2012 – Summer Update

So somewhere over halfway through the year, how is my 2012 goal list going?


  • Lose 1-2 Stone
    Still 13st and a bit… aargh. I want to be get down to 11 and I can’t seem to drop into the 12s – I have gained 10″ round both bust and waist since I was 17. I hate it.
  • Create (and stick-to @ least 4 days a week) a daily exercise routine that incorporates both shoulder physio and some muscle toning (pilates/yoga & weights?)
    fail 😦
    Need to work on managing the pain
  • Walk at least either 1 Munro or 1 Alpine 4000;
    Looks unlikely with knee probs 😦


  • Submit! 
  • Write, deliver & publish my conference paper
    Wrote and gave, hopefully once the thesis is submitted….


  • Commit to another round of counselling (as booked through Talking Therapies) and/or psychiatrist
    Tick – not sure where to go next tbh. I’m ok I think so?
  • Take 1 week off each with W & B and ideally 1 week with both together
    Malta with W in Jan, a couple of days in Cornwall with B and a couple with W already achieved and a week in Scot for the three of us planned…….what else?
  • Get my F***ing sleep pattern under control.
  • Make sure my weekly time routine is balanced for all involved
    Not sure  – ask them.


  • Puppy!
    Woo Hello Rory!
  • Actually successfully grow some vegetables…
    Potatoes done, spring onions done, spinach done, strawberries and raspberries also harvested
  • Finish the painting
    About half way there
  • Celebrate mine & W’s 10th Anniversary
    Its not til Oct.

I am trying to decide if I need to add to these goals and revise them…I think that I not only need a few more specifics but also stuff to build on longer term. Please bear with me.

Keep Off My Peas!

With the possible exception of the creaking of my joints by far the worst aspect of our messed up weather this summer hasn’t been daylight deficiency, lack of Barbeques or walking the dog in the rain – it is the Slugs and Snails.
I am being driven crazy by the attack of the gastropods on my poor vegetables, every night I sneak out with my torch to pick up the slimy little bastards and hurl them into the distance.

To be fair I’m proud of where we are with the garden – we have potatoes and strawberries. The Cos is almost ready (albeit a little raggedy from our slug issue) and so are the ‘spring’ onions. We have spinach, hopefully the peas will flower soon and maybe the tomatoes (which have grown from seed to real plants..) will also make fruit.

I am one step closer to achieving the goal of providing for us as a family. We are really lucky


Wind damage and Puppy Dreams

As you may have gathered from my last post W & I were away for the weekend.. well Britain has been a little breezy these last few days and I have to admit to fretting a little about our garden.
I shouldn’t have really worried so much; its a small garden really, bordered by those of the other terraces and pretty sheltered. Our plants are ok – still growing, still working towards feeding our little tummies. Hurrah.

In other news, W & I are looking at adopting a puppy – well an elderly dog from a rescue kennel to be more accurate. As a result I am frantically dog-proofing our house so that we pass the home visit and get approved. Its not cheap and it won’t be easy – I think perhaps it will be more work than either of us remember but I have never seen my wife so excited by anything before. It makes me happy to think that I can help her achieve this ambition even if I did laugh when she told me it meant she too would have a boy to cuddle up with while I am with B.
And lets be honest I miss having pets around (I like the mice but never really bonded with them – I guess because they seem in a world of their own in their safe little cage and I am always just an interloper even if I pet them). I grew up with animals around and it seems like the right thing to do.
So cross your fingers that we get approved, that he settles in, that he and B get on, that he doesn’t destroy the garden and that nothing else goes wrong…

April showers and May sunshine?

It was a very wet few weeks in my neck of the woods.. the wettest April for a long time and a pretty soggy start to May but I think summer is settling in.
I think I mentioned that with reference to the beer festival but it is also true that its made a world of difference to our garden.

Sadly not all of our seedlings have survived to this point – the basil required more tenderness than our slightly disorganised lifestyle could manage and the chilli just seemed to want either more warmth or moisture than we gave it (although we are still coaxing the last tiny seedling along). On the other hand plenty of tomato seedlings have lived to make the move to gro bags and maybe Basil (mk II) will survive..

