Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Bit late posting this, but this is one of the places we visited in Portugal last summer. I should consider working for the Portugal tourism office.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Last swimming lesson at the uni this afternoon, we worked really hard and I did some tumble turns! Was dead chuffed as my hope for these lessons was to achieve this aim. It is a lovely pool at the uni, and I am torn between it and the Quays as my new home. R is now a paid up member of the Southampton Tri club and it is my turn to try it out tomorrow.

I was supposed to be in Leicester today riding my bike, but got to Newbury last night ( interestingly, just a few hours after 2 horses had died there in freak circumstances) and realised I had forgotten my shoes. I turned for home and decided that a 4 hour drive and then a 5 hour bike ride were not what I needed this weekend, going for an early night and a 2 hour bike ride instead. It was chucking it down, and the route was quiet, hardly saw any other cars, let alone cyclists. I was pleased with how I kept my heart rate down and got up Beacon hill feeling quite comfortable, but I did struggle with the cold and being wet, my waterproof gloves are maybe oversold on the waterproof feature. Still, being out in the elements is always good for the soul, but ice and freezing winds are more my weather than rain and freezing winds. I can visualise myself doing the same routes in the summer with shorts and t shirt, of an evening - it feels good - and less washing afterwards.

Yesterday A did a diving taster session, and grinned for the half hour duration, so I have put both their names down to do the beginners lessons after half term. If you have ever wondered where everyone is at 8.30am on a Saturday, the answer is - at The Quays. The water is thick with young people diving and swimming, if anyone thinks that young people are not as fit as in the olden days, you need to go to the Quays to see how wrong you are. They can all dive and swim better than me. R was at the Quays, having run there, for his swim training session, whilst A and I set off at a trot to get H and also Kate, R's cousin who was staying for the weekend. We had booked to see 'animals united' at Vue cinema in Eastleigh. A sobering message film, A found it scary despite its U certificate and spent a lot of time on my lap. It is worth seeing, but don't watch it for the laughs. After a quick lunch it was on to Chandlers Ford for me, A and 3 of her friends, to a party at an indoor play centre. I left them there and went to Eastleigh for a shop, and actually bought myself some clothes. Shock. I also won £10 voucher for Vue cinema on a competition, so I will be going back to Eastleigh soon. I already have a £10 cinema voucher for the Point in Eastleigh, but their films are a little random this season.

As it is midpoint in the month, I am about to update our finances. on my own, as r is out at men's curry night. the last 3 months of tight financial planning and recording, we tend to do this review together, so here I go to have a go on my own. Without a calculator. Lets hope I only get things wrong by one order of magnitude, as in the other day when I calculated that we needed £15 000 a month to cover a set of expenses.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

I have become a follower, of another blog, which is of one of my local councillors, Matt Stevens, who is very commited to Thornhill. I am thinking of becoming an MP as have realised my ambitions of becoming secretary of state for education depend on first getting into the lower chamber. Or I could become a peer straight from the shop floor and get in that way. I am going on a march, in March, in London, to protest about the cuts. Just in case you didn't know already, I DID NOT VOTE FOR THEM.

R had a meeting tonight at the Youth centre where he does his bike project to find that all the open access youth work on the east of the city is being scrapped. This means that effectively, unless people volunteer to open youth centres ( and it is not a job for inexperienced, well meaning volunteers on their own, but a very challenging and tricky role which you need professional training to do well) there is nothing for the most disenfranchised and vulnerable young people in the city to do. Shall we look forward to a rise in anti social beahviour, drug use, petty crime and teenage pregnanices? I wrote a letter to one of my councillors ( the young tory one) telling him what I thought, and not to reply with platitudes. He already tried to fob me off regarding the library, which is to be run by local people. Only Libby and I are local people who care about libraries, Libby is not running a campaign a la her Cobbett Road efforts yet, and Thornhill does not have the capacity of people who care about libraries and have the spare time and energy to volunteer in them. Grrr. Can you hear my blood boiling? There may well be other library lovers in Thornhill, I hope there are, but you can't expect people to run public services well.

