On love and phone theft

I phoned a friend yesterday.

Half an hour or so into the conversation her partner came into the room..

Friend’s Partner: is that Jess?

Friend: yes..

Friend’s Partner: I want to talk to her, give me the phone *takes phone*

Friend: (in background) ..but..

Friend’s Partner: shh! Go away, I’m on the phone!

Friend: ..but.. (in background) ok Jess, let’s talk later..

Friend’s Partner: *takes phone outside*

Can’t say anyone’s ever fought over the chance to talk to me before.. *loved*

On beneficial baths

Mostly written last night.

This morning it was warm and sunny and I cycled to work in a T-shirt and skirt. Yesterday and most of last week that was no problem. Today however…

When I looked out of the window at 5 this evening it was raining. The weather forecast I should ideally have looked at earlier said it wasn’t due to stop raining until tomorrow. I didn’t fancy sleeping at work so I packed my bag and cycled home straight away – in the hope that it meant I only had to face it being cold, wet and windy instead of cold, wet, windy and dark.

By the time I’d finished packing my bag it was not only raining but chucking it down. I was soaked well before I reached home.

Look! A dry bit! πŸ™‚

***

This post was going to be a rant about the weather. I started writing it in my head on the way home. Then this evening happened and I no longer feel like ranting. I am actually kind of thankful for the rain, in a roundabout fashion..

***

The first thing I did after getting home and taking my helmet off was put the kettle on. The second thing was start running a bath.

I love baths, especially long baths but I don’t know when I last had one. ΒΎ of an hour cycling in a downpour without a coat seemed to be the perfect excuse.

Isn’t that ridiculous? That I feel like I need an excuse to spend [excessive] time in the bath. It’s like I have some kind of voice in my head permanently telling me that I should be doing something, should be productive, should have something to show for all the oxygen I’ve been using. I’m not sure what I’m trying to prove, or to whom, but I am aware that the more I try to prove it, the more I actually prove how incapable I am of proving it.

Productivity is all well and good, but I can’t be productive all the time, especially when my batteries are flat.

Sometimes batteries need recharging.

Sometimes a long bath is the best way to do that.

***

Today two very luffly friends (who barely know each other and are therefore almost definitely acting independently of each other) wrote to me to find out how I’m getting on and scheduled a phone call for tonight and next week respectively.

I’ve been spinning on my own axis in my own world for a while. Monday, for example, was one of those days where you I wonder what, if anything, you’re I’m capable of doing well and why you I even bother trying to deal with all the chaos when all you’re I’m doing is taking up space and messing up other people’s otherwise orderly lives. Reaching out (in person or by phone) and talking to people who love me was well overdue and I am so grateful for these people who seemingly instinctively know this and help me with it.

***

F and I had made our telephone plan before it started raining so I decided to combine the plans and phone her while soaking in the bath instead of while sweeping the floor and putting washing on.

Her phone didn’t work directly so I read my email while I was waiting for her to sort it out. I still get Flylady mails (remember her?) which I don’t often open but which I read today. I even poked the link and arrived at her podcast/vlog about how she makes her bed. Couldn’t bring myself to watch all the way to the end, there’s only so much bedmaking I can cope with, but since I was on YouTube anyway I jumped about through the recommendations until I came to a TEDx talk by a lady called Tracy McMillan.

BAM!!!

That is one cool lady.

I’d never read her articles or books or watched her TV shows. Never even heard of her before. Might be a tiny bit obsessed now though ;p.

As soon as her talk was over I googled her and found an interview between her and Lewis Howes (F’s phone didn’t properly recover so we spoke for a few minutes and agreed to postpone the call to tomorrow).

Here’s the link:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eWwRl_CNLR8

I think that’s the first YouTube link I’ve ever posted here. I am so awestruck by this woman’s positivity in the face of everything that she’s lived through, I think you should all go and watch the interview. Or the TED talk. Or possibly all the videos, except I haven’t seen them all and can’t directly recommend them.

She mostly talks about loving oneself. Flylady is always talking about flying. For all of you who don’t know her and weren’t around when I signed up for her emails, FLY is an acronym for finally loving yourself… I find the full-circle-ness fascinating.

***

So.

