Tag Archives: running

What it’s worth


The Grim Challenge was a big success for the four young things who ran today. Bitter cold winds but gorgeous sunshine made it ok for the few spectators as well. They were soaking and shivering and covered in mud when they got back to the car. The turnout was great and loads of charities were represented.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Grim Challenge, Aldershot, 7/2/2016

There was talk on the way home of getting the mothers to run as well next year….

While waiting for the runners to finish, the smell of coffee and hotdogs was tempting, but at £4.00 for a sausage in a bun and £3.00 for a coffee, there was no way I could afford to or would want to pay that amount….

Of late, my long term financial situation has been playing on my mind. At 55 with only about 7 years of work under my belt in the UK, my State pension pot is paltry. It will be about 18 months before I can hope to work full time again and despite efforts to find a Saturday job, it has not happened (yet).

I am a good saver and big believer in putting pennies away. The problem is that it is hard to save when there is no income! Yes, I do live off the joint account at present, but as He in Paradise is always checking the ins and outs of it, I am careful about purchases.

I mentioned my student loan recently. I invested part of that in a crowd-funding property deal, buying a small share in a rental property in Manchester. The returns (not guaranteed of course) look good. I also have been a long term investor in a peer to peer lending scheme. It returns an average of 4% per annum, which in this market is great.  This type of passive income is good but in order for it to have any significant financial reward, one needs a lot of money invested. At present only the odd tenner can be popped in, now and then.

Without a load of money one needs to be frugal, and I notice that of late, more thought goes into purchases. Where cash back or discounts (or both) can be used they are. £2 coins go in a tin that cannot be opened (need a can opener) and £5 notes are saved. A friend taught me this one. Any £5 s that end up in my wallet at the end of the day are removed and banked at the end of the week.

I have been experimenting with a capsule wardrobe too and after a week of wearing the same ‘uniform’ (washed in between), not a person has commented, which goes to show how much anyone notices, and that we all worry too much about what we wear!

So, all this has inspired me, for what it’s worth, to persist with the collection of pennies, the making of packed lunches and wearing a capsule wardrobe….it all adds up to savings for my dotage.









Had a major one yesterday – all overcome with emotion and hurt. Some hard self examination and reflection about being a NICER, KINDER soul. I could really work on that! Basically beat myself up about a lot of stuff, got teary, did a little study and a lot of procrastinating.

Today was a little better. It started though, with a big unexpected expense as my laptop was not talking to the printer and a call to the helpline revealed that my IP address had been hacked and there were over 45,000 Trojans in the system….slowing shutting down all I have.

I paid for them to fix it, it took a couple of hours but both laptops are clean and protected now. The Internet was fine, just the IP address.

That motivated me to record the expense and have started using and adapting the budget template from Blonde on a Budget‘s blog to get an idea of spends.

The solicitor also sent me a requested letter about my marital status and financial situation so that I can apply for a little more bursary and the accountant has sent all my tax returns so that the girls can apply for a bit more help.

So even with my head under the duvet, things still got done!!

While it is clear there can be no extravagance, I did knock for my neighbour, who spends days on end alone and asked if she would like to have a coffee with me in town as there were errands to run. It was nice and a break from the desk.

Daily, small downsizing tasks are being performed too. Yesterday a wardrobe was emptied, today all the old office paraphernalia that was in this room has been collected in one space to be donated.

Little and often is my mantra for dealing with the big things that are freaking me out!

About to do a pasta bake for dinner/lunchbox tomorrow and food for daughter while I am on shift.

PS. Daughter ran 18k in the foulest, coldest, wettest, windiest weather the other day. She was dripping and splashing through water ankle deep. To accompany her I fashioned a waterproof ensemble from wellies, a raincoat tied around my waist, apron like to keep the rain off my legs, rain coat, worn traditionally, gloves (leather) but covered with bright blue surgical gloves for water proofing, scarf and waterproof hat to keep the rain off my face. The brim of which sent waterfall like torrents onto my legs if I looked down…..

Think, The Lady in the Van, only on a bike.




Goodbyes are exhausting


Early this morning the taxi arrived to take him to the airport. I got up to see him off and to check over the list of things to do…he said that he was surprised that none of us, the girls and I, had asked him anything about his new life. It seems that everyone he met this holiday did, that they were interested in him and what he was doing. He said it was amazing that we had not shown the same level of curiosity.

How does one show all that while at the same time being berated with complaints and accusations and reminders of how much damage one has caused to another human being? How does one show that when the other party talks constantly about themselves when not moaning?

He complained to me once at a dinner party that while the host and guests were nice, he was not enjoying himself because no-one asked him any questions about what he did….

He did however kindly wish me well in my studies and I said that I hoped he would be well and happy and that was it.

Odd, awkward, exhausting.

Thank goodness for decent friends is all I can say. Decent friends and FACETIME. Half an hour on the phone to a lovely one in Japan and my spirit was restored.

I hate feeling doubtful about myself and worrying if I am after all a truly evil person in wanting to break away. Without friends, it would be easy to get swallowed up in such rotten thoughts.

Onward and upward.

Daughter wants me to ride 20k with her on the bike while she runs and the rain is lashing against the windows making me shudder to think of stepping outside. We leave in 30 minutes apparently…..





There are hardly any food wise, but there are left  over thoughts about this holiday.

