2017, Musings, Writing

A Brief Murmur

Birds flock in formation. What’s the word?! Google.

Murmuration. A small murmuration.

Missed the shot.

Students lost? Waiting. Found.

Red. Amber. Green. Go.

Grey sky. Smell of diesel. Buses.

A brief alarm.

Spots of rain. Light. Sprinkles.

Right Dave then. See you later.

Fruit and veg in plastic bags.

Brakes squeak.

Truck collects the rubbish. Motor hums. Clunks. Hiss. Blue button.

Old friends. Say hello. Wave.

Smoke. Cigarettes and conversation. Greetings.

Blue wellies. Shopping clipped to a pram.

It’s a nice day for a walk.

Empty the ashtray.

Last leaves. Hanging on.

A swift drop off. A kiss goodbye.

Everybody’s going somewhere.

Balloon lost to the sky.

Birds murmur again. Separate.

Queues. Traffic stops. Waits. Goes.

Students return. Not so lost anymore.

Horn beeps. Bike roars

Some move fast. Some move slow.

How long left on my parking?

Time’s forgotten. Insignificant.

More to do. Cash required.

Written 15th November 2017 @ Wellfield Road, Cardiff

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2017, Musings, Writing

Autumn Reflections

Sun on the lake. Reflecting.

Sun in my eyes. Warm. Shivers.

People walking by. Kids. Dogs. Pushing. Pulling. Footsteps and shadows. Hand in hand. Side by side.

Melodies.

Squinting into the sun.

Birds sit. Swim. Hover. Fly.

Sun glares. Clouds come and go.

Lake ripples. Surface breaks. Returns. Cloud takes sun. Shadows fade. Air cools. Light dims.

People walk in circles. Around and around.

Tea runs out. Little boats. Floating.

Hugging. Feeding each other.

Sniff. Eyes water. Breathe in. Breathe out. Blow.

Look both ways. Clockwise. Anti-clockwise.

You shouldn’t be running in those shoes.

Dust off your hands. Get back up and carry on.

Leaves fall. Drift.

Pins and needles. Exhale.

Stranger from the past.

Pairs. Three in a row.

Sneeze. Tap to the beat.

Light flickers. Shimmers. Blind. Bursts.

Slow setting.

Time to go.

Written 29th October 2017 @ Roath Park Lake, Cardiff.

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2015, Musings

OMG, I Wrote A Blog! On New Year Goals

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Hello. I’m still here. Not that you’d know it based on my inactivity over the last 5 months! I am though. This really is me. My WordPress install hasn’t gone all sentient up in here. That would be weird (and worrying).

I’m back to talk briefly about goals and resolutions. It’s the time of year when everyone plans for the year ahead but this year I’m avoiding¬†setting too much for myself. Past experiences (i.e. the last two years) have shown that I’ll probably only complete about 30-40% of my goals and I’ll change my mind about half of the remaining ones a few months into the year.

So, based on that unquestionable evidence, I’m only giving myself one proper goal for the year – I’m only allowed sugar once per week maximum. I’d planned for a while to cut it out anyway so I figured I’d allow myself the Christmas treats and start from now.

Aside from that, I’m just going to watch films, read books, learn new things, etc as and when I want to and hopefully continue to enjoy them all without the pressure of having to get somewhere with them.

For those of you setting some proper goals for 2015, I salute you and I wish you all the best with them. Just remember to enjoy them too though! ūüôā

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Health & Fitness, Musings

A Decision…On Health & Fitness

I’ve decided to knuckle down and get myself into shape. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while but various things have made me delay for one reason or another. The main one lately has been my daily struggle with hayfever which has plagued¬†me¬†(and everyone¬†around me – sorry for all the sniffing and sneezing!) for 3 weeks non-stop. Thankfully I’ve acquired an AMAZING nasal spray from the docs and there’s been barely a sniff since I starting using it a week ago. It’s genuinely changed my life!

Current Status

I recently had a health check in work and it’s all pretty decent. My blood pressure was fairly standard (127/79) and my resting pulse was 58 (lower than I expected). My current weight is 72.6kg (that’s 11st 6lbs in old money) with a¬†body fat percentage of 17.7% and total body water percentage ¬†of 58.8% – both well within the healthy range. My visceral fat (that’s the bad fat that wraps round your organs and is common around your belly) rating is 5 which again is fairly low and my BMI is 25.7 (slightly into the overweight category) but that’s mainly due to the fact I’m a short ass.

So overall, I’m actually in decent shape and my metabolic age came out at 27 which is 4 years below my actual age. Win!

Next steps

Even though I’m in relatively good shape I want to improve my health further. The way I see it, I’m only going to get older and it’s only going to get harder to keep in shape. To that end, I’ve decided to set myself a mini-challenge and work on maintaining a healthy, but manageable, lifestyle. Something that I can carry on through my end-goal and for the forseeable future.

The Goals

The health check equipment is coming back to work at the end of September which gives me 10-11 weeks to make some improvements. My targets are:

Weight: Increase to around 77kg
In 2009 I weighed in at 83kg after a few months of hefty gym work. Then I went travelling for a month and dropped to 78kg. I hovered around there for the last few years and then after taking up running more rigorously last year I dipped down to just 70kg at my lowest. It might sound odd that I want to put on weight, but I don’t feel I’m at my natural size. I’m used to being a bit bigger/heavier so I’d like to add a few kg back on (in good weight though!).

Body Fat: decrease to  < 15%
There’s never a bad reason to shed a bit of fat is there? As I’m aiming to put a few kg onto my weight I need to be careful with it. No point in adding 5kg of fat is there?! Dropping my fat percentage should ensure the extra weight goes on in all the right places (hopefully).