Unsurprisingly the potatoes have adored the rain and their bold shapes have made our garden amazingly green. I am also really pleased that the pear tree and the gooseberry bush have settled well into their new homes despite the trauma of being moved from the allotment – no flowers on the gooseberry yet (I suspect we won’t see any this year) but the beginnings of fruits on the pear. A solitary raspberry cane that survived the move has also both added a junior and is starting to show buds.

However, it is these last few days of sunshine and warmth that have really seen the new growth – a bed that had just been showing a burst of salad onions now has Cos growing in it, spinach is springing up so fast we may have to thin it sooner than I expected. Borage and peas are beginning to poke their heads up and our strawberries are starting to have their first flowers.

From the concrete wasteland we inheirited I am immensely proud to be growing fruit and herbs and veg for our family. Maybe this year we won’t have much of a harvest but we are still very much amateurs with I hope many years to practice.

April Notes & Updates

  • Wrote (more than 12 hrs before the panel started) and delivered my conference paper without imploding. Woop!
  • damn damn damn – still haven’t completed my pesky first chapter- ruddy thing
  • Happy Birthday B!  – I’m glad we spent some time away together. Sea air and your arms – thankyou
  • Well done all. A trip home and no public meltdowns. We were very brave.
  • Dear Gods above, what on earth am I going to give my wife for our 3rd anniversary? Excited and delighted but a little perplexed.
  • We have beautiful pear blossom, tiny onions and enthusiastic tomatoes. Even the potato plants are sprouting. Hurrah for rain.
  • Gave my beer talk – didn’t freeze in front of people I have to speak to regularly. Surprised and pleased.
  • Waiting for physio for my knee/ waiting for miraculous improvement – how am I supposed to lose weight without walking?
  • Trying to decide what the next step on my head-fixing plan is – explorative psychotherapy, ACT, drugs or none of the above? Maybe I am shiny? Maybe I am terrified.
  • Beer Festival eek nearly that time again..
  • oooo Holiday planning!

March Already?

So To Do list? Where you at?

Well the good news is mainly garden related. Not only are the raised beds filled but the pear and gooseberry have now found permanent homes (and seem to have survived being moved from the allotment and wintered in pots). We have also planted strawberries and early potatoes – which are being reticent about sending up shoots sadly – and are trying a first round of seedlings. Despite the fact our success rate looks lower than 33% we do have some chives and purple-sprouting basil showing their heads and I am trying to work out how long to leave them inside before transferring them to the uncertain world outside.
Trellising, painting and puppy are still waiting to happen, in part its a financial issue, in part it is due to the distraction of fireplace and in part it is inertia. Nonetheless I’m determined to have trellis and paint finished before my parents visit again, if for no other reason than my father thinks its is faintly amusing that I repeat his pattern of building up jobs and then blitzing them in a panic rather than getting stuff done piece by piece.

I will confess to having completely letting the calorie-counting slide. Partly out of sheer laziness with regard to spending 20mins each day trying to work out how much of each individual foodstuff I have consumed and partly the distraction of working on thesis etc. It is perhaps not surprising then that the scales tells me I still weigh 13st 4 – its less than January but its hardly monumental. The issue is of course exercise – I need to do some. I am proving rubbish at fitting it into my daily schedule and even the sunshine is not forcing me out and about on my feet more. Someone throw me some motivation pretty please.
On the other hand as you will have seen I’m doing that counselling thing. Can’t say I feel better for it (every session begins with dread and ends with a knot and the desire to cry) but its good to force myself to think about things differently rather than sliding back into the comfy-but-damaging patterns. I guess it will be back to drugs after this bout of talking but hey ho I’ve known this was long-haul for a while now.

So what next?
Well by the time I reassess my goals next I will have: given my conference paper (which is not yet written eek); spent a few days away with B; done more planting; put up trellis(?) and lost another 4lbs!


