Posts Tagged ‘Martial Arts’

The week that was.

Hi, it’s been another weird week.

At Kung Fu I had some seasoned veteran of the style doing blocking drills with me. I think he had an agenda, be it bullying the newbies or showing off how ‘well ‘ard’ he was I don’t know. Either way, what should have been a quite painful training exercise turned into a really painful test of endurance. I stuck it for as long as I could, but I was getting worried that I was going to sustain a serious injury.

The next day at work, as I got changed to go into the freezer (again!) one of the lads pointed out that I was bruising on my arms. I was OK with it until after my breakfast, then when I returned to work it was suddenly really sore. My right arm had swollen and hurt every time I moved it.

The photo’ doesn’t show the swelling very well, and makes the bruising look like slap marks, but believe me it really did smart!

That was less than fun to work through.

Also at work they’ve started sending me back into the freezer as I mentioned above. My five day reprieve, whilst welcome, was all too temporary. Ho hum. They are processing all the sick note people, still waiting to see if they have the commitment to follow through on the sacking of the unfit. The other event of the week at work was today when I got ready, had an early dinner and all that, made my grub for break, went in, then got told by the lads ‘it’s your day off today’.

And it was. Gutted. Came home pretty damn pronto but it ruined my day off.

Almost forgot, there was another incident of note at work; some geezer came up to me asking was going to sign a grievance, saying there were too many foreigners at our works!

ME!

Bloody hell, he’s someone I’ve know and worked with for 18 months, and he assumed I’d sign!

I was a bit miffed.

Someone coming up to you and saying, ‘seeing as you’re a moronic racist you’ll sign this knee-jerk whine, won’t you?’ Not flattered, me. 

Nearly parked the mighty Micra into a lamppost two doors down from our house today. That was briefly focusing. We’d only had a half inch of snow and it didn’t seem to be affecting the driving conditions. Until I tried to turn into our close. That would have been a whole world of embarrassment, crashing in front of all the neighbours!

To make this brief (Wendy’s gone to bed, so I have to hurry with the typing!) I watched Ip Man today, (the story of the guy who taught Bruce Lee Kung Fu)  it’s comically overacted in parts, (in the English subtitles, at least) the dialogue is dire, and the propaganda is rife, but the fight sequences! Wow! I really can’t wait to get back to class. I don’t care if it buggers my arms up, they must toughen up eventually, I’ve got to get good at Wing Chun Kung Fu!

There’s more, but you can’t master a martial art if you’ve been beaten to death by a sleep deprived spouse.

Later,

Buck.

Just musing.

Hi! I’ve just noticed that I’ve had 1,000 views of my blog! I’m a celebrity!

However, this will be my 103rd post, so I’m an unknown. 🙁

If you don’t follow me on Twitter let me tell you I’m loving my Kung Fu class. I’ve got my kit and I’m not afraid to pose in it!

It’s a pity the Beth couldn’t keep it up, it’s really spiffy. Don’t know that she’d have loved the last class though, swapping punches so your arm collides in defence/attack with your partner’s. It soon starts hurting and doesn’t stop!

Grin and bear it, it’s good for practice and it toughens you up.

I’m aching still though. And I’ve got bloody friction burns on my arse from all the sit ups! Again! All good though.

My sax lesson has had a positive turn around as well. When I went this week I had a few of the things that I have been struggling with come together. Then he turned the page to a new chapter and it was a checkpoint. Instead of learning something new it is three set pieces supposed to consolidate your learning to date.

As usual sax-sensei Pete pointed me at the new stuff and told me to have a go. It was for a complete change, a lot easier than the previous exercises. I didn’t do it perfectly, but for a first time, sight reading as I went along, it wasn’t too shabby.

I was quite pleased with myself, then he told me that the pieces were from a grade 4 exam! (Or level 4, I forget.)

The point being, these are pieces on which the student would train for months before an exam and I did a reasonable attempt first time out of the bag!

Not trying to blow my own trumpet here (if anything, my own sax) just saying how surprised and delighted I was.

