Wednesday, March 08, 2006


One Step At A Time

I wrote sometime around New Year, of a little mishap that put me into a discommodious situation. That mishap was an accident causing an injury sufficiently bad to put me on my backside for the best part of 6 weeks through a snapped fifth metatarsal. I escaped the rigid inflexibility of having a cast set around the break, and was given no instructions to wear a supportive boot - or even a surgical stocking. The treatment was laughably low key. I received a sick note for three weeks - even before it was made known that I was working, and once that fact and my particular employment established, I was recommended a style of walking ( taking as much pressure off the wounded limb as possible through a kind of one legged pigeon-toe gait) and bestowed an old walking stick which they said I could keep.

It took a while before I could walk anywhere near properly, and I'm still in some pain when I bend the foot should I hunkerdown or attempt any kind of stressful exercise involving weight or rapid movement. But I'm back in the gym, and no doubt will be expected to attend the firing range to requalify (something I have resisted since my return to work,even though my presence should identify me as fit for duty, any duty) pretty soon. And I'm back on the bike.

Strange circumstances tempted me back into the the saddle, sooner than expected if I'm honest. I had planned to visit the gym this evening. back in the old - but with a new routine. Loads of chest work and a major calorie burn on the cross trainer. But traffic problems on the motorway flooded into the roads around my estate and all routes to the gym were grid-locked. But I desperately needed a gym workout. A workout anyhow. I had gone hungry today. Too hungry. So hungry in fact that I ate - following a generous offer and a realisation that my food organisation needs to be looked at - a Gingsters pasty, and a load of chockky biscuits. Just about the last food stuffs I need given my current efforts to de-soft my belly and chest.

So I took to the bike. The tyres were softer than they should safely be, and the chain and gears were a tad rusty, but the old steed was still serviceable. I donned my trusty hi viz jacket and blew the cobwebs from both the bike and my peddling feet and took to the blocked roads - weaving in and out of the static vehicles frustrated at my inability to get a move on - feel the burn.

I had a brainwave. An inspired thought. I shall take the cycle routes, probably spattered with dog walkers and dawdlers to frighten the hell out of - but, and here was the source of my enthusiasm, I can cycle to the area where I broke my porcelain brittle metatarsal I see if I can work out why it happened. I thought I slipped. Tripped. Missed my footing. Any one or all three of those. It happened in the dark and it happened quickly and I was in too much pain and too keen to make my escape from the curious figure lent against the gates of the entrance I was running towards. I limp hobbled in a kind of skip-run until I was around the corner until I was able without embarrassment or show to rip off my trainer and feel for the damage. I never really found out why it happened. Or what might have contributed towards it.

But now I do. I cycled to where I considered to be the exact area where I faltered, and there lies a lump of flat though smoothly raised concrete, and a deep crack either side of it. In the dark it would both interrupt the rhythm of the foot fall and reduce any traction previously provided by the tarmac of the path. A misplaced foot fall, a slip and an angled placement. I now know what happened and I'm pleased it wasn't just plain awkwardness. My psychological rehabilitation has received a boost today. I wasn't clumsy, so it want necessarily happen again. And I'll be back running again when I'm fully fit.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


More Of It.

This is my first opportunity to write anything for a while as, for the past week, I have been ensconced in the Lamphey Court Hotel in deepest Pembrokeshire. And not being an owner of a laptop, my internet activities whilst residing in hotels is roughly on a par with the time the first owners of Lamphey Palace spent e-shopping e-mailing and e-baying. That is to say, not at all.

My purpose for spending time at this place will have to remain a curiosity for reasons of national security, but my associated experiences can be discussed and if necessary dissected. All to give me much needed writing practice if for no other reason. Use it or lose it as the modern educational thinking has it. Which is as sound a theory of skill retention as any I care to think about.

Originally a Georgian mansion, Lamphey Court is one of those palatial hotels that offers a certain grandeur which usually serves as an alternative to the clinical excellence of more modern hotels. Ornate pillars and richly decorated walls and doors tend to mean no lifts, no pristine carpets and immaculate walls or modern comforts such as internet access, power showers and Sky TV. Instead chunky keys for paneled doors, creaky stairs, untreated window frames and poorly flushing loos. But I was pleasantly surprised at how the Lamphey Court has been able to combine some of the glamour of the old style with the obvious comforts of modern life which I have to say, increasingly, I find it hard to live without.

Sky Television has been installed though the reception is poor probably due to the hotels location, though I'm sure there are boosters on the market these days to sort out those kinds of problems. A good quality fitness centre - certainly not on offer here, an archetypal example of tatty opulence and definitely an exemplar of the points of contrast I'm trying to make - with a decent pool and all the relaxing and pampering facilities now so fashionable.

It was also good enough to provide a sexy, surprisingly slim legged, milky white and blood tinglingly sonsy Welsh Rhianwyn (the Welsh version of the Irish Colleen?) who seemed permanently to inhabit the reception area. In addition, a regiment of saucy cleaners who took to camping outside of my door, and who each afternoon I would stumble into as each afternoon they would sit cross-legged like protestors waiting for me coyly to emerge from the room to allow them in to service it. I was tempted to suggest that in future they could use their outrageous master key to enter my room whilst I was still in situ, and that way I could perhaps be serviced as well, but I didn't. People get into trouble for making those kinds of suggestions from the position of paying-customer privilege. And anyway if there was to be any of that, it would have been the sweet little Miss downstairs who would have been summoned. Why hang out rough with avaricious starlings when a beautiful dove sits prettily near.

Mmm. Where was I. Oh yes. The Lamphey Court. A good old but made to seem new combination hotel worthy of anyone's eighty-odd pounds a night.

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