Monthly Archives: June 2019


Cow [noun]

  1. A sweaty, hairy female animal, which swats flies with its tail.
  2. An informal term for a mean mouthed woman (see also bitch)
  3. The title of a rather funny book by @hotpatooties

Translations:  For those of you who are EAL or studying an additional language: vache, αγελάδα, or, krowa.  In the terms of inserting the Polish noun into a sentence ‘krowa’, it could be used in the following ‘Straciłem moją krowę’ – I have lost my cow (notice the change of the vowel as it belongs to someone).

Cows are udderly beautiful in the respect that they push out their young and pump out litres of fresh milk, all with now fuss.  The original vegans, they are the earth mothers, hippies, the most chilled of the farm.  As humans, we rely on these animals and suck them dry like greedy babies.  They never complain and are the ultimate symbol of Mother Nature.  However, as with everything in life, some others like to spoil this image by negating it with definition 2.  Using these beautiful serene animals as a way to ‘call’ a female is insulting to the ‘vache’ instead of looking at it positively, where could be actually seen as a compliment.

N.B.  some females fuel this negatively with little ‘cliques’ and lack of understanding.  They give cows a bad name (See also ‘bitches’ because Rosie Dog is s ‘bitch’ and she is beautiful and loving)

Cows also like to hang out in a herd.  They like company and a good ‘moo’ with each other.   Their chats resonate across lush green meadows full of cow shite (we all do it) and make us feel relaxed and at one with nature.  You could say that when they’re ‘cowing’ in a field, they are on a catch up wine night.  They are like the loose woman of the farmyard.  They are all working mothers who love their bodies, embrace the curves and don’t care if they’ve got three stomachs.  They are real women.

I am a cow.

Well, if I was to tell you that my current state is generally definition 1.  You might wonder why? Maybe you’ve not seen me for a while, maybe you don’t know me?  At present you might think I’m still breastfeeding my eleven year old, that I’m putting on weight, I’ve developed a coating of fur and that I’m rather smelly.  Whatever the case ‘cow’ connotes an image.  But, to save you the time and thinking, I can tell you that it might have something to do with being deep in training in the middle of June (you can decide what of the aforementioned fits me).

Monday’s 10K

After a tense 36 hours, I needed to run.  The fact it was 22 degrees didn’t phase me as my other option was to cheerfully kill someone.  Therefore, I got run ready and braved the bizarre elements of heat and an overcast sky threatening of rain.

Very quickly the sweat began to pour.  This I like.  Call me weird but it’s instant gratuity to feel all the crap pouring out of one’s pores.  After a meat fuelled barbecue on Sunday (I don’t even like meat), I felt like I was purging myself (the cow in me was reclaiming the vegan),  The run was bringing the body out of the red and into the black.  So, even though the heat was on, all was good.  It wasn’t until the third kilometre things got full on…

Dirty black filthy flies buzzed around my head, like the pig on stick in Golding’s dystopian tale (How on earth did he manage to write that whilst teaching? He actually wrote the thing at his desk!  I barely have time to do a register).  I had to think quick.  Flies are Hell to me, my room 101.  I don’t say this lightly either as all God’s creature ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ (wedding hymn nearly 16 years ago), are precious.  And as hard it is digging deep to love those pesky mice who keep infiltrating the home, I can’t even think about harming anything that breathes (I do realise this contradicts my earlier statement about ‘cheerfully killing’ but you don’t have a family like mine…).  Therefore, my chosen plan of attack was my ponytail.  I swished it like a jersey cow and found it did little to get rid of the blighters but it kept my mind off them whilst I swished to the music and it felt almost liberating like a little girl skipping without a care in the world.

There I was, sweating the fat out (my boob sweat patches made me look like I was needing milking) swishing flies and with only Jeremy Vine and Stephen Fry for company.

I feel the need to discuss running sounds at this juncture (my spinning instructor should take note of this, there’s no Cher, Backstreet Boys, or McFly)

Obviously I have to make sure my running sounds are both entertaining and mind stimulating.  After all, they say cows are intelligent, thus proving my point that whilst training, I not only like my Spotify (cows like music too), but some hot debates on The  ‘Vine’ show (I had to really dig deep when Boris was mentioned but I powered through up the Fry and what a treat!). I digress…

There I was, four kilometres in and I decided (as it began to spit), that I’d run further – as you do when it threatens a thunder storm (do cows go under trees?).  So, I changed direction, lost the flies and felt good about the world.

