Day 29 – The day after…


Yesterday was just simply NOT a blogging day. It was a day for reflection and nostalgia.

Just when people tell me that social networking is over rated, or mostly that they don’t understand it, then you realise how it also brings people together. My post wine-jump expedition on Saturday was followed by more wine, a “braai” and our divorce party. Yes, my Ras is moving out, and as this was our second divorce, we felt that we had to celebrate it. (For those that do not know about our soon to be EX-living arrangement – watch Modern Family)

But I digress – just by chance I tapped my Facebook update on the ol’ iPhone, and there I am met by two posts from someone who is a friend of my mother, and merely a Facebook acquaintance of mine. It was what he posted though that touched me profoundly, and opened floodgates of distance, memories of laughter, love and mostly my mom and my longing for the wisdom of my dad.

The one was Jacques Brel (famous Belgium songwriter and singer) singing Marieke, a song that during my growing up was belted out by a singer Leonora Veenemans on many occasions. It recollects long journeys in a Grey Rover van den Plat to Cape Town, where the tape would be played over and over again. It reminds of chilly nights in Hogsback to a 3/4 beat. It makes me remember my mother varying it with every Elvis track imaginable, and boisterous singing to all corners of South Africa – in heat that saw the tar glimmer oily on the horizon, or in stop start slides down black frosted mountain passes.

The other? The other was a clip where Anthony Quinn (very elderly) meets the composer Mikis Theodorakis in a slow dance and a fast embrace to the now symbolic plucks of the Theme tune to the Movie Zorba the Greek. And in Anthony Quinn’s frailty I see the passions of the past, but in his spoken words I hear the answer to our present. “And I want you to know, the music of Zorba – is the music of life. And to live life fully – you must always love. And I love you” A man must have truly lived to say those words to another man so convincingly, and so unashamedly – such awe and humility in those simple words.

So out of the doldrums that was homesickness, sadness and nostalgia yesterday, I give you today these words from Zorba himself:

Alexis Zorba: Damn it boss, I like you too much not to say it. You’ve got everything except one thing: MADNESS! A man needs a little madness, or else…
Basil: Or else?
Alexis Zorba: …he never dares cut the rope and be free.

Five pounds down in total – falling seriously behind. Then again -I’m on a journey more thana quick ride?

Calories? Who cares….. rather – Teach me to dance!!


Day 27 – Dedication

Wine Gums? Oops - I must have misheard you...

Sometimes a picture replaces a thousand words- all of it in 10 minutes. So my text came through…. Do jumping or skipping with a bottle of wine in each hand for ten minutes and then enjoy a glass of wine after – you’ll deserve it.

Talk about guilty pleasures… Sorry Marcin, I have already had two, but I did my jumps! Yes, I have just spent the past 10 minutes jumping around the kitchen with a wine bottle in each hand…. Douglas Green’s NOT so finest, I might add.

My mother is having her birthday, so I am doing a long distance celebration. The Stormers lost – the closest thing to Province I can remember, which was sad – so I have to drown my sorrows.

It looks like Leinster is in with a chance, but then again – who cares about the Magner’s League? I mean – talk about a second-rate contest… what happened to something worthwhile, like raising the Heineken Cup?

Right, I am being braver than you could possibly imagine – I am bound to have a divorce on my hands with that comment, and a disowning from my sprog.

Even writing this blog, I am showing utmost dedication, as I sit at the bar counter, looking at the two brave bottles that rest in my hands during my exercise session – thinking…. which one should I have first?

Marcin, and you said I can have only one glass?? Give me a bit of a break – I mean, I did my jumps, surely I deserve more!


Day 26 – GUINNESS!!!


Mother's Milk

Short, black and gorgeous…. like my last pint of Guinness (YES, 270 calories per pop) – that’s going to be my blog tonight.

The end of a great week – challenging, changing and courageous, but we’re there. We have taken the first tentative steps into our new computer system at the hotel, and all are now on board.

I had no passion today for calorie counting, and did not do my 10 minutes, but I jumped around like a cheerleader with pure enthusiasm all week – so only the scales will tell the next week.

Now I am going to continue with my Bacchus induced indifference, and have another couple of glasses of red wine, and enjoy this weekend to its fullest. Who knows – we might even go for a walk.

Bare with me there – but tonight I need a life!


Day 25 – Home Stretch

Every pig tells a story

Five days non stop in the hotel, morning noon and night comes to an end tomorrow. The Brandon House Hotel is a lovely second home indeed, but I need to inform you that I do not have the luxuries afforded a usual stay.

