Intentional walking ?

June left this comment: I have seen the phrase intentional walking and am a little unclear about it. Often when I’m on a walk I am going slower and with less intensity than when I am working in the yard. ???

Just a Thought – View from the Teapot

Other people may mean something different, but for me “intentional walking” is when I think “I’m going for a walk”. So I am not counting every step that I take in my 1,000 mile challenge. Some people do, especially those who do a lot of walking in their job. I am counting those steps (or rather, the distance) I take when I leave the house with no intention but to go for a walk.

BUT, I do also count any steps taken when I follow a walking video – if the weather is bad, for example, or I don’t have time for a walk. Then I do a 30 minute video which (so I’m told) is the equivalent of 2 miles of walking. Much faster than I actually walk, as I do about 3 miles an hour walking pace.

ALSO, on days when I’m in school, I use my pedometer and count 2 miles as 5,000+ steps…mostly because I’m so knackered after a day in school!

Some days it's just all too much – Unwind Your Mind

So that’s what I mean when I say “intentional walking”. I’m now heading towards my 225th miles milestone…But I’m a bit Bof about that too. (See yesterday’s post)

Bof.

Bof. The noise that French people seem to say when they’re just sort of saying “Well…y’know…it’s like…” Bof. Or as the dictionary puts it: Expression de lindifférence, du manque de motivation ou denvie.

Conversation between two friends in French - Bla Bla Français

I’m a bit Bof at the moment. I’m still walking – in fact on Friday I had a lovely walk. Because of lockdown I had no school, so I decided to go for a longer walk – I did just over 7 miles, which, if I’m honest, seems to be about my limit. I felt most uplifted by the end, but that upness has gradually drained out of me…

I decided in a rash moment to move my study into the spare bedroom and the study into the spare bedroom. I’m sure when it is finished I will be very happy, but there’s a lot of chaos ensuing. I’m trying to declutter as I go (to a certain extent!) and I’m doing reasonably well with this, but I still feel it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better… I’m doing this between lessons so every now and then I have to break off to sound relatively normal as I teach!

Mr FD had booked holiday next week, as we were planning to go away. He is keeping this as holiday, so I think he’s going to help me with the furniture removal one day. That should be fun…Not.

The confinement is getting me down – which is bizarre, as – quite frankly – it hasn’t made that much difference to how I live my life. I’ve been teaching online for over a year now, I didn’t go out that much before, so why it should be something I miss now I don’t know! I am sad I missed Mike’s Goodbye service at church. Mike, through his own description, strove to be the “grease and the glue” at church. The grease to help smooth the path forward, and the glue was to assist in keeping things together during the pandemic and the time without a resident priest. I was sorry I couldn’t go.

Here’s Mike, with Susan, our Priest in Charge, in our chapel in Royat.

I suppose it’s things like not being able to go to Clermont to deliver some things that need to go to Susan & Linda, or to see my colleagues, or to browse around Noz. Just little whinges. Nothing scary and serious. I know I should be trying to be a bit more upbeat and positive, but not today.

Anyway. That’s me.

Bof.

and now for something completely indifferent | Crazy cats, Cats, Bad cats

Yes, I’m here…

It’s been a funny old time. Throughout Lent I had various plans to “do good deeds” but I didn’t; I’ve been meaning to post more on the blog, but I (obviously!) didn’t; I planned to write something for Good Friday and Easter Day, but didn’t… No real reason: I’ve felt a bit out of sorts, but nothing specific. So apologies if you have been waiting with bated breath (highly unlikely!) for a post which never came!

France is back in not-really-full confinement. It’s as bad as Boris at his most wishy washy: nobody quite understands what they can or can’t do. We have a 19.00 curfew – but it doesn’t seem to be strictly policed. We need to complete an attestation if we go beyond 10 km of our house, which we shouldn’t do if it can be avoided; working from home is recommended; all non essential shops will be closed. And, finally, there seems to be a push on the vaccination front, but I think 40% of people asked said they weren’t going to have it.

