On breaking glass and being soulless

It was only to be expected that i would crawl from my bed looking pretty crappy this morning. Day 3 of nasty germy buggy thing and i actually feel worse than yesterday so i am really not amused. Add to this the fact that i only managed a fitful two hours sleep last night and i think Return Of the Living Dead comes to mind. By 4am i had gotten pretty cranky and had taken to physically assaulting my pillow whilst my hedgehog hair settled in a mad tangle around my face. 

Part of my problem is that i think too much. Right when i should be winding down for sleep my brain turns into a cross between Wikipedia and The Jeremy Kyle show on fast forward,which really does make catching some Z’s pretty difficult. Last night Irritating crackly noises from my semi blocked ears added to the cacophony in my head sending all chances of sleep out of the window and several times i gave up and turned the tv back on. Why do they only put the little sign language man on pre dawn tv shows? Do deaf people only watch tv in the middle of the night?

So 6.30am rolls along and i decide it is daylight enough to crawl from my bed and search for the coffee. Maybe i shouldn’t have looked in the mirror at this point and left well alone for if i had not i would not have dropped it and doomed myself to be soulless for the next 7 years. Yes i am terribly superstitious sometimes and breaking mirrors is right up there on the no no list of things you really do not do.

Superstition has it that breaking a mirror heralds the start of 7 years of bad luck but why? Where did this come from? Well the earliest reference i could find was that the Romans may have started this superstition. Since mirrors were very expensive they were naturally very nervous when a slave was cleaning one and to ensure they would treat them carefully told the slaves that if they broke it their souls would be trapped in the mirror for 7 years. Other religions also believe that the soul is projected in the reflection of a mirror and hence the superstition has continued. Currently then my soul is residing at the bottom of an Asda carrier bag waiting to go into the bin. 

How very fitting!!

So as i attempted to correct the panda eyes and the bad hair day i’m seriously considering grinding the mirror into dust which seems to be one of only a small handful of ways to ward off the ill omen. I really do not think i am in need of more bad luck right now and although i only half believe it i am really not willing to tempt fate.

Hmmmmm i wonder what i would be like as a soulless panda eyed hedgehog for the next 7 years? what an interesting analogy!! But for now my cranky mood and i are off to grind a mirror 😛  Peace out!!

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The best medicine

Today has been far from a great day which is unusual for me since I’m usually such an eternal Pollyanna i can pretty much always see the good side of anything. Not today. I’m ill, I feel terrible and have zero energy and i missed the gym which is really annoying the hell out of me. Everything today uncharacteristically irritated me but as usual i kept it all hidden behind my nauseating optimism. Sometimes I even make myself want to puke with my failure to let things drag me down and wish I was the kind to have a crisis, but I’m not and I don’t. Not ever. Still the hidden inner bad mood and general fed up feeling lingered and I figured another restless night was on the cards. AGAIN!!

Until…..

I get chatting to a friend online and we end up having the most random conversations. One point we’re talking about pizza and the next we’re talking about moobs!! Yup you heard right..moobs!! Well before i know it he sends me some comical quip and I’m rolling on the bed laughing so hard I cant breathe and doing my very best seal impression. Its not so much that what he said was hilarious but more the comical image that my quirky  little brain conjured up as I read it. No dear readers, before you all think it, it wasn’t in the slightest bit rude!! I really think i am completely off the wall sometimes though and I have a crazy imagination but it helps. 

Its funny but that was all it took for me to feel better. I laughed until i almost cried even though it wasn’t that funny and though I still feel ill I don’t feel quite so fed up. I guess it’s true what they say about laughter being the best medicine after all. Now if it could just work a little on my sore throat then everything might just be perfect.

Running on Discount Store Batteries

Today i feel UGH!! 

There is no other way to describe this although i am quite sure were i a man i should be suffering from some deadly disease and need three days constant nursing in bed to recover. I do not have a cold, no headache as such merely a very cloudy fuzzy not quite functioning niggle coupled with the general dizzying feeling that a truck ran over me in the night. Energy levels definitely flashing red, in need of a good charge!!

Oh Dear!!

I am not good at being ill, i do not have time and get very impatient and frustrated at being below normal par and will fiercely resist giving in to it. Perhaps i do more harm than good since i have been told before that i only make it linger for longer, instead of giving in and allowing my body to get itself better.Boring!!  But today i feel like a Duracell bunny fitted with cheap discount store batteries, my drum is not banging enthusiastically but has dwindled to a feeble sporadic thump and bunny ears are definitely on a less than perky droop. I think were i to roll down the conveyor belt this way i should surely find myself being firmly deposited into the rejects bin!!

Intention this morning was to hit the gym since i had a day off yesterday but after a less than energetic wriggle into gym clothes and half hearted stagger in search of coffee, this plan was abandoned as not such a good idea after all.The stagger required much effort since my initial impulse was to crawl and then slide down the stairs on my ample bottom!! With all the enthusiasm of a person being led to the guillotine i managed a steady plod in the direction of the supermarket, hauling back groceries with far less than my usual strength and energy that even the most upbeat music on my ipod could not improve. 

No smiling from this panda today, this requires effort and energy and i have none to spare of either!! 

