The Anxiety Solution*

Have a lovely walk with Dolly in the sunshine. Afterwards, try to show her owner how to remove grass seeds from her paws. This is complicated by the extreme furriness of Dolly’s paws, her reluctance to lift them up and how when she does lift up a paw, she then puts it down on my hand – putting all her weight on it. So I show her owner the video of us removing grass seeds from the Golden Retriever’s paws so she knows what to look out for.

Come home and watch the Mel Wells question and answer session about anxiety and then start reading this month’s set book The Anxiety Solution. It’s good. So far it recommends walks in nature and meditation to combat anxiety, both of which I do already, so that’s good. Look forward to reading the rest of the book.

Have a sleep. Then shell the peas and broad beans whilst watching Kei Nishikori vs Roger Federer from last week. Kei has taken the first set but Roger is now 3 – 0 up in the second.

Fluffball is in now and lying at the bottom of the steps in the dining room, looking majestic.

The panther lies next to me on the grey sofa, resting his heavy head in my lap. Stroking the soft back of his neck, I gaze at the television.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

*2017. By Chloe Brotheridge. Self help book.

Woman In Gold*

Yesterday’s Spin is The Boss’s class and it’s a Hill Climb. Work hard. Here I am with The Princess:

We find a racing pigeon at the farm but can’t report him as the registry is closed on Sunday. Apparently he’s been there for two weeks and they’ve been feeding him so he will have forgotten his way home by now.

At three o’clock there’s a goodbye party for The Master – he’s retiring and moving away. All my Spin and Pilates friends and instructors are there. Wear this dress:

Sit and talk to all my chums, which is lovely. The Boss gives a speech about The Master and they both cry. They have created such a lovely family at Cyclezone – will miss him so much. Tell The Boss that I will do anything I can to help her in the future. Give them both hugs.

Stay at the party till 7.15pm. The tennis is on so catch bits of it. Poor Roger – am so upset for him but amazingly well done Novak.

Last night we watch Woman In Gold which is about art restitution in Austria and stars Helen Mirren. Recommend it.

This morning catch train from parentals to gym. It is upper body day at training. Here is my Vertical Traction:

Do four sets of all my weights and trainer is pleased with me.

Wimbledon is not quite over for us as we have some recorded. We are watching Andy and Serena’s third Mixed Doubles match.

Fluffball just popped in. He has been up a tall tree today but made it down in one piece.

The panther lies curled up on Fluffball’s pink chair. He is sleeping.

Happy Monday everyone!

*2015. Feature film written by Alexi Kaye Campbell. Directed by Simon Curtis. Stars Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Bruhl and Katie Holmes.

Bye-Bye Baby*

Spin is tough today. It’s The Boss’s class and it’s High End Endurance. Here I am:

Then it’s Barre which always cheers me up. Here I am with my lovely teacher:

See my psychiatrist and he thinks my mood seems a little brighter, so let’s hope that it lifts soon.

We watch the Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Final. Simona Halep plays an incredible match to beat Serena Williams 6-2 6-2 in just over an hour. Serena is just not match fit but mustn’t take anything away from Simona’s performance: she chases down every ball and doesn’t lose focus from start to finish.

Have a sleep. The parentals have gone out, leaving me to look after Fluffball. We sit in his bedroom for a bit:

Now he is in my bedroom, sleeping under my chair, and I’m watching the Men’s Doubles Final recorded earlier. The panther lies on the floor at my feet. I’m drinking Diet Coke and have just had my supper.

Happy Saturday everyone!

*1992. By David Delman. Tennis novel.

Breaking Point*

“Now this is an era-defining rivalry,” Andrew Castle says. Roger took the first set on a tiebreak and Rafa is 4-1 up in the second set.

Roger thumps a volley into the net but then goes 30-15 up. He just misses the line with a backhand: 30 all. Now there’s a breakpoint for Rafa. Roger does a wild mis-hit and now Rafa’s serving for the set. Roger thumps a return into the net, then misses the baseline. “Roger’s falling to pieces,” Mum says as Rafa takes the second set 6-1.

