ABOUT ME

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Morecambe, Lancashire, United Kingdom
In the mornings I’m a Nursery Cook, the rest of the time a Writer. Been writing for decades: short stories, plays, poems, a sitcom and more recently flash fiction, Creative Writing MA at Lancaster Uni and now several novels. Been placed in competitions (Woman’s Own, Greenacre Writers and flashtagmanchester) and shortlisted in others (Fish, Calderdale, Short Fiction Journal). I won the Calderdale Prize 2011, was runner-up in the Ink Tears Flash Fiction Comp & won the Greenacre Writer Short Story Comp 2013. I have stories in Jawbreakers, Eating My Words, Flash Dogs Anthologies 1-3, 100 RPM and the Stories for Homes anthology. My work’s often described as ‘sweet’ but there’s usually something darker and more sinister beneath the sweetness. I love magical realism and a comedy-tragedy combination. My first novel, Queen of the World, is about a woman who believes she can influence the weather. I’m currently working on a 3rd: Priscilla Parker Reluctant Celebrity Chef. Originally from West Midlands, I love living by the sea in Morecambe, swimming, cycling, theatre, books, food, weather, sitcoms and LBBNML … SQUEEZE!

Saturday, 22 September 2018

The Impossible Thing : Diploma!



This week – staying at my parent’s while my Dad was having his operation – I’ve been researching a course I’d like to do. I can find various online courses in this subject and may go for a diploma in Weight Management Nutrition. This is a bit more than it sounds as the course seems to cover a wider range of issues related to obesity than just the nutrition side. There’s a post graduate one but its three grand and 600 hours work as opposed to 100 hours work and three hundred pounds. So diploma it is.

It’s suitable for health professionals, etc, as well as those working in the food industry. I’m supposed to be doing a course on allergies for work which I asked about ages ago but that doesn’t seem to be happening. Another chef within the company (works in a care home in Hammersmith) has asked to do an allergies course too and they are apparently looking into it at head office. I will wait till spring I think, before enrolling. Though I’m sure I could do both at once. And keep up with my fitness regime and finish my novel and submit to agents and independent publishers. Of course!

I already have two diplomas, in Human Nutrition and European Humanities, so Dip Hum Nut (sounds like something off a veggie café menu) and Dip Eur Hum. Might as well do Dip Wei Man Nut too! Well, it could be called that. And I have a BA and MA. Most over qualified nursery cook ever.

But … part of #TheImpossibleThing for me is reading around my subject. Hence all the weight loss memoirs and obsession with news stories and subsequent twitter rants about weight loss drugs.

When I started on my impossible journey I hoped to use my intelligence and determination (and my big head!) to do this. Knowledge is power, as they say. Let’s face it, there are many myths around what you need to do to lose weight. Or rather, a lot of utter nonsense talked. So, it can all help me in my quest for perfection … I mean my quest to be somewhere in the ideal weight range and, as I said from the start ,‘to find out what it’s like not to be fat’.

Also, I want to help others. Whether this is through publishing a The Impossible Thing book or maybe a possible change of career. I’ve often thought I’d like to be a nutritionist, except I was sure you couldn't have a fat one. I don’t know. But this diploma will be interesting anyway.
As well as a lot of hospital visiting and helping my Mum, this week I've been swimming in Cov Baths where I used to swim as a child. Built in 1967, I was swimming there in the seventies and eighties. Now it seems a bit shabby in places and so strange to be back. Its obviously still very much used though. I enjoyed my swims in the Olympic sized pool and my first-time-ever Jacuzzi.
My Jacuzzi tweet just made me laugh reading it back ...
'A swim dress and a Kakoozi don't go. Looked down at myself and decided I'd either put on ten stone or the triplets will be here by the weekend. Air filled the top too. Bit much. Relief to get out and shrink back to my usual slightly more modest size. '
There were some very helpful staff too, as I had locker key problems.
I've also done some nice short local walks and had a fab lunch with my best friend.
 
 
 

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Ilkley : Excitement, Adventure and Really Wild Things


I’ve used a quote from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - been re-watching it recently - to title this blogpost but it is really about my lovely trip to Ilkley yesterday. I sometimes can’t believe the places I trot off to on my own. It’s often writing that takes me to them. Or music. In this case, it’s my love of swimming.



