Monthly Archives: April 2009

The highs and lows of being a cyclist

You know what really bugs me most? It got to be the way that everyone decides to get the car out and go in caravan with the rest of the universe when I’m just a bit late going somewhere!

Doesn’t matter that I’m going to be late for work, the rest of the world has decided Tesco is the place to be, so I have to wait for the whole blasted lot to go by and then give myself heart attack tying to catch up the time I lost while these inconsiderate people drove past and made me wait!

Of course, there is revenge. If I know I’m a little behind time I simply foil all the drivers by using the nearest zebra crossing to get to the correct side of the road for the direction I’m going in, then they have to wait for me! Sheer genius; really ticks off the drivers and theres nothing they can do but wait!

I still maintain that I prefer using the bike. I stay fit at no extra cost, no extra insurance, no fuel, no tax, no parking to pay. I really do love it. I can use routes not available to drivers, and because I’m travelling slower I see things that a driver never would. I also get less mental fatigue than car drivers, but only marginally more physical fatigue (5 years daily cycling does give you stamina)

Then there’s the plain funny, that makes the whole world laugh; like on Tuesday, when I went shopping and had to do a store-cupboard stock-up. I ended up with 6 of those big Tesco reusable bags, some in blue, some the hessian sort, two zip up cool bags and a couple of those clip along the top padded ones, good for chilled stuff. How in the heck do you get all that on a bike, get it home and put it away and still be on time for work?

Well, a case of PMT helps, but it worked out that there were 3 bags on one handlebar, 4 bags on the other, one each side of the saddle, one – plus a tray of cat food – on the rear rack and finally a bag of bottles on my arm because I couldn’t fit it anywhere else! I did pay though, my back and arms hurt for 2 solid days until I remembered the arnica I keep telling everyone else to take!

This week has gone fairly well on the whole I think; no tears, lots of sunshine. Payday happened so shopping happened, which is always good; even if it’s only food shopping, its still retail therapy in my book!

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Twilight

My favourite time of day, and impossible to photograph. I’ve just been outside to get a breath of air, and it’s so still.

The sky is a beautiful shade of blue, definitely not day, but not the navy of late evening. The stars are out and just about sparkling. It’s only just dark enough to see them. The birds are singing. Being a cat owner, the birds stay well out of my sight. I think they know that there may be a cat following me!

There’s very little wind; and because it’s almost dark and not summer, most people don’t fancy braving the 13C chill to experience the peace that twilight has to offer. Personally I’d love to put on some thicker clothes and take a candle lantern outside and just sit. That in print, I think I just might in a minute, along with a cup of coffee.

I would talk about what’s been going on since I last blogged, but it’s far too depressing to share, Low morale at work and depression at home. Once again the house is a bombsite. I’m hoping that I can get to grips with things this week, I’ve taken friends’ advice and started taking St Johns Wort to try and help. I did get the laundry done, but then I have to be a long way down before can’t face doing laundry. Dishes and general tidiness fall by the way first by a long way, but clean clothes and personal hygiene are important enough to me that I can usually find a way to get them done.

Right. That’s all I’m prepared to say about the bad stuff from this week. I reread what I write here, and I cannot afford to type reams of depressing stuff; it’s really bad for me to read it, drags me down for ages.

I did make a really nice carrot cake this week. It’s truly good enough to consider as a regular thing. Kind of good really since everything chocolate has had to leave the repertiore hastily! Means I have a good ginger cake, carrot cake, fruit cake, victoria sponge and scones of most varieties as well as cookies. I’ve started cooking properly again, rather than just reheating or cooking from frozen.

Right; I’m now going to find a jumper and go outside for a bit more peace!

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…Man, I hate that…

Heard Shania Twain sing? I think I can sum up today in one of her songs – “Honey I’m Home” – it was one of those.

I was late leaving for work because I couldn’t find my music player, my mobile phone and some hair bands. I got held up at every corner on the way in – I live right next to Tesco and it seems that if I’m five minutes late leaving for work everyone, but everyone, takes the opportunity to drive past me and make me later still! Get past the traffic, into the country park, step on the pedals and – nope, brakes. The Easter break means that every mother in town has dragged her children and their bikes and trikes out along my route. I tell you, dogs are a breeze by comparison!