I was planning to do a million things this evening. I wanted to get my tax return finished and tidy the sitting room and do the washing up and put some unwanted things up for sale online. I wanted to find some photos to print and go through my computer and find the documents I need to work on over the next few days. I wanted to achieve so many things. In the end I didn’t do any of those things (although I did get a load of washing done, change my bedsheets and cook and eat dinner), but I think spending the time with a cup of hot ribena and a bath and Tracy McMillan’s voice turned out to be the best thing to do with the evening.

I wouldn’t have done that if it hadn’t been for having to cycle in the rain.

For that I am thankful. That’s why this was going to be a rant, but isn’t.

On being an awful partner

I currently have a friend over for a long weekend and I am becoming more and more aware that I am not cut out for a long-term female partnership..

How do I know?

I have no patience for conversations about frilly knickers, nail varnish, the best way to burn candles or which bread has the lowest glycemic index. (But I can sit for hours listening to people talk about the finer points of changing the blades on a thickness planer machine, despite never having seen one).

I am not very knowledgeable about yoga, stretching, running, or really any exercise in general.

I don’t care much about fashion, fabric, design, pattern, or clothes as long as I’m dressed and warm enough.

I have less than no idea about hairdryers. I don’t blow-dry my hair unless I absolutely have to. That happens maybe once a year, twice if I go to the hairdressers. I have a small hot-air-blowing device which I use on the rare occasions when I deem it necessary, and which packs into a small bag in a cupboard for the rest of the year. (Naja, that’s not quite true, it’s also pretty good at drying paint/woodstain if I’m too impatient to let things dry by themselves, so it does get to come out of the cupboard sometimes). It turns out it isn’t a proper hairdryer but rather a styling brush (and therefore not useful for drying one’s hair). Who knew?

I wouldn’t recognize an electric nail file if I tripped over it, nevermind know which way to hold it or how (or why) to use it. Or an electric callous grinder (see? no idea what they’re even supposed to be called). I don’t remember ever having or doing a pedicure, unless you count filing the pointy edges off my toenails when they break and threaten to make holes in my socks.

I am used to being the dithery party. I am used to getting lost in places I’ve been before. I am used to people complaining about how long it takes me to get ready to go anywhere. I am used to people getting stroppy about me leaving a trail of my things strewn across the house. I am used to people laughing at or not understanding my clothes (“so what is this thing anyway?!” – talking about a wrap around skirt).

I am not used to waiting for more than an hour to get into the bathroom in the morning.

I am not used to working round other people’s PMS.

I am not used to multiple (many many many) bottles of ‘body care’ potions appearing all over the house.

I am not used to getting home and being greeted by a wave of ‘girly smells’. Perfume and baby powder and shampoo and conditioner and body lotion and hand cream and whathaveyou each with a different (but strong) fragrance.

I can’t work up any excitement (at all) for an evening of ‘pampering’ if it involves anything other than massage. Start talking about mutual makeovers and I will bail.

I can’t deal with “What’s up?” “Nothing.” conversations.

I don’t understand freezing but simultaneously objecting to either finding another jumper or turning the radiators on.

I don’t understand why anyone would [regularly and willingly] eat nothing but salad for dinner and then get up in the middle of the night to raid the fridge and the breadbin.

When I get ill, I am more likely to have manflu and go to bed with honey-and-lemon and a hot water bottle (and maybe my laptop) than to try and keep up my manic schedule while sneezing, snuffling and coughing, at least for the worst couple of days.

I am not naturally a tidy person. I don’t think anyone could reasonably call me a neat-freak (:)) – I severely dislike washing up and doing housework – but finding cups in the bookcase and plates left on the coffeetable instead of at least in the vicinity of the sink has helped me develop a new sympathy for people who are.

Also. Hair. I used to laugh at a long-distant-ex-boyfriend for complaining about the “hairy woman-beast” inhabiting his space. I’m not going to take sides with him, but I can at least see that he might have had a point.

In short, I feel like I’m suddenly on the wrong side of all the bloke-whinges-about-girlfriend cartoons/sketches/blogposts and I’m not used to it. I’m not sure I even like being on the other side of the frustration.

Ok, so frustration is frustrating on both sides.. I’m just usually defensively frustrated, at the people trying to hurry me for example, but I could never really see where they were coming from. I used to get upset at people who weren’t understanding or able to listen or were obviously disinterested by what I was saying, people who wouldn’t cooperate with me and/or my way of working, people who were more concerned about reaching a destination than enjoying the journey..