 
It was in my New Year’s Resolution blogpost about wanting to swim in Ilkley Lido so I decided this was the day. Not very warm but sunny, cloudy, no rain. The three & a quarter hour journey ended up being four hours. I was due to change trains at Shipley but when I alighted I discovered there was a fire on the tracks so my next train was cancelled and, there being no toilets in Shipley station, I jumped on a train to Leeds, unsure if I would get to Ilkley this way. My geography of Yorkshire is hazy, google maps not playing ball to help me out.
I’d read some truly dreadful reviews of Ilkley Lido on Trip Adviser the previous evening. I only looked to find out if they have lockers because if you go somewhere on our own you don’t have anyone to mind your stuff while you take a dip. I had last minute panics about being stranded in Yorkshire in nothing but a damp swim dress. No money, train ticket, keys, phone, clothes, not even my glasses. I would be helpless. Scary thought.
Of course they have lockers but I got involved in reading all kinds of reviews about how unclean and tatty the place was. Awful café, staff that just chatted, thieves and drinking ‘chavs’, a need for flip flops in the tiny changing rooms/toilets as the floor was covered in piss and worse. They made it sound horrible. Dark, damp, evil-smelling and dangerous.
But it was fine. Slightly worse for wear being an old pool and buildings but seemed pretty clean, well-organised, lots of staff. I can see how things might get a bit unpleasant in hot weather when it’s very busy but that’s to be expected. As someone on TA pointed out, this is council run not a private health club. Let’s face it, they’ve done well to keep it open all this time. Morecambe’s pool is long gone. There is a campaign to save the lido at Grange-Over-Sands, which is disused. As always this is about money.
Ilkley lido is in the shape of mushroom. The stalk is the deep end at 2m, the widest part is 1.5 & the top mushroom third is the shallow end with a slide and fountain, the children’s area. I got in the middle section and was immediately plunged up to the neck into bracingly icy COLD water, which almost took my breath away. GASP! Colder than Gurnall Dubbs tarn of a few weeks back, I'm sure.
 
 
Lovely though. I just got swimming, trying to breathe at the same time. Always a good idea. After a few of the longer lengths I joined a pair of older-than-me women in rubber bathing caps in the mushroom stalk. (I'm looking at that and thinking 'mushrooms talk ... ha!) I climbed out into the relative warmth and got back in, deciding against swimming under the rope-with-floats dividing the two sections. Far too cold to dip my head in. After a few lengths one of the women got out and the other was talking to one of the life guards. Then she suddenly said there was a man having a fit or something and the life guard rushed over. The man had apparently been swimming and got dressed again but had ‘gone into aftershock’ as the rubber-hatted woman put it. She was clearly the expert. Several life guards gathered to make sure he was okay. He was laid down and wrapped in blankets. The woman was saying she was used to it and if you’re not used to it like him you should be careful and it was a shame her husband wasn’t here 'because he’s a doctor'.
I wondered if I would go into aftershock. I voiced this to her. She asked was I used to it. I told her about the tarn and the unheated pool in five weeks in the winter that I braved. She thought twenty minutes would be enough. I stayed in half an hour and did a walking tour of the children’s section and around the wedding cake style fountain. The pool had a view of the town and moor above it. Stunning location. I then reluctantly left the pool, had a piping hot shower in the perfectly fine changing rooms and an awful cup of tea in the café, took some photos and headed back into the town. Not in aftershock. I am hardy. And well upholstered.
 
 

Ilkley is a fine place, full of Saturday bustle. There seemed to be a lots of posh shops, 'interiors' ones in particular. The Veggie café I’d found online was full and I booked a table to return to in half an hour. I then walked round, got accosted by a charity woman, had a long conversation about mental health with her. She also told me where the charity shops were. I then had a great lunch and headed for them. I walked through the amazing market. Most stalls were full of food. Shame I was so stuffed from lunch. You could have a feast in Ilkley market and take a load of bread, tarts, nuts and jams back home.
I succumbed at the African arts stall and bought this silver horse crafted from wire. Couldn't resist. I love the movement in the mane and tail. This horse is standing on beach, leaning into the breeze coming in off the sea.