Then he said now we’re at chapter 17 you can move on to ‘100 best tunes book’ or some such. Learning by playing songs, some of which I will already know, rather than by bending my mind around hideous exercises. If you recall, that was what I said I was going to leave my lessons to do in my last blog. So that it going swimmingly.

Here is something I found that seemed to be begging for the title ‘Ships Of The Desert’

Also on the pictures front, here is that Sisters of Mercy/ Merciful Release logo that I want as a tattoo

Groovy, or what?

Perhaps you have to love the band.

I’m currently enjoying a long weekend. I was off Thursday, in Friday, now off Saturday, Sunday and Monday! Bloody lovely.

On the subject of work, I have been moaning lately about being sent into the freezer all of the time. The place at which I work has the contract picking and delivering to the Iceland stores, so it’s not too unexpected that I would work in the freezer now and then. In point of fact I’ve been in there that often that I don’t even mind it that much.

However, what does piss me off is all the other pickers from grocery getting out of doing it by bringing in a sick note. This means the few of us who haven’t got a medical exclusion are always being sent in, whilst the others laugh at us. Everyone knows the job is for Iceland, that part of your job is working in the freezer and that most of the sick notes are bullshit, but nothing was being done about it.

Apparently if you are not fit to do your job that is reasonable grounds for dismissal, yet the company let it slide.

Anyway, because of it, I was in the freezer all but three days out of six weeks.

In the end I’d had enough. I went storming into the office and had about four different managers, up and down the chain of command, over it. (When I said I’d been moaning about it above, I meant at home and on t’internet, I’d just gotten on with it at work.)

They said that there was a review of the sick note situation coming up and the people who were laughing at me would be laughing on the other sides of their faces! And for once it looks like they may have been telling the truth!

The union rep said yesterday that they were going to refer all the sickies to the company medical review people and if they were found to be medically incapable of working in the freezer they would be given four weeks notice! HAH!

Yes, I am gloating.

They’ve all been keen enough to take the piss out of me and let me do the dirty work for them. As I said to one of the managers, I don’t want special treatment, I just want fair treatment.

There are an awful lot of sphincter’s twitching at work now. There is about to be the biggest incidence of miraculous recovery since the bible stories!

On the down side to this week, I’ve tried to register with the driving agencies around town and they don’t want to know!

Bugger.

If I haven’t escaped before, I’ll risk taking a temporary job in August. That will give me a few months experience.

Still, overall, it’s been a good week.

Later

Buck.

Quickie.

Just to say the Beth lasted all of one Kung Fu lesson! She went, loved it, then cried off the next lesson citing lack of money. I’ve told her the offer is still open.

I went to the second class and Sifu was having a self-defence lesson, specifically how to deal with knife attacks.

You grab the attacking arm, grip the hand that is holding the knife, elbow them in the face, carry it through so the knife cuts their throat, reverse their hand then gut them.

Ohhhhhh K.

So that was fun.

He explained that way you are never losing control of the hand holding the knife and, as an added bonus, never putting finger prints on the knife. If you’ve just cut someone’s throat then lent into them (to stab into their guts) you’re going to be covered in blood anyway, so the finger prints might be superfluous.

Technicalities.

If someone has just tried to attack you with lethal intent the first priority is stopping them. Legality comes a very distant second.

So that was what Beth missed. Good, clean fun.

Also, whilst I’m here I should mention an incident from last week. (I mentioned it on Twitter but omitted it from my last blog.)

Wendy, her brother (Pete), his wife (Emma) and I(Buck!), went to see Avatar 3D at the local flicks. Which I should mention in passing was rather spiffy, first good 3D I’ve seen. Plot was massively predictable, but really well done.

Anywho, it was still in the midst of the snow and ice. I gave  Pete and Emma a lift to the flicks. Apparently they really are gay about my driving! All the slipping and sliding, which I thought was fun, was a bit unsettling for them.

