Tuesday, 25 January 2011

For a while I have been getting emails from Bon Jovi, and wondering why. Then R told me I bought him tickets a year or two back for his birthday so they probably have my details on their system. Makes sense now, I thought they were stalking me to play bass for them or something. They would be desperate, clearly.

Today, phone call (we had 3 in quick succession, clearly the phone is making a comeback)

Hello Jan, its Rod (Rod said that bit)
Hello Rod, its not Jan ( I said that bit)

The other two calls were not from Rod. Or for Jan.
I tried to embed a map on here to show you where I go on my bike rides in case you are Jon Bon Jovi and want to follow me around singing rock anthems. Although ' Here I go again on my own' ( not bon jovi, whitesnake?) would be apt for my cycling efforts. That bit in commas sounds like a cryptic crossword clue doesn't it? Anyhow, as is usual for anything technological, I failed, and so you can't see my route across Hampshire at a yelping pace behind two men much faster than me, or with more competitive testosterone oozing around them, anyway.

Swimming was fun tonight, about 1800m covered apparently. I do like my swimming club night and am sad about leaving that behind. I am meeting with a gym membership person on Monday, so maybe she will be desperate to keep me and do me a deal to stay members. It would have to be a good deal, though, but I feel I am in a strong position and nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Today the sun shone, I was too hot on my bike and had to stop and take a layer off. That has not happened since about October, so I am hopeful that Spring is springing. I also saw some crocus flowers in my garden. And I remembered how lovely snowdrops are and am looking forward to seeing some soon. Anyone know any good local snowdrop gardens? Aslan is on the move!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Today I watched Saints play, live, in the stadium, against Notts County. It was a nail biting 0-0, with Southampton much stronger and deserving to win if you look at statistics but somehow not actually making anything of their chances. I really enjoyed the experience, having not been to a football match since about 1995 when I went to see Sheffield Wed play Ipswich after winning tickets in a Debenhams staff members incentive draw. I won a bottle of whisky that year too, in a raffle at a charity where I volunteered in the office. I really enjoyed the football and would go again, should you ever need someone to take. I was fortunate today to be there with my financial advisor, who very kindly agreed to take me on his season ticket with him. Clearly I am good business for him.

I did get one of the cloth badges from Rapha, for doing the 500km of cycling. it has not come yet, but my name is on the list of about 80 people who did it. One guy did 728km, clearly not realising that you don't have to overachieve. One guy who did it was 12. I stopped cycling the moment my Garmin said 500km.

Our new shops are taking shape, as they are being rebuilt, I was amused today to see that the chief builder who has won an award is called Mr Wall. I kid you not.

I went on an inspiring course this week, about being a leader in school. I am encouraged greatly by the course. However I have so much school work to do that I have to go now to do some, else how can I lead others, if my maths marking is not up to date?

Monday, 10 January 2011

Today was a great day for eavesdropping - the moon was over Jupiter and the stars were swooping under the sun, with a Dreamworks moon for good measure. I was in the changing room listening to two ladies who were drying their hair.

Yes we flew straight to Malo, Kuoni are the only ones who do it.
Ah yes we went to Mina.
Flew direct.
Mina was great, we went for the diving, how many hotels were there on Malo?
Hotels? No, there were 27 lodges, the whole island is just 27 feet wide and 4 feet across ( might be a bit out there, but bear with me, the hairdryers were blasting out).
Oh, on Mina there is a bar at one end where the watersports are, a bit livelier, and it takes 20 minutes to walk around the whole island.
( Cranking up now) Oh, well Malo is the size of a postage stamp and you can walk around it in 10 minutes. and you can swim out to the reef.
Clearly not the Isle of Wight then. ( that was me thinking, not them)
On Mina there is a bar in the middle and one at the end, where we went for the diving.
Of course Malo has a reef all around it.
Oh. Well, Mina has a reef that you can swim out to in just a couple of minutes, we did diving there, of course.

I left, feeling that my circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight on a bicycle would be as alien to them as almost anything else I could contribute helpfully to move them on in learning to listen and not just talk at each other. They didn't look like they wanted to learn less combative forms of communication, and frankly, they were enjoying the whole thing almost as much as the guys in the steam room a while back comparing kitchen gadgets. I am reading a book by Alistair Humphreys about riding around the world on a bike, not a camel. So far he is in Ethiopia. It is a well written travel book and I recommend it to Granny M, who likes travel and travel books.

Today I met Heidi, my new best friend, as she is a massager. Or whatever you call such a person, a sports masssager, I hasten to add. She gave me some idea and exercises that should help my knee be able to cope with running again. Basically, it is that I have too much muscle on the outside of my leg and not enough on the puny insides. So, off to the gym tomorrow to toughen up my miniscule inner knee muscle. The other option would be a transplant, I suppose.

Glory days are back at Liverpool FC, eh? When I did the Panini sticker book collecting ( approx 1983) it was the glory team which included Sammy Lee, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish. Now I hear KD is back as manager, with S L helping out on his days off from Macdonalds, or whatever footballers do after being part of the dream team of the 80s. We shall see. I will listen to the sports news with Johnny with more interest now my team are back in the running. I am going to watch Saints on Saturday, so will have plenty to tell you after that I am sure. Also exciting on the radio is Jack Dee pretending to be Humphrey Littleton and the Archers, with high drama of birth and death - better than Eastenders.

