Thursday, 30 July 2015

This One Is For Eric.

A month ago when I started my new fitness regime I could barely jog for the 60 seconds requested by the podcast, so I repeated week one. 

Week two came along and the 90 seconds had me gasping for air, the 90 second recovery walk seemed to last about 30 seconds, so week two made a second appearance. 

I am now on week 3 (my fifth week) and the podcast has me running* for 3 minutes, walking for 3 min. running* for 90 seconds, walking for 90 seconds and then repeat.  

Today I decided that I would run to my local shop. I was inspired by a chap called  Eric Gelber who is currently running 135 miles through Death Valley and beyond. I managed to run / jog 0.7 miles in 7.5 minutes. I know it isn't far. I know it isn't fast. I know that I am 40 pounds (nearly three stone in old English) overweight. I know that I am PROUD of myself for making such massive progress. I am off my couch and on my way! Every time I feel I can't go on I think of Eric and his "Just a mile to go" message. 

*For running it might be appropriate to say jogging through treacle, but I am moving!!!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

21st Century Garden July 2015

Good morning everyone, where has the past month gone? I'm pleased to report that I am on my fourth week of jogging, I don't run for long yet, but it is getting a tiny bit easier. Any way back to the garden.

The peas are finished, I have harvested the last of them and put them in the freezer to enjoy over the winter. 

 The first beetroots are ready too, those got made into a delicious salad.

The first of the early potatoes are up, we will eat them baked in their skins with chilli this evening.

All around the garden we still have plenty going on.


Bell pepper

Dwarf French beans

More French beans
 The young beans make a wonderful salad along with roasted hazelnuts.



Do you remember the photo of the beans last month? Well the runners have taken to the sky, it is actually 6 inches above the trellis!
Runner beans

Runner bean flower

Courgette / zucchini
Last month I showed you all how beautiful the rose arch is looking, the pond has matured beautifully too. 

It would appear that "everything in the garden is rosy."

Monday, 29 June 2015

July Jog

Over the last fifty-two years the nearest I have come to sporting prowess is walking to school. As a child I spent more time reading a book than running around. My youngest sister could run faster than me almost as soon as she could walk, I remember her chasing me with a carving knife around the flat we lived in after I had done something to upset her. I can't remember what it was I did, but I do remember it was me who got smacked and locked in the wooden larder that stood in the hallway. 

At school I was the kid who was picked last for the team games, netball, hockey, rounders (a bit like baseball for anyone outside the UK) and whilst I was happy to sit and make daisy chains during the summer rounders matches, standing around in my games kit during the winter was no fun. At primary school sports days were kept short by selecting the best children for each type of race, more daisy chain making for me, my youngest sister provided the proud mother moments in our family. 

The one thing I have always done though is walk. Between the ages of  seven and eleven I walked half a mile to school, a lot more than many kids today. During the summer at secondary school I would walk the two and a half miles to school, spend the hour and a half lunch break walking round and round the buildings and fields and then walk the two and a half miles home. I might not be built for speed, but I did have endurance. Endurance wasn't something that my school valued though when it came to sport. In fact I'm not entirely sure how I was viewed by my peers or teachers. Possibly the fact I came from a deprived area lead them to believe I was something I wasn't. It took me a few years to realise, but when we were doing a biology survey of the environmental effects of pollution on lichen I actually heard two teachers discussing which areas were to be covered "we'll have to send Lorna to Horseley Fields, no other parent will allow their daughter to go there." So I was sent, alone, with just my clipboard and paper.  I later learnt that Horseley Fields was part of the red light district. 

I remember after the first London Marathon in 1981 I told a friend that I fancied running the following year, they laughed at me. I never considered running again. 

I have continued to walk. I walked while pregnant, I walked with prams, pushchairs and baby carriers with children on my back. I walked them to school and then walked to do my shopping.  I love walking, sometimes I think I could be the Forest Gump of walking. 

So after a life-time of life only running for a bus I have decided I need to stretch my wings and try a bit of running. The NHS reckon I can get from Couch to 5K in just nine weeks. Maybe it will take me a bit longer, but my aim is to be running 5K around the park by the time the Wolverhampton Marathon takes place on Sunday 6th September. I might not be entered for this year, but maybe, just maybe, I'll be up to a half marathon by next year. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

21st Century Garden June 2015

I'm a couple of days late, it isn't always easy to get onto the computer, life and Mike get in the way.

The 'P' garden is doing well.



More peas

We have a possible "funny vegetable" entry.