Work hard at Spin this morning. It’s The Boss’s class and it’s extensive intervals. Here we are:

Teach The Double Stretch in Pilates. It goes well and teacher is pleased with me. Here we are:

It’s a hard class where we do Stage 2 of The Shoulder Bridge – lifting and lowering first one leg then the other whilst up in the Bridge.

Roger breaks Rafa’s serve to go 3-1 up in the third set.

Fluffball come in.

Rafa wins the first point on Roger’s serve. Let’s see if he can break back. Love thirty. Fifteen thirty. Come on Rafa. Roger serves his first double fault of the match to take us to fifteen forty. Thirty forty. A long rally and we’re at deuce. Roger hits it into the net: third break point of the game. Rafa hits it into the net and we’re back at deuce. Rafa hits it out: advantage Roger. Rafa hits it into the net again and Roger holds for 4-1.

I need to concentrate on the match. The panther lies next to me on the grey sofa: amber eyes fixed on the television.

Happy Friday everyone!

*1996. By Martina Navratilova and Liz Nickles. Tennis murder mystery.

Summer Garden Murder*

Work hard at Spin this morning. Spin always seems tough when I haven’t done it for a while – in this instance not since last Friday.

My friend takes me home and we have a coffee in the garden. Mum wants you to see the garden. Here are some photos:

We sit in the garden with Fluffball. He vomits up a fur ball which is his own fault as he won’t let anyone groom him.

Wash my hair for the first time in a while.

Have lunch and watch the first set of Halep vs Svitolina but it’s so dull that go for my sleep early.

Now we are watching Serena’s match recorded earlier.

Last night Fluffball stayed out really late so let’s hope that doesn’t happen again – we were walking the streets calling for him at seven thirty. Our next door neighbour found him hiding under Dad’s car: silly Fluffball.

Am on the grey sofa with Mum and the panther.

Happy Thursday everyone!

*2005. By Ann Ripley. A Gardening mystery.

Break Point*

Rafa is a set and 3-1 up against the six foot six, big serving Sam Querrey. 3-2 now. Struggle to warm to Querrey: maybe because he just seems mainly tall-with-a-huge-serve. Also he beat Andy at Wimbledon in 2017. Not that I could support anyone against Rafa anyway. He just always gives a hundred percent, all the time, every point. He’s the ultimate inspiration. Oh no it’s 15 – 40 on Rafa’s serve. Come on Rafa!

Back to deuce. This is most nerve-wracking to watch. Advantage Nadal. Come. On. Rafa. Phew. He wins the game and is a set and 4-2 up.

This morning: walk Gandalf. Here we are:

Kiss him and cuddle him: love that boy so much.

Also work hard at Barre. Here I am:

But back to the tennis where Rafa is serving for the second set at 5-2. Thirty love. Forty love. Forty fifteen. Game and second set Nadal. Murmurs as news filters over from Centre Court that Roger has beaten Kei Nishikori in four sets.

Rafa breaks in the first game of the third set and holds serve to lead 2-0. “It’s relentless the intensity: whether it’s on the practice court or in the quarterfinal of a slam,” Tim Henman says. We’re at deuce on Querrey’s serve. Querrey hits an ace to get the advantage. Back to deuce. Something else happens that I miss whilst I’m writing. Querrey hits yet another ace to win the game.

Rafa runs out to serve, carrying his two towels, hands one to a ball girl. A good first serve: fifteen love. Another good first serve: thirty love. He wins this game to love to lead 3-1.

Mum goes out to look for Fluffball. Rafa has another break point on the Querrey serve. Hits it into the net: deuce. Double fault: advantage Nadal. Rafa whips the ball past Querrey and he’s got the double break: 4-1.

Querrey wins the first point on Rafa’s serve but now it’s 30-15. Rafa thumps a first serve into the net but the second serve’s good: 40-15. Suddenly we’re at deuce. “Doesn’t want to give his opponent any glimmer of hope,” Tim Henman says. Advantage Nadal. Rafa thumps the ball into an open court: 5-1.

Sam Querrey wins his serve to love. Rafa is serving for a place in the semi-final. Mum can’t find Fluffball. She comes in to watch Rafa serve for the match, sitting next to the panther on the sofa. 30-15. Rafa throws down an ace: 40-15. He whips the ball past Querrey to set up a semifinal against Roger.

