Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Motorhome Wardrobe

In anticipation of my move  I've had the ultimate of all clear outs.  Many bags of clothes have gone to the charity shop.  More have been put in boxes and can't come with me as they're too bulky, saved for the days when I return to having more accessible storage space.  My rather marvellous embroidered Austrian cardigan comes into that category as does my pink corduroy coat.  Boo hoo!

In the motorhome have three shelves, four hooks and a couple of fabric baskets in which to store an entire wardrobe. That's way more than the 'home on my bag' rucksack from my Appalachian Trail walking days that held just two changes of lightweight clothing.  Even so, a bit of thought has to go into what stays and what goes. Everything scratchy, itchy, holey or uncomfortable has departed.  Long skirts and dresses are unfortunately out as they take up too much space What remains are clothes that are ideal for layering, old favourites and things that have earned their place by being colourful and funky.

Rainwear is a must here in the South West and there's only room on those hooks for one waterproof coat.  I had two, a very dull navy number and my favourite,decade old ,North Face ski jacket.  The problem with that one is that it's short and just sits on the hip. It's fine for snowy peaks but not the best when it comes to protection from those all too common Devonian showers.

So I've treated myself to this Rab Latok Jacket from Cotswold Outdoors, expensive but £100 off its original price and Quidco-ed as well for a further discount.  It stops my bum getting wet, meets all my walking and skiing needs in one and stops me pining quite so much for the corduroy number.  Like every new piece of clothing from now on it's really had to earn its place on that hook in the van!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Sock Loss and Other Stressors


I'm having a day where it was difficult to think of what to post. In spite of mindfulness practice, a band of angels looking after me and my own personal reiki healer it'll come as no surprise that I'm feeling significantly stressed.  Work is busy, there's a house to pack up and a motorhome to prepare, Louis' behaviour is being kept on extra special check and to top it all, there's a mini essay to complete by next Monday. Aaaaargh!  No wonder my brain is kerfuffled. Roll on next week when life should be way simpler.

So, apologies for recycling stuff off the Internet and the sweary language in this comic strip. It's funny though and sort of sums up what's  happening at Lovelygrey Cottage at the current time.  In the turmoil,  things are getting lost and found and lost again!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Still Crying Over Spilt Milk

Photo: BBC (Wikipedia)
Sometimes I feel that life runs like an episodes of 'Some Mothers Do Have 'Em' that ,as a kid, I was allowed to stay up and watch after swimming lessons.   Motor control isn't one of my strong points and it took me a year before I was able to stay afloat without armbands. Like Frank Spencer, I'm dreadfully accident prone and have self diagnosed myself with hypermobility syndrome after Louis was discovered to have it.  It accounts for why proprioception, judging where our bodies are in space, is tricky for both of us.   Then there's the dodgy 3-D vision. Even though the operation to correct the squint that I had as a child was successful and people know when I'm looking them in the eye, the impairment remains at neurological level. This combination of factors means a trail of destruction is often left in my wake. Within minutes, the other day at work, I'd tripped up the crutch that I needed for my poorly ankle just after a rather spectacular tea spillage.  After a decade long relationship, my long suffering colleagues are used to me and take these frequent moments of carnage in their stride.

Why am I telling you all this when today's post is an update on how I'm getting on with Leif, my lovely Skoda Citigo that I bought back in May? Well, all is well except Leif has developed a nasty niff.  That's because I managed to spill that milk that I'm crying over in his back footwell.  All my efforts to erase the smell have been in vain.  I've scrubbed, stream cleaned and applied air freshener directly to the carpet.  Any handy hints on resolving the situation would be jolly handy indeed!

Other than that, I'm ever so happy with my pretty little car.  It's good to be back in the  Volkswagen-Audi fold from where I think I'll never stray again.   Granted Leif, with his one litre engine, can be a little sluggish up hills and I've had to get niftier at gear changing.  To counter that though, journeys where the average fuel consumption tips well over 55mpg are the  norm. Comfort on long journeys is good and the sound system is brilliant.  It encourages me to sing my little heart out, a perfect pick me up when stuck in a traffic jam.  Adding the accompaniment of tuneless backing vocals to the songs of my favourite artists in the privacy of my own car means that time flies by.

And for a little fellow,  Leif is positively Tardis-like.  I've worked out that the best way to save fuel is, of course, not to drive at all.  So I was jolly pleased to be able to persuade other  parents to share  the task of   picking  up grubby boys from school after orienteering club on Monday evenings  When my turn falls every  three weeks, there's plenty enough space for three lanky boys, a ton of mud and seemingly vast amounts of school kit.  Evidence I think against the common claim round here that once there is a brood in tow, you positively need a chunky 4WD vehicle.  I think I've proved that, for most journeys, a  teeny weeny square car  does the trick!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Silly Saturday Song




Somewhere along the line, it seems that  my own quirky and sometimes dark sense of humour and Louis' have converged. Yes! No more lame one liners that I have to pretend are funny.   It was a proud moment when he introduced me to the music of Amateur Transplants via Spotify yesterday.  We laughed along together in the car on the way home yesterday. I'm sharing this in case you need a giggle. It might be just the ticket.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Skinny v. Plump


Weight loss has been at a standstill for a couple of months due to injury.  Knee pain brought jogging, an exercise within my prescribed exercise plan, to an abrupt halt a few weeks back. Then that twisted ankle is still niggling which means I'm currently even more restricted.  I met my physiotherapist in our hospital reception area when we were both picking up patients. 'Do you know when I passed you in the corridor the other day and said I was okay?'  I 'fessed up. 'Well, I'm not!'  He was unfazed. Apparently setbacks are the norm after cruciate repair  and the perky, positive attitude  that I've adopted has no effect on biomechanical restoration.  It's just a matter of letting healing happen in its own time.  The sprain's likely to take three months to get better. Bah!