I am slowly starting to understand some of the people who complained about me, as well as some of the actions of the people I complained about… and that’s worrying!

I’m not a particularly good hetero girlfriend, but it seems I would be an incredibly awful lesbian… πŸ˜‰

***

NB: Against the impression I’m probably giving, I do like this lady πŸ™‚ I’ve just previously only seen her in smaller doses (like for an afternoon) and never had her to stay..

On driving several tonnes of memories across Germany with no brakes

Wrote most some of this during the breaks in Friday’s adventure. I originally wanted to write about each step of the journey as it happened, but sometimes it was more important to participate than observe so I missed some lots of bits out, or wrote fragments instead of sentences. I thought about posting as was, but I had some time to kill on the flight and wanted to make it more readable so I’ve chopped and changed and added as necessary..

***

13:00 – motorway services carpark (where I bought my coffee)

S and I arranged to meet at the rental office at 8. I missed the train I wanted to catch so by the time I arrived she’d already sorted everything out and was raring to go – the helpers were booked to arrive soon and she had a couple of things she wanted to sort out before they turned up. All I had to do was hand over my driving licence (they gave it back afterwards)) and pick up the keys and then we could go.

***

The van is huuuuuge!! And has the turning circle of a block of flats. (Or at least a middle sized house). The place we borrowed it from has a lamppost directly next to the exit. Guess who dented the van before they’d even driven 200m….

Ho hum. We luckily have a good insurance policy.

Then we got a tiny bit lost on the way to S’s house so the helpers had to wait for us and S had to work round them.

They worked quickly and we were on the road half an hour earlier than we’d planned despite everything.

And now we’re on the first loobreak.

It’s windy and there are roadworks and it’s looking like rain, but there are no traffic jams (yet).

Wheeee!!

***

15:00 ish – Supermarket logistics centre carpark.

We’ve stopped because we have no brakes. Or at least dodgy brakes. Or not enough brakes. Or something.

We were driving along a motorway, minding our own business when the dashboard suddenly lit up like a rather monotonous Christmas tree (or a traffic light party).

I had no idea what some of the symbols and abbreviations meant, but some of them were red and I know red lights mean you should stop. The display screen told us to consult the handbook, but I didn’t fancy reading while driving and I’m against my dashboard telling me anything while I’m on the motorway, so we took the next exit and stopped in a logistics centre carpark.

According to the display and the guide to dashboard lights, we have no ESP, no ABS, no ASR, no hill holder…. Nuffink.

We consulted the handbook.
The handbook was almost entirely useless – it basically told us that a) it was something to do with the brakes and b) we should consult someone knowledgeable.

That we had no brakes can’t be quite true because I did bring it to a halt.

S is on the phone to the rental company to find out what to do next.

I used the time to smuggle my way into the logistics centre to use their loo. (If you don’t close the main door properly behind you, there will be someone who uses opportunity to follow you into the building..).

Life is never boring…

(Also, it didn’t just rain after we set off again earlier, it feels more accurate to say the sky fell down).

***

16:15 ish – still in the logistics carpark

A repair man is apparently on his way.. he is supposed to be here by 5… We originally wanted to be at the new house by then. That was honestly unlikely to happen, but we could have probably made it for just after 6. No chance of that now.

***

16:50 – still not going anywhere

I wrote: “New loo – lorry driver shed – renovation and lots of dust”

This was good. I walked up to the gatemen at the edge of the lorry park and asked if I could use the loo. They said they didn’t have one and they couldn’t let me onto the grounds to get to the main building. I asked where I should go instead, and they pointed me in the general direction of a garage. When I asked how far away that was and said I was on foot because my car had broken down, they admitted that they did indeed have a working toilet but that it was very dirty due to the renovation work going on. I was welcome to use it if I didn’t mind the rubble.

It was very rubbley, but still a lot better than a lot of motorway loos πŸ˜‰

***

19:00 ish – van repair workshop

The repair man arrived (at the carpark) at 17:something-late.. He’d got caught in a motorway closure and resulting traffic jams, and a journey that should have taken just under half an hour took him almost two.

He was friendly and helpful and thorough and unplugged things and tested things and checked things with a computer.