Unfortunately this means that I can’t go to a Covid compliant get together to say Goodbye to one of our church stalwarts, who is going back to the US. Mike works for Michelin, and his stint in France is over; he will be sorely missed. But this is the nature of membership of Christ Church – although less so now than in the past. Because a good part of the congregation was/is made up of ex-pats from Michelin, the numbers were always a little mobile. However, we are a little less Michelin employee dependant than in the past, which is good.

Easter and Lent have been a bit of a non-event for me this year: with no 40 Acts to keep me anchored, I drifted aimlessly. Even Good Friday and Easter Sunday left me unmoved. Not that I feel adrift from God, just a bit from organised religion. Susan, our Priest, celebrated communion on Easter Sunday, but due to Covid restrictions, we couldn’t be there in person: she did offer for people to receive the elements in the car park of her block of flats. Hmm. Although I have missed the Eucharist, I’m not sure that standing in the carpark and receiving would do it for me: for me, there’s a bit more to it. Still, if it helped some people, I’m not going to knock it.

My latest hobby (I do tend to go through them, getting bored after a few months) is pebble painting. I leave them around in various places, praying that the right person will find them. Sometimes they disappear quickly, other times they sit where I’ve put them for a couple of weeks. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing someone find one only once: on Saturday moring I placed a few around the village, and I saw a smallish boy find one of my “happiness” ladybirds – when I saw him showing his gran what he had found, I felt rather happy myself!

Not mine, but similar

My walking has slowed down a little: I’ve had about 10 days when my back has been hurting, and walking hasn’t helped it. I think I’m over that now. I also have days when I either have too many lessons to find time (usually only Thursdays) or I don’t get motivated to go out. But I’m heading towards having done 200 “intentional” miles. I’ll need to be walking more frequently, and further, if I’m to hit 1,000 by the end of December, but if I don’t manage the target, I will still have “won”. AND I’ve bought my 1,000 miles medal already, because I’ll deserve it whenever I reach the target!

Mine’s the middle one!

Mr FD and I went for a lovely walk yesterday – Friend Alison & Dog Marvin came too – it was 6 miles of changing countryside. I didn’t take any photos as I didn’t want to be stopping every few paces (slight exaggeration) to take out my phone. Also my phone has decided that it will no longer recognise my fingerprint, so I have to put my finger on the recognition button three times before I can open with a PIN – so it takes forever. I know I can redo the fingerprint recognition: I just haven’t got round to it!

Here’s someone else’s photo of part of the walk

We had planned a short break in the Puy de Dome department, with some opportunity for walks, but unfortunately that has been cancelled now, due to the latest anti-COVID restrictions. We are disappointed, as – although our position is nowhere near as bad as many others’ situations – we both felt we needed a bit of time together, to relax and do not-a-lot. Oh well. Life goes on regardless.

So that’s about it. Nothing exciting to report.

Vaccine, Vaccine…

Goodness me! I see that I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks. I’m sorry. My blogging mojo comes and goes a little, and, if I’m honest, I’m feeling a bit out of sorts. I have no real reason to do so, as all is well here at Dormouse Towers, but there you go: these things don’t always have a clear explanation.

I have many things to be grateful for, not least the fact that I have a date for both my first and second Covid vaccines. I’m a little ahead of Mr FD, I think, because of my cancer, but I would imagine he won’t be far behind. The take up figures in France have been really quite low – I don’t know why – so I think the surgery is trying to find willing volunteers!!

Perhaps they ought to enlist Dolly Parton: she has helped fund research into the vaccine, and was vaccinated recently. As she encouraged people to have the vaccine, she broke into song: Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.”

Good for her. With everything she has done to help people in her part of the US, I can’t help thinking she is a Good Person.

