Weekend: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I had a fairly busy weekend planned with lots of lovely fun stuff, but it took some rather unexpected less than fun turns 😦


That weekend update post thing I promised

Today I am feeling much better and I have plans to go into London for supper with my sister, yarn trawling in John Lewis (yay!) and possibly a quick stop in the British Library so that I can say that I’ve been. I have also spent the morning bagging up a huge stack of magazines for the tip. Go me!

So, weekend.

Friday night was my work leaving do and it was great fun. I’m not normally one for going to lots of work dos, but as this one was in my honour I couldn’t quite escape! I did end up a few minutes late because I was trying desperately to finish the handover – oops. Still, the do was brilliant fun. We had a few drinks in the pub so that those who couldn’t get to the meal afterwards could pop along and then 20 of us toddled off to Old Orleans for food and more drinks. It was just the right thing and I got a bit of a surprise when Da Boss announced that the company was paying. Thank you so much, Da Boss, that was a really lovely surprise πŸ™‚

Needless to say, we all got silly and happy and had a fab time and I realised just how much I’ll miss them all.

I listened to Pottercasts on the way home and reflected on the irony of the FM transmitter I bought to play my iPod through my car radio only starting to work properly two weeks before I leave. Bah.

Saturday morning involved a very early start so that I could catch a train up to York. The train journey was lovely and relaxing and I met historyterry only five minutes late. We drank coffee in the station coffee shop and then wandered into the heat of outdoors (oh god, the heat!) to walk into the city centre. We split up at the Minster, T to find us a suitable lunching venue and me to explore the Minster. That turned out to be a great choice because I enjoyed spending the time quietly exploring, taking photos and having the freedom to sit and think a while as well. I’ve always found my faith to be a quiet, private thing and I think that I would have felt awkward having company for that trip.

Hundreds of photos of stained glass will be posted tomorrow.

T found us a real ale pub to eat in and I was starving by the time I met him for lunch so it worked out perfectly. After lunch, we wandered through the Shambles and found a vegan tapas bar that I must remember for future visits. There was also fudge, lots of it, and we got to watch them make the most fabulous chocolate orange fudge ever.

OK, yes, I brought some home with me πŸ™‚

Then it was onto the train for a trip home that turned out to be an epic trip thanks to faulty trains, cancelled trains and other shenanigans. There was a lovely moment, though, when the chaps across the aisle called out and handed me the Guardian supplement for the day: Mazzmatazz’s Rebel Knitters Guide! I’d taken the wool for my sister’s blanket with me and it proved to be a talking pointed on the train in the nicest way possible.

Having arrived home rather late, I still had to get up early the next day for the club championships at my archery club. I’d been planning to compete for months so I had no intention of letting a silly thing like complete exhaustion stop me!

It turned out to be a blazingly hot day and, despite being outside for eight hours, I only have the tiniest bit of sunburn on one arm to show for it. Phew! Mostly I’m just looking a little more tanned than usual.

It was an all day shoot, six dozen arrows before lunch and another six dozen after. I was shooting a Bristol III which was six dozen arrows at 50 yards, four dozen at 40 yards and two dozen at 30 yards. For some reason competitions bring out my best work so I ended up shooting a personal best. Yay! As icing on the cake, I also got a medal for 2nd place in the handicap adjusted score category so I felt really pleased with my performance. Unlike the last time I competed, all that physio and hiking has paid off because I didn’t ache at all afterwards.

When I finally trailed home from the champs, my sister and father had cooked a lovely vege sausage and mash dinner so we ate that while watching the final three stages of the Tour de France. Despite a couple of drug-related upsets, this has been a great Tour and I’m so glad that I got to see the end. I had a feeling that the yellow jersey would bring out something special in Sastre, so it was great to see him retain the jersey through the time trial (what the hell happened to Evans out there, anyway?) and pull it on in Paris. A great end to a fabulous weekend.

