Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Cheap to run

This picture is Porthcurno beach and has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but as it's grey and windy and about to rain, I thought I'd cheer us all up.

I don’t drink caffeine because it started to disagree with me about 20 years ago. By that I mean it makes me very hyper. In those days decaffeinated tea and coffee wasn’t widely available, so I carried on drinking tea, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sit still for an hour or so – or had to go for a long walk afterwards.

Then it occurred to me that I was getting needlessly exhausted, so I switched to the decaffeinated stuff and – believe me – you get used to it. Anything for a more peaceful life. I like my coffee very milky anyway, so it doesn’t make that much difference.

But last Saturday, I had a really busy day. And having had an unexpectedly late night (but well worth it) on Friday, I decided perhaps I’d better have a cup of Real Tea to get me through the morning. I did, and at first it had no effects. But by the time we got to Truro to warm up for a gig at Truro cathedral, I was beginning to buzz. By the time we started singing, I could feel the caffeine running through my system like liquid fire. While I felt so alive I was flying, the shaking legs and pounding heart were strongly reminiscent of a panic attack.

The next few hours passed in a blur – we left Truro and I rushed back to pick up Moll and drove like a bat out of hell to meet a friend and go boating. It was pretty lumpy (ie rough) but we explored a nearby creek, then decided to be reasonably sensible and take the boat back and explore the creekside path on foot with Moll. After that we had a quick drink at the pub – and I got home at around 8pm.

9 hours after having had a mug of tea, I was still flying. Unfortunately Louvitt was exhausted so we went our separate ways and I eventually sorted out things at home and settled down to watch a film with a glass of wine, making sure I stayed up late so the caffeine effects could wear off.

By the following afternoon, having met my youngest brother and his family, had lunch and taken the dogs for a long, bracing walk along the cliffs, I returned home to a cold, dark flat and not only came down to earth but fell into a cold, dark tunnel.

That slump lasted the whole of the following day, when my energies and spirits were so low I could hardly move.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that if that’s the price I pay for one mug of tea, I don’t think I’ll bother. As a friend said the other day, “you are so cheap to run”.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The unexpected - once more

I had an unexpected holiday in many ways. Firstly, it was in Penzance rather than Crowlas. The cottage was old fashioned and parts of it dark, but the living room and main bedroom faced the seafront and sunshine poured in the windows all day which was blissful. I was more tired than I’d realised and, while I was disappointed that my first guest couldn’t come, I was almost relieved that I had more time to myself. Not that I did very much, but pottering along the seafront in the sunshine (it was very warm and sunny that week) and sitting reading in an old fashioned, high backed chair in the sunshine, with a cup of tea, and watching the goings on along the prom with Moll dozing at my feet was wonderful.

The view from that window changed at every time of day with the weather and the tide. (The picture above is on my first evening, just before the prom lights were switched on.) At low tide I saw a heron one morning, and an egret the next day. Later on, we saw swans having their morning bath. When the tide was high, waves thudded into the promenade wall opposite with a noise like thunder, and the whole cottage shook. And at the highest spring tides, it was like a firework display – first the rumble of thunder from the waves, then they arched over the road and ripped into my garden before splattering all over the walls. That was truly a sight to behold.

I have several friends in Penzance so it was good to catch up with them – as a result Mollie went to her first private view which she thoroughly enjoyed, and I managed to catch up with an elusive editor. My friends Deb and Rich arrived half way through the week and we had a wonderful day out walking at Porthcurno and Porthgwarra, visiting St Just and a drink at the Tinners Arms in Zennor.

So while the first part of the holiday was extremely quiet it was just the rest I needed. Funny how life can turn out to give you what you want, even if you don’t know you need it.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Troubles come in threes

I'm in need of a Soothing Image this morning - so here's one taken on the way back from a lovely day out, having met Terence Coventry. Feel better now?

I never realised how uneven and gritty our pavement is until Sunday night, when I found myself face down, nose an inch from the ground. And no, I had not been to the pub. But, having retraced my steps, somewhat gingerly, this morning, I realise I slipped on some slippery bits of bark (it was raining, hard). There was a sickening wrench, when I felt my ankle go over, and next thing, I was flat on the pavement, with blood pouring from my hands. I struggled home (not far), limped up the steps and spent the next half hour trying to extricate gravel from my palms, wishing my mate round the corner wasn’t away – that First Aid kit has come in handy on the few occasions I’ve needed patching up.