When here – I live in what I lovingly refer to as the broom closet (a small room with no windows except a sky light covered with black plastic tat russles with every breath) – only to move to my cubicle (read office) and back again. Of course there are many most delicious detours in-between – but that is the gist of it. En route of course there are also all our regulars that I delight in bumping into.

I am truly blessed with great craic and colleagues and company, but I am sure after this week of high-tech installations, new software and eternal positive attitudes, they will be as delighted to see the back of my large behind, as I would be of their’s under similar circumstances. Tonight it feels like I live in a commune – and the day did not have enough hours.

All that said – it was a good day though. Said installation went very well, calorie intake was minimal (due to lack of down time more than serious effort), Toastmasters meeting was well attended and had a magnificent atmosphere, and my chauffeur (sprog) did not quite kill us on the road back from Wexford Town.

Good couple of days at the office, but I am now ready to go home…. Roll down the windows, let the breeze whip through my hair, and get to the finish line in good time!


Day 24.1 – Beta Version

Sit down, woman! Have a cuppa tea, so!

I truly paced myself today, and took everything in its stride. But what thrilled me most – as many of you fitness and health gurus know already – is how good I felt all day. I was alert, and active, but most importantly, I was positive about everything…

Well, almost everything. We are in the middle of changing software products – and the Danish Darling that is training us has the patience of a saint. No matter how good a product is, it is only during installations that you realise what the salesman was selling you, and what is happening in practice is not always the same thing. But then again – maybe when we really like something and we want it, we hear what we want from the salesman, and our levelheaded decision making goes out the window!

Anyway – I kept my cool even when one computer literally blew up in the Penpusher’s office, was rebooted and tripped the server, whilst we were allocating codes, and then I spilt some pasta on me, and I forgot to put artificial sugar in my coffee, and my filing is so behind I cannot even remember what year I’m in, and then there is the problem with the new furniture that has mysteriously warped, and some people took offence to the fact that I said all of Ireland should be shouting for their neighbours across the pond during the World Cup (JOKES! Just checking if you are still paying attention!), and then looking at the shambles that is my office and realise – there are only 24 hours in the day!

Breath. Roll the head…… What was that? Oh, an incoming text? 400 squats???? Oh, easy it says – just put a chair behind you and sit down 400 times?

No problem! Because version 24.1 is all about the 40.40 challenge again. See you tomorrow, and sleep well!


Day 24 – ACTION!

Splish Splash - I was takin' a bath

A brief and early report to say that I did 10 minutes intensive on the vibroplate, followed by 1/2 hour swim this morning….

Alright – I confess, 15 minutes swim, and 15 minutes play in the pool – but I did it. I just got up and did it.

The first step has been re-taken!


Day 23 – Proactive Procrastination

Words of inspiration from Freud himself!

  Mañana Mañana – and in that lies the root of all evil. FACT! Or in my case – the 2.5 pounds not lost in the past 3 weeks. I am three weeks into my 40.40 Challenge – and let’s be honest, the signs of clear deflection from the issue at hand does not take a Freud to recognise. 

I am not only fooling myself, I now also feel I am fooling you guys. Next step – the blaming game! Well, you could see it coming, surely – it is YOUR fault that this is not working. It was a perfectly good idea on paper, and on iPhone and in theory – but where is my mortification? Where is my determined cyber slapping of the wrist, and the reminder that I am on the wrong calorific path? 

In fairness, we know none of the above is true, and that I only have myself to blame. I am consciously talking myself OUT of exercise and INTO chocolate, and using my mouth to chew food, where I could be drinking water – or worse case scenario – some chewing gum (yuck!) 

The long and the short is I have to kick my arse back into gear – but seriously, and I clearly need a bit of encouragement. I really want to do this, but there are the wobblings of more than a bit of fat and cellulite – there is doubt, and where there is doubt, there is failure, and failure IS fear…. and I’m scared. 

I sound like some very bad motivational speaker, with every cliché in the blog. 

So I am going to get right back into it! I will be starting as if I have never dropped the ball, fallen on my face – or any other synonyms for that expression. (An aside – what do you call a similar expression if a synonym refers to a single word? I digress). 

I am going to leap out of this office with a mission, I am going to dash up the stairs, I am going to be completely proactive and get myself into bed for a good rest, because….. 

Tomorrow I start afresh – get back on track and all that – tomorrow morning first thing! 

