#82: Stay in bed for an entire day

I am immensely grateful to my quite brilliant husband for facilitating this. He has taken over my responsibilities admirably (indeed better than me, which is always disconcerting), and looked after me in my bed; all while executing a normal day’s work. While working from home, he has managed to supervise breakfast, ready the children, take them to school, pick them up again, and ferry our own plus 2 more 5 year olds to a soft play party and home again. Plus furnish me with food and water while I fester in my pit all day. Now if I had some sort of debilitating illness then it would kind of be expected… But to do all that just so that I can write a semi-amusing paragraph for my blog? Most people would have probably given me a brisk ‘f*** off’. Dave just shakes his head at the ridiculousness of his existence, and gets on with it.

Actually it was the children who brought me the breakfast. They were quite excited about it. In they trooped, armed variously with a cup of tea, a bowl of cereal and a cup of milk to pour on it. In return I have promised that on their 10th birthdays I will bring them their breakfast in bed. That seems far enough away that they may have mastered eating a breakfast without coating themselves and everything in a 2 metre radius with it.

I had a fairly productive morning doing some online chores, practicing the guitar, and reading a book. All very nice!

By lunch time though I was getting a bit stiff. And smelly. It had begun being gloriously decadent and relaxing and lazy. By 3pm it had become a little bit sweaty and unpleasant. I literally only got up to go to the toilet. I was unwashed, and unbrushed. Disgusting.

By 6pm I thought I could call the day done. I really couldn’t justify loafing idly any longer, once the children came home from their party. Also I was hungry, and I didn’t think calling for dinner in bed would go down at all well!

It is probably quite restorative, to do literally nothing for a day. But I had better not make a habit of it.

#81: Apply for a job paying over £100,000

A few weeks ago I was planning to ditch this one. I have looked through the job sites several times, but most jobs at this level seem to require either financial or IT qualifications, or a long history in a particular industry, in the public or private sectors. None of which I can claim.

But I just looked again, and it is rather interesting to consider completely random options that I would never find through my usual job search methods. I have never, ever, made money a consideration in anything I do, so to search solely on ‘minimum salary £100k’ throws up some alien ideas!

And I have applied for 3 things, admittedly without great hope: MD of a selection of care homes for the elderly; a short term post developing high-value donors for a charity; and a franchise opportunity selling health insurance. Entirely bizarre, with pretty much zero chance of success, but an interesting exercise to try and revamp my CV so as not to be too laughable in such quarters! If nothing else I have probably made my CV look more ambitious!

Jolly good. Onwards and upwards!

#80: Do an aerobics class

Lordy, this was everything I feared. A room full of fit-looking, well-coordinated ladies, all in the appropriate garb, all well-versed in the routines and terminology. A mirrored wall that we all faced. A scary instructor clad in lycra, professing everything very easy. Me, in 10 year old running kit, hiding at the back, consistently out of time with everyone else.
aerobics
The instructor assured us it would be fun. I was watching the clock from 5 minutes in. Explanations were given at high speed, in impenetrable language (every move had a name, which the rest of the class seemed familiar with), then the music was on, and we were all off again. Arms and legs were all doing different things. It was entirely impossible. I considered leaving.

I suppose if I were minded to be embarrassed, it was pretty embarrassing. I am confirmed in my view that aerobics is not, and will never be, for me. And I was heartily glad that no one was there who I recognised. But I got through it, after a fashion.

I will not do that again. Not in this life anyway. But at least I gave it a go! Another one down!

#79: Dog sit

This has been, frankly, a roasting pain in the arse. There is no other way to put it.

Dave is repeatedly disappointed by my insistence on filling up the house with unnecessary extra bodies that only serve to make our lives more difficult. First a pair of French 10 year olds, now 2 black Labradors. And I am afraid the Labradors are proving harder work.