Right, I have to go and help Mum look for Fluffball.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

*1978. By William Brinkley. Tennis novel.

Advantage Miss Jackson*

Dolly is so pleased to see me: she jumps up and puts her paws on my shoulders which she’s not allowed to do. We have a cuddle. Here we are:

We have a lovely walk. Love Dolly so much: she’s such an adorable person. It’s not that warm but the rain holds off.

Catch the train back to the parentals. Watch Serena win her singles match against Alison Riske and then have a long sleep.

Wake up and shell the peas and broad beans. Now we’re watching Andy and Serena in their doubles where they lead 6 – 5 in the first set. Yay they’ve just won the set 7 – 5.

This person has just come in:

Stroke him whilst he is sleeping: he’s so soft and fluffy.

Andy and Serena have just broken the other pair in the first game of the second set. Am being called for supper: we’ll watch the rest of this match after supper.

The panther is lying under the dining room table so had better go and sit with him.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

*1991. By Michael Hardcastle. Tennis novel.

Champion’s Choice*

It’s Leg Day at Personal Training. Here’s my leg press:

Haven’t done the Leg Press for a while but do a warm-up set on a light weight and then four sets of 100kg. Do four sets of all my weights and trainer is pleased with me.

Watch Rafa’s match at lunchtime which he wins 6 – 2, 6 – 2, 6 – 2. He plays just wonderfully, beating Joao Sousa who is the first Portuguese player ever to make it to the last sixteen at Wimbledon.

Meditate but can’t sleep.

Am up and on the sofa now. Johanna Konta has just beaten Petra Kvitova which is exciting to book her place in the quarterfinals. Roger is about to stride onto Centre Court to play Matteo Berrettini. Come on Roger!

The panther lies on the floor at my feet. He gazes at the television with amber eyes as we watch Roger warming up.

Happy Monday everyone!

*1940. By John Tunis. Tennis novel.

Orpheus Descending*

The play last night – Orpheus Descending – is really good and it’s great to be at the Menier Chocolate Factory and to see a Tennessee Williams play that I’ve never seen. Indeed: it hasn’t been on in London since 2000 when it was on at the Donmar. Jemima Rooper particularly impresses. Am not going to bang on about the play as it’s now finished its run, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Have a late night – don’t get home till past eleven o’clock. Wake up this morning and drag self to the gym. Here I am:

Do four sets of all my weights. Even when I don’t feel like it, like today, lifting weights always makes me feel better.

Have lunch and watch the end of Roger’s match from yesterday. Roger has now won 350 Grand Slam Singles matches – he’s the only man or woman to have achieved this.

Meditate and sleep. Wake up and then my cousin comes for her Pilates lesson. We work hard for fifty minutes which is good.

Now I’m watching Andy and Serena’s Mixed Doubles match from last night. I’m lying on the new sofa. The panther lies next to me: resting his heavy head in my lap. Stroking the soft back of his neck, we both watch the television.

Happy Sunday everyone!

*1957. By Tennessee Williams. Play.

Dog Helps Those*

Dog Grooming Workshop this morning. Borrow my lovely friend’s handsome Golden Retriever. Here he is before being brushed:

We learn how to groom a dog: you start at the bottom of the back and work up towards the head – brushing the ears first on the top and then underneath. Then you work down the legs, lifting the paws up one by one and checking in between the toes for grass seeds which can work their way in between the toes. Grass seeds are very dangerous and can work their way through to the dog’s lung and puncture it.

We remove all these from between his toes:

There are also some bits of hay in there but make sure to check in between your dog’s toes and in their armpits for grass seeds.

We also learn how to remove matted bits from the dog’s coat but my canine partner doesn’t have the kind of fur that matts and his coat is in excellent condition.

Here we are after the workshop:

Start walking him home and we find his owner driving down her road and she takes me home.

Am back at the flat now watching Roger who is destroying Lucas Pouille at the moment. The panther lies next to me on my new sofa: resting his heavy head in my lap.

Going to the Menier Chocolate Factory this evening to see Orpheus Descending so am looking forward to that.

Happy Saturday everyone!

*2012. By Neil Plakcy. A Golden Retriever mystery.