Thankfully i am lucky for i am rarely ill but on the flip side on the few occasions i do fall foul to some stray roaming viral beastie i find i do so in most spectacular fashion. Personally i think i should rather have more, less debilitating illnesses, rather than receiving a whole years worth in one fell swoop. So i have decided to stay home and feel uncharacteristically sorry for myself (this is just an excuse to slob on the sofa and watch the olympics) and i shall commence my usual copious doses of vitamin C to ward off the worst of the effects. 

I have to add at times i regret being single and this is one of them for the idea of being coddled is sometimes rather appealing. Not that i subscribe to the chicken soup and being fed grapes scenario but still having someone to take over the chores and dispense cuddles and sympathy would be rather an attractive prospect right now. Instead i shall force myself to clean up and then retire to the sofa with hot chocolate and the tv remote. Ah well it is saturday after all, time to recharge the bunny batteries, now where did i put the vitamin C???

back when i was ten

Back when i was ten the world seemed like such a weird and wonderful place. I lived in a world of books where rabbits could talk and tales of boarding school and tuck boxes were my things to aspire to. Oh i so wanted to go to boarding school, to be like those merry little characters in my books,causing mayhem and having untold adventures with exciting new friends. I dreamt of smugglers and sleeping on islands just like those five so famous and so real to me when young. For i believed everyone did this and quite happily made plans as sleep eluded me on many a night in bed. I sailed with amazons and fished with huck finn, solved mysteries untold and inevitably always made it home for breakfast as every hero should. Yes the world was a wonderful place back when i was ten.

Flying!! So much i wanted to be Wendy and soar over the tops of houses following a star and the ageless charming Peter, to battle with pirates and crocodiles,nary a care in the world but to live like the heros and heroines i so admired. I danced at the ball and lost my slipper on the stairs, fell in love with a beautiful beast. Cried inconsolably for The little Match Girl and made as merry as any with the infamous Robin hood.

Yes show me a book and i would dream you a dream, back then when i was ten. Yet perhaps i shall always be such an age as with each tale i am transported away finding solace in a world so far removed from my own. So exciting a life i lead within the realms of my own head as stories unfold and imagination takes over, heroine again of a fable not of my creation yet where i feel so very at home. 

As i pick up a book i find things have not much changed from back then when i was ten.

who do you think you are

We spend our lives surrounded by people, everywhere all around us interacting yet solitary, dimly aware yet so absorbed in our own lives we take little notice of those around us. I like to people watch, i have a strange curiosity about the people around me and i often wonder who they are and where they are going as they rush along oblivious in their own daily lives. The old lady, face screwed up, bent almost double as she battles the wind and rain clutching a battered old shopping bag to her chest. You can see she doesn’t like the rain, her very haste and whole aura of distaste make it very plain as she forges on and tries to hurry just that little bit faster. Where is she going? does she have a doting husband waiting patiently for her return,missing his companion, glancing now and then at the clock to anticipate her return  or does she return to a home silent but for the cries of a ragged looking tabby pacing anxiously by the door. The workman, lunchbox under one arm walking rapidly and purposefully towards his destination, glancing neither left or right in his desire to get out of the cold. He’s less obvious in his distaste but nonetheless you can tell he wishes he was somewhere else. Is there a wife bustling around making dinner whilst children watch with noses pressed to window, waiting to hurl themselves at him as he crosses the threshold or does he return to a darkened house and a meal for one, to take early to his bed unable to bear the solitude for too long a time. The child, oblivious to anything but the pure glee of splashing with reckless abandon through puddles of muddy rain, pulled along by a mother desperate to get home and not inclined to linger like the child. Does he go home to be smothered in a warm towel before perching on a chair, heels swinging, to await the return of rain sodden family members complaining loudly in a clamorous throng about the weather and the journey home or maybe its is not his mother after all and he will not infact see a parent until long after he has retired for the night, greeted only by a perfunctory kiss on the sleeping childs forehead.

And then i wonder if someone else is watching in me and wondering who i am and where i’m going. I try to see myself from the outside and wonder what i would think of me if i were them. Do they see me? Do they know that i dont mind the rain and am in no hurry to get to my destination. Do they notice that i watch them and wonder at their daily likes or maybe notice the small skip around a puddle and think that some recent event has made me want to share a happiness with the world. Do they know that im the one that goes home to the meal for one but later greeted by the family members bewailing the english weather. I wonder what they see when they look at me, do they even see me at all??

A Toy Story

No matter how old you are there is always a small part of you that never grows up. Some inner child that refuses to be tamed and see’s the fun and delight in everything no matter how small. For many this is something they never let out whilst in others that childlike quality sets forth, breaking free at every chance it gets. 

I am for the most part a lady and proud to be so but my inner child refuses to be squashed and i take great delight in being spontaneous and having fun. Match this with someone with all the qualities of a woodland imp and you have my boyfriend and i. So, a recent trip to London whilst beginning sedately was never likely to stay that way given the nature of the pair of us. Of course there is only one place in London to take your inner child and that is Hamleys, biggest toystore in the city. Now i have never been to Hamleys although my partner has and knew what to expect as we descended upon its colourful doorways….

Arriving in a cloud of soap bubbles my eyes did not know where to look and thus did not see the impending attack from a London Souvenir teddy bear. Those things have teeth you know and more than once i had to fight for my life and defend my as yet unbitten neck as it staged an all out assault upon my person. Aided and abetted by the dastardly vampire (aka boyfriend) i was most definitely under attack from all directions and seeking refuge amongst the Steiff bears. A cunning plan here since Steiff toys are far too costly to be involved in any rebellion and as a slow meander through their ranks ensued a cease fire was forced upon him. 