They sleep in a cage at night. When I open it, everyone is bowled over by the frenzy of energy unleashed. I left them the first day to amuse themselves in the garden while the children ate breakfast. They were returned to me, by bemused neighbours, some minutes later, having presumably jumped the wall and been apprehended exploring the local area. Oops. Luckily order was restored without any harm done.

I am not helped by the fact that one child is terrified out of her wits by them. She cannot be in the same room with them, (or indeed house, or car, or street). So that is difficult, particularly when most of our internal doors do not actually shut. The other two girls are obsessively interested, and want to feed them, stroke them, walk them, pet them at all times. It is rather beyond me to manage everyone’s expectations.

The dogs are rarely satisfied, whatever we do. They are of necessity confined for much of the time, but this simply means that when released they are beside themselves with uncontainable excitement. They run off. They urinate on everything, including one another. They chase ducks, they swim in lakes, they pick fights with swans… they sniff the genitals of every other dog in the vicinity and wilfully ignore my calls to leave them alone. They eat turds with gusto. Then they run back to us, exuberantly, at great speed, and Caitlin screams in fear for her life.

Caitlin is crying whenever they are near us. Rosie is crying whenever they are not. She absolutely loves them. She hasn’t missed a minute of their stay. She was devastated that she couldn’t take them into her classroom. She has been walking them daily, morning and night. She does not complain of the distance. She was thrilled to be allowed to hold the lead.

It is at home though, that the dogs are at their most annoying. I cannot eat without a slobbering hound in my lap, sniffing at the plate. I cannot get up from my chair without both leaping optimistically to their feet, convinced that a treat is in store for them. Dave and I are prisoners on our own sofa, dogs asleep on the floor, neither of us daring to move for fear of shattering the peace and both of them charging around the house after us. It is really rather limiting.

Tonight they were excitable in a whole new way. One has been rolling around on the floor, while the other attempts to hump him. I have filmed them. The cinematography is poor but you get the idea. Large hounds, small room, plentiful sexual frustration.

The great plus though has been seeing how much (some of) the children have enjoyed looking after them. This weekend we took them with us with some trepidation to a 3-family sleepover, and the dogs were the most popular of all the guests, by a considerable margin! The kids were fighting over who got to walk them the furthest. (Apart from one who was quaking on Daddy’s shoulders). But apart from that it was nice!
kids and dogs
Anyway, job done. Much relief all round.

#78: Waterski

This was superb!  I actually did it!   

I tried waterskiing once before, in Malawi, behind a boat, and I couldn’t do it at all.  But that was with no tuition, just a couple of lads with a boat trying to make a bit of cash pulling tourists along behind. 

This was entirely different.  The legendary Sam at Lakeside Brasserie in South Cerney (http://www.lakeside-ski.co.uk) gave me wetsuit and lifejacket, explained the position I needed to be in, and how to get up from it.  My tuition lasted roughly 3 minutes.

Then he gave me my skis, I sat on the edge of the jetty thing, while he and my official photographer (oh yes!) got in the boat.  I hadn’t really thought it through, because when he told me to drop in the water I was horrified.  Won’t it be bloody freezing?!  I thought I was to ski above the water, not in it!  I don’t know how I thought it was supposed to work.  But anyway, once in, and cold, it seemed best to get on with it.  First I had a go on the boom bar, and that was all good. 

Then he threw me a rope, revved the speedboats engine, and we were off.  And I cocked it up, panicked, let go of the rope, fell in the water, got soaked.  Gaah. My confidence faltered. 

But Sam explained it all again, and something worked, because the next time I was standing up all the way across the lake!  It was a massive buzz!   Exhilarating and exciting and tremendous and all good things!  The boat turned a corner and I fell off ignominiously in the reeds.  But no matter.  Sam pulled up alongside for further tuition.

We tried again, and this time I crossed the lake, rounded corners, crossed back the other way, and again, and again .. . and this time when I fell off it was only because my arms gave up on me.   Consider me utterly delighted, I couldn’t stop grinning for hours! 

