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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Home!!!!! 

I am home at last. I was in Wales on holiday last week and last night and most of today I was in Bonn in Germany. Now I am home. Hurray!

I loved Wales. I did last year when it was sunny and I did this year when it was wet. It is such a gloriously beautiful country that I would love to live there.

I didn't write a blog while I was there (unlike Paris) because there just wasn't time.

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Eurovision 

Although I don't especially like the song, or the singer, I was impressed enough by Daz Sampson's confidence in himself to put a bet on him getting somewhere in the first six in tonight's Eurovision contest.

I preferred The Netherland's entry but they didn't get through the semi-final. Boo!

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If it's May, it must be Wales 

Although it only seems like five minutes ago we were in Paris, tomorrow David and I are off to North Wales. We're staying in Beddgelert again in Sygun Fawr.

When I get back, I have to go to Bonn for a business trip. I don't really want to go. I hate business trips anyway but the prospect of going on one without going back to work first is a bit daunting.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Old torture 

I'm still reading the life-story of Marie Antoinette. I've got to the bit where the killings start and the King has just been guillotined.

What an appalling time in history! It's difficult to know with absolute certainty what happened but from the evidence that Antonia Fraser presents it seems that the French Royal Family were tried and convicted by the press on a basis of lies and speculation.

Fascinating but dreadful.

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A new torture 

Throwing caution to the winds, I decided to sit in another part of the train this morning. Bad move.

At Chislehurst, a man and two women got on the train and sat near me. One woman sat opposite, the man next to her and the other woman next to me. All were in their early twenties.

The two opposite were fine but the one sitting next to me had a voice that could cut right through whatever was on my iPod and a bad case of verbal diarrhea. Her most irritating habit, however, was that she would knock her heel on the floor to punctuate what she was saying. All I could hear was "blah-blah-blah ha-ha-ha CLONK".

I'm not sitting there again.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Sound of the Crowd 

I forgot to charge my iPod yesterday and therefore, this morning, I couldn't listen to it. What a mistake!

At the beginning of the journey there was a woman sitting behind me texting constantly. It sounded like a mouse nibbling at wood. Then later, the seat next to me was occupied by another woman who not only was texting for England but had brought three bags with her. Why? It's not like she'd been shopping.

Then the man opposite was joined by a friend and they talked non-stop and to cap it all two of the Loud Mothers (not seen for a week or two) got on at Grove Park.

I know there are worse things to happen in the world but it was annoying. I had great trouble concentrating on Marie Antoinette.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fit - fit - fit! 

Well, that's the hope.

I just had a follow-up induction course at the gym. It was a bit of an eye-opener.

My adaption of my training program to fit it, getting changed and getting to and from the office into a reasonable lunchtime rather than several hours was probably the worst thing I could have done. I was running for 20 minutes then grabbing a resistance machine for a bit and then abs and a cool-down. What I should be doing apparently is to EITHER run (or cross-train) for 30 minutes OR my whole weights program.

Seemingly, doing what I was doing just after I was ill was probably why I had my on/off cold for so long. I can believe it.

I have to throw myself into this slowly. It's very difficult for me to keep my pulse low enough when running for fat-burning. So I need to run slower. I hate that.

I'll also do some classes. I should go back to circuits and try something called sculpt.

Today I was 15st 1.5lb, a little lower than I was yesterday. I aim to lose a lot more in the months to come. Watch this space!

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Friday, May 05, 2006

Fat fat fat 

Talking of living too well, I am well over 15 stone now. Something needs to be done.

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Princesses 

I've been reading about Marie Antoinette. You may have seen my earlier post about the Conciergerie in Paris and my lack of knowledge about that period of history. I bought this book (Marie Antoinette - The Journey by Antonia Fraser) there and then and have been reading it since I got back. It's heavy going although very interesting. I don't normally read histories or biographies and find the large numbers of Ducs, Princesses and Baronnes difficult to follow. However, the book has painted an interesting picture of court life in Versailles, and indeed Europe, before the French revolution and of Marie Antoinette in particular.

What I have found fascinating are the parallels between that life and modern western society. The nobility of Europe at that time seemed to lead a fairly wasteful life. They had gold, riches and flunkies by the score and yet few of them had anything useful to occupy their time. They sought diversions: gambling, the opera, parties, affairs. They had too much money and too much time on their hands.

Does that sound familiar? There are many people in the modern western world who act like they are royalty - spending money on frivolity, expecting other people to clear up after them, living life for fun.

Where there is a difference is that eighteenth century nobility were born like that. They knew no other life. They could no more concieve of a life where they had to work for a living than an ant could understand what it's like to be a fish. Some of them actually thought that the peasants had a better life! There's an illuminating quote from Baronne d'Oberkirch in the introduction comparing a party of nobility returning exhausted from an all-night ball to the peasants outside the carriage calmly and happily getting on with their jobs.

Eventually the peasants, who really weren't having that good a time, decided that enough was enough and invented the guillotine.

We are living like eighteenth century nobility and yet we are the peasants at the same time. We don't have the excuse of not knowing an alternative. Hopefully no-one is going to start thinking that the guillotine would be a nice new retro fashion statement.

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