Category Archives: Might be biographical

Early start

It was a quarter to five when an unknown operatic bird in the oak tree next to my bedroom window woke me. It was barely dawn! I was all dressed and ready to run, but it took a large mug of coffee, toast and a bit of a read (The Club  Dumas – highly recommended). I was on the path at seven thirty and back before eight thirty. I had a blast. Why is this such a difficult thing to start?

The Trunk

I was an efficient packer, back in the day. That is, when I went somewhere that I needed to pack for. When I went off to the big city for the first time, my father presented me with “The Trunk”. It may have been something from WWII, but it did the job and doubled as a sturdy item of furniture all through college. All my worldly possessions went into this heavy item, all except my electric kettle. You are not even allowed to keep a kettle in dorm rooms now!

I was reminded of the trunk when one featured in an Hercule Poirot episode I saw on Netflix recently. I remember it fondly and wonder where it ended up. A thing like that never dies! The trunk is a fantastic item of luggage if you have a porter or other strong person ( I was tempted to say ‘man’ there, but I am getting the hang of all this nonsense about gender-neutrality. I meant man. I would never ask a woman to lift things for me.) As having a porter is something requiring more cash than I will probably ever have, I am also glad of the lightweight carry-all; but am also grateful that I now have a car with an extensive flat area in the back.

On the subject of the car, I think the amount a child (young adult?) takes with them when they go to college is related to the volume of storage area made available during the exit. In retrospect, if I had rented a U-haul, my eldest daughter might not have left enough of her worldly goods in her/my bedroom to sustain a normal person for a lifetime when she ‘left’.

I managed with a trunk about four feet by three feet by two feet. Just the one. I may have packed the wellies separately… I didn’t need a pharmacy of products for hair care and skin attention because, well, I was going to college to study. And all the people I was with understood intimately that I was a poor student, not a runway model. I also paid very little attention to having coordinating linens. In fact coordinated anything was not part of my kit.  I expect I would be shunned in today’s dorm. I do remember finding a deal on a family sized instant coffee can (thank you Nescafé and Woolworths) which made my room a very popular place after classes, and before classes, and sometimes while we were supposed to be in classes.

We start our children off very young with the amassing of stuff. Most of it is rubbish, wont last, and is not even made to last as long as you might use it. We buy all these things and then feel obliged to house the stuff in ever larger houses, storage lockers and sheds. It promotes a disdain for things of real value and working towards anything, or for things. Everything must be instant and easy to get. We end up working to pay off the debts for things we bought, but no longer own; or perhaps it is just that we can no longer find them amid the rest of the rubbish we have since amassed.


I was ‘Oi-d’ today.

I don’t like being hailed with an ‘Oi’; so I ignored it, and continued my walk, listening to the music on my iPod. As I had my sunglasses on, I considered myself almost invisible. After three more ‘Ois’ I was ready for a set-to. I turned into the sun to face my assailant… and almost burst out laughing…
The section of path was on a bit of an incline and I was still striding along at a fair lick (for me anyway). Nothing was going to interfere with that. This is 2015 – And I mean business! The sight of the scruffy looking guy on a bike coming up behind me made me laugh because he was struggling to manage the small bike that he might have nicked from a neighbour’s kids, and I was going faster than he was! Hehe.  Back to the music.

The correct expression – you almost growing-a-moustache, scruffy Herbert, is “Passing on your left.” It is definitely not ‘Oi’.

Brickhill mound

It was an adventure to live where we did in that Spring of 1969. Our house was a year old and the four of us were old enough to go off on our own during the day. We wandered around the neighbourhood and ventured out to the shops on our bikes as a gang, or perhaps a marauding horde. We raced down the Spinney path and cycled free-handed around the roundabout there. It is a miracle we all survived.

Being on the edge of the town was a special place. There were overgrown mounds of the soil; and rubble the builders had left; and the half-built building sites where men made noises and bricks were tumbled quickly to build the next veneer of the edge of town. The politicians put a halt to growth with a Green Zone, so this edge was made forever. The dog and the four of us clambered about destroying clothes, new and old alike, and got tanned, and scuffed our knees.

On the mound, the top had a hollowed out area where we could all sit out of sight of the parents, away from everyone. Our imaginations were ripe and fed by TV, but mostly by each other and the books we all read. We played cowboys and indians and treasure hunters and generally went wild for the summer holidays and were recalled to base once the weather got colder and the evenings were dark in the Autumn after school. Dark was the end of play unless you had a battery for your flashlight in bed. We usually did.

I’m a loser!

52lbs down in twelve months, and 9 to go in Phase 1.

I forgave myself frequently over the past year for eating incidents. No guilt. I enjoyed the Tiramisu, the vodka, cider and gin, and the baklava. Then, I got back to the sensible diet and I walked. Oh boy did I walk. (671 miles so far this calendar year.) It isn’t a chore any more. I look forward to listening to the music, breathing in the fresh air, and letting all the nonsense swirling around in my head sort itself out while I get into my pace. Now that the winter days are here I am finding it more difficult to get the mileage in. I may have to resort to the dreaded stationary bike – Jim.

Thank you to the Loseit app for my weight loss, and to my Fitbit Flex for a much fitter body.

Next spring – running. That is the plan anyway.

Losing it.

As part of my Lose It fitness program (18lbs off so far 🙂 ), I went for a 3 mile walk along the canal this evening, south from the Sandwich Marina. It is much more enjoyable exercise than the treadmill. I don’t walk in much of a straight line but I did manage not to veer off into the water where I might have been snarled in the lines of the fishermen! I could have done with a few more Lifesaver mints, but mostly I was thrilled to be doing a decent pace when I finally got back to the car. Loving the Techsun sandals.

The Cape Cod railway line runs very close to the canal path. The sound of the train ‘whistle’ was quite loud.

Also, I saw a stork flying about 10 feet off the water up towards Cape Cod Bay and would have taken a photo… not yet possible while walking (and I didn’t dare stop).

 41°46’19.78″N  70°30’19.81″W