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Friday, 28 September 2012

The body beautiful

Or not beautiful.  I've lost a bit of weight recently, well over the last two years. Turns on that if you eat your way up to a fat bastard it takes a long while to lose it. Who'd have thunk it. I've lost about four and a bit stone. I have moments where I would like to pose standing in one leg of an old pair of jeans whilst smuggley holding the waistband out but I don't think it would serve much purpose. Not least because I have thrown out all my old clothes, as well, they don't fit - why would I keep them, unless I needed to camp out somewhere and couldn't find a tent. But most of the time you get on with it really. Like I say it's not that exciting over time.

However, I did lose most of it without exercising. I suffered no ill effects but a holiday away meant I had time on my hands and ended up reading a lot of cack magazines. All of which were full of articles about people who had lost weight and then were left with acres of 'loose skin' and can now stretch their stomachs over their heads and wear their navels as hats. I do not want to do this. Hat's don't suit me.

So I have been going to the gym. A gym round the corner from work lured me in with a £30 for 30 day offer. Interestingly (not interesting) they only do classes so when I am there I have to move rather than half heartedly dicking around on a rowing machine and thinking I've earnt a bag of crisps. Now the 30 days are up and I have committed to another 3 months.

I started spinning. Once you get over the feeling that you are about to die and once the amazing feelings of nausea vanish after a couple of hours you feel OK. Until your legs seize up. I also do pilates which I always did but this one takes it to a new level. With equipment and a sadist running the class. When someone asks you to lay on your backs, ankles held apart by a ring and then instruct you to fling your ankles behind your head without using your arms to propel you, you start to wonder if (a) you bend that way and (b) if it's a pilates class or 50 shades of grey. But one look at the teacher physique and you become a bit encouraged.

I also power plate. This is enormous fun and it only takes 25 minutes so I can do it before work.
The problem is my legs. My thighs do not enjoy exercise and rebel. After every class my thighs kill. I can't walk downstairs and have to lower myself cautiously in to every chair. I wave aside seats on the tube as I can't get in to them.

I also have damaged my ankle. During a spin class my foot got loose and the pedal slammed in to the back of my ankle. I lifted the bike off the ground with the force. 6 weeks later and it still hurts. I think a bit of excess skin would have protected me

Friday, 21 September 2012

Thinking on your feet

One night on my holiday I stumbled across some 'entertainment' in one of the bars. This is not really my cup of tea but they were quite good and the one of the men in the singing group was dancing incredibly enthusiastically and really reminded me of someone (turns out it's the man who runs the Christmas shop in the department store in Elf). At one point he sung 'You Sexy Thing' and asked for a lady to come out of the audience to be sung to. 

It was half horror and half sheer delight that filled me when a six year old got out of the audience and went on stage. The singer admirably carried on albeit looking incredibly uncomfortable whilst repeatedly calling a six year old 'You Sexy Thing'. However there was no hiding the look of panic on his face when he began the verses 'How did you know I needed you so badly? How did you know I'd give my heart gladly? Yesterday, I was one of the lonely people, now you're lying next to me...."  We all knew the next words were 'Making love to me'. What was going to happen? Where would he go from here? 

He rose to the challenge admirably. In a hail Mary pass he changed the words. Therefore with his arm around a six year old we were treated to 'Now you're lying next to me, making food for me'. 


I don't like flying. This is not in itself unusual, many people don't. Yes, we've all heard the statistics (in fact a particularly unhelpful Scouse gentleman pointed them out mid flight yesterday), we know that you are more likely to be killed by a bear with an egg whisk than die in a plane crash but I feel that in the case of the bear at least you would feel that by barging through his homeland then you had done something to deserve it. What possible argument can a designed for purpose lump of metal have with you? 

When I was six or seven the plane I was on suffered engine failure so we glided in to Guernsey on one engine. A couple of years ago the plane I was on filled with smoke and we were forced to return to Stanstead and land. Last Thursday I suffered more air issues. 

I write this on the balcony of my hotel room in Majorca. We arrived last night. Very nice. The flight here? Not so nice. Whilst on Easy Jet flight 3215 we suffered an incident. I had done my usual routine of downing a bottle of rescue remedy, silently praying and hating every minute of take off. I was actively loathing the man/boy/hyperactive shit sitting behind us. He wasn't seated anywhere near his friend but that didn't stop him talking to him. He repeatedly bellowed "Oi Peanut. Peanut! Are you wet enough?" I have no idea what this means but I suspect it's filthy. He also had an animated argument with Peanut about who was going to pay for drinks. They were both insistent it would be them and eventually Hyperactive Shit won. He paid the flight attendant and said 'I'm paying, as usual'. Here's a hint: if you don't want to pay, let the person who is offering do it. He was also trying to chat up the girls sitting next to him. His killer chat up technique was to tell them all the night clubs they should go to and their proximity to McDonalds and trying to impress them by telling them he spent more on his holiday as prices are decided 'by postcode'. A lot of my worrying energy was channelled in to hating this dickhead and I believe that my lack of concentration caused what happened next. 

