New do

I had made up my mind.  I wanted to go Marylin.

I’ve only had my hair coloured a couple of times in my life but the lack of sea and sun, coupled with getting older had left my hair looking a little dull.  A couple of years ago, after a cut, I had noticed a lot of greys and when I mentioned it to Mr PinQ, he said, “Yes, I noticed them when you came out of the hairdressers.”  If that wasn’t enough, my hairdresser kept suggesting that I book in for a colour!

So, H____ and I cycled to the hairdressers and I had a chat about what I wanted.  I even found a photo of my prefect “do”, a bit of a modern take on Marylin’s platinum tresses.  The Colourist said that she would streak it rather than do a block colour, “to make it more ash than white”.  I was horrified, that was the opposite of what I wanted.  Anyhoo, toner was applied to my head for a patch test and off I went.

The day of the appointment came and I went to the salon all excited.


20150410-Old Hair

The Colourist saw the little bit of sun-bleaching on the ends of my hair and decided to match that.  As soon as it was rinsed out and I was sat in front of the mirror, I knew that it wasn’t right.  My hairdresser started to cut and all I wanted to do was cry.  By the time she started to dry it, the Colourist came over to ask why I wasn’t happy.

I’m getting used to it now, it’s a lot brighter than it was and I keep being told that it suits me.

Deep down, I know that it would look exactly like this if I was a surfer chick.

20150410-New Hair (1)

20150409-Finished Garden (6)

Days Off

I try to always book my leave around Bank Holidays, I know that I still get the same amount of leave regardless but a week at each Bank Holiday makes it feel like I am having more full weeks off in a year.  I don’t think that I have ever been more ready for time off than I was on Maundy Thursday, 2 April 2015.  It was an early finish, 11:30 ish and I had the afternoon all planned out, including a nap.  The best laid plans… The Engines BU were working until 16:00 but all of the Team were contracted for the early finish so I stayed in the office just in case.  It did have a bonus though because the IS guys had the time to sort out the VPN on my work laptop.  Consequently, I didn’t go to rehearsal that night because I was too exhausted so the first part of my leave didn’t quite go to plan.

After a fabulously refreshing 14 hour sleep (inorite!) my break began.  Unusually for me, I managed to get loads of rest.  Don’t get me wrong, there were some mad flurries of activity but at last, I found myself able to relax.  I know that sounds daft but for so long, I have either spent holidays getting things done or just collapsing that this break has been a real treat.

Don’t get me wrong, Mr PinQ and I have done absolutely loads in the 12 days that we’ve been off but I feel great.  So great in fact that after a fab day in Bath and Brizzle yesterday before ice-skating, I was shattered this morning and really didn’t want to go back to work.

I extended my holiday by a day!

After getting up at about 10:15, we had a major housework day.  Despite it knackering me to the point of a three hour sleep in the early evening and being shattered now, I’m glad that we did, the kitchen and bathroom are gleaming.  It is more obvious there because they were the two rooms that got trashed during our gardening marathon.

We spent three and a half back-breaking days digging up plants, weeding, re-landscaping, fencing (with wood and bamboo screen, not foils), laying anti-weed matting, re-planting, potting and covering the garden with bark chippings.  It looks beautiful.

I decided to cut back the bamboo.  Little did I know!  Oh yes, I am well aware of how tough it can be when it is well established but after ruining a garden fork and spade on the first day, I certainly wasn’t expecting to then ruin a second fork ten minutes after getting it home!  So. a few text messages later and we had a chainsaw on loan.  It failed.  Yes, that’s right, I said that it had failed.

I decided to try to undermine the bamboo’s foundations with a chisel and a lump hammer and it tried to fight back.  Battle ensued.

Over three nights, I hammered and chiseled away at the roots and got over three quarters of the way through it.  Where the spade, two forks and a chainsaw failed, my trusty lump hammer and one of my old, cheap chisels prevailed – although I think that i t is fair to say that bits of me still hurt, seven days later!  On the fourth day, whilst I was at the hairdresser’s, Mr PinQ borrowed a grub axe from the gravedigger that lives across the road and got out the final root-ball.


