I’m so lucky to work at a large university, where the Student Union fully embraces all manner of cultural celebrations and events on a regular basis. Today I’ve been enjoying all things Chinese on campus in honour of the Chinese New Year; including lantern making, calligraphy and free fortune cookies.
Large, red lanterns had been hung everywhere and there was a real festival atmosphere amongst excited students and staff alike. The highlight for me was the performance of the Lion Dance, accompanied with a drum so loud you could feel every beat inside your body. It was a truly amazing experience.
Mother Nature blessed the event with blue skies and sunshine, which some might say was due to all of the good luck and fortune associated with such displays. With the Lion Dance completed it was then time for the Dragon, which made it’s way all around the site before returning to great applause. I just love days like this…
When the weather is cold and wet and the sky is all grey and miserable, there’s no better way to lift your spirits than to spend some quality time with your gorgeous girlies. Today has been another one of those warm, snuggly indoors days catching up with gossip while munching on chocolate chip cookies and squishy cakes. There was plenty of hot, sweet tea to quench the thirst while covering our usual diverse range of topics; putting the world to rights and laughing about feline shenanigans.
As usual I’ve learnt new things and reminisced over old things. My babies are lovely, grown up young ladies and I couldn’t be prouder of how they’ve both turned out. By my own choice I don’t have a partner to share Valentines Day with this week, and in any case no man on earth could ever make me feel more loved and cherished than my wonderful daughters do every time I see them. I’m a very lucky mum indeed…
After reading up about the health benefits of hula hooping, and feeling the need to rid my waistline of a few extra inches, I purchased a weighted, self-assembly exercise hoop online. It must be almost fifty years since I last hula’d (or is it hooped?) and back in the 60s we used large, hollow plastic circles which were as light as a feather, so the thought of spinning a 1.2kg piece of kit around my belly was a little daunting. However, I’d like to firm up my mid-section and this seemed a fun way to do it.
Luckily for the postman my new toy was self-assembly. With a 60cm diameter I’d underestimated just how much space was needed to avoid smashing the telly or knocking over dozens of plant pots, but thankfully once the sofa was shoved against the wall I was able to get the thing moving, albeit briefly.
Apparently I’m not quite as supple as I was when I was five, but I persevered despite disappointment at the hoop repeatedly hitting the deck after just one journey around my torso, but after just a few days I’m quite proud of the fact I can now keep it going for a whole minute! I probably getting more exercise from picking the hoop up off the floor than from spinning it around my body, but ‘practice makes perfect‘ as they say. I ache, and I have some slight bruising to my ribcage, but the good news is that I’ve already lost an inch from my waistline – yippee!
Ten years ago I had a particularly stressful holiday to Cyprus which was entirely down to my poor choice in travel companion, and ever since then I’ve avoided going back, despite it being a beautiful destination. A decade later I’ve decided to right that wrong by booking a week at a fantastic luxury, beach-front hotel where I’ll over-indulge in all-inclusive food and drink while staying in a beautiful room with a sea view and balcony. There’s even an indoor pool, sauna and jacuzzi for guests to use should the weather be less than perfect during your stay!
It’s going to be utter bliss looking out at the Mediterranean and taking sunny walks to the nearby harbour to enjoy all things boaty. I’m very excited to be returning to Paphos, strolling around in the evening listening to the crickets chirping, sitting in the warm breeze watching stunning sunsets and exploring all the places I never got the opportunity to visit previously. Although I still adore the Canary Islands, a change is as good as a rest, and change is definitely in the air for 2018…
Ordinarily, on a Saturday morning at 6am I’d be all warm and cosy under a massive goose-feather duvet, enjoying a lie-in after working nine to five during the week, however, when your consultant physician schedules a CT scan of your lungs at 8am you have to drag yourself out of bed at the weekend no matter what. Fortunately I have very good friends, so I was lucky enough to get a lift despite the fact it was still dark when I left the house. At the radiology suite I was required to remove my top (something I seem to be doing rather a lot of these days) and change into an unflattering hospital gown in readiness for the procedure. Although I’d had MRIs before this was my first experience of a CT scanner, so I chose to treat this new experience as exciting rather than scary.
After confirming my date of birth I had to lie down on the machine with my arms raised above my head waiting for the lights and whirring to begin. An automated female voice then said “Breathe in and hold your breath” – around five seconds later I heard “You may breathe normally” which was a bit of a relief. The table, with me on it, moved back and forth and the breath-holding exercise was repeated twice more. Hard to describe the feeling other than diving through a doughnut shaped washing machine while flat on your back; surreal but not remotely painful, and all over with in less than five minutes. Once my innards had been thoroughly photographed I was free to leave – the results will be sent to my specialist and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled in due course if there’s anything of note to discuss.
I can’t help but feel very lucky to have access to such incredible medical technology, and wonder what marvellous diagnostic tools we’ll have at our disposal in the not too distant future. I love science!
My boobs are still tanned from my recent escapades in Gran Canaria, and the New Year has only just begun, and yet there I was in an NHS facility getting my fun-bags flattened like pancakes while a young Irish girl in a white coat physically manipulated my upper body into machinery.
The walk to the ‘mobile screening unit’; by which I mean a large caravan in the car park of a sports complex; was made all the more exciting by the fact that Mother Nature had decided to whip up gale force wind gusts, ensuring I arrived looking as if I’d been dragged through many hedges backwards. C’est la vie.
I have no concerns regarding the appointment as it was simply routine, and it’s extremely important to agree to these procedures in order to ensure that all is as it should be. Despite my wishes to see a lot less of the NHS in 2018, this is one procedure I didn’t actually mind undergoing – it’s far better to be safe than sorry…
These past twelve months have been a little up and down. On the positive side I’ve enjoyed not one but two fabulous, luxury holidays in the Canary Islands but I’ve also said sad farewells to a couple of very dear friends. I finished a fixed-term contract for a Social Science department, where I would have loved to have stayed, but within weeks was offered a brand new position with a massive Computer Science department on the same campus. I’ve also seen a lot more of the NHS than I anticipated, however I’m hopeful that 2018 will see a significant decrease in medical appointments.
This year I enjoyed the company of an old mate who stayed with me during the summer. It was good being able to share some quality time with her and we spent many an evening putting the world to rights. My gorgeous daughters remain, as always, my raison d’être and I’m eternally grateful for the wonderful friends who are always there when I need them.
In July I was privileged to attend one of the annual Graduation ceremonies at the university where I work, and I’ve now decided that in the summer of 2018 I will finally put on the full Harry Potter outfit and officially collect my Social Science degree on the tenth anniversary of my own graduation; which I was unable to attend back in 2008.
There’s been many highs, a few lows, but I’m extremely optimistic about the future and I’m already looking forward to whatever exciting new things the next twelve months will bring…
“And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.”