Breaking cover and dashing for the awaiting soft toy army this time the fight was on and team Panda fought back bravely, spurred on by pink fluffy teddy and big white curly teddy. Sensing a lowering of guard a joint assault from white curly teddy and General Panda, sent the afore mentioned sailing through the air to land squarely upon the king vampires nose. Direct hit!!! A most comical look of surprise and round one to team panda with vampire in hot pursuit as teddy bear armies sailed across the shop floor discreetly ignored by passing shop assistants yet not by small children staring open mouthed at the grown up warfare. 

Cameo performance by extortionately priced small bat preceded nostalgic wander through a colourful array of fluffy animals at this time heeding the temporary truce. Definite crossing of legs at this point as team Panda hurtled for the toilets hurling a brief ”i will find you” over a departing shoulder. Ah those immortal lines from Last of the Mohicans that saw a desperate Daniel Day Lewis hunting the wilderness for his kidnapped lady love.

Skidding only briefly to a halt to coo over a veritable Wonkafest of colourfully arranged confectionery team Panda speeded through a brief pit stop before negotiating the stairs and the previous whereabouts of team vampire. Despite the assistance of badly synced navigation equipment and triple circumnavigation of the arena the whereabouts of the mysterious vampire remained a mystery, definitely not a Mohican in the making then. All efforts exhausted in true childlike style Team Panda observed the golden rule reinforced on a regular basis throughout childhood..if you get lost stay where you are and we will find you. So as the desperately lost Team Panda languished in a magical doorway between worlds, Team Vampire was far far away hypnotised by an evil demon and his magical flying saucer. Time passed so slowly as Team Panda desperately waited for the vampire to escape the supernatural forces that compelled him and come to her rescue. Magical sorcerers appeared from the gloom hoping to tempt team Panda into submitting with offers of assistance but the Panda held firm and waited for her twilight hero to find her.

Saved only by a mysterious communication device the vampire had smuggled with him he came swiftly to the rescue and amid a cloud of rainbow bubbles they made good their escape into the outside world. Leaving behind an army of no small proportions they plot and plan for the next ensuing battle between teams P:anda and Vampire. Out in the grown up world a happy truce reigns but Team Panda will be forever on their guard for one never knows when vampires might attack.

Could you be a Cougar??

Cougar, its a term most of us know these days. One of those colloquialisms developed in society to label something which previously has either been indefinable or simply did not exist.

So what is a cougar??

Well simply put it is any woman who pursues the attentions of considerably younger men rather than those her own age. Usually a minimum of 7 years younger is required for the age gap to fall into the cougar status. I have always dated slightly younger men, mainly due to the fact that i do not look my age and can get away with it but i have never yet reached the requirements that would fit me into this cougar category. 

But could i be one?? Well this morning i admit i had rather a giggle as logging onto a diet and fitness forum i belong to i had a message alerting me to updates on threads i had replied to. Skimming the first two serious and advisory ones i picked up a few tips and added a further comment of my own. Now the third thread was entirely different and was infact a game entitled..do you think the person above is attractive. I had happily joined in the previous evening commenting that the girl at the bottom of the list was, despite being rather overweight, a very pretty girl. Considerably more entries had been added since mine and i skipped through them reading the comments and then rather absently flicked backwards looking for mine. In truth i had expected my comment to be from a girl since the boy/girl ratio was very much in the female favor but NO!!

’43?? I would do her!!’

Yes this was my comment and the commenter was…..a young lad that looked about 18! I actually choked on my coffee caught between exclamation, a giggle and the desire to swallow the contents of my mouth. The result was a spray of coffee upon my laptop followed by a mad coughing fit. Now i say this boy looked 18 he could well have been older but it would not have been much and i certainly wasn’t going to be seen checking his profile for fear of giving the wrong idea. But the comment set me thinking, could i really be a cougar?? It is not the first time i have had favourable looks from considerably younger guys infact very far from it and yes if i am honest i could have more than once dated far younger guys but yet i have not.

WHY?? 

Is it not every womans dream to be seen with some young fit looking guy rather than the frequently less so older men of their own acquaintance? Would women rather wake up to some smooth tanned body rather than the slightly wrinkling version she is expected to date? Perhaps, i know many women would jump at the chance to date a younger  man, seeking maybe to hold on to their own youth in the process but strangely i do not find this appealing and in truth would feel decidedly uncomfortable waking up with a boy in my bed.Romantic moment as he leans over and whispers ”Darling i love the way the sunlight dances across your wrinkles in a morning” It has to be noted that i consider any  guy under 28 to be in the category of boy more in reference to my own age although i own they would not thank me for it. As odd as it may seem i do not really look at much younger guys and even in the cases of movie stars i remain curiously unmoved. A friend recently asked me to go and see Magic Mike with her at the cinema which for those who do not know is about male strippers. As she drooled over the bronzed muscles of the male leads i found myself looking rather dispassionately at the picture for it did not appeal to me at all and i happily declined. 

ImageImage

Give me Colin Firth or Kiefer Sutherland and you will happily see me melt (curiously so for both are older than i) for i prefer men who look like men and cannot see the appeal in those so much younger whom to me are just boys. It seems as i have aged my taste in men has aged with me and though i would happily date a guy a few years younger than myself i confess i am not the cougar type and have a line firmly drawn with regards to age. So whilst i may blush furiously at the comment left in regards to me i have to confess that where he would, i definitely would not. 