Consequently weight loss has come to a halt.  As I love my food and tipples  I've decided to become more philosophical about body shape.  The toning up will happen when I'm able to get moving properly again.  As for the weight that I envisaged that I wanted to get to when I started dieting, well, this photo has made me rethink that.

Salty Dog sent me the  picture  above that she took ten years ago on an adventurous sailing holiday to the Scillies.  We came back in very rough seas and that Beaufort Scale number goes up every time we tell the story! Here,  I'm in a bar on the little island of St Martin's adopting a very similar pose to the one in my recent profile picture that I've popped back here for easy comparison. I thought I wanted to be that thin again.  What shocked and surprised me was that I prefer how I look now. There may be a bit more blubber but I like my curvier shape. It's way more girlie.  The hair under that hat is a lot more grey too but I love it.  What's more my friends all agree that I prefer me this way too. Apparently I look way funkier and I'm liking that. Funky when you're nearing fifty is good.  I don't fit the stereotypical skinny mini shape that we're all meant to aspire to but  really don't give two hoots!

So that target has been revised upwards. Yes, I want to shed some of those extra pounds but it's just a few now. I'm  nearly happy the way I am.  That weight loss can happen at its own pace.  It will because I'm very active when I'm not laid up with a poorly leg. So  I'm not going to deny myself the rather lovely calories in those glasses of wine. They'll cheer me up while I'm waiting for recovery.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

More Cat Swinging

Photo: Rightmove 
This little Streatham studio flat featured in the Guardian caught my eye last week. It was on the market for £99,950, a rock bottom price unheard of for many a year in the buoyant property market in the capital. It has a similar floor area to Klaus the Knaus, my motorhome; nineteen square metres versus the van's eighteen. Squeezed into that small space, right where the cab in my motorhome would be, it's even got a full sized bath.  If I had to base myself in London I'd rather live in this little apartment than that gloomy narrow house featured in a post a few weeks back.   A passing cat might even enjoy having a little swing here.
Photo: Rightmove

In fact I'd go as far as saying that I actually like it.  I'll give you it's scruffy and could do with the decor being updated and something other than a microwave to cook with. But it's been well thought out and the use of space is clever. There's everything needed to be quite comfy and self sufficient.    I'm thinking  that, with a natty paint job and lighting to differentiate room areas, well thought out furnishings and storage, a new bathroom and and maybe a swanky balustrade and spiral staircase to the mezzanine, it could be transformed.  Ten grand could probably do a well nice job.  In fact if the new owners want I could be hired as their new small space interior designer!


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Fallout from a Metaphorical Explosion

'You are very kind, Mummy,' said Louis, a couple of evenings ago. 'But your anger is like a bomb.  It's hard to light but once it goes off you know about it!'

For the second day in a row problems around homework and behaviour came to light.  They're nothing uber serious in the scheme of things, but the school rightly comes down on their new excitable band of new charges like a ton of bricks.  Perhaps it prevents more serious problems emerging further down the line.  I have to say though it's a stressful time for parents who just want the best for their kids and are anxious for them to do well and just be good.  As a consequence of a catalogue of misdemeanours my son had just felt the full and very noisy force of my wrath.  My stress levels have been building up and boom! Once an outburst has occurred it's happily over, done and dusted  I'm not a sulker or a harbourer of grudges.

Peace is restored but  harsh sanctions have now been imposed at Lovelygrey Cottage and the house that Louis shares half the time with his father.  There'll be no treats or screen time until half term, a week and a half away.  He's  going to have to be a little more creative about entertaining himself for the next few days.  It means that I'm interacting with him rather more than I usually do during the times when he's plonked in front of the telly.  And that can't really be a bad thing.

What have we been doing?  Well, there's reading of course.  We both like that. I introduced him to an old favourite of mine, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4.  When I first read it I embarrassed myself by laughing out loud on a train. It's still good and Lou's enjoying it.  We're also contemplating our navels together.  I've been meaning to teach him mindfulness for some time  and it seemed like  a good opportunity  to start the process has presented itself.  Maybe some focus will have a knock on effect on that behaviour?  Anyway Lou surprisingly thinks the meditation for children albums that he's downloaded into his folder in our Spotify account are cool and he wriggles his way through the commentary. Sitting still isn't really something that he does all that well but practice might improve that as well.


His favourite activity though are the maths puzzles that Mama Lovelygrey cut out from her newspaper and collected together for him in a scrapbook.  They're going down a treat and testing my brain that's been frazzled by work, thoughts of moving and the normal trials and tribulations of parenting life. So, there was an almighty explosion. However the aftermath hasn't been at all bad!