On the fifth kilometre, I gained another colony of the little pukers – did you know they’re sick on everything they land on?  And found myself mid debate on dental problems in the elderly (as much as I supported this, it was gruesome listening to overgrown gums etc. when you’re fighting the equivalent of a ‘plague of locusts’ at the gates of Hades).

Like a super runner in an ultra (yeah right!) I made it to my half way point, sent a picture to my running guide and turned, experiencing all the previous issues in reverse order; other than The Vine, who had moved onto the debate about seagulls holding people hostage in their properties (again, is the world ending? My other animal fear is things with feathers and wings).  I powered through and made it home in good time.

Being a cow gave me power.  The thought of being bovine made me finish strong.  To be a cow is a symbol of femininity  and honour.  These domestic, Trojan creatures are the backbone of what it is to be a woman.  The tragedy is they don’t get to choose and they have no voice.  They symbolise women one hundred years ago – a group of beings being controlled by man for their own gains.  Therefore, you need to understand the following:

We should all be embracing the cow in us, overcoming hurdles and barriers and breaking through to show the world how it’s done.  It’s about the mindset and not the image (take note Love Islanders).

And for that reason we need to step away from the negative.  If you feel yourself living up to the ‘derogatory’ stereotype, ask yourself why?  Remember how wonderful cows are and how they don’t deserve the negative press.  If you’re afraid that you’re swerving into definition 2, it’s never too late to change.  Find your inner cow and my last piece of advice: nie trać swojej krowy.

I’m running the Great North Run on Sunday 8th September for Retina Uk.

If you would like to donate to this old cow (it’s my least favourite day today as I’m another year older) then sponsor me here:

My Humbled Footprint

One of the big questions in life is ‘why are we here?’ , very deep, very intense, and too much to consider on a sleepless (the birds are up but not much else) Monday morning.  So why am I even considering this soul searcher then? Well, it’s more about the footprint we leave…

Seventy five years ago hundreds of thousands of young, able bodied and incredibly brave men, descended upon the Normandy beaches, in an incredible push to free Europe from Hitler’s fascist regime.  Thousands died and many more were injured.  Some had been present four years previous, when the allied forces faced a bloody retreat from the beaches of Dunkirk…Imagine, all those men; the nervous energy.  They’d have made hasty coded goodbyes, sought peace with God, and savoured final flings with sweethearts…most of them younger than my eldest.

Last week’s anniversary commemorations sparked a wave of stories, letters and poems, all evoking a sense of pride and humility in oneself.  Even the pacifists amongst us are well aware of the horrors that had to be endured to provide a freer world and future for all.  Brave and afraid, those men had no choice, but they did have a plan. And when you plan well, well you can’t possibly fail.

One of the things they had to do was overcome adversity – adverse weather, conditions and enemy fire.  Everything needed to be planned precisely.  Decoy messages were passed and paratrooper dummies were dropped in elaborate hoaxes to fool the Germans.  Bizarre tanks were created called ‘Hobart’s funnies’, which were the tank equivalent of a Swiss Army knife – there was nothing they could not do.  Whole communities were turfed out of villages so secret training could be given to the troops…All this monumental  preparation and meticulous planning could not control the weather or influence, or predict, the enemies’ reaction.  However, what we could include was the knowledge of our resilience in the face of arrogance.

Much was written about the arrogance of the Americans who saw themselves as the white charger coming to rescue us useless Brits from annihilation – but what is less known is the way they very quickly learnt to respect us and admire us for the way we had just carried on through such adversity.  A relationship was formed on respect.  Therefore, whilst our men bobbed around and waited for two days, in the English Channel, for ‘a typical cloudy June dawn (just look at it out there today), a low tide and a full moon, to propel them towards the beaches…Hitler was sleeping soundly (no one dare wake him to inform him of the raids).  His top general was making a flying visit from France to Germany, to present his wife with a pair of shoes, for her 50th birthday (most people didn’t even have shoes in Paris by this point).  And thousands of German troops were tricked by the aforementioned decoys.

Our men were valiant and overcame, on what Is now known as ‘The Longest Day’. You cannot fail to be humbled by our heroes – many fallen.  But, these men weren’t gods.  They were mortals with faults and flaws and regrets…they all had a shared purpose though.  They fought for love, life and liberty.

