Day 13 – 100 days to go!

Fawlty Towers says it all!

Oh my God!!! Look at the hour! I’m getting back into good habits, and blogging at the end of the day at the latest…. and what a bold girl I’ve been – staying up till now? And speaking of beyond the pumpkin hour – am I the only South African living in the northern hemisphere missing pumpkin fritters with cinnamon with a passion beyond belief?  Ahem – NO, butternut is lovely, but it is NOT a Boerpampoen!

For those not in the know, I always vow that when I go to another hotel, I would never want to do unto them what I would not want done on myself. Hence, I never criticize another establishment, unless their frailties are so pronounced that you have no choice. Tonight is such a night – I mean I had to call the manager! Without going into detail, another night that you truly appreciate what you have, but most importantly, I am yet again blessed with such friendly and kind staff!!! I love you guys! (Yes, 3 glasses of wine and 2 Guinness – but I will repeat it in the sobriety of morning).

Tonight I had 4 courses thrown in front of me, I had red wine spilt over not only the cloth, but also my plate. I have been shoved, I have been prodded, and I have been ignored. All the time I have to remind myself I am at a “Gala” dinner. Poor Carmel is keeping me awake in the early morning hours through the sound of her stomach aching with the pangs of hunger. Now we might question her being a vegetarian – but RAW courgette? For a main course? Even I had sympathy, and it does not come easily to vegetarians!

I digress though – great speeches today. Wexford’s bid for the 2010 conference officially noted, and have met some wonderful, diverse and colourful characters. What more can you want?

Oh yes – I received a text in the past hour and a half, reminding me that I can exercise any time, and that it is not to late to go brisk walking for ten minutes? In your dreams, Marcin! I am still in dim mode. Try again tomorrow!

Alright so…. I will start the day with a brisk walk, and as my penance will do the other 10 minute exercise as well. IN total I have had 2434 calories today, and that does not include my two pints of Guinness!

Lovely as it was, Thelma and Louise both agree – we miss our men, and want to go home! Wexford…. be warned, we’re copming back!


Day 12 – Thelma & Louise

Not long before Carmel and I look this good too!

Late again? Of course dears – we were in transit to Sligo! A lovely stop over in Mullingar with Claire and Rian, and a leisurely cruise via Longford. OK – I confess, leisurely until some asshole drove into the back of my car, refused to admit that he had (even though his bumper was still seductively lodged up my poor Fiesta’s rear), and reversed and drove off. Arrogant and most ignorant person from County Louth – or Louth by registration anyway!

When we eventually arrived , it was paramount that the stresses of the trip be washed away with a couple of Gins & Slimline Tonics (3 X 56 calories) – and that was where my calorie counting ended. It was all downhill from there – or, as Carmel says – not in switched off, simply in dimming mode!

I was surprised by all the politics going on, but then again, how naive to believe that Toastmasters can be different to other large organisations when there are positions of power going, and that it would be exempt from competition? Our girl won of course, but it was a very fair and even contest, and diplomatic it might sound, but either way the organisation would have won.

All that is fine, but I also have to comment that not all Toastmasters are fun people! Why do some people have to take things so serious, or even worse – display NO sense of humour. That could also be seen in the surprise shown in the fact that I won the fancy dress (my own surprise included). But a lot to be said for originality then, even though I felt a bit guilty because minimal effort went into the creation. I was St Francis of Assisi and had copious furry animals stuck t my dress, with a pussy draped over my shoulder which I stroked between conversational breaks!

All in all – a good night, lovely company and myriad of information obtained for our upcoming conference in Wexford. You have to love that ol’ networking buzz!

That said – I still have not received a text for any exercise, and I have not exactly been reporting that either. Tut-tut, but I am reasonably on the right track (read slight speed wobble). In the words of Mr Yeats….

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.


Day 11 – Toastmasters

I'm the one on the right!!! I swear!

I’m officially in full-on Toastmasters mode. Great meeting this evening, with hysterical Tall Tales to boot, and off to Land of Heart’s desire Conference tomorrow with Hop-Along Carmel – in Sligo. Apparently the after effects of delicate keyhole surgery should rather be interpreted as bolt-hole surgery – not much different to the insertions made in Frankenstein’s head.

I have spent the day “saving” calories for the weekend, although we all know that’s not the way this works. I have had NO instructions what so ever about exercise, and I can only state that I have done none. I officially have had a day’s holiday.

For those not in the know – I am a total and complete information junkie, with a penchant for all things modern technology. Today I finally realised that it can also be a curse! I know it’s great to settle every argument or curiosity with instant access to internet, or an app – but sometimes we have to remove ourselves from all this, and simply be. It’s good for the psyche. I have deactivated my emails for the duration! What was that? I couldn’t do it? Well, I did!

