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Longmynd Hike

Thinking about a 13-mile jaunt up this neck of the woods actually made me feel very unfit because I hadn’t completed a long walk like this in a long time; but the results, were just amazing.

I’ve been back to the gym for about 2 months now and over the past 6/7/8 weeks I have been chopping & changing what I’ve been doing – Keeping my body ‘guessing’ and making sure I am completely knackered when I have finished working out. I see it as if there isn’t sweat on your t-shirt when you exit the gym then you need to go back in for more!

“Go hard or go home!”

That’s a bit of a common and ‘chavvy’ phrase but it’s very appt. for me at the moment.

The hard work I have put in at the gym really helped me on the hike, alongside the tenacity and determination I have got me up to the top and back down again in a very good time. We were not competing, but we averaged 2.9 mph and completed the 13.1 miles in just under 5 hours.

An extremely long day as I had been tired from the gym over the past week prior to the hike and I had not really trained! Nonetheless, we completed this as a foursome + 2 canines and it was rewarded with a pint of Guinness, homemade cottage pie and a hot bath! What an awesome day to book off work!

Some of the best photos from the hike:

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Alfie, Lucy & Geno (Patrick!)

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About 85% complete – Having a well-earned rest

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Posing with Patrick

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Action shot of the troopers

 

That’s life. It is what it is. Such clichés.

Some hard decisions have been made recently and explaining them to other people has very difficult, near on impossible, due to the simple fact that I don’t know the reasons behind my actions myself.

‘Imagine a mirror bigger than the room it’s placed in…’

The Beautiful South sang a song, Rotterdam, containing the above lyric, and when you hear it, you immediately try to picture this mirror in a room. For every individual who listens, the mirror, room, house, and even minor details of the mirror will be so unique to that person that there will thousands, if not millions of combinations which depict this mirror bursting out of this imaginary room.

The point I’m trying to make here, with my strange mirror analogy, is that as soon as something happens, and a decision is subsequently made, the reasons are not always apparent to the outside World. It can be hard, extremely hard to understand, but there WILL be a reason somewhere; finding it is the obscure and least fun part.

“Judgement and aspersions can be cast without prior knowledge of a persons’ reasons for actions, but hesitancy must be taken into consideration before these subconscious thoughts take place to account for said reasons in case they are valid”.

I should be a philosopher, because I really like the above phrase! It looks like it’s written by some snobby old Englishman called Terrance, as he sits in his Michael Portillo outfit, smoking his long cigar and chilling out in his billiard room as he resides in his palace – See the cover photo! (This was complete fluke!)

My above quoted new philosophical rant had the intention that it is not always clear that everybody knows the reasons for their or someone else’s’ actions, and they shouldn’t be judged for them. It can cause excruciating pain to themselves and others when said actions are taken, but if this person feels they have no choice, what options, really, do they have?

 

None.

 

Acceptance is the key, whether that takes a long time or a little, because at the end of the day, it is what it is, and yes life does go on!

The hangovers from hell are back!

Still feeling immensely proud of myself after so many months alcohol free, I have spent the last 3-4 days doing the usual day-to-day stuff but I have been relaxing with a beer or 3 at night. What a great feeling!


After resisting and remaining abstinent from something for so long, when you do eventually go back to that particular ‘sin’, it feels like you have really earned it; and boy, I have. It’s not quite the 1,000 days I recently set as a new revised target, after initially going for 2 years, but it’s still amazing, if I do say so myself.

The congratulations from friends and family have been greatly appreciated, so thank you!

Saturday morning (post 1 lager and 2 Jack Daniels & Honey) was a little disturbing, after having so little alcohol I thought I would feel fine, but the headache and sickness kicked in about 1 hour before I had to go to work. I guess the mixture of those two drinks with a Ruby didn’t help; ah well, lesson learned – I guess I will just be taking things relatively easy from now on and just drinking sporadically and because I enjoy the taste and to be sociable, as opposed to getting ‘smashed’ and not at all enjoying my memory loss as I so amply demonstrated when I was in my 20’s!

 

What else can I challenge myself with?

 

Hmmm…

 

They think it’s all over…!

612 days I lasted; tonight I was super spontaneous and cracked our the Jack on the rocks with the old man and had a tipple!

I had been holding back my desires and cravings for a while and now I have finally cracked after 612 long days.

What an achievement nevertheless!

What’s next?

Well St Patrick’s Day today marks the 602nd day in which I have been alcohol free. This makes me 60.2% towards my target (1,000 days for those slow at math!) which will be completed on April 19th 2020.