Photos from Wales and York will be up tomorrow and now I must grab some lunch before I dash for my train.

Archery and state of me

I have been shooting two nights in a row. I went along on Wednesday because I knew there was a competition last night that I probably wouldn’t be able to get to. Shot 50 yards for only the second time and actually managed it this time, only missing 3 out of 48 arrows. The main difference, I think, is that I have wound my limbs up 1 pound sice the last time. That extra power got me to 50 comfortably.

While I was there, various club members worked on me about trying to make it to the Chairman’s Shoot last night. This is a competition within the club designed to give the novices some experience at competition shooting rules without the stress of a real tournament. I was promised that we would be shooting a Warwick (four dozen arrows) so it wouldn’t be a late night and I said that I’d try.

So yesterday I bought a sandwich in work coffee shop, high-tailed it out of the office as early as possible and stopped along the way to eat my sandwich to tide me over until supper. After all, it was only going to be a Warwick. I’d certainly be home before 9pm.


It was a National (6 dozen arrows) with lots of novices. Hence lots of lost arrows and scoring problems. Don’t get me wrong, it really was fun and I’m proud of my score on a Short National. But it was loooong. I finally trundled home at 10pm. The last two ends were shot in lighting conditions best described as poor. I had to eat something when I got home so I had some beans on toast (light, yet slightly filling) but on reflection it was a bad idea to eat and to stay up to let it settle.

This morning, my IBS was playing up so much that I had to take my anti-spasmodics to get out of the door. Bleh. Feeling much better now that the medication has kicked in, but incredibly tired. And I have a packed weekend ahead.

The good thing is that I’m going out for lunch with some girls from work so there was no need to construct lunch before I left. I’d never have made it otherwise. I have a plan to fall into bed the moment I get home tonight.

Next time, I need to remember that nothing is ever ‘quick’ in archery so I really shouldn’t attempt to do any kind of post-work competition!

Feet and EDS/hypermobility (and a little archery babble on the side)

In the the never-ending saga of me and doctors, yesterday was my appointment with the podiatrist.

Due to my hypermobile joints, my feet have always been a bit flat, rather shallow and with a tendency to roll inwards. The rolling inwards thing always seems a bit odd because most of my ankle injuries have been caused by me rolling outwards on my ankles and spraining or dislocating them. I have learned to accept that I am just odd, though.

As part of the project to check every system in me and make sure that I’m getting the best care possible to keep me mobile, it was decided that a podiatrist should be seen. This was the decisions of the specialist in London: cue lots of grumbling from the local rheumy about whether it is necessary and whether it is cost-effective. Hmmf. Luckily it’s my GP who controls my access to podiatry services πŸ™‚

So yesterday I trundled down so they could give me the once over. For the first time, someone actually read the medical report from London and made an attempt to understand it. That endeared her to me immediately.

Then she turned around and said, “So you’re not just hypermobile as your form says, they’re saying you actually have Ehlers-Danlos, correct?”

I blushed, mumbled and nodded because throughout the time that all of the joint problems have been going on, most of the doctors are unwilling to use the word “hypermobile” let alone describe it as EDS. The podiatrist then explained that if the orignal referral note has said EDS then I would have got to the rheumatology podiatrist rather than the orthopaedic, would I mind if she got her colleague in to observe and take over my case? Her colleague was excited to be given her first EDS patient so I am now seeing a woman who specialises in people with funny shaped feet caused by connective tissue problems rather than bone malformations. Score!

The podiatrist asked whether I had ever been given orthotics before. Um, no, what?

She was horrified that, despite all the doctors when I was a child, I had never been referred to a podiatrist or had any kind of inserts in my shoes. She doesn’t often see adults like me who haven’t had basic foot care! Heh.

I did the usual walking around, having people tap hammers on bits of my feet and legs and reflex checks. The podiatrist then made me lie down on my front with my feet hanging off the bed (my poor back!) so that she could take casts of my feet while holding then in the ‘correct’ position. Not totally comfortable, but not very painful either. Hot plaster of Paris feels really quite odd on the feet!