It turned out that something to do with the ABS/rear brakes was broken. I could either sign something to say that I was personally responsible for any accident that occurred on the rest of the journey, or we could get it repaired before continuing Essenwards. We were already so late that the unpacking helpers would be gone when we arrived, and I really didn’t want to be responsible for any more accidents, so we decided to get it repaired.

He couldn’t repair anything in the carpark in the dark, so we followed him back to the workshop.. slowly and carefully.

We now have a drinks machine with free cocoa/coffee/water and a couple of sofas to play with πŸ™‚

I’m going to sleep for a bit while they work on the van.

***

Midnight – at S’s parents’ house.

We got in, alive and well at 23:15 ish.

The last entry was as I was trying to sleep at the workshop…

No such luck. Or more luck, depending on how you look at it. Just as I was getting close to sleeping, they came back and said we could go – everything was mended :).

We drove the last 270something km in approximately 4 hours (including refuelling and getting lost in a car park). That’s incredibly slow for German motorways, but I’m a wimp and it was windy and I didn’t want to overtake all the lorries. I’m not good at overtaking on a good day in my car. On a crazy day like today in a 20something foot van, with less than enough sleep, I was even more reluctant than usual.. It’s amazing how much wind you don’t notice in a car..

S’s parents waited up for us, and we had soup as a kind of midnight snack while we recounted the days events.

***

I think, on balance, we did really well, considering, even if we could theoretically have done better..

On complicated coffee

I went out for coffee with a guy from school and his wife today. I’d borrowed some books for him and he was returning them now that school’s over. It was too cold to stand outside the library for long so we decided to find a cafΓ©. Most cafΓ©s don’t appreciate cards, so I went to find an atm while they went to find a suitable cafΓ©. By the time I joined them, they’d already chosen a table and ordered.

Turns out you can’t go up to the till and add to an existing order, no, that would be too simple. Instead you have to go through a rigmarole involving going to the cake counter to choose a cake, getting a piece of paper with a number instead of a piece of actual cake, going back to the table, giving the paper to the waitress when she comes to take your drink-order, then waiting for her to bring whatever you ordered. You can’t go to the waitress, you can’t get your own drink, you can’t carry your own cake.

Life is complicated. I knew that. I also know that I don’t go out very much ans haven’t had much practice at placing orders in posh cafΓ©s. I didn’t know how complicated simple things like ordering cake could be. I also didn’t realise that it’s normal for a slice of cake and a cup of hot chocolate to set you back more than 10€.

In the end my friend from school paid for all of us to say thanks for the books. With the money I didn’t spend in the cafΓ©, I bought approximately 3 months worth of fish food and 18 plants for my house and balcony, and still got change back. That seems to be a much better way to spend money, even though I really enjoyed meeting up with them and appreciated having a place to sit out of the cold.

On Boxing Day bowling with the boys

…or the second day of Christmas for anyone who doesn’t know what boxing day is…

Once upon a time, about 20 years ago,Β  DB and a crowd of friends decided to go [10-pin] bowling on the 26th of December.

Since then it’s become a tradition.

This year was the first time I went with them.

Unlike them, I think I’ve been bowling 4 times in my entire life.

I didn’t do too badly though, all things considered. I even got a couple of strikes. A lot of balls rolled off to the sides, completely missing all the pins, but I wasn’t the only one throwing them, so it wasn’t all that embarrassing πŸ™‚

We played 4 rounds, all the others improved over time. Despite getting weaker and weaker and even dropping a ball before I could throw it, I scored 60-70 each round (of 10×2 throws).

3 hours of good company and left over Christmas chocolate, cakes and biscuits is something I could agree to repeat – it was a good way to spend an evening.

***

Yesterday, my fingers hurt.
Today, my whole arm hurts.

This proves that I do have muscles.
Muscles that I rudely woke up in the middle of their hibernation.

On Birthdays and Blorthdays

image

Go and visit Claudette.
She’s one of my bestest blog-friends, and it’s her birthday today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLAUDETTE! :)).

Also, my blog is 3 years old.

And it was my birthday on Friday.

So.

Everything points to having a Blorthday Party.

I’m not really sure how Blorthday Parties work, so you’ll have to help me out. All ideas welcome (although I reserve the right to declare them ridiculous as I see fit…).

As a start, I suggest you post me a blog url you think I might like, before heading off to see Claudette.

***

If it’s YOUR birthday too, tell us so. It won’t necessarily make anything happen, but at least we’ll know πŸ˜‰

On not being rockstar material

Argh. Written but somehow not sent last night…

***

It’s Sunday.

