Friday 29 January 2010

T'ai Chi Ch'uan

In the early 80's I went to classes to learn T'ai Chi Ch'uan. At the time I had come out of a bad marriage and needed something to calm me down; show me how to protect myself and keep me healthy. Well those classes did all of that. However like all good things they came to an end when the Master left the area and the classes ended.

I did try to continue at home accompanied by my book from the course 'The Chinese Art of T'ai Chi Ch'uan by Chee Soo however life eventually took over and I lapsed.

Since then over the years I have tried on and off to get back into it but unfortunately all the DVD's etc on the market all seemed to focus on other forms of Tai Chi and not the Lee family Form which is what I had learned and loved. Even now I can still remember the initial movements of the Form but I just can't remember the rest!

Anyway, I've been off work for a couple of days because I slipped a disk in the middle of my spine (very painful) and could not see how I could manipulate the spine when the problem was in a part of the spine that does not rotate very easy! But today through icing my back every 2 hours and taking anti inflammatory tablets I had got to a point where I thought that I should try a little bit of Tai Chi as it would not harm my back and would perhaps help a little.

To cut a long story short - it worked - and as I was performing the moves I felt something click halfway up my back :-) Sure it's still sore and slightly inflammed but the agonising stabbing pain that was stopping me from breathing properly has gone!

So now fully charged and determined to continue my search for the Lee Family T'ai Chi I surfed around on the internet and found on You Tube a video showing the exact Form that I was after. This lead me to a site called East-West Tai Chi (based in the UK and run by a former student of Chee Soo). Howard Gibbon is himself a Teacher now and for those that are unable to attend his classes he has DVDs available to show you how to do the correct Form.

It goes without saying that I've ordered one! It seems to me that the Form you first learn is the only one that you subsequently want to stay with and I'm looking forward to getting back into regular daily routines. It should help with my stress levels too :-).....

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Hell no time to even Blog

I refuse to moan and groan any more but let me just say that I've not even had time to blog!

I said to Mick today "isn't there any way we can sell up and move to Spain now?" Unfortunately there isn't but I just wish I had time to breathe... and my brain is definitely feeling over taxed and in need of a rest.

It is absolutely freezing here today with temperatures at the moment about 1 degree (and that is sheltered behind our conservatory). The wind is blowing giving an even colder chill factor and I believe we are due another snowfall about Friday.

Mind you we are not the only ones this year. France and Spain have certainly had their fair share of snow too and watching TVE tonight it showed Madrid covered in snow.

It does look pretty as it falls and covers everything in a white blanket - it's just not much fun when you are trying to get to about in it, unless you happen to have some skis!!

Friday 22 January 2010

Easter in the South of France - sorted

At last I've managed to find the time to arrange our trip to South West France for Easter.

The campsite has been booked; the Eurotunnel crossing booked; now all we've got to do is get ourselves organised a little closer to the time.

Parc Verger is a site recommended by many people on the Motorhome Fun Forum that I belong to. They are open all year long and I've looked at their website; read their blog and spoken to them and they seem great and I'm really looking forward to a relaxing week in an area of beauty; peace and quiet in a National Park area.

Work continues to be frustrating as nothing can actually be completed and I'm getting a backlog of urgent things to do! A week with nothing to think about except what to cook for dinner will seem long overdue by the time I get to it!

Oh an added bonus is that Bob and Di have Wi-fi available on site as well so I can surf the net when I want to as well - great, I can update my thoughts on my blog while relaxing instead of always rushing a post when I can.

Roll on Easter.

PS Started looking at the ferry from Barcelona in June (so we can get a cabin) but they've only got the timetable up to March at the moment. Not that I'm eager or anything....

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Does France Open at Easter!

Looking forward to our planned holiday in France over Easter I have to admit to having problems finding a campsite that is open that time of year.

Last year when we went in the motorhome there were no problems because we could 'wild camp'. However with the fifth wheeler we really need a campsite to set up on for the week but so far I've found most of them don't open until May!

I realise that I'm looking at 1st or 2nd April and that is early in the year but there must be somewhere that is open....

We were looking at the South West but I think now I'd consider anywhere. So anyone out there who knows of a campsite that can take a 26' trailer please leave me a message.

Poco o poco

Correct me if I'm wrong Keith but I think the above should just about describe how I'm settling into the new job.