Could i be a cougar?? No after much thought i confess not but am i alone in this? Could you?

When its all just down to Mr Benn

I remember back when i was small ( yes trust me i can remember back that far) and one thing i always remember is a childrens tv show called Mr Benn. Short little cartoons where an ordinary unassuming little man in his ordinary little bowler hat would take a trip to a fancy dress shop and try on a different outfit every time and disappear on a wonderful adventure to be an astronaut, a wizard or even a roman gladiator. Back then i imagined it to be so very wonderful to magically be someone else just by putting on another hat and yes i wanted to go to that little fancy dress shop and be a princess or a ballerina or perhaps something even more wonderful than that. I wanted to be Mr Benn…..

All grown up now and i had to smile when recently i stumbled across a reference to the adventurous Mr Benn but then as i sat and looked at the pictures a thought occurred to me that never would have as a child. Mr Benn went into that shop so often and came out as someone, but never once did he go through that magical door choosing to be just himself. In my own way i am my very own Mr Benn, the very person my childhood self  had always wanted to be but somehow it doesnt seem as magical as i thought it would. A lifetime spent wearing different hats, mother, daughter, sister, wife and in all of them im somebody else and limited by the dictates that the outfit provides. Somehow as time went by i realised i was so busy being what everyone else expected me to be i forgot about the most important character of all…ME. 

How often in our lives do we strive to impress others, those who actually really do not matter at all since they are not an essential part of our lives but merely passing through. Yet we change ourselves to impress when in reality what we should say is ..this is me accept me. Strange how we feel the need to be perceived in such a positive light by people who do not know us, mostly never will and who at the end of the day will not give us another passing thought as they go about their own busy lives. Why should they? We are nothing to them beyond those brief points in which we interact, once over resuming to as it was before.  Ultimately when doors are closed and we are all alone the only thing we see looking back at us is our own face in the mirror, but are we really looking at ourselves or have we tried so hard to be what we think will impress that we have lost all sense of what makes us who we are. Who do you see when you look in the mirror?

I used to be that way, so desperate to please and to be liked. Strange that i wanted to be liked for someone who did not exist rather than the one who was there all along. Now….this is me, accept me for i shall not change. And if you like me i shall know you like me just for myself and nothing more than that.

Mr Benn? No i don’t want to be Mr Benn. Do you?

I am Panda, and Panda is me. 

Through a door just like Alice

Curiouser and curiouser.

As far as the eye can see the doors stretch in an endless colourful sea, all so very different neither uniform nor alike. Some catch the eye more than others being gaudy and opulent, designed to draw the eye and the beholder like a magpie to some shiny coveted bauble. Others less assuming, meek and drab, so easily dismissed and passed by unless one had reason to tarry and examine them more closely. I cannot tarry i am looking for something.

I am here and this is me. My doors are there for a reason and each one hides behind it some memory or some thought that i have filed away for perusal at my leisure. Some doors do not stay shut and the contents seep around its edges reaching for my feet bidding me come and dwell a while within but i know i do not want to go there. Some inner sense of me alerts a warning that i know not from where but i shall heed it for it has been my constant companion and i know it almost as well as it knows me.

Something is seeking me or perhaps i am seeking it, i do not know. All i feel is that i am looking for something but i know not what, only that i shall know when i have found it. Behind this door then? So pretty and bright, leading me to think some rare happy memory resides within and i am happy to approach it. Even as my hand reaches out some instinct tells me this is not a happy place, some indistinct growl resonates from within stirring a familiar alarm making me snatch my outstretched hand away from its reach. Familiar a feeling yet i do not know what lives behind this door only that i do not want to go there. A lesson i have learned so well and i trust my instincts when they tell me what i cannot know.

A smaller door then? Something less obvious and unobtrusive and my eyes scan the row after row hoping something will stand out and suggest that i choose it but all remains as it was before. Nothing remarkable at all and i wonder that i should be so ordered when i sense such unseen chaos within. The nearest then and i choose one so small and dull as to be barely noticed, hesitating briefly before looking inside. This one i know, so small a feeling yet also so happy, still now frowning i realise it occupies so small a room. Why?

Door after door, some i will open but the greater i will not and i speed my steps to hasten my search. I must find it? But what? How strange this need to find something of which i am afraid and it leads me to frown as i turn this way and that with still no idea of where i am headed. I am afraid of this place i do not like to come here and i wish that i could turn and run back the way i came, back where it is safe. Yet i do not, cannot and so i must keep searching hoping i find what i seek before i am lost behind a door not of my choosing.

Doors, so many doors. An endless colourful sea of unassuming facades that stretch as far as the eye can see. I am here and here is me. Through a door just like Alice i chased my white rabbit and now i am lost save only for the grin of a cheshire cat who smiles yet does not smile.

I am here and this is me, i wonder can you find me?

Facebook, Jeremy Kyle and a whole lot of laundry

Rare for me, since Saturday mornings usually find me wearing myself out in my local gym, i spent today watching morning television whilst cruising the internet. Like many I have a Facebook account although unlike most I do not really bother with it overly. I find i much prefer the less personal realms of the Twitter world. I tend to be a pretty private person and I am not so awed at the thought of millions of people knowing all of the inner workings of my life. Yes clearly I blog, but blogging is less invasive and I am very careful about those things I choose to reveal to my readers. 

