Time & toilets

I never did write up the last couple of posts from my week off work, so I’ll round them up now because they were on two points that captured my attention and that I wanted to share.

1) a little thing that made a big difference was calling a plumber. On Tuesday of my week off I called round a couple of plumbers to fix the my toilet which would only flush intermittently. After about 3 weeks of trying to make time to do this and be at home for it, I was finally motivated to do this by the horror of the embarrassment if a friend came round the the toilet wouldn’t flush.

I called and left a message on an answering machine and waited to hear. I forgot all about this until I call the next day which started “Problem with the WC?”

I was utterly confused, having forgotten all about leaving the message the day before. Once we figured out what we were on about a plumber was sent round that afternoon and he fixed it in 15 minutes. A guaranteed flush every time and the clean water leak at the back of the loo fixed! I literally jumped up and down for joy I was so pleased. Poor man must’ve thought I was mad. The important point (!) being that I seriously underestimated how much difference getting that little thing sorted would make.

My week off in general was, in many ways, about maintenance. Catching up with the little things I put off (like getting the loo fixed or having a bit of a clear out) because I am too busy with work or because I am not home enough. I forget how important time to maintain is. I endeavour to keep on top of everything, keep it all running smoothly and tidy / maintain as I go, but frequently I fall behind as I prioritise work & adventuring.

In fact, more than a week later, I’ve just remembered on that The bucket is still in its position under the once leaky pipe. I should put it away 😉

And to celebrate, my favourite ever sketch from Not the Nine o’Clock news. Guaranteed to have me in stitches:

I’ll tackle the second thing in another post. This one rambled more than I originally intended …

I’ll leave you with an article I read recently on marginal gains, that is making small improvements that add up. I am just wondering if I should prioritise the maintenance stuff more highly.



Escape artists

I am a little behind with the one blog a day – I still haven’t written up Tuesday’s observation (I will, promise) and I am a day behind. It is Saturday, but I am about to write regarding Friday’s adventures 🙂

On Friday I met Misch for tea in the morning and we did our usual trick of escaping from somewhere, which is a happy constant in our adventuring together. We were going to meet in a new tea shop in Lewes, and I was power marching my way up town (I never manage to leave the house quite early enough for a leisurely stroll) when I spotted Misch walking down toward me looking more animated than usual and gesturing incomprehensibly with (unusually for Misch) a mildly frantic air about her.

About 10 steps away from the place, we met and she hastily explained it wasn’t the right place to meet and ushered me into another, nearby cafe. It all made sense, she’d narrowly escaped and was anxious for me not to get there, sit down and wait for her. It is one thing to venture into a cafe (or restaurant) and leave, but quite another to have to go back because your friend has now arrived there and is waiting for you 😉

We have escaped all manner of places together (and I still consider this one a joint effort) including pubs for Sunday lunch (I once rang an alternative pub to book a table while sat at the table in first place), churches during interminably long concerts, cafes, restaurants (3 in one evening once) and, of course, the entire country on our Lille day trip. I’ve finally learned that it is okay to opt not to sit and endure an experience (particularly when one is paying for the pleasure) that I don’t actually feel comfortable with and I need to give Misch the credit for tutoring me! I even explained, over our cup of tea, that I’d recently led an escape of my very own from a London restaurant without her being present. Needless to say, she was dead proud 😉

Hurrah for adventuring with friends (and tea)!

As an aside I did also buy some gorgeous shoes in the sale yesterday …

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I am feeling girlish and have purposefully chosen to wear clothes that are colourful and chaotic in reflection of my mood and my lack of willingness to submit, to conform to being brave, considered, measured and logical today. I feel lighter than I have in days, the weight of the various responsibilities I insist on claiming for myself off my shoulders for a bit, the snuffles and exhaustion of the latest in a long line of colds finally receding. A spontaneous plan to launch myself out of bed, sprint down to the train station and propel myself along the coast to Bexhill got me out of breath and put some colour in my cheeks 😉

Standing looking out towards the horizon, where the glittering sea meets the sky, I know I am where I most want to be in the world. The thought forms in my mind to swing my body under the metal railings between the promenade and the pebbles and sit and stare through the gap between the lower and upper railings, regardless of the fact that this is not a grown up thing to do and a nagging worry that I will bang my head and look stupid. Before I’ve too much time to think about it, in one easy motion I grab the top part of the railing and swing my legs under the lower part ending in a sitting position, legs dangling over pebbles and arms resting on the lower railing. For good measure, and no doubt adding to the impression of disaffected youth, I rest my chin on the railings and sit and stare as if I’ve all the time in the world. I breathe deeply and evenly and tune into the sensation of the breeze on my cheeks and the cold of the metal against my arms.

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Things I never thought I’d say

I am still catching up. Yesterday I blogged about Sunday’s little thing that made a big difference, this post is about Monday’s little thing.

On Monday I resolved that I will try weightlifting. Yes, you heard me. For anyone who knows me in person, that may be one of the most unlikely things you’ve ever heard me say. Or perhaps not and that is only my self perception. Now, the practical execution of this is a way off – I need to investigate and figure out how to do this safely and with correct training first. However, I’m determined to do it.

