Monthly Archives: November 2008

Psalm 130 – thanks Rosamundi

A song of ascents.

 1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;

 2 O Lord, hear my voice.
       Let your ears be attentive
       to my cry for mercy.

 3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins,
       O Lord, who could stand?

 4 But with you there is forgiveness;
       therefore you are feared.

 5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
       and in his word I put my hope.

 6 My soul waits for the Lord
       more than watchmen wait for the morning,
       more than watchmen wait for the morning.

 7 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
       for with the LORD is unfailing love
       and with him is full redemption.

 8 He himself will redeem Israel
       from all their sins.

Who me? Trying? But of course!

Today was the fourth of my five training sessions at the gym, a chance to talk to one of the trainers and get some advice on how I could vary the things I do, etc. So there was no backing out today!

First he showed me how to vary the routine on the exercise bike so that instead of seeing how fast I can complete 1000km, I now get to have a go at it varying the intensity at which I work, a bit more like real bike riding. An easy bit, a hard bit, an easy bit, a hard bit, an easy bit, a very hard bit etc. It was actually more fun that way so I was quite pleased.

Because the programme was slightly different, though, the machine annoyingly asked me to type in my age and weight. The instructor said I was not allowed to lie about my age. (Actually I did so unwittingly, it was hours after before I realised I am actually a year older than I thought I was!) Then it wanted to know how heavy I was.

“I don’t know!”
“But didn’t we weigh you when you first signed up for the five-week course, three weeks ago?”
“Yes, but I had my eyes closed tight!”

He guessed and just put in a random number. To be honest I think he erred on the side of caution and rather underestimated, but I wasn’t going to tell HIM that!

Then, after I’d sweated and slaved away on the bike, he decided to introduce me to the cross-trainer. My word! Five minutes on that thing on a relatively gentle setting was torture. Again I had to put in my age (again, a year younger than I actually am) and weight. The instructor guessed at random again, but this time accidentally put that I was 5kg less than he’d put in on the bike. Mind you, I reckon I’d worked hard enough on the bike to justify losing 5kg! If the bike had been harder work than usual, this was utter torture! How my legs managed five whole minutes of this unfamiliar movement I shall never know. It felt like running uphill on a surface of cauliflower. The machine kept informing me that my heart was beating dangerously fast, but the instructor reassured me that it was lying! I sort of enjoyed it in a masochistic kind of way – and at least I didn’t suffer as much as on the rowing machine (probably because it took me a whole minute less!) – but it was tough, and I was rather put out to discover that it informed me I’d lost ten whole calories less than I had on the bike, not even a natural yogurt’s worth!

When I moaned about it…mentioned it to the instructor he explained that it was because he had put my weight as lower so the inbuilt calculator had worked the calorie count out as lower, the penny suddenly dropped. The heavier I am, the more calories I work off for the same amount of exercise. So really, to get my money’s worth, I should be eating more cake rather than trying to lose weight! 😀


Having said that, I’ll tell you one thing that is guaranteed to improve my time on the treadmill. I did the treadmill last and I bet my instructor will be impressed when he sees I knocked a whole minute off my time, having done the kilometre at just short of a jog rather than a gentle amble. I wonder whether I should tell him my motivation. Well, you see, having replaced all the liquid I’d sweated (sorry, perspired, no sorry, “glowed”) off by having a bottle full of water while exercising as recommended, and being a year older than I thought I was, and having had two children (they say my method of having children doesn’t count as an excuse, but I don’t believe them), well, within two minutes of getting on the treadmill I discovered there really was somewhere else I needed to be. And quick!

Not so WISE

Well, the parcel I had to go scurrying to the post office to collect was not, repeat not, my WISE parcel. Silly me. It was something equally fun, though.

Grow me

At last, the chance to grow my own penguin.

The Smudgelet noticed that both my brother and I have rather a large number of penguins in our homes. We are beginning to wonder whether it’s a genetic, inherited trait, although neither of our parents showed any obsessive behaviour in the penguin line. But our respective love of penguins has developed independently of each other – in fact, I was quite surprised when I visited him the time before last to find his home rather occupied by small black and white flightless birds as I hadn’t realised he was so keen on them until then.

I guess my liking of them originated in his, though, without my realising it, as he spent 3 years during my childhood working with the British Antarctic Survey and sent home loads of pictures, most of them including penguins of some kind or other, and my Dad and I spent hours with the reference books identifying all the different sorts he’d spotted. Obviously now I realise that he’d photographed so many penguins because he actually likes penguins! Well, duh!

My penguin obsession came about more accidentally, though, when I was rifling through some free avatar pictures in search of one to use on a website not a million miles away from here. I mean, it could have been a duck or a kitten (oh, how soppy can you get?) or any of countless avatars that appealed. But when I saw the penguin, such a wonderful picture of a penguin, well it was no contest. From there the gradual accumulation of a household of penguins began as people bought me penguins because “I saw this and thought of you” 😀

I do rather like them, though 😉


Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, all you who are thinking and praying. Japes, it’s good knowing that you’ve been there too!

Well, it was harder than I’d thought it would be.

“Oh yes, both boys are fit and well. Yes, they’re doing OK. Well, I’m having a bit of trouble with my eldest at the moment, but the little one’s doing OK.”

I went to go into the place where the dinners were being served but could go no further, especially when I found out it was a Christmas dinner, with the room all decorated and crackers etc on the tables. Thank God (literally) for Honorary Auntie M who brought the dinner out to me and sat with me while I ate.

No chance of that next Saturday, though. It’s the Christmas Special. The Smudgelet will be with me. There’s no escape.


I wonder if that’s what they’re serving for lunch at church today.
In a few minutes I shall find out.
But one thing is for certain, there’ll be someone feeling rather like chicken there, rather like chickening out and coming home. But I can’t. So I won’t. Cos I’ll have to do it sooner or later, and I might as well be fed while doing it.
It’s not my church, you see, it’s the local one, the one where Dad went, the one where I’ll be greeted warmly with “Hello Smudgie, haven’t seen you in ages. How are the boys?” and “You’re not usually at home during the morning – aren’t you at work at the moment?” and “Is eldest son still getting on well at boarding school?”
I have found a nice big paper bag and think I may draw a face on it and stick it over my head. Then nobody’ll notice me, will they?
Telling people is so hard.

Still, at least I have a wall to hide behind 😀

And a friend coming round for coffee later. But. Yes. A friend I haven’t seen for ages. A friend who will have to be told.


Saved for posterity

When we visited Battle a couple of years ago, we had a look round their rather lovely little museum there and were rather amused to see the roof tile off a Roman villa. Not that these things are usually so much amusing as interesting, but this one was definitely amusing. Because when the tile was originally made and laid out to dry, a Roman pusscat decided to wander over it and said feline’s pawprint has survived intact for thousands of years.

I wonder, in thousands of years to come, whether some future archaeologist will smile and put our new step in a museum. As no sooner had the builder laid the concrete to render our outside steps safe (they previously lacked a bottom step, thanks to the JCB and tipper truck invasion of last summer) than Charlie decided that the only thing missing was a tiny feline pawprint to claim it as our own.

On the subject of archaeology, by the way, did I ever tell you our exciting news? Whether you will find it exciting or not will depend, of course, on the degree to which you are interested in history. But in the summer meeting of Young Archaeologists, the Smudgelet had the fun of sifting through a load of mud from under the water at Yarmouth, peaty mud gathered by marine archaeologists, and you’ll never guess what he found….

a piece of string, about 4cm long.


What? not impressed?

Well, how about if I tell you that this piece of string is very possibly the oldest piece of string ever found? It’s actually mesolithic. Stone age string!