The bad weather hasn't helped matters as it made getting to and fro to work difficult and it meant that there were delays in getting the computers set up. Add to that a totally different computer program that we have to learn and the tension when starting somewhere new with all new procedures and new people and I would say that I'm settling down poco o poco. But no doubt I will get there.

We are half way through the first week now so it can only get better...

Sunday 10 January 2010

It's Still Snowing

Well it's still snowing. Earlier today it started to thaw but then the snow came again and is now laying on top of a layer of ice. Going to be very slippery in the morning.

Mick is having to get up and go to work at 4 AM so he will get the first look at the conditions on the roads.

Have to admit to feeling a bit low today. What with the cold weather keeping us indoors and the prospect of making the journey to London tomorrow to spend the day hanging around waiting to be given a desk it all adds to the winter blues...

Mick played one of the apps on his iphone tonight which brought a smile. It is an application that I put on it for him where it plays birdsong and you can learn all the British and European birdsong. It made me long for springtime...

Saturday 9 January 2010

Apple Cider Vinegar

I've used apple cider vinegar in hot water with some honey as an aid to break down the crystals that cause all the pain in my arthritis for quite a while now but I put it to another use yesterday.

My cold/flu ended up settling on my chest and making it very difficult to sleep because every time I laid down I would wake up coughing and coughing. I coughed so much that I made my throat sore. When I looked yesterday I could see that the back of my throat was ulcerated and I tried my normal remedy of gargling with salt water. Unfortunately the salt water could not cope with it.

Then I wondered whether apple cider vinegar would help. So I poured some apple cider vinegar in some warm water and gargled a bit with that and then sipped a little bit of it too so that I was swallowing some of it.

It should be noted that you need to rinse your teeth with clear water after as tooth enamel and cider vinegar do not go too well together!

This morning when I woke up (after only waking up once coughing) I was surprised to see that my throat was now clear. Bliss....

So after trying throat lozenges, cough medicines and all the rest the only thing that cleared it up quickly was apple cider vinegar! Oh and I rubbed Olbas oil on my chest too and that seems to have cleared up most of the congestion.

Good old natural remedies - they really are the best.

Burlesque Update

Well the Burlesque stock on my website has been selling before I even finished putting it on! My instincts were right and that's even before Burlesque week has begun.

I have been getting hits from France, Italy, Germany and USA as well as the UK, so I guess it must be showing up somewhere in the searches!

Now if you are a regular follower of my blog you will know that I've only been running my website for about 3 months now and today I sat and did the accounts work to see how things were looking and, if it continues the way it has started, then it will eventually be worth the hard work.

It is very much a 'learn as you go along' but it is interesting and it is giving me a little hope for our 'Spain fund'.

Mind you an offshoot of this is the fact that I've had several people wanting to know how to set up their own online store and asking that, when I have the time, I can help them to set up their own!

Friday 8 January 2010

First Impressions and Chaos

Well my first impressions leave a lot to be desired.

The past few days have been chaos - both with the weather, and with the new job. For its part the good old English weather decided to be the worst it has been for quite a few years. Snow and ice and bitterly cold. Some places getting down as low as -21. Around our area it was about -5 which to me is too cold!!! I have to admit to being pretty shaky about walking down to the coach each day. No matter what boots or shoes I tried (and I've got quite a collection)none of them seemed to be able to stop me from slipping and sliding around. Quite scary at my age - how come as a child you ran around without fear...

Of course England came to a standstill. Trains didn't run or were limited to certain times of the day or delays. The roads were in absolute turmoil and the local authorities were running out of road salt.

The van that was supposed to be moving our office at work never arrived - 2 days running - because it couldn't get down from Shropshire. In the end we hired a transit van locally and moved the stuff ourselves. Well the guys moved the stuff - I supervised :-)

So we ended up getting round to our new place but they weren't ready because their IT chap couldn't get in to work and set up our computers. So there I was yesterday sitting in whatever spare seat became available just looking around and reading magazines as there was nothing I could do without my computer.

So, first impressions. Well when you are sitting in the reception area you can see what is going on in the main office and it was really strange. No one appeared to be talking to anyone else. The layout I explained to Mick and he came up with the right description "it's laid out like a typing pool". For those of you who can remember you will know what I mean; for those of you who don't know it's basically rows and rows of desks. All being overlooked by someone else and with a 'leader' at the head of the rows.

The good points are a lovely bright office; great kitchens; toilet and shower facilities but the bad points are those mentioned above.