Next morning, I thought I’d take Moll for a short walk round the block, but couldn’t believe how painful my foot was, and hobbled home in agony. It didn’t help that my palms are devoid of several layers of skin; courtesy of bandages, typing is possible – just – as I have a piece for Cornwall Today to finish, but washing up or pulling on a jumper or putting on a coat is – er - painful.

I looked up Treatment for Twisted Ankle on the internet. In amongst RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation), one site advised, "take it easy! Let others look after you for a change." I did suggest this to Moll but she gave me a filthy look and spilt the tea.

Being sedentary is not good for me (dear friends are helping walk Moll in the interim). Apart from making me feel like a caged animal, hobbling has thrown my back out, so I have to sit watching TV with offensive foot up on a cushion. Last night, watching Mamma Mia for the umpteenth time, I sat and wept and laughed - I’d forgotten what a joy that film is. I even managed a sitting down bop at the end.

Then on Monday night I rang the caretaker of the holiday cottage I’m going to on Saturday to say what time I’d be arriving. “But I’ve got you down for this week,” she said. My spirits crashed through the floor. To cut a long story short, there’s been a mix up and I can’t go there. But thanks to a coterie of friends and network cornwall, I’m now fixed up with a cottage along the seafront in Penzance, which will be a good place to explore from.

They say troubles come in threes, and the last one concerned my website, which a friend had said she’d do several months ago. Nothing happened, and when I asked her last week she said she didn’t have time. In brief, I’ve found someone who will do my website me if I help him with writing copy for his business. Sounds a great idea, and I look forward to working with him.

And now, I must go and pack…. A hot water bottle, flippers and a snorkel, given the forecast. But at least I got a bagful of books from the charity shop for £1….

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Unexpected walks and boating

The above picture was taken a few weeks ago at Coverack – when it was summer, for a brief and unexpected day.

Last weekend was full of unexpected walks - on Saturday a group of us from singing went (with our dogs) to Constantine where Natalia had organised a walk where we all listened to tapes of people from Constantine talking about their backgrounds – the mining, the history of the area – and why Constantine was important to them – while we walked. This was part of her PhD in Music and Movement, and we collected outside the Tolmen Centre in Constantine which is a fabulous venue for films, events and a brilliant cafĂ© – definitely worth another visit.

It was a sunny, autumn day where the leaves were turning and crunched beneath our feet and the sky was a lazy Wedgewood blue streaked with mare’s tails. We gathered in an old quarry in the woods for a picnic half way round and sat in the sunshine while John fed Moll crisps when he thought I wasn’t looking. It was lovely to do a walk listening to the tales of people from the area, then share a picnic with friends old and new.

The following day I met my friends from Coventry – Jane and John – and as it was low tide, we set off along the foreshore from Penryn to Flushing, investigating all the boats as we walked. While Jane’s sister rang for a long phone call, John and I noticed a flock of what turned out to be curlews, crying and gathered on a spit of land - we’d never seen so many birds together like that before, and they were still there on our way back, several hours later.

It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon with good friends, talking about boats. And I have to say, as my boating mate is away, I do so miss it – and it’s only six days since I was last on a boat. Mind you, as anyone who’s been around boats knows, it’s important to have the right company and the right vessel. Get either wrong and the experience can go from joyous to miserable very quickly. But on Sunday it was a lovely morning and I looked out to sea where the sun sparkled on the water and thought – I want to be out there.

I miss that lovely feeling of space and freedom, of feeling the water cradle and rock the boat. I miss the peace and contentment that being on the water gives me – where all the everyday troubles somehow float away with the tide. I miss feeling the wind in my hair, of standing at the helm watching for other boats (“steely eyed Kittow”), for buoys or cormorants. Of seeing Moll, with her ears streaming back in the breeze – even she has a little boaty grin, for she has become a true water babe.

But there are good days in autumn and sunny days in winter, so it’s not all doom and gloom. In the meantime I will look for some winter boating gear and have some land based adventures.

Talking of which, I attended a Sitting Down Exercise Class last week in order to write it up for Cornwall Today. Since then, my back has been agony….More next week, from Crippled of Cornwall