We all have our own battles and I’ve often said that we need to be mindful that others are probably fighting something of their own, there’s always someone worse off, etc.  But our journeys aren’t easy.  Very often when we are faced with adversity, our determination pulls us through.  I’ve spent years overcoming obstacles.  I’ve naturally find ways to cope with degenerative sight loss.  Something I could do even five years ago isn’t possible now.  However, I’ve found ways round it.  You just do don’t you?  But, sitting down and assessing what I ‘do’ to actually ‘do’, is another matter entirely.  Just like ‘Hobart’s Funnies’ I’ve had to use weird and wonderful inventions to enable me to succeed.  My latest product is (I’m sorry to my good friend Karl here as it appears there’s another way rather than burning your fingers) a liquid level tester.  You basically stick it on your tea cup and it bleeps and vibrates when liquid reaches it.  No more spilt water (our burnt fingers).  My mum (and Him as his nose is bigger than Rosie Dog’s) has been helping me ‘assess my life as a blindish girl’.  We’ve been breaking down everyday tasks and looking what I do to succeed.  Mum said (when we’d discussed the fact I need supervision taking hot things out of the oven and the fact I can’t see boiling water) ‘but nobody would believe that this clever woman who uses other senses to succeed, needs supervision’.  That’s it though isn’t it – in the face of adversity we endeavour to succeed.(Something I need to be mindful of whilst training through the current deluge).

So, back to the original question ‘Why are we here?’.  Well, our men were here seventy five years ago, to pave the way for a freer world.  There footprint, like their fathers and grandfathers, thirty years previous, should never be forgotten.  We should take from them the message of respect, bravery, and steely resolve, to build ourselves a good future.  We should never waste what they gave us.  ‘Therefore, how do we do that? Well, let’s ask ‘Why am I here now?’, me personally, my journey is difficult and arduous, but it’s nothing compared to what others have to battle.  But, as I said it’s about my footprint and that’s something I want to leave firmly behind for my family to build upon.  Who knows what the scary future holds, but my sight won’t be holding me back.

As long as someone can supervise me.

Keep Smiling. Keep Running…

Bumps in the road (those policemen always trip me up), nasty hillocks on a trail run, and 100m hurdles, which are bad for short people like myself – these things are all sent to test us.  So that’s why, after three attempts (you’re reading number four), this ramble has taken some doing.

After a run up to sunshine and happier times, as usual, life doesn’t really get any easier.  But no, this isn’t about searching for sympathy, more about how we have to overcome life’s little curveballs.  Or, if you’re like me, life’s massive asteroids…

I’ve now lost the sight in my left eye.  Thankfully, we all think it’s temporary.  We think that the MoominTroll has shared his shitty cold with me.  Hours of NahNah Jah (yes that’s me.  Him wanted to be Grandchacha so I wasn’t going to be the boring one) resulting in the moon faced one sharing his infected snot and tears with me.  It appears I’m back at wandering seemingly drunkenly with the RDog upon the shore.  Yesterday’s stroll was an interesting stumble across the sand, where I repeatedly fell in sandy troughs and well dug holes.  Furthermore, I can’t wear my sunnies and this means the glare makes it run even more; more so than the nasty swollen mess Him awoke to on Thursday morning, with horror and shock (he will probably sleep in a different room if it continues).  Therefore, I’m currently back to square one and hope it’s a temporary blip.

His royal majesty continued with his gifts when a one eyed JahJah was put in charge of the moon face mini Phil Mitchell (in a polo with his chubby neck – wos’ going on?).  He continued with his sweet sharing nature, by doing a ‘roly poly’ poo change and smearing said poo on my shorts and top.

And Nan has once again defied the doctors and has pulled through a second hip replacement, pneumonia and her ailing heart keeps going.  But that’s another story …

Before these unfortunate events, things had been on the onwards and upwards trajectory.  Training was going well until the crusty slit eye revealed its witchy self, plans were being made for the future – one I couldn’t see myself in six months ago, and new doors were opened and mysteries being solved.

