Tuesday, 21 December 2010

I'm not dreaming of a White Christmas...

Well, the UK has been hit by blizzards in many areas (not here though, at least not yet) and having heard of many people struggling with postal delays I decided the time had come to take my Christmas break. My shop Treacle Toffee is now lying dormant - I might revive it for one last clearout sale in January. The other two shops (JumpUp and Scatterbox Originals) are going to remain active with a 10% discount applied to the usual prices - this will be running until January 4th when I'll be able to post out orders again - my way of making up for delayed delivery for anyone eager to buy but patient to receive. :) Check out the links on the right!

I'm setting off tomorrow...all being well. Travelling at this time of year is always stressful, and now that the weather might effect the UK's already pretty unreliable railways...let's just say I'm practising my calm breathing technique...

So, I'm feeling like a bit of a Grinch. Because I'm really hoping it doesn't keep on snowing until Christmas. I've been looking at the Met Office website's map of the UK charting reports of snow and gulping at the size of the snowflake icons...the reports on that part of the site aren't moderated so it COULD be that the report of 100cm (that's 3 feet) of snow in the area I'm needing to pass through tomorrow are either someone's typo or a prank. Or meant to be in millimetres.

Of course, White Christmases are lovely. We had one up north last year and for the UK it was quite a treat as we do rarely get snow on Christmas (somewhere in my archive you can see my snowy photos from last year). But last year I was very lucky and got a plane up north, fortunately on the one day when there was enough of a lull in the snow for the airports to be operating. This year, I face a 7 hour journey by train. If it all runs on time. Eeek.

So...I'm hoping for a brief thaw please (I hope you're paying attention, Jack Frost) and then a little festive dusting of snow maybe...and then another little thaw for my return journey...

Other than that...the weather outside is frightful, and though my little fan heater is delightful, heck can it eat up my electricity allowance! Please don't let it snow, please don't let it snow, please don't let it snow...

Thursday, 9 December 2010

By the way...

...the Treacle Toffee 30% off sale continues!
Friday 10th December at 11am Eastern Standard Time is the cut off for orders to arrive in the USA, Canada and Europe in time for Christmas.
UK buyers wishing for arrival by Christmas need to order by the 17th of December.
The shops will go into vacation mode after that, until the new year, so I can have a little break.

Sink or swim

Last week I signed up as a member of the local swimming pool. I had never been there before - in fact, I hadn't attempted to swim since I was about 21 (that was a very brief attempt in the sea in Crete) and before that, a very brief attempt at 18 in Tenerife..considering I've lived with this on my doorstep for 8 years, pretty shocking lack of swimming!

We had a short stint of group swimming lessons in primary school (aged about 8 I guess) and the first year of secondary school (age 11) but I was never a strong swimmer, always very much....'freestyle' would be the polite way of putting it, 'doggy paddling' would be a little less kind...'drowning in a direction' might be most accurate! Hmm jellyfish do it with so much more style...

There were a few trips to the swimming baths with my older sister and friend when I was about 13, but I was never confident to go out of my depth and so I was often left behind, splashing about in the shallow end of the pool while the others swam into the deep end and gossiped about boys.

In short, swimming has been something that held me back literally in terms of socialising, and my inability to swim kind of became a metaphor in my life. Too lacking in confidence and strength to dive into the deep end of life...like the first half of Laura Marling's song:

So, I decided to learn to swim. Last week, the plan was to organise going to the adult lessons that the pool run on a Tuesday night...but the weather intervened. We don't often get snow in Cornwall, and we never seem to prepare for the possibility, so when we had a shower of hail-snow hybrid stuff overnight, the town came to a standstill for a day, and slipped and slid slowly through routine activities the rest of the week.

I'm a northerner (well, kinda) and so I was perhaps a little more intrepid than most in going out in the cold. I battled (skidding like Bambi) up the hill to the local pool, which sits out on the peaceful peninsula. Having made it all the way there to organise my membership, I realised it wouldn't be too safe to go after dark while the road was so icy (the road is unlit part of the way, too) But I managed a quiet afternoon session in the week, just remembering how to swim, staying in my depth.

Feeling more confident, I went again on Friday evening, thinking the ice must surely have melted by then (ha, my thoughts on the dangerousness of the dark, icy path were proven right on my way home) but I'm glad I went after dark. The pool has a sloping wall/ceiling comprising many large windows, so effectively if you lie on your back in the pool, there is just the dark sky above you in the evening, reflecting the ripples and light and people in the pool below. Strangely soothing, and definitely good exercise, even if you only doggy paddle ;-)