So one of the goals for this year was to try and make a real effort to grow some of our own vegetables.
In the past the wife and I had an allotment but the combination of distance to travel with an unhealthy dose of depressive anti-socialism meant our dedication slipped and returns were low. In the end when we moved into our first home and got a patch of soil of our own it seemed fairer to relinquish the plot to those on the waiting-list. Since moving-in it has take some time to get the garden to the point where anything could be grown but this year I am hopeful.
Last summer we dug out the concrete and paving slabs and then made decking and a water feature, in the autumn we made raised beds and now, partly courtesy of a christmas present from my parents, have filled them with soil..

So this week early potatoes can go in and we can get going with indoor sown seedlings like chilli peppers..
I’m looking forward to it.

Wish us Luck


So Recap of how my goals are going this year… and the short answer is that so far they aren’t but…

On a day-by-day level, I am getting up before midday more days than not and in bed before 2am everyday. I am still off the anti-depressants and haven’t yet begged my Dr. for more painkillers..It would be fair to say I might not be calm and cheerful but I’m at least in a ‘stable’ state that I know how to deal with.
The scales say I’m 13st 8lbs, I want them to say 11st.
I am re-starting my calorie counting after the holiday break and although I haven’t actually set out a proper exercise regime – the plan is to: walk to work at least once a week, (swim once a fortnight) and work on the mindful movement practice each day I’m writing my thesis
So far I am working on my thesis at least 2 days a week and I want to make it 3. I can’t really sit at the desk for very long at one go both because my shoulder is stiff and sore and because the anxiety gets too much.
No Further Comment Necessary

In other news, soil delivery for raised beds next week and then trellis to go up and seed shopping. After that we are going puppy-hunting!!


Daily Life

Update on things…

The Mrs and I have almost finished building decking and are pretty damn close to having a use-able garden, some finishing touches, some ivy extermination and soil for the raised beds so we can grow bona fide herbs and veg in our Own Garden, as well as sit with the computer and burn meat – How awesome is that?!

She has to go away for her summer exile with the smother soon 😦 It will be traumatic and worrying for both of us but I at least have the consolation of curling up with B, and a trip to France with him..Good Luck Sweetling, try to remember she does love you and that I will be waiting when you come back.

We have no further word on the pub name and are waiting for the next step.

Am still feverishly working on my thesis in the hope of it not being utter crap. Much fear just about under control.

Mood surprisingly stable. Go Pills! Next step more exercise..then I will be less rounded in the wrong places, also better mood and better supported joints because of stronger muscles.

Think thats it for now.

Garden Games & Research

The last few days have been mainly been filled with taking advantage of the sunshine in order to build decking in our garden.

Having decided that we could not wait for pro help to make our garden work the way we wanted, W & I have spent the last couple of months digging out concrete and preparing the way for woodwork. Finally with a little time both at home we have a working wooden structure on which to sit and enjoy the weather. It has taken several rounds of power tools and a lot of sweat to put together. The hardest part for me has been getting over my fear of reciprocating saws in order to try and make straight lines for the joists and I think W’s worst trial has been the decking bolts – these monstrous bits of metal come with their own drill bit but get the angle just a little wrong and the drill spins uselessly ruining the head of the bolt and its own shape. Put it this way, we were grateful for the gentler screws holding the boards down and anything I could do with a hammer – I do like hitting things.

We intend to build another smaller deck between the completed one and the house if we can get the ground vaguely level. The idea is that it will be a little lower and rest on paving slabs rather than on posts driven in but first we need to clear the ivy and move rubble. Wish us luck


Meanwhile academia presses on with its demands for output. I know that the review is hanging over me and have been waiting for feedback to include in my report, but I can’t wait forever; not only does the review need to go in, more words must be committed to the page.

I am also suddenly aware that deadline for abstracts for the major British conference in my field is edging ever closer. At this stage of my thesis/career I really can’t afford to ignore the opportunity to present. Not only do I need to get out and find what other people are doing I have to go and stand in a room and show that my work is contributing to scholarship. So um.. need to pick a topic that relates to the streams at the conference but also covers ideas in my thesis so that it can be adapted to fill in my chapters and sounds interesting enough that I don’t get turned down…

Never Mind, Off to Cornwall soon and the world still has beer.