Will you be walking this week-end? I wish you good weather!
This is the Schoolhouse Burn, part of a lovely half hour circular walk in the forest behind our house.
Looking back down to the loch (and catching my breath!)
The view from the highest point is lovely - even on a misty wet day.
I really have no excuse not to walk more. Good food again, egg, soup, chicken and vegetables (also several biscuits - I had guests and no will power!) but doing OK....and planning a longer walk for tomorrow.
The new header photo is from Benmore Botanic Gardens last autumn.
I'm in training for a trip to London!
See more about the Fernery here.
I ate well too. Breakfast - an egg. Lunch - soup. Dinner - salmon, brocolli, carrots and a very small potato. And two shots of Akvavit after loading 15 paintings into the car. Yoga before bed and I'll sleep well, feeling very righteous. And a tiny bit fitter.
Do you like exercise?
I tried swimming, I tried ballet workouts, but I have to confess I didn't stick with either of them for very long, and my basic antipathy to exercise has not changed much since this post way back in 2010. (Simply Fitter and Simply Move should really be one Category.)
What I do stick with though is gardening, and I enjoyed some in the sunshine today, in the delightful company of our tame robin....
I shall move on quickly to Simply Fun!
7 Jan catch up.
Talking of feeling invigorated..Have you noticed a new attitude in articles about diet and fitness lately? I call it the Olympics effect.
Instead of gentle exercise, and detoxes, and taking it all gently with a bit of pampering thrown in, the new approach is typified by Ruth Field, The Grit Doctor, and Gabby Logan in today's Times.
It's up and at it, and don't be a wimp (Och Wheesht and Get Oan Wae It - see 1 Jan - I was on trend for 2012 there on the very first day!).
I have to say the language is invigorating, and there is a sense of humour in the writing which is very refreshing.
Here is Ruth Field, Grit Doctor :
Stop wanting things to be easy....This is going to be hard. But you are going to like hard.
Stop telling yourself you look great when you do not.
Simply have a look in a mirror and have an honest conversation about where you are fitness-wise.
(Her book on running has the hideous and blatantly publicity seeking title Run Fat Bitch Run. It's working though - she's getting lots of publicity..)
I'm not planning to take up running, call myself names, or buy the book, but I'm planning to adopt some of the gritty attitude!
We still don't have a telephone connection - they say a few days yet, so I may not be able to post every day. Its a 30 mile round trip to the nearest internet cafe (the excellent Seasons in Dunoon), but not so far to my friend Liz's so.....(thank you Liz!) Meanwhile I hope you are warm and dry and connected.
Nine year old Ross and I are just back from a fabulous swimming course.
I can really recommend the Swimming Without Stress course at Croft Farm near the pretty town of Cardigan in Wales. Instructor Ian Cross was brilliant, and Granary Cottage was beautiful (though the glitch with internet access meant no blogs this week - sorry!)
The picture is of one of the other residents.
THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT SWIMMING :-
I didn't know you could keep your mouth open
I didn't know my head floats
I didn't know you could swim so slowly and still move forward
I didn't realise how far one normal breath can take you - I thought you had to take big gulps of air
I didn't know when to make less effort - I thought if I wasn't trying hard enough I'd drown
I didn't know how far one glide can take you
I didn't know how beautiful it feels to let the water support you
I didn't know I could do breast stroke, front crawl, old English stroke (so relaxing), roll onto my back, roll back onto my front, pick up something from the bottom, come up for air whenever I want, pause and have a chat, be a jellyfish, a sea snake, a crocodile or a mushroom!
I didn't know it could be easy
I didn't know it was such fun
Thank you Ian - www.swimmingwithoutstress.co.uk www.croft-holiday-cottages.co.uk
Now, that novel I'm supposed to be writing....
I'm not doing too well in this department, see 17/18 August, but now that I have committed to a swimming course early next year I have a deadline for getting fitter (I seem to need deadlines - unfortunate word though).
For a mesmerising 7 minutes and 11 seconds Google After Light pt1you tube Click on full screen and turn the volume up.
