Monday, 31 March 2008

Crazy Foo's

Yep. On the back of a new bet with Janus regarding weight loss, I decided to be utterly stupid and go for a run with an equally stupid Fisher. Being, as we are, both considerably under the weather, it would have been wise to take it easy - even not go running at all until The Bug is squashed. However, Fisher has a marathon to consider and is in considerable fear of getting behind on her training, so the minute she discovered she could still breathe this morning she was always going out. I, on the back of a coffee for breakfast and a bowl of cereal for lunch, decided that if she was going out, then I ought to as well.

We duly set off in the beautiful evening light, setting a slow and steady pace of around 11.15, chatting aimiably. 5k, I thought, would sort us out nicely. Then Fisher suggested going in towards Guardbridge rather than up Quarry Road, and it all got rather out of hand. Instead of doing the sensible thing and turning back at the 1.5 mile mark, I agreed to head 'to the bridge.' The bridge I meant was the one outside Leuchars station - but when we got there, Fisher continued onwards without pause.

"Where are you going?" I cried, balefully.

"Oh," she said, a picture of disappointment, "wrong bridge. I thought you meant the old Guard Bridge."

Unable to resist those big blues, I ground my teeth together and plodded on. The Guard Bridge turned out to be almost at the 3 mile mark, so I resigned myself to a long walk back, as I was pretty sure I'd flake after 4 miles.

And yet I plodded on, following in Fisher's determined, diseased footsteps. I enjoyed the big hill past Milton Farm (I do appear to be a bit keen on running uphill - at least for shortish bursts), and it gave me the endorphins I needed to finish 5 miles - just outside the Balmullo school. But, despite my better judgement, I continued to follow the Pied bleedin' Piper of Nutjob all the way to the bottom of our hill. I had to stop and walk at the Garage - but I did manage to run a few more bursts up the final stretch, and finished up at our gate at exactly the same time as Fisher, as her run and my stride uphill weren't a million miles apart in pace, and I
ran the final downhill at double pace.

So, I ran 6 miles in 1h 15.

Then I stopped, and my lungs attempted to claw their way out of my chest and throttle me. My throat felt as if Eric Cantona had taken a flying karate kick to it. Even now, 15 minutes later, I still can't take a full breath without coughing like a 500-a-day fag-chuffer. Fisher, meanwhile, is bouncing around as if fresh off the back of signing a new lease of life. I hate her and all she stands for. How can she be flat on her back, green to the gills, as she was yesterday, yet able to run 6 miles without a care in the world today?

Urgl. Just coughed up the remnants of my left lung.

Anyway, I think running 6 miles was bloody stupid. Any pride I might take in it is ruined by its foolhardiness. If we're flat on our backs for days because we couldn't wait until we were properly healthy before running, I'll be well peeved.

Enough. On the plus side - I ran 6 miles for the first time in about a year! Huzzah.

Oh yer - this bet with Janus. Let it here be announced.

On 3rd May, Fisher will hand Badger a piece of paper announcing the sum total, in pounds and ounces, of my weight loss. In turn, Badger will hand Fisher a similar piece of paper, only with a much smaller number written on it : )

Janus - I mean, the person with the least amount of weight loss - will then be forced to give up their favourite thing in the world ... for 3 months.

Yes. 3 months.

And this favourite thing in the world can't be chosen by the loser, but instead must be selected, without pity, by the people who know our weaknesses as well, if not better, than we ourselves know them. Yes, if I should lose (never!) then Fisher will exercise her right to veto something I love. Oh God. What if she stops me watching football?

No - wait - the season will be over. Phew. No point. I breathe again.

And, yes, if Janus loses, then Badger must pitilessly ban her from crisp eating, film watching, restaurants, the consumption of cheese ... or something worse. I know not what that could be.

HOWEVER - there is a proviso. Should both Janus and I both reach a target of 10 lbs in weight loss, then there will be no punishment. The loser must buy the winner a gift, but there will be no 3 month embargo on joy.

So that's the bet. Oh - and not to forget that Pro and I are still on with our end of April bet, too. This could be a very, very unfortunate month ...

House of Plaaaaaague!


It's been a bit tough over the last few days, although also great fun. We had a crowd to stay - the Cheese Board and Chopper, to celebrate the latter's 30th. I cooked/prepared an enormous feast of this:


Crevettes with home mead dips (marie rose, aioli, sweet chilli salsa), cheese wheel melted in oven for dipping bread.

Main Course:

Venison and duck stew, assortment of salads, cold meats and general samplings. Roasted garlic to spread on bread.

Palatte cleanser:

Home made champagne, grapefruit and lemon sorbet.


Lemon cream on a shortbread pastry base, with honey-almond biscuits and apple & cinnamon ice cream. I love my ice cream maker. Also my new biscuit recipe.

We were supposed, then, to move on to the plethora of Mellis cheeses chosen by Chopper (as were all the assorted tasters), then to chocolates and rum. We simply couldn't manage this, so we went through and I attempted to sing and play the guitar. It was a bit dismal, as I've been suffering from a horrid, fluey cold for several days now, and the worst day was definitely Chopper's party. Typical. Cooking turned out to be a bit of a nightmare as a) I felt quite nauseous and the sight of food was pretty uninspiring and b) I couldn't smell a damn thing! I've always relied heavily on my sense of smell for cooking, and not to be able to get a whiff of even the strong garlic in the aioli made things quite interesting. I had 2 hot showers in a desperate attempt to clear the sinuses, but it didn't help. Nor could I tell you what any of it tasted like, save the pudding, which I managed to get some idea of. Citrus obviously has a strong taste as well as flavour, meaning even my blocked nose couldn't keep it from having an effect. Reports were good, but I was deeply frustrated. What I really wanted was a detailed description of everything I'd made, but god help me - how boring would that have been as a conversation?