You see, training is scary.  I’m trying to run 7K a day at the minute.  However, it takes me a while to leave the house.  Old anxieties and feeling ‘on parade’ on the parade, mean I have to build myself up.  Once out, I feed off the buzz, like I once did at the nineties raves.  But then I struggle to see bollards.  Holiday makers are, well, bloody blockers as they walk five a side along the path.  Then I stumble on some stupid hump or hole (that could be a new game) – who put that there? (Problems that only started last summer).  Nan’s dramas meant a lengthy time at the hospital (good job it’s s steep walk up top of a Warburton’s Yorkshire hill) and the fact that (temporally) I’m too blind to run, means my plans have gone awry and I feel like my arse ‘is the size of a small country’.  Therefore, I’m currently spinning for my life and silently panicky about a) the schedule, and b) the bikini body.

Part of my future planning has been health, fitness and that bikini body.  Happy fitness endorphins are what have kept the black dog from swallowing me up.  Also, creating a rainbow on my plate means I’m getting fully loaded (we wanna get loaded and do what we wanna do!) with all the vitamins I require (no beige please, it does nothing for me and drains me of colour / food, furniture and clothing), both mean I’m constantly thinking about body and mind.  Then there is the other reason – who wants to see a ‘that’ jumping off a boat into the sea (think Shirley Valentine – ‘he kissed my stretch marks’).  It does also need noting that a summer adventure was something I couldn’t have contemplated a few months ago.  After the year we’ve had/having, we’ve decided life’s too bloody short (not actually had an opportunity to holiday hunt due to above issues).  But not only that, we’ve all decided that it is time for me to be released back out of captivity.  So like a baby lion, I’m being taught how to fend for myself by attending a ‘Living With Sight Loss’ (LWSL) course.

Now those of you who know me will realise that the thought of such a thing makes me want to cut my ears off so I can’t listen to such shenanigans and talk.  But, learning to be a grown up, partially sighted woman, I had to fully pull up my big girl pants and attend…

So I did.

And wow! I was not expecting that!

After a shaky start where I was strong armed by Jim into an witless room, it started to get better after the formal round robin intros you always have to do at these things (can I just say at this point Him loves a training day unlike me who can’t stand them).  And without boring you all too much with information about white canes, how you know when your guide dog is having a poo and how to pick it up, and gadgets which talk to you (you wouldn’t bloody believe it!), I want to talk about the penny dropping moments when I thought – oh my god that’s me!.  And the bits where I thought ‘twenty years and I never knew that!’.  Revelations were abound and I found an app that reads texts, colours, faces and handwriting for me (very unkind on the ageing on the faces but brill for tricky writing to decipher).  The app is free for anyone and is worth a look if you get eye strain in general.  It’s called ‘seeing AI’.  However, as I was the only one who had technology and not a ‘dumb phone’ (seriously, I’m informed that’s what my mother et als. text and talk phones are called) I was the only one messing about with it (TBF I did plenty of messing with the canes, lights and pens too).  But, we (my sexagenarian plus gang and us) had a jolly interesting and good time.   We all learnt so much about our own private battles and hilarious stories.  We discussed hurdles and how to overcome them.  We all felt braver as a result.  It’s amazing what you can achieve by talking and this is why…

So, in a nutshell, here it is: I’m thousands out of pocket due to unclaimed benefits (not just the DWP ones, trains, planes and mobile phones…), I could have been fast tracked through airports ALL THESE YEARS (I’ve paid, paid many a time…), and I’m not mad.  Seriously, I’m not mad.  Have I ever told you about the hallucinations?? Floating women walking dogs on the beach, brick walls, things jumping out at me and random inanimate objects moving, I’ve see it all.  I always felt it was to do with having some shite vision, taking tablets, and being dog-tired from the treadmill of life.  But no, it’s not that and I’m not ready to be carted off (it’s only if these things talk to you or smell).  In fact, it’s something called Charles Bonnet syndrome condition which is to do with sight loss and the brain’s reaction.  Imagine my face when the lovely lady from the blind society began discussing a lecture she recently attended – ‘that’s me!’ I exclaimed.

We agreed it’s good to talk.  Otherwise how would we know?

So, on the time it’s taken me to write this (it’s like been running with severe cramp), I’ve reconstructed the shaky self into someone who is ready to take Monday by the horns,  the eye looks much improved and Him has kept me entertained for the past two hours with old raving videos (is that still the word?) on YouTube.

We have to see the obstacles in our way as an assault course.  To overcome is to be successful.  To keep going shows tenacity and to do it smiling shows that the dark days are lifting,

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