I do like horses. HORSES, Andy ... NOT slugs. Big difference. Photos of horses = good. Photos of slugs = yuck!
 
In the charity shops I bought several items, including a Monsoon dress for £8.99. It’s a very fitted size 20 with a halter neck (ridiculous!) & little zip at the side which doesn’t do up. I need to lose a bit more midriff. A few inches. Ok, four. I know I said I wouldn’t buy any more clothes that don’t fit but it’s in such good condition and close to fitting. And it was the Heart Foundation Shop, which I always like to support, 'cos of my niece's heart transplant. I gave them a tenner. I would anyway, regardless of the dress. It would be amazing to put it on and zip it up some day though. Worth swimming a million-trillion lengths for. But not worth giving up crisps and cheese.
 
IF IF IF IF I am losing another 2-3 stone then I’ll be wearing that … er … somewhere. For hoovering the stairs or doing the washing up or strolling to the Londis, perhaps.
But … onwards … #TheImpossibleThing I will get ya! But I WILL be treating myself along the way.
The journey home was eventful. To cut a long story short, I saw how wonderful our paramedics are when a young woman had a fit on the train. (Two fits in one day? Was that my fault and will there be a third?) They were so good and calm and capable and so beautifully diffused the situation with her 'boyfriend' (he had upset her in some way which wasn't helping her, I reckon) insisting on not being ‘thrown off the train’ as he put it & then swearing and threatening to set fire to it. (He was smoking in the toilets when she had the fit).
The big bearded older tattooed paramedic worked as a great team with the smaller younger female one, in saying and doing exactly the right thing. When the 'boy' got angry he spoke to the now slightly recovered woman and the other paramedic talked calmly to the belligerent 'boy'. Part of their training, I sensed. Basically, they were brilliant. As was the train manager. Give 'em all a pay rise, just like our politicians get.
But still, it was a good day. I’m taking one day’s holiday tomorrow. Off to Blundellsands and Crosby for beach walking & to finally see Another Place. More multiple trains and hopefully another nice lunch. And, fingers crossed, no one having a fit. No dramas please, but maybe a bit more excitement, adventure and really wild things.
 
 

Friday, 27 July 2018

The Impossible Thing : The Seven Stone Necklace


Amount Lost : 98 pounds / 7 stone 
Amount Still to Lose : 32 pounds or 2 stone & 4 pounds
Percentage Lost of the 130 Pounds I’m Aiming to Lose : 75.4%

Percentage of Original Weight Lost : 32.2%

BMI : 29.5

I finally did it. Seven stone lost in 2 years and 10 months. Seven stone necklace on and staying on. Can’t really believe I only have 2 stone 4 pounds still to lose. I would say three stone ‘cos I definitely intend to go a little further. Ten stone lost in total is the ultimate plan. Do I look like someone who is three stone overweight? I honestly do not know.

 
 
I'm still loving Zumba. Saturday morning and Wednesday evening.  It never feels like a chore. But I’m now trying other classes. Body Balance and Hydro Fit and who-knows-what-next. Step? Spin?

Not sure I could love anything as much as Zumba. The instructor is brilliant. She doesn’t shout at us. She has a we’re-all-in-this-together-attitude. My Saturday morning swim & Zumba gets me set for the weekend. Sure, I have to get up early AGAIN but concentrating on the moves in class with a relaxing swim and sauna beforehand releases all the work crap (okay, most of the work crap) from me. Reborn on a Saturday. Time to think about other things.

Still not sure I want to be the sort of person who does lots of classes, someone with a fitness regime, but unless I want to severely limit my food intake I have to, however silly it seems. That’s Hydro Fit. Very silly. The instructor on the side of the pool prancing away. Us splashing around, using foam weights for resistance under the water. Utterly ludicrous. But I just carry on and laugh at myself.

Am I really the same person I was three years ago? Taking short summer walks on the prom and feeling like I was in the way of more important people.