Well ... certainly no duller than 'the best lavatories in Scotland', which is what we were reduced to ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION!

So singing was less than impressive, as I could barely croak adequately, but it seemed to perk everyone else up and keep them from falling asleep in their chairs. Blarney, especially, was in fine voice and acted as my deputy with admirable aplomb. Koios, too.
Koi and Blar, in Fine Voice
'Course, without my singing to distract people, it only highlighted how utterly bollocks my guitar playing is. I vow to learn more than the 4 1/2 chords I know and actually sound like I know what I'm doing.
Being Mingin' & Singin' & Makin' Merry Like Christmas
On Sunday we went for a brief coastal walk, then ate the cheese and remaining bits from the night before. Goooood. My nose was clearing, and I felt ten times better than the night before. Alas, it was Fisher's turn to suffer. Once everyone had headed off to their respective homes, Fisher collapsed in a heap, struck down with acute nausea. This meant we had to cancel seeing Arrow for his birthday meal, which truly sucked the big one. We'd been so careful a) not drink too much the night before and be hungover, and b) not to eat too much at lunch so we could enjoy supper - both sacrifices going to the dogs when the Evil Cold settled so cosily in Fisher's tum. She ended up spending the evening snoozing and groaning on the sofa, while I watched all the recorded football of the weekend and blew my nose every ten seconds.


Oh, and Spurs lost to Newcastle, 1-4. Christ, wasn't that just the icing on the cake.

I really ought to go for a run today, but even though I'm feeling much better I'm still quite bunged up and snotty - which doesn't fill me with enthusiasm. I've also got to finish my massage homework, and make the nedding packs, while Fisher is snowed under with work. I'd best get on it. Thank God I feel better. My brain wasn't working at all over the weekend. I kept saying things like:

"Can you kettle the pass me?"

Hey ho. To cheer me up, one of my virtual acquaintances from a forum I frequent sent me a great mix CD which arrived this morning. Huzzah.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


Went to the gym. Did:

4 miles in 39.49. Hurrah. This is great.

The usual weights.

I think I'm catching Koi's cold, though.

Easter Weekend

Ohhhhh Jesus. I am so fat. I have eaten my own bodyweight in chocolate and done no exercise (save some golf) since Thursday. I'm not counting squash on Friday, as with 6 of us there really wasn't a chance to work up a sweat.

On the other hand, I did have a lovely time. On Saturday, Koi and Pro arrived in time for lunch, which we had in St Andrews at the new restaurant in the Golf Hotel. The Golf has been taken over by Hotel du Vin, so we had high hopes. Unfortunately, I could only give them a rating of 6/10. It's all very new, so they're ironing out some kinks - but I don't think it's forgiveable to have a waitress taking your order then interrupt herself to answer the telephone. For a start, I don't think there should be a loud, persistent telephone in the restaurant disturbing diners anyway. Secondly, I'm getting incredibly cheesed off with the modern notion that the telephone comes first. In shops and restaurants you're constantly being interrupted in service because the assistant takes a call. Hey, I was there first! Telephoners are constantly queue jumping. Are we not British? Is queueing not sacrosanct? Is it not one of our greatest skills? Outrageous stuff. Anyway, I ordered calve's liver as a main course, which proved a major, major error as it was downright nasty. Luckily my starter of haddock chowder was delicious, while Fisher's starter of chicken liver parfait was divine. Pro's haddock-mashed-potato on toast was downright strange, and Koi wasn't entirely impressed with her starter either. She did have a really nice fish pie as main, but it was too vast. Why give someone more food than they can possibly eat? It's just an ostentatious display of gluttony, which puts you off.

After lunch, Pro and I went off to see if we couldn't get his golf clubs sorted out. It's my 30th birthday present to him, and has taken aeons to organise. This time wasn't much easier. Auchterlonies, whom we'd visited some weeks ago to be told the fitter wasn't there, now told us we had to go to the Old Course driving range, where Calloway has a factory shop. Auchterlonies were going to set up a fitting with Ping, but it wouldn't get done until Tuesday so the helpful guy told us to chance our arm just showing up at Calloway's. So we did - and the chap there fitted us in on Sunday at 4pm. Fantastic!

In the mood for golf, Pro and I went down to Drumoig and hit some balls at the range while Koi and Fisher entertained themselves. We had a supper of cold meats, salad and cheese, then went to bed. Next morning it was all go as I set myself to preparing Easter Sunday lunch for 8. I'd told people 1pm for eating, so if people could be there any time before that, fantastic. Blarney and Spartan told Fisher they'd be there at around 12, so I knew I was safe to get the food ready to eat at 1pm. I made a couple of cracks about the fact that Spar and Blar would almost certainly not arrive until teatime - but seeing as they said 12, I was pretty sure there was enough leeway.

Not so. While I was showering and changing, getting the sweat of hot-stove-slaving off and making myself slightly smarter than PJs, Koi got a message saying Spar and Blar were 'on their way' and due to arrive 'around 1pm.'

Naturally, I was not best pleased. I sent a text to ask where exactly they were, so I could judge for myself whether 1pm was likely, but my text went ignored. So did my calls to both mobiles. I then asked Koi to phone, thinking they may be ignoring me because they didn't want a row. She was ignored too. I phoned again, and either Blarney decided she really couldn't ignore me any more or they eventually heard the ring, so we had a brief word. They were at the Glenrothes roundabout, so about 30 minutes away, putting them arriving just as I was supposed to be serving food. I duly turned the lamb down, waving goodbye to the hopes of a crispy skin, and told myself not to be irritated. Blarney told me Spartan was sure I'd said 1.30pm, and I suppose it's possible - but it's also a fact that they told us they'd arrive around 12, so I cooked with that in mind. Adjusting cooking times to fit in with when Blarney turns up is a bit of a running theme to my cooking anyway (see Phid's restaurant night post, May 2007) so I suppose I really ought to expect it by now. She informed me they wanted to kill me, also, so it's probably a good thing we didn't make a big deal of it when they turned up and got their food put in front of them at their leisure. Anyway, neither of them read my blog, so I get to let off steam about it here. Ha ha.

