Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Never did I imagine ...

... that tiny, super-fit, friends (I mean, friend) would ever be bemoaning that I write "perky" blogs about how lovely running is. This made me giggle so much that:

I was going to bypass this post and just mention it another time. But as I now feel happily goaded I'll just say that TheO and I went to the gym today. I did a wonderful 4 miles on rising intervals which meant 2min 50 on 0% followed by 2min 50 going up from 2% to 7%. It was my fastest 4 miles ever at 34.57 and felt fantastic - even if I found it hard to breathe and walk (either independently or simultaneously) afterward.

I then managed to hold it together long enough to do the tricep pull, the lateral pull and the tummy machine (although not on my preferred weight). After this I staggered to the car.

If it makes RF feel any better this trip was pre-ceeded by ice cream from Janettas and post-ceeded (!) by Thai food. Not a great day for food. A really crappy day for food. But hell - at least some running was done. I'm finding it hard to tell if I ache from Thair food or if I ache from the running and the tummy machine.?!

Also - RF went for a surf. I want to go for a surf. Be all buffeted by the sea and salty - sounds bloody wonderful. Roll on some perfect summer day with crisp waves and sunshine in unlikely Scottish combination.

Good Week

Well the good times started with an excellent 7 mile run into St. Andrews on the 18th.

Really pushed it time wise - first 5k 30min, next 5 k 30.30 seconds and then a more relaxing
final mile in 10.30 (including the 0.2 from the 10k). Total run time: 1:09.14. So averaging less than 10min/miles. Blissful.

It was a really great run - tiring and needed more food and water than I remembered, but a really lovely way to get back into doing some distance. I also was careful to do loads of stretching.

Legs were a little achy the next day so TheO gave me a delightful massage.

The 20th was jam packed.
The first good bit was that all the documents arrived about the house proving that it's in good nick, and the water is drinkable, and everything else has weathered the years well. Despite some great clauses by our solicitor, it was still extremely reassuring and quite wonderful to discover all the things the previous owners had had done when they moved in 3 years ago.

I had a very reassuring dress fitting where everything went swimmingly and I was delighted by what I saw. This made me much calmer about the whole shebang.

TheO and I then went for a fantastic hill and off road run. We headed up through the woods, across a field, down and track and then at about the half way point came back onto tarmac. It was a really hot and sunny day, we took the dogs and managed a great time of 35.12 given that it was rough terrain and really quite hilly. It made us very happy and in desperate need of a shower.

After some speed packing, washing, and car loading we headed to RF and Wheeler's country pad. (Cutest cottage ever.) My inaugural meeting with Dougal (the working cocker) took place, he's just bloody gorgeous and it makes me want more puppies quite badly.

RF then cooked a fantastic meal. The sweet potato stacks were yummy, the duck with the most incredible potato and chilli salad was INSPIRED - I mean, fantastic spicy duck with a simple and super tasty potato dish worked so well, there was none of the over-richness too often found with heavy duck dishes - but all of the big flavours. This is an idea I will be stealing. The pud was malteaser and whisky ice cream - again I think this rocked and it took some energy on my part not to have bowl after bowl. YUM.

Dinner was followed by a fantastic walk in fields around the house. Our dogs behaved delightfully with Dougal and proved their strict upbringing by heading into a field to talk to the horses. Dougal practically walked to heel...

Much good chat was had and the night was rounded off by wagon loads of cheese (mostly eaten by me) and whisky. We then headed up the stairs to a wonderful guest bedroom and a brilliant night's slumber. A better time could not have been had. Mucho Gracias to RF and Wheeler.

We were thoroughly spoiled as we were also invited out to dinner the next night. Mistrel and Brave Bird were letting us look at their new place (they moved in 10 months ago!) and have a bit of catch-up pre nedding. A wonderful coq-au-vin supper followed with profiteroles to finish ... and more cheese. (I may never need to eat again this week.) It was great to see them and have such a relaxed time. We drove home feeling very lucky to have such nice friends, and not to have had to cook for 2 whole days in a row! ;-)

A quiet few days have followed with naught but the news that everything for the house has been signed and legally we're all bound up now. Just some £££ to be moved to the appropriate places on the appropriate dates and we're all sorted.

We've also had some great chats where we sorted out loads of nedding stuff and loads of stuff for the new house. A super productive week.


Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Getting Lazy

Today I was busy reading other people's blogs and suddenly realised I hadn't updated my own in quite some time.

The past 10 days have been quite busy:
1/TheO went away for the w/end to do her massage course - I stayed home with the dogs, got loads of work done, and ploughed my way through 6 years worth of interiors and homes magazines. (Seriously - I never thought keeping them would be useful, it was brilliant I've now got ideas for the bathrooms all sorted.) You can imagine that TheO was actually quite happy to miss this particular frenzy.

