Day #83 23.03.16

I’ve taken a chance and have set up a meetup group aimed at helping women get outside and start adventuring. Like hosting a party, there’s always a risk that no one will turn up. Not so, there’s actually a fair bit of interest and I met a great bunch of interesting women at our initial ‘get to know’ meet up tonight. Bring on the adventures!

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Day #82 22.03.16

Today was a stressful day. I don’t normally get stressed but the job I’m doing now isn’t the easiest for a variety of reasons. So tonight my body NEEDED a run. Not just for the exercise but the solitude and the head space. Original plan was a flat, long run through town. I changed my mind after a couple of minutes and headed up towards Leckhampton Hill. I needed to beast myself a little bit and make myself run upwards, and also I wanted the top-of-the-world feeling.

Tonight I managed to run ALL THE WAY without stopping up the steep tram-track thing from Daisybank Road. I’ve never been able to do this before, only watching on while Rachel went all the way to the top while I always walked the last bit. Not this time! Amazing what a bit of stress can do!

It was a wonderful run, one that made me think about other runs that I had chronicled in my Runs Around the World posts and how much I enjoyed thinking about runs in a way so that I’d be able to write about them afterwards. Makes me think about stuff much more in depth, and I’m much more present in what’s going on rather than being distracted elsewhere.

Like the feeling tonight of being on top of the world in one of my favourite spots on the top of the hill, and how I looked around and couldn’t spot a soul. I had the whole hill to myself as dusk was drawing in. So peaceful and serene to be up there watching the world go on down below. Tiny lights of cars and streetlights start to pop on and move around but they’re miles away from me and my thoughts.

Like how by the time I ran back down the wooded path it was pretty dark and I didn’t have my headtorch. I could just about make out the tree roots but it added to the adventure. I love running in the dark. Usually I’d have my headtorch but sometimes the moon is nice and bright. Not tonight. I wasn’t worried about axe murderers or dodgy people, I’m not nervy anyway. I was feeling pretty strong at that point so I’d probably be able to outrun them. All the films I’ve seen the axe murderers are pretty rotund and rely on weapons. As long as I didn’t trip over while flapping my arms around trying to run away, I reckon I’d be safe.

I feel less stressed now. That’s one of the beauties of running, or exercise in general. Man, it helps with shit like that. Either to take your mind off it, or just release some beautiful endorphins to make the whole world seem a much better place. Tomorrow is another day, and I know what shit awaits me, but for now, I’m thinking of hilltops and dusky running.

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Day #81 21.03.16

Tonight has also been a day for reflection. Mainly due to procrastination. So I decided to go through the contents of a wooden chest and throw out stuff I don’t need or want any more. I do this fairly regularly, although not regularly enough that I buy shit I don’t need in the first place. Some of the things today were my old fountain pens from secondary school. I kept all the ones I used to use and the ink cartridges. Quite when I thought I would use a fountain pen after school I don’t know, but remember back then computers were still in their infancy and smart phones were a thing of futuristic sci-fi films  and sorcery. So it was fully OK that I thought I’d probably have a need for one. This does not excuse the 15 or so years after that where I became a Biro convert and ink became a hassle the first world did not have to put up with. I’ve seen these pens a number of times since then, but always kept them, mainly for sentimental reasons.

Just by looking at the Dennis the Menace ink pen brings back memories of school. Like the snapped off pen lid thing was because I fiddled with it in class (and almost all my current Biro’s do not have the lid thing for the same reason. Fiddler.). Dennis’s face is worn away at the top because I used to chew the lid when pondering how to answer stuff, or when deciding what to write. I can remember so clearly now, head tilted, faraway look in my eyes, dredging information from the back of my brain. I remember how I loved the scratchy sound the nib made against the paper, and how certain exercise books were much nicer than others to write in. It felt so special, such a luxury, to have an ink pen. I remember winning a competition (story comp, I think) and the prize was a calligraphy pen and paper. Oh and what glorious paper! Thick, posh paper, so luxurious and elegant I daren’t write on it, and so it stayed blank and pristine for years. One of the things I used to love to get as a child is writing sets. Matching paper and envelopes, maybe notelets. No purpose to them, I didn’t have anyone to write to, I just wrote. Random shit most probably, but hey, not a lot has changed. The main thing is it gives me pleasure.

No wonder I found it hard to throw out some of these things! This is not just a Dennis the Menace pen; this is the trigger-er of memories, the reminder of joy, happiness and of innocence and wonder and creativity.