After I’d dropped them off and they were self medicating with stiff drinks, Wendy and I came home. I was chugging up to the lights on Cromwell ave which were on green, so I put my foot down to make it, then, as I had to do a right turn through the lights, went to brake.

Not a bloody sausage.

Micra locked up, slithering all over the place. I said to Wendy "We’re going to crash, sorry." Then by some miracle of mighty Micra mastery, I managed to save it!

That was a hell of a rush. More so for Wendy, I suspect.

I returned to my sax lesson.

Hate it.

Wish I could just get the basics down so I can quit the lessons for a while and learn by practising all the songs I like. That will be more fun and less pressure.

Damn these baby steps I am forced to take!

I did a work out at home yesterday, my first for two months, and how it shows! My tendons were a foot shorter! I ended up totally done in, and today my legs are really sore.

Then to add to my joy I had another headache. I woke up with a bit of pressure in my head,it got worse all day, (despite all the painkillers) so that by seven o’clock I had to go and lie down and that was me for the night. Not how I wanted to spend my day off.

Fine and dandy, hale and hearty today.

Wish it would go away though.  It’s every few days I have some form of headache, generally at least once a week it’s so grim I just want to lie down with a eye mask on in a dark room.

Chin up.

Not lying under a building in Haiti.

So that’s it, just a quickie. It’s because of Twitter. It happens, I put it on there, then forget to put it here.

Live long and prosper,

Buck.

The resolutions are go!

Finally I’m getting my resolutions going.

I’ve bloated out in the two months I’ve not been working out at martial arts. I’ve only gone from ten stone six to eleven stone one, but I think I must have lost a lot of very heavy muscle and replaced it with acres of relatively light fat. I’m hanging over my trousers in a way that bears no resemblance to such a small increase in weight.

It’s a distressing thought that I am going to have to spend the rest of my life sweating the flab off.

Damn middle age!

I used to be able to stay slim without trying when I was young.I had a bloater phase about five years age, but then I gave up drinking and dropped three stones so I thought I had it cracked. Apparently not. My work is no longer physically demanding enough and I have been on the road (now I’ve got a car license) for over three years. Previously, with the bikes, I either got banned or crashed them. The longest (by a long way) that I was on the road continuously was fifteen months. That was the only time I ever renewed an insurance policy on a bike! The upshot of that being that I spent most of my life on a push-bike.

Long story slightly shorter than interminable, it turns out that it only the exercise of martial arts training that has stopped me looking like a space-hopper.

Which is preamble to saying I have started my training again. I’ve given up on the Taekwondo as flash but impractical, and gone back to Wing Chun Kung Fu, famously the style of Bruce Lee.

The lineage is impressive as well. The Sifu (Chinese for master) at the club was taught in Hong Kong by the sons of the legendary Yip Man (the guy who taught Bruce Lee, and about whom they made a film last year).

I’ve got the money to do it this time and I have an abundance of desire.

Also in the merits column, I am taking my niece who has been having a bit of trouble with her self confidence and has been avoiding going out of the house because of it. This will do her a power of good. Just getting out is a major step.

She braved it last night and came with me.

Kudos.

She met a load of new people and found them all to be a laugh, encouraging and supportive.

The exercise is it’s own reward (and punishment!) and, in time, she will be confident that she can handle herself if things should kick off. At the moment she seems to be in the worrying phase where she won’t go out because someone might see her, they then might make a comment, they then might give her abuse, they then might start a fight, they might, they might…

It’s all worry feeding on itself. When you don’t feel threatened by people taking the piss out of you (because you don’t sport chav chic) the abuse is like water off a ducks back.

This is the voice of experience here. See my pics. I wear that for everything, going to town, doing the shopping, it’s what I wear.

Anyway, if she sticks to it there is no bad. She was buzzing off it when we finished our first lesson on Tuesday. When I dropped her off at her mam and dad’s, they (her sister included) burst into a song and dance rendition of ‘Kung Fu Fighting’. That was funny.

That was one/ two items on my resolutions list. Exercise and back to martial arts.

