Do something that scares you every day! Go Skiing!

DSC_0101  Isn’t that one of those dittys/ that go around that is supossed to enhance and challenge your life? It seems a bit much  to say ‘every’ day, maybe once a week/month would be enough to stimulate the grey matter and get the endorphins circulating. However on our annual ski trip that’s exactly what happens. It scares the bejesus out of me in various degrees EVERY day!

This is my 4th year skiing, this time we are in Avoriaz and as everyone knows the older you are when you start the harder it is. We all watch in awe at the little dwarf commando skiers age no more than 7 whizzing down the slopes in a stiff upright but oh so confident manner that put us oldies to shame. However they are young, have no fear, have a very low centre of gravity which means when they fall they are pretty much already on  the floor!

I take the arbitrary ESF lessons and end up with the inevitable  crusty old french guy who churns out the standard lines every week. ‘Follow my line!’ Yeah that’s fine if you are next in line to him but 7/8 people back in the snake means you can’t see or hear him so you are pretty much on your own. If he speaks English it is a bonus. So it’s a case of go with the flow and do your best.

So day 1 – 3 is Ok (after all I have been in level 1 for 4 years!) I am cruising at the top end of the class. Then Day 4 hits and we go on steeper slopes.! The fear kicks in and all the good techniques and form are replaced by the survival/’get me to the bottom of this mountain the size of Everest at any cost’ stance = BAD!

Day 4/5 is the wobble day when I struggle with the decision of jacking it all in and spending the rest of the week in the gym/spa.
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The afternoons are taken up with leisurely ski trips and frequent vin chaud/hot chocolate stops with the OH who has learnt (the hard way) to ply me with platitudes and to big up my skiing skills at every occasion in the deperate hope I won’t throw in the towel and leave him without a ski companion in future years. It’s a fine line!

If I get over the wobble (which I have always managed thus far) day 5/6 are challenging/scary testing lessons but (once over) Oh so exhilarating! I feel good, alive, like I cheated death again and feeling invincible!

I have made progress in small steps, I feel good about myself for holding in there and I definately did something every day that scared me! Tick!

I end the week with a sense of relief, achievement and feel good factor. I cant wait to get home to my comfort zone. Will I be here next year! Of course, it you don’t scare and stretch yourself every year/month/day you will never experience the satisfactory high of knowing you came through and conquered a fear!

I might even manage level 2 next year! Go for it!

So this is the scenario every year, and every year I get a bit better and a bit more confident, this year I tackled a red run, that must be progress.  I wasn’t too petrified.DSC_0128

I have a love hate relationship with fear, I can never let it beat me and without it life can be dull and too safe so I’ll keep to my motto: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway! Its worth it!   DSC_0108

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I went to Prison. I am planning on returning very soon!

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Last Weekend when I visited Oxford we went to Oxford Castle an ancient building in the heart of the city. What I didn’t know before arriving was that it was HMP Oxford prison until 1996. The black Panther was a well know inmate among many others. Whilst it was a fascinating glimpse into somewhere I would not ever like to visit for real, the same cannot be said of the main wing which is now transformed into Hotel Malmaison.

We decided to have a look around and I felt like I’d stumbled upon a scene from the popular TV series ‘Porridge’ only a luxury version. It had all the atmosphere of the original prison and one could easily imagine the uniformed inmates being let out of their cells by stern guards and descending the stairs to breakfast. You could almost hear the clanking of keys and the echo of shouts and lots of voices However it was now eerily quiet with plush carpets, chandeliers and comfy sofas in abundance. The lift gave you the feeling you were in a  padded cell and everywhere was low lighting to give a strange and slightly eerie feel. You couldn’t help but wonder what may have occurred in that building over the years.

The cells/rooms must have been at least 3 cells knocked into 1 room. Perhaps 1 cell per room may have been a little too authentic and I am sure the restaurant serves more than porridge and gruel. The doors to the rooms were not changed at all and had the cell numbers and peepholes in the door (blocked up I hasten to add)

Although we were not staying there this time I immediately put it on the list for a must stay at some time in the future. It seemed like a fun and quirky place to spend a weekend and I am sure there was more oddness to discover

I Never thought I would be saying that I would really like to spend a night or two in the cells so much! I hope they give you the key though!

