Giving….and meaning it.

Today I gave away £50.

Ok that’s not a huge sum, I realise that. But it is truly £50 I don’t actually have spare. All January I have been hemming and hawing over spending £60 on a much needed pair of curtains for my daughter’s bedroom and I have held off, trying to find the right time to part with the cash. So those curtains are now going to have to wait another month. That’s another month of indecision as to whether I have chosen the right pair!

I generally don’t give money to charity. I have in the past, I’m not mean and sometimes I am moved (usually children and animal charities who make me cry!) enough to give one off sums. But charities usually leave me feeling ‘off’. They are all so worthy, there are so many, and they would all bankrupt me to each get a pledge.

And I am angered at how much I see hived off by big charity administration – and I end up thinking – yes laudable, but I need my money. I don’t wallow in spare sadly!

I mentioned a few posts back that I was reading a book which I had asked for as a Christmas present – Matlock the Hare & The Riddle of Treffapuggle Path by Phil and Jacqui Lovesey – and I loved it.

I loved it so much,  I gladly used a christmas Amazon voucher to purchase the next volume – Matlock the Hare and The Puzzle of the Tillian Wand – which I am reading now. These are good sized books it has to be said, and it is lovely to have proper illustrations – I haven’t read a grown up book with illustrations for as long as I can remember – and I love these illustrations, I really do.

I found the book series and the talented pair who write/draw them quite by chance on instagram – I am now an avid follower, Jacqui Lovesey’s illustrations are great and I have promised myself one of my own to hang in the house when I can afford it!

Jacqui works quite hard on social media – working to bring their combined talents to people’s attention and I can see that it is a hard road to hoe.

I see vacuous and frankly stupid instagrammers with thousands of followers – and then there are whole swathes  of the truly talented, who work so hard to get their work seen. And it isn’t just traditional artists, but crafts people, small scale wonder workers – and I find myself really really irritated at how the world seems celebrity obsessed, and these people with vast sums of money at their disposal actually have limited talents at best who just seem to attract more and more for being ever more crass.

Matlock might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But there will be others, completely over shadowed and hidden from us, all desperately trying to get out there.

All January, the Lovesey’s have been campaigning on social media about a crowd funding project they are launching (have launched) today – to bring a new book of art work out in to the light. Funding is to publish the book.

Part of my new years resolution to myself has been to concentrate on the small, to do small things that bring me pleasure – I don’t want to have my life cluttered with junk – both physical (like my house I talk of) and mental ( stresses that make me feel ill). I am doing brilliantly at the minute surrounding myself with activities that feel good – and in turn I am feeling pretty good too.

One thing I have instigated in to my new ‘small pleasure mean a lot’ routine for myself, is to try and go to bed a bit earlier each night and read a small while  – and the Lovesey’s books have been my companion each night since Christmas. I’m sleeping better, and each night ends nicely, calmly and with some  happiness. It is amazing how much better I am since doing this.

When the crowd funding project was announced, I was curious – I checked out the Kickstarter site to see what it was all about. And I was impressed with how modest the amounts being asked for were. Amounts that in themselves I could see would be beyond most people just being able to produce without help, but small enough not to discourage people from offering a helping hand.

This morning the first thing I found myself doing was checking out their kickstarter page to see how they were doing, and in the back of my mind I think I already knew that I was intent in giving them something – I wanted to give. Not for the rewards – actually the Loveseys are incredibly generous, giving out little things to backers. But honestly, I wanted to give them something to help them achieve something lovely- bring a beautiful book to light, but also because in reading their books and enjoying them – I wanted to give something back.

Giving £50 is practically unheard of for me – part with £50 and have nothing tangible to show for it??? Really?

I feel really happy.



A year ago today….

Feeling a bit deflated today.

My hand is hurting – not the fracture, but the cast – rubbing across joints and knuckles, I just can’t get comfortable with it. I think it needs recasting but I just can’t face the travel in the fog to sit for hours in A&E.

The enforced inactivity is still irritating me. And I appear to have sought solace in food – and now I feel bloated and weighty. Darn it!!

This time last year was a very different story, because this time last year I had started a running programme – it was the very first time I had ever set any sort of  physical challenge, and I don’t think I could quite believe I had been so perverse as to choose something that I genuinely had always hated. This time last year I realised 2 things. 1) I couldn’t run for toffee, it wasn’t for no good reason I hated it and 2) I’d need some proper running shoes.

This time last year these two things were completely preoccupying my mind.

I wasn’t just poor at running – no, I was monumentally shit at it. I couldn’t run for any more than 30 in every ninety seconds. The 2km route I had set myself, out to a water tower near to where I lived and back, and whilst it appeared flat it  was actually marginally uphill on the homeward kilometre. This caused me untold agonies with cramp in my calves and shins during the early weeks. I felt my knees would buckle at the effort of trying to hold my weight – and I was so unfit I would be gasping before I had completed the first 100m.

Hence issue number 2. Running shoes are expensive and I was caught between knowing I wouldn’t get very far without them, and the conundrum of whether I was  honestly committed to doing this to warrant such a purchase?

A year ago today I had no idea that in taking up running, I would have found the one thing that would help curb my middle aged weight gain, reestablish my self esteem and give me a real challenge that would grip me with real enthusiasm for the entire year.

Since the car accident, obviously I haven’t been able to do any running – and prior to that I had missed a number of weeks due to a virus I couldn’t shake – so my running year has limped  to it’s anniversary like a wet weekend in Morcombe.

Prior to that however, I was actually able to complete 5k, none stop – I’m so immensely proud of myself it’s silly – but I am. I’m a bit bothered that by the time my hand is fixed, its going to be a painful road back to running fitness, but its one I know I will grind out because I’ve been bitten by the bug.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Because if I can learn to run 5k – honestly, I can push myself to move mountains.

Which brings me to this year.

I’m looking for a more holistic approach for this years challenge, mind and body.

I have always liked yoga -I like how it makes me feel once the initial stiffness wears off, but I just never seem to stick at it, and I’m not even sure why.

Starting tomorrow I begin my 30 day personal yoga challenge. The idea is to do it every day in January in the hope I can establish a routine – I have found some ‘look no hands’ videos on YouTube as my starting point – so the cast doesn’t stop me making a start.

If I stick at it, my reward will be to subscribe to an online yoga class called Yogaglo – because ideally i’d like the yoga to be to 2017 what my running was to 2016.