  • In 1985, she gave $500 scholarships to every high school student in Sevier County
  • An Eagle Mountain Sanctuary was opened at Dollywood
  • In 1995, the Imagination Library, a non-profit organization that sends one book per month to each enrolled child from birth until their first year of school, started. Today this organisation ships more than a million books each month to 1.3 million participants across the globe.
  • She founded the Dolly Parton Scholarship, which provides $15,000 for five high school seniors in Sevier County, Tennessee to pursue a college education
  • She has raised money for the LeConte Medical Center, a new hospital and cancer center in Sevier County and has made a $1 million donation to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

And this is just some of the things she’s donel. I don’t love her music, but I have to admire her for the way she has used her gift, and the wealth it has brought her, to give back to her community, recognising what she can do to help those who have been less fortunate than herself.

We don’t all have Dolly’s wealth, but we still all have riches to share – our time, our talents, our love. This Lent I’m not following 40 Acts (they’re not running it, but I’d already decided to duck out) but I am trying – not very successfully – to communicate more, be that through emails, letters, cards or – my recent obsession – painted pebbles. I’m enjoying painting them, and then leaving them to be discovered around the village.

I would walk 500 miles…

But now I only need to walk 400 more to be the person who walked 1000 miles to be there at your door…BECAUSE I’VE ALREADY WALKED 100 MILES THIS YEAR!

This is 100 miles of “intentional walking” – that is not miles walked as I go about my daily business, but either when I “go out for a walk” or when I go into the chilly attic to “do a Leslie” (follow a walking video) I can’t quite believe that old Lazy Bones Fat Dormouse has been walking practically every day since 1st January – and enjoying it! I did a 3.3 mile walk today – and Mr FD wants to take me on an 8 miler at the weekend. I’m a little nervous about whether I’ll manage it, but if I don’t try I’ll never know. (Who is this Fat Dormouse, and what have you done with the real Fat Dormouse?!)

Image result for Fat Dormouse sleeping
Fat Dormouse: in its natural state.

Today I watched my Map my Walk app tick over to the appropriate figure and I took this photo of the path ahead of me!

And here’s my counter, which is up on my study wall, reminding me every day what I’m doing.

May be an image of text that says 'the 1000 mile challeng ISL 300'

It’s nice to have a dog to walk – I sometimes take Marvin, Friend Alison’s dog – but I’d like one of my own. Mr FD disagrees.

May be an image of dog and outdoors

But I don’t think the cats will come out with me!

Image result for Lol cats walking

Transfiguration

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

TRANSFIGURATION by Malcolm Guite

For that one moment, ‘in and out of time’,
On that one mountain where all moments meet,
The daily veil that covers the sublime
In darkling glass fell dazzled at his feet.
There were no angels full of eyes and wings
Just living glory full of truth and grace.
The Love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face
And to that light the light in us leaped up,
We felt it quicken somewhere deep within,
A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope
Trembled and tingled through the tender skin.
Nor can this blackened sky, this darkened scar
Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.

Unbridled Love

A few months ago I shared a few poems from a book my brother sent me, called “I could pee on this, and other poems by cats”

They were well received, and lacking anything else erudite to say, I thought I’d share a few more.

UNBRIDLED LOVE

I knead your chest with my sharp claws To show you my affection

I bite your arm and don’t let go To show you adoration

I walk across your throat at night Because I want to say “Hello”

I leap from high upon you crotch Because I miss you so.

I trip you when you walk downstairs So you know I’m always near,

I sit on your face and block all your air So my absence you need not fear.

I show my love in so many ways, My devotion runneth over:

So I don’t know why when I approach You duck and run for cover.

Image result for Lol cats on your face

I RUN

I run across the room

I race across the floor

I dash to this wall

I thought I saw something

I forgot what it was.

Now everyone is staring at me

So I run back across the room

I race back across the floor

I dash back to that other wall

So everyone will think

I’m just running laps

Image result for Lol cats running

The doctor won’t see you now!

D’oh!

Yesterday I had to cancel normal Monday lessons because I had a doctor’s appointment written in my diary. It’s just the annual check up with the oncologist, so nothing to worry about, especially as my mammogram & ultrasound were both clear.