I didn't have to go to work today because they felt it was a waste of time until I had my computer up and running. At least I've got a long weekend and then it is back there on Monday.

I don't know.... I just get this feeling....

Monday 4 January 2010

Well the worst is over?

After a bad nights sleep last night, (only got 4 hours) due to a combination of thinking about going to new work place today/thinking about my cousin Nigel/not being able to breathe properly due to cold etc, we got to see our new office and meet the staff. I still have a red nose like Rudolph so they've seen me at my worst so it can only get better.

Hell I can only remember about five names (and three of them were John!). The office is huge and, would you believe it, a paper-less environment! How does that actually work??? There are times when you like to see things in black and white and on paper not a screen. Still we will see how it goes.

We got taken out for a welcome drink (I stuck to a soft drink for now) and they seem quite friendly. Veronica is great and we have a fair amount in common (she is about half my age though) not least of all is the fact that she speaks fluent Spanish. Well she is from San Antonio and she wants to join our little 'Spanish' group where I try to teach Rachel the Spanish I know. I think it will be great fun although I do realise that South American/Mexican Spanish will differ a bit from what I've been learning! But hey, anything helps :-)

So that first step is taken, let's see how it goes from here. Wasn't there a saying sometime about that - what was it? "First step is the hardest..."

Sunday 3 January 2010

Farewell Heather

Well I found out tonight why my cousin had 'gone into hiding'. His wife, Heather, had lung cancer diagnosed in November and she didn't want anyone to know or for it to ruin their Christmas festivities.

So Nigel kept it quiet and Heather died on 21st December and was laid to rest on 31st December. The only ones she wanted in attendance were her husband, daughter and grandchildren.

Nigel did not want sympathy cards nor flowers.

So all I can say is goodbye Heather rest in peace.

Rudolph's not the only one with a red nose!

Great I'm back to work tomorrow and meeting our new colleagues and work place and I've got a bright red nose!

The grandkids very kindly left me a present in the form of a flu like virus that ended in a lovely cold.

So after sleeping on and off from 8pm on Friday night with aches and pains all over I've ended up with a continuous runny and bright red nose. Very sexy and very flattering :-)

So looking for alternative ways of clearing it up quickly I'm popping Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C tablets and burning Eucalyptus. Added to that I'm trying a new one for me and that is sniffing salt water. Oh what fun winter is....

Still the one good thing is that the Winter Solstice is now over and done with and it means that each day that goes by I can tell myself that it is getting a few minutes lighter each day. Thank goodness for that - I hate dark mornings and dark evenings.

Roll on summer....

Friday 1 January 2010

New Year 2010 - Resolutions or Determinations

Well here we are then. 2010 at last.

We spent last night watching the new year in with TVE and this time we didn't turn over to see our new year in!

It was good fun watching the cuentame cast and of course Alejandro Sanz was there as well - what more could you ask for!

As the clock struck midnight in Madrid I couldn't help but notice the basque top that the presenter was wearing - Mick even took a photo of it :-)

I was surprised to see how grown up the youngsters in cuentame are now. Unfortunately TVE International is still showing earlier series and we are waiting for them to catch up and bring it a bit more up to date.

One thing watching Spain having fun did bring to the forefront of our minds was the fact that people enjoy themselves and smile! I did say to Mick that it's about time I moved on in my life and we focused on working towards getting our place in Spain.

I guess my biggest fear has always been leaving the kids/grandkids behind but I've got to work for another 7 years and by that time they will be that much older. How often are we likely to see them while here in the UK. I dare say they would prefer to visit us in the sun...

What I did say to Mick was that I am sure that if we stay in the UK we will get old. If we move to Spain we will stay young. (If you know what I mean) I just love the Spanish people and their outlook on life and I dare say that my Spanish would improve no end :-)

On the health side of things I've been having a lot of problems and headaches recently caused by a flare up of the arthritis I have in my neck. I am sure that the cold damp weather over here is not helping it as warmth always makes it feel better.

So, although not being one for making resolutions, our priority will have to be 1) to pay off our fifth-wheeler loan and 2) to get some more funds into our 'Spain' account.

Most of our Spanish friends live in Mallorca but the price range on the island is too much for us however they do return home to Cordoba to visit family and friends from time to time so I guess AndalucĂ­a is the area we are looking in. I am not talking Costas I am talking in-land away from tourist areas. I am already registered with a couple of estate agents online who send details monthly but we are not in a position to do anything yet.

Still it gives me something to think about and to work for.....