Tuesday, 26 January 2010


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods there be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud;
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll:
I am the master of my Fate;
I am the captain of my Soul.

William Ernest Henley

Sunday, 24 January 2010


I have had some lovely comments about the photo at the top of my blog, and must give credit for this to our very good friend Martin who is a great photographer. He took the above too. I think it a fabulous shot. It is a picture of our friend Mick ( our best man) on a walk that the lads did in 2008. An annual event, other half and his mates ( and now teenager) go off for the weekend to walk the beautiful lakeland hills.
I can hardly believe that January is coming to a close soon. Some people say it is a long month, and indeed the freezing cold and dark can make it feel that way. For us though it has been going at a tidy gallop... with a lot going on.
I am still on my diet and it is going well. It has been very tough in the cold. I suffer from chilly extremities at the best of times ( too much info?) but the low calorie low fat diet makes it doubly frosty. I am so glad I got going on it though- two weeks gone. and rid of the festive excess and five extra pounds. Folk are starting to notice progress again: always gratifying.
I really hoped to get exercising again but unfortunately have been struggling with sciatica.
It is a damn nuisance and caused ( according to osteo) by a fallen arch on my right foot. I now have some foot inserts on my right boot/shoe and it is helping slowly. I start physio soon too which should make a big difference. What a bore and back pain ( as I am sure many of you out there will know) is very wearing and tiring. I have avoided chugging back too many painkillers- they can cause problems of their own.
Exciting times at work. Our new training room opened on Friday. We started a programme involving ten people, two trainers and two assistants. It is beautiful and I am very proud of it. Pictures when I can! It has been a lot of hard work and determination but worth it. It is a real milestone for us both. The year is looking promising, but we are too long in the tooth to be complacent.
Hope your January is going well and that the weather is being kind to you!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Bedtime story................

A man is driving down the road and breaks down near a monastery. He goes to the monastery, knocks on the door, and says, My car broke down. Do you think I could stay the night?

The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, and even fix his car. As the man tries to fall asleep, he hears a strange sound; a sound like no other that he has ever heard. The next morning, he asks the monks what the sound was, but they say, We can't tell you because you're not a monk.

The man is disappointed but thanks them anyway and goes about his merry way. Some years later, the same man breaks down in front of the same monastery.

The monks again accept him, feed him, and even fix his car..

That night, he hears the same strange mesmerizing sound that he had heard years earlier.

The next morning, he asks what the sound was, but the monks reply,

We can't tell you because you're not a monk.

The man says, all right, all right. I'm dying to know.

If the only way I can find out what that sound was is to become a monk, how do I become a monk?

The monks reply, you must travel the earth and tell us how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of sand pebbles. When you find these numbers, you will become a monk.

The man sets about his task. Some forty-five years later, he returns and knocks on the door of the monastery. He says, I have travelled the earth and devoted my life to the task demanded and have found what you had asked for.. There are 371,145,236,284,232 blades of grass and 231,281,219,999,129,382 sand pebbles on the earth.

The monks reply, congratulations, you are correct, and you are now considered a monk .
We shall now show you the way to the sound.

The monks lead the man to a wooden door, where the head monk says, the sound is behind that door.

The man reaches for the knob, but the door is locked.. He asks, May I have the key ?

The monks give him the key, and he opens the door.

Behind the wooden door is another door made of stone... The man requests the key to the stone door.

The monks give him the key, and he opens it, only to find a door made of ruby. He demands another key from the monks, who provide it. Behind that door is another door, this one made of sapphire And so it went on until the man had gone through doors of emerald,...

...silver, topaz, and amethyst.

Finally, the monks say, This is the key to the last door ..

The man is relieved to be at the end.. He unlocks the door, turns the knob, and behind that door he is astonished to find the source of that strange sound. It is truly an amazing and unbelievable sight .......

.. But I can't tell you what it is because you're not a monk.