I really wasn’t looking forward to going back today at all. I’ve had three long weekends one after the other; and when you’re getting a fair bit of stress at work it really doesn’t make you fancy hurrying back you know?

Stayed in that depressed/grumpy/whatever mood until about 6pm when “Honey I’m Home” started playing in my head – the way these things do. Pretty much summed it up really, lots of stupid little things trying to spoil the day; but hey, I’m going home at the end of the day, Oliver and Jewel will be pleased to see me and I’ve got some nice drinks and snacks in the fridge too!

Oddly enough nothing really bothered me that much for the next four hours. Best of all, I am home now, I have a coffee to hand (of course) and I’ve watched a bit of TV and I’m chatting with some really good people. I’ll go to bed some time in the next hour and do it all again tomorrow, but tomorrow’s not Tuesday, it’s Wednesday, the middle of the week. It’s all downhill from here!

The only niggle I have is that rain is coming and my hip hurts a bit and so I’m staggering around the house loking a little odd. I’m sure the cats are laughing at me but so what? I’m really not fussed about it, the pain will go as soon as the rain comes and I’m actually in the mood to enjoy rain (best hang out the banners, I generally hate it being a cyclist!)

Oh yes, and there’s “me friendly” choc chip cookies to go with the coffee too!

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All is not quite lost

I’m having another low time. I don’t think I’m depressed, I’m just sniffly and tired and I’m not getting decent sleep to deal with it. I keep thinking I’m coming down with a cold for the first time in ages, but then it vanishes completely and I’m left wondering if it was hayfever.

I did pull myself together sufficiently to bake chocolate chip cookies with white choclate. They aren’t quite the same as normal choc chip cookies, but they still taste OK. The however is that I did manage to burn six and my eyes sting like heck because of the smoke (and my oven needs cleaning too).

I went into town around midday. My house phones bit the dust recently, the cordless phone won’t charge properly and the corded phone’s micophone doesn’t pick up sound properly. Nothing for it in the end, so I’ve got a couple of new phones now. I’m still charging up the cordless phone, but things look OK so far. I bought a National Geographic magazine while I was out; and even though I’m not able to concentrate properly on it, it was good to at least flick through. Maybe all is not quite lost!

I originally had plans to bake a carrot cake tomorrow, but I have a feeling it won’t happen. I haven’t any icing sugar although I have everything else, but in this frame of mind that’s enough to stop me bothering. I do have an apointment with BBC1 and the Easter Day service from Southwark Cathdral in the morning. Maybe that will lift me and I’ll be more inclined to do other things.

It’s the first Easter I’ve ever not been with my family and physically at Church every day for 3 days and it is a very odd feeling. I don’t plan on doing this again, that much is very sure.

I do apologise. I’ve just read back what I’ve typed, and I sound like a whinging child. Maybe the child treatment of warm drink and bed is what I need. Time for a lemsip. I can’t be doing with feeling not quite right and doing nothing about it.

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Just four days?

I know I’m late coming to blog about last weekend; but so much happened, and it was so emotional that I had to take some time in my own head to sort out what went on and how to write it all down.

As you may remember I was really tired at the working end of last week, and that affected my getting to sleep on Thursday night (3:30am if I recall correctly), and I had to get up early for a special breakfast on friday morning. My work friends had the doubtful pleasure of finally seeing me at my grumpy best on Friday, as I wasn’t giving up a free meal (well, who would?). Of itself, breakfast was OK; and it was good to have people to chat to at that time of day. However, the trip home was most certainly not warm and pleasant, the way the Rule Book says that all early trips to work should finish!

I had a “hit a wall” moment when I got home and it took 3 cups of filter coffee and a phone call to mum to get my suitcase packed and myself and my luggage out of the door and on the bus to mum’s house. Not the best start to a long weekend that means you’ll be seeing people you haven’t seen for over 6 months. On top of my low mood there was a motorway crash involving closing the entire motorway and sending the traffic through the town where I had to change busses, and my final journey was over 3 hours in the end.

I did make it safely to mum’s and handed over the chocolate to make up the stock I depleted last weeked with the chocolate chip cookies that everyone was still talking about, got fed and spent the evening chilling with various family members and friends dropping by. Very good way to waste a Friday night if your feeling tired if I may say so.