Metabolic age: lower < 25
This is more of a fun test for myself. If I manage to hit the targets above and maintain my BP, heart rate and body water percentage this should lower itself automatically.

The Methods

I’m not doing anything drastic, I’m just focusing on two things:

Food – to reduce body fat you need to watch what you eat. It’s not rocket science. I’ve been dabbling on and off with paleo this year and it’s something that seems to suit my needs quite well. High protein…good. Lots of meat…GOOOOD.

So I’m going to stick with this until the end of September which means no refined sugars and (almost) no carbs (I say almost ¬†because I’m going to allow my self the odd small portion if I’m going running, but limiting myself to a maximum of two a week and no more than handful at a time).

I’m actually allowing myself some dairy too which makes it more primal than paleo but this will also be limited to milk for protein shakes and cheese. Obviously I need some extra calories to get the extra weight but I’ve been monitoring my intake loosely for a few months now so I won’t have any problems there.

Exercise – this one is easy (in theory) too. I’m aiming for¬†at least 5 workouts a week, ideally 6, consisting of at least one run/swim a week plus lots of weights in the gym. If I’m going to add some weight on I need to get lifting – but I also like running so that has to stay in my training (plus it’s easy to do if I’m away somewhere and can’t get to the gym!).

I’ll be hitting all areas of my body in the gym, especially as my dodgy left shoulder prevents me from¬†overtraining upper body too much anyway! And last but not least,¬†the dreaded HIIT will be back on my radar after a week or two!

So that’s my plan. It’s the first time I’ve really set myself a proper training target so it’ll be interesting to see how it works out. If I stick to it I should see the benefits, so hopefully in the next 2-3 weeks I’ll start seeing a bit of progress. Fingers crossed.

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Musings, Writing

Short Story: Awaken

I’m in a dream.

I’m standing on a traffic island in the middle of a city. It feels strange to me but there’s a hint of familiarity about it. Maybe it’s the buildings or the familiar name of chains dotted around me; the coffee shops, fast food restaurants, convenience stores.

I look up at the mirrored glass of the building in front of me and a sharp light streaks through my vision, blinding me momentarily. I raise my hands to my eyes to protect them and turn to find the source of the light. The opposite side of the road is strewn by row upon row of tall, narrow trees with just a handful of leaves stretching from their branches. Behind them the sun is a large sphere of deep orange and yellow, hovering low above the horizon and bleeding colour into the sky around it.

I’m alone. It’s quiet.

There are signs of other people having been here; polystyrene cups of coffee left on al fresco tables, still warm and steaming under their lids; half eaten breakfast rolls – some on tables, some on seats, some on floors – still oozing egg yolks and grease and thick red ketchup.

There are cars and motorbikes dotted along the road but they are stationary; their engines silent. Some are parked normally, others are frozen in motion on corners and in yellow junction boxes. Bikes lie on their sides in random patterns, no riders to be seen.

The long shadows of the trees are falling across the roads and the pavements. The sun seems to be lowering rapidly but the light somehow remains around me. I turn to watch it fall behind the trees and suddenly, it become still again, static and hovering low on the horizon.

I close my eyes to the sunlight and feel the rays¬†wash over my face, as if their warmth is meant only for me. I can hear nothing but the sound of my breathe in the still air.¬†It’s as though the world has stopped and everyone has disappeared except me. The world is so¬†hushed in silence it’s as though I can hear the sun burning and shrinking, so slowly and so far away; millions of tonnes of gases and molecules crashing together and exploding.

I’m watching the sun now, hovering in place just above the horizon, it’s dim light holding sway over the emptiness around me. I’m staring at it and I can’t close my eyes. I can’t blink. My eyes are beginning to water. I’m frozen in place. I can’t move. The sun has me. I’m staying relaxed but my heart is beating harder now and the sun seems to be pulsing in time with it.

I can’t take my eyes off it and even if I could I don’t know if I’d want to.

The sun fades down to a deep blood orange, casting long, dark shadows around me. It steadies for a moment, holding me in that light, bathing me in a wash of blood-light. Tears fill my eyes and stream down my cheeks. The distant sun becomes a hazy blur as my vision distorts.

I suck in a deep breath, feeling my chest rise. The air is thickening, it’s warm and heavy now and hard to inhale.

The sun is shrinking before my eyes, compressing, folding in on itself, but the light remains the same. Within seconds it’s nothing more than a faint red spot, barely visible in the sky. And then the light is gone.

I’m standing in the darkness. Still frozen in place. The heat rapidly drains away from the air and I’m plunged into coldness, my body unable to react to it. I can feel the numbness creeping into my fingers and toes. My eyes beginning to sting as the trickle of tears freezes on my cheek.

And then a rumble. A quiet murmur at first, rapidly increasing. The ground is shaking now and the red spot in the distance is growing larger again, bringing the light and warmth with it as it edges closer and closer, as if the whole world was being pulled towards it.

As the sun grows larger and larger in front of me it’s redness gives way to orange and fades into a pale yellow. The heat is soaring now, I’m drenched in sweat. Still the sun gets bigger and closer. The yellow is almost gone, replaced by only blinding white.

And still I can only stare, until my vision is nothing but light and shadows. There’s a roar in the air around me now. I imagine the trees are nothing but ash now, the car disintegrating, the road beneath my feet melting. I can feel myself sinking and the heat engulfing me.

The whole world is being pulled towards it. And all I can do is…

…wake up.

Photo Credit: jellywatson via Compfight cc

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