SONY DSCDamn, writing this is making me half want to go and fish it out of the bin and put it safely back in the box it’s called it’s home for years. But no. In the bin it will stay. I don’t need it any more. It doesn’t work any more and I can’t keep everything that triggers a memory. It’s time for it to go. But with a lesson learnt. Keep the ones that do work (and there are still 2 ink pens I’ve kept) and use them. Write, even if it’s made up bollocks. I always write for myself anyway so what does it matter?

I’ve spent a bit of time over the last few months looking back more than I’d like. Reminiscing. It’s nice to, but there has to be the point of not doing so or you’ll drive yourself crazy. It’s not even like I’m looking back wistfully, it’s just general thinking about stuff I’ve done. Live in the moment, every internet meme and my own tattoo shout to me. I try to, but sometimes it’s hard. Right now I either look back or spend too much time thinking about the future, to what might come, and kind of wishing it would hurry up. Which means not enough time living in the present. I know why. It’s because I’m not particularly enjoying parts of the present right now and that’s not me; if I’m not happy, then I’ll change things. But I feel in limbo, in some blank, endless void with nothing in it apart from future plans and the ‘sensible choice’.

Fear not though! I’m not about to stagnate. I’m putting some plans and ideas into practice to keep me busy and learn me some new skills. I might not know exactly where I’m heading yet, but I’m going there with some new shit to play with.

Day #80 20.03.16

Still felt shit today. Not sure if it’s just a two day hangover or I’m ill. Either way, I still could have slept all day and I wasn’t about to waste another day of the weekend so I dragged myself out and went for a walk around/over Cleeve Hill on a thing arranged by BMF. The first mile or so was spent thinking I’d throw up any minute but eventually that stopped and I think it helped to get a bit of fresh air.

While walking around, trying not to throw up and enjoying the view, I thought about the boots on my feet. They’re still my very first pair of walking boots, bought back in 2011 when I went to walk Hellvellyn in the Lake District with the guys from work. I remember the excitement of buying some proper boots, although I felt like a fraud and I had no idea of what I was doing or what I really needed. Admittedly, they’re a completely different colour to when I bought them and have been waterlogged in stinky water too many times than I’d like (I wouldn’t get too close to them), but they’re still going strong and there’s nothing really wrong with them.

They’ve got me up Ben Nevis (still my favourite hike even though it was constant rain and wind and no visibility, but think that was mainly down it being a wonderfully slightly-illicit weekend with a certain person). They finished the hat trick by summitting Scafell Pike and Snowdon (not in the same day, I hasten to add. I wasn’t fucking superfeet.). They’ve trekked the Inca Trail in Peru and a 60km hike in South Africa. They took me to the Peak District where I walked with cows and ate Bakewell Pudding. They trekked miles in Lincolnshire on head-clearing walks and walks that decided my future and shattered someone else’s.

They were a metaphorical first step to a new life, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. And so now, I’m much more attached to them than if they were just a stinky pair of old walking boots. I’ll get new ones at some point, I know I will, and these will get thrown out. But I’ll always remember these, just like I’ll always remember my first pair of proper running trainers, my first day at school or a new job or a first boyfriend, and that first person post-separation on that illicit weekend. Gone, but never forgotten, held as a cherished memory.

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Day #79 19.03.16

Too much wine last night. Wine hangover. Every time I have a wine hangover I question why the fuck I drink wine as anything other than with a meal – I should know better. And should stick to something [much] less potent; lesson never learnt.

So I spent most of today asleep, either in bed or on the sofa and then back in bed. Actually not spent that much time asleep if not ill so maybe it’s not just a hangover.

Whatever it is, wotsits and milkybar buttons helped a bit.

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Day #78 18.03.16

Gold Cup Day. This probably means something to a lot of people. Before I moved to Cheltenham I had no idea about the Cheltenham Festival (some big horse racing event). Now, I don’t know much more about it apart from it happens in March, it’s the biggest festival of the year and it brings some £100 million into the Gloucestershire economy. As well as lots of drunk people, lairy behaviour, and makes taxi firms lie.

This year I went into a betting shop for the first time (although I didn’t bet) and watched the Gold Cup race. Then went out and got very drunk, which is pretty much what I did last year too. Next year I’m determined to NOT do the same.

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Day #75 15.03.16

Tonight was pizza, ice cream and takeaway night at Ruth’s. This is becoming a habit. Maybe one day we’ll go back to the gym. But until then, we will watch chick flicks such as tonight’s 90’s offering of 10 things I hate about you. Which has one of my favourite film scenes where Heath Ledger’s character serenades Julia Stiles’s character on the football pitch with one of my favourite songs, can’t take my eyes off you. If someone ever turned up and sang this to me I would absolutely LOVE it. A girl can dream.

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