Saturday morning we (mum, dad, P and me) climbed in the car and made the 2 hour journey to visit mum’s sister and family. I haven’t seen these people since August, and I’d been really missing them, so it was really good to see them and reassure myself that they are healthy and happy still in spite of the lack of visits. They were doing really well. Happy, healthy and living in an astoundingly beautiful part of the country. I didn’t even know the area existed, and now I’m honour bound to check it out properly, camper that I am! Auntie cut my hair in exchange for a hairwash – nothing like a quick pamper to make life perfect – and P and the girls cleared off to the park until lunch was ready.

Lunch was a great laugh, twice as many people crowded around the table then the room could really take. People were sitting on the oddest items of furniture so there were enough seats around the table; and once we’d eaten the meal proper, and before dessert various people who will be forever nameless entertained everyone else by eating straight from the serving dishes and various other “not good manners” things.

The journey home was weird. I confess to not finding motor travel easy, and by the end of Saturday I’d clocked up 8 hours travel in two days. I firstly got travel sick almost as soon as we pulled away from the house and then fell asleep as soon as my stomach settled. The evening went by in a blur of friends and books and naps, not all in exactly that order! I did cry a lot in the evening, and I’m still working out exactly what for and why and whether I feel better for it or whether I need to cry some more. All I can think is that it must have been a combination of travel and the emotins of meeting with people I haven’t seen for a long time.

Sunday was just sunday really. More tears; and Church for the first time since before Christmas. It was great. I do miss going to Church, and while there are most certainly good Churches here in town I do miss the one I grew up with and I can’t really settle with any of the others. Lots old friends, some new ones, and some amazing and unbelievable stories about friends I’ve known a while.

On Monday, I helped mum, MG and K around the house til lunchtime, made the lunch and then dragged mum off for some quality time at a friend’s house; where she couldn’t rush around doing laundry, baking cakes, ringing friends and all the other hundreds of things my mother finds to do in a day. We had a great time talking about how we are and what we’re doing and plans for next year when I’m dealing with the upheaval of Losing My Job.

As I said earlier, I don’t find motorised travel the easiest or most restful thing in the world, so Monday night was a night of no food, lots of coffee and books in the bath before an early night. By Tuesday I felt like I’d had a week off work. So much happened over the weekend that it felt much longer then just four days away.

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By lamplight

I’m not sure why, but this week has been a big stress-out all round. I could feel tension building in my head and hands a bit more each day, until the evening when the machine really didn’t want to work and I lost it completely. Fortunately the people who caught the wrong side of my tongue are good natured for the most part and accepted my apologies later on, but the tension was still there the next morning.

Tea has been the order of the day, in light of the fact that it can help to de-stress; or at least not make it worse. While I do love to drink a good cup of proper coffee, it doesn’t have the same relaxing effect in general.

I used rescue remedy a couple of times too. I keep it in my bag, and usually use it when I feel panicky. I’d forgotten that it can help reduce stress and tension too. How the week could have been easier if I’d thought to use it before!

Lavender and ylang ylang essential oils have been in my night-time oil burner, to help with getting to sleep and try to get rid of some of the tension whilst still asleep, it did work to a point I have to say; although not as well as I could have hoped. I think I’ll be researching essential oils a bit more to find a good stress relief one to add to the mix or change things around a bit.

Right now, while I’m typing I’m burning a “stress relief” insense stick, containing lavender, orange blossom and thyme. I’m not totally sure as to whether it has the essential oils or not, but hey. Smells fairly pleasant though, to be honest, and it’s the safest thing downstairs – the stick burns in an enclosed box – as my “other” oil burners have open flames and the cats constantly risk burned tails if I’m not actively watching them and the burner – and I’m obviously not looking closely enough while typing to protect them against injury.

Thinking about the cats, I believe they’ve probably picked up on how I’m feeling as they’ve spent a fair bit of time bickering together and haven’t been eating as much as usual, and when their eating drops off I always worry a bit. Oliver is currently sitting on the back of the futon blinking at the lamp and toasting gently near the heater. As to Jewel, she could be anywhere indoors or out right now. She is the more adventurous cat, as well as being younger.

Anyway. It’s Thursday night, or more correctly, Friday morning, and I’m not back at work until Tuesday afternoon, so I have four whole days to rest and relax and generally enjoy myself, so that’s what I plan to do, in the company of good friends and good books, and I’ll tell you all about it next week!

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