Having left Esporta on my bat, with R reluctant to do so, we have been experimenting with public swimming pools. A baptism of grime after two years of comparative luxury, at a price. R has done two training sessions at the quays with soton tri club, and got on well. I did ok there apart from the smell of urine in the changing rooms, which I mentioned on a comments form and got a reply today. Last night I had to go to Eastleigh to go swimming, as Southampton pools shut at 9. Well, Fleming Park, I had not been since 1994 and I don't think they have cleaned it since then. I found it a bit too scary for me, as the deep end is really deep and sudden, a sort of cliff edge effect about 5 m in from the deep end edge. It is like a deep water vent in the Pacific ocean. I kept thinking of sharks and that if I drowned down there, the smiley but plump lifeguards probably did not have the skills to rescue me from certain death. And Fleming Park ( I don't like it to start with cos of the word phlegm in its title) is not where I plan to die. So after 32 lengths trying to shut my eyes over the precipice I gave up and came home, never to venture near the place again. I can't help thinking that R will be feeling a little smug over this episode, although he is much nicer than me and doesn't say ' I told you so' when I come home with veruccas all over my body.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Rod rang again today, for Jan. Said he had been with her all afternoon but she had not changed the number on his list. Clearly, she is trying to shake him off. I told Rod that maybe one day our paths would cross. A man knocked on the door shortly after ( not Rod, that would have been spooky) and it was a man trying to drum up business for his Karate club. Makes a change from utility companies and double glaziers. Also had a man round this morning wanting to buy gold off me. Do I look that bling? I don't have any gold to sell. I told him that, but he was already drifting off towards next door, clearly could tell with one glance that I was not one of the seven dwarves. dwarfs? Hmm. Not sure whether dwarf does the same thing as wolf when it is a plural.

Today in some amazing sleight of hand with the clock hands going slower than usual, I managed to do the household chores, some school work and then a two hour bike ride, still had time for a bath before getting the girls, cooked a nutritious tea and lit a fire and have been sat down for hours. It is uncanny. There must have been some time zone travelling going on which meant that I gained hours. Marvellous, have even lit a candle and watched a programme on i player, which I might have seen before, it was Clare Balding cycling through Shropshire, made me want to do likewise. I also had an interview with the student teacher taking A's class, who wanted to know a bit more about what she is like at home, what she wants to be when she grows up, what her favourite subjects are at school - then she asked A the same questions, so it was great to know I got them mostly right. A has taken up recorder playing with her class teacher learning with them and teaching them week by week.

Just a month ago I had to re apply for a card driving licence, as not having had one for ages, I found out that it is essential to have one. So I paid up my £20 and watched the video on the website showing me how to apply online ( not the most Oscar winning of films ever). Well, would you believe it, but my old work rang up to say someone had found my driving licence card and did I want it back! Today! If only I had not been so efficient at the start of Janaury with getting organised with such matters I would have £20 more in my pocket today.

Now, I have not yet seen the most recent Cycling Plus magazine. It is out in the shops about now I think it would be the March edition. Anyway, even if you have not been buying it so far apparently you have to buy this one cos it is me on the velodrome! I have not seen it yet, so if you do buy it, you could pass it on to me when you have read it. I imagine that angle they have taken is that if I can do it, anyone can, which I utterly believe with regard to most things, especially sports related. Somehow I have been kind of missing sailing lately. Maybe it is actually the sunshine and summer that I miss, and sailing is related to that. I am keen to get out there, although I think April at the earliest for me. In the meantime, we have now given up our gym membership and are striking out alone with regards to training venues and so on, I hope the triathlon pals at the gym will still invite me on their rides. But it is time to find a new pool with a deep end and a training session for swimming, plus maybe the odd go with this comedy Aqua Jogger I have bought to help me through the healing of my ankle time. H is keen to add diving to her broad range of water related past times, so with the spare cash from not being slaves to Esporta we are paying for a set of diving lessons, and A is going to do a diving taster too. She is coming on really well at her swimming lessons, after a shaky start which almost saw her demoted to the shallow end, she has held her own and seems to be listening really well and doing what the teacher says. Which is better than me in my swimming lesson this week, when I got bored and couldn't hear very well and just switched off and got out early. We were doing breast stroke and butterfly kick this week, neither interest me greatly. I did a sponsored swim on Friday night, swam non stop for one hour and managed 108 lengths, 84 of them were front crawl.

I just referred back to my blog of almost exactly 2 years ago, when 20 lengths of front crawl had me almost dead. Get me! There is progress, it just happens in creeping increments so suddenly without knowing it you can easily swim over 80 lengths front crawl, when 2 years ago a quarter of that had me gasping for breath. Now, while I was swimming R and a lady called Sophie were sat on the side as my safety cover, and this Sophie goes to Swim club and is a swimming teacher. I tried to be nonchalant when R relayed her comments regarding my swimming technique, but really I am ELATED! that she said I had a good technique and any swimming teacher would be pleased with it. Woohoo! I am not flailing helplessly anymore, I feel like an ugly duckling who turned into a swan, metophorically speaking.

I am thinking about the series of talks I am planning on the international boat flag code. I think they are a good pile of imagery and are relevant to everyday life. Take this one:

Keep clear of me. I am manoeuvring with difficulty.

Works in a car park when you have an estate car, but also relevant in life, ie when you are going through some tricky transition in your work, or just have PMT.

I also like:

I am operating astern propulsion.