Dancer, music and lighting come together in an exquisitely poetic dance..... enjoy!
The Alonzo King ballet was amazing - the dancers fabulous, yet I found the whole strangely without emotion. The conversation between Ashley Page and Alonzo King was fascinating. A wonderfully articulate man who said 'We live in ideas. As artists we become obsessed with ideas and we want to communicate those ideas.' But I wasn't clear about which ideas he was trying to communicate in these two ballets....I was full of admiration for the dancers' skill, but was moved by only one little gesture: two dancers moving slowly across the front of the stage, where the other dancers continued to move frenetically, she dabbing his forehead with a cloth, very tenderly. I would have liked to see more touches like this - a touch of charm, a touch of intimacy, a touch of humour perhaps....to touch our emotions.
I think this applies to painting too. That skill, no matter how brilliant isn't enough, isn't 'art'. (Presumptious of me?). 'Art moves you.' said David Hockney - as good a definition as you'll get I think. Would you agree?
Type in 2010 Alonzo King Dust and Light You Tube for a taste...
Off to the Edinburgh Festival to see the Alonzo King Lines Ballet from San Francisco, and to hear the choreographer King talk about the global perspective and empathy in his work.
'...the furious abandon and exhilarating freedom of his company's contemporary classical style.'
There's nothing like live performance. Simply the real thing.
The NYC ballet workout DVDs have arrived.
How inspiring. How difficult.
I will not be discouraged, but will take Babatua's advice and start light, very light. Start small he says, so small that success is almost guaranteed.
Ten to fifteen minutes at a time.
Warm up exercises only.
Already I find myself slouching less! There is hope!
The bit of Leo Babtua's book that speaks to my condition most at present is 'Create Habits'.
What habit would you like to create? I'm trying to get the exercise habit as you know if you read this blog.
Babatua says 'First start light'. As the DVDs haven't arrived yet, I'm doing my routine from a seven minute you tube clip - that's pretty light I guess!
Second 'Schedule your workout time' - easy - late at night. I'm an owl, no doubt about it, and late at night the house is warm, there won't be any interruptions, it's totally private and I can follow my exercise with a relaxing bath and a good sleep.
Thirdly 'Dont allow your self to miss a day'. H'mm, we'll see...
Fourthly 'Don't give up'. I'll give it a month and review.
'Be accountable to others' - well, I'm committing publicly here, now! Hold me to it. And/or join me anyone?
And finally 'Enjoy it'. Well that's my major breakthrough. The fact that I really enjoy the ballet warmup workouts increases enormously my chances of actually sticking with it, and successfully getting the exercise habit.
I'm moving with New York City Ballet Workout 2 - Part 1 (www.youtube.com)
What curiously clunky shoes they wear.
How beautiful the dancers are, how strong!
I fancy a pair of funky legwarmers, and one of those little short wrap around cardigans? Maybe not the tutu though....
Thanks for the suggestions but I THINK I HAVE FOUND IT - EXERCISE I MIGHT ACTUALLY LIKE!
Excuse all the capitals, but I am so excited about this I have to shout.
I searched and searched all the possibilities for exercise I could think of, and was just coming up with a longer and longer list of things I would hate to do, when I came across this....
The New York City Ballet Workout on You Tube.
Don't laugh, but I'm going to do the seven minutes that are on You Tube every night till the DVD comes from Amazon.
First position, pas de bas, pirouette (OK maybe not pirouette..)
I need to exercise!
I hate exercise and have managed to avoid it till now. The last horrible truth that struck me in a changing room was that I needed to lose weight - I did that, and have pretty well managed to keep to my new healthier weight - but exercise! That's a different matter. I'm not sporty. I walk a bit. I never run if I can help it, and I don't like swimming. I can't think of any exercise that would firm up the flab that wouldn't bore me out of my mind. Don't mention exercise bikes or gyms! All that ugly equipment and televisions and noise reminds me of torture chambers. I like yoga, but that's more about suppleness than toning - though it's probably better than nothing, which is what I do at present.
I'm not often stuck, but I'm stuck on this one....
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)