The Golden Calf*

Really really really don’t feel like walking to the cows when wake up from my afternoon sleep.  However, force self to trudge there.  The wren of anxiety flies into my mouth and down my throat and flutters around in my stomach.  The one thing that helps is to move and to keep moving: putting one foot in front of the other and repeating and repeating and repeating.  The panther saunters down the road next to me, padding on huge paws.

It’s 21 degrees when I set off which is just perfect.  Am wearing my white denim shorts, my pale pink secret support sleepwear top with the cream lace edging and, I notice, a bit of dried porridge in the middle of the tummy.  Oh well.  The outfit is finished off with gold sequinned fit flops.  Maybe will enter this outfit for The Mental Normality Awards, I think.

Once I’m moving, I feel better.  Spot a pair of long-tailed tits out for a late afternoon jaunt.  As I turn the corner up to the field, there’s a golden shape: a calf who’s come over to say hello.  And am richly rewarded for making the trip: the cows are all near the fence.  Show you:

Being out in the wide open space of the fields calms my anxiety.  It’s a gorgeous evening and swifts circle overhead, screeching.  It’s always worth it – venturing outside and moving – I remind myself as I turn and head for home.

Other achievements of the day include:

1.  Pushing self hard at Spin – managing average 78% effort according to my device.  It’s a Hill Climb class which is my best one as can whack the resistance up really high.  See attached photo for my outfit and my instructor’s outfit.

2.  Managing lunch with a chum as well as walking there and back – so that’s two walks and a Spin class today.  Well done me.

3.  Combing some grass seeds out of the fluffy monster’s chest fur.  They had accumulated on his chest, forming a green beard.

4.  Washing hair and rest of self.

5.  Shelling the peas.

Now am sitting in the garden with Mum writing this and listening to a crow cawing.

Happy Saturday everyone!
*2013.  By Helene Tursten.  Book 5 in the Inspector Huss series.  Swedish crime novel.

Blooming Murder*

“We’ll be home in an hour,” Mum says when she calls at 5.14pm.

“OK,” I say.  “I’m up at the cows.  I’ll see you when I get back and…”

“Look after my baby,” Mum says.  She means her orange fluffy grandson.

“Haven’t seen him,” I say.  He’s been out all day – visiting his Other Friends no doubt.

The cows are on the far side of their field when I make it there this afternoon.  So, it’s not a great photo but here’s the evidence that have trudged up to see them and back:

On my walk, also see:

1.  One of the red kites circling overhead.

2.  One white cat.

3.  One Siamese cat.

4.  One golden Labradoodle called Teddy.

5.  One Sheltie.

6.  Three crows.

7.  One wood pigeon.

8.  Two blackbirds.

Have been missing Seb a lot today and feeling sad about him.  My severe grief reaction to the end of our relationship is ongoing.  Am still crying about him for about two hours per day.

Now am sitting in the garden with the panther.  He is grooming himself: rasping his flank with his rough tongue. 

 The fluffy monster is lying under the table on the terrace, so have been kneeling down on the paving stones to achieve the best photo.  Not that any photo could do him justice, of course:

Am sitting next to the spotty petunias.  Show you.  Know you have seen them before, but they’re so pretty:

“Hello darling,” Mum says when she arrives home – addressing the cat, not me, of course.  Had better post this and go and talk to her…

The attached photo is today’s Spin outfit.  

Happy Friday everyone!
*1994.  By Jean Hager.  A floral country house mystery set in the Ozarks.

The Legs Murder Scandal*

1.  My trainer is pleased to have me back: we did Legs today and now they are starting to ache.  A horrible new exercise happened involving lying-on-one-side on the leg press and doing a sort-of one-legged-lunge.  Did four sets of everything, so that’s good.  
2.  Made it to the last session of my history course so am pleased with self.

3.  Now am back at the parentals, sitting in Mum’s study with the panther.  Have already spotted the fluffy monster but he hid in the herb garden to get away from me, which is quite rude.  He’s meant to be my cat but can’t even be bothered to say hello.  Must not take this to heart.

Here is a photo of him taken by Mum yesterday anyway:

4.  Washed hair and self at gym so am clean.

5.  It is vegetable curry for supper: yay!

6.  Spin tomorrow and am looking forward to it.

7.  A wood pigeon coos outside and have seen one of the collared doves too.

8.  Saw two cocker spaniels near my flat this morning: a black one and a golden one.

9.  The attached photo is today’s gym outfit.

10.  Am looking forward to bedtime after a Bad Night of sleeping last night involving waking up at 4.30am and being unable to return to sleep.

Happy Thursday everyone!
*2010.  By Hunter Cole.  Detective novel set in 1935 in Mississippi.

