Monday, June 29, 2015

switch off your tv set and do something less boring instead

Dulcie and I took the bus to Edinburgh last week in order to find this house.  Do you recognise it?  It's Great Aunt Lizzie's house from CBeebies' Teacup Travels, a very old-fashioned show about ancient history.  I mistakenly thought I'd seen this house not too far from us in Glasgow and foolishly mentioned it to Dulcie before googling and finding out it was in another city entirely.  Well, Edinburgh is not that far really and is full of friends I've been meaning to catch up with, so we hopped on the bus and set off, meeting my friend Lorna once we got there.

We knew the house was somewhere in Princes Street Gardens, but where?  After a few hours' wandering, we had found some ice cream, an amazing play park, plenty of sticks and insects, a bench dedicated to Hugh MacDiarmid, a giant boulder from Norway...but no house.  Eventually we gave up and set off for home, only to stumble across the house right beside the gate we'd entered the park by!  Thank goodness, after all that, that Dulcie was actually suitably impressed and it wouldn't have been half as much fun if we hadn't had to search for it.  We squeezed in a quick cuppa (with Dulcie inexplicably stripping off in the middle of the cafe) before jumping back on the bus to Glasgow.

So a totally random daytrip, but very enjoyable nonetheless.  It's nice that Dulcie's getting to an age where she wants to go on these mini adventures.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

swim sunday #25


Lengths swum this week: 72
Target total this week: 1360
Total lengths swum: 1360

Je l'ai nage la Manche! (Translation: I've swum the Channel!)

I completed my Channel challenge on Monday, with an epic 72-length swim and 8 days to spare!  Yippee!  Given where I was at with this a few weeks back, I can't quite believe I made it, but I totally did!  I've been feeling very proud of myself all week :)

Swimming 80+ lengths a week now turned out to be easier than it was to swim 50+ lengths a week in the beginning, so I'm going to attempt to swim back in four months rather than six, meaning I should land in "Dover" by Halloween.  Yes, I'm doing it all again.  While it would be nice to think I could swim aimlessly and achieve the same result fitness-wise, I know I need a weekly kick up the arse to keep me on track and motivate me, so, in the words of Edith Piaf, "Je repars a zero," which (I think!) translates as, "I start again from zero." Quite a thought...but, weirdly, not a bad one.

For the swim back, my weeks are going to run Wednesday - Tuesday, so I'll be calling my weekly blog updates Wet Wednesday, unless I can think of something better.  If I've done my sums right, I need to swim an average of 80 lengths a week, but I'm going to try to bank more in the early stages in anticipation of the fact that August's wedding will likely throw a spanner in the works.  Watch this space/the horizon!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

keep smiling through...

I feel bad to post this since Dulcie's been close to angelic for the last 48 hours, but this photo does kind of typify life with this particular 3.5-year-old at the moment, especially life on nursery days.  She knows what she wants and she thinks she knows how to get it :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

swim sunday #24

Lengths swum this week: 110
Target total this week: 1279
Total lengths swum: 1288 (9 ahead of target)

I'd need to swim 72 lengths this week to meet next week's target...AND COMPLETE THE CHANNEL SWIM!

Sorry I blabbed mid-week and made this post even less exciting than it might have been.  I actually hoped to squeeze in another swim over the weekend, but it was not to be.  But yes, I'm all set to complete my Channel swim on time by the end of the month and I'm so excited!  It seemed all was lost a few weeks back so I'm glad to have pulled it back together at the eleventh hour.  
I was doing a lot of reminiscing in the pool this week and realised how much fitter I am now than I was in January.  I can swim faster and further with less negative side effects afterwards.  I'm also finding day-to-day life much easier - I'm definitely stronger and puffing and panting a bit less.  And, of course, my heart scans have been showing better results too.  It's all good, good, good.  Hooray for swimming!

I'll tell you about my post-Channel plans once I've actually completed the challenge.  Watch this space... :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

check this out!

I know it's not Swim Sunday yet, but I'm just saying...  Getting so close!  Fate may be conspiring against me (work has chosen next week to send me on a three-day first-aid course and my usual Monday night swim-sitter can't do it on the 29th) but there is no way this Channel will not be swum on time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

lovely (does this blog post make me sound like an old lady?)

Dulcie came back from my mum and dad's yesterday looking very proud of this beautiful bunch of flowers she'd picked for me from the garden.  Honestly, I think they might be the nicest flowers I've ever had.  Dulcie has been telling me the names of some of these and pointing out the arrangement's best features.  So sweet.  When she doesn't know the name of one, she puts on the funniest over-the-top trying-to-remember face, hums and haws for a minute, then says, "I don't bemember. Can you tell me?"  Sadly, she really does know more than me about plants so I can't help her much!
The vase the flowers are in was a Christmas gift (via the charity shop) from my sister, very similar to a vase of hers that I love and also similar to one I saw in a French charity shop but couldn't fit in my suitcase.  The cards, with beautiful sentiments inside, arrived for Dulcie and I recently from a very dear friend, just because. 
I wouldn't class myself as materialistic, but thoughtful gifts like these really make my day :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

all about the snails, bout the snails (no sluggies)