The casts will be used to make inserts in my shoes to put my feet into the correct position. We can’t fix my feet (it’s too late for that – orthotics as a child might have helped, apparently) but we can get inserts that will get me walking correctly and save some of the wear on my joints, hopefully reducing my future pain problems. The podiatrist is getting them made of medium density something with shock-absorption instead of hard plastic, which should hurt my feet less.

It was weird having someone prefer using the EDS classification rather than “just a bit bendy” or “hypermobile” because almost every doctor that I’ve seen over the years has been reluctant to say that anything is happening, never mind giving it a name. It’s even stranger to realise that this is one situation where using the name rather than a euphemism would have got me the right treatment immediately rather than going to the wrong person: the doctors seem to use their fear of me “seeing someone inappropriate” as the reason why they refuse to put EDS on any of my forms.

So, it was informative and useful, something that I didn’t expect. The new inserts will be ready in six weeks and my new podiatrist will call me for fitting then. Hopefully this is a yay thing.

I wrote the above yesterday and mailed it to myself at home. It took me all afternoon, five words at a time, because I was so busy. Just to make the afternoon really fun, I ended up staying for two and a half hours after my official leaving time to do extra analysis on some things. Christmas at the head office ofΒ  a retail company ain’t fun.

Somebody has temporarily donated me a sign that says “Things are getting worse. Please send chocolate.”

It’s totally appropriate.

In more cheerful news, it was the archery Christmas do on Thursday night. We slaughtered paper reindeer and ate food. It was really good fun and I remembered all over again why I love archery. The shooting is fun and I enjoy the challenge, but it’s also the social side of it that I enjoy. I will definitely need to find a club no matter where I may end up living in the future.

Somebody was trying to entice me with the idea of field archery, which I am very interested to try out…

Archery (again) and fannish things

Last night I went to my first full club night at the archery club since my back flared up eighteen months ago. After tiring so quickly in the coaching evening last week I’d expected not to last out the evening. However, I was encouraged to score my round anyway and I decided that I’d consider it a good night if I lasted through to the tea break.

At the tea break I was surprised to find that I wasn’t exhausted yet so I continued on and actually shot to the end of the round. I am feeling very pleased with myself – that was 60 arrows plus 6 sigher arrows, far more than the 36 arrows I managed a week ago.

Even more happily, my score was fairly respetable. I only had two misses (both of which hit the boss outside the target area – no hitting the wall behind for me!) and I managed four golds. Even before my back went, getting four golds was fairly impressive for me. My final score was 365, not much lower than what I’d been managing previously, so I’m feeling very happy. I just have to build up my strength and stamina so that my arm is steadier when I’m drawing the bow, then my release will be more accurate.

I’m feeling so good about archery now that I know that I can definitely get back into it. I want to get myself to a stage where I can enter a tournament next year because it’s something that I’ve never done.

Speaking of aims for next year…I have set a goal with my walking expeditions. I shall train and get myself stronger with the aim of climbing Snowdon next summer. Quite a challenge, but it feels good to have a goal in mind with what I’m doing.

Mum has even found a physio-pilates course run on a Saturday morning that we’re hoping to join. I’m going to end up fitter than I’ve ever been in my life!

In slightly fannish stuff, I really enjoyed Sarah Jane Adventures this week.

I’m watching the Monday broadcasts on BBC1 rather than watching a week ahead so this week was the first part of Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane Smith? And may I say that I think this was the best episode yet. It set up an absolutely cracking plot with aliens and time travel and potential paradoxes galore. There are some great ideas in there and they’re actually being done really well. I even loved the cliff-hanger (except the part where I have to wait until next week to find out how it all gets resolved!) despite saying two weeks ago that I don’t think Maria’s father should know about aliens and so on.