I have been ‘on the road’ since Thursday. That’s 4 days.

4 days isn’t exactly a long time.

Not really, in the big scheme of things.

But.

Thursday certainly seems like a long time ago.

I am knackered.

I even fell asleep on the sofa at last night’s birthday party*.

It’s really really good to see all the people I rarely see otherwise, but I’m not capable of keeping this pace up for long.

I have a 7 hour train journey home tomorrow, and a colleague’s birthday party and a day trip to a specialist on Tuesday. After that, life’s back to normal** and I can [hopefully] get enough sleep again.

There is NO WAY I could go on a 6 month tour – somewhere new every day and a concert or two every night would probably kill me….

***

* and apparently while pressing ‘publish’……

** commuting and working and gardening and looking after the house – which used to feel crazily busy, but will seem relaxing compared to the last few days πŸ˜‰

On being informed v being ignored

I have a boyfriend πŸ™‚

This happened at some indecipherable point between the beginning of May and the middle of June. I don’t think it’s all that important to have a date, but he does so we’re going to have to think of one.

It’s now August.

I’ve told most people the news.

I’ve also been incredibly busy*.

Being busy not only translates into not-being-at-home, not-being-online, not-making-time-to-phone-people-I-haven’t-spoken-to-for-months-to-tell-them-the-news…..but also into writing-blog-posts-on-my-phone-and-saving-them-as-rough-draft-emails-instead-of-finishing-or-posting-them.

Some people are decidedly not amused at not being told sooner.

Other people are decidedly not amused that I’ve stopped writing.

The second group of people includes myself.

So I’m going to start again.

Writing on the computer that is.

And posting.

And phoning people up.

And maybe being online more often….

Maybe.

Being online isn’t good for my sleep-account.

Then again, not being online doesn’t seem to be so good for my friendships.

Maybe I can get online and still get enough sleep. That would be a first. And firsts are exciting.

 

Watch this space.

 

 

*not always boyfriend related πŸ˜‰

On turning down, turning off and turning up

Okay, so I’m [most probably] going to sound either incredibly stuck up or incredibly naiive for the next paragraph or two.. please bear with me.

***

I got a phonecall from my skiing teacher a couple of weeks ago.

He said he’d just got in from a day of skiing and asked if I wanted to go for a couple of days the weekend after next (= this one ;)). He figured I was the only one crazy enough to want to go skiing enough to put up with MORE snow/winter.

I thought that was a fantastic idea and said we should invite D (my ski-partner) because he was bound to be interested (and crazy) too. I was being given a lift into town by a friend I don’t see often and who I wanted to talk to, so we agreed to plan the skiing later.

In the meantime I sent D an email. He was as enthusiastic as I’d imagined.

Last weekend we talked about skiing.

Turns out my SkiTeacher wasn’t just thinking about skiing when he invited me. A happy threesome wasn’t what he’d pictured either (thankfully, I suppose…).

He was jealous of D, unhappy with me automatically inviting other people to what he’d hoped would be a chance to “get to know me better” (his words). He suggested (stroppily) that we (D and I) go together because he didn’t just want to be our chauffeur. That I really just wanted to ski and thought D might too wasn’t a possibility in his mind.

He’s a great teacher, and also one of those people I really like spending time with off the piste, but I couldn’t imagine having a relationship with him. Especially since he’s one of my ex’s best friends, and has just about (more-or-less) finished breaking up with his girlfriend of 4 years (very messy, been going on since about July).

A couple of strained conversations later, we decided to abandon the whole skiing idea, freeing him up to go to a birthday party he would otherwise have passed on. I didn’t exactly turn down the skiing, so much as him as a person.

When D asked what the plan was, I bent the truth a little and told him the SkiTeacher was busy. He suggested we go by ourselves instead….

Oh man.

Because that obviously wouldn’t cause further complications.

Besides, I figured I don’t have the time or the money to go skiing anyway..

***

It’s May.

It’s supposed to be well into spring and fast approaching summer.

Instead it’s cold, wet, cloudy and making me want to hibernate or at least turn the heating back on.

I turned it off back in March when we had a strangely warm fortnight or so. 24 degrees is nice enough to convince me I really don’t need to continue to finance the electricity company’s boss’s next holiday.