And I’m still swimming. I’m in that pool three or four times a week – often before a class - getting in yet more lengths. However, one Saturday in June I travelled to Oxenholme station where the FGE picked me up and we drove (well, she did) for a little way, then walked two miles to Gurnal Dubbs and swam and picnicked. It was great. Yes, I’m sure I felt a fish brush my knee & some weed got tangled around my leg and I imagined way worse lurking in the depths, but how exciting and brave to be swimming outdoors. I look at the photos and can’t quite believe I did it. Hope to do more outdoor swimming someday.


 
And, in the spirit of projecting forward …  

Two pounds to go till 100 pounds off.

Three pounds to go until I reach the weight I got to with Slyming Whirled (sic) when I was eighteen. Got to admit I’d be delighted to smash through that particular landmark.

Four pounds to go until I’m the lightest I’ve been since approximately halfway through senior school.

Seven pounds till I reach what, in the US, they call ‘onederland’, ie under two hundred pounds. I started at 304 pounds so … BIG WOW!

Then onwards to ‘eight stone off’ I guess. Might take a year …

Another big thank you to everyone who has liked, commented, retweeted and just generally been supportive. My mentioning every blooming pound must be most boring. Special thanks to the spooky old witch (her words) Stella for being right about me getting there this week and to the FGE for buying me the Seven Stone Necklace last November for my birthday and waiting all this time for me to wear it.
 

Saturday, 31 March 2018

The Impossible Thing : Merely Overweight


 
Amount Lost : 95 pounds / 6 stone & 11 pounds 

Amount Still to Lose : 35 pounds or 2 & a half stone

Percentage Lost of the 130 Pounds I’m Aiming to Lose : 73%

Percentage of Original Weight Lost : 31.25%

BMI : 29.9

I'd been banging on about it for weeks. Constantly projecting forward to keep myself going. Always looking to the next landmark and the one after that.

I’ve finally reached the point where ‘moderately obese’ slips into ‘overweight’, or, as I like to call it, 'merely overweight'. To put it another way, its step-ladder time!

Yes, I can now use the work step ladders. They have a fifteen stone limit on them. My manager said it didn’t matter but I don’t think she quite realised how far over I was. WAS. I started at twenty-one stone & ten pounds & am now fourteen stone & thirteen pounds, that’s one pound under for the step ladders ‘cos I’ll be wearing more clothes than I wear for weighing myself when I use them.

Yes, there are the bald facts, the bold facts, the facts I didn’t want to mention before. And, the final (Impossible) figure is – will be, could be, should be – twelve stone & six pounds, a pound under the top of the ideal weight range for my height.

I've no idea if this is what that cusp-point between these two states looks or indeed feels like. My cheap but friendly scales tell me and I choose to believe. Though it can’t be right that I’m only two and a half stone overweight, can it? CAN IT? I’ve also realised this the lowest weight I’ve been since I was nineteen when I started putting my Slummin’ Whirled (sic) weight back on. Incredible!

 

(I’m now wondering if I can, with enough time, get FURTHER into the ideal range. Could I be eleven stone ten, my Slummin' Whirled (sic) target from thirty-four years ago? WHAT AM I THINKING? I’m fairly sure I’ve not been this weight since I was about twelve, maybe even eleven, years old. I think my weight went up numerically with my age in six years of senior school and college.)

(I put that in brackets because it’s really Beyond The Impossible Thing …)

Lately, I’ve had more moments when I can see it. But I still have others where I decide I’ve not lost any and am making a fool of myself for mentioning each pound lost. It’s ridiculous, and similar in some ways to a very skinny person who sees themselves as fat. Come on, lovely brain, keep up.

But I’ve promised myself I’ll hold my nerve and keep going. For me there is no stopping and restarting, there is no ‘I must get back to it’, an expression I heard a lot at a January staff meal out, about either the slimming club or the gym or both. No, just keeping going slowly and as best I can.

Because I’m constantly eating more than I need – I do LOVE food - I have to up my exercise further. And I can. From May I’m going to be a full time member at the Health Club. This enables me to do a second Zumba class on a Wednesday evening and have the option of an early evening swim or two instead of an afternoon one. Once I’ve established that as routine and habit, I’ve promised myself I’m going to try another class, or two or three. Looking at Step, Hydro-fit and Balance, which is a mixture of Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi, none of which I’ve ever done. That will be a steep learning curve but if I can 'sort of' do Zumba, surely I can have a stab at these? I will only commit to trying once and then I’ll see. But then I said that about Zumba.

