The Other Side


Yesterday did not run to plan. However, the consequences of not getting what I wanted to be done are variously awesome: a couple of large domestic issues are solved, there’s a brand new shower door, and a lot of my daughter’s workspaces are considerably less cluttered and crowded than was the case. There’s four bags of recycling prepared, another three of rubbish, and I’ve managed to set up my Pedometer with the Zwift app so can start running/walking online tomorrow. All in, all, yesterday exceeded expectation.

It’s a chastening experience when you grasp that a lot of your own frustration is borne from the fact others won’t do stuff in the order you wanted. It is part of my own selfishness that has always run over into home life, and it takes a series of events such as the ones that happened yesterday to make me grasp the wider significance. It meant dropping everything and spending an hour cleaning old mastic off tiles, and making it possible for my husband to go buy the stuff needed to finish the shower door job. It was, and really is, remarkably mundane, and illuminated in my head a basic understanding.

I suspect this is all completely normal thinking processes for everybody else.


Therefore, this morning the schedule’s gonna be rearranged a bit too. Always on the cards was a trip to a Retro/Vintage Fair in town, but this afternoon after I’ve worked a bit I’ll reorganise my plan from yesterday: clear out crap, increase space and generally make the world around my working space more conducive to, you know, working.

Let’s get started.

Quiet Life

I’d planned to paint the fence this weekend but, looking at the weather forecast, I think that’s probably not happening for another seven days. Instead, tomorrow I am going to introduce my daughter to the ideals of minimalism, and finally take myself to task. There’s a lot of nostalgia being held onto around me, and within, that really needs to be dealt with. I’m beginning to understand that, at least right now, removing the past does have a lot of tangible benefits.


This is my scheduled thank you to Jesse, the Internet Friend that has made a significant difference to my existence. I started looking at Minimalism about a year ago and it has taken that long for the real significance of the concept to filter through me. Now, the consequences of these ideas are beginning to alter the way I consider purchases, and what exists around me. Not all the concepts are totally embraced, but there’s enough of a change for it to make a difference. I’ve never totally prayed at anybody’s church, over the years.

Now I may offer to help out on Open Days.


There’s also been a lot of unexpectedly useful and very productive novel time. I expect to chip away at the narrative structure for the entire weekend, and (crossing everything) by this time next week should be at the end of the journey. There’s still a tonne of editing that will need to be done, but the basic bones are in place. I am hugely optimistic as a result. I’m really looking forward to the day when I will post a Tweet that states after eighteen years, this novel is finally complete.

That is really going to be a Good Day (TM)

The Test

Yesterday, I did my first FTP Test, and today I am quietly pleased.


The last time this number was registered by the Zwift software, it was 135. When I began cycling, I believe I was somewhere around the 125 mark. That was at the end of December, so to have seen a 10% improvement over that time…? Yes, this is clear evidence of progress. For people who care about numbers, I can demonstrate that I’m not coasting, or plateauing. This is me, most definitely going forward. For me, however, numbers aren’t that important. My weight, as a single number (for example), is nowhere near the truth about my body composition. I’m happy to be able to walk today, because last night was the hardest I have ever worked on a bike.

In truth my chest aches more, thanks to lungs finally getting the workout I’ve been scared to attempt.


I am still quite nervous about pushing into high heart rates, always have been due to my lungs not being as efficient as everybody else’s in providing the oxygen required. My lung capacity has, for some time, been about 30% lower than it should be, but I’m going to get tested again in a couple of weeks so I will be interested to know if that figure has improved. Making it into Z3 is not something that happens that often, and last night I realised that maybe that ought to change. However, to allow that to happen, I need more general fitness and less fatigue. Yesterday was not an ideal day to do the test, but on reflection, it was the right one.

Like it or not, numbers define my progress.


If this were just about weight loss equalling healthy, I’d have failed so many times for it to be beyond a joke. Fortunately for me, I’ve discovered that health is so much more than just the numbers, but requires me to accommodate and understand other people’s needs for them, above my own, in order to make progress. Happiness is not clothing fitting better, or not being out of breath when I climb stairs. That still happens, on days when air quality is awful. I can’t help the lungs I was born with, and the sensitivity they possess. However, there are lots of things that can be done to ensure that this doesn’t stymie me long term. Making the muscles around the lungs stronger, allowing my body to be more capable of healing and protection… and the list goes on.

At the top, mental well-being matters most of all.


However, I need to admit some truths. I like the way my body feels now, so much more than was the case before. I think my arms are my best feature, am really proud of both strength and definition. Being able to carry heavy things is always a bonus. I love the sense of satisfaction gained from progress: the numbers don’t matter so much as the sense of being more capable. Mostly, without the physical discipline that exercise has granted, I’d find myself really struggling to keep mental discipline in place. All my effort and achievement with the writing would not be taking place if not for the cycling, lifting and running.