Firstly we ate and drank far less than ever before. The meal was simple and afterwards we played cards.

This is a huge thing for me. My memories of childhood card and board games are the stuff of nightmares. Uncles egging us on when playing Monopoly and then losing the plot and calling us stupid if we did not win, or ended up in jail. There was nothing fun, it was competitive and each one of us was constantly being compared to the current winner, who, if they lost a round would be the next victim….so sitting with the girls and the boy, playing cards and laughing was a thrill.

We exercised a lot, at least youngest and I did. She ran 15 k on Christmas morning and I went with her, on the bike….We then did a parkrun this morning, my first ever 5 k. She was finished before I started my third round and came to meet me for the last bit. Brilliant to share that with her.  (I had to walk 3 times, but as 3.5 is my longest distance to date, it was still an achievement).

We had fewer gifts than ever before and all of them were useful and had thought put into them.

We spoke to loved ones the world over,  Japan, Australia and Belgium.

We watched very little TV and I actually studied yesterday….

So the (leftover) memories of this Christmas are happy.  There was none of the pressure of years gone by. The expensive gifts that sometimes were never used, or lost!!

The next few days are for study. Exams loom for two of us and a dissertation for one…..


Focus pocus


unnamed[1]This day started with a run, some weight exercises for the old bingo wings and some lunges (with weights as well) in the gym with my cool, fit friend LE. All that hard work was followed by scrambled egg and mushrooms on toast with a cuppa in the café…mmmm

The plan was to work on the essay…essays loom on the horizon here for months, until the buggers are due and there they are, on the doorstep, demanding to be written and submitted on time.

With good intentions to get ahead, we found ourselves in the library, surrounded by relevant articles, highlighter pens, coffee, coconut macaroons (sigh) and for me a total writer’s block. What is it that I can, in my head, talk through the idea but cannot get it onto the page?

Part of it is worry that it is not academic or polished enough, that the question is not being answered, that I am on the wrong track and a myriad of other niggles.

I need to have more faith and more focus. So, here I go again. In the meantime, enjoy a little corner of the library ceiling, which was once a ballroom….

PS. No major blowouts about the finer points of the agreement. 6 days and counting.

PPS. Me and my big typing fingers pressed publish too soon! The notorious ‘my mate, the solicitor’ has had his paws on it and has ‘suggested a few changes’. This is the bloody thing we agreed on. Why do they have to fiddle? I am not happy at all and was told that it was to HELP ME that all this is being done. Frustratingly there were tears on my part. Can we just move forward and not have all this crap, pleeeease?






Bit of a wobbly week, so far. Some of the old gloom is back and a sense of dread. Today I took the edited version of the consent to end the marriage to the solicitors. He has not seen it yet, but will tomorrow. I worry that it will cause more kicking off and finger pointing and boy does that make me edgy.

In less than two weeks (fingers crossed) it will be done and dusted. Bring it on. It is like living on a knife edge at times.

Feelings of hurt abound as well. Same old reasons as before, but I found a photo of me, still in its frame, in the wastepaper basket when I emptied it this morning….I have not been as thoughtless in my removal of personal items.

BUT there is always good stuff going on – my youngest sister is 50 today and has been putting up some colourful stuff on FB…bless! Mum will pale a little no doubt when she reads it!

I have been running twice this week and am booked in again for Friday. Beginning to love it. Over 3 ks now at any one time and feel proud. My ‘splits’ are getting shorter too.

Tonight is BookClub which is more about the wine and gossip, and my first attendance for months. Not drinking, but regardless, it is always a laugh.  Friends really make life ok.

Blogging helps too, started off all flat and now am ready to tackle my admin chore list.

Have a happy, blowy day out there x

And Breathe….or run


The blog has changed.

Things could not be more chaotic, stressful, unsettled, scary and sad right now. After ten years we have called it quits. I waver from wanting to weep to feeling extremely calm. I often feel overwhelmed and swamped by what is to come. There is so much to discuss and do.

The girls head to uni over the next two weeks. One for the first time, to Manchester to do Physics. Her sister heads back north too to head up the Japanese Society at her uni, and to study as well!! I start my second year next week too. I am learning how to be a nurse.

There is more, but not for here and now.

There has to be a way to cope when one is so stretched, to find energy when one can barely think and to live a healthy, quiet life while storms rage around you.

My take on that is to finally work to develop a sense of order in my life.  In the last week (we have been back from a visit to family in Australia only a WEEK!), I have emptied drawers and cupboards and have filled bags with unwanted, unused items. It has been hard and humiliating at times. What the hell was I thinking hanging on to so much tat to put on e-bay for so long? I thought of the money wasted, (mostly second hand stuff, I am not a big retail shopper), the space it all took, the odd sense I must have had to want to own it in the first place and the realisation that it did not make me feel one bit better. Then I took about 90% of it to the charity shop and gave it all away. The rest was dumped.

To look at the house you could not tell. BUT, I plan to keep going. Only my stuff, my clothes, books, bits and bobs.

I plan not to buy anything unless I NEED it, and for every thing I buy at least one item will go.

I plan to save money (more on this later…) by shopping better, planning better and making pack lunches for uni.

I plan to continue my running regime because it lifts my spirits and makes me fitter

and I plan to breathe.

At 54 it is tough to be undoing a life and starting another one. But here goes.