Thanks once again for the support everybody. Thank you for reading this, and for liking/commenting on every pound lost. It must be very boring …
 
A bit of before-and-after-ing. Can you see it?
 
 
July 2013
 


 
 March 2018
 
Several times a week – no exaggeration – I think ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE I’VE DONE THIS!!’

Onwards to summer, to the seven stone necklace & beyond …

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Impossible Thing : A We’re-Calling-it-Progress Report

Okay, I said back in September that I wasn't going to blog again until I had reached the stage of no longer being obese, just overweight. BUT ... it seems to be taking longer than I’d hoped. Still three pounds to go. Progress has been incredibly slow. I've actually only lost five pounds in the past five months. Shabby. BUT ... I've not given up and we’re calling it progress.

I've now lost a total of 6 stone and 8 pounds. I'm getting used to it. My fitness regime is set in stone. I've added Zumba and am determined to master all the complicated moves. It's the speed that makes it so difficult and seeing yourself in the mirror, floundering around. But I like the fast pace and the music is good. I will persevere.
On a recent trip to Kendal for lunch/charity shop sweep, the FGE & I went into an independent clothes shop, which sold clothes the owner insisted were one-size-fits-all. Well, I’m a bit cynical about such matters, especially as the FGE is a size 8 and I am a size 20 and a good eight inches taller with size nine feet to her four & half to five. But the woman said try some on. Fair enough. Some fitted, some didn’t though the style and length would mostly swamp my much smaller friend, especially as she likes a more fitted style. I was trying to explain to the woman that I immediately think stuff won’t fit because I’d lost six & a half stone and it’s often hard to see or even believe it. She looked rather shocked but impressed though her first question was ‘Did you have surgery?’

It’s amazing that surgery is someone’s first thought and makes me wonder if others have thought this or even thought I was ill, which could be a cause of weight loss. I doubt it cos I’m sure I don’t look or act ill. Anyway, I told her I hadn’t had surgery but had just done lots & lots of swimming and cycling over the past two and half years and eaten a bit less of certain foods.

This week I had my first taste of spring. Having got Brenda sorted with a service and a new back tyre (can't think how the first one got so worn) and seeing the fabulous bright sunny weather, I took two trips to Heysham, one to Morrison’s for supplies and another along the canal towpath to include a pub lunch. Brenda tried to go over a broken beer bottle on the prom but I wouldn’t let her. I know she wants to go off with the bike repair man in his van and get turned upside down again but I can’t keep paying for her fun.



Beautiful Morecambe Bay, complete with horse


Soon it will be summer. I'll be back to cycling to work as soon as the mornings are light enough. And I'll be checking I can still walk 5k in 45 minutes on the promenade. I may even be going in for the Cross Bay Challenge, a 7-8 mile walk across Morecambe Bay, from Arneside to Kents Bank, with 500 people including expert guides, with some wading up to knee or thigh level. (Knee for me, surely?). The scariest part is all the people. All talking at once. Maybe I should just register … and commit. Its fourteen weeks today.


AND ... thirteen weeks today I will be in Glasgow to see SQUEEZE. I hope I can be at seven stone off by then.

Six pounds? If I get my act together? If so, I'll be ‘allowed’ to wear this necklace, a present – purchased a tad prematurely because she has so much faith in me - from my Fitness Guru Extraordinaire.

 

 

I love it. I mentioned seeing it at Fairfield Mill last May to the FGE and she went off and bought it for me. Some folk are too generous. It's ‘chakra’, which means nothing to me. I just love the colours and the symbolism of the seven stones, gradually getting bigger … or smaller.
 
So onwards to the seven stone necklace and beyond ...