On Friday it didn’t get above 10 degrees.

Yesterday it reached the dizzy heights of 15 degrees.

Today it’s back down to 8.

It’s May.

This time next week it’s already several hours into June.

The radio told me that it’s supposed to be warm on Tuesday. The presenter told him to stop there and not say anything about the rest of the week.

Starting on Thursday I’m going to be away a lot for the next couple of months. Given that my heating takes about a week to start to have an effect, it seems a bit pointless turning it on.

I guess I’d better pull out a jumper and my blanket and get through the next few days.

***

I finished school in June 2005. That means I’ve been out of school for almost exactly 8 years (also, that I did my GCSEs 10 years ago, but since the rest of my year are having a reunion party without even inviting me, I don’t think it really warrants much attention…). I moved to Germany the following autumn and apart from a few months here and there have been living here ever since.

After a 5 year ‘struggle’ to make, and more importantly keep, friends during year 7 to GCSEs, it came as a major surprise to be so wholely and immediately welcomed into a group of the loveliest people in the 6th Form (I changed schools). There were enough of us to fill the ‘Small Common Room’ but the core group was practically inseperable, eating, walking, revising, partying, just generally spending time together. I especially spent time with two lovely ladies.

My group of A-Level-ites kind of broke up when everyone went off to uni (and I went to Germany) but we continued to meet up when we were all home for the holidays.These group meetings were drastically reduced when we all broke up with our respective partners and getting together became awkward. Since then we’ve all moved on, changed jobs, houses and boyfriends a couple of times..

However.

I still keep in touch with my lovely ladies. Not especially regularly, but still enough for it to not be forced when we DO make it into the same place at the same time.

And now it’s finally time for them to come and see me in Germany.

Finally.

They plan to turn up at the end of June πŸ™‚

Looking forward to it so much I’ve even started making plans a month in advance!!

πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

πŸ™‚

On ‘coincidences’ (and Berlin)

On Thursday I decided to go to Berlin.

Naja, ish.

While it is true that I decided to go, it wasn’t entirely my decision. I was invited to a meeting. The sort that it would be silly not to go to. Some of you know why, some don’t. It’s not entirely relevant. The only relevant part is that I need to be in Berlin on Thursday.

Wednesday is the 1st of May. In Germany it’s a national Holiday. I decided to take Thursday and Friday off work, get the train on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, go to the meeting on Thursday and spend the rest of the time being a tourist before coming home on Sunday. I’ve been in Berlin before, but only briefly and I didn’t walk around much.

On Friday I took my holiday form to the person-who-signs-holiday-forms’ secretary. She looked at it and said she was going away the same week. As the polite, interested person I am, I asked her where she was going.. I didn’t really particularly care, but it’s always good to have secretaries on your side πŸ™‚ and talking to them beyond “hello, here you are, thanks, bye” always helps.

Turns out she was going to Berlin.

AND has a spare seat in her car.

AND is willing to take me with her πŸ™‚

AND is going to bring me back with her on Sunday.

BINGO.

She’s leaving on Monday afternoon, so I added Tuesday to my holiday form before going to celebrate my good fortune in a beer tent πŸ™‚

I spent today on the phone. Practically everyone I know in Berlin has ‘offered’ to have me over to stay πŸ™‚

I’ve also invited to a lecture, to look round 2 glassblowing workshops and to some kind of concert/party, as well as to join in with whatever’s going on on the 1st.

Watch out Berlin – here I come!!

On swimming in the sun

Once or twice a week I go swimming with a friend.

We’ve just started going to the pool near her house instead of the one near mine.

Today, for the first time, I discovered it has an outdoor pool attached.

It was sunny, and scarily warm, so I went out for the first outdoor swim in aaaaaages!! The water was obviously colder than in the indoor pool, but the air was soooo much nicer to breathe – makes swimming that much easier πŸ™‚

I only swam 2 rounds, because my swimming buddy was inside waiting for me (she’s recovering from being ill and doesn’t want to risk getting ill again).

Hopefully it will be sunny again next week πŸ™‚

On skiing – part one – planning and ironing

I’m going skiing tomorrow!! πŸ™‚

Yay πŸ™‚

It’s snowed quite a lot this week and skiing’s cool, so when I looked out of the window at lunchtime and realised it was the weekend soon I emailed a friend and we organised an afternoon’s skiing. He lives about half an hour away from a piste with a ski lift. Not a huge one, but pretty good for getting the hang of hurtling down snow covered mountains at 40mph (???) after a year of meandering along reasonably flat pavements.