20150409-Finished Garden (1) 20150409-Finished Garden (4)

Now that the garden is all pretty, we re getting four new chooks on Saturday!  Charlotte, Dorothy, Evelyn and Florence – YAY!

Incidentally, I will now be doing Gold at ice-skating on Monday nights – DOUBLE YAY!


Personal Admin vs Sleep

For a couple of months now, my personal admin has gone to the wall.  I believe it started as my hours at work got beyond reasonable whilst my backlog continued to increase.  Since then, although doing less hours at work, I am still doing too many and have to go in for a few hours over the weekend to prep for the coming week.  I intend to do a lot of hours every other weekend to start chipping away at my backlog but I still have to plan in time to get through my personal admin:

  • I don’t know how late I am with my degree assignment so I must do a couple more sketches, check that I finished the research and write up my evaluation before I post it to my tutor
  • I have to finish the Burlesque choreography for the show so that we can practice it
  • I have a questionnaire to create
  • I must crack through my next degree assignment – I have to finish my first subject by the end of the school year
  • My art room/visiting children’s room is a tip.  I started sorting paperwork for archiving and art materials back in my November week of unpaid leave but ran out of time and have since ignored it
  • My clothes need to be sorted into: charity shop, work, smart, casual, dressy
  • I haven’t had a haircut since August
  • I have two baby raggy-blankies to make
  • I have several other raggy blankies to make for double beds
  • I’m part way through making pair of nets to stop our weirdo neighbour from peering in
  • We need a new back fence for the reason given above
  • I need to chase up on missing Christmas and Birthday gift orders and a work beverages order
  • The kitchen, bathroom, dining room and both sitting rooms need decorating
  • I owe the guinea-girl-babies another floor
  • We have to get some new chooks, I miss having chooks around and can’t face bought eggs anymore
  • I have to write a letter to accompany a real Unicorn’s horn for a very special little girl and deliver it to her via her Grandma
  • I have 4 letters to write
  • There is a deep scratch on my car that a gang of urchins gouged when I challenged them one night – some of you will remember my solution to an accidental scratch on CarlosCarlos' Hearts Carlos' Hearts 2

Tonight, after cycling home from work with a stop for a 1:20 gym workout; I had a shower and something to eat with every intention of getting on with the final bits for Assignment 3 of my degree.  When I sat down, I realised how tired I am.

I’m going to go to bed instead.  I can take on one job at a time but not until I’ve had some rest!


I’ve never counted them.

It has never been about my diet; with me, it is purely about exercise.  I can eat like a sparrow and not lost weight but as soon as my activity levels go up, the lbs fall off.

Since last summer, I have been logging my workouts on mapmyrun and wasn’t really surprised to find that my ice-skating burns more calories than running or cycling.  What was unexpected was when I split my cycle to work and back into two workouts and the calories went up!  As one, 10 mile journey, the calorie burn was 567 but when I broke it down, each one was 337!

So does that mean that it is better to do a few shorter rides than one long one?


I am trying to work out what to ask Mr PinQ to get me for my birthday.

I normally don’t have too much fuss but next year is my 20-20th and this evening is an early, impromptu birthday celebration of roller-skating, a meal and karaoke.  Next year’s will need to include parties in the North and South so a little practice can’t hurt!

My choices are:

A couple of Zoggs swimsuits and Glass Hub vouchers.  Zoggs became my choice of swimsuit because of the half dozen or so that I have bought over the last 9 years, my Zoggs is the oldest, looks great, hasn’t lost its ability to hold everything in and has retained its opacity.  I have only just started swimming again since the illness 18 months ago and most of my suits only lasted a couple of years so now that I am swimming regularly, I need more Zoggs.

Zoggs 1 Zoggs 3

Some lushy DMs for work because my pretty heeled Mary-Janes had to be thrown away when the buckle detached a couple of months ago.  These are the two that I am trying to choose between (but I am open to suggestions!):

DM boot  DM Brandie

Or a set of Coronation Ace blades for my ice-skates.  They are lighter, have a better toe-rake and blade profile than my current ones and would make the jumps and spins so much easier now that I am trying to do silver.  I bought Edea boots almost two years ago because I knew that they would last but the standard blade that is fitted is still relatively cheap and no where near the quality of the boot:

coronation ace

Or maybe I should ask for a pair of incredible roller-boots:


Oh, I’ve just seen the price of those, they can wait!