The other big thing is back to my saxophone lessons tomorrow.

I can’t say I enjoy them. I want to know all the basics then I’m going to stop the lessons while I take my own time to practise everything. Get back at it though, that’s the main thing. I can’t run until I can walk.

The same with the Kung Fu. I was really nervous about going back. I’ve already quit that club twice (once because I was drinking too much to keep at it, once because I just couldn’t afford it.) Now I’ve been once, got over that nervous hurdle, I can just get on with getting on. Paying for my years membership and uniform tomorrow, just to show I’m committing. Which has not impressed Wendy overly. ‘Are you collecting them?’ sort of comments. (In fairness I’ve only got two, the Karate one and the Taekwondo one.)

The only thing I can’t seem to get moving is my driving career. That seems to be out of my hands. I keep applying, keep hearing nothing.

Ho hum.

Chin up, keep trying.

Getting there,

Buck.

Back sliding.

Hi. I’ve come to a decision; if I’m giving up on Taekwondo, give up on it. I’m treating myself to a month and a bit off, then my new year’s resolution (and my xmas present) will be to go back to Wing Chun Kung Fu, joining with the full package. This is about £100, what with the uniform, membership and insurance. If I do it all in one hit though it will show this time (my third attempt at joining this particular club) that I am serious and committed.

My first time my life revolved around getting wasted, so it was doomed from the start. The second time Wendy was unemployed so money was tight, and I wanted to do both Kung Fu and Taekwondo (so I would have the flashy head kicks and the up-close fighting excellence) but that was just too expensive. I chose the cheapest one, Taekwondo, at less than half the price per lesson.

Now, as I have mentioned, I just want a fight-winning style. Any style is only going to be as good as the person who teaches it, and the Sifu (Chinese for the Japanese ‘Sensei’)of this club was taught in Hong Kong, as a kid, by the sons of the legendary Yip Man. The same chap of whom they have just made a film, and Sifu of Bruce Lee.

That’s a pretty impressive lineage.

With my current sax obsession I can only fit in one fighting style and Wing Chun is nuts and bolts fight winning. So I’m slobbing out now, but I’m equally excited and nervous at the prospect of going back.

I wagged it/ had a days holiday yesterday. Find out which in a few hours when I go in to work. They are supposed to return your holiday request forms the same shift as you tender them. It was over a month since I put mine in, I asked my manager if I could have the form back (approved or denied) on about six different occasions. Nothing. So I kept quiet about it last week and just took the day off. Bollocks to ’em!

I’m in today, off tomorrow. Got to try and get the mighty Micra MOT’d tomorrow. More money.

Still no news about any driving jobs. I will have to sit down and concentrate on getting that TA application off tomorrow.

One good thing at work, when I went in on Friday the place was abuzz with gossip. It turns out the GM and his assistant (the hit-men who were brought in to shake things up, turfing de-kit out of our jobs and bringing in agency workers, trying to make the cleaners all agency etc) have both been demoted!

The Gm has been demoted to transport manager and his deputy (Ass Man -assistant manager- to borrow from Chuck)has been demoted to shift manager.

Smell the schadenfreude!

Karma really is a bastard.

Talking of which, I guess the Buddhism didn’t take. I see and approve of the better way, I follow the worst. Trying to get a job killing people just so I can get on with making money. I don’t have a problem with killing people, in the general sense.

But Buddha is pretty categorical in saying that it is not a good thing.

I have been rationalising why I can’t follow the right path since I started to take an interest in it. This is pretty much crossing the Rubicon though. I don’t believe in an after life, but Buddha seems to have it cracked as to how to live this one.

Guess I’ll just have to muddle through.

Anywho, got to get on,

later,

Buck.

Like, so down with the kids, me.

Hi there, I’ve not been posting because nothing much has been happening.

I’m getting better at the sax (but as I had never knowingly played a note or read one before a month ago, up was the only way I could go).

