I hope help people help themselves. But sometimes that is pious word code for turning a blind eye, and I have to examine my motives constantly. I hope you guys have the same problems, I would love to have someone to talk these things through with - anyone out there???
Today we had S and D round for tea, and she really is blossoming, I can't say too much but she moved to Southampton to get out of a really shocking marriage, and has kept on meeting Christians and receiving unconditional love and friendship and is now saying she believes god is looking after her and she is not a bad person after all. The miracle of meeting her, of her coming on the weekend away with church and the continuing miracle of her life turning around are evidence that there is a god if you ever wanted any. Or if you don't want to see it like that, there are a lot of kind and good people in the world, which to my mind runs to the same thing.
We had the pleasure of having Jo stay with us for the best part of this week, she seems to be back in top social form so was off catching up with people, including her dentist, but we still had lots of time to hang out, including a couple of post gym late nights, and a cold but fabulous 6 mile walk near Bishops Waltham, ending with lunch in a totally perfect, country lane, brews its own ale, big garden, pub. Called the Hampshire Bowman, its in the Good Pub Guide and the Good Beer Guide, and now makes an entry on the Bowen loves Bowman Guide! A 2 hour summer evening stroll would be fab out there and after our triathlon when are date nights are not consumed with training I am taking R. Although by then the House House will be stuffed to the gunnels with another baby so maybe our date nights will not be happening for a while... mmm - will have to think about that.
Every ounce counts when you are a top athlete like me, so I make sure most of the ounces I consume are chocolate ones. On Monday I unwrapped the presents from children at school which I had not managed to bring home before Christmas, so have a nice supply of chocs again. Last night was the first of my January cinema nights for the girls. Thats all girls, you included, it was Mamma Mia last night, Top Gun next week, but I don't have a copy. Anyone got one they can lend me? Else I shall have to get R and Duncan to act it out. Anyway, ended up with 8 or 9 of us last night and lots of random foods and drinks made for a good night.
I saw Winnie (the nun, not the pooh) yesterday, which is always a big blessing, as being with her and in the peace of the community in which she lives helps to see things as they really are, and it was a time to reflect on many and great blessings in my life. Also went for a dog walk with Lou and Maisy, which is brave of me as I don't think much of dogs, and although Maisy is pretty good (jumps up too much though) I struggle with all the other dogs she attracts to her bottom, who then get all excited and scamper around and don't follow their owners away. But Lou, like Winnie, helps me count my blessings. Just to clarify, Lou is the owner and Maisy the dog. Not many people are attracted to Lou's derriere, although I guess her husband maybe. I don't know about the scampering around, though.