To Die For*

“So, how can I help you?” The personal training coordinator says.  We’re sitting in an office at the front of the gym.  The panther sits by the window: gazing out at the road.  

“Um, I’d like to sign up for personal training again,” I say.  “In fact: I’ve spoken to my trainer and I’m having a session tomorrow so I just need to sign the paperwork and…”

“Yes, she mentioned that,” he says, smiling at me.  He’s a big chap with a dark beard and kind, brown eyes.  “I’ve been expecting you to find me so…”

“The thing is,” I say.  “I’m having some more surgery at the end of August so is it possible if I just sign up for a month – one session a week or…well, I don’t know how long the recovery will be from my next operation.  It’s just exchange surgery – replacing the expanders with implants – so it shouldn’t be more than a month off training but there’ll be drains and it’s always more complicated and…” Suddenly I’m crying: thinking about drains and hospital and not-being-able-to-lift-weights.  Must be more anxious about this surgery than I thought I was, I realise.

“I’ve been meaning to tell you what an inspiration you are,” he says.  “You keep coming here and you’ve always got a smile on your face and…”

“I love my exercise,” I say, wiping away the tears.  “It’s what keeps me going and…”

“You’re amazing,” he says, smiling at me.  “After everything you’ve been through, you keep coming here and you’re always smiling and…”

“Thank you,” I say, feeling sorry for myself.  

“Tell you what,” he says.  “Let’s go for six top-up sessions now, which you can take in August and September – you can always buy more – and we’ll start a direct debit for four sessions a month from October.  OK?”

“Thank you,” I say: feeling happy that can start training again tomorrow.  

I’m back on my bike at the gym now, writing this.  The panther is draped across the bike next to me, resting his huge head on his paws.

There’s the thud of people running on the treadmills behind me and the rumble of the cross trainers.  Other than that, it’s quiet and peaceful at the gym at 6.20pm.  The horrible music is off.  It’s a good place to write.  Lifted weights this morning, so anything I do this evening is a bonus.

The attached photo is this morning’s gym outfit.

Happy Wednesday everyone!
*2004.  By Linda Howard.  Book 1 in the Blair Mallory murder mystery series, set at the Great Bods fitness centre.  


The alcoholics are laughing about something in the opposite corner of the park: swigging from their cans, slapping each other on the back.   Have spread my scarf out on the grass and am collapsed on top of it with the panther.

It’s my lunch break from The Office and am scribbling this before returning to my Important Work.

“You’re too fat for that dress,” the panther says, staring at me with a look of disgust.

“I know,” I say, feeling the tears well up.  “So I’m going to Do Something about it – I’m returning to my trainer at the gym once a week and…”

“You’ll need to spend about five hours in the gym every day if you want to get your figure back,” the panther says, staring at me.

“I’m still going to do Spin three times a week, and another gym session,” I say.  “It’s just for a bit of an extra push so…”

“You repulse me,” the panther says, turning away from me to watch a squirrel who has just run up the trunk of the horse chestnut tree under which we’re sitting.

On the plus side: have a new dress with tigers on.  Look:

Have an event to attend on Sunday and can wear it with the gold fit flops am sporting in the above photo, so will even be able to walk.

Had better return to my Important Work.

The attached photo is a plant in this park.

Happy Tuesday everyone!
*1994.  Studio album by Blur.

Barefoot In The Park*

Stretched out on my blanket on the grass, kicking off my shoes, I listen to the murmur of voices.  The panther lies next to me, resting his head on his front paws, watching the pigeons strut around us.  We’re in the little park near The Office.  So is this person:

Feel a bit better now have achieved a morning of Important Work; purchased a couple of artichokes in the market and am writing this. Golden arrows dart across the sky above me: goldfinches.  They chirrup to each other.  Am happy to see them here.  It’s another sunny day – 23 degrees, which is a better temperature for me as it’s not as hot as it’s been over the last few days.

“Just called to say that I’m at The Office and I’m feeling much better now that I’m here,” I tell Mum when I call her at 12.15pm.

“Can’t you remember that you always feel better once you’re there?” Mum says, sounding frustrated.  “I don’t understand why you have to make such a fuss about going to The Office and…”

“It’s the anxiety,” I say.  “I’m sorry.”

Anyway: had better return to my Important Work.  The attached photo is another plant in this little park.

Happy Monday everyone!
*1963.  By Neil Simon.  Play.

West Of Sunset*

The cows are all bunched together in the middle of the field late this afternoon when I visit them.  Show you:

Still: am glad that have bothered to trudge up there to see them: it’s a pleasant summer evening.  

