Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Making new friends

The other day, one of my students asked to borrow a couple of yoga books from me. I suggested she follow me home so she could pick them up that very afternoon. Once we got back to my house, I put the kettle on and before I knew what had happened we were sitting chatting not just about yoga, but also all sorts of other stuff. This is simply what women do. This is how we turn people we know into friends.

Think about those long, long hours spent hanging around in the playground when the children are little. We stand with the same group of women, comparing notes. The children themselves, with no concept of any other way of doing things, become friends with the person they are sitting next to on a regular basis. That youngster is eventually invited to tea, which means the mums become friends. Play dates lead to birthday parties. Then there are sports clubs and dance classes, shared lifts; and so the network expands. At work, too, women will get together for a quick drink to celebrate a colleague’s birthday, which leads to hen nights and sometimes even spa breaks and weekends away.

Men don’t do this. They greet each with a gruff ‘Y’alright?’ or, if they’re feeling particularly effusive, ‘Hello, mate. How’s tricks?’ Not that they really want to know, of course. Ask a woman how she is and she will tell you – sometimes in more detail than you might like. Ask a man and he’ll say ‘Fine,’ even if his wife has left him, he’s lost his job and someone has stolen his car.

Sometimes, when the golf course is busy my other half and his regular golf partner will have to team up with another pair to make up a four-ball. This means they have to talk to someone they don’t know - but assuming they can overcome that, there is a good chance that the next few hours will be spent amiably enough.

He’ll come home and, if pressed, say, ‘Yeah, they were good blokes. Played well.’ I’ll ask,’ Did you get their numbers, in case Paul can’t make it any time?’ He’ll look at me as though I’ve asked if he took the strangers for a fumble in a bunker. ‘No, of course not.’

I despair. Is he too old, do you think, for me to set him up on a few play dates?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Celebrate the Small Things

It's Friday again, which means it's time to Celebrate the Small Things. This is a bloghop instigated by VikLit on her blog 'Scribblings of an Aspiring Author'. Details are here.

I had an extra ukulele session this week with a different group and it was quite tough. One thing I need help with at the moment is how to dampen chords, so I thought I'd Google this. The internet rather unhelpfully came up with the chords to play various songs by Wet Wet Wet. Close, but no cigar.

I've had rather a relaxed week. The peculiar way the Easter hols are falling this year means there was no choir practice on Tuesday and no yoga on Wednesday, so I've treated myself to some extra dance classes. Zumba, FitSteps, Zumba, FitSteps on four consecutive days. I'm still no Abbey Clancy, but I'm having a lot of fun.

Big celebration this weekend is our wedding anniversary tomorrow: 34 years and counting. Worth a glass of something nice, don't you think?
Brown suits!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Tuesday chat

Walk in Derbyshire, anyone?
Isn't it sad about Peaches Geldof? She is the same age as my older son. What a waste. I see that Mickey Rooney has also died. Coincidentally, he popped up in The Muppets film, which I watched last weekend, and until then I hadn't given him a thought for many a long year.

I'm a bit sleepy this morning because I was out with 'the girls' last night at a pub quiz. We came sixth out of thirteen teams, which was a good result, given that none of us knew any of the sport questions. I was convinced that the winning driver in F1 races gets 12 points, for instance, and it turns out it's 25. We actually did better on the last round, which was on the rather curious topic of fish. One thing that I learned is that the spots on a plaice are orange. Who knew!

On my 'to do' list today is to finish my entry for the Words With Jam first page competition. The closing date isn't until 31 May, but I've been working on this for a while and there comes a time when I need to put down the pen and walk away from the paper. Then it's yoga lesson planning, teaching and a bit of subbing for the rest of the day.

The sun is out, though, and I'd really rather go for a walk. What a pity we have to work.


Friday, 4 April 2014

Hello, Friday

Join us in Celebrating the Small Things. This is a bloghop instigated by VikLit on her blog 'Scribblings of an Aspiring Author'. Details are here.

It's been a good week. Sahara dust notwithstanding, there seems to have been something positive in the air. More specifically, I'm celebrating:
  • Being spoiled on Mothering Sunday (thanks, boys).
  • The arrival of my new contact lenses. Varifocal contacts? How does that work?
  • Two energising exercises classes.
  • Being paid on time.
  • Lots of work to do.
  • The arrival of the tiler - and his departure after a job well done.
  • Hubby's birthday. Any excuse for a sticky bun - and there's dinner tonight to look forward to.
  • Lovely yoga classes with inquisitive students.
  • Hilarious times at ukulele orchestra rehearsal.
  • Little Brother's birthday tomorrow.
  • Things starting to grow in the garden. 
Tomatoes and herbs showing signs of life
 How are things in your world?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

K-e-e-p dancing!