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Resolutioning : Possible & Impossible Things


 
Don’t usually make such a comprehensive resolution list or at least haven’t for a long time. For ages the only resolution I had was to lose weight. Yawn! As if that could ever happen.
But it has. I can barely believe it but it has. Well, I’ve done it. It didn’t just happen. But it’s in progress so even though it’s first on the list, I ain’t worried about that anymore.
So …
  1. Get further on with The Impossible Thing. Hope to reach the ‘merely overweight & can use the work step ladders’ stage & then towards the ‘seven stone off’ stage by early February. Okay … March. Something special happens then. Present from my Fitness Guru Extraordinaire (known hereafter as FGE) that’s waiting patiently in a drawer. Then I’m heading towards the ‘one hundred pounds lost’ stage’ & then the ‘lowest weight since school’ stage and, by the end of the year, past the ‘eight stone off’ stage aka the ‘OMG, I lost the equivalent of my FGE’ stage and with maybe less than a stone to go. Possible? Impossible? Just keep swimming, Sal.
  2. Drink more tea and alcohol. Kind of funny as ‘drink less’ would be a more expected resolution. Especially with ‘Dry January’, which I suspect would be followed by a celebratory ‘Wet February’. Like if I tried giving up cheese or crisps I’d go mad for them when I started back on them again. So why bother. Surely January is bad enough without at least a little of what you like drinking/eating? But the reason for this resolution is that I always want to eat but it seems more normal to be drinking a load of tea or alcohol. Just a mug of tea and some folk are quite happy. And, as for alcohol, why don’t I drink more than just occasionally? Most people do. Maybe it would make me happier. Maybe I’ll finally try gin. Maybe I’ll even try that ‘write drunk, edit sober’ thing.
  3. Get a cat. I often think this when I see cat videos on Twitter. I liked that one where a cat jumped on a small child and brought it to the ground. They’re so cute, loveable and fluffy, especially when they’re dressed up. A ginger one would be nice or something stripy like a tiger. Not a dog ‘cos I’m allergic. A cat would be company. Might even save on kettle boiling for hot water bottles, though it might be more likely to give me a scathing look as it walked away.
  4. Swim outdoors in a Lido. There’s one in IIkley – never been - or perhaps I could head South. It would make a good change from the endless back-&-forth in the pool at the VVV, which of course I love and never ever tire of. The Ilkley pool is shaped like a mushroom. I like mushrooms.
  5. Keep my flat clean and tidy. No washing up from three days ago lurking in the kitchen, a toilet you could eat your dinner off, books dust-free and colour coded, carpet devoid of hair and crumbs. Visitor-ready at all times.
  6. See either Squeeze, Nick Lowe or both on stage. Somewhere in this country, preferably – remembering my lovely Nick Lowe in Glasgow trip - a place I’ve never been before. Wherever I go I’ll just walk and walk and walk. And maybe do a bit of eating too. I’ll see Chris Difford in March, when he comes to Morecambe. Almost as if he knew I was here. And I have tickets booked for David Baddiel and for Danny Baker too.
  7. Do more beach walking. Like last August bank holiday, to include finally seeing those rusty men at Crosby beach who stare out to sea waiting for something to happen. Hope we get some good weather on days I’m not at work.
  8. Front crawl. I only ever do breast stroke and a bit of walking. I'm going to give front crawl a go, even if its just a length or two to start with. Must dig out the goggles and nose clip I got a few years back, at the encouragement of the FGE. Got to confess although I don't mind sticking my head in the water I did say she'd 'taken all the fun out of it'. Time to give it another go.
  9. Decorate bedroom. This is the next room on my list. Will start in the spring. I plan to buy a fabulous painting by Frances for above the fireplace. For years I’ve had that framed Woody Allen vodka ad from 1966. He’s temporarily covered up by pictures of Chris and Glenn from Squeeze. Woody had to go.
  10. Do at least one reading. If I get my act together I could have another go in the Pulp Idol heats. I have several novels started that I could work up into something. Could give Kite Children a whirl, though I can imagine the judge’s puzzled faces as I try to explain myself already. Oh dear …
  11. Finally finish Priscilla Parkin Reluctant Celebrity Chef. The dreaded third novel. Poor Priscilla always gets pushed to the end of the To Do List and ends up falling off into the abyss of stuff-still-not-done. I have four days booked off in Feb when I want to do a full read-through of what I have and tackle the dreaded synopsis. Then I’ll submit to agents again. Third time lucky? Still don’t want to self-publish, which is just as well as I don’t know how to do that.
  12. Organise a family party for my Mum’s 80th. Am I capable of getting my parents and maybe fifteen other people – some of whom don’t have email or their own transport - to the same restaurant (perhaps The Royal at Heysham) on the same day and add a speech and whatever else and for some of it to be a surprise? Probably not. I wish my brother and I had another sister and brother, maybe older and good at organising. Step up, Sal, you’re fifty-two now. And once that’s done, I need to start planning my Dad’s 80th for the year after.
  13. Get stories into a couple more anthologies. There are fourteen on Amazon's Sal Page Page (Never fails to amuse me. Thanks Dad, for giving me a good writery name.) There will be one anthology out this year with a story of mine in that I already know about. I came third in the Save As Writers Writing the City competition two years ago, which included doing a reading in Canterbury. The original version of the story was written in 2003. Blimey! Only a decade and half later it gets into a book. Too slow for words.
  14. Buy a second bicycle. To keep going with the named after sitcom character thing, I’d either call it Lance, after Lance in the detectorists, or Shelley after James Shelley in Shelley. I’d need to make a bit of space in the shed next to Brenda but other than that, no problem.
  15. Keep adding to my notes for my The Impossible Thing book. I’ll be a millionaire! Or … I just want to help people. Sal solves the obesity crisis single-handedly. Or maybe just inspires a few people. Can’t really write it till I’m at target and maintained but when I think of something I make a note of it.
  16. Take a class at the health club. It does get mentioned occasionally by one of the staff. ‘Mix it up a bit?’ she says. I’m going to be really daring and try Zumba, I think. I won’t like it but I’ll give it a go. Might take earplugs for if the music’s too loud.
  17. Finally get to tweet food. I’ve been saying this for years but surely this will become a reality soon. My Dad says you need all the ingredients in a 3D printer the other end and that’s aside from the actual cooking. What does he know? Well, he tells me he predicted the internet, email and social media in 1970. He didn’t mention it at the time though, unless I forgot. I guess at 4 years old I’d have believed anything. So if – massive IF - 2018 is the year of the first ever food-tweeting I want to be in on it. I’ll be able to tweet Stella a mug of tea when her butler is out & she can try whatever I’m cooking. I could tweet AJ a Beef, Bacon and Beer Pie. (All the Bs!) and all of my 1,066 followers could try my Shortbread and Cheesy Oat Cakes. Get everyone hooked then start charging. Free for FlashDogs though, of course.
  18. Stop buying clothes that don’t fit. Bide my time and save my money. Waiting to be at target. Then, I’m going mad with proper shopping in a big city. Many, many bags and pizza for lunch.
  19. Laugh more. I reckon I laugh loads anyway but when I got that rail replacement bus the day after Boxing Day and everyone in the long snaky queue was cross and moany and stressed and ‘it’s ridiculous’ ing, I chose to just laugh. If anyone noticed, they probably thought I was laughing ‘with’ somebody. (I wasn’t) or just that I was nuts (I love nuts) but it was great. Yeah, laugh more. Just for the sake of it.  
 
