Category Archives: Just hanging around

In which success is…


… finally managing to do a hip lock on the rope.


In which I list what my thirties have so far seen me doing


– Eating lots of chocolate. Generous souls sweetened my turning 30 with a lot of edible gifts, including some chilli chocolate from Mexico, Hotel Chocolat truffles and a range of mini Green & Blacks bars from which has come my new favourite, cherry.

– Attending a barbecue to celebrate our friends’ engagement, complete with those things all British barbecues are never without – Pimms and torrential rain. Despite a month’s worth of rain falling in one day, you cannot stop us Brits in our quest to eat charred meat al fresco. We just put a gazebo and get on with it.

– Hanging from a rope attempting to do moves like hip lock and catchers, and getting some very achy arms the next day as a result!

– Finalising the details with our friends who will be house and cat sitting for us when we’re away. Olivia’s going to be in good hands but man, I’m going to miss her.

– Being made redundant from my part time job. It sounds a lot worse and more dramatic than it is in reality, however, as I’d known it was on the cards for some time.And given that I’d been wanting to leave anyway, walking out the door with three weeks’ tax free pay is rather nice.

– Downloading a shedload of books onto my new Kindle in preparation for the trip. And then trying not to gorge on them before we leave!

– Changing the final piece of official paperwork, my driving licence, into my new surname. It’s only taken 20 months!

– Getting our visas for India. After a somewhat tortuous process (especially when compared with the ease at which we got our US and Australian visas) involving a trip to Cardiff, a frantic dash to Boots to get special 2″ x 2″ photos  before the visa office shut, and the surrendering of our brand new passports, I am pleased to report we are now legally able to visit all the countries we have on the itinerary. Only seven weeks to go!

In which there is February so far in bullet points

  • The month has so far been all about the cooking. S’ birthday involved making two dishes I’ve not done before (salted caramel brownies and beetroot tart tatin) and then the very next day we started on food to take to our friend’s 30th birthday weekend in West Wales. A picnic pie, chocolate chunk cookies and a carrot cake made the cut, although the caramel apple cake we initially made as her birthday cake turned out to be a flat failure and was therefore relegated to home consumption.
  • The way to my man’s heart was to buy him the Tintin TV series boxset. It brought back some very happy childhood memories.
  • I’m co-ordinating another photoshoot tomorrow and I’m very excited about the theme – think Georgian manor setting with lace dresses, pearls, cameos, gloves, parasols and afternoon tea. I’m not excited about the weather which is predicted to be 1 degree and cloudy.
  • I did this last night. But without the lunge. What doesn’t kill you, eh?
  • Turns out it wasn’t food poisoning after all, but something like norovirus – ten other wedding guests apparently had as bad a night of it as we did.
  • Olivia has taken a fancy to our fringed table cloth and keeps attacking it. The cold weather has made her a bit wussy about going out so she is venting her frustration at a lack of frisking on our interiors. Our sofa will never be the same again.

In which I am…


… bruised, aching and covered in rope burns after my first proper trapeze class in five months, but happy to be all of the above. It’s great to be back up in the air and learning new things.

… missing S who is away in Manchester on work all this week.

… wishing the rain would take a running jump. IT’S JULY, BRITISH WEATHER.

… rapidly losing all faith in newspapers, what with obnoxious Daily Mail headlines, phone hacking allegations and insensitive comments from journos on Twitter.

… trying to learn how a few basic Polish phrases for use on holiday next week. It’s a language really far removed from any I know, however, so I think my vocab is going to be limited to “hello”, “goodbye”, “I’d like two coffees please” and “may I have a beer?” This still puts me way ahead of my brother, who despite living with his Polish girlfriend for the past five years only knows the words for “squirrel” and “thank you”.

… attempting to eat a very large pack of cherry tomatoes entirely by myself over the next two days (reason being points 2 and 5 above).

… really looking forward to our trip and getting away for a while. Bring on the beer and pierogies!

In which I’m hanging by a thread


I’ve lost my job again. This is the third time in eighteen months.

This position was always slightly different from previous ones, as the post was a fixed term contract until March 2011. There was the possibility of an extension for another year, however, pending on funding from the local council, so whilst I always knew it was a finite period, the chance that it might continue for another twelve months was always hovering seductively nearby. Without that definite finish, I could always push away the thought that I’d have to be job hunting come January.

When I found out yesterday that the council definitely isn’t funding the project anymore, I was fine. My boss was upset; she’s losing 4 members of staff which is hitting her hard, but me? I’m an old pro at this, and as mentioned above, it wasn’t a bolt from the blue. I shrugged, emailed S to let him know, and started searching my favourite job sites for new opportunities.

That night I went to my trapeze class. We had a visiting teacher who decided to focus on rope for the evening rather than trapeze. Now the rope and me have an uneasy relationship. I love what other people can achieve on it, but when it comes to doing things myself I’ve always been pretty rubbish. It requires a lot of co-ordination, which has never been my strong point. In the years I’ve been doing trapeze I’ve done some rope, and can climb it pretty well and can do basic things like straddles and even a move called key of foot. But that’s it. Last night, though, I thought it was time I applied myself a bit more and tried to learn the moves the teacher was showing us.

We were working on something called front balance. It’s pretty simple; you hold the rope taut and then take a small jump to wrap yourself onto it, curling like a prawn and hanging on with one arm.  The rest of the class went up one at a time and all of them managed to do it, some first go, others after a couple of attempts.

Finally it was my turn.  But I couldn’t do it.  I tried and tried, but the rope kept ending up across my chest, or my shoulders, or I’d just spin uselessly and then fall off.

To my horror, I could feel the tears welling up. You know those tears, the sort that can’t be suppressed, even with steely gulping and biting of lips and fist clenching?  I muttered something about getting some water and slipped out of the back of the studio to the mercifully empty corridor.  And I cried.

Despite thinking I was OK with losing my job, deep down I wasn’t. No matter how much I told myself that it was pretty certain to happen, and how pragmatic I was, it’s rejection after all, and nobody likes rejection.

It also feels like failure. Not being able to master the rope trick then meant I was heaping failure on more failure until that was all I could see and my brain just couldn’t take it any more.

So I let myself cry for a couple of minutes.  Then I squared my shoulders, dabbed off the specks of mascara around my eyes on my t-shirt, and walked back to that damn rope.  I wasn’t going to let Wednesday 19th January 2011 be a day of total failure; I was going to end on a positive note, even if I took all the skin off my stomach in the process.

So I tried again, and again, and again, until finally, magically, the trick worked.  I hung upside down, and I smiled, and Wednesday 19th January 2011 became just a day with a blip. A large blip, nonetheless, but no longer a total failure.