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.

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…

What does it mean to go home?

What is home? Go ahead and tell me its where I lay my hat.

Home means a number of things to me; its a place to feel safe and comfortable, a place to retreat to when things are tough. However, how do you reconcile owning your own house (well having a mortgage) and wanting to move back to where you grew up?

The bricks and mortar that represent the biggest, most important thing I have ever owned and one of the biggest declarations of a shared life I know how to make are truly fantastic. If you have never done it, it is hard to imagine what it feels like to own a home – to have somewhere that is your sanctuary to decorate or ignore as you please and even more amazing to build into something uniquely yours. I especially like the way it represents things W & I do together and create together.

Whenever I go away from that building and its environs I miss it. To go away on holiday separates me from that connection and safety and also from friends nearby and my sense of independence.


But, in fact, BUT, when I say I want to go home more often than not I still mean the place I grew up. Its ironic really; if my own house represents independence then my parents represents duty, if this home is one of connection and building a family then my parents house is isolation and loneliness. Why would I revisit those things? Why would I wish to battle with the memories of loss and fear?

I’m not sure if I know the answer; partly its the straightforward fact that I miss the sea but beyond that I think perhaps it is an aspiration – a representation of who I want to be. I want to live in a rural community, close to the land and away from easy convenience and the bustle of people. I want the home I think that house should be, could be, was, is, regardless of the pain I endured there. That place and those people still feel like my place and my people estranged though a decade in a town has made us. They represent more of me than I know how to express and that gives them a status of home beyond anything here. Maybe when I’m older, when I have  a decade of these walls about me I’ll feel differently – but right now I just want to be able to move back and make it mine.


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.

Domestication Again

I’m back to wondering what it would take for me to be a good housewife.
I am currently in awe of my parents ability to keep the house clean and tidy and upright (we’ll not even get into the obsessional cleanliness of the smother) when my house seems to accumulate piles of junk and epic amounts of dust.
Worse I feel that as the woman at home, not only should I be tidying and cleaning W & I’s house but B’s as well – after all they both have to go to the office whereas I only do 20ish hours a week at the pub. I keep on top of mine and W’s washing-up and do B’s occasionally, he manages his own laundry and W & I have more clothes than is sensible anyway (must get round to charity shopping some of them and rag-and-bone some of the rest) But Just tidying stuff away seems a never ending battle and hoovering? I hate hoovering, but at least its faster than washing the damn floors.

I have to admit to a quandary about how much I should expect the others to do. As commented above I am the person at home most often but to what extent should W & B have particular roles or tasks? Additionally I have to be careful not to make B feel that his own work about the house is inadequate or unappreciated but also that he doesn’t have to be looking after me all the time and is entitled to some looking after too. Its an odd tightrope.

Is the problem my own time management or the amount of stuff we have? Would it help if I sorted out more storage space? – I am really looking forward to having some money for more shelving – or do I just need to a)make better use of what we have or b)throw away stuff?

And of course other than its (self-critical) reflection on my abilities as a woman and a partner is this driving need for domestic bliss merely a procrastination tool for my thesis? Or some sort of nesting instinct?

Hmmm, dust, tidy or go to bed?