Tracy Jacks

Yesterday was pretty much the perfect Mental Health Day. It was really cold but beautifully sunny, and it was as if the entire population of Southend looked out of their window and thought ‘fuck it, let’s get outside.’ My daughter had many, many Good Dogs to photograph, I got to have an Italian Black Magic (see below) and there was finally some exercise away from the Gym or the Shed.


In fact, there was so much exercise yesterday I negated the entire experience.


Nine miles is a lie. It was six miles before the cycling, and closer to thirty miles afterwards. The detachable portion of my watch, when I’m cycling, is by my ankle, so steps are only a rough approximation of real distance. That’s why Strava’s a real boon now: I still need another 30 miles today to hit my weekly target, and like the fool I am they’re gonna be done probably before lunchtime, so I have the rest of the day to work. 

I’m not sure what happened between last year and now, but yesterday when given the chance of taking a train or walking, I picked the latter. Somehow, I am more comfortable out of a chair and not in, which makes the time writing obtain special importance. Everything has slightly more urgency than was previously the case. It is improving mood and productivity, but most importantly is helping to allow a realisation of just how fucking lucky I am right now.

Walking home last night I was genuinely at peace for the first time in a while. I need more Mental Health Days like this, and the reminder that sometimes you don’t need anything else to be happy except the understanding you’re a very small part of an extremely big picture, and that’s perfectly fine. Turning the camera away from yourself, not worrying about your own issues, but instead looking outwards to not only enjoy but accept the enormity of everything does not need to be frightening. Humbling yourself is a good lesson to learn.

Enjoying what you have rather than complaining about what you don’t should be the way forward

Up The Junction

Today’s forecast is not simply Blue Skies but a lot of activity and a day to leave the Novel well alone. I could do so for four days and still be on target, but it will get some love tomorrow so that’s okay. The only means by which my life consistently gets better is with a decent work/life balance, which means today making to most of the fact Mr Alt is not umpiring Field Hockey and my daughter would like to go exploring. So, once I’ve done some Gym stuff, the camera’s coming out and we’re off to walk along the World’s Longest Pier.

If anything, it’ll make for some nice new header images.


The daffodils are beginning to bloom on public verges and there is a definite feel of Spring in the air. My daughter will be turning 13 in early March and her birthday is the reminder that better weather is coming and longer days, which in turn means more work gets done. I didn’t cycle last night which means two nights of 36km, but this is no longer a worry or concern. I was thinking in the week that exercise in that regard seems to be getting easier. Maybe it is time to switch things up a bit.

Time to go pack my Gym bag.

Do Your Thing

Look Up :D

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My daughter keeps asking me why I take pictures of the sky. There’s a really simple explanation: it is the reminder I’m small, part of an enormous whole. Taking pictures of yourself is great, but the Universe is larger, more expansive than just me. It is massive, complex and often difficult to cope with. Looking up, to the stars and the Universe beyond, serves an important and constant reminder. You are only a part.

You must work hard to make things matter.

I look at my Twitter followers every couple of days via third party app to see who has come and gone. Once upon a time, like My Fitness Pal (more of which in a moment) I would be unhealthily obsessed with a notional form of success. Now, I have but one goal. When I can exceed and maintain 3500 followers, I’ve really made progress. There’s no point trying to micromanage everything because down that path madness lies. I’ve also got fairly conclusive proof that numbers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

I look at myself this morning, undeniably thinner and more muscular than I have been at any point in my life. I weigh exactly the same as I did back when there were no muscles and I could not get upstairs without being short of breath. If all that matters is a number, I’ve failed. Except that is so far from the truth as to be ridiculous: this is a brilliant place to exist, hugely comfortable and relaxed with the way I look and feel. So, do I use numbers as the reason for being, or do they simply become a guide?

They become part of the complex whole which is what I am.

This song’s on my cycling playlist (note to self: make a new one this weekend) and has become a bit of an anthem. If you stop worrying about what other people think, work hard and make realistic goals, a remarkable amount is possible. If you think you’ll never get anywhere and it’s all too hard, then it will be. The problems are there to solve, you just have to want it enough.

I REALLY want all of this, a very great deal.


It’s odd that this is the last post written today, but totally appropriate considering circumstances. I am all over the shop: not enough sleep, too many other things to sort, but most significantly stuck deep into novel editing. This is very much new territory.

It is fucking GLORIOUS.


There is significant progress, and I’m really embarrassed at how awful parts of my manuscript are. Not touched (in some places) for over a decade, it is abundantly obvious how much better I’ve become at writing. Yes, I can say that without irony too: learning how to create compelling narratives does not come overnight, people. It really does take effort and hard graft, and I’m stuck into both.