About an hour in to the flight my friend went to the loo. The boy sitting on my right (who rather sweetly had spent the whole flight doing his maths homework) went and got in the queue and whilst there was no one in the seats around me I thought I may as well go as well. So I went and stood behind Eugene (boy). I was just admiring the coffee pots and how they fitted in to the wall when the plane dropped about 100 foot. I leaped (was thrown) five feet in the air and landed on my knees James Brown style. Eugene was bouncing around behind me. The whole plane screamed and this comforting sound was accompanied by the sound of smashing as the drinks trolleys were out and were now laying on their sides or against seats. A stewardess was crying and bleeding from where she'd been thrown and hit her head on the ceiling. 

I crawled back to my seat as it was impossible to stand and even crawling was like trying to get off a bouncy castle whilst people leapt around on it. About 60% of the plane was in tears. And my chum was still in the toilet. Eugene followed me in crawling and we both strapped ourselves in. I immediately returned to my praying and worrying. 

Hyperactive shit behind me had never known such joy and was so excited and screaming "I loved it. Did you love it?" He then took his seatbelt off to really enjoy it. Eventually Peanut stepped up to the mark and pointed out that people were quite upset and he may not have picked the right audience. 

Just as I was wondering if my friend was going to emerge from the toilet we dropped again. Screams, crying, drinks flying. Hyperactive shit hit the ceiling so hard he broke a light and was delighted. The girl sitting next to him diverted my attention by grabbing a handful of my hair. 

Easyjet then thought to light the seatbelt signs. 

Eventually it calmed. My friend came back. She had escaped the toilet after the first drop and had been grabbed by a stewardess and strapped in to an emergency chair. When she emerged she thought there had been a slaughter. She later worked out that people were covered in red wine, not blood. The tears were real though. We eventually landed and people had to go to the front to have their injuries dealt with. I was just thrilled to be on the ground and was instantly dreading the flight back. 

The hair puller behind us put it in perspective. "You were in the loo? Oh my God. Were you pissing?"

On the return flight yesterday I was eavesdropping on some people who were on the original flight with us. Turns out we had flown through a hurricane and they hadn't enjoyed their whole holiday as they had been worrying about coming back. 

Why, you may ask, do I keep getting on planes when they are so determined to kill me? Well it's because all these incidents happen on the outward journey. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Taking a break.....

For my two readers out there you may have noticed that this has not been updated in quite a while. You have probably wept, ripped your clothing and had suicidal thoughts. I can only apologise and promise to be better. The reason for this break has been because I have written a book. I am laughing as I type this as I can't believe I have actually done it. That's a lie. I'm not laughing, I'm not sure people actually do that. I am in fact talking to a work colleague whilst I write this and she is discussing a severe work crisis. So I am not laughing. I feel that would  be inappropriate.

But it is done! The short version of how the book came to be is - I always wanted to write a book. So I did. The slightly longer version is this: I always wanted to write. I always had an inkling I was OK at writing. I had an English teacher who hated my guts and told me I was useless and so I didn't do English A'level as she predicted me a F at GCSE. I actually got a double A (turns out I did a lot better when she wasn't marking my work) but still didn't do A level as the thought of spending two more years in her company made me unhappy. She had also managed to ruin Jane Eyre for me and I wasn't prepared to have her ruin any more books by banging on about the 'sympathy of nature'. It never once crossed her mind that it was raining all the time because the book was based in England, instead it was always raining to sympathise with Jane. Much like the weather in Korea after Kim Jong Il died.

Anyway, left school, went to university, worked on the paper, ended up working in television but always had in mind that I wanted to write. Then when I went to work on EastEnders and in my first week I was asked to take part in a question and answer for the weekly newsletter 'the Walford Gazette'. This was traditional for every new comer and I emailed back my replies. The man that ran it, Laurence, emailed back and said he liked the way I wrote and offered me a weekly collumn. The majority of those articles are on this blog. After three very happy years on EastEnders I decided to leave and write a book. The Gazette and the response to it had made me think I could do it and I'd had an idea that I was eager to explore. I was going to go freelance to support myself so thought I'd have a lot of downtime to write.

Luckily/unluckily freelancing went really well and I've not had a day out of work for three years. Then last November whilst working on a comedy programme called Mongrels I got an email to my BBC account from Marie Claire magazine. This was strange not least because Marie Claire never email me and also because I don't use my BBC account for personal emails as, well, I don't work there. It was only chance I was there for 6 weeks and they coincided with this email coming through. The email told me I had got down to the final two in a competition I had no recollection of entering. It was the novel writing part of the Marie Claire 'Inspire and Mentor' awards. A great scheme where people who want to get ahead in certain industries are matched with a mentor who encourages and supports them. My interview was the first week of December.

I could find no evidence of entering the competition and had no idea what I had sent in to convince them I should be in the final two. I concluded to just go and see how it went. My mentor, if I won, would be the fabulous author Jane Fallon. I did the interview, convinced myself I'd cocked it up then two months later I found out I'd won.

Jane has been an amazing mentor. The advice and help she has given me has been incredible and the book I have now is completely different (but a hundred times better) than the book I started with. She has given me such support and knowing I have her help has forced me to be strict and dedicated to my writing. Obviously working full time and writing part time, plus trying to have a life and help out at things (trying to hold a jubilee party for 150 old people was probably not my best idea) is difficult but knowing that there is someone reading your stuff and wanting you to improve makes getting up at 6 to write so much easier.

So yes, it is done. I'm sure I've not seen the last of it but 90,000 words have been committed to paper. I'm not sure where it goes from here but it's been a hell of a year.
I suppose I shall now take a break from writing...by writing. Normal service should be resumed on here now.