This started as a recommendation by a friend, whose opinion on physical training and exercise I value highly. I vividly remember not believing running could ever be for me until I started doing it. Therefore I am open to the idea that there might be other ways to train that I would like to have in my life that I am not yet aware of. My friend Kay has been gently suggesting I should take up crossfit for a while now and I am busy resisting. Honestly, the thought of crossfit scares the bejesus out of me. Weightlifting, though, according to her account sounds much more like something I am happy to give a go.

There are many things that appeal to me about it, but the thing that really clinched it  (which I am going to share publicly precisely because I am mildly ashamed of it) is that Kay advises I can gain a stronger, flatter stomach by lifting weights. I have been unhappy with how my stomach looks for years and telling myself I don’t care as much as I do for the same amount of time. Pretty much ever since I got myself back to a sensible weight after being severely underweight. I have no desire to make myself unwell to have a more aesthetically pleasing stomach, but if I can work towards it while still being healthy, then I’m interested to give it a go.

I don’t think this is only about vanity (though it may be and I am slightly ashamed to admit it plays a part at all). I am interested to challenge myself and to undertake exercise that I don’t think is likely to result in pain or injury. I am also up for trying new things, especially things I never thought would appeal to me, in order to see what happens.

All of this from a conversation with a friend that we started on the spur of the moment without any particular forethought. Talking to people about stuff is great because it has the potential to open up things I had no idea about.

I’ll definitely post more about the weightlifting as and when I do something about it. I have to stick to my commitment and do this now, or I’ll make a liar of myself to anyone who read this. Public declarations of things are great too …

Today’s song is Owl City’s Fireflies, which I rediscovered while browsing old playlists – it conjures hopefulness and magic for me and seems appropriate for today – which is interesting cos I’ve spent chunks of today feeling cruddy, unwell and on the verge of tears. You know what, I don’t mind that I’ve been all over the place today – I know my life is going in the right direction, because that is my commitment to myself and I’m acting on it 🙂

Raised on a diet of broken biscuits …

Morning all! There are so many things I’ve been meaning to blog about, but I’ve been prioritising other things lately. However, I have this week off work and I’ll be resurrecting my one blog post a day discipline from last year’s Cornwall holiday with the same theme: blog about a little thing that made a big difference 🙂

I’ve had a big and deeply thought provoking adventure this weekend, only appropriate as a way to round off a truly provocative week at work I guess 😉 Apparently I don’t do things the easy way. As a result I am physically and emotionally drained and only part way through recouping a sizeable sleep debt.

My little thing that made a big difference yesterday (Sunday) was receiving a call from the lost property office at London Victoria at 9 pm.

My weekend adventure played itself out in London and I stupidly dropped my mp3 player when getting off the train as I arrived. I realised my mistake within 5 minutes and went back to look for it, to no avail. Unusually for me I decided not to completely cut my losses and I went on a hunt for the lost property office and filed my loss. I had to ask several strangers for help in the course of this, something I usually avoid like the plague. Silly as this may sound, I was proud of myself for doing something positive rather than my usual plan of forgetting and moving on. The chaps behind the counter were friendly: I really appreciated that and told them so.

I had given it up for lost and was resigned to buying a replacement, but I got a call late last night from a chap who said he’d had something handed in. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I had the impression he had gone out of his way to contact me and let me know about it. He said it had been handed in at 9:30 on Saturday evening and apologised for not calling sooner. He urged me to call the lost property office when it was open (between 9-5) to sort out collecting it. I expressed my thanks and we agreed I was lucky it had been handed in.

What a nice thing and I am very grateful to that man for calling me and establishing that it was indeed my property. It made me smile.

Tying this into a wider theme, and to echo something a dear friend recently said to me, I am blessed to have and encounter the people I do in my life. So many people help me and contribute to my life in so many wonderful ways. I am blessed indeed 🙂

Oh and on the cryptic title – lyrics from a song that has been on my mind lately. Not only am I a huge fan of Pulp and not only has Britpop been on my mind lately, but various events have unwittingly reminded me of my teenage angst about not fitting in. Consider it a hint at the backdrop, the bigger picture of where I am right now, that situates the fragment of a story In this blog post.

Happy: a tale of 2 videos :-)

I am awake in the middle of the night. I’m not hugely enthused about this state of affairs and in fact I’m awake because I was upset about something that I refused to give myself space to acknowledge earlier in the week and my brain has chosen now to make me aware of the consequences of that decision. Ah well, it happens …

However, thank goodness for the internet. I found this video in my timeline earlier: a take on the idea of using Pharrell Williams Happy made in my adopted home town of Brighton. Watching it made me smile.

I love the strong University of Sussex flavour in it – I’ve been a part of the university for 10 years as both staff and student and I will forever consider myself a part of the University of Sussex family. I recognise many of the locations in the film specifically from the Uni and I particularly love the scenes in the library. I have spent MANY an hour there, ah fond memories! (It may be worth noting that I never danced in the library …)

I was reminded I meant to watch this after seeing it pop up in my Facebook timeline last week: the Happy (we are from Luton) video. Luton is my actual home town and (sorry all Luton residents, including my Mum) is a place I left at 18 and have never wanted to go back to.

I’ll be honest – I struggle to associate Luton with happiness, but the energy and mood of the video is so infectious that I do now have a connection between Luton and happiness in my mind that extends beyond the joy of seeing my Mum when I visit. A big thank you to all of those people, both the stars and the creators of the videos for sharing their energy and enthusiasm with me. Thanks for making me smile and feel happy.

I think I can go back to sleep now, hurrah! 🙂