As Sheryl Crow sang, “If it makes you happy…”

More and more I’m going with “do what makes you happy”. I’ve just turned 52, and still (occasionally) skateboard, although more cruising on a longboard than regular skateboard – but I do have both.
I’ve currently got blue dip-dyed hair, and it’s recently been shades of green or purple, prior to settling on blue. I like it, and I don’t actually care if others don’t (although, I’ve only had positive feedback so it’s a bit of a moot point).

So get out there. Ride that (metaphoric) skateboard even if people think you’re too old. If it makes YOU happy, then you go for it.

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Pirate-es

So, the Tuesday yoga class doesn’t currently have anyone to take it. The teacher who had been running it finished up last week, and a replacement hasn’t yet been found.
So, the alternative class at lunchtime, was pilates, or as I’ve christened it pirate-es, because once the abs start to burn you can hear me go “aaaaarh!”

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Does it still count as a bucket list entry if…

….you’ve been there before?

When we were in Thailand recently, we spent a few days in Chiang Mai. Basically we arrived, had a day to ourselves, the second day we did a trip, the third day was a half-day trip and half day to ourselves, and the fourth day we left at lunchtime to fly to Bangkok.
We had absolutely no idea how much we would love Chiang Mai, so, now we know we want to spend longer there, is this – “Knowing what I now know about Chiang Mai, can if legitimately go on my bucket list, since, I’ve already been. Can you count a repeat trip as a bucket list entry?

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Well that was different

Today I headed along to the gym in my work, for the Tuesday lunchtime yoga class, only to find it had been cancelled last minute. They didn’t manage to get a hold of another yoga teacher in time, but they did get a pilates teacher to take a class and fill the slot.

I’ve never done pilates, and my wife constantly tells me that it compliments yoga, and not only that, but she reckons I would love it. So, with that in mind and some “Go on, give it a try.” from the staff on the reception, I did my first pilates class.

I can honestly say that I know my stomach muscles are going to be complaining later 🙂 and that I did (much to my surprise) like it. I’m not going to swap my yoga classes for pilates, but if I can find a class that fits in with my schedule, I’m up for doing pilates once a week as an additional class.

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Patience + practice = progress

Last night’s yoga class was a giant step forward for me. I pretty much manages a headstand.

Not an achievement if you’re a 7 year old, it’s just something you can do, but I’m knocking on 52, and last night I got a real sense of achievement.
We were supposed to be preparing for a headstand, so arms and head in position, and walking the feet forward.

We were told by Susan, that we would do the preparation over the next few weeks until we could walk up so our hips were over our shoulders.
When I walked my feet up, I got a gentle tap on my side and heard her say “Your hips are already over your shoulders. Slowly lift your feet”
I started lifting, and she gently put her hands on my hips in case I went over, and the next thing I heard “Congratulations, you’ve done it.”

I was really chuffed.

That’s two things I can do thanks to yoga that I couldn’t as a kid. The headstand, and urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose).

The life lesson I’m taking from this is, patience and practice and you can achieve results you want. Life isn’t about instant gratification, if you persevere you can push yourself you achieve things you never thought you could do.

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Back from my travels

So after three weeks in Thailand, I’m back. What a trip! It was amazing.

We started off in Phuket, which was ok. Hotel was good, and we were in a quiet part, next to the the Phuket Aquarium – well worth a visit – on a road with a few places to eat/drink, but which had a wee night market that popped up, and was the best value for eating, although we did find a local place about a ten minute walk from the hotel, that was excellent for food.
The hotel ran a courtesy bus into Phuket town, which we visited a couple of times, and on one occasion, it coincided with a street food festival, which was spectacular.
We also went into Patong beach one night. That was an experience!!

From Phuket, we moved on to Chiang Mai. If I’d known how amazing this town was, we would have spent more time here and less in Phuket!
The hotel was about a hundred yards from the night market, so food and drink (and cheap t-shirts) were minutes away from the hotel.
The town itself has a fantastically laid back hippy vibe to it. We spent ages just wandering round visiting temples, and sitting in little coffee shops, drinking the best coffee I’ve tasted in ages.
We also visited the women’s prison, where there’s a shop selling handicrafts that have been made by the inmates, and if you want a massage, you can get one from inmates who are learning massage, to give them an option when they get released.
We did a couple of trips as well, one to the highest point in Thailand, and also to the King’s Pagoda and Queen’s Pagoda, both of which are spectacular. The Queen’s in particular has a stunning ceiling. Well worth a visit.