Despite this slight setback, lunch was a jovial affair. The lamb was overdone, but nobody else seemed to notice and I wasn't going to draw attention to it.

After a long, leisurely lunch, I went into St Andrews with Pro, Spar and Arrow to get Pro's fitting done and have a bit of a smack on the driving range. The Old Course driving range is £7 for 100 balls! Outrageous - but then, they also have hoppers in which you dump your balls, and the tee emerges from the gound with your ball on it, like some sort of telepathic miracle. Pro got a fitting for free in the funky Calloway shop, with its computer that measures the generation of head speed and stuff. Pro, without even trying, generates a head speed of over 90mph - so when he learns how to really hit a ball he's going to be goddamned impossible to beat! He'll knock it 300 yards in his sleep. If I get a ball 250 yards, with roll, I'm a very happy bunny indeed.

The driving range was fun. We mocked Spartan for taking, literally, twice as long as the rest of us.

"Sorry," he said, "but you guys are so fast!"

"Yes," Pro agreed, "but then, unlike you, I'm not an 84 year old woman with blue hair." We laughed, not immoderately.

"Really?" Spar intoned, with brows raised. "That's not what it looks like from your swing."

We laughed, even less immoderately - at which the ball-buggy drove past, two feet in front of us, picking up dropped balls.

"Here he comes now, Pro," Spar grinned, "picking up all your drives."

Two women approached and stopped in the corridor as we were blocking it, watching Spar.

"Sorry," Pro said, making room. "We're just waiting for my grandmother to finish."

Ah banter. How I love it.

After the driving range was eventually done (and, I'd like to point out that the reason Spar takes so much longer is that he can actually hit a good drive 9 times out of 10 while the rest of us flail incompetently) we popped to the Jigger for a swift pint - then home to where the others had been playing a lot of cards. Arrow and Lu went home and I fed people bread, cheese and whatever scraps were left in the fridge. I was seriously NOT hungry - but ate a vast plateful of cheese and bread anyway.


On Easter Monday, Pro, Spar and I went to Elmwood golf course for a round. It was freezing! The icy wind blowing straight from the Arctic made some of the more exposed holes deeply unpleasant. Almost as unpleasant as watching Spar's drives fizz straight and true towards the hole while my own, more often than not, skidded left right and centre. I really wasn't having a good time of it - although I did manage a few fair shots, just to keep me hooked. Spar was kind enough to praise my swing, but pointed out that I was bringing the club head too far back. I tried a shorter swing and, lo, it worked - but he only pointed it out on about hole 8, so I didn't have very long to implement the changes. Pro was hitting some very fine drives, too - especially one on 7, which went right to the edge of the green. We were, however, complained about by some officious little bastards behind us who said we were holding up play. Rubbish. They were miffed because we only had 2 bags between 3 so Spar had to run to wherever I was to pick up a club. But they only had to wait on 2 holes, and then for only a short period. The club official was quite apologetic about it - especially when I pointed out that we're adults, and all they had to do was come up to us and ask to play through, rather than sending 'teacher' to scold us. The reason they didn't send anyone was because they were never close enough to actually reach us - which means we weren't holding them up enough for a complaint. Wankers. Plus, after the complaint we never had a single opportunity where we could let them play through. There were 4 of them, and they were taking even longer than us.

Good fun, though, despite the presence of my nemesis - 'Other People'. No doubt, Spar is in a very different leage to Pro and me (i.e - he can play) but it only makes me more determined to have some lessons and actually get better.

After shivering our way round 9 holes, we went home and picked up the others in order to head into St Andrews for some lunch. Fisher had booked us in at the West Port in St Andrews, so off we went. Traffic was a nightmare. With my usual parking karma we found a 'space' right outside the pub - while Spar had to circle for ages, then discover he'd left his wallet at ours so had only 75p for an 85p parking ticket, meaning Blar had to run out and take him 10p. Luckily we were all seated by the time our food came - and it was good stuff. I'd definitely recommend the West Port to visitors to St Andrews - although I don't like the main bar, which has individual TVs alongside some of the booths. Why would you want to watch TV when out for lunch with friends? Bizarre.

After our nice lunch, Pro and I went back to Auchterlonies to give them Pro's spec and order up some clubs. They're much more reasonable than I imagined, which is great news, and should be with us in a week to 10 days. I can't wait to see them, all shiny and new! I think I'll try and organise a lesson for when they arrive, so then we can go out together and get a golf ejucation - maybe Arrow would like to come too, then go out for a round after? Genius. Sounds great. Will see if I can arrange it.

Blar and Spar headed home after lunch, so it was just Pro and Koi who came home with us. They had a cup of tea and then departed. Poor Koi was suffering with tonsilitis all weekend, and just felt rubbish. We plied her with copious amounts of my hot toddies and Neurofen, but there's really no substitute for your own bed and the comfort of your own home, so I imagine she was quite keen to get back. I hope she's feeling a bit better today, and has got some antibiotics from the doc to knock it on the head.

Once everyone had gone home, I was able to succumb totally to the headache I'd been fighting all day. I flopped in the sitting room while Fisher, bless every single on of her adorable cotton socks, did all the tidying. I really did intend to do most of it myself, but I can't lie: I was thrilled to be allowed to soothe my throbbing head with a migraine cool-strip and sit quietly watching taped footie and Lost. We were in bed by 1, and fast asleep by 1.45 (at least, I was), and I awoke this morning feeling much refreshed - and determined not to eat anything for the rest of my life. Apart from the large bowl of chocolate frosties I ate for breakfast. Dammit! Still - going to the gym in a minute or two, so at least my exercise regime is back on track.