I’m still not sacked or driving, so work remains a status quo. There are movements in the right direction, they have the new tugs at work now (the units used solely for moving trailers around the yard) so the rest of the fleet shouldn’t be too far behind. As soon as they get the new rigid trucks I’ll be in the office asking for the keys to one of the old ones.

I’m hoping that when I go back off this holiday they will be there.

As for this holiday, I booked the weekend off months ago, when I was still in dekit, not knowing if I would be off for it or not as I would be changing rota’s when I moved into the warehouse as a picker again. Turns out I was off this weekend anyway, so I cancelled the holiday. Then they said ‘what are you doing taking those days off? You should be on a different rota.’ So I had to fight to keep on the rota they had initially given me, saying that I’d booked holidays around the days off on that rota, and had cancelled the holiday for the weekend I needed for my grading. They let me stay on my first rota.

I realised a few weeks ago that I would not be getting a day off on any of the days my classes were on this week (the last week before my grading on Sunday) so I booked from Monday off. That would have given me four lessons in which to cram. First lesson yesterday, at a place with which I am not familiar. I went on to the website, or rather tried, and it said something about an error with the server. Balls. Then my headache kicked in again, so I spent most of yesterday afternoon on the bed with a sleep mask on to keep the light out of my eyes. Then a good portion of yesterday evening as well for good measure. Finally started to clear about nine or so.

Today woke full of beans. Website still down. Remembered I had one of the chaps mobile number from way back. I sent him a text asking if there was a class tonight (not been to this one) if so what time and where. Eventually got a reply, joy!

So to cut a long story to a smidge less than interminable, I went and by some miracle actually found it (!) but when sah bum nim Caroline arrived she said that Grandmaster Loh was off abroad coaching one of the Scottish lads who was in contention for a medal in the world championships so the grading was off until the twenty first of November!

Marvellous!

Still, it made me go. I have been letting it slip as my current obsession with all things sax has been side-lining it.

Today, whilst I was off, I went to Ikea, that Swedish vision of hell on Earth. I had to walk around two miles of displays to find the section I wanted (hard flooring) only to be redirected to their warehouse/ dungeon. The item I wanted was right by the doors into the building/ exit. I had to wait ten minutes for them to open, then it took me another thirty to find this one bleeding item.

I only wanted a pack of that slot together wooden flooring. A single solitary sodding pack. The entrance hall carpet is getting old and dirty so Wendy wants it doing in the same wooden floor effect as the front room. I’ll give it a go tomorrow. First time, but how hard can it be? It’ll be a nice surprise for Wendy when she gets home from work. Either that or it will be roaring merrily in the chimnea, smashed to bits.

So, to summarise, I’ve not been blogging because I’ve been too busy saxing, suffering, or waiting for something to happen one way or the other. And, for the last two days, I’ve been Twittering! Yeah, down with the kids and the standards! @TheGoodBuck if anyone’s interested.

Well time to go, Wendy needs to get to bed.

Live long and prosper,

Buck.

Sax and bugs, not even dole.

The nasty enervating illness I have been labouring through is waning. To prove that every cloud has a silver lining (and that where there’s a will there’s a platitude) it seems to have sapped my will to worry about work. If I get sacked I’ll just have to deal with it, at least I’ve got a week off, paid. And if I’m not sacked I didn’t have to work through that nasty cold. It was weird, I didn’t have a runny nose, or anything much except a little bit of a cough and tired eyes, but I just felt so weak I barely felt able to stand up. That and a temperature. Bad, but brief. Three days, and I was on the mend yesterday.

Which reminds me, I need to swab out my sax mouthpiece now, in case it’s possible to reinfect myself!

The sax is coming along apace. I have two books; "Learn as you play saxophone", and "A new tune a day for tenor saxophone." The former is the one my sax-sensei Pete teaches from, the latter is more challenging. Both want me to read music and play at the same time in chapter 1. That really is challenging! Pete asked me if I had any musical experience, I said I could play the triangle but subsequently confessed I could not read music. He said it was alright, that people often learnt as they went along, but I sensed an inward sigh.