Image result for Lol cats doctor will see you now

I arrived early because in France you have to go through the general admissions area first: they take your details, check you in, make sure your health insurance is up to date etc. Then you are sent up to the correct department. So I did the right thing, gelling my hands at every opportunity, and having a nice little conversation with the admissions lady, who complimented my French.

I was about 20 minutes early for my appointment, but I didn’t mind; I had my book to read. So I went to the oncology department, said I had an appointment, the lady said hello, and told me to wait in the corridor. So I did. I read my book, watched the people going back and forwards, checked who was my doctor (they wear name badges – this was a new doctor as my previous one had moved on to pastures new) I have to say, he looks about 16, but there you go. It’s a sign of age when the oncologists look younger!

The time for my appointment passed, but there did seem to be some kind of emergency going on, so I wasn’t worried. Also, when I’d been in for treatment sometimes one had to wait for a long time. Someone arrived loking worried, and we chatted for a bit. I waited. When I’d been there for an hour, and the people who had arrived after me had been called in, I just thought I ought to check I’d not been forgotten.

“Oh,” said the receptionist, checking this time on her computer,”Your appointment is tomorrow, not today!”

Image result for Lol cats doctor

Now…I made the appointment in person, not over the phone, and I don’t think I’m so stupid as to confuse “Lundi le huit fevrier” with “Mardi le neuf février“…(If it had been numbers higher up, like quatre vingt dix neuf then OK, but not eight and nine!) I also feel sure I would hzave repeated it to the receptionist. ALSO, when I went to admissions, they didn’t say “No, madam, you’re here the wrong day” – and I assume that part of their job is to check the appointments when you arrive…

I could have got stroppy, but thought there was no point. So I just laughed, apologised for being mistaken and left it at that. I knew too that I had to go down to Roanne another day this week to do the shopping, so I might as well do it today instead of the normal Wednesday. So I’ll be back this afternoon for my appointment with the 16 year old!

Image result for Lol cats doctor tiny cat

Slowly does it!

My adventures in slow cookery continue. After the soup disaster (which, to be fair, was rescued by dumping a tin of ratatouille into the soup!) I have improved.

I recently made a version of Smoky BBQ Pork Ribs – it’s hard to get pork ribs in France, but Lidl have been selling thick slices of pork belly. I got a pack at 30% off, so thought I’d try this recipe, which was in my Lakeland Slow Cooker recipe book. I started following the recipe, but then ended up doing what I thought might work – so there was a fair bit of sweet chilli sauce in, and less BBQ sauce. It got the thumbs up seal of approval from Mr FD. (otherwise known as a plate scraped clean!)

Image result for Lol cats empty plate

Yesterday I made a slightly Moroccan flavoured tagine of lamb. That also worked very well. On a family Zoom call, Mr FD’s brother (who is, in happier times, a chef, but is currently unemployed) suggested putting dates in. We only had dried apricots so I threw those in, which added to it, I think – the bit of sweetness (enhanced by a spoonful of honey) gave it an extra je ne sais quoi.

I’m trying to use it at least once a week. Most dishes have been reasonably successful, so I shall continue experimenting a little.

Image result for lol cats crockpot

But I haven’t experimented with cooking cat yet!

Apocalypse Now?

We woke up on Saturday morning to a slightly odd yellowish sky – it did feel quite apocalyptic. (and what with floods, fire and all the other natural disasters around the world, I wouldn’t be surprised!) However, our slightly beige sky had nothing on those over Lyon and Grenoble

Image result for les ciels jaunes a Lyon
Image result for les ciels jaunes a Lyon
Image result for les ciels jaunes a Lyon

It was apparently because of the southerly winds blowing from Africa, and carrying quantities of sand from the Sahara up into France. It didn’t last very long, because it rained shortly after, thus clearing the sky of the sand that was being carried and dumping it instead on the cars that were parked!

Our car ended up with splots of sandy dirt all over it!

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