 Okay, at least two of these are joke resolutions. Up to you to work out which.
* A HAPPY & BRILLIANT NEW YEAR TO ANYONE WHO READ THIS FAR*
 Sal

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

#TheImpossibleThing: Two Thirds of the Way


 Progress Update aka ‘There’s Definitely Something Wrong With These Scales’


Total lost: 87lb (6 stone 3 lb)

Amount left to lose: 43lb (3 stone 1lb)

Percentage of original weight lost: 28.3% (Well over a quarter!!) 

BMI: 31 (moderately obese) Started at 43.6 (morbidly obese)

This time round there will be no complaining about how much it messes with your head & no moaning about things from far back in the mists of time. This is …

ALL THE GOOD STUFF

So much easier walking uphill

This is really just another way of saying everything feels that bit easier but walking uphill is when you notice it the most. How I managed to carry these two sacks of potatoes and the carrots with me everywhere or indeed anywhere I do not know.



25kg + 10kg + 2.5kg


At least once a week I walk up Bridge Road after work just to check this is still correct. I really have to breathe but no longer have to stop to ‘admire the view’ or feel like my heart and lungs want to explode. I can get to the top, even the last very steep bit. On my recent visit to Glasgow there were many steep hills. I now see these as an opportunity rather than a right pain. The first one was Garnet Street, near Tenement House.  