 Dulcie is creepy-crawlie mad these days and especially loves snails.  She found this tiny one on our front steps and the only way we could persuade her not to take it to live in the house was by taking it to live in the park instead.  Dulcie fetched it these leaves and I carried it all the way.  It took ages before it felt brave enough to poke its head out of its shell but it was so flippin' cute when it did.  I ended up wanting to take it home too!  (We didn't, it now resides in the snail penthouse, Kelvingrove Park.)
In other snail news, I was asked to test-run some satsuma snails for a first birthday party this week and the result was pretty adorable.  Not a patch on the amazing spread the birthday girl's mum had laid on, mind you.  I'm talking cheese mice, pretzel butterflies, strawberry toadstools and Babybel ladybirds.  So sweet!  All the ideas were harvested from our collaborative "fun food" board on Pinterest and I expect a fair few of them will reappear at our wedding in August.  I've already hired my friend on the basis of her first-birthday spread!  It was good to see things being made instead of just pinned for once.  Must do more of that asap!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

swim sunday #23

This is exactly how I feel today.  Sketch of a tired swimmer taking a dive by the very talented Non-Indigenous Woman.
Lengths swum this week: 60
Target total this week: 1198
Total lengths swum: 1178 (20 behind target)

I'd need to swim 101 lengths this week to meet next week's target.
I was hard pushed to make it to the pool at all this week.  Dulcie has been off nursery, fighting off some sort of virus. She has been mum-limpeting non-stop (and not managing to sleep for coughing) since we got back from our holiday, so my planned mid-week/Saturday swim sessions were scuppered but I squeezed one in this morning - the first time Dulcie hasn't been physically attached to me since Wednesday.  Maybe I shouldn't have gone (I'm a wreck now) but I couldn't stand the thought of a zero-lengths total for the week. I'm only about four swims away from finishing the challenge.  Exciting!  But then what will I do to keep myself going back to the pool?  So far I haven't come up with anything more exciting than swimming back across the Channel by Christmas.  Anyone got any better ideas?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

swim sunday #22

Lengths swum this week: 62
Target total this week: 1118
Total lengths swum: 1118 (on target)

I'd need to swim 80 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

Sorry this post is a couple of days late.  I didn't get round to blogging while we were at my sister's over the weekend, but the swimming was completed on schedule, I promise!

You'll have gathered we're back from our holidays, literally just in the door.  Dulcie had a blast with her cousins.  I was officially TOO HOT but enjoyed myself nonetheless and found a hidden talent for hula hooping.  I'm still feeling good health-wise, so it's back to work tomorrow morning.  It's been a long time (cue the deleting of a million emails) but hopefully I won't need to take any more time off sick for the foreseeable future.  How nice to be able to say that with a modicum of confidence :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I'm happy, I'm happy!

Image by Lorenzo Montatore.  
I wanted to buy this print from him but it's no longer available and he doesn't respond to my begging emails :(  Considering becoming an art pest/stalker.

I am still feeling so happy after yesterday's good news.  Yippee-ay-ayo!  I've been smirking all morning.  Every time Graham looks at me, I pound my chest proudly.  This is bloomin' amazing.

In other reasons to be cheerful, Dulcie and I are going to France tomorrow to stay with my sister and her family for a few days.  Dulcie doesn't know yet and is going to be so excited when she realises where we're going.  Girls on tour!  Oh, yeah!  Graham is staying at home to get on with the decorating.  Poor Graham.  I'm looking forward to coming back to woodwork that's whiter than the magnolia walls!

Anyway, I'd better go and get organised  because I want to squeeze in a swim too.

I'm happy, I'm happy :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

getting stronger!

Given my recent kidney incident, my heart checkups got moved forward by a couple of months to make sure there wasn't any sinister heart business behind it all.  Yesterday I went for an echo of my heart and today I saw my consultant to discuss the results and, for the first time since all the heart failure kicked off, I had bona fide GOOD NEWS - there has been a significant improvement in my heart function.  Whoop!  I mean, it's still essentially buggered and all, but not as buggered as it has been and I am delighted!  Beyond delighted!  Of course, my medication and "magic machine" may be helping in the background (they probably are) but I think we can safely put this recent improvement squarely down!  It's my swimming and my exercise biking and my weight loss (1.5 stone and counting) and my general hard heart graft.  Go me!  Yes, go me!  Whoop!  I've been walking around with a cheesy grin on my face all day.  Well, apart from when I felt crap and had to have a lie down, but generally...whoop!  I'm super excited to think that I might be able to keep improving things, up to a point at least, and it's just amazing to feel some sort of control over the situation at long last.  And lately (since my kidneys started working again) I've been weirdly enjoying exercise and wanting to do it and I'm loving my new muscles and the feeling of being strong and on top of things.  2015 is going to be the year when things started getting better, people.  Whoop!