The start was hard, I remember I had to keep telling myself that I was not ‘allowed’ to drink and that I did not need it, this was all because my body had made it habitual during the last 14-15 years of drinking. After 3-4 weeks, it all of a sudden became ‘the norm’ and I just started to subconsciously refuse alcohol, almost like someone was offering me something which was so detrimental to my health that I completely ignored it.

Day by day, week by week and month by month has gone past where I have had birthday parties, Christmas dinners, new years eve parties, gatherings of friends and pretty much every other event you can think of where I have just remained as cool as you like and have felt so proud of myself when some has offered me a drink, I replied with

“No thanks, I’m t-total, today is XXX amount of days”

… the inevitable congratulatory comments following my proud personal statement are always something which has, does and will always mean a lot to me, even if I was to start drinking again tomorrow (no chance in hell!) I feel like I have come so far (and I have!) and everyday from now is just more and more icing on my huge fat imaginary cake that I have baked myself going so strong for such a long period of time.

 

 

Existence.

Why are we here? Surely we must have been created and we’re not just a result from a mere coincidence?

I’ve always been fascinated with what happens when we die, how did we feel before we were born or even what would it be like to not exist after spending time ‘existing’?


Where is the explanation? Why can’t any one of the 7.2 billion people on this planet find out the answer to just 1 simple question?


If we’ve been created why can’t we find this answer from our creator?

Sporadic feelings of questioning my own existence, not feeling content & thoughts about our creation have given me the minerals to publicly write this post.

It’s come to my attention that as far back as I can remember, I don’t think I have ever been ‘content’ with life. I’ve always felt like there was and now is something missing. I feel like I am trying to complete a puzzle or jigsaw and a vital, the last remaining piece, is missing.

Where are you?

What is it?

Where is it?

How can I obtain it?

To drink, or not to drink?

The past few weeks I have been feeling more and more like drinking. I don’t know why. After 559 days sober (1 year, 6.5 months) and with only 171 days to go until I reach my 2 years mark, would it all be worth it? Is the alcoholic grass really greener on the other inevitably sick-filled side?!

Do I really need to drink? Does anybody really need to drink?

I guess one reason might be that I feel I am getting better (one lives in hope!) so I’m feeling more and more like normal. I know for certain I won’t be going back to the Sam who can’t control his drink, because I just don’t want to suffer from an awful hangover again…

Actually, I’m changing my mind. Even contemplating thinking about the thought of a banging head in the morning is already making me feel sick.

 

171 days to go!

Vicious circle of eating.

For me, personally, it’s not easy to eat ‘clean’ or ‘healthy’ or whatever you want to call it. I have these moments and bursts of energy when I have the idea what I feel like exercising like mad for 2-3 weeks and eating super-healthy, which I do actually do, but much like an old carpet, it fades; I end up bingeing on rubbish, fatty, sugary foods and ultimately it leads me to feel down and not like my usual self.

My new little challenge is to figure out what is the cause of this. If I can trace it to the root of them problem then I can remove the so-called ‘root’ and stop these ideas planting and growing inside my head. I guess a lot of us do ‘comfort eat’ but we do this subconsciously. All of a sudden, 6-12 months down the line, post-stressed traumatic/event, we find ourselves a stone heavier and more lethargic looking than a sloth on Valium.


” I really want a McDonalds later; make it large, with a full-fat Coke and loads of BBQ sauce.”


I have lost count of the times I have said this to myself in the past when I have been feeling a little down. It’s something I love to eat, so I would have an idea in the daytime to make this my evening meal on that night, the craving would become so bad that I drive there after straight after work and gorge on something which I know wasn’t good for me, all because I have been stressed out at work and it’s a great comfort food for me.

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A fun-loving acquaintance meeting curry evening on Friday night prompted the typing out of this blog. I had the usual: Chicken Sagwala (spinach), Peshwari Naan (coconut) and 2 pints of Coke. When I think about it now that sounds awful. All that fat, sugar, carbohydrates and grease in one sitting. It didn’t help that I stuffed myself and finished the lot. *types bloated after eating roast dinner followed by cheesecake* 

I’ve felt ill these last 2 days and believe it was a direct result of the Ruby from Friday. Just as a gentle reminder to those with delicate stomachs (apparently like mine), the meal was from The Shiraz at the top of the Wyle Cop in Shrewsbury – Delicious, but I’ve never felt these effects before; stomach cramps, sickness and feeling lethargic. The conversations were brilliant and so too was the meal, at the time, but if I suffer any longer from a dodgy-feeling gurgling stomach then it will be stepping into the realms of PTSD.