Garnet Street, Glasgow

I was walking slowly but keeping going. A man ran past me. A proper fighting fit runner. But I still made it to the top without too much hardship. Yay!

At the top there were some scaffolders and one of them called ‘Have you got the time, pal?’

Pal!?

The use of pal is one of the clues to that dreaded realisation that you’ve been mistaken for a man. AGAIN.
Mate. That’s another one. And I once heard a man say ‘Mind that man’ to a child though the child was on the floor of the supermarket so he was only looking at my feet. This is something I’ve heard both Miranda Hart & Roxane Gay talking about. I think it’s mainly being tall and big, something I’ll always be. But it may also be to do with how we dress. But … if I went for high heels and a flowery dress would they think I was a man in drag?

Better sleep.

I am fairly certain I didn’t/don’t have something as serious as sleep apknee-ah (can’t even spell it!) I think it’s just now I wear myself out more exercising, though there could be other reasons. The main thing is when I did used to wake in the night it would be the time for thinking ‘I really should do something about this.’ But now I’m more likely to be thinking ‘I can’t believe I’ve actually done this and am doing it.’ I like that.

I like summer more

Cycling to work, wearing sleeveless tops and getting brown shoulders, going places and not wanting to rush home. Actually wanting to be out. I want summer back. We’ve just not had enough. Ah, but by next summer I will – hopefully – have less than two stone to go AND the weather will be fabulous. More beach walking like I did on The Wirral for a day at the end of August. Even if I have to have sunstroke again. Must buy a hat.





Getting a reputation

In the leisure club pool I’m becoming known as someone who really swims and keeps going. Several people now ask how many lengths I’m doing or am I doing ‘the mile’ and one even lets me go in the end lane because he knows I keep swimming and he’ll stop for chatting if the opportunity arises. I have no time for chatting. Got #greatlengths to do.

The first time a relative stranger asks ‘Have you lost weight?’

I knew this would happen at some stage and last week it finally did. Maybe people notice but don’t say. It took someone’s Nana – she’s picking up her granddaughter from the nursery just as I leave after my morning shift - to be daring and ask.
‘I hope you don’t mind me asking?’

‘No. I appreciate it ‘cos half the time I can’t see it or believe it.’

She also said ‘You look great. Not that you didn’t look great before.’

This made me laugh. It sure is a sensitive subject. Though if someone asked you this and you hadn’t lost any you could hardly be insulted. It might just mean you'd chosen a flattering outfit. Anyway, I told her I’d lost six stone two, that it had taken nearly two years and that slow was the best way. I said I’d done it mainly through lots of exercise as I cannot diet.

Got to admit this made my day. I wonder if it will happen again. I did have a bet with myself on it being one of the university cleaners who are often on the same buses as me. They are quite vocal, shall I say. And I had high hope for my hairdresser, who I see infrequently and who is someone into gossip and knowing and remembering everything.

The idea of people noticing and drawing attention to it used to scare me. When you’re fat it really is a case of ‘the elephant in the room’. (Must stop wearing those grey trousers and top!) But this time it’s different. One of the reasons is I’ve been so honest about it all online so it would be daft to get shy in real life. And another is that I’ve not been doing that terrible soul-destroying-depriving-yourself-of-what-you-love dieting thing. I’ve been doing that positive-life-affirming-getting-out-and-about swimming, walking and cycling thing.
When you begin to lose weight you draw attention to your fatness. There’s a fear of what folk will think when it goes back on but I guess I know that’s not going to happen now.

That Feeling of finally being in control of something I’ve never been able to control.

This is the big one. In any area of life, I hate the feeling of not being able to control things. I never really thought I could do this even to the extent I have so far and so easily. Relatively easy. And this feeling, I can carry around with me at all times. It’s great.

That’s it for now. The plan is next time I blog I’ll be a) No longer ‘obese’ but merely ‘overweight’ and b) Finally able to use the step ladder at work. Eight pounds to go. Wow!

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU for all the encouragement in the form of comments here & on Twitter and Facebook and for all the likes and retweets too. Massively appreciated. You’re ACE, the lot of you.

Sal