Whilst I am very happy in my relationship and love my boyfriend dearly, I  for one do not wish to publicise the inner workings of my life with him for the whole world to see. Although I am not above displaying for the Facebook world some uncontained burst of happiness for the most part I tend to keep my private life to myself. Not so my friends and acquaintances it seems for, as i scrolled my news feed with one eye on a heated debate on TV’s Jeremy Kyle show, I was a little surprised at some of the statuses.

One side of a couples argument. For everyone’s amusement the woman is visibly making vicious comments about her partner. Friend’s jumping onto the one sided bandwagon adding to the general nastiness with little or no idea of the facts or whether any of it was at all true. Another ‘friend’ publishing intimate medical information about herself regardless of the fact that the whole world can see and comment upon this yet they do not seem to care.

Scrolling further down i see more personal information, a phone number and yet another status spewing spite towards some faceless unnamed individual. Again this person has had the foresightedness not to reply and draw themselves further into the deluge of venom directed their way. Such things amaze me for I have always been taught and am a big believer in the saying

‘If you cannot say anything nice then do not say anything at all’

As the TV continues to drone in the background my attention shifts again to the now furiously arguing couple upon the screen and i cannot help but wonder..WHY?? Are we as a species so desperate for our five minutes of fame that we would resort to airing our dirty laundry in public and ultimately setting ourselves up for ridicule as a result of this? Do those people on screen or even on Facebook stop for one moment to consider just how they appear to other people? Perhaps they simply do not care and again i find this difficult to comprehend. 

It seems with the advent of more and more advanced technology, there are many of us content to be drawn into the fantasy of the online world. In our attempts to be modern and popular we are content to broadcast those facts about ourselves that would have seemed so scandalous when whispered behind twitching curtains decades before. Perhaps  things have changed and what was once so socially unacceptable is now simply considered the norm in today’s society. There is little doubt that, given the presence of many such shows as that of Jeremy Kyle, we are much more voyeuristic in nature than we once were. We watch avidly as the dysfunctional and the desperate bear all to a viewing public of millions and in many cases pass judgement where, in their place, we should not like to receive it. 

So sad a world when the misfortunes and distress of other people are considered a form of entertainment for others and for the most part i refuse to watch. I cannot feel anything but sadness and sympathy for those poor souls drawn to solve their problems in such a way. Me? I think I shall continue to keep my private life to myself, even my friends and family are not privy to events within my relationship with my boyfriend and perhaps as a woman I am unusual in this. It seems the norm to share with friends those occurrences, arguments and happy times within your intimate relationship but for myself I prefer to keep those things between he and 

Dirty laundry? Personally I think i shall forgo my five minutes of fame and keep mine firmly in my laundry basket!! 

VW525EFYWZWD

How to tame your inner fat girl

Yet again this weekend sees me chained to Ebay, watching as auction after auction ends. Why?? Well those items. they’re all mine you see.

I blame it on my inner fat girl!

Very few of us have accurate body perception and women in particular will obsess about their most hated flaw until it reaches a tragedy of epic proportions. That extra inch on the hips and thighs suddenly becomes 10 and you no longer want to be seen out in public. You fixate and self deprecate until your perception of yourself is distorted beyond all recognition.

My weight loss journey has been shared on here and if i face reality i am a very acceptable 5ft 10 and size 10/12 yet most of the time i cannot see it. Several times lately i have had to return clothing to a store because habit see’s me purchasing size 14’s and L/XL when i am so far removed from this now. Then i find i am greatly annoyed when the coveted dress/jeans hang like a sack on my much smaller frame and i have the hassle of returning and reordering or,as i frequently do., throwing it in the wardrobe to hang forever unworn.

Sometimes. like today, i find myself overloading ebay with my wrongly sized purchases and i vow to buy things in my proper size next time but still often i never do. I still see the curvy girl you see. Only when confronted by a mirror do i actually see and register the transformation and i would be lying if i didn’t say that it comes as a shock every time. I guess the reality is how many of us actually look at ourselves in a full length mirror and actually SEE what we look like??

Not me that’s for sure.

Only recently after a conversation with my trainer did i acknowledge that i am no longer the girl i was and i should be proud of how dramatic a change i have effected in only 3 months. I can run, i’m slim, i weight train and i’m fit and healthy. Sheer hard work has gotten me here and i am not about to let it all slide any time soon. Maybe when i’m 80 i shall relax and eat chicken burgers and chocolate but for now i adore the gym and i love being slim.

”Start looking in a full length mirror every day” my trainer advised wisely ”There are plenty of women at this gym who would love your figure”

Really?? My squirming impulse immediately was to self criticise as i usually do. A fault i developed long ago to run myself down before anyone else could and it became a terrible habit. Any self confidence is well and truly trampled and you are the worst culprit for it, yet you do not see that. So upon his advice i started to look in the mirror and actually LOOK properly for a change. No i am not perfect but i look good especially for my age and i am starting to slowly accept that when my lovely boyfriend calls me beautiful it is because he see’s me as such. I do not believe he would lie but the inner me could never accept it and always brushed his comments aside blaming him as having bad eyesight. You see the instant self criticism??