 

The Dreaming Spires of Oxford

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Oxford is a city of dichotomy. Is the city part of the university or the university part of the the city? We explored this unique place at the weekend. Beautiful ancient architecture, dreaming spires, student life and tourist activity.

Undeniably a beautiful place for ‘beautiful minds’ but what of  the reality of the place. Oxford is surely dominated by the colleges of the famous university, but where does the university and the city begin and end? As a visitor accompanied with a daughter attending Bath university it was an interesting insight. I had no expectations except for the knowledge of a very interesting, beautiful academic city.

On our day of exploration it was entirely tangible how the university is entwined with the city, its hard to separate the two. I fully understand how historically the  ‘town vs gown conflict’ came about. We as foot soldiers on a walking tour, one of many of the day, encountered a body of graduating students and the mayhem that entails. Including by night the various vikings/Pokemon/fantasy characters roaming around which adds to the charm of the place, including the  sight of a naked (I am guessing) student running the centre followed by a crowd of cheering onlookers  Most of the colleges we hoped to visit were closed for the ceremonies and according to a local ‘we have graduations all the time, it’s an everyday occurence’ Whilst it made a great spectacle of mortar boards and gowns in succession in front of beautiful buildings we were slightly frustrated that we could not enter the buildings and places we came to see.

In contrast my daughter,  who turned down the opportunity of applying here, when asked, ‘Would you have liked to have applied here? replied, ‘Its beautiful place but I would be really frustrated by all this tourist activity around ‘my’ campus when I am trying to get around to lectures, learn and do my studies. Hence the Gown vs Town perspective.

I loved my visit to Oxford and it was a truly magical place and a must see city. I was enchanted by the view from the towers of the central church and the general atmosphere of academic learning in the ancient buildings spanning back centuries but would I like to live here, probably not , too many students, would I like to be a student? probably not, too many tourists! All in all very beautiful place, most definitely worth a visit.

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7th March – Not Just Another Day – My Birthday!

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I was born at approximately 1.30 PM on this day many many years ago at home, as was normal in caveman times. As I was spat out of the womb my mother screamed at the midwife and kicked her in the stomach. My fathers first reaction on seeing me was ‘Ooh another boy!’ (he was wrong!) whilst throwing the placenta onto the open fire! (The details I have been regailed with over the years)
So began the first day of my life on this earth, I could go on but fast forwards lots of years, many events later and 3 beautiful children of my own I find my self once again on  the day of my birth, that auspicious of days, the 7th March. Only this time it is the 50th time it has occurred. Yes half a century, that sounds old! I don’t feel old but its the oldest I’ve ever been and the adverts on TV are now tauntingly inviting me to save for funeral costs and take out life insurance. Gosh I can even get a FREE Parker pen with one. What an incentive! I can even now join in the frivolities of a SAGA holiday and be the youngest there!

My brother sent me a greeting ‘Welcome to Hawaii!’ I had no idea what he was talking about and thought that since he’s older than me senility had taken place. However, after about a minute I got it! Hawaii 5 O! Yes you’d have to actually be over 50 to get this joke and to have even heard of this TV series. But it made me laugh! Would go down a treat at a SAGA holiday.

However when all is said and done I do not feel 50 (however that is supposed to feel).  I will continue ripping it up at the gym, skiing, horse riding and water skiing when ever possible, travelling the world, trying new things and riding the biggest baddest rollercoasters I can find. I may draw the line at a bungee jump but do not rule out a parachute jump. Can you still be a bit of an adrenaline junkie at 50? Oh yes YOLO! (over 50’s look it up) and more than half of it may be over, so YOLO to the Max!

After all 50 is the new 40 and since I probably feel about 28  then I am sure it all adds up perfectly, never was good with numbers and basically that’s ALL it is, a number! Cheers x

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