I have become quite the model of symbiosis.


That makes effort more than worth the reward. It pushes me onto better things. It’ll get me out of this chair in thirty minutes and to the Gym for a PT session, which I’ll walk to and from. It won’t save me from injury or stop me from procrastinating, but the sense of well-being that I currently inhabit is unlike anywhere else that I can ever remember. Finally, I have a happy place, and exercise exists at its core.

If I’d only realised this twenty years sooner.

Addicted to Love

Day #2 of Weekdays in the Gym by 9am is beginning to have an effect already. I’m definitely clearer of mind, and there were even some novel ideas that sprang from my brain. I think, if I’m good, I’ll plan for breakfast there on Thursday. It is part of a long-term objective to wean me off getting overly hung up on Social media: if that alone works out it will be worth the effort. My body isn’t nearly tired enough, however, so I’ll be doing my FTP test today. If that doesn’t wear me out, I’m not working nearly hard enough.

After that, I’m slowly becoming capable of planning a month’s worth of work in advance. It is immensely satisfying to be able to produce consistent content, and then still have time to work on my own projects. I have not had a day since before Christmas where I didn’t feel I was working at capacity, and once this planning is set, there can be the opportunity to add more to the roster. For now, I am ridiculously proud of the Art Aesthetics sequence running on Instagram and Facebook. It does not matter one iota that only a handful of people are seeing it either, it is simply the start of another journey, exploring what can be done with simply my own imagination and a graphics programme.

This is what I have always wanted to do, and it remains glorious.


Mr Alt had his first real PT session last night. I’ve been trying to encourage him to do it for months, and finally, after Christmas, persistence won. Last night, after getting home, he thanked me for pushing him to make the decision. There is already evidence of physical alteration that Gym time has wrought, and it is quietly encouraging that this is possible with someone who has been previously quite resistant to change. Yesterday I was reminded too that that other people find inspiration from these words. Yes, it really did make my day, plus, anyone sticking the current 007 in my timeline gets extra snacks regardless.

If I can keep this momentum going until Friday, it will have been a great week.

You Wear It Well

I was in the Gym at 9am this morning. There’s the first changes to air quality which, I suspect, is the beginning of cherry blossom and daffodils making my hyper-sensitive lungs splutter and strain their way to the end of July. Ah, hayfever. My weight’s up again but not by much, so, we’ll keep on with the food monitoring and driving myself into the ground under the auspices of Fitness (TM) Don’t get me wrong, I still love all this shit, but on days where my brain is trying to process all the mental stuff that is going on above the priority of physical relaxation… it gets tough.

I managed a significant step forward on the exercise front yesterday, as it happens.

Twenty-six seconds faster is MAHOOSIVE, people. It shows a considerable strengthening of leg muscles and improvement in stamina. There needs to be more hills in my training now and tomorrow an FTP test is scheduled. Improvement is not just about doing the same thing over and over, after all. I struggled a bit with heavier weights this morning so went down a bit to complete maximum sets of everything. It is the hangover from last week’s negatives, but there is strength there which didn’t exist before. It would help if I’d have managed more than six hours sleep last night, but that’s what happens when you decide to change everything pretty much overnight.

It’ll take a while to sort out all the changes I instigated over the weekend, but today is a decent start. I have to hope that fatigue won’t completely scupper everything by Friday, but am already cautiously hopeful. It’s when something unexpected happens that everything goes tits up, so *fingers crossed* the next seven days can be as stress-free in that regard as possible…


The day you first learn to walk, there is no expectation. It is a natural and normal part of your development from child to adult. You decide the right moment, and then it is no longer an issue. I’ve never broken a bone in my life (touch wood) but have had a period where I could not walk unaided. The day you know the crutch is no longer required should not become the be-all and end-all of the dependence, but that is only if you realise that you relied on the support.

Finally, the stage has been reached where it matters that what I write is seen as mine, and mine alone.


This has been a long, strange journey, but now it is time to stop using a video game to sell me. I no longer wish to use this method as promotion either; finally, there is sufficient confidence to build a brand on my own work and not criticising someone else’s. It’s a crutch that was for a long time an indispensable part of my daily life; now I’ve returned to just enjoying it for what it is. In fact, once I’ve written this I’ll spend an hour sorting out characters and be maintaining an interest.


Only one person thought they’d try and ruin my day yesterday. Before there have been several. This, in itself, is an important step forward too. I realise just how toxic and frustrating the Intenet can choose to be on any given day, but taking control into my own hands have an important advantage: I make the rules. That means, starting in April, I’ll be promoting myself via Twitter for three months as a means by which to judge whether the platform has any use to me. It’s a risky (and quite expensive) gamble but without trying, I will never know.

This is unexplored territory, and quite exciting as a result.