I haven’t been skiing very often. I went for a week as a kid (I think I was 5) and again for 3 days (= 1 and a month later another 2) last spring, and I’m hooked. If it hadn’t been so warm and the snow so slushy, I would have loved to have gone again. And now it’s a new year with new snow and a new chance to slide down a mountain on my face with my feet in the air πŸ˜‰

After work (I stayed on for a couple of extra hours to practise for my exam) I remembered that going skiing involves a heck of a lot of kit, none of which I own, apart from the socks. I have a friend who is handily a skiing teacher with enough skiing siblings/family that I’ve always been able to borrow everything I need from him and/or his relatives. He lives about an hour away and in the wrong direction to combine it with going to the ‘mountain’ tomorrow. I came home, made dinner, ate half of it and set out to collect ‘my’ stuff. (Yes. Obviously I asked him first. Who do you think I am??). I even got to the busstop before the bus did πŸ™‚

When I got there he’d arranged all the things he remembered me wearing last year (and some others as well, just in case) in the hall. I tried on 2 pairs of boots because I have an awful memory for things like that. Ask me the lyrics of ancients songs, or what cereals non-main-characters eat for breakfast – no problem. Ask me what colour my boots or gloves were a year ago and I’m stumped.

Then we moved on to filing and waxing my skis.

For anyone who doesn’t already know; skis slide better if they’re waxed, and you have more ‘grip’ (for want of a better word) when the edges are sharp (especially when it’s icy). I haven’t skiied enough to really tell the difference between blunt and sharp, polished and unpolished. I also have a great teacher who makes sure my skis are well sorted out before I go anywhere πŸ˜‰ However. I think everyone who has ever been iceskating with blunt skates can appreciate the benefits of having them sharpened and the priciple’s a similar one.

Usually people hire their skis from a hut full of minions who do everything for you, or take their own there before heading for the hills. If you ski a lot it makes sense to do your own. It goes something like this*:

  • lay your skis upside down on 2 trestles
  • brush all the old wax off the undersides of your skis with a softish wire brush
  • brush the bits off with a very soft ‘hairy’ brush
  • file the rims/edges with a pretty cool file holder, making sure the file’s facing the right way
  • apply melted wax to the entire under surface. This is done by holding a block of wax against a warm iron and letting the ensuing drips land on the skis in a somewhat orderly fashion (i.e. spread equally along the ski, not all clumped tgether). The skis are then ironed to spread the wax blobs into a thin layer
  • leave to cool
  • scrape the excess wax off the bottom and sides of the ski with a plastic scraper
  • brush the ski once along its length with the soft wire brush

Apparently there are different types of wax for different types and temperatures of snow. There’s also go-faster wax, which is more expensive, and wax which you put on cold (instead of melting it on) and which rubs off after a couple of runs.. Until this evening, my knowledge of wax extended to candles and bees. I have now glanced at a world beyond my understanding. I smiled and nodded (and asked questions to show how much I still didn’t understand) and got on with watching him prepare my skis. I had a go at filing them myself, but I’m not very good..

Then we did his. He’s going training with his racing team tomorrow.

Somewhere between the third and fourth ski he looked at the time. The busses to the station from where he lives go every hour in the evening so missing them is a problem. I had 13 minutes to be on it or at least at the busstop. We left the fourth ski to its fate and rushed around finding poles, a bag to put my skis and poles in, a bag for the boots and gloves and goggles, the backpack I’d brought with me and left in another room, my ‘normal’ gloves… and eventually I was loaded up and on my way out of the door and he could go back to his ski.

There must be a more elegant way of getting on and off busses carrying that much stuff, but I haven’t mastered it yet.

I work next to the station, so I let myself in and left my ski stuff in the workshop to save having to lug it home tonight and back again tomorrow. Being at work at night is a very strange feeling.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, even if I am a little scared of going without a teacher – I haven’t been skiing since last year – but I wish I’d done more leg-muscle-training… I have a feeling I’m going to need a very long hot bath when I hobble back tomorrow evening!

* Please find someone who knows what they’re talking about to show you how to do it properly, before tackling your own skis…. don’t take my word for it…. please…

Click here for Part two…