I think I’m doing well though. In the space of a week I’ve gone from blowing like mad and being pleased I got something that sounded like a note, to expecting to hit each note of the middle (damn, lingo breakdown! Not sharp or flat, the middle bunch of notes! Damn , damn, damn!) octave, and worrying about keeping to 4/4 or 3/4 time!

(You go girl!)

Wendy, whilst appreciating the rate and degree of my improvement, is less than ecstatic about my practising. Hearing someone try over and over to get the right time and notes of ‘Chanson de nuit’ and ‘Au clair de la lune’ whilst you are trying to have a quiet chill must be irritating.

Did I mention the soundproofing was a flop? The egg-trays are apparently an urban myth, they give you wonderful acoustics, but don’t stop next-door from appreciating them. Genuine sound insulation relies on density and thickness. I briefly examined a professional soundproofing site, worked out that one wall of a soundproof box would cost around £500, then gave up. I have resorted to the old standbys of a thick pair of socks down the horn, and practising my fingering without the mouthpiece in (on top of the hour’s blowing). The socks are, at best, a token gesture. There are that many holes in a sax that the horn is just the final projecting bit.

I’ve taken to sitting in the hall upstairs, with all the bedroom doors, the bathroom door and the front-room door downstairs shut (so there is at least two walls between me and next-door, and a door and double glazing between me and the outside world) with the airing cupboard door open, playing into that!

It’s still really loud, but it’s the best I can do. I’m also trying to train next-door into realising that it is only for an hour, and at set times. This should help. The worst thing about having someone making a racket is the feeling of helplessness, not knowing how long they are going to be at it. If  you know they are going to be having a party until 1am, at least you know that it (should) be quiet after that. It’s lying in bed at 1245, music booming, grinding your teeth and whetting your axe that is detrimental to your chi.

Not that I would practice at such a time, I was thinking along the lines of 12.30 am -1.30 pm on 2-10 shift, 5-6 (pm) on 6-2.

I’ve been up nearly two hours and I’m not overcome with illness. I’ll go and get some grub and if I’m still OK I think I’ll have a workout. My next Taekwondo grading is in four weeks (if I’m not sacked/ can afford it) and I’ve been remiss through illness this last week.

Later,

Buck.

Killing time

Hi again, it’s been a funny old week and no mistake. I’ve hardly done anything really, just been off, got back in to my Taekwondo, read books and waited on the thrice damned postman.

A week off work is not to be sniffed at. It’s been nice just relaxing. The weather has been consistently appalling, so I’ve not been out doing stuff, but it’s been lovely not working, dossing around and sharpening my ninja skills by outwitting the postman.

I was off last weekend, in Monday, and then off until next Tuesday. On Monday I went into HR to see where my warehouse to wheels thing was up to, as they said they’d have an answer for me this week. I wasn’t expecting an answer on Monday, and in that respect I wasn’t disappointed. I went in prepared for such an eventuality. I had a piece of paper with my name, what it was about (warehouse to wheels) my landline and mobile numbers and my email address, which I handed in. I said I was off this week, but if they wanted me to go out with the drivers as part of my training I would be happy to come in.

Not a word. Not a sausage. Jack.

I’ve been ringing around some of the jobs advertised on jobcentre plus, but in a half-hearted way. They are mostly agency, and those that don’t turn me down flat are saying it wouldn’t be worth me leaving a full time job. It would still be best if I could get trained at my works then work for them, but failing that a ‘no’ would be better than this.

At least then I could throw myself into getting some work. I was told yesterday that although as a new driver the agency wouldn’t be able to insure me as an artic driver they could get me work on rigids. But not enough to make it worth my while leaving a full time job. The good news there being them willing to give me a class II job, in principle.

Tomorrow I have somehow agreed to go to Manchester, to see a fight, I think. I was at my TKD class last night and Sah bum nim asked me if I was doing anything on Saturday. I thought she had arranged an extra lesson, or a fitness session, as I’m on 2-10 next week so might not be able to make class I jumped at the chance. Said I wasn’t doing anything, she said something about do you want to come, I said OK, so she said ‘right, you can get a lift with Jim, it’s £10 for the ticket, we’ll split the petrol money.’