So what have I learnt from today? Apparently if you don high heels if you are a tad overweight (read deliciously plump), then the “stones” fall off you. This statement clearly did not take into consideration someone like myself, who in bare feet towers towards 6 foot, and who in heels look like a misplaced Drag Queen, and releases the urge to speak in deep Ivan Rebroff dulcet tones, whilst adjusting my underwear repetitively.

All that is now left is to pack me little bag in the morning, complete my outfit for the fancy dress tomorrow night – Saint or Scholar??? – and hit the road to the other side of Ireland, with a most delicious lunch break with Claire and Co in Mullingar!

O happy days!


Day 10 – Yesterday

Something Buff for both sides!

For the millions following my mortification approach religiously – my apologies for the late post – but I was in the “Big Smoke” yesterday, and did not get around to sit in front of the pc till now.

Free!!! That’s what my afternoon cost me – nothing! And you might ask what did I get up to? Well, Lucy and I went to the Natural History Museum next to Leinster House, and it was Free! Actually – all the national museums in Ireland are free! How things change – I can recall when I arrived first that this was not the case, and I think it is something that they should emphasise far more than they do. it’s nowhere on their website, and only when I emailed regarding the cost of a day visit, was I informed of this brilliant news! Well worth going to see no matter how young or old you are.

Notorious for my lack of direction however, I wish to admit to my blondest moment yet. I followed the signs to get to Grafton Street, but only realised 1/2 hour into my walk that I was following VEHICLE signs – so I was walking along the ONE WAY, in the opposite direction of Grafton Street all along. O such folly – I truly am completely directionally dysfunctional. And it gets worse, because you cannot even follow the sun – this time of the year it’s always in the sky, or cloudy! Woe woe!

Back to the Challenge though – I hope that my getting lost also lost me some calories, because I allowed myself a viciously decadent treat last night. I do declare – I am an Eddie Rocket’s Virgin no more! What a lovely event! Yes, I measured out each delicious calorie carefully – but I have to congratulate the staff, the food and the experience at the Parnell Square establishment for a job well done. I also had my first “slider”, which is the PERFECT nibble burger – FUNSIZE instead of SUPERSIZE me in future, please!

To conclude my day out, we took a scenic drive through Phoenix Park, and went to see two plays at the Gay Theatre festival – of which the first should have been on the national stages, and made to be compulsory in these times. Besides absolute tour de force acting, it was probably the most comprehensive and touching rendition of what it must have been like for the victims of all the abuse scandals. Rather than us talking about it in disbelief withguilty relief that it did not touch us personally – having seen this I realise that I feel not only pity for victims anymore, but a tangible deep sense of the pain that all this must have caused, especially for one’s SO very young.

Sorry – heavy stuff, but it was the best one man play I have ever seen; It has been rightly accoladed across the globe, only for it to play to a couple of people in Dublin. Why? Because the official Gay theatre fest and the New Gay Theatre fest are having a bitch fight – and running two festivals at the same time – all of this we found out last night! If not even the gay community can work together in harmony under one rainbow – how are the rest of us poor souls meant to make head or tails out of all this global drama?

To conclude my belated post – I did do my novel excercise yesterday! Whilst waiting for Luce at Marks & Spencer (who’s M&S re-branding ain’t working – another story), I did as instructed, and scaled many a bottom shelf, read labels for a minute at a time, whilst haunching at 90 degrees (or there abouts) all the time. I did this 10 times, and have bought things that I really did not need!!! Thanks Marcin!

P.S. The play was called “The Tricky Part”, at the Teacher’s Club; 36 Parnell Square West; 8pm every night until Saturday. You can book online at – but I would say that with the attendence I saw last night you could just arrive. It is well worth the ONLY €15.


Day 9 – One Step at a time

The Tart with a Cart

Today I had to do 10 minutes of steps. Now for whatever reason – I am having flashbacks and memories of my eight years of ballet (forced upon me) by Mommy Dearest whilst keeping up with the petite daughters of the Jones’s. I never had the guts to tell her I felt like Dumbo on stilts – with my awkward height and unbalanced hips. What did I know at age 4?

How I got on the ballet memory YET again today, was recalling the first tentative steps in ballet, when Aunty Marlene would chant – whilst we had to do “fairy movements” with our arms – to go “Step together! Step! Hop!” There is also a melodic ring to it that I cannot quite capture in writing, but it has stayed with me forever – Almost like the Margot Fonteyn Prayer.

So many memories made me use Facebook to its full advantage. I mailed her one son and found out how my Aunty Marlene was doing – and I am happy to report that she is well, and still teaching in Port Elizabeth. Isn’t modern technology amazing.

