Sunday, 6 January 2013

Paradise Follows Purgatory (or is it the other way round?)

Right now it feels like utter luxury to be able to sit at my PC and update my blog. My Wi-Fi has been playing up for days - leading to a rash and panicky decision that I'm going to have to undo tomorrow morning. Being without internet access when the world is waiting on your word (I'm responsible updating a website very regularly with member nominations for a literary award) is very stressful.

Saturday I earned myself some smug points as I made it to Parkrun. I'm a big fan of this, and if you're looking to get fit, lose weight or just meet a load of enthusiastic (and sweaty) people, and save money, then forget joining an expensive gym. You can register at Parkrun for free and take part in regular 5km runs in many places round the UK - and in several other countries too.

Who takes part? Well, there are your elite runners and running club members who are going to run round in about 17 minutes, there are your pretty good runners who just take it easy and chat all the way round, there are the unfit and wheezy, there are the ones who think they can't but then find they can (me), there are mums and dads pushing buggies, people with dogs (at some runs, some don't allow dogs), there are primary school children (some of them surprisingly fast) and pensioners too - it's for everyone.

You get a time and statistics recorded which get texted to you later in the day. My best time is 31:29 - so far. This week I made it round in 32:30. I finished in 126th place and was the 44th lady out of a field of 157 parkrunners and  came 8th in my age category VW35-39.Yes, this is sort of towards the back of the pack, but the atmosphere is so encouraging that this is all fine for me. I like running with my friend Jen who can run around at the same sort of pace as me. When my brother goes, he can finish top ten, talented so and so, grrr!

As if my run wasn't tiring enough, I then had to carry poor Maddy cat to the vets as she has a sensitive skin condition. She doesn't get it flaring up very often, but she is prone so it's a potential cost I'm aware of for 'self-insurance'. If your cat has pre-existing conditions like mine has, it may not be value for money to shell out for monthly insurance, but it is still wise to 'self-insure'. Luckily, Maddy loves the vet and likes going there to sit on her pedestal (scales) and have a lovely fuss (receive an injection that she doesn't seem to notice going in).

I got home in time to make N a lovely butternut squash soup before a trip to town. He gets hungry and ratty in quick succession, which can be expensive if out and about. He still needed a supermarket snack when we'd finished, but at least we didn't have to buy a meal (next time, I'm also packing a sandwich). But we have now managed to book our honeymoon to Malta, pick up my  ring and pay the venue deposit. I'm afraid savings will only cover some of those, but we will work at clearing the finance as quickly as possible. That's the Purgatory bit. I'm very grateful to advice from Malta-loving friends without whom we may have booked a holiday on the wrong side of the island.

Saturday night was less positive as I struggled to work without Internet access, hence fired up by stress, I went to the library this morning to book a computer to go online only to be told it was a pound for every twenty minutes! I'm sorry, but it's cheaper to go to a hotel and book theirs. I was told you could get an hour's free access on Fridays. Well, whoop-de-doo, but I work in the week. I was also told it had always been something you needed to pay for. Er- no it hasn't. I had free access just this year! I know it was this year because I was working on my witch exhibition. Then I passed the bargain books sale table and was disheartened to see Joanne Harris's Gentlemen and Players on there. One of the country's most popular writers? And I took that book out just last month myself! It used to be that books went in the sale if they hadn't been taken out in a few months, but now it seems borrowing them won't save them. Ladies and gentlemen - if you hadn't noticed, our libraries are still very much in trouble.

So that is when I made a stressed call to my ISP and ended up ordering a router that is way too much for our wants and needs... and the WiFi came back on tonight after all. Must have been local network issues. I will have to cancel the order first thing. How annoying!

But I unwound a little by going for a swim. We take the nieces swimming once or twice a month. I have a leisure card which gets me discounted swims and we go on Sunday lunchtimes because the pool is less busy then and you don't get a maximum time allocated, so you can have a good long swim. And I can now think about the blue sea on the shores of Sliema, where I'll be going for my honeymoon in May.

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