We have an adorable (so far!) dog called Holly staying. She's a whippet cross, a rescue dog, and really sweet. She hates our wooden floors, though, and it takes some effort to get her to walk on them. Could prove mildly problematic ...

Ok, that's all folks. Sorry - not a very entertaining post. I'm still a bit brain dead.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Hmm. On reading the last entry, I really must learn not to blog for the sake of blogging.

Today, I had my osteo(psycho)path appointment. Working on my left side was quite painful - especially the 'elbow in the hip joint joy' technique I so love and miss. I broke out in a cold sweat and had to visit the happy place in my head a couple of times. Then he rolled me onto my left side and worked my right hip.

Oh God. It was too painful even to laugh. I only managed a dry smirk.

"You ok?" he asked, grinding his elbow into the hip hollow.

"Yiiiip. Fiiiiine." I squeaked, womanfully. I went to the happy place only to find it overrun with rats gnawing on my bones. Luckily, it didn't last nearly as long as previous sessions, so the torture was relatively short lived. I got some advice on how to deal with Fisher's bursitis (or 'burstitis' as she endearingly calls it), and he kindly offered help with my massage course - so that's good news.

We then picked the dogs up and went straight to St Andrews' gym for an hour's session. I reluctantly got on the treadmill, and managed 5k in 30 minutes, never dropping below 6.2mph. I then had an absolutely shit weights session of this:

3 x 12 reps bicep curl, on 35kg
3 x 12 reps stomach curl, on 12 (60kg?)
3 x 12 reps horizontal leg lift, on 110kg
3 x 12 reps shoulder press, on 20kg (just about managed it, but very tired)
1 x 6 reps pull down thingy on 40kg
1 x 6 reps pull down thingy on 35kg
1 x small tantrum because the pull down thingy was too hard, so I gave up and we went to walk the dogs on East Sands instead.

Actually, looking back on it that doesn't seem so bad after all. It seemed worse because it's that time of the month, and I always feel weak and pathetic - but apart from failing at the pull down, it's better than I thought.

The dogs had a lovely romp on East Sands, even thought the tide was high. I kept kicking a ball for them so they did a lot of running, and were watched lovingly by two complete strangers with the sort of expressions on their faces that would get them arrested if they were looking at kids that way. See - this is why dogs fulfil such an important rôle in society. They provide an outlet for all the internal soppiness that our repressive society ... er ... represses. It's especially great for men, to have something on which to lavish affection without people looking at you like your a total sap - or worse, like there's something deeply disturbed about you.

Back at home we ate baguettes from Cherries and unwound in front of '24' - series 2. During this time my back gradually siezed up in that way I remember of old after psychopath sessions. I'm now sitting with an ice-pack clutched to the afflicted area, listening to Fisher yawning next door and beginning to ramble alarmingly on my blog.

I'd better get down to some studying. The due date for my first massage assignment is still a couple of weeks away, but I know me! I'll leave it til the last minute, then cram and learn nothing. I want to do this properly. Oo - which reminds me - the Psycopath said something deeply irritating when I mentioned I was just starting a massage course.

"Oh!" he said, "what a shame you're not further along. Our masseuse is retiring, and the other one is cutting down on her hours. You could have worked for us!"

Bah. Bah bah bah!!

Still, I'm not sure I'd want a *proper* job, involving actually having to be somewhere. But you never know. Stranger things have happened.

Although, not many.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Ramble About Films

I don't really know why I'm blogging. I have nothing to say, as I've done absolutely Jack shite today except succumb to that time of the month and eat half a bag of Minstrels. No, not the small bag.

I am never, ever going to win this diet. But at least we refrained from getting Indian take away - so it could have been much worse.

We have an old fiend to stay in the shape of a small, fox-like Sheltie called Glen. He is repulsive in every way. He's timid and nervy, which is always excessively irritating, he stinks to high heaven owing to the dingleberries permanently attached to his fur, and, being male, he pisses everywhere in an attempt to make things his own. He's really very vile. I'm a dog-bonkers person, so to dislike a pooch as much as I do him is deeply distressing. Naturally, we treat him with the same care and attention we do all our visitors (she says, hastily, in case anyone's reaching for the RSPCA hotline) but it does take quite a force of will. Strangely, while Bridie goes for any dog that even vaguely looks at her funny, she doesn't seem to bother with Glen. It's probably for the same reason she's relatively placid about Jake the collie - they're both so utterly without dominance, she recognises she could kick twelve shades of living crap out of them with barely any effort whatsoever, so she can't be arsed to raise the effort to growl.

The other thing I did today was watch Jarhead. It's very good - one of the best war films around, I'd say. Hmm. What is it about British directors and war films? Sam Mendes, Kubrick (I count him as British because he renounced Hollywood and was with us from 1962 til his death in '99), David Lean, Ridley Scott, Richard Attenborough - directors of some of the greatest war films ever made. And I do love a good war film. I'm not very traditionally female in my tastes. I tend to find romances dull and uninspiring, while sports movies - no matter how crap - are much more likely to grab my attention. War films are totally engrossing, but dick flicks send me totally to sleep. Armageddon has to be one of the worst films in the history of film making - the archetypal dick flick, with 2D characters, utterly pointless women and strutting machismo of the most laughable kind. Backdraft, too, is a good example of a dick flick. "Look at him!" groans the dying Mr Goldie Hawn, as William Baldwin manfully battles a towering inferno. "That's my brother, goddamnit!"

I heard audiences in the USA burst into cheers at this point. The cinema in London burst into loud, full bellied laughter. I was just asleep.

I'm also unimpressed with any film involving a car chase. I don't find it thrilling and the modern penchent for jerky, hand-held camerawork makes my eyes go funny (please take note Paul Greengrass. The Bourne Supremacy was utterly unwatchable). I think watching two cars going very fast is not great entertainment. If I were driving one of the cars it might be fun, but I'm not. I'm watching. And that's very, very dull.