FitSteps® – FANAfter the triumph of Saturday's concert, I'm having a break from choir rehearsals, so for the first time in ages I found myself free on a Tuesday evening. Now, I could have stayed in and tried to bring some semblance of order into the house following today's visit from the tiler. He has left us some stepping-stones so we can leap elegantly from one room to the other without compromising the gunk he has spread all over the hall floor. However, since he is returning tomorrow, I decided this would be pointless.

Fortunately my Zumba teacher friend Brenda supplied the solution in the form of a FitSteps session at the Grampian Club. FitSteps is the brainchild of Ian and Natalie of 'Strictly' fame - and boy! is it a good workout. Give it a go, if you get the chance. Makes Zumba look sedentary.

The other day, one of my yoga students asked me what I meant when I said, 'See if you can feel where your energy is focused.' Good point. Right now my energy is focused in my feet. They are still tingling after the dancing, despite a shower and a meditation session. I trust that this is a good thing.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Celebrating and singing

I didn't manage to get around to posting a Celebrate The Small Things contribution last week, so I've tried extra hard today.
  • I have renewed my First Aid Certificate, valid for another three years. This is one of the conditions of my yoga teacher's insurance. Even so, I don't know what I'd do if anyone actually keeled over in front of me - especially if they were sick!
  • Last Sunday afternoon's yoga workshop went well. We had 23 people and it was a lovely session. In particular, it was nice to see through the window that it was snowing while we were all snug inside.
  • The boiler has been fixed. Hurrah!
  • After the chaos of the decorating last week, there is a bit of a hiatus now while we wait for the tiler. This means I've been able to catch up with myself. I feel a bit more in control today than I did last Friday, and have even managed to find time to enter a couple of writing competitions.
I hope that next week I shall be able to celebrate having taken part in a successful concert. It's the big night tomorrow, so excuse me while I go and run through the Brahms again. Why didn't I study German at school?

Join us in Celebrating the Small Things. This is a bloghop instigated by VikLit on her blog 'Scribblings of an Aspiring Author'. Details are here.

One other thing: if you'd like something to make you smile, read about 'guerilla poetry' in Waitrose here

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Right tool for the job

We’ve had a new fence panel delivered. Clive and I manoeuvred it down the side of the house and propped it up against the wall while we considered the removal of the old one. When we moved into the house 15 years ago we installed a new fence the length of the garden, and had the foresight to have it housed in concrete posts and gravel boards. But time – and, it must be said, pigeons – has taken its toll and we are gradually replacing the panels one at a time.

The idea of concrete posts, of course, is that the each panel can simply be lifted out as necessary and another slotted it. However, that doesn’t allow for the involvement of tenacious ivy. So what we thought was going to be a simple five-minute job turned into a bit of a kerfuffle.

Fortunately our lovely neighbour was on hand. We’d only been out in the garden a few minutes when he appeared. ‘Need some help? Looks like you’ve got a job on.’ He’d obviously seen us struggling and no doubt heard the noise as, in true Julia style, I employed a well-aimed gardening boot in an attempt to loosen the bindings of the ivy. Our neighbour is one of those men who always has the right tool for the job, and in a trice he had produced not one, but two pick axes, which he and Clive were able to employ under the offending panel to encourage it upwards.

The replacement was duly installed, but it needed a bit of persuasion to drop level with the rest of the fence. By the time I’d trotted back to the house to find something suitable to use to whack it with, our neighbour had delved back into his den and produced a chunky lump hammer, which soon did the trick.
 A couple of hours later, back inside, the Hoover started spitting out more than it was sucking in. I turned it upside-down and gave it a good rattle, for which I was rewarded with a flurry of dust and detritus. Clive was all for reaching for his socket set, but that seemed a bit drastic to me. Sadly, there was no neighbour on hand with his toolbox to help, but again, in true Julia style, I blundered in. You may laugh, but with a bit of poking about with a carving fork I managed to unclag the thing and normal service was resumed. It might not have been the right way, but it worked.