And then I get back to my habit of procrastination – how often do we think of people, and don’t act? How often do we think about someone, and make a silent mental note to contact them – and never do? How difficult is it to let someone know that they had a profound influence on you as a human being in some way or another. I mean – get real! How would I ever have been able to stand my ground with Philadelphia’s finest drag queen without the air and grace that Aunty Marlene mantra’d  into me?

I digress….

I have only 233 calories to go for dinner – and yes, I had a cornetto of 285 calories, so I am my own worst nutritional enemy! Most importantly, I did my steps – I’m with my man and darling Pauline who’s cooking delicious pork fillet in Dublin. I did not get caught for speeding en route, and I am doing Dublin, some museums and gay theatre tomorrow – mini break here I come.



Day 8 – Crunch Time

My six pack in the making....

O sweet Jaysus (in my best Irish vernacular – late, on my day off, but I did it! My 10 minute exercise today was the worst thing I have ever had to do. 400 crunches in 10 minutes! 

For those not in the know (like myself until today) – a crunch is a supposedly LESS severe sit-up. If you believe that, you’ll believe anything. 

I wish to set the scene. I have conveniently taken the day off, but alas the communication of what exercise I had to do still texted it’s way to me in the early hours of the morning – there is always the eliment of surprise. So I spent the whole day adhering to my finest skill – that of procratination. I had just shared a lovely movie with my sprog, and was about to toddle off to bed, when the pangs of guilt overwhelmed me, and I informed him that to do this, I would need some help. (An aside – the movie was called “An Education”, and I also wish to highly recommend it. Brilliant!) 

So I pounded up to his room, where I boldly statedthat there was no ways I could do this without him steadying me by standing on my feet. His only worry was that the exhertion would cause me to let off stagnant winds, and he would literally be on the receiving end. I reminded him that I gave birth to him, and all else after that is his God given gratitude and sense of duty! 

Then we started – to inspire me to this major feat in the late hours of this well procrastinated day, he conjured up the melodics of Kate Bush and her Wuthering Heights, one of my favourtie songs (Another aside – I do not like the book however, and blame every modern day soap opera on countless people defining romance and drama on said piece of “classic” literature – Heathcliff indeed. And yes, I heard some of you calling me a Phillistine, but I am now also exercising my freedom of speech). 

As the timer chimed 10 minutes I huffed into the final strains of the tenth repitition of my 40 at a time crunches, with him holding my hands for “assistance” might I add, but I did it. Four farts later and we were home dry! 

We wish to now copyright and trademark this new bonding exercise and write about it in parenting journals. It has to be done accompanied in the final stretches by “Jumping Around” by the aptly named “House of Pain”, and the instructor donning his Springbok Cap whilst counting down, all the time looming over you with his exagerrated metabolism (NOT my side of the family). I wish to also put on record that having not done ballet for 30 years, my legs are still jellyfied from yesterday’s Pliés – so add severe abdominal pain to that equation, and it is no wonder I took tomorrow off as well! 

But I did it.


Day 7 – Holy Communion!

In the name of all that ends well!

This is going to be extremely fast – and indeed not even near furious – as we are simply the greatest! As for my 10 minute excercise today – I got it in the kitchen. Yes, I was the “barker” as our chef so lovingly refers to the position. I had the honour of calling away every meal served in this hotel between 2 and 4 this afternoon – of which 485 of them was for communions. We will have fed more than 1000 people by 5pm this afternoon, with not one single glitch.

I am so proud of my team right now, that on this lovely mother’s day I feel like one very proud mother, with her brood of 96 that she could not boast enough about. OK – I hear you! Never boast too much about your kids, because you never know when they are going to let you down. And in that lies my answer – we have just come SO far, that even with a speed wobble – I am still so proud of the team that are not only my colleagues – but my friends, my family and my support.

I am going to go home on this lovely day floating towards a nice Gin & Slimline Tonic (57 calories – I’m still counting!) The amount of beef I picked in the kitchen is at least 300 calories, but I am sure I have burnt some of it off, and most importantly – I don’t care if Marcin chases me with a shambuck all round the garden – I am going on a 10 minute STRIKE today.

Everything will be back to normal tomorrow again! What a week – and what a high to end on with all that was in it. I’m giddy with pride!


Day 6 – Rule of Blog

Pirouette all the way to beat my challenge!

I have 112 days in this challenge – which theoretically means not only 106 more days of my programme, but also 106 more blogs. And I sit here, after a very long and emotionally very draining week at work thinking – What are the rules of blogging? 