From Chiang Mai it was onto Bangkok, where we visited Wat Pho where the reclining Buddha is, Khoa San Road (had to be done), the medical museum (fascinating and a little bit gruesome!) and the Royal Barges Museum.
Out hotel was 100 yards from the Train Night Market, so once again, eating and drinking, we were spoiled for choice.

Finally, we flew to Dubai for 3 nights, to break up the journey home. After the great value that was Thailand, the usually expensive Dubai seemed even more expensive, but you can usually get great deals, so a couple of days at the beach on the way home was just what was needed.

I’ve taken a horrendous amount of photos, so once I’ve have a chance to sort through them, I’ll post a few.

We probably won’t go back to Bangkok for a while, as it’s not a relaxing place, but definitely want to re-visit Chiang Mai.

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M Train

I’m currently reading M Train by Patti Smith. A while back I picked up a second hand copy of Just Kids, and loved it. I loved the story of Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe, I loved the way she wrote. I loved her tales of meeting Warhol, and William Burroughs, so I really wanted to read this book too.
It isn’t disappointing. It makes New York sound like an amazing place to live. The artists, the cafe’s the music scene.
Yes, Glasgow has these too, and I know I’m romanticising NY in my head, but…..

This weekend I’m off travelling for three weeks. Thailand. Phuket, Chang Mai and Bangkok, then a stop off in Dubai on the way home. I can’t wait. There’s changes at work, and I need to switch off from them.
I’ve picked up a travel yoga mat, and I’m going to have some me time. I’m taking Lord of the Flies, and The Godfather to read. I’ve not read LotF since I was at school, so I’m looking forward to that, and I’ve never read The Godfather.

I’m planing of having a digital detox too, so I won’t be posting anything until I get back.

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meh

On Saturday we were out for a meal with a friend who runs the karate club I go to (although I’ve not been since September as it doesn’t feel “right” for me at the moment. Hopefully it will again), and a filling dropped out. Problem was, I only realised when I bit on it, and broke off a second one.
Managed to get an appointment yesterday and got them fixed, so everything is ok tooth-wise again.

Last night while lying watching tv, my throat started to feel scratchy. I tried nipping it in the bud. First with Lemsip, and then followed that up with a hot toddy (whisky, sugar and hot water, with some cloves popped in for good measure.)
Seems to have helped a bit. It’s still not right, but it isn’t as bad as last night, and there’s no discolouration in my phlegm, so that’s good.

I’m basically in a state of meh today. I booked into the lunchtime yoga class as usual, even though I’m not feeling it today. Hopefully this will snap me out of the funk I’m in. I was planning to longboard into work today. The weather is stunning and I’ve no excuse other than I don’t have any enthusiasm today. Hopefully the good weather will hold out for a bit longer.

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Imminent trip

In two weeks I’ll be off to Thailand for three weeks, and I can’t wait.
I’ve got a travel yoga mat ready to go. Rolls up really small but is actually heavier than a regular mat, but really grippy. My wife is using one on top of her regular mat which has lost it’s grip, and loves it.

I picked up what was going to be be one of my books to take, M Train by Patti Smith. The other was going to be Dirty Kids: Chasing Freedom with America’s Nomads, BUT I usually take books to read that I don’t mind leaving behind/passing on, and I don’t want to do that with these, so I’ll have a look in a charity shop and see if anything catches my eye.

I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months. We’ve got 10 days at Phuket, where I’m hoping to take some more surf lessons, after taking some in Bali last year. After Phuket, it’s on to Chang Mai, Bangkok, and finally a couple of days in Dubai on the way back.

I’m hoping to come back a calmer person, and be able to blitz the piles of dvd’s etc that I still need to clear out. I’ve been slacking on the downsizing front lately and need to get back on it.

I also have to get in touch with the tattooist to arrange to get more ink when I get back. I’m planning to go and see him before I leave to talk over the design, and book a date for getting it done.

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Back running

Sport wise, my first love is running. I went from couch to 5k to 10k to running club, to 1/2 marathons to marathon (only only 1, but I ticked it off and went back to 1/2’s).
I had a regular running buddy in work, but last year she left, and gradually I dropped away from running. At the weekend I realised I really missed it, and on Monday, put my running shoes on and went for a wee 4k run. It hurt. My breathing was rubbish and my legs were killing me. When I finished I was done in and felt great that I’d actually taken that first painful step.

Yesterday I did the same route and it was a lot easier. I knew now how unfit I was and allowed for that in my pace. As a result my breathing was ok, and when I finished, I felt better than I had on Monday.

It’s going to be a slow road back to anywhere near where I was at, but I’ve done that first run and that’s the hardest thing to do.

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