Sunday, 17 January 2010

Thanks very much to one of my favourite bloggers Diane at Diane's Place for sharing this blog award with her fellow bloggers. I always love reading what Diane is making for Sunday dinner. It always sounds delicious and interesting ( and unusual for those of us who live here in the UK-stuff like Mexican Chicken Casserole but made with cheese...). I am drooling so better stop thinking about food.
Part of the deal is to write seven things about yourself that your readers may not know about you...
Here goes:

1. I live in Cumbria but I am very proud to be a Geordie ( ok- so you all knew this).
2. I am a Christian and my faith is very important to me. I have an active role in my Church which is also a central part of my life. I have been going there ( St Mary's in Windermere) for nearly ten years, and have some wonderful friends.
3. One of my very dearest friends lives in Seattle. She met her husband at our millenium party! We visited last year and have booked again this year- hurray.
4. I met the footballer Pele and didn't know who he was, even when he told me. Oops. I was a teenager.......
5. My favourite place in the world ( that I have visited) is Florida. I love the US.
6. I hate rain ( this is no news to my family) so it's odd I live in the Lake District!!
7. I am not very keen on tv- I really can take it or leave it.
8. I really dislike the British soap operas and don't watch any of them.
9. I had cataracts in both eyes at the age of forty.
10. I have never been to New York and it has always been a big goal of mine. This year- I will achieve it!

If you would like to take part, you need to pass the award on, and join in the meme. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

This photo was taken by my favourite aunt who lives in York. Isn't it beautiful? Very inspirational.

I have lost three pounds ( of mince pies) on my diet so far. I started on Saturday and this is day four. I feel much better already but I think this is pyschological. In control and focussed again after the festive splurge.
I have two days away in Birmingham now, and won't have a lot of time to think about food or indulging and then I will have nearly done a week.
The difficult days are nearly over ( when the body realises there aren't any carbs around...) and its all results from here now.
The snow is thawing rapidly, and getting about is easier at the moment.
Onwards and upwards .........

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Two days in and no cheating

This picture was taken on my birthday in October 2009 and at the time it was taken I was struck when I looked it at it how much weight I had really lost since January. It still has that effect on me now.
I am very excited about losing some more weight. Before the gallstones starting mis-behaving I had lost three and a half stone on a programme called LighterLife. It is becoming very popular in the UK now.

I had a break from the programme to have a holiday and that is when the gallstones flared up. I had to stop the programme and change track. I lost more weight sticking to a very low fat diet until the surgery. Now the evil gallbladder has gone, and I am ready for the challenge of getting rid of the rest of the pounds.

When I joined Lighterlife in January 2009 you had to have at least three stone to lose to join the programme. Now there are more flexible and inclusive options.

It is an extreme programme, but it worked really well for me. It suited my personality. I liked the 'freedom' of disconnecting from food totally, and not having the challenge of deciding what to eat. Other than black coffee, black tea and water and the foodpacks, you can have nothing else. It is a very low calorie diet and after the first two/three days you don't feel hungry at all. Hard to imagine? Well- I didn't. I found it much easier to stick to than I imagined. The hunger goes because you are in a zone called ketosis.

I got to a point where I could go out to eat with other people and just drink black coffee. I amazed myself. I was in the zone. And the best part- the results are damned quick. It is the most appealling part. When you have a lot to lose, speed helps!

Some folk said 'you will have to learn how to manage food at some point-is it a good idea?'. I do take that point. However,the rationale for not eating food while you are on the plan is to give you the chance to think about why you got fat in the first place, and to explore your habits and reasons for over-eating.

I did notice some interesting patterns. The biggest shock was how well you can be when eating so little. I can honestly say I felt marvellous the whole time I was on the plan. Full of energy and focus. Even when I was eating very little on the low fat diet I noticed how well I was on very little. Big portions and greed- one of my biggest downfalls.

So, I am back on it and have done two full days. It has been a bit like slipping into a pair of comfy slippers. I am back in the groove. I know my weak point- Friday nights.I pine for wine and a lovely meal out. A deeply ingrained anchor.