Don’t seem to have made it back to the flat today.  Had a Bad Night of sleeping last night, with dreams of my Seb so waking up was horrible.  At Spin, feel that I’m working as hard as I can and yet my device tells me that my average effort is just 70%.  Not sure if this is due to lack of sleep or the heat.  “It’s very humid today,” Mum says.  The attached photo is today’s Spin outfit.

Am on the parental sofa with the panther. He rests his head in my lap and it’s hot weather to have a big cat sleeping all over me.  Dad dozes in his chair.

On the plus side:

1.  Here are some photos of the morning glory, taken at 8.30am.  Mum wants you to see it.  “I preferred last year’s blue one,” Mum says.

2.  Have washed self and hair.

3.  It is better for me to be here with the parentals if am not up to being at the flat and there’s no point in beating self up about it.

4.  Dad says “you’re not watching any athletics tonight I can tell you,” which isn’t very nice of him. Don’t understand why he can’t appreciate the beauty of athletics.  The fluffy monster doesn’t like it either and leaves the room when it’s on.

5.  Have a Book to read that am enjoying So Much.  Show you:

It’s about F.Scott Fitzgerald working as a screenwriter in Hollywood in 1937 and it’s just brilliant and gripping.

Happy Sunday everyone!
*2015.  By Stewart O’Nan.  Literary fiction novel.

The Ox-Bow Incident*

It’s still hot – 25 degrees – at 5.23pm this afternoon when I set off in search of the cows.  Trudging down the street towards the farm in my sleepwear and fit flops, the panther pads next to me on soft paws.

Haven’t seen the cows yet this year.  Maybe they’re not coming, I think.  They’re not in the first field as I turn into the farm.  Pulling the gate shut behind me, I start to climb the slope.  Turning left, I approach the second field.  Still no cows.

Feeling sad, I’m about to turn back and head for home when I see a dark shape in the distance.  Reaching the top of the hill, they come into view – a whole herd of cows and calves.  Look:

Approaching the fence, a curious calf walks over to me.  Fixing me with his huge brown eyes, he stares at me.  We share a moment, before he returns to play with his friends. 

I’m so glad that the cows are back and can see them whenever I want now.  Feeling lighter, I set off towards home.

The attached photo is today’s Spin outfit.

Happy Saturday everyone!
*1940.  By Walter Van Tilburg Clark.  Western novel.

Murder In The Secret Garden*

It’s 5.23pm.  Am sitting in the parental garden.  Bumblebees buzz in the petunias in the hanging basket behind me:

No sign of that fluffy monster at the moment.  Didn’t catch him till 9pm last night.  The parentals were out, leaving me in charge.  You can see him in the attached photo.  On the plus side: saw three long-tailed tits on the bird feeder when was out looking for the fluffy monster at 8.30pm last night.

The feeders are covered with blue tits and great tits now.  They chirrup to each other and flit in and out of the hedge – landing on the fat balls, pecking, zooming away again and then repeat.

Push self hard at Spin this morning in the heat – see photo at top of this post.  Achieve weights yesterday – here is gym outfit:

The panther lies on the ground next to me.  He is dozing and every so often he twitches the end of his tail or flicks an ear.

Went to the garden centre earlier today with Mum.  Was wearing my pyjama shorts.  We bought this plant: Gaillardia ‘Sunset Celebration’ –

We love him: he was the last one or we would’ve purchased more of them.


1.  Tummy ache.

2.  Muscle pains in legs from Spin and yesterday’s weights.  So that’s good.

3.  Headache – probably dehydration: have been drinking So Much Water these last few days but it must still not be enough.  

Am looking forward to supper which must be soon…

Happy Friday everyone!
*2016.  By Ellery Adams.  Book 3 in the Book Retreat’ murder mystery series.

Murder On A Summer’s Day*

It’s a hot day again – apparently it’s going to get up to 29 degrees later – and am wearing this excellent outfit to look after Mr Fluffypants:

It is, of course, sleepwear.  

We went for a walk at nine o’clock this morning, before the pavements became too hot for his paws, and now we’re collapsed in front of Luther:

The fan whirrs as it oscillates, cooling down the room.  The blinds are down.  Have given the fluffy person some more water and he is resting:

Had a Bad Night of sleeping last night – trouble falling asleep, waking up several times – and am exhausted.  All I have to do today though is cuddle Mr Fluffypants, talk to him and administer to his needs.  We are having some lovely embraces.  He is such a calming presence.

The panther lies in front of the television, on the other side of the room.  He’s wary of Mr Fluffypants – I think all the panting disturbs him.

The attached photo is, of course, Mr Fluffypants.

Happy Wednesday everyone!
*2013.  By Frances Brody.  Book 5 in the Kate Shackleton mystery series.