2/ Sis-in-law, Islander and the 'Phews turned up for a 2 day visit. Ostensibly so S-i-L could go and have a scan at Dundee. Yes, she is indeed with child. What we're convinced will be boy no. 3 is doing well and due in December. It was a great trip, very relaxed and the boys were delightful.

3/Managed to fit in a 2.1 mile run (20min) including some hills. I mistimed everything so it had to be short. But better than nothing.

4/Had a terrible bridezilla dress moment on discovering that the dressmaker had ordered the wrong fabric (as the one I wanted had been discontinued) and made a disgustingly horrid dress. All was ok on discussion - think she'd just had a panic (she lost a good friend the same week v suddenly) but luckily a further appointment reassured me and new fabric was chosen.

5/Did a great 4mile run in the gym with hills - 36.22 - really worked hard.

6/ HH and Teech came up for the w/end and we had a wonderful time. Great food, great (new) games, some sunshine, lovely chat. It was v relaxing for me as TheO managed to do pretty much everything despite being struck down by a tummy bug on Friday. She soldiered through and felt much better as the w/end progressed.

7/ Did 5k on the elliptical machine in 29.40. Some hills in the first half - but mostly oscillating between 1 and 3 (just realised these setting might be percentages? - does anyone know?).

8/ Actually had some good (and non-argumentative) nedding chat which made us both feel much calmer. Time is really ticking now.... eeek.

9/ House plans are still going ahead well. The documents are shuffling back and forth between solicitors as every detail gets sorted out. We've got a date. We've got a contractor for the work. Just keep your fingers crossed for us at every turn.

I'm now off to get some more work done - just a few things to finish off before I take a work hiatus for the nedding and the move. Might also try doing a decent length run today too. (Especially as we ran out of milk so I've got coffee with a mixture of skimmed milk and cream...)

Oh yes, the running. I really need to sign up for another race. Anything will do - but I also need fixed dates for moving etc. I need something to make me work as I'm going to get FAT and LAZY really quickly.

Friday, 6 June 2008

One more note

Whilst sitting in the sun in the garden yesterday testing TheO on her up and coming tutorial (massage course) we saw a Red Kite swooping and dicing around. Really quite remarkable.

Today is grey and miserable so far - boo. We've had 2 days of great sunshine and have been topping up our Island tans.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Back to reality.

All v pleasant today. Whenever I get mildly snappish or grumpy (a usual state but exacerbated by hormones at present) TheO just turns to me and says "house". And it's true, it makes me smile just to think of it.


Sorry, drifted off there for a moment. Got a stack of work sent off again - and a few invoices done, all excellent news, means I might actually get paid. Also had a call from a new gallery that I started stocking a few weeks ago - they've managed to sell 4 pieces already. I'm delighted.

After my really very long hiatus from running post marathon (I've run a marathon you know, I feel I haven't mentioned this often enough in the last 10 days) today was the first run.

5k with TheO and the pooches in dead flat forest. Bloody wonderful, was so great to get back to it. My legs haven't forgotten how to move at relative speed, as I feared.

5k in 32.52 - Taking it nice and easy but not being too lax.

There was one point where I was running along and I thought: Running - it's like god invented a really great sport.

Needless to say I dismissed this thought in all its foolishness very quickly, but it did make me realise quite how much I'd missed it. Also, wow, 5K feels like a gentle stroll now - or maybe it only does because I'm sooo well rested. I kept thinking, I wonder how far I could run today if I just kept going? ... and wouldn't that be fun. Like all good things I might have to rein myself in - little (ish) and often does you good. Not the thought I had at mile 24 of the marathon (did I mention...): so, this ultra thing suddenly sounds like a great idea! I mean it must have been the endorphins talking - really, 'cos that's not a sensible thought.

Off to cleanse myself and mentally plan new bathrooms.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008


Well, it's finally happened. After two viewings over the last two weeks and a day which made me wake up early (shockhorror) and feel horribly nauseous all day the call finally came. Our offer on the perfik house was accepted. The offers went in at 12 and we didn't get the call 'til 4pm - cruel, cruel, world. I think the solicitor expected screams of excitement (poor, patient man has been through a fair few calls and ups and downs) but for some reason I was incredibly calm - as if, despite the nerves, I knew this one would go our way.

I'm not going to put too many details out there but it's a great old cottage which has some higgeldy-piggeldy cottagey extensions and a whole giant bag of character. It's in beautiful Perthshire and is surrounded by greenery. There's more room than we have at the moment, stairs (which are very exciting when you've lived in a one and a half storey bungalow) and a wonderful dog friendly garden (people friendly too). I just can't wait to get everything signed and sealed.

It needs some work (mostly bathrooms and floors) but we're going to get it all done before we move in (we know what happens if we don't). We feel like after so much looking the right house came to us. It's perfectly located for friends and family visiting and close enough to big shops to be incredibly practical. (Yes, I do know how many minutes from a 24h Tesco.)