I've bored myself.

God it's cold in my study. I think I'll go to bed in order to get warm.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Fisher on the Run

This weekend was Fisher's half marathon in Edinburgh, so we duly tottered down to Edinburgh on Saturday night to stay with Phid, who was also un-dulging. We had a most pleasant, chilled evening, chatting about houses and this n that. We pondered going to see Juno at the local cinema, but after a vast pile of yummy spag bol (they were carbo loading. I was a greedy fat pig) we none of us really felt like going out. Having risen early that morning to get acclimatised to the early start next day (it kicked off at 9am, which means runners getting up at 7 in order to eat properly) we were in bed by around half eleven and asleep by midnight.

Next morning we rose to a grey, wet, windy and feffin' freezing day. Nevertheless, the runners seemed in good cheer. The spectator was less so, but looking forward to finding a nice café in Musselburgh in which to curl up with coffee, breakfast and a paper. I'd then make my way to the finish line in order to cheer them on in full voice.

We drove to the start with relative ease, where I dropped them both and watched them trot off into the dreichness. I then pegged it to Musselburgh race course in order to find a good place to park the car. This was deeply easy. In fact, people with bollards were closing the road behind me as I went, just proving how early I was in preparation. But I didn't care. A lovely coffee shop and breakfast were awaiting me at any of the numerous café's I'd seen online the night before.

I parked close to the main entrance, then wandered into Musselburgh, shivering slightly but glad to see occasional patches of sunshine. Musselburgh is an interesting place in that it's a mix of utterly shite and very lovely. The river Esk runs through the middle and there are some picturesque old houses - but there are equal numbers of crap council houses, dirt and old men clearing their nose in the street while walking their dog. Pleasant. I suppose it's the same as any town, but what makes it slightly unusual is the fact that the shit bits and the nice bits are all intermingled in a way I've only ever seen before in Reykjavik.

Anyway, the first coffee shop I saw was called Coffee Stop and it looked pretty uninspiring, in a 'modelled on Starbucks' kind of way. I made a note of it and set off to find somewhere cosier.

Joy. After wandering the icy streets for some hour or so, I discovered that there isn't a single café open in Musselburgh on a cold Sunday morning - including Coffee Stop, which I eventually returned to in despair. With a heavy heart I realised the only place I'd get something to eat was the race course, so off I went.

Naturally, the bistro and all the other racecourse eateries were closed because it wasn't a horse racing day, so I had to make do with a bacon roll (don't like 'em) and surprisingly decent cappucino from one of the stalls. I took these treats to the grandstand, sat on a cold cold step (then realised I could sit on the thick jacket Fisher gave me to hold for her) and ate my way unenthusiastically through the bacon roll. Good bacon, soft morning roll - but still a crap combination in my view. I don't know what it is, but I just don't think bread and bacon go well together.

Anyway, just as I was feeling sorry for myself and starting to wonder if my hands were about to completely sieze up in the freezing wind blowing straight off the sea and into the grandstand, the first runners started to arrive. The winner did the 13 miles in around 69 minutes. The first woman finished in the top ten, but I forget her time. 78 minutes? Something like that. I clapped enthusiastically. It kept my hands warm.

Time passed quite swiftly once the runners started to arrive, and almost before I grew too cold to think straight, it was time to start looking out for Phid. Several small, blond people came round the finishing straight, but none of them had that distinctive run. Then one came round the corner who did and I started towards the finish line, only to hear behind me:

"Look! Look! It's Francis!"

I turned to see a family of 5 jumping up and down, pointing to the small blond runner. Boy are they going to feel stupid when they realise they've got the wrong person, I smirked. Then the smallest child shrieked:

"Go on, Daddy!"

Now slightly concerned for his social recognition skills, I backed away from the lunatic family and turned back to cheer Phid to the final tape - and discovered the small blond woman was, in fact, a lithe blond man of around 40 who, it transpires, is called Francis and is a father of 3.

Deeply concerned for my social recognition skills, I slunk (slinked? slank?) back to my elevated position in the stands and returned to ogling every small blond runner. I ignored everyone in a baseball cap until I realised the small baseball-capped runner just about to cross the tape was Phid. I lunged towards the finish, got there in time to shriek: "Go, Phid!" and went either entirely unheard or was studiously ignored. I imagine it was a little of both. Not only am I a poor substitute for Blarney when it comes to supporting, being unwilling to deck myself out in 8 foot, beribboned hat, bright colours and whistle, but Phid is an utterly focused runner. If three neighbouring runners were to explode in messy pieces of fillet steak all around her, she would simply tiptoe through the debris and continue her merry way, kicking a length of intestine from her ankles and ignoring the slightly warm, very brief and very red shower as she concentrated on her breathing.

I pushed my way through the crowd in search of the runner's exit - then pushed my way back through the crowd and actually found the runner's exit. There I met a slightly puffed Phid, whose faint sheen of sweat was about equal to my own, but whose beam of joy upon opening her gift bag and discovering a large tin of Green & Black's chocolate coated shortbread was a sight to stop the heart. We then pushed our way back through the crowd to my vantage point in the stands and awaited Fisher's arrival. We were expecting her around the 2h10m mark, having faith she'd beat her last year's time of 2h13. In fact, we were caught slightly off-guard. Phid was just giving me a brief run-down of what Fisher was wearing, her hair colour and general features, when I spotted her bouncing happily towards the finish, a very focused expression on her face (such as I recognise and fear on days the house is slightly messy and she's just bought a new hoover bag). She was a good 5 minutes ahead of her time, and I bounced up and down shrieking like a crazy thing. I went either unheard or studiously ignored.