What?

I asked Jim what we were going to see (he’s a black belt, and second in command) he didn’t know. I asked when, again he didn’t know.

So we had both agreed to do something, for some money, at some point, somewhere.

I managed to find out that we are going to see a fight in Manchester. It had better at least be a TKD fight. If it’s boxing I’m going to be a bit miffed. A bit more miffed that is. Not how I wanted to spend my weekend off. I will ask questions in future, and await comprehensible replies but committing to anything.

The other theme running through this week off has been my battle of wits with the postman. I wait around for ages then the minute I nip the shop he strikes. I get back to find a note saying ‘pick up your own parcel, fatboy! PS, LOSER!’ Then the other day I went up town to do the damned postman’s job for him, got there at 9.30 and he told me I would have to come back at 10.00! Just too long to make hanging around up town a viable option, and just about long enough to drive home, not quite have a brew, then drive back. So I did my shopping then went back at about 10.30. They’d closed off Cromwell Ave for roadworks! I was sat for over ten minutes in one spot, a few hundred yards off my turning. Then I had to double my distance and treble my time on the way back to get home another way. That was all for a parcel that he couldn’t get through my letter box. It didn’t have to be signed for, he could have just left it in the blue bin, but then I wouldn’t have had to traipse to town and back, and again, and tour all around Warrington. Bastard!

The last parcel I missed was at 11.20, this one was 1.20, today I had to wait in until 2.45 before I fooled him into thinking I’d gone out so he attempted to post it. Any later and it will be the next day. I am thinking of hiding in the freezer like Kato (in The Pink Panther) to fool him into coming earlier. I tell you, standards have dropped since I left the Royal Mail. I thought at the time that it was only me keeping the place going!

The good news being that I did outwit him today and now have a rather natty pinstripe suit! When my funky shoes arrive (after I’ve been up town to pick them up, doubtless) I’ll put a picture up of the ensemble. Tres bloody chic, I trust you’ll agree.

Toodles,

Buck.

PS, it turns out the event was something on the lines of a qualifying event, or ranking event, for the Olympics. To sort out how good everyone was to see how they would be ranked for the Olympics. Hmm, now I try and write it down I realise I’m still not exactly sure what it was. Six fighting areas, loads of judges, electronic body armour to score powerful contacts in target areas, and teams from all over the world. Korea, France, Netherlands, Poland, Canada, even Scotland! All black belts, on their national teams I think, and pretty damned good. Those guys were fast as lighting, to quote from Shakespeare (or some such). The chicks too. A bit too fast; trying to watch two or three fights at once, nothing happening, nothing happening, glance at the next door fight and bang! Someone’s just got a head kick right in the chops. I enjoyed it, but it would have been better if it was on telly, so I could have watched the good bits in the replay. Human eyes are crap; no zoom, slo-mo or replay.

Apparently Warrington won in the rugby final as well. Big up those rugger chaps, or whatever it is they shout on the terraces.

Whilst I was out the postman failed to come with my shoes. Damn his eyes. Bank Holiday Monday so now it’s going to be Tuesday before I get them. Luckily Wendy is off on Tuesday (she only works Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Alright for some!) so I shouldn’t have to go and pick them up. Unless the wily posty hangs on to them until Wednesday of course. I can’t get too mad at the shoe shop, they said they make have to make them, which could take up to ten days. The way they are shaping up I think they are currently waiting for a cow to die of old age.

Two more glorious days off. Tomorrow I am going to have to start training in earnest. The one thing I noticed today was that everyone started each three minute round full of fight, then after a minute they were knackered and catching their breath. I’ll have to set up some training scheme where I do three minutes of constant kicking, (whilst moving forwards and back) rest for a minute, then repeat. There are three, three minute rounds in a fight, with a minute’s rest between each. Even those potential Olympiads were knackered doing it!  It’s one of the many prerequisites for black belt grading that you have to have competed. I don’t want to make an arse of myself when I do. The people who were going in and launching a massive attack of kicks were scoring heavily, the ones who were just trying to land a single kick then catch their breath were not doing so well. Every time they scored a point it seemed their opponent was scoring one back. So, fitness and practise stringing together lots of combinations of kicks. Ideally, I want another martial art as well.

