Fading photos….but not faded enough

I made a nasty discovery in my mum’s old photo collection today…….me when I was fat.

I recall listening to Sara Cox on the radio one day when she remarked how old and inferior she felt when watching 19 year old girls walk by with amazing figures and not terribly much on. She described them as 100% prime beef with men all queuing up at a meat market.

This was not me at 19. Before university student life I had an OK figure, then I started drinking cider and eating at greasy spoons and trying to keep up with my boyfriend’s daily calorific intake. When I look back I recall it not being the healthiest episode of my life and that I may have crept up to a size 14, but the picture is shocking. I literally look like someone pumped me full of gas. Even my facial features have been lost to the landmass that is my bloatedness. Thankfully I can look back on it now and feel relieved that the wind didn’t change and that I didn’t stay that way. It is a shame though that I bhdidn’t look my best when my skin was still in its ‘youth’.

Now in my thirties I have finally grasped the concept of ‘my body is a temple’, yet i have lots of grey hairs, wrinkles  and a few saggy bits where things haven’t ‘sprung’ back to shape. Its all a little bit too late. But as you get older, concerns about your appearance hive way to preserving your health, which is why i am fitter and slimmer now than when i was in my teens……back then i did whatever i wanted and thought about the consequences later.

So to prevent me from ever ballooning like i did when i was 19, that photo is stuck to my fridge as a reminder whenever i get tempted away from an evening’s exercise or tempted towards sugary treats.

I decided not to put the pictures of my semi-naked mother (she seemed to like going topless on all of our family holidays) and my father with george best hair and a podgy tummy on the fridge. Some photos are best left in albums, or better still in our memories…..to fade with time.

I am blogging for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

 

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The best of British Showjumping at Hickstead

Today I took my first selfie because I had been allowed to be incredibly selfish and take myself off for a day out without hubby and kids (well i did take the dogs with me). I indulged in a much needed hit of equestrianism with a day at Hickstead’s Derby. I have been going since a child and I love everything about it, the atmosphere, the huge arena, the huge jumps and the informality of it. After mooching around the tradestands, grabbing myself a couple of glasses of Pimm’s and checking out the different parts of the course, i completely revelled in my surroundings and the chance to do as i pleased without worrying about children (the only downside was having to clear up after both dogs who both decided to poop in high traffic public areas, i also had to take them into the toilets with me which was a bit of a challenge).

The Derby was about to start, so i found myself a good spot high up on the public grandstand and settled down to watch the show with one dog perched on my lap and the other perched next to me. After a while i noticed my younger dog had taken  a shine to the friendly chap sat next to me and before long she had helped herself to sitting on his lap, much to my embarrassment. I apologised but he said he didnt mind at all. After sharing a few comments about some of the rather hairy rounds that we had witnessed around the derby course, he told me that he was getting nervous as his own horse was due to jump the course in a while – last year’s winner, Caritiar Z ridden by Phillip Miller.

This put the excitement of the competition on a whole different level as i found myself rooting for this chap’s horse, i really wanted him to do well. You could have cut the tension with a knife as we watched the horse go round and it was a brilliant round with only 1 down, which put him in the lead with only four more horses to go. But Trevor Breen but in a good performance with only one down so there was going to be a jump off between the two horses – by now i really wanted Caritiar Z to win to achieve the accolade of back-to-back derby wins. He put in a good jump-off with only one down, but Trevor Breen’s horse was a fraction faster and pipped him to the post with one down, shaving a few seconds off Caritiar’s time.

The very nice chap sitting next to me took the defeat gracefully and was clearly proud to be the owner of a horse who made the Derby course look easy. It is people like him that we have to thank for keeping UK showjumping so competitive and so enjoyable – what a thoroughly nice chap. My dog rather liked him too.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Testy tummies

Having quit sugar now for 8 weeks, i am starting to notice there are severe consequences if i deviate.

The other night i mentioned i had invited some friends round and ate more than i should in crisps and dips. While i didnt eat anything sweet, i probably ate more than my usual intake in sugar – I was as sick as a dog later.

My baby boy was then ill a few days later, so then i thought it must have been a bug.

Not so.

Yesterday I succumbed to  a small slice of my brother-in-laws cake. I felt so bloated afterwards i wanted my stomach to be pumped. This feeling continued through the night, into this morning and hampered my appetite for the rest of the day, making me feel slightly nauseous…….and that was one slice of cake.

After these two major occurrences, i then thought back to other occasions recently when my stomach felt uncomfortable and i have felt nauseous – like the time i sucked on some dark chocolate when it was time of the month.

This quit extreme reaction to sugary foods, after having cut it out for a while, surprises me. But when you think about how careful you have to be to alter the diets of horses and dogs (to avoid problems such as colic), it is no wonder that i have been feeling iffy.

Just like the IQS diet, i read an article in RED Magazine about Ella Woodward, whose reaction to drinking alcohol and consuming copious amounts of sugar while a university student, led to her being diagnosed with PoTS – postural tachycardia syndrome – a rare condition that affects the nervous system, causing nausea, exhaustion, dizziness and weakness. Now, like IQS, she has a diet of raw vegetables and unprocessed food and lots of green smoothies. Interesting recipes include sweet potato brownies and courgette noodles using a spiraliser gadget that you can pick up for £30 on amazon. For inspiration check out deliciouslyella.co.uk.