It took a while to find her in the increased crush of people, but when we did she was delighted to have smashed her PB by 7 minutes - but her hip was troubling her. We went straight to the handily parked car where, after being given the run-around by traffic wardens and traffic jams for nigh on a hour, I discovered Phid's delicate sheen of sweat wasn't quite as delicate as it appeared. The car windows steamed up like the inside of a Swedish brothel (I've heard).

Back at Phid & Wheeler's flat, the conquering heroines washed (thank the good lord) and changed while I texted Pro with details of our lunch plans. Pro and Koi met us at the flat and we walked round to the Roseleaf pub, just down the road. It looked lovely - cosy and full of charm - but, alas, there were no tables free. Luckily, to Pro's relief, Phid had other options up her sleeve and we ended up eating at the 7 Diner round the corner.

The runners needed to replace protein, so tucked into burgers and chips. Fisher had one with cheese and bacon, Phid with blue cheese and onions. I contemplated the pita bread, soup and salad. Then I had the same as Phid. Followed by pudding. As we were sitting round, bellies stuffed with burger, giving the waitress our pudding orders, Phid shook her head in amazement.

"Is everyone having a pudding?" she asked incredulously, adding, as if as an aside to the waitress: "Oh, crème brulée please."

This is why my friends are the best in the world.

I must add, at this point, that lunch gave me the chance to set new perameters for my weight-loss bet with Pro. It is now set for the end of April. Loooosah takes the winner out for a meal - at a restaurant of the loser's choosing. (However, it's not allowed to be a chain restaurant.) Considering I stepped on the scales this morning (why, why?) and discovered I'd put on every single one of the pounds I've sweated off over the past months, I'm plunged in gloom and convinced I haven't a hope of winning. Never mind. I'm also determined to kick start my new health regime ... although today's lunch of dressing-drenched Cœsar Salad, with salmon fillet on top, and rustica bread with oil and olives was hardly an ideal start. Still, I had come back from a run - which I will get to in a sec.

Meanwhile - back at lunch ...

We ended up having my favourite kind of lunch: long, chatty, tasty and chilled. Afterwards, we bade fond farewell to all our pals and jumped into Helga. Well - I jumped, Fisher creaked. Her hip was really sore.

On the way home, we stopped at Tesco and picked up some food for the evening, which we shared with Arrow and Lu, who'd done their usual excellent job of seducing our dogs into believing we were never coming back and good riddance. Because we were pretty stuffed from lunch, we ate late and light.

Ok, we ate late.

I made 3 Chinese-style dishes - fillet beef strips marinated in white wine, with chilli, ginger, coriander and spring onions. Lu pointed out, with no small amount of indignation, that spring onions are no longer called spring onions. Supermarkets insist on calling them 'salad onions.' I made my usual grizzle about how the British are becoming colonised by American English, and are too weak to hang on to their own identity - but Lu said she wasn't sure Americans call them 'salad onions' either. I am plunged into doubt, and would like clarification on this issue.

Reader(s?): What do Americans call Spring Onions?

The second dish I attempted was sweet and sour pork, and it was tolerably successful. I just mixed orange juice, lime juice and honey together with a splash of Worcestershire Sauce until it tasted nice enough to dump all over some lightly floured pork strips and stir fry. Thirdly, I did teriyaki vegetables (yes, I know, pedants, that's Japanese).

Astonishingly, nothing tasted like crap. Fisher did the rice, owing to my rice-fear (of cooking it badly, not actual fear of actual rice grains) and we had a little booze to ease our tiredness. It was a lovely evening, and after Lu and Arrow left us to collapse in little heaps, we collapsed in little heaps. I watched Match of the Day, but couldn't keep my eyes open for the Spurs match I'd recorded. Good job I didn't struggle through, as I watched it today and they pissed away a 1-0 lead again! Watching us lose 2-1 to Man City didn't exactly start my day with joy - especially as Berbatov had one of his 'can't be fucked' games and slouched around like a teenager. Wanker.

The only other thing to report is the dull news I went for a run, as mentioned, before lunch. I meant to go for 5k but ended up doing the slowest 4 miles in the world, instead. I got screwed by loggers (not literally), who blocked my path and sent me round through the woods instead - which always buggers up my pace. Because this also put my distance off as well, I ended up rounding the run up to 4 miles by doing a loop at the end. My aged, crap sat nav then decided it had been far too conservative and jumped from 4 miles to 4.3 at the end - so God knows how far I actually went. Certainly not less than 4.3, and maybe as much as 4.5 - but as it was all in a laughably slow time, I don't really care. I mean, it was literally laughable. I stopped, looked at my watch, and laughed. Then I was sick.*

Not really, but I felt like it. I think it's all the red meat I've eaten over then last 3 days. Fisher and I are going to have a red meat free week, and shopped at Tesco accordingly, after lunch. We therefore bought:

1 x pack raw prawns
1 x pack sausages

We then went home. Clearly, our culinary imaginations are red-meat fuelled.

So that's that. Fisher's hip is still bollocksed, so she's off to the doc tomorrow, while my back is troubling me so I'm off to the osteopath. In the words of Phidippida:

"Oh, God, we really are getting old, aren't we?"

Yes, we are. Better enjoy myself more ...

*I've actually forgotten the actual time, but I think it was about 55 minutes. No, really.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Dull Exercise Update

Help meeee!

I can't stop playing Civilisation ...

Managed to drag myself away from my conquering armies laying waste to the Iroquois Empire (hey - they started it) and went to the gym with Fisher. I wasn't feeling at all up for it, and, as is so often the way, I therefore did a KICK ARSE gym session.

At last, at last I have broked the 30 minute barrier, managing to complete my 5k in 29.50. Hurrah! I then did these weights (after allowing my heart rate to drop from 56340 bpm to my usual resting rate of 324bpm):

1 x 12 reps lat pully, 40kg
2 x 12 reps lat pully, 35kg (yes, 40 was pushing it!)
3 x 12 reps chest press, 40kg. Checked what my maximum lift ability is with this. It's 55kg.
3 x 12 reps stomach curl, on 10 (50kg?)
1 x 12 reps lat pully, standing, for tricep workout, on something pathetic like 20kg. Then got truly bored and my arms started trembling, so I flaked on the bicep curl and went home.

