Swim, bike, run.

Well not quite! Definitely not run.  I’ve just finished reading the above titled book by Alastair and Jonny Brownlee on the joys and hardships of top level triathlon. They state that 10% of the training is hard and unpleasant, including swimming at 7.30am on cold winter mornings.  I went to the gym at 8am this cold, winter morning – and turned in a few weight circuits and a little time on the bike before hitting the very cold showers and crawling off in defeat for a pre church coffee with my gym small change…..here’s the summer training difference (the showers are freezing, summer and winter) I see I’ve gone up a weight grade – 3kg instead of 2kg!!

“Sweet fresh air wakes me early: I sit with God in silence – as you can do with a good friend. I tell him I think it’s a waste of time – sitting, doing not a lot except drinking coffee with the maker of the universe?  I tell him about the book I’ve been reading, the email conversation reviewing the book and my “sorry” list and how I am glad he’s a Father. Read a psalm. It’s not rocket science.  The gym smells of cold and clean, which is novel – it’s usually close, in need of love. I walk through, wonder what it would take to be able to lift those weights – I lift the smallest -I’m built compact! So I knock out a 1000 metres rowing, pretend I’m on the water: rowing clubs are full of snobs – a rejected colleague tells me -she trained with them once. I hit the bike, do rolling hills; I love the programme graphic while I watch the early swimmers thrash the pool.

And the sweet fresh air wakes me, Showered and fresh out of the gym. I tell God I’ve worshipped him with my body; Pray I focus on him better with mind and heart

Standing with my family, singing in church.”


Turkey and Tinsel

Having had a Cornish boss until recently, we used to get a Christmas lunch of a pasty.  Very nice, extremely peppery and handmade (usually) by the boss’s wife.  A lot of work.

Rather strange for a Christmas lunch you would think.  And this year I will miss out.  I  don’t mind too much. There’s an absence of santa enthusiasm in my wiring somewhere.

But I’m learning to appreciate proper advent waiting a little. Christmas is good news to the poor:

and the characters in the tale are poor, soon to be homeless refugees.  Hard to ignore the images of the dispossesssed, and daily I walk past the rough sleepers without too much twinge of conscience. After all, I’m not wealthy and they’re complicated!

Hard times, visting choirs that scare the lights out of  some night shift workers, I guess we’d blame the paranormal, put it down to lack of sleep and hallucinations.  Mercifully these men walked and obeyed, giving us so much more than cute sheep to add to the crib.

And the gifts brought by another selected tranche of visitors are a little more dangerous in their implications than another pack of socks. Royalty, a horrific death and sacrifice aren’t really out there in the adverts at present.  I am not too good at secular Christmas especially this year but I am looking forward to celebrating the birth of King Jesus.

And chocolate log, fancy cheese and non alcoholic stout (always the driver!)







Ghost town

Lidl’s new RDC (Regional Distribution Centre) is a massive grey box with an extensive car park.  I expect it to be packed but when my little VW Fox crawls in hesistantly, it looks like a concrete wasteland.  Perhaps they work shifts?  Perhaps they take a workers bus – I know from Trans Plant days that there is one?  I’m strangely excited – it’s shiny and new (Madonna reference as well as the Specials) and gives me that cathedral sense of wonder as  I enter the main lobby and crane my neck to see where the weird coloured wires sculpture leads.

I’m lead to a very clean, very new looking, unchipped desk with a fantastic view which seems to be right on the Exeter airport flight path.  We get a very nice sunset later in the day and the over keen electronic shutters go up just in time for me to enjoy it.  The job is drearily same-y standard temp fare of entering survey record cards of some new store somewhere at a location I probably shouldn’t reveal.  Lots of it.  I batter away, keenly – we get another two days wages out of this so I want to impress! It’s certainly a marathon not a sprint.

People put very odd things on surveys!  It’s the entertainment for the day.  Everyone likes a nice spacious car park it seems. These are the “yes” surveys, I hope that I get the rude comments to type up tomorrow.

The strangest most ghost towny bit is this place is huge – filled with glass cubicles, and break out areas with not so comfy looking seating – and the offices just look under occupied. I know there’s an army of minions in the warehouse – I typed up the training records in Trans Plant, but the office occupants look to be in transit from somewhere else. I have lunch in a spacious and very chilly kitchen all alone and it’s a little bit like the prisoner set.  Going out the door in the evening I get a glance at the high spec beautifully clean warehouse and spy a Jungheinrich reach truck – nice to finally see one after all the previous work conversations at Trans Plant.  It’s big and yellow and charging up for the next shift.  I feel slight nostalgia for that cold little office which doesn’t last too long.

If I hadn’t been temping, I would never have seen this place. Treasures of darkness comes to mind.

The week from hell…

What a week. I have made it safely to Friday.

But not without loving counsel, prayer, concerned friend worried looks, and the Taylor Wimpey HR lady who spotted a person who looked like a fish out of water in customer service.  As one swimmer to another, I imagine a fish out of water experiences pressure, stress, and an awful sense of being unable to breathe. And top level panic – after all, fish are made to swim and to go nicely with chips.  Well I also like chips….

I’ve learned this week that I can slowly and steadily trust God when it goes suddenly black. That’s not easy for me.  I still only have a month temp work.  But..I also learned that I can fit in to a team and be loved, take a fast paced job if I need to, and seriously impress at least one manager if not the one that actually mattered.  I have to be honest and say that if I hadn’t got the month temping, I might be a little less upbeat and the trust would be a little more interesting.  I’ve done the hard for me bit of owning up to God how rubbish it all is and I’ve done it with friends too.  It hurts my self sufficient pride both ways.

I don’t like being needy.  It’s hard to have friends with limited resources buy coffee and cake.  And tears are not something that I will ever find uncomplicated even if they are good for me.  I have to write the boasty bits so I remember them when things are dark.  And to remember who I am in my heavenly Father’s sight as well as the solidly loved friend that I so obviously am.  I need to remember though, that the answer on Sunday to how are you isn’t “fine” as one sensible friend who force fed me a half share of cherry polenta cake said.  Not easy – I’d quite like to hide!! (which is of course why I am writing a blog!!)

Sleep walking

For those who don’t always feel like shaping up to the commitments they have made!

When the morning is dark and the bed is cosy and you have had about 3 hours sleep because of new job sick level worry. (however pointless – I am a perfectionist, which is a nasty character trait that I occasionally remember to mute) It is a little less than attractive to go on an organised walk.  Especially when you realise you have the ingredients for a very unappealing pack lunch.  And it’s flat (Tiverton canal) and short (5 miles) But I have new overtrousers to try out so I kind of half hope it rains and sling the rucksack, avoiding the temptation to errant coffee drinking instead of much healthier for me bible reading! I need to touch base with Jesus a little in the morning even if I am as attentive as reading the phone directory.  It’s a good habit.

The photos are the evidence that being outside is good even in November.  The Tiverton hunt swanked by in hunting pink with courtesy and tradition, there were leaves of bronze and brilliant green algae on the canal.  And I finished with a one scone cream tea to make up for the lunch.  Tomorrow is a sparrow fart early walk with Sandy who is down from Gloucester and wants the company of someone mad enough to go walking with her at 8.30am