Stay creative

I’m easily pleased.

Silly silly little things make me really really happy – and I’m thankfully not alone in this.

Today I was at the recycling centre in Leamington. I always pop in as I pass – and whilst browsing at the Age UK shop I saw a young girl. She was around 10-12 years old, wearing a fluffy pink parka with a warm looking fur collar and some matching woolly ear muffs. Both she and her mother were checking out the used bikes near the entrance.

One by one they went through the frames, colours and conditions. The quality of the bikes there often varies wildly – but there are usually diamonds to be found amongst the rough.

After a while of earnestly considering her options the girl had selected one that she liked. It looked sturdy and had purple handlebar grips which she clearly approved of. There was also plenty of tread on the tyres, and she had tested them over and over by pressing her tiny thumbs repeatedly into the back and the front.

No punctures. It looked like the one.

Her mother agreed with the choice and paid for the bike at the till.

Afterwards the small family (two little brothers were also in tow) left together, walking in the same direction as me.

As they made their way past Morrisons the girl (who had been trying unsuccessfully for around 200 metres to lift herself up into the high saddle) finally managed to get upright and pedal a few metres in front of her mom and past her (clearly impressed) siblings.

Her mother and she had smiles from ear to ear, and both were giggling. As I peeled off in a different direction I realised that I too had a big grin on my face.

Something that the last two years has shown me is that it’s possible to reset your life, to change your viewpoint, to want less and enjoy the smaller things in life.

Whereas in the past I thought nothing of buying a £1000 TV to take my mind off my problems I now find happiness in my 99p beanie – purchased from globalcare yesterday.

It keeps my head warm, saves me money and benefits charity too – just like the little girl’s bike.

My blog happened for a similar reason believe it or not.

I don’t do it for profit and instead I began to write it purely because I needed to feel like I create something rather then endlessly devour the output of others.

Maybe by being less of a consumer in my every day life, and putting something (anything) back into the society in which I live I’m making the world a bit of a better place in my own small way.

I remember that as a child my first bike was a collection of parts put together in secret in the loft that eventually became my Christmas present. To me it didn’t matter that my family couldn’t afford a new one.

It was the bike I wanted – and for the time I had it I loved it.

Over the years I learned to want new things – mostly because I saw other children with them, and unconsciously I began (in almost every aspect of my life) to become a consumer instead of a creator.

I forgot about the drawings I used to do all the time (mostly because my mother became jealous – and angrily said again and again that art was her thing not mine – that my creativity served purely to undermine her) and I stopped writing poems and stories.

I used to create a lot to excise negative feelings – but (partially because this seemed to antagonise my mom) I found it was easier to drink – and so bit by bit one activity replaced the other.

Instead I retreated and the more I consumed the less I created. Without realising what I was doing I ate and drank away the pain of many aspects of my childhood.

I did it for so long I ceased to realise that I was doing it any more.

Today though, watching the cheerful little girl, I remembered that little boy with his recycled bike for Christmas and the happy feeling it gave him to ride it back and forth outside his house.

If you want a new year’s resolution internet then maybe you can’t go far wrong with ‘want less and give more’.

It’s what I’m going to do – along with constantly trying to be a better version of myself.

Happy New Year’s Eve everybody. Have fun and stay creative x

Davey

Wardrobe malfunction 

Although occasional insomnia sucks the catch-up sleep that follows it (at least in my case) is glorious. It’s now 6.25am on Sunday, the sun is coming up, birds are singing and I have about 11.5 hours of solid grade A shut eye under my belt. Honestly I feel like I could conquer the world!

But what to do with my Sunday?

(Author decides to move a wardrobe. Just for the hell of it.)

Well – I think that I can say with considerable authority that falling down the stairs being followed by an IKEA wardrobe wasn’t the plan for the morning.

I had been meaning to move one of my two wardrobes into the dining room of some time so that I had a place to hang clothes after ironing. Unfortunately while moving it I completely misjudged the weight and it slipped on the top stair – pushing me backwards as it fell about half of length of the staircase.

Thankfully I managed to stop myself after a few stairs with one hand on the rail and the other on the wardrobe. However – although I was unscathed my furniture wasn’t so lucky…

Mind you – as annoying as this is if I’d been doing this 15 stone ago the ending to this morning’s moment of excitement may well have been quite different. About two years ago I slipped while getting into my car and grabbed the steering wheel. This fared way worse than my bannister when faced with my (then) 35+ stone weight.


