Some of you may be aware that I'm wild about the west. :-D! (No kidding.) My western site, Kitty Le Roy's Wild West, has been running for some years now, as has my Facebook page Kitty Le Roy's Wild West Saloon. Many members and many posts later, one of my western friends, Madam Molly (from Tombstone, Arizona) informed me that I'd been running for around twelve years. I couldn't believe it.
It's April, and this is the time of year I'm beginning to think about this particular part of me, cuz this is the start of the wild west living history camp season, roundups an' all. We all dig out our gear – clothes, tents, stoves, weapons (blank firing) etcetera. Clean off all the gunk accumulated over winter and get into the swing of it again.
So – I have to update my site – I've been promising myself of that forever – re -add a whole section devoted to a list of southern (I'm Hampshire, UK) outfitters, stores, clubs, anything affiliated with the wild west, in other words, which somehow managed to get itself deleted. (I didn't do it, I swear. It was the computer...).
We also have a cabin in the back garden – my shack, essentially, which holds all things western. Artefacts, art, posters, a skull (not human), fur rugs, and other kit associated with living history camping, which I finally managed to return to last summer after quitting several years ago due to depression and anxiety. And it was good. Met old friends, made new ones... And enjoyed myself after the initial nerves. What could be better? And it was local. We could go home if we needed a comfy bed.
So - for anyone who may be interested, here's Kitty Le Roy's Wild West website: www.kitty-le-roy.co.uk Thankee, y'all!
Never park your car - or walk - under a lamp post with a seagull perched on it. Without going into graphic detail, I've just spent the best part of a day cleaning a fortnight's worth of seagull poo off my lovely Mini Cooper. (First time I've really cleaned the first car I've ever owned. My precious Mini, which I lurrrve to drive! I've never owned my own car. Part owned, yes, with His Greatness (Husband), but never my own. And this is indeed something I relish since my brain cure).
I digress. Seagulls and seaside. Returned on Friday from our first two week holiday in donkey's years. The west country. Minehead in Zoomerrzet (sorry – Somerset) and Looe Harbour in Cornwall. We've had many hols in Looe, and love it. And the weather was continuously glorious. Couldn't quite believe it. EVERY day was sunshiny and beautiful, with one day grey to start, then beautiful again, hence the multituinous quota of pics.
So, one week in a quirky flat in a 1905 property (fab!) with balcony and view towards the sea in Minehead and the second week in Looe, in Rock Towers, a contemporary flat also with balcony, overlooking the estuary and out to sea, complete with whirlpool bath (once we found out how to switch it on). Here's just one of my umpteen zillion of photos taken, showing the sitting room. Apparently the building, one of three in a row that were built in 1905 (the hotel on the corner closest to the sea has this proclaimed in the wall), the building next to us on t'other side is now an old folks' home. (Was lounging on our balcony one gorgeous afternoon and one of their windows was open, through which a continuous drone of loud hymn music disturbed my peace. Some hymn music I like, but this....:-(...deary me. I gave up and absconded indoors).
The view from the balcony presented us with the huge expanse of shiny, flat sanded bay when the tide was out, and, in the far distance, Butlins, looking like something out of Arabia, its white multiple tent-like exterior in tiny peaks on the horizon. Every been to Minehead Butlins? I have. Must have been back during the seventies, with one's beloved parents, when we decided on a day visit. I remember the monorail in the air – quite fun, but also the dire canteen, our table jutted up to the filthy (green mold on the other side – ew..) glass wall through which could watch swimmers doing their biz while we munched our chips. It's doubtlessly changed since then. One hopes.
But I was rather surprised with Minehead. The other end, away from the town, was the lovely harbour end, its gorgeous little historic cottages ranged at the foot of the steepest, forested hill imaginable. Then there's the customary pub and harbour wall, and small boats of all description lolling down there, resting on the mud (only ever saw them on the mud!). A feast for the eyeballs. Too many photos, as usual.
'Haven't you taken that one?' His Greatness (Husband) asked.
'Not under these weather conditions.' Responded I.
In the days to come, we climbed that wooded hill, managed very ably by me since I managed to lose a couple of stone over the last two or three years (he ran up portions, but I don't talk about that), walked to the historic part of Minehead which is absolutement GORGEOUS with a captil G! Too many photos later, again, I found out that it's used frequently as a backdrop for numerous historic dramas. It's delightful, and I'd love to return. The weather, was, again, glorious. Rich blue skies which made my photos look positively professional! We visited Dunster Castle and town. More history and surpisingly fewer visitors than we expected. We took the Somerset railway to West Bay, where we strolled by the harbour, imbibed our obligatory coffee, and perused a local antique shop, the innards of which seemed to go on forever. There I bought a small and silly pink glass vase which is, I have to say, in the best possible taste! Not. I loved it. He said: 'As long as I don't have to look at it.' *Humph*.
(Nice bloke). A good day last Wednesday. A good mix. Gym induction in the morning, sculpture in the afternoon. Gym induction? Sounds definitely dodgy.