So my inner fat girl and i we confront each other daily and i try on a pair of jeans that used to fit and chuckle as they instantly fall into a puddle around my feet. Then i stick out my tongue and tell her she isn’t coming out any more. She sighs but she knows she cannot win any more and so she is resigned to it. With tape measure in hand i confront myself with the inches i have lost and then i tell myself 

‘You look great, you have done fantastic and you are almost there keep going’

You can beat your inner fat girl you just need to face the truth. Buy a full length mirror and look, look ,look!! Give yourself the right to be proud of your own achievements and when someone tells you you’re beautiful? Just accept that to them you probably are and simply say thankyou.

Nobody is perfect, even those famous faces have something about them that they do not like. Beauty is after all in the eye of the beholder. My inner fat girl and i are off to the gym and we’re going to run and run, because we can. 

Aside

Duxford Autumn Airshow 2012

As an early morning mist clears from the skies above Duxford it looked likely to be a sunny clear day for all at the Autumn Air show 2012. If the event organisers were breathing a sigh of relief, there was certainly no sign of it but one cannot deny there was likely much holding of breath and watching of local weather reports. As a low sun glinted cheekily upon the colourful array of exhibitors it seemed that once again flocking visitors were in for a treat.

A rather quiet programme by some standards, the thinner crowds also lead one to question whether a current recession is beginning to feel its pinch in the world of aviation. Nevertheless it promised to be a most glorious display of speed and superiority as each fought to be the star of the show. Some more flamboyant like the highly colourful Hawk T-1 jet drew gasps of awe at her sheer dramatic speed and obvious skill from her pilot whilst others less aesthetic yet no less impressive relied on prowess alone. A sad day for aviation indeed since for this Hawk in particular this was to be her swansong, never again will she be seen to delight the public at an air-show. A final bow out of memorable proportions, this was one lady who did herself proud.

Joined by the no less colourful Tucano T1 ZF269 ‘ER’  , the public were in for a real treat as the RAF amply displayed its technical skill  and well deserved reputation as a forerunner in the world of aviation. Fearless daring from both pilots as the equally impressive Hawk and Tucano demonstrated exactly what they are capable of. To a backdrop of excellent commentary, the public kept its gaze firmly skyward drinking in the drama unfolding above. One could not fail to miss the gasps of appreciation resulting from a perfect accelerated stall. Regrettably also the last performance from the dashing Tucano pilot as he waved his farewells to an appreciative crowd, leaving to begin training as a Typhoon jet pilot, he clearly will be missed at Duxford.

Quietly serene amongst its more junior counterparts stood the matriarchal figure of the B-17 Flying Fortress ‘Sally B’ and perhaps one will forgive this writer for a certain amount of bias when it comes to the charms of this rather glorious old girl. A quieter, slower paced display from the lady herself but nonetheless impressive as her smoke plumed finale put the icing very firmly upon a steady but stunning performance. No less formidable was the imposing bulk of the Dakota FZ692 ‘Kwicherbichen’ ,  a commanding presence that needs none of the vivacity of the more colourful planes to draw the eye. Sheer air domination kept all eyes upon her as she paraded her arena with ease, giving awaiting photographers ample opportunity to capture her dramatic form.

Not to be outdone a most spectacular pairing from the distinctively throaty P-51D Mustang, aptly named ‘Ferocious Frankie’ and the aesthetic delights of  the Hawker Hunter F-58A ‘Miss Demeanour’ . An aerial dance of breathtaking proportions saw them sail the skies in a dramatic battle for supremacy set effectively against a rapidly darkening sky. Yet if the conditions were now not so much to the liking of waiting photographers this did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the awestruck public watching avidly below. Disappointed they were definitely not as the pair played a most lavish game of aerial cat and mouse that left onlookers wanting more.

Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the first flight of the Merlin engined Mustang, ‘Ferocious Frankie’ paired with effective ease with the legendary Spitfire IX from The Old Flying Machine Company. With a distinctive sound they proved why the Mustang engine was such an important development in aviation history. One could think of no better place to commemorate this momentous event than at Duxford itself, where it all began. A moment to remember and one not likely to be forgotten by those who had flocked from near and far to see them. If the clicks of nearby camera’s were anything to go by this is one event definitely captured for posterity. 

Certainly a treat for the eyes, Duxford Autumn Air show delivered on every front despite a day of slowly plunging temperatures and the advent of an angry looking sky. Onlookers by no means willing to tear themselves away, staying steadfast to the last to pay tribute to all who took to the air. Still they came, the Pitts Special pair, Hispano Buchon (Messerschmitt Bf 109),the bright blue and yellow Boeing Stearman and the dramatically feline Black Cats Lynx Pair. To the delight of their audience they held court over the skies of Duxford bringing to a close another year in the aviation calendar.Definitely in for the long haul the fans paid a well deserved homage, ensuring the success of yet another show.

As the day drew to a close reluctant to leave enthusiasts lingered for one last look as a re-emerging sun cast a late afternoon glow over the stars of the day.  A show it promised to be and a show it most certainly was.

All photographs reproduced with kind permission from Sanjay Rampal http://falkencommunications.wordpress.com/

There’s nothing like a dame

Across the horizon the clouds roll in obliterating the sun and turning an already frigid day distinctly chilly. She does not care about the cold, her low throaty purr never falters as she turns and makes ready her escape. All eyes are upon her yet she is in no hurry for this grand old dame knows that she commands the glance of every eye with little effort at all.