The lovely lovely nedding list might grow rapidly as we discover lots of things the new place needs.

We're over the moon and feel like there's so much to do. Who needs to get knotted and move in the same summer. Ah well, at least there isn't footie to get in the way. ;-)

ps/ To those good friends who read this: we didn't tell anyone (apart from parents) that we were putting and offer in, or that we'd even seen a great house, because if it all went wrong and we didn't get it, we couldn't stand everyone being sad for us too, it was so horrid last time.

Monday, 2 June 2008

She returns, so much weaker than before

After the marathon I should have been taking it easy. Instead Monday dawned bright and early and saw us heading northward, far, far, northward (and a little west) in search of a perfect bothy. After 5 hours of driving (and a 20mile detour to collect the key) we tramped for a further 40min over hill and dale (this put some serious strain on the ole leg muscles) and arrived at the cottage to see a tent in the garden and people having tea. This was a surprise, but then, these things happen. The lady was extremely reluctant to let us in and after 30min of sitting outside in deep embarrassment and rising frustration and fury (with the stupid c**** of estate agents), and several calls back and forth to the agents (who initially claimed not to know who we were despite agreeing to the visit 5 days ago and giving us the key an hour previously) we had the shortest and shitest viewing of a house ever. Imagine a large continental woman standing in a small cottage doorway, opening the door and saying "that's a bedroom" whilst two of you try desperately to peer round her and actually see the place. Everything was done quickly and grudgingly. It sucked.
Luckily for the house it is in the most beautiful location EVAR. Unluckily the price is being messed around with and they want too much for it (considering it has no electricity or real water.. or, you know, access). Also she couldn't answer any of our questions and the agents haven't even replied to our pleas for information. JESUS - talk about money for old rope.

Well, moving onwards - the next few days were spent working and catching up with that pesky thing called laundry (it really does breed when you aren't looking).

On Wednesday we climbed back into Helga (who's seen a fair few miles in the last month or so; and may be suffering a little) and headed for Oban. It was time for our much delayed Coll trip to see Sis and Bro in law and the wonderful 'Phews. Luckily the "restaurant night" had been abandoned in favour of TheO cooking a wonderful meal instead. We were laden with only a few cool bags and our pooches.
These are my notes written on the return ferry yesterday:
An incredible Coll trip that really showed off the Island to its very best.
We arrived with sis-in-law and the 'phews and Coll was bathed in sunshine. (Admittedly I can't remember as I got food poisoning the day before and projectile vomited over the hotel in Oban before spending far too much time with Mr Shanks. I slept in the ferry and for 4h when we got to the house). That night I had roast chicken (tiny scrap) and baked potato. Excellent. Another good day followed with 2 beach trips and lovely nephews; we played and paddled and the dogs behaved pretty well for mainland pooches.

Fri night TheO cooked up a storm and I ate like a queen. A good night was had by all; the Collites were in good form (Sis in Law suffering slightly from pregnancy related nausea but she put in a fantastic showing) and the chat and wine flowed all too freely. [You know that a discussion where nipple hair and loo brushes are mentioned (not in the same breath) that everyone is quite well lubricated.]
Unfortunately the next day was less pleasant as my system rejected every scrap of food I'd had the night before. So I did some childcare duty in the sun whilst the Coll-ites worked soo hard to help set up a Project Trust 40th Party.
Then we saw the new sailing club start with loads of kids in tazo mini sailing dingies - eldest 'Phew managed to have a go and was brilliant - ie actually listened and did as he was told. Party that night was ruled out for me but all had fun and the hard worked seemed to be worthwhile. TheO was amazing and just let me rest and got on with everything: children, dogs, party duty, long walks on her own back from the party, and a fair amount of washing-up.

Sunday started with Islander cooking pancakes and progressed to fishing on their boat - mackrell, gurnard and pollack were all caught and the incredible weather just kept on coming, a flock of puffins passing overhead and a seal popping up to say hello made for some pretty incredible meamories. We were both sad to have to come home (and get some bloody work done) but were delighted to have appreciated every moment.

Couldn't have been better (apart from me being a bit ill). I come back tanned and considerably thinner (whoo hoo) - albeit by unpleasant means.
I really am much lighter - it puts the perspective on the illness - I feel like I did nothing but sleep and wander around lazily, and yet I've shed 8lb. Hmm, I hate knowing it's a false-loss and will creep back on all too easily. Yuck-Poo as Godlet would say.

Today I worked like the proverbial and got loads done. I smugly headed off to the Post Office at 5pm only to discover that in the 4 days I've been away our PO has changed its hours to a mere 9 - 12:30 every day. Most Frustrating!

I am really missing running - but all advice suggests doing bugger all until I can properly digest food. RF is better now but her digestive machinations did last a good few weeks. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Ooh off to put a potato in the oven.