'Twasn't, actually. Comes under the discipline of exercise. We all need this, particularly as we get older. Particularly me, who sits on her bum all day, creating. I enjoy a good brisk walk with Husband (hate running, with my bits wobbling all over the place). I enjoy paddling our canoe, or rowing. Don't mind a bit of swimming, although we tend to muck about in the water, swimming between each other's legs, rather than actually swimming. And yoga. I'm flexible, always have been, and am proud to announce that, at age sixty, I could still do the crab (I think it's called) – flat on your back, bend your legs, palms of hands flat on floor by your shoulders – liiift! *Groooan* Not certain I could do it now, although Husband reckons I could, given a bit more weight loss. I shall keep up with the yoga, Sun Sallutation et al, because I enjoy it, but not the hot, sweaty version cuz I don't like being hot n' sweaty. (Ew, as they say). One of my eleven-year-old granddaughters is flexible and looks unnaturally ridiculous when tied in a knot, nibbling her toenails. Husband and I still do somersaults over low bars on pathways and listen to the heavy 'clonk' as our phones drop from pockets to concrete. Just saying.
Anyhoo, back to the James, gym. Many moons ago during the 1980s, myself aged thirty something, my kids attended the Thursday morning creche at the local sports centre while a bunch of us young mums indulged in a spot of what they called 'Housewives' Choice'. Incredibly politically incorrect, so they renamed it 'Sporting Choice' later. At these sessions, after a bit of aerobics, you could have a go at any number of sporting activities. There was tennis, swimming, indoor archery (I discovered archery here, and loved it. Not a bad shot- *boooing!*)and the gym. A lot of folk don't like the gym, and I can appreciate why. Too noisy, too many people showing off their muscle strength or stamina, you feeling stupid in whatever you're wearing or not wearing, you feeling totally inadequate among this lot of superhumans, you feeling stupid cuz the apparatus is too complicated to operate.
But I loved it. And continued. Aged forty-six I reflected on oldies who stated: 'I'm too old for that.' referring to exercise, and me retaliating with: 'That's when you need to do something!' I have several reasons I like the gym. It's a fiver-ish for however long I want to be there. I can go whenever I want. It isn't cold, or wet (unless you want to get sweaty). There are a mix of sexes and ages – teenagers and ancients and in-betweens. You can talk to people if you want. You don't have to talk to people if you don't want to. The music's good. You can listen to your own music if you want to. I like the videos. The apparatus is actually rather easy to operate once you know how. And watching all these people in their vibes encourages me to 'get into my vibe'. You can do it in any weather condition. So yes – I like it.
Seven years ago I stopped going. Husband retired so our timetables changed a tad, and I became depressed (not because he retired). I considered all sorts of other options but nothing materialised. When I began my long haul to complete wellness, we bought a rowing machine, and yes – I became disciplined and used it almost every day in my endeavours to lose the weight I'd gained while depressed. I lost two-and-a bit-stone. Woo-hoo! But we still weren't venturing far from the house, so meals out and holidays were still on the horizon. So I didn't eat too much and was enjoying salads for lunch and small choc bars at weekends.
Then, after my cognitive behavioral therapy sessions, and a bit longer, I became completely cured. We began going out more and taking exotic-ish holidays. Pub lunches and yummy three course buffet meals in fairly posh hotels (you wake up and the first thing you utter is: 'What's for dinner?') became a regular pattern. So I began not losing weight. At least, not at the rate I had previously. So I pulled myself up by the lapels and lectured myself. Inspired by daughter, who had a set of pedals you can use sitting down while watching telly, that's what I did. Acquired a set of pedals, plopped onto our settee, set up a four suit game of Spider Solitaire on my tablet (doing well at that) and began pedalling. It works, to a degree. Instead of fifteen minutes watching pop song videos on my laptop while steadily rowing, I'm pedalling like fury, pausing, clicking on cards, pedalling like fury again, and so on. Much prefer it to the rowing machine. Less preparation required. And do you know – I saw the magic eleven pop into the view screen on our scales last year. I was one ounce under twelve, but it definitely appeared. Haay!
Back once more to Gym, lucky fellah. After much soul searching deliberation I decided to stop faffing around and go back. Hence the induction, because I'd not been for seven years, and, under Health and Safety, they need to make sure you're not going to drop dead on the treadmill. You obviously have to fill in a certain amount of paperwork, but because I was already registered, this was minimal. I'm impatient about the gym induction, because I have been through it before and know how to operate the apparatus. So I told the gym instructor Sarah (lovely girl) that I felt sorry for her for being landed with me cuz I can never be instructed over anything (true). We walked around the room, she pointed to everything, I said: 'Yup – know that one. Nope, don't use that one. Yep, no, yep, can I go now?' She insisted on seeing me on the treadmill and I pushed the tab faster. 'Slow down! Slow down!' 'No, no. I want brisk!' Brisk I did. Luckily Sarah had a sense of humour. She let me go after that. I was back and it was good. Did a short stint on familiar weight machines, watched other superhumans, did a bit of yoga-ish biz on the mat and proved my flexibility, watched by Sarah over there who was probably thinking: 'Gosh, she's flexible.' Or not. Then left and drove in my Mini Cooper to Farnham for sculpture class.
A good day. :-D!