We stopped at The North Point for some soup, only to discover they'd run out of soup and had no salads - so we made do with a wrap each. Rather nice, actually. We went halves on a smoked salmon & cream cheese wrap, and a goat's cheese and pesto one. I still don't like pesto, and I'm not entirely charmed by vast slabs of goat's cheese which fall out of your wrap like a squidgy brick - but the smoked salmon one was good. Fisher liked the goat's cheese one, and took a large quantity of the cheese out of the wrap to start with. This is why she is losing weight hand over fist. The reason I am not, is because, although I did the same, I then ate the spare cheese as it lay on my plate.

At least Pro and I have let our weight loss bet ride until the end of March - and he is coming up for Easter lunch, so I will stuff him full of lard while I lunch on a small salad and a roll.


On a separate note - the kitchen floor is now entirely ruined. Molly the poodle has finished the job those lab crosses started, and there's a massive rip right across the middle. Oh well - at least it'll gird our loins in reparing it. I'm thinking - maybe tiles?

To bed for me. I hope, whoever you are and wherever you are in the world, you have a very pleasant night.


Monday, 10 March 2008

Rage. And Gym.

God, I am in such a foul mood! I've just had a mini rant to myself, such as you see drunken tramps indulge in and causes you to immediately cross to the other side of the street. And what was my rant about?

Getting people to respond to things so you can enter into a planning frenzy when you want and need to, rather than when they decide it's convenient for them to let you know. If I'm charitable, I tell myself its because nobody else plans things on the sort of scale I do, with the number of people. When I'm uncharitable, I tell myself it's because other people are selfish fuck heads who have no desire to contemplate another person's situation. A certain person would call this 'being a bloke.' I know plenty of considerate blokes. It's not about being a bloke - it's about being a selfish fuck head who never contemplates another person's situation.

Not, you understand, that I'm necessarily referring to that certain person right now. I just remembered him saying the 'bloke' thing and being furious at what an inept attempt at justifying your own flaws it was. Yeah, blame your sex. Good one.


That's it. From now on, I refuse to chase people up. If I send out an email asking people if they want to do something, I'll only prepare for the people who actually have the courtesy to respond. I will not accept boyfriends accepting on behalf of girlfriends, or vice versa. I will also not accept people saying they will come, then not, leaving me with half a ton of wasted food.

You know, it makes me realise why societies had such rigid rules of etiquette. It used to be that you'd send out a formal - or informal - invitation, and people would respond. They would then come. They would know what clothes to wear, because the occasion would have its own innate dress-code, so nobody would turn up in jeans and t-shirt for a big occasion, thus making a mockery of several days' worth of loving preparation as they basically say "yeah, can't be fucked to make an effort." (Ok, it's not about the jeans - it's about the scruff-bag aspect). People would also know how to behave upon arriving. They would make pleasant small-talk with people they didn't know, rather than sitting in a corner talking solely to Phidippida because strangers scare them (that one's me - believe me, I'm not blind to some of the hypocrisy here). They know whether it was appropriate for them to stay beyond the courtesy-hour of 11pm, and would not keep the hostess up until 3 am because they refuse to leave. They would know whether the hostess was going to feed them or not, and not take it for granted that they would be able to fill their face at the Holly Cottage trough. They would not decide to watch Amercia's Next Top Slapper rather than have a conversation. They would make vocal offers of help, rather than look blank at my disapproving frown and say: "Well, the offer was there!"

The offer was not there. If the offer were there, I would not be frowning with hands on hips, feeling faintly disgusted at how like Miss Havisham I am becoming in old age. I tell you, I'm one step away from parking myself in a big old rocking chair, donning a yellowing wedding dress and corrupting some hapless young girl into a world of cynicism and disappointment. Tell me - was I the only peson in the world cheering The Havisham to the very rafters?

Yes, I thought so.

And, after the evening of bonhomie and good cheer, they would all write charming notes of thanks, expressing their delight and appreciation of the hard work clearly evident (even if the hard work consisted of opening several packets of M&S flapjacks and complaining that there are no good card games for 3). There would then come a flood of reciprocating invitations, which I would then complain about in a world-weary way to Fisher, fluttering myself with a fan and saying "la!" a lot.

I tell you, if it weren't for emancipation, modern medicine, civil rights, democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of information, the free market, central heating, the microchip, the internet, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, modern music, film and television, The Barenaked Ladies and barenaked ladies, I'd SO be born out of my time. (Ok, barenaked ladies were available in all times. Not quite so readily, though - which was a GOOD thing).

Now, reading this, I can just imagine several of my friends silently thinking to themselves: is she talking about me?

Well, I'm not, really. This is a much more general rant, inspired by - well, basically just being in a bad mood. I've actually written myself out of it almost completely, aided by Chopper phoning all thrilled about her upcoming birthday weekend, and some good tunes playing in the background. (Arcade Fire rock. So does Paul Simon.) I hope all my friends recognise that very few of them indulge in any of the behaviour I've outlined, and if they do it's usually forgiveable for whatever reasons caused the aberrant behaviour in the first place.

Put it this way: organising a non-wedding can have its irritations.

So - having written myself into a much better mood, it remains only to outline the events of the last few days.