Once I’ve sorted out PT and a massage session to try and solve the stiff back issue, I’ll be right back at it.


I’d like to moan this morning about the Menopause, if I may.


I’d like a DECENT NIGHT’S sleep, please.

I am either far too hot or enormously cold at present, and if those hot spells correspond with me being in bed? I just can’t get comfortable. Most nights this is work-aroundable, but as currently, I have a back issue I’d like to heal, some quality kip would be quite beneficial. Except NOPE you can’t have that. Also, the means by which I make myself sleep in situations like this has begun making me hotter and has therefore ceased to be beneficial, which just makes things worse. Mostly, I’d just like this to stop.


All the Sugar or NONE AT ALL.

Being healthy is becoming REALLY tough when all my body is doing currently is holding water and encouraging me to eat all the sugary shit, ALL THE DAMN TIME. It’s like that point in my menstruation cycle (back in the glorious days WHEN I HAD ONE) when body would point out that if I didn’t eat that bar of chocolate in the fridge, people would get hurt. Nobody ever did of course, because that was why the chocolate was there in the first place. Now, I’d like this to stop too because I don’t want to eat any of this at all.



I know this is a hugely self-indulgent, self-centred rant. BUT SERIOUSLY PEOPLE I have had enough of this, and it could be going on for YEARS yet.

Please, just make it stop.

Closing Time

Putting on my leggings this morning, I had a back spasm. I know a guy who had weeks of painful repercussion simply from picking up his daughter, another who turned his head suddenly and slipped a neck disk. Sometimes, however careful you are, this shit just happens. I’ve ingested the standard painkillers, will take it easy and won’t do anything strenuous until Wednesday’s PT session. Not only does this shit happen, but I am well versed with the means by which you deal with it. Lying around all day complaining is not an answer, though it might be a wish for some. For me, there is really too much to do. It really doesn’t matter we’re in half term either.

My career is not going to progress itself.


This morning I dropped my old car off for the last MOT I will have to pay for, as it is now consigned to the chronology of vehicles I used to own. It will still be driven for a while yet, however, but a replacement is ordered. It’s smaller and petrol, and I suspect might be the last fossil-fueled vehicle I ever possess. After that, it will be a tricycle or my feet, and that will be totally fine. My son has already professed a complete lack of desire to learn to drive, stating there are far more important things he ought to be doing. Public transport suits him fine, and I have a measure of empathy with this statement. I’d love to call time on this county’s obsession with cars as transport. Maybe my son could be the first step.


I’ve also got half a mind to start taking pictures every day from now on, just as a means to give my brain summat to relax with. The weekend was enormously stressful, and I would venture to suggest a lot of my body woes are wrapped around the trauma that created. Therefore having something to do other than working at a PC or a bike will be hugely beneficial long term. I ought to do yoga too, but that’s not really a half term pursuit. For now, the daily walk will get some air in my lungs, wake up the brain and give more content.

After that, we can busk the rest.

American Idiot

There’s a massive VW Camper van stuck outside our house. When I say stuck, I mean it is effectively wedged under the eves of the garage we call ours, mostly because it came within six inches of taking out my car, which was parked on the drive. My car is now sitting on my neighbour’s drive, and husband is outside waiting to see how these idiots intent to extricate themselves from the mess that has been made. All of this is because we have an area of grass outside that random people periodically get themselves trapped on and (inevitably) we end up towing them off. It is a consequence of being slightly away from the beaten track, and other people being totally incapable of driving. All this was relayed to me last night via my son on his mobile, whilst I attempted to enjoy a meal out.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen.


The ultimate irony in all of this is that, in two hours, I’m off to trade in my car for a new one. It will be considerably smaller, cheaper (because petrol and less tax) and the issues experienced with the old one will become someone else’s problem to deal with. It has been something of an accident magnet in the last six months… I don’t know why people have decided to try and hit me, wedge themselves between it and hedges or take out the garage instead of hitting it… but this latest incident makes this three, and we all know how Cosmic Bad Luck works. So, let that be the end of this vehicle, and be done with everything.


All of this is due to the fact a major gas main’s being relaid just around the corner, and everybody thinks our dead-end road is a shortcut, which it never has been and never will be. It is a demonstration of how dumb some people can be when driving, that certain people should never be allowed behind the wheel of large vehicles, and that however hard to try to avoid reality… sometimes, it just finds you. Whatever happens, we have insurance and stuff to cover all of this so it won’t end up as anything other than an inconvenience. However, I won’t forget the weekend, and (as was the case with the girl who wedged herself between my car and the bush outside the house) undoubtedly passes into Family Lore as ‘you remember that time we were trading in your car and someone almost took it out?’

If I’m honest, I’d like less drama.