Image

I would love to go back on a fine sunny day, with a whole bunch of mates, have another go, and drink a few beers…  Anyone tempted?

#77: Hang out in a betting shop all morning

This panned out ok in the end. I didn’t mind going into a betting shop, but once there I felt rather conspicuous. As if everyone might be looking, and thinking I don’t really belong in that environment!

To begin with I had to find one! I was wandering the streets of Cirencester, picking my way between the antique shops and the classy cafes, and charming independent craft stores, and wondering where on earth does one find a bog-standard bookies?

I investigated a couple of side streets, found an altogether less salubrious quarter that I don’t think I’d ever ventured into before, and happily there was Ladbrookes. In I went.

It was all rather baffling, big screens everywhere, horse racing and football on most of them, and I cast about for some clue as to what I might do next. I have only entered such a place to bet on the Grand National before – without that focus I had no idea what the form was! I had mentally set myself the target of staying for an hour, and actually talking to at least one person.

So I sat down, and skimmed through the Racing Post. It may as well have been in another language. For the first 10 minutes it was excruciating just to be there. I assumed everyone was looking at me, and I didn’t have the least idea how one was meant to behave, or what possible reason I would find for being there. I had no idea how to place a bet, especially on horses. There was one old man scanning all the paper cuttings on the walls, and 2 young-ish men working there. That was it. No one looked ripe for a chat. No one looked as if they would find it amusing that I was visiting by way of a personal challenge.

After a while I acclimatised. And some greyhound racing came on one of the TV screens. I have been to the dogs, and I at least know how the betting works for that. And so I filled out a betting slip for the next dog race. And promptly lost £3. Doh.

I took advantage of the free tea and coffee facilities. How marvellous! Then bet on a couple more dogs. Lost each time. A couple of women were loitering about, and we had a bit of banter about losing on the dogs. Not an in depth conversation, but enough. I took a punt on tonight’s football match. Arsenal to win, 4-0. I will be in the money if that happens. I wasn’t feeling awkward at all by this point! I could have stayed! Except the dog racing was sucking me in, and I’d already squandered a tenner.

Luckily I had booked myself in at the waterskiing lake, so had to make tracks. Here I am trying to take an inconspicuous selfie in Ladbrookes!
ladbrookes

#76: Make some jewellery

Thanks to Groupon I found myself a bargain, in the form of a half day jewellery making workshop only 20 minutes drive from where I live. (see the most excellent http://www.vinesdesigns.co.uk)

Cathy Vine has a beautiful home, full of artistic and creative pieces, and she makes splendid cake, and even more splendid jewellery. Her workshop is a feast of beads of every possible shape and size.

The company at my workshop consisted predominantly of ladies who were probably in their late 50s, all active in the fields of cardmaking and various stitching pursuits, all with short grey hair, and names like Jan, Jane, Janet, Joan; so differentiation was difficult. The chat didn’t get much beyond pleasantries, especially once we were all concentrating hard on our creations.

We were shown some amazing pieces of jewellery, and various techniques and equipment to make it all. A surprising array of paraphernalia, who would have thought there were so many different types of pliers? And Cathy made it all look very easy. At first we were overwhelmed by possibilities, then gradually everyone’s ideas took form. It was remarkable how different the final pieces all were.

Once we began, it all got far trickier than the demo had made it look. My loops were not very loopy. My pins were too short. My clasps were not clasping. I was not the only one experiencing issues, we were all vying for some individual expert tuition. Anything we expressed a need for was found with alacrity, Cathy must have beads in every corner and cranny of her home. And the end results were quite remarkable. If I say so myself, I have come away with an item that I don’t think looks too amateurish. In fact I must send a picture to my personal shopper, because I have tried to create the ‘statement necklace’ that she advised me would complete so many of my outfits. Quite what statement it is making I am not sure!
necklace displayed
The only frustration was in seeing so many possibilities and only having time to make one thing. I might even go back again! Whoever would have expected that?!