So, annoyingly – although this was very nearly the start of a ‘Darwin Award‘ story (idiot crushed to death at 6am by IKEA wardrobe) I like to think it’s actually more of a non-scale victory.

My smashed up furniture may disagree with my positive spin however…

But what to do with the REST of my Sunday?….

(author decides to do some organising then make do and mend)

Well – after a few nails were applied to what remained of my wardrobe I was still able to use it as a clothes organiser. Sadly the doors are now basically junk – and it will definitely need replacing – but hey ho.

It will do for now.

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You might ask why I need a ‘clothes organiser’ downstairs rather than a wardrobe upstairs – and there’s (at least in my mind) a good answer.

Increasingly my store of clothing has become little more than a conveyer belt. The problem has actually gotten so bad that shirts are piling up on chairs because after a few wears and washes they simply don’t fit properly any more.

On the left is one 4XL and several 3XL’s that are almost too comical to wear but that I can’t yet face parting with because I like them. They’re not quite so large yet that I want to give them away.

The items in the middle represent things that I can currently comfortably wear and things that (to the right) are becoming wearable. To the far right is one smart striped M&S shirt that I can just about do the buttons up on – and it’s flipping lovely.

The pile at the bottom in the bin liner is 4XL clothing that’s now mostly destined for charity, and apart from the jacket and hoodie on the left everything is now graded in the order that it needs to be.

I can now finally see what I can and can’t wear at a glance.

This (for the time being) is my relationship with clothes. Nothing is has a sense of permanence and no item usually gets worn more than a few times before I have to say goodbye to it.

On the one side its annoying – but on the other also quite exciting. For the first time lately I have a variety of things that I like the look of to choose from, rather than depressing tents that just used to cover me.

(having mostly gotten over his traumatic furniture loss the author heads out for a walk)

IKEA has become something of a theme of today – and whilst passing the recycle centre on the way to the supermarket today I noticed a POANG footstool. My friend had said that if I saw another at the same price as mine to get it for him, so I popped in to grab it (It was £5 – an absolute bargain!).

However, right next to it was an almost brand new POANG chair.

Readers will know that I already have one of these but have been way too much of a sissy to sit on it (I have been convinced I’d break it) but my experience with the wardrobe, the bannister and my memories of the steering wheel made me think – ‘you know what – I’m going to make my house more comfortable for new Davey rather than the old me’ – and I bought it too for £15 (also an absolute bargain!).

I decided to put the other one in my study where I have a nice view out of the window.

This time however – rather than screwing around and just looking worriedly in its general direction out of the corner of my eye whilst sitting in my HUGE armchair (if you want to see how big it is look hereI’m actually sitting in the damn thing and it’s REALLY comfortable.

I’m not just static either – or propped up against the wall. I’m confidently bouncing up and down in it! However – when I take a selfie for the blog – I’m reminded of the next thing that needs sorting out.

Rusty McBike‘s saddle…

It’s not the best to be honest – and is rocking back and forth like a see-saw, which is hardly surprising as its a teeny tiny bit corroded underneath. Annoyingly it seems that the stem on Rusty McBike is actually different to other newer bikes (it’s 25.4mm rather than 27mm), meaning that when I borrowed my friend’s stem and saddle yesterday it didn’t fit because it’s too big…

My other friend in the however reckons that it can all be fixed with this item:

23606The problem is that I’m wary that my weight will make the same thing happen again – as it happened on my last bike years ago as well.

I know this is probably just in my head – but I can’t help it!

(author wanders off to wrestle with corrosion and his feelings about breaking things because he’s heavy)

Well – the saddle came off a little easier than expected – now all I need to do is replace the clamp – or maybe even the entire stem. I found an alternative style (which is integral to the pole) that makes me feel a little less paranoid, and looks like it’s far less likely to rock…

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Now all I need to do is try and find a second hand one or a really cheap one…

Guess what Davey will be doing next week internet!

Davey

Transportation upgrade

Today has the capacity to be a downbeat one – but honestly I don’t plan to let it get the better of me.

I dislike dealing with officialdom at the best of times, and today is unfortunately one of those days where I have to. Although I often find that the reality of such encounters is far better than the confrontation I’ve imagined it doesn’t make any such appointments less stressful for me in the lead up to them.