Fingers crossed.


Day 22 – Bad news

Oulart Hill monument from the outside

Now some of you might not utter a sigh of surprise at all – but I have only lost 1 pound last week – which collectively means that I am one whole week behind schedule!

Am I feeling blue? Not at all! I said I would tell you about Picnic on Picasso, and maybe then it will all be clear… You see, twice last week I could have been anywhere on planet earth.

First there was the dip in the outdoor pool in the celtic garden with the water flowing everywhere, and then there was yesterday – which proved once again, sometimes the best things in life are right under our noses, yet we’ll travel to eternity and beyond for a glimpse of past.

The knowledge came in the shape of our darling neighbour Justin, who suggested why do we not try Oulart  Hill. Now we all know what it’s like to live “nearby” a touristy spot. When ever you see the sign for a local attraction, you merely use it as a beacon to how far away from home you are. In my case no matter from which side I enter the village – it means only one minute more before I kick off the shoes, pour a drink and relax into the next day.

So when himself suggested what is theoretically our back yard – I would have to admit to being more than sceptical – as you recall – it was meant to be a romantic picnic! Imagine my surprise when I discovered yet another marvel in the Irish countryside. To celebrate the 1798 battle, they have erected a monument in a mound (like historic Newgrange) that is supposed to catch the rays from the solstice dawn and light up the other side of the hill. I sigh “Only in Ireland”- yes, it is apparently about 3 degrees off – so not quite as anticipated, but still makes for a marvellous spot in the middle of nowhere.

Inside the concrete bunker are two slabs of original oak dating further back than 1798 … and no such sight would be complete in its solitude if the remnants of youthful escape was not visible here and there. Some discarded beer cans, a condom and the odd dabble of Graffiti – although I have to admit to the latter being far less prevalent than in similar or even lesser monuments elsewhere in the world. We walked around new crab apple orchards, and entered more established woods, with the basking sun illuminating the young leaves and kaleidoscopic in patterns of green.

We found a quiet spot where only the din of bees and whisper of insects could be heard between the rustling of newspapers and the sipping of wine. We had forgotten plates, so the cover of the Sunday Times Culture magazine had to suffice – and so we had picnic on Picasso, with him smiling up knowingly – as you could only imagine he might have done just before he captured beauty on canvas.

Oulart Hill Monument on the inside... Bunker to boot!

So why should I worry about the lack of weight loss this week? I mean – forest temperature Brie, chilled crisp wine and most excellent company to name a few – what if life is shorter than we think? Who am I to deny these most basic of pleasures?

I’m off to do my 10 x 40 Calve Ups, or something to that effect, and yes, we all know I will have to move this 40.40 Challenge from an enduring speed wobble into magnificent overdrive!

But in the interim I bask in the warm memory of a day in the Irish sun and the arms of a wonderful man.

P.S. Please keep on encouraging me, and as for the mortification – humiliate me if you see me not doing what I should!


Day 21 – Perfect

Canopy above Picnic on Picasso - Oulart Wexford

Quite simply the perfect end to a perfect weekend – so there is only going to be this short note. I’m barely within calories, but I’m there. Had Picnic on Picasso…. but need time to write about how blessed we are to live in Oulart – so watch this space tomorrow!

Until then – a bit of House, an apple, some water and my wonderful man.



Day 20 – Viva la blonde!

Curracloe beach this morning - Saving Private BMBS - Simply wonderful.

This is going to be very short – really!

Summer is here, and we all know, it might be gone tomorrow, so no time to be sitting in front of computers – all be they new or old – and not be enjoying the gorgeous rays.

My day started today with a wonderful walk through Ravenwood in Curracloe, followed by a bit of basking in the sun – and a sunny snooze.Yes – I hear you! To much of a good thing, and all that.

I am just that most pleasant of rosy pink – sensitive, but not soar. Just right to rinse and repeat it all tomorrow if the weather gods allow. Because of the long walk, I burnt over 400 calories – so my bottle of chilled Pinot Grigio is going to be guilt free – as is my most delicious of lamb chops.

So why happy to be blonde – besides the obvious? I could not help but notice that someone close to me mentioned she has to now shave her winter legs! Happy days for all us blondes – we can get away with murder!

Unless my legs were very closely inspected, I got away today with shorts and not a razor in sight – unless you had to inspect really closely – I mean uncomfortably close.

Who said blondes have more fun? Of course we do, and we are low maintenance as well!

If you believe that, you’d believe anything!