I mean – the weather today was perfect. I walked from my closet in the hotel (the room one never sells), down the stairs and looked out over what was just breathtaking. An intense sense of seasonal change all around with musky clouds and fluffy fields and a horizon sliced rhythmically by big wind turbines – and for the one step it took for the view to disappear I though “How lucky am I to be working in an environment so astonishing in its variety”. 

The day was busy. No, the week was busy, and tomorrow is going to be a thriller of note, with some major more busy – but with all that said and done – How blessed am I? 

I return to my thoughts on what are the rules – because with all that is good and kind and glorious, and with all around me that are marvelous and gentle – I still feel a sense of tired and down. What can I say – it’s been a very long week, and I am tired. 

So, 4 times 40 squats in 10 minutes at the almost end of the week was not easy, and believe me I was not in the mood. I mean it – I WAS NOT IN THE MOOD (see growling-angry-frustrated-gritted teeth Not in the mood). 

And just like that I didn’t do it! NO! I decided to go back to my peaceful and gracious days of ballet – and yes – I did 4 sets of 40 Demi Pliés. Like those I used to do when Margaret Rubidge taught us back in the Dudley Hall in Graaff-Reinet, and my mother forced me into tutu’s, because you see – the end of this week needed grace, symmetry and good memories. 

The Rule of Blog for me will just have to be that sometimes you have to change and adapt the rules slightly. Ballet today – Blog tomorrow!


Day 5 – Good Vibration

Shake it up baby now!
Twist and Shout the calories away!

Like my excercise today – I am going to keep this short – but with HUGE impact. See, Martin decided to go gentle, yet effective by letting me rattle and roll on the Vibroplate!

I hear you – you tell me there is no such thing as a quick fix – but at 30 hz, 18230 vibration, 546 Calories and 10.9km in 10 minutes – it cannot ALL be bad. The Vibroplate is genius if it will truly turn the digits on the panel in front of you into reality. Theoretically it means if I stand on it for 10 minutes per day, I may burn as much as 3500 calories in a week!

Now it does not take Stephen Hawking to figure out that that is more than two days allowed food intake! Do I see the mirage of a Magnum on the horizon? Could it be the richest and sweetest of Ripe Fig Jam that is going to grace my toast sooner than we think?

Me thinks not! Truth be told – I did the Vibration thing before – and like with all else I think it is great as an addendum, but in the 40.40 Challenge I also want to improve my general health. To attain long term good vibrations, we all must concur – standing on a “Shake and Vac” in a closed room might not suffice.

That said…. It sure feels good to see 500 calories ticking away infront of your eyes! Good vibrations indeed.


Day 4 – Definitions

I Cod you Not!

Spin for 10 minutes – that is what my text said. Right – I realise that across the pond there is a major election going on, and that politics all round is full of “spin” – but I did not know, by definition, that me, talking pure bull for 10 minutes would burn any calories (Now-now – those of you who are holding their breath in surprise , or rolling with laughter- I don’t talk THAT much – Do I?)

Anyhow – on the phone I leap to ask for an energetic and knowledgable explanation from poor suffering Emmet in the Leisure Centre. “Oh, he says, our spin bike is only arriving in a week or two, but it’s like cycling – You can come down to this one in the gym”.

This, in theory is all fine, as I also found out that I must be the last and only person in the world that did not know of any other definition of “spin” (thanks to Sky News and Alistair Campbell). To make matters worse – I was kindly informed that I AUTHORISED  the purchase of such a piece of equipment a while ago! Ah – I might have been told – but all I can recall is that we were buying a “bike”.

Now until this “Spinner” arrives, I shall cycle on the spot for 10 minutes – comforted in the knowledge that I cannot fall. You see, this is another misconception (or urban myth) – that “It’s like riding a bike – you never forget it”.

Yes you do! I wanted to forget! After 10 years of cycling to school, in temperatures varying from -5 degrees, to 40 degrees in the shade – you’d want to NEVER see a bicycle again. And, need I remind some, that as my primary school was still in the times of “strong Calvinist views” – a good girl did not wear trousers! Nope – you had bobby socks and a pinafore. And just too bad for the early morning chill, biting into the inner sanctum of your yet undiscovered womanhood! Because the bible said so!

Enough of my “spin” (read rant).

My conscious last night got the better of me whilst already in bed here at the hotel. Yes, I had not gone for my 10 minute swim yet. Might I add – a perk of my job – I can use the leisure centre out of hours. I can NOT wear a bathing cap – and MOST importantly – I can DIVE into the warm and balmy waters of a 20 metre pool without a care in the world.

This was as close to heaven as my ingrained Calvinist guilt would allow. I mean – how would I have slept if I had not lived up to my blog. Would I have “spun” my way out of this one?

Mortification and public knowledge won the day! I’m off to go and spin some more.