Had a very lovely weekend visit to Hotel du Vin with Janus and Badger, which was a delightful break from teeming rain and general meteorological misery. We then returned to have a hangover day of eating deeply unsuitable things ("I want cake!" I demanded, just after we'd arrived home. I could, of course, have demanded cake at any time during our journey and we could have stopped to procure some - but no. "I have some biscuits," a generous Arrow offered. "Are biscuits CAKE??" I spluttered. "No, they are not! I want CAKE!" And so, much to my astonishment, Fisher actually went out and got me, not only cake, but Scotch pancakes and some deeply vile Tunnock's mallow teacakes, which bear no resemblance whatsoever to a teacake and are so sweet they make my teeth itch. On her return, I clapped my hands in glee at the Scotch pancakes and said, lovingly: "Did you remember butter?" She had not, so I beat her soundly) and watching the FA Cup quarter final between Middlesborough and Cardiff. And, with flair and panache, Championship Cardiff succeeded in knocking the Premiership side out of the cup. Marvellous. I then watched Tottenham spank West Ham 4-1, while eating Fish and Chips and chatting to Champaign Charlie, who phoned from Stateside - which put the icing on a terrific weekend.

Today my only major goal was not to eat any more crap, and to exercise - a goal I achieved, thank the Lard. The gym was very busy, but I managed to swipe the last running machine from under Fisher's nose and put in my fastest ever 5k at 31.05. True, at some stages I was hanging on to the rails for dear life and threatening to take to the air like a wind-sock, but I don't care. I followed this up with these weights:

3 x 12 reps on lat pulley, 35kg
3 x 12 reps on bicep curl, on 7
3 x 12 reps on horizontal leg lift, 100kg
1 x 6 reps on ... er ... leg curling type weights, 0n 10.
1 x 12 reps on above, on 9
1 x 12 reps on above, on 8. Yes. I did rather overestimate my strength on this one!

Then we went home, had prawn ciabatta, salad, oven chips (booooo! didn't need them) and a pudding of a kitkat, club and 4 little rice krispie treats. Not exactly a crap-free day, but not bad considering the only other thing I'd eaten was a bowl of cereal.

We won't talk about which one.

Now, I am no longer filled with rage, and a particularly whiny Dixie Chicks's song has just come on iTunes. Time to go.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Falkland Ho!

After an extremely non-productive morning, spent watching the final ever Sopranos (deeply unsatisfying, as I predicted. TV script writers simply don't know how to end things - and even with all the arty-farty techinques from my Theatre Studies A Level and English degree, I'm just left thinking they totally copped out by 'letting the viewer decide'. I dunno about anyone else, but I'm fed up with being left to decide. It would make a change if the storyteller actually decided for once), playing Civilization III on the computer and feeling antsy, I decided to bother Fisher.

"No, no," I told myself, "she's working. Leave her be. Entertain yourself."

I closed out of Civilization, banished Camino, and opened all the Word documents with bits of my novel on them. I looked at them. They looked at me.

Another hour of Civ followed. It was time to bother Fisher.

It being a beautiful day outside, we decided to take the dogs for a walk. However, the last few times we've been to the beach it's been unbearably windy and the sand gets in your eyes. Fisher didn't want to go to Tentsmuir, so we decided to go, randomly, to Falkland and walk the Lomond hills.

It was looooovely. The sun shone on us all the way, and we did the West Lomond walk, which is 7k (4.3 miles) with a short, steep climb at the end (about 200m). It took us an astonishing 2 hours to do such a short distance, which means we were walking at a cheetah-esque 2mph. Strange, considering we didn't really feel as if we were dawdling. I suppose we did stop for quite a few photos, too.

Nearing the Summit
We chased the sun on the way home, and because neither of us could be arsed to cook, got a pizza - which is why I now feel fat, sick and seriously pissed off with myself. Hey ho - at least Pro and I have let our bet ride to the end of March - with the prize now being a full meal, bought and paid for by the looosah.

So that was today. Rather fun - except that Fisher, in her usual bout of contagious optimism, managed to persuade me against my better judgement that we must have walked 6 miles. It sure as hell didn't feel like 6 miles, but so convincing was she that I allowed her to dupe me into believing. Bah. I really should know better by now.

Monday, 3 March 2008


Despite my still slightly sore ankle, I decided to go to the gym and do a mile. This I duly did, and managed it in 9.04, which was quite nice. I then did 30 mins on the old bike, on hill setting. With Fisher doing the same course, for the same length of time, I had the target distance of 8.1 miles to aim for.

Curse her, I only managed 7.9 miles. I console myself with the fact I was quite tired from the fast mile, so didn't pick up the pace early on, when the level was lower.

Did weights afterwards:

3 x 12 reps on chest press, 20kg.
3 x 12 reps on bicep curl, 30kg
6 reps on lat pull down, on 6 - whatever the fuck that is. I've given up trying to figure out whether I'm as strong as Phid and no longer care. I could kick her arse anyway. I own a gun.

As you can tell from the tone, I was pretty fed up by the end of it. I'd not eaten anything all day, having forgotten both breakfast and lunch, and the only thing in my system was a bottle of Lucozade sport. Yech. On the bike I felt seriously ropy for a moment or two, but it went away.

Anyway, Fisher is out at a meeting, so I'm enjoying a quiet house and feeling utterly, totally knackered.

Wait ...

Bollocks. I still haven't eaten anything. Oh - I had an apple and a packet of hula hoops (what am I? Seven?) but I don't really think that counts.

Hey ho. I'm going to call Koi.

Saturday, 1 March 2008


Fuck. Fuck. Fuckittyfuck-facingfuckles.

Played squash yesterday, and when going for a ball I went over on my ankle, quite painfully. However, it seemed ok after a few seconds, so I played on.

It got worse throughout the evening, until it was hurting quite badly after supper with Lu and Arrow (went to Craigsanquhar - had a lovely time) and this morning it's unwalkable. It's a beautiful day again, after some truly foul weather yesterday, and I was hoping to get a run in before Fisher returned home. That's not possible. Nor is riding my bike or, I suspect, even swimming. I can't give the dogs a walk, so the bratty standard poodle puppy staying will be utterly hyper all day.

Oh well. Thank the good lord that my beloved is returning, so at least I won't have to cope with hyper dogs on my own.