I want to eat healthy, I really do, and I want to exercise, but something is stopping me. A couple of flippant remarks have come my way when talking to people about this:


“If you want to stop then stop. Just stop eating rubbish. It’s not hard, I can do it.”


Well if it was that easy then I wouldn’t be writing this blog, would I?!

What have I learned recently from Life Explored? Different people attend the course on a weekly basis, some are more frequent that others, and I am sure everyone will take away something different from each session. Week taught me something valuable.


“The only person holding me back is me.”


 

Life Explored.

A new course, a new year. Life Explored is a continuation of the all-so-popular Alpha sessions which we finished a little before Christmas.

With 7 weekly meetings, LE has already got me hooked on the insight into the Christian world of what, who, how, where and why? The ‘man’ himself, God, has been the focus of tonight’s session and has had us all thinking about what he is telling to us / trying to communicate to us on a daily basis.

For those of you who know me, this is not my usual blogging theme, and you may think I have gone a little crazy, but these courses have really made an impact on my thoughts ever since the first Alpha course started back in October. It really made me look at my life and I was amazed how I take so many things for granted.

Alpha was so powerful over the 8-9 weeks we attended because it gave an insight into so many different people’s lives; everyone’s opinion was stated on a range of different topics and it was inspiring and empowering to hear. References were often read out from the Bible and it was great to hear that everyone could relate to this in one way or another.

Tonight’s first LE for me was more vocal than normal. I gave opinions on different questions that were asked (focusing on and around God) but related them to my life. It made me think of something which I believe is true for every single person in the World, the condition being it’s how much each individual wants it:


“A path has been created for each and every one of us, but we as people have to walk it ourselves to find out what we are destined for in life. We are restricted by our own self-belief, if we fail, or don’t achieve something, we only have ourselves to blame, nobody else.”


This is maybe a more refined version of the old cliché, ‘You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead’. The message is still the same, but in my own words and not as cheesy!

I am not a practicing Christian by any means, and nor am I a regular church goer, I just believe what I want to. For those who are reading this and are wondering what or who created us here on Earth, if you are like me think ‘How can God be real?’ – Just ask yourself:


“How did we get here? How can we explain infinite space? What happens when we die?”


These are a couple of the topics we touched on briefly tonight, and they are incredibly fascinating but frustrating for me, I guess there is a lot of us in the same giant boat on this one!

So, all-in-all, a very enjoyable evening and it was nice to see some of the same faces as we saw in the Alpha course. Onto the next one and I’ve already made a start on being a man of my word and not procrastinating as Emily quite rightly pointed out tonight!

One of my hidden passions i am fairly certain has been becoming bilingual so I have signed up to Spanish classes online and have set myself learning goals!

Hasta la vista!

Tonight’s post is dedicated to a very loving, loyal and special family member. ‘Lucky’, or ‘Lookey’, depending on your pronunciation, sadly left us on Monday, after a short and sudden illness. Rest in peace Mr Vamos. You will be missed, greatly.

 

Celebrating Polish Style!

Drinking, dancing, eating, laughing… what a way to spend New Years’ Eve to see us into 2019!

I suppose this is exactly what you think of when someone tells you that they’ve been to a party for NYE, but it’s been probably 20 years since I have been to something like this, involving a mass crowd, and even then it was only 20-30 people.

We were invited by friends Piotr & Dorota to a shindig @ Little Wenlock village hall where we’d be the minority; an approximate ratio of 150:2 was what we stumbled across when we arrived! (Polish:English/Colombian!)

I have never seen so much food, alcohol & people on so few tables! Incredible scenes Jeff! Nevertheless, we danced the night away (me doing a combination of classic Dad dances and my usual swarvalicious moves), ate as much food as possible and drank like fish! Well, some of us did anyway.

For Adriana, the Jack Daniels shots came thick and fast from some chap called Simon, who was incredibly welcoming, chatty and hospitable with his multiple offerings of homemade wraps and other miscellaneous meats (Brian Butterfield anyone!?!). On top of this came Vodka from Piotr, and Prosecco brought from home… how she wasn’t sick… I will never know!

One can only assume the South-American culture can rapidly burn off their over-appetised-alcoholic-intake with their Latin-American shape throwing… who knows. This may be one of lifes mysteries for thousands of years to come! indulgant

I think you get the picture of how good it was, how much we enjoyed ourselves and how it was great to do something different! We’ll have to try hard next year to beat that when we see ourselves into 2020!


She’s Wonderful.

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Coffee and toast in bed this morning brought to me by the one and only ACMG. The toast (mouth is watering already!) was made to perfection! An inconsistent blend of butter & jam spread on so unevenly you would think that Stevie Wonder was prepping in the kitchen! Perfecto mi amor.