Since I need to create my own positive mood today (no-one else will do it for me – it’s just me vs men in suits) I woke up this morning with a basic plan in mind.

Firstly I had a shopping delivery to get out of the way.

No – you haven’t misread that. I’m still tighter than a camel sphincter in a sandstorm – but I got an £8 voucher from Sainsburys online (with free delivery) if I spent over £25. It sounds daft – but even with almost 1/3 off my shopping this voucher is still not necessarily cheaper than shopping at Aldi – unless I used it to buy items (in bulk) that I knew were cheaper or unavailable at Aldi or Lidl.

So – I ordered 6 bags of Soya mince (£1.50 for 500g. Sainsbury’s own brand is really tasty in a chilli and very low calorie compared to meat), and 8 bags of espresso coffee -which was on special offer anyway.

What arrived was four bags of mince and two bags of soya protein meatballs (also £1.50). When the guy on the doorstep saw my crestfallen look he refunded (and let me keep) one of the bags of meatballs, saving me a bit more money and I signed to let him go on his way.

Result!

Until that was I put all the coffee on my kitchen counter and realised I’d bought beans not ground coffee – when I don’t have a frikkin coffee grinder!!!

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Still – it’s at least amusing, and probably a very good opportunity to buy a cheap one and get all snobbish with some freshly ground beans when people come over for tea parties.

In a round about way brings me onto my mild cliffhanger of an ending yesterday. Although my walking and climbing was finished by the end of my post, a (possibly) new love affair with coffee and a brand new chapter in my fitness was beginning.

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Firstly my friend decided he no longer wanted his coffee machine (he was upgrading) and in an act of brazen generosity gave me his old Gaggia. This is a little more ‘hands on’ than my other alternative ways to make coffee – but (from my experience in the brief period of burly barista style ownership so far) produces espresso shots at a strength that ‘blow the bloody doors off.’

However – this enhanced sense of energy came in very useful after my shopping delivery.

So – onto the second thing I left out of yesterday’s post.

For some time I’ve been pretty paranoid about a certain method of personal transport. I have many bad associated memories of breaking them, bending them, and falling off them when I couldn’t support my own weight. I’ve frankly been a mass of negativity and pessimism about this particular way to get fit.

So I’m experimenting a little, challenging myself and branching out.

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Yesterday I took ownership of the first bike I’ve owned in nineteen years.

My friend sourced it for me cheaply around the corner from him (it was only £35 – yay!) – went and had a look at it on Sunday night, and had it waiting for me in his garage when I arrived. It comes with a nice, thrifty ‘pre-loved and a little rusty‘ vibe to it – and really doesn’t look like an item that will attract many bicycle thieves – which was one of my other concerns.

I drove it home yesterday evening from Derbyshire on a borrowed bike rack (something else I was pretty wary about, having never attached one to my car before) and parked it up in my hall where I could quietly view it with unguarded suspicion and wariness.

I was still looking at it with the same expression whilst I sipped my second espresso shot this morning.

Faint heart never won trim waistline though – and before lunchtime I took it out for it’s first spin!

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Honestly I’d built it up in my mind to be way worse than it was in reality (which I’m sure you’ll agree is a theme of people with weight or fitness issues that stretch back many years) and I was surprised at not only at the distance and speed that I travelled, but that I was cycling up gradients (albeit not insane ones) without any problems.

The gears worked fine, the brakes stopped me when things crossed my path and the bike felt sturdy – if maybe a little ‘boneshakery’. The only issue I had was with the saddle coming loose and slipping back a bit close to the end of the ride, separating and invigorating certain aspects of my undercarriage..

Who needs testicles anyway? I have it on good authority from my lady friends that they’re totally overrated.

When I looked at Apple Watch’s stats upon arriving home I’d done a little under 6.5 miles in around 37 minutes. This is particularly interesting because thats almost exactly the distance my exercise bike says I’ve travelled in the same time frame – which means it’s actually relatively accurate!

Anyway – it’s still early days. My friend is one of the ‘lycra elite‘ and I have a long way to go before I reach the dizzying heights of his Bradley Wigginsesque accomplishments – but it’s a start.

Only time will tell whether this becomes ‘a thing’ for me – but at the very least it gives me new travel options for work and shopping. At the very least I feel pleasantly well exercised today and I still have a whole bunch of walking left to do this afternoon – so as far as I’m concerned it’s already a good day!

And on that note internet I must head off to do battle with officialdom.

Davey