Weird courgette.
The onions and carrots are looking promising, although who knows what is actually going on below the surface. For all we know, the carrots are presently being munched by carrot fly or slugs.

The tomatoes are starting to flower, possibly a bit late, but without a greenhouse, I think there is very little more we can do.

The dwarf french beans and runner beans have made an appearance.



The new raspberry bush has got its first fruit, much earlier than the old one which we practically destroyed trying to move it from spot to spot (Mike's idea!). It has started to recover now, but we thought it was dead and bought a replacement.



The Japanese quince is looking good, hopefully it will hold on to the fruits and I will be able to make quince jelly again.

The garden is maturing beautifully. Who remembers this wooden arch from 2011?

I was going to put a photo up in July, but it looked so beautiful this morning I decided to show you all a month early, I might just repeat myself next month. The photo is obviously from the opposite side as we put a shed up on the concrete pad.

The borders are full of flowers that the bees love. 

Foxglove, with bee runway.

Love-in-a-mist / Persian Jewel / Nigella Damascena

The bee hotel now has eleven little bees waiting for next spring to arrive, with adults still making their homes in it.  

I love my garden, I just hope I can hang on to it. 

Thursday, 11 June 2015

I'm late.

After my last post Mike has picked up no end, we aren't out of the woods yet, but we are getting there. That is my reason for not blogging yesterday, we were off doing "normal" things, hence I wasn't around to remind the world that we are all still thinking of Paula. I may not have blogged on the day but I did make my way to the blood donor centre in Birmingham and give a unit in her honour, not that I'm her type! 

I know many of the people who read the blog have a good reason that they can't, but can I encourage those of you who can to give, even if it is only every six months or make it yearly to celebrate the life of someone you love. My biggest disappointment is that I'm not able to give platelets, I rather enjoyed sharing the experience of going on to a machine like the one Mike was on to collect his stem cells. It isn't identical obviously, but similar enough for me to feel smug. Turns out I have too many antibodies from having the kids. (Insert sad face,)

So lecture over. 

So Paula, we still talk about you all the time, you are a benchmark for all things crafty. Most of the time we are saying "Paula would never settle for that!" but we do try our best. We have been following the buddy pattern to the letter, but no matter what size of needles I use, they still come out much smaller than yours ever did. Is it one of your practical jokes? 

Toni's toy bag is still bursting with all the gifts you sent her. She hasn't managed to destroy any of them yet. The dinosaur is in bits, but that is how you made her. 

I wish we had kept in touch with Bernard, but we didn't know how else to react when Bernard in his grief said to Mike that it wasn't fair, that Mike should be gone not you. We know what he meant, we still understand how he felt, there are a lot of bad people out there who could have taken your place. Mike felt that it was best not to be a constant reminder of the unfairness of life so we stopped getting in contact. I'm not sure we did the right thing. 

Never forgotten Sweet P. 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

A love letter straight from the heart.

My dearest darling, what is a love letter? 

I believe it is an outpouring of what is felt deep inside, what you feel in your heart. The doctors will tell you there is no emotion in the heart and yet the world over it is deep in our chests that we feel real joy and real heartache. We have had our share of both. 

They joy of simply being together, watching the swifts until late into the evening until they were replaced by bats. The joy of listening as our football team escaped relegation, sharing tears of joy. The joy we felt on our wedding day nearly four years ago. I only have to look at the photos and I can feel the happiness. So many moments of pure joy. 

The love I feel is so strong that the pain of watching you having to suffer is tearing me apart. Over the last five years we have had some very troubling times, the "dex" days and the weeks you spent ill in hospital, but we have managed to get through them all, this latest struggle though seems to be harder than any before. I can feel in my heart how unhappy you are and that hurts me almost as much as the thought of losing you completely, all I have ever wanted is for you to be happy. When you aren't I blame myself even though I know the reasons are not in my control. 

If you would let me I'd give you a kidney, I've already given you my heart. I have told you things I have never told another soul and will never tell another. We are each a missing piece from the other's jigsaw puzzle of life, without you I am incomplete. 

We cannot let it tear us apart, who else will put up with you or put up with me? So please, can we try and find some joy, I want to grow old with you.


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The blind leading the blind.

Mike is now mostly vertical. The bug has left him with the residual tiredness typical of viruses. It also seems to have left him with depression. He is refusing to eat or drink properly for fear they will try and take off the weight in water. He is simply sitting in the chair and dozing. Everything I say is turned into a negative and the whole world is against him. 

I am definitely not able to help him, I am stuck with my own fears and anxiety, I don't know what we are going to do now.