Against a moody sky she surges aloft, soaring ever higher in a smooth steady arc towards the clouds. Flying free and with an elegance belying her age she takes to the sky like a caged bird suddenly given its freedom and i have to shield my eyes as she disappears almost from sight. She will not leave for she loves an audience but the need to tantalise is not one she will give up easily and she revels in the anticipation of the crowd below. One timely tip of a well shaped wing and she banks steadily towards her waiting audience, swooping lower to display her charms to her awestruck fans below. 

Celebrity indeed as the cameras click frantically and she preens for them all taking her time passing them by before leaping coyly out of reach and heading for the heavens once more. A diva of the very best kind and how her public adores her, she knows it and tips a jaunty roll before banking steadily to journey her catwalk once more. One cannot deny her beauty, the last of her kind she is petted and adored as only the unique can be. From the far flung regions of the world they come to revere her and as usual she does not disappoint, posing happily for picture after picture without complaint.

Her name is Sally B, but if you are lucky you can call her Belle.

A beautiful old matriarch, not content to retire and end her days with a well earned rest, she continues to delight the crowds wherever she goes and they love her for it. Like her screen goddess contemporaries before her she ages with a glamour of a bygone era, timeless and unforgettable. Performing for the crowd her poise never wavers, turning again to display a sultry pose clad in elegant red, one well shaped ankle swinging jauntily beneath her. A girl of two faces indeed she will turn again and leave little to the imagination. 

A plane without equal she is indeed the darling of the aviation world and as she descends towards ground and her awaiting public she is happy to greet them, gliding to a slow meander at close proximity. A swift turn and she is done, her starring role over for another day and content to step out of the limelight for a time at least. 

Her name is Sally B but if you are lucky you can call her Belle.

Photos with kind permission courtesy of Sanjay Rampal   http://falkencommunications.wordpress.com/

The Panda guide to packing

Do you struggle with packing? Do you constantly arrive at your destination with all the wrong clothing and end up wearing the same items over and over again? Then follow the Panda guide to packing and you will always be covered for every eventuality…

1) Make sure you have a suitcase big enough for your needs, if in doubt try and fit your whole body into it and if you cannot then it really is not big enough. This also doubles as emergency aid to getting rid of dead bodies should the need ever arise. Be sure to buy a suitcase with wheels thereby enabling you to trot elegantly with said suitcase in your wake. 

2) Start by packing towels and shoes at the bottom to avoid crushing any clothing you pack afterwards. This also gives you the added bonus of being able to hide totally inappropriate shoes away from sight and therefore avoid having to justify taking them.

3) Pack enough pairs of knickers for your stay then add the sexy ones, the no vpl ones, the hold in your tummy ones, the incase i get run over by a bus ones(with matching bra of course) and just for good measure add a few more anyway. Follow the same advice with regards to bras and sexy lingerie. At least if your case gets stolen nobody will focus on your Bridget knickers, they will be too busy leering at the little black lacy number.

4) Decide exactly what you wish to wear on each day of your trip and set aside a travelling outfit. Then add another outfit for each day just in-case you change your mind about each choice.This is a womans perogative and completely reasonable.  Follow this with clothing to cover extreme cold weather (you dont want to freeze do you?) ditto with outfits to cover sudden extreme heatwave (cmon how silly would you look boiling like a lobster in your big jumper?)

5) Survey the contents of your half full case and throw in more shoes.Shoes are good, you really cant ever have enough of them so this is a perfectly valid action.

6) Disregard earlier point about packing shoes at the bottom as it really is too tedious to remove everything and repack it all again.

7) Empty the contents of several jewellery boxes onto the bed and spend a happy half an hour co-ordinating accessories with your outfits. Remember to add belts and scarves!!

8) Pause in writing blog as you realise you HAVE actually forgotten to pack scarves!! Run upstairs to rectify the error immediately.

9) Fill every space space with toiletries, cosmetics and fragrances then heed caution and unpack them all and repack in plastic bags to avoid explosions.

10) Lean your whole bodyweight onto the suitcase to ensure a tight fit and zip it slowly closed. If it refuses then further assistance will be required. Gather up stray children, pets and passing neighbours and balance safely upon the offending suitcase, therefore allowing you to zip it closed and tuck in any stray items poking from the sides.

11) Ponder madly teetering case and debate whether you have in-fact packed enough clothing. Decide that in an emergency you can always borrow suitable items from your boyfriend (lets face it who doesn’t look cute wearing their  guy’s clothes huh?) 

12) Have mad burst of inspiration and pack sunglasses even though the weather forecast says heavy rain and wind. Add another pair incase the first get broken in transit then sit smugly on the floor confident at your practical packing methods.

13) Put camera, ipod, kindle and mobile phone on charge and leave in plain view to be packed later.

14) Begin organisation and packing of Mary Poppin’s style never ending handbag, just as important as the suitcase itself.

15) Congratulate yourself on a job well done and ignore mental images of boyfriends look of resignation as the back wheel of his car buckle due to your fabulous packing. 

There you have it, the Panda guide to packing. Follow these simple rules and you will never be caught unprepared again. Happy holidays!!

Come fly with me

As morning creeps in on a chilly Sunday i poked my nose from beneath the duvet, pronounced it rather too cold to move  and dived back under the covers. Much in the manner of all bears i am rather loathe to move at this time on a supposed day of rest although gym kit hanging jauntily nearby suggests i should infact be stirring.