*sigh* decisions, decisions.

New Year Resolutions

I normally don’t make a New Year resolution.  If I’m completely honest, I don’t think that I ever have, perhaps because everyone that I know that does make them ends up breaking them within a month.

A lot of the people that I know who have made a resolution this year have made it for a specific length of time.  Setting achievable targets, there’s a novel idea :P

This year I have made one.  I have promised myself that I will not work more than 50 hours per week.  For starters, I am only paid for 37 hpw and whilst I am expected to work a reasonable amount of overtime for free, even an extra 13 exceeds my idea of reasonable.

In the last 9 months, I have kept my hours to below 45 for a whole 6 weeks, the rest has varied from 46 – 70 hpw and far too many of those were between 60 and 70.  I started to feel MEish again by November and only really got some recovery time over the Christmas break.  During the week and a half off, I rested, exercised and performed in panto (Oh yes I did!).  I should have:

  • Caught up on my paperwork – last set of Committee minutes that are 2-3 months overdue
  • Done some housework – the depth of dust is disgraceful
  • Been part of the set build and tech & dress rehearsal for the panto
  • Completed assignment 3 of my degree

There are lots of other things on the to-do list but those five were important but not as important as my health.

The reason that I am so far behind on everything is the hours I’ve been putting in at work and the stress that I’ve been under.  This week has been really stressful but on two days this week I’ve done a little fartlek training after work to shake off the stress and anger.  It has also been exhausting but I am really pleased that I still did the run that I planned today.  I intend to get my health back, get back to Tai Chi classes and keep on top of the things that I want/need to do outside of work without collapsing and the only way to achieve that is to stop working the stupid hours.

As for my hours…

Well, I’ve only done 49 hours this week.  Only 51 weeks to go!


…for another cycling post so soon after my last.

I begged Mr PinQ to take the car to work on New Year’s Eve.  It was so cold when he got up and I didn’t want him frozen and having to work 12 hours to get frozen again coming home.  In the afternoon, I realised that it wouldn’t hurt to nip into work myself and catch up whilst it was quiet.  It was later, sunny and relatively mild so I rather enjoyed the ride in.  Coming home was a different story, the wind was up and cycling along the sea front was quite the new experience.  Bracing isn’t the word.

Despite this, whilst Mr PinQ visited the Mater in Kent on New Year’s Day, I thought that a few more hours would see me in a much better position to achieve my resolution of not working more than 50 hours per week in 2015 and cycled in.  The wind was behind me and it was dry so I was quite content.  Then of course, I had to come home.  It was a battle all the way as the wind was now up to 80kph and I wasn’t looking forward to the sea front but I was taking a moment to enjoy the cycle path that I was on.  I had just left the road so couldn’t be blown into the path of a passing car and it was quiet because no-one in their right minds would be out in such weather.

Did I forget to mention that I am as mad as a box of frogs?

Anyway, as I approached the end of the cycle path, I looked at the road ahead.  I had to get across the road and turn right and the visibility, although it was dark, is superb along that cycle path.  My position is illustrated by the blue circle and my path by the yellow dashed line in Cycle 1, below (if it works!).  There are chicken wire fences around the fields so the only thing stopping 360 degree visibility is my human form, in the guise of an owl, the view would be complete.  So, I looked to the left and saw flashing blue lights, looked to the right and saw a car stop at the roundabout (represented by the red rectangle).  Now, I am not at my fittest but I have always had very powerful legs and a strength of character (stubborn streak) a mile wide that could be my Polish blood or Lancashire upbringing – I’ve never been sure which – but I am no fool.  I knew that I had plenty of time to get across that road.

Cycle 1

Imagine my surprise when said car suddenly accelerated.  The surprise quickly turned to horror when he then crossed over the white line for a game of chicken as shown in the diagram below:

Cycle 2

I’m so glad that I have cycled a lot since getting Pashley because I had the confidence to not only stay on the road but to also remain upright.  My only regret is that he didn’t stop.  I would have put Pashley through his windscreen and my foot through his face.