I am also wildly excited about next week’s Children in Need Doctor Who thingy. I have to remember to record it πŸ™‚

Officially an archery girl again

Today was the monthly coaching session at the Whiteleaf Bowmen, the archery club that I belong to. I thought that it would be best to go to a coaching session to make sure everything was working correctly before I went to a proper club night and I’m glad that I did – I would have been far too nervous otherwise.

The good news is that I don’t appear to have forgotten how to shoot πŸ˜€ It came back much better than I thought it would and apparently I still have a good style. Yay! The guy supervising me said that I was also standing very upright and I wasn’t twisting, which means that I shouldn’t have done anything to my back.

The only disappointing thing was how quickly I tired out. I shot three dozen arrows before calling it a night, but the final dozen were very difficult. As I used to shoot six dozen easily, that’s a long of strength and stamina gone. I had help stringing my bow and really struggled to un-string it – something that I will need to work on so that I don’t have to ask for help all the time. It wasn’t actually the arm pulling the string that got tired, it was the arm holding the bow that got fatigued first. By the final few arrows I could tell that my pulling shoulder was also starting to be a problem, but it’s the weight of the bow that I need to adjust to even more. The coach suggested just having the bow lurking around the house and hefting it a few times every now and again through the day to build up the muscles there. I’ll also have to start working with the exercise band more regularly to get my arms and shoulders stronger.

But at least I managed it and I now know that, given time, I’ll be back shooting properly again πŸ™‚

The physio didn’t say that I couldn’t try it (unlike yoga, which she has completely banned) and I’m hoping that she’ll support it as a good way to build up upper body strength. In fact, I had forgotten that between the walking, the weight of the bow and the pulling of the bow (it’s a 26 pound draw weight), it’s actually quite good exercise in general. So I’ve found one form of exercise that I do enjoy and can guarantee that I’ll continue πŸ™‚ Mostly, though, I’m just glad that I was able to shoot at all.

I’ve also had a bit of a make-over of this blog if you’re reading it on WordPress. If you aren’t, follow the RSS link and take a look at the new pretty. I’m going to dig through my photos and see whether I’ve got something suitable to put up in place of the default header photo. I know that I’ve got some nice misty ocean photos somewhere that I could adapt. Hmm.

First step towards an archery return

The emails went out last week to remind everyone that it’s renewal time for membership to the Whiteleaf Bowmen. I let my membership lapse last year because there seemed little point when I was unlikely to shoot for much of the year. I think that I was also a bit of a coward in case I finally found out that I will never shoot again.

I’ve filled out the form, written a cheque and I’ll be rejoining Whiteleaf.

I hadn’t realised just how much I missed shooting until I took out my bow this week. I haven’t touched it since March last year. I didn’t string it, but I slotted the limbs into the handle and hefted it into position a few times. It’s a lot heavier than I remember, although possibly that’s because the last time I used it my muscles had developed quite well. Eighteen months off has undone all the good work that I’d done there. The bow fitted my hand the way I remembered and I’m now really looking forward to re-starting.

I’ll go along to a coaching session first to make sure that I’m doing everything right before attempting a round at a club evening. I have a feeling that I might have to work my way up to shooting a full Portsmouth.

This week I also had a notice from Chiltern Archery that they’re reopening after their fire earlier in the year. They seem toΒ  have taken the opportunity to extend their indoor range so that it’s really big now and they’re having a big opening weekend event. I’m hoping to drag Mum along, even though I won’t be able to shoot at the range until my Whiteleaf membership comes through. They’ve got demonstrations of making your own long-bow. If my hip and back hadn’t gone and I’d followed the plan, I’d been vaguely planning to start long-bow this summer.

I’m thinking that, in addition to club evenings, I might pootle over to Chiltern Archery some weekends to do some extra shooting once I’m all set up. It has the advantage of being fun and strengthening my upper body, which my physio will want to do anyway when I finally get one!

I’ve really missed archery, it turns out.