Yesterday we went to the uni to do the bargain swimming lessons, me and the girls, with my evangelistic ways meaning the Whitmores, Clarks, Crandons and Hannah's friend Jennifer were all represented somehow in the pool. Ang joined the improvers, and I was in the improvers improvers. We did diving, which was fun, but not much swimming, in fact after 10 lengths we had to cool down! It was a bit annoying that the teacher spent all her time with the most needy person, and I didn't feel like they helped me to improve my stroke at all, which frankly needs improving. But the whole point of it is to be guinea pigs for the student swimming teachers to work on, so I can cope. I asked if we could learn tumble turns, and the poor lady went into apoplexy about why not. Wished I had not mentioned it, but am a bit nervous to start looking like a berk, as my dad would say, and sloshing around upside down solo when the hair drying ladies are doing sedate lanes. Would have liked to try it out under tuition at the uni. Still, days at Esporta are numbered so I will soon be free to go to Bitterne Verruca Land again, and before you know it we will be begging to rejoin our posh gym and going out robbing old ladies to find the money. We are still doing well with our budgeting, writing it all down etc, however my swimming hat split so I had to spend an unexpected £6 on a new one. I have figured that we save too much ( uni fees, if required, although will do about a week at current figures) and give away too much. If we didn't give any money or save any money, then we would have tons of spare money to spend on starting smoking, or doing a triathlon every weekend, or drinking coffee at Esporta daily, or all of the above.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

R came to bed chortling the other night, after flipping back through my blog and finding some of my rants amusing. He says I don't rant enough on it these days. So I will right that wrong. I did track cycling at a velodrome a couple of days ago, while being photographed, obviously, it was exhilirating and totally fun, but exhausting and going round and round made me feel as sick as a horse on a carousel. I totally recommend it as a fun night out, not the feeling sick bit, but that's just me, I am sure most of you have stronger stomachs - remember, I spent all those Euros and all that time at Disneyland Paris just queueing up for the others to have a go. But cycling a la Chris Hoy and his mates, up a vertical wall, can't be beat. If you can ride a bike you can have a go. No rant there.

We are now the proud owners of two Brownies. A has graduated from Rainbows to Brownies, and H was very proud to be the older sister of a newbie. H is now a Sixer, of the Gnomes, and A is a Kelpie, which is what I was. Old Brownies feel to their sixes as old Etonians do to their houses. I imagine. With only 24 days left of our Esporta membership, we are using every drip of water in the place for every shower we take, and R and I squeezed in a training half hour in the pool. It was training in self restraint, as the lane swimming lane was busy, ie 6 people when we got there, and the range of velocities was so wide that it was impossible to stay behind people or not lap people. R took the racing line and ploughed up and down the middle, with me using him as a battering ram and staying behind him, apart from when a guy with a vendetta against me insisted on turning right across me and not letting me go through despite me clearly being an Olympic hopeful in training. Then, to bring out the patience of a saint, a chap got in who was so wide he took up most of the lane and took 6 of my lengths to 1.5 of his. The only patient saint tried harder was the Bitterne leisure centre ladies morning, when a lady was doing widths - widths! against everyone else's lengths. Why did she not do half lengths, I ask you? What was she thinking? Maybe she did not have her contacts in or something, lets give her the benefit of the doubt and be charitable. This Sunday our whole family is starting the bargain swimming lessons at the Jubilee Sports centre at the university. I did a couple of the adult sessions 2 years ago when I was just learning crawl, hopefully now they will be able to help me improve.

The children in my class ( 6 and 7 year olds) have been writing recounts about Christmas day, which give an interesting and frank view of life in families in 2010. Either they were all copying each other, or everyone got an Ipod touch for Christmas. I am not sure what that is, but it sounds scary that children that young either want or know what it is when I am not really sure. I think it is like a personal stereo, I had one of those when I was 12 and it was REALLY exciting to listen to tapes of the top 40 from the radio. There were some great bits of oneupmanship, where someone on a table wrote 'I woke up at 4am' and the person next to them woke up at 3am etc etc, until round to one boy who wrote ' my mum got up early with me and drank tea and coffee'. Poor woman, I bet she did, all in one cup, with a slug of brandy is she had any sense. People still seem to eat turkey dinners, although puddings were more of an ice cream variety than Christmas pud. Breakfasts were suitably bad for you, ranging from Candy canes from Santa to chocolate dougnuts, via Lemonade (cloudy). Not all in the one house, you understand. One family were at the Madisson hotel in London for Christmas and had a swim in the pool pre lunch. Their lunch still featured brocoli, so not worth going there if you don't like greens.

Our other piece of work is about the local shops, with a trip to the shops coming up soon. Today we were exploring Google maps.. and I felt like a magician opening a box of tricks, as the children gasped in admiration as I swapped from map to satellite view, and effortlessly navigated the roads of Hamble and showed them the school building and the local Coop and Tescos. Our study is about Tescos and how local shops are suffering, and we have to persuade people to shop locally. The local shops include a post office, so we have one of those as our role play area at the moment, to the great delight of the children who can't wait for their turn to pretend to be the misery guts behind the counter who does everything painstakingly slowly.