Instead i let my thoughts drift to where i shall be in one week from now and i cannot help but get rather excited for my vampiric partner in crime and i will be heading for my very first air-show at Duxford!! I guess dating an Aviation Writer i was undeniably going to come into contact with planes of every kind, what i didn’t expect was to find it all so interesting and exciting. Of course we differ slightly he and i. Whilst he is in raptures over some sleek modern design, be it commercial or military, i myself am much more drawn to the much older matriarchs of the aviation world.Those beautiful old girls long past their prime, yet so elegant and proud and i love them all.

Give me B-17 Flying fortress’s and Spitfires galore. Bring on the Lancaster’s and the B-25 Mitchell’s and the oh so beautiful Sopwith Camel. Yes i am such an old fashioned girl and these echoes of the past draw me in and have me daydreaming of all the things they have seen and all the lives they have lived. My whimsical nature creates a story for each and gives them a glorious life all of their own, though in truth i imagine their realities were far more awe inspiring than even my imaginings could make them. In my thoughts they soar and fly and i fly with them free as a bird.

As i sit and write a Lancaster banks its way to a glorious descent within my eye-line, or so i like to imagine it anyway. A private joke between my boyfriend and i, the small model sits proudly upon a chest of drawers flying elegantly to the echoes of my gleeful shrieks as  i saw a ‘Lancaster’ fly over in the not so distant past. Soon to join it in its merry flying display, my own personal favourite the Sopwith Camel, out of time but definitely not out of place and the two shall fly a magical tattoo in my imagination at least.

This ‘Camel’ will be special for i am to build it myself. Perhaps i exaggerate some when i say ‘myself’ for i have never built a model plane before and will no doubt require much assistance from a boyfriend far more talented at this than i. But build it i will and call me a geek if you choose but i shall not care for i find it all rather exciting and cannot wait to bring forth this creation of mine. Hopefully the first of many for they say practise makes perfect do they not?

Yes the bi-planes i love, my favourites above all and seeing them in person is a feeling i cannot describe. You cannot help but be impressed by such beauty and such daring from those who flew with them. In my minds eye they soar and fly, a hero at the controls and the heart of an eagle within as they dominate the sky with such elegance and grace. Yes whimsical i may be but most definitely impressed by all i see before me.

So to Duxford we shall go and i have no doubt i will be unable to contain my glee for my inner child is impatiently hopping up and down and camera is already mentally poised. Sporting the most beautiful of flying jackets courtesy of my partner i shall feel very much the part and imagination will run abound in every direction. Come fire up your imagination and fly with me for i shall blog the day in all its glory. But for now the old girl’s sit and wait and so do i. 

 

MFZWWDPR2PZJ

In an alternate universe

Recently i have been sent a request to join a group for former pupils of my senior school by a few people so i decided to accept and take a walk down memory lane. Now unlike most people i loved school, i was the most incredible SWOT (a well used label in my formative years) and quite liked the idea of catching up with my peers.

Unfortunately such SWOT status left me firmly on the outskirts of school society, most definitely i was not one of the popular crowd but, like everyone, you find those like you and friends are made. I guess things really were not helped by the fact that until aged about fourteen when i blossomed i tended to resemble an anorexic boy, tall skinny and pale. Whilst my contemporaries were living the 80’s with big hair and wild manner of dress, i was more conservative more likely to be at home in an episode of The Waltons.

Parents are fantastic aren’t they? Little comprehending the importance of conformity mine blithely dispatched me out to be ridiculed and bullied as only children can be and in this part at least i had a dislike of school. Children can be very cruel at a time when you are most vulnerable and more likely to take it to heart than at any other time of your life.

So my boys shoes, frumpy clothes and i struggled our way through those teenage years bolstered by an assortment of non-conformist friends and a love of learning that has never left me. Still these many years later i was curious to see how my peers had turned out and wondered whether time had been as kind to them as it had to me and i happily accepted the invitations to join the group. Hunting through the groups to find the Class of 85 i scrolled the names hoping to find those i recognised, and scrolled, and scrolled some more. Frowning i double checked the name of the group and then finding it correct i scrolled again.

I DIDN’T RECOGNISE ANYONE!!!

Of all the names in all the groups i could not recognise one single solitary name. Certainly my old friends were not on there but surely i should remember the names of some of my classmates right?? I have an incredible memory, i rarely forget anything yet when i sat and thought about it and tried to remember the names of someone, anyone from my classes i cannot remember a single one. Perhaps i dreamt school?? Perhaps some alien conspiracy left me thinking i had attended school when i was younger when infact i had not. Perhaps i had gone to school in an alternate universe which bore no resemblance to this one?

WHY COULD I NOT REMEMBER??

Perhaps more likely the fact is that apart from those close few with whom i had great friendship and those teachers who were so kind to me in my school years i have simply forgotten all the things that made it unpleasant. Sometimes the mind has a funny way of blocking out things that it does not want remember, yet how curious i have memories far worse than these than linger with me. Certainly though it seems some of those people remember me (i imagine i probably i did their homework for them) yet i remember nobody at all. Nevertheless i decided i  shall stay in the group for part of me does hope that my real friends might join in time and it will be good to catch up with those who were important in the hardest years of my life. 

Perhaps it was an alternate universe after all.

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