Read here for what I do to distract me when the time comes. Til then, wish me luck burning off the festive excess.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

A lighter beginning

I think this is a nice shot of other half and I taken in San FranCisco last July. We had to buy fleeces there because we were so cold. We went dressed ready for hot weather and we were shuddering most of the time.It was a shock. I enjoyed the visit lots and would like to go back ( taking more suitable clothes!).
Those fleeces have been very handy. Other half has hardly been out of his -really helpful for de-icing cars and digging snow.
I think I look at bit too portly in mine, hence the photo to set the scene for this post.

Today, I am back on my diet again. Yes- I have started it once more. If you are a regular reader you may remember that I started a diet last year at this time and lost about three and a half stone, before taking a break for this very holiday above.

That is when the major gall stone problems started. I stopped the diet and went on a totally low fat diet until gall bladder surgery in November. I lost another two stone. So five and a half all together.

Since then I have been enjoying myself...........over Christmas and New Year, and the first week of January I have had a lovely relaxed time with food and wine. And I felt I deserved to relax a little.

But now, I must finish what I started and get the rest of the weight off for good. I have promised myself it will happen.

And today- I begin. Little voices whispered in my head- surely not with this cold and ice... why not wait til it has all gone? No- life doesn't go away for the dieter. If you are determined it will happen. And I am so encouraged that I don't have such a big hill to climb as last January. Three stone will do it I think, perhaps a little more, perhaps a little less.

The first few days are pretty tough. I will post tomorrow and tell you how I am doing it and how I am doing after day one.


Friday, 8 January 2010

There's snow business like.............

Freezing United Kingdom. If you want to see a picture of what we are suffering here ( for those of you in warmer climes). Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

My car hasn't been out the path for days and now won't start at all. It is covered with ice and looks very fed up. We are relying on other half's all wheel drive - if you don't have one at the moment life is difficult here if not impossible.
Another drop of snow and we will be well and truly stuck.
Already have had a day postponed next week, and I suspect that Monday will be disappearing too today as the snow forecast for the event is dire, and they are already knee deep!
But every day we wrap up warm, make the fire up and keep laughing. Teenager's school is hanging on in there, and even he has relented and is wearing thermals and gloves ( it must be damned cold- he is a hardy beast).
Hope you are all safe and warm- wherever you are.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Elf spotted on a bridge

Here is a photo of an elf spotted on a bridge in Scotland over Christmas. She looks reflective doesn't she, as if she is going to create some mischief sometime soon? Check out the hat that cover her pixie ears.
Rare to spot the little people but it was Christmas day and very quiet everywhere, especially with the heavy snow all around.
Maybe if you make a wish, she may just grant it.
Good luck!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Pick up a Penguin

I have never been a practical person. I have never been an arty person. I have never been a crafty person.

So, imagine my delight during my Christmas break at Peebles when there was a sugar craft demonstration, which involved each person attending having a go at making the cake decorations. I loved it! I had a ball! I surprised myself. We had about an hour. Lots of balls of colourful sugary icing prepared for us in cling film, ready for us to work with. It was great fun. The ladies demonstrating were very helpful and encouraging.
I surprised myself!! And here is the finished result. I am so proud of them I have packed them up ready for display next year. And I can't wait for Christmas next year now, so I can do it all again.

Best Wishes to all bloggers for a wonderful 2010

This was taken we were at Peebles at Christmas. It shows just how much snow there was. Many parts of the UK are still struggling under mountains of snow and ice, but luckily we are starting to lose it here. Every day a little more disappears but it is snow, and the pavements and side roads are still like ice-rinks. Really lethal to walk on, and many people are choosing to stay indoors.
Our Christmas decorations are now put away and the house looks clear, fresh and tidy. I hate putting them and taking them down, but I do enjoy them lots when they are up. I love the lights and lots of sparkly things.... but best of all I love...
DAFFODILS! I can't wait til they start peeping through. We have quite a wait yet I know...
A sign of Spring, or renewal and hope for new beginnings and fresh opportunities.
School starts again on Tuesday. Teenager is snowed ( love the pun) under a lot of homework, and we are about to go and tidy up the office ready for a new day tomorrow... the first of the year and lots to look forward to.
I hope all my blogging friends and visitors are looking forward to a peaceful and enjoyable 2010.