I’m feeling better already.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

 

Backwards

Further to my post about racism in a school community, I have been unfortunately inspired to write about racism in a rural community.

First is the story of an Asian boy who has experienced severe bullying related to his ethnicity, including being spat at. The school in question has done nothing about it. He is being sent on a kidscape course to help him recover from the experience of being a victim and to meet up with other children who have also been victimised so that they can experience some solidarity.

Second is the experience of my brother-in-law, of Jamaican origin, who has been staying in the area and was ignored by my in-law’s neighbours. During a walk in the park, a mother pulled her children to one-side, whispered something to them and chaperoned them past my brother-in-law as if he was a criminal.

The views of some of my parent’s generation is unforgivable, but when this level of racism filters down to people born from 1960s onwards I can only despair at the world and where society is heading – backwards.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

 

Experienced to a degree

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My husband is trying to change his career. He wants to remain in arboriculture but do more walking, less climbing, more talking, less sawing and more pen-pushing, less grafting.

For him to do this he needs qualifications and some of these qualifications are hard to acquire. He has just found out he has failed one of his courses and i am trying to prop up his self-esteem and confidence, encouraging him to keep n going because his current job will have him slumped in a wheelchair by the time he is 55. Like many who have had to return back to education to improve career prospects, he is regretting not concentrating more at school.

Frustratingly, many of the jobs he is looking at want more than just qualifications, they want a degree. Why do so many jobs request this?

Now the Government has made it harder to afford higher education, so where does that leave society? The well-paid getting their offspring jobs, but your average family struggling to get past first base because of employers wanting degrees left, right and centre?

Employers need to stop requesting degrees for so many jobs at varying levels across industries. When this happens the job-market will become more accessible, less people will be on benefits and there won’t be  this glut of graduates ever year who start life in debt but unable to get a job, when they could have been building up 3 years work experience.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Racist at 8

When a mother turns up at your doorstep saying ‘can i have a word’, you immediately think ‘uh-oh’. But in this case it was about a child in school who has not only been causing problems in class but creating racial tension on the school bus. We live in a rural community with a few children from other ethnicities in addition to white British. In the four years my daughter has been at school, i have never heard a racist mark and she has been completely unaware that racism even exists in society, treating everyone as an equal, which is as it should be – its just adults that balls things up.

So when she hears this particular child call her black friends ‘brownies’, she is instantly offended because she doesnt like name-calling at all, least of all when it is regarding someone’s appearance. I am sad that an 8 year old child already holds these views and has obviously been influenced by ignorant parents.

But how do you undo bad views? The saying goes, ‘show me a boy at 7 and I will show you the man’. This child is 8 and his prospects are frightening. The best intentions of the Headmaster cannot undo years of negative behaviour from parents. If he becomes too much, what next? Where does he go?

I am already panicking about the implications on my daughter’s year group as they progress to the local comp….

Oh to be the mum of a toddler again…..

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

 

Truth or lie

My daughter came ‘boincing’ (baby boy’s term) out of school today full of talk about her new teacher for next year. Apparently she asked all the children to say 3 facts about themselves, except 2 are true and one is a lie. God knows what the teacher thought about us when my daughter replied, ‘i can sleep on a boat that we sail on, i once had 7 pets and i watched the world cup matches’. I knew the world cup was a lie but i wasnt entirely sure about the 7 pets either until she explained it was when my older dog had her puppies, which we kept until they were old enough to be sold, plus the fish. What was a bot morbid was that she counted the boy puppies, who later died sadly (it was either hypothermia or fading puppy syndrome). Ever since i have been kicking myself that i didnt have a heat lamp or hot water bottle in the whelping box when they were first born. I was then obsessed with the girl puppies’ body temperature as i didnt want o lose any more to something so trivial. The boy puppies are buried at the bottom of our garden. It was a disastrous situation. She gave birth in the middle of the night, i had not checked her before i went to bed because i had been distracted by an argument i had with hubby. He then woke me at 6am when he got up for work to say she had already had a puppy and it was dead. I was devastated. I had carefully bought all the books and equipment i needed and had helped my mum with her whelping bitches throughout my childhood but to let d day slip because i got distracted was unforgivable. She had given birth to the biggest puppy of the litter first with no help. I tried to resuscitate but rogpr mortis had already set in suggesting he had been dead a while.  I remember looking at his perfectly formed body and the entire process of gestation and thinking he had fallen at the final hurdle because of me and my negligence. I was there for the other 5 puppies, not that it made much difference because the two boys started ok and then slipped away. The girl puppy that we ended  up keeping i had to resuscitate but thankfully she pulled through – and thats dogs. I cant imagine the responsibility that rests on midwife’s shoulders.

I wanted to have another litter to put the bad experience behind me but figured that was selfish so will just put it down to a bad mistake. The worst things that happen in life are down to mistakes caused by a momentary lapse in concentration. The lucky ones are those who dont have too many of those experiences between birth and old age.

So back to the teacher’s question, it is a good one. It pears you can tell quite a lot from a person through truth and lies, but how you interpret it is a different matter entirely, she probably thinks my daughter was born  into a wealthy family with all the pets and a boat.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.