Well, that’s for later.

For right now, another drink of lime, and chill with one of my new books, then sleep. Simple pleasures.

Toodles again,

Buck.

Believe nothing that you hear…

…and only half of what you see. As they said in the army.

That union rep I said about a few weeks back, the one who spontaneously announced that he’d been in the office and sorted out a training programme for me, is full of shit. I went into the transport managers office today and whilst I was waiting for some drivers to sort out their business (so I could get to see one of the managers) Nick (the rep) walked in. I collared him and asked what to do next, and basically he told me to go and get some experience elsewhere, then apply for our place. Thanks for nothing, Nick.

Why, though? I didn’t stress him, or even ask, he said to me he’d been in and sorted it out. Did he think my license would never get back from Swansea so I’d never realise he is nothing but a bullshit merchant?

I just don’t get it. If he can’t do anything for me that’s just the way it is, but why get my hopes up? What purpose did it serve? I do not understand why he would do that.

So I’ve been scouring the interweb looking for work. Surprisingly I may have found some.

There were about five jobs that didn’t categorically state ‘no new drivers’ and one that actually said ‘new drivers welcome’! OK, so it’s all agency work, crap pay, and two of the jobs state that it’s only for thirteen weeks, but I’ve got to get the experience somewhere.

The two thirteen weeks one will be my last option, that would mean they are just wanting agency cover until xmas, then I would be on the dole in January, when there is no agency work.

Wendy pointed out that I will have to take a chance at some point. If I end up taking one of those it will be with a goal to secure other work ASAP, well before the thirteen weeks is up. Once I’m up and running, already a driver, surely it will be easier to convince other prospective employers to give me a go.

Off my own back I have been in and seen HR at work, to see if there is anything they can do for me, I’ve filled in an online application for Eddie Stobart’s, and I will be ringing about those jobs tomorrow.

Also I will be tracking down all the local supermarket distribution centres to put in speculative application forms. Th’Asda, th’Safeways etc.

Bugger.

Anyway…, other stuff.

It wasn’t just that I’m fat and old and lazy, it was also that damned mountain bike! (I KNEW IT!) Tried out my spiffy racing bike this morning and it was so much easier. The riding position is right, you’re not sat upright with all your weight squashing down on the saddle, your nethers are more or less in the air, and instead of having a contact patch of about three inches of soggy tyre, I have a little tyre with an even smaller ridge (about a quarter of an inch or less) that stands proud in the centre. So minimal contact and good riding position, I flew. I took a slightly different route, but even so I knocked about six minutes off my previous time and didn’t arrive lathered in a muck sweat. It was cool.

The not so good news is that when I went for that first run the other day I did so on the spur of the moment, just threw my trainers on and set off. I didn’t bother with socks. Mistake.

My feet blistered and then the blisters burst. This was not a problem while I was off, I wasn’t doing that much. Today has been a different story.  I think they may have got a bit infected, they’ve swelled up around the blister patches and have been really sore. I’ve been rubbing salt into them (to teach them a lesson if nothing else) and have been barefoot since I got in to try and dry them out.  I’ve dug out some plasters for tomorrow but I’ve got a feeling this is going to be an uncomfortable week.

I can’t make any off the TKD lessons next week (2-10) so I wanted to get as many as possible in this week, with my feet all manky it may not be so easy. I missed tonight’s lesson because of it, hopefully I can sort it out a bit for tomorrow. 

In conclusion, racer: good, socks: excellent, Nick: tosser.

Later,

Buck.

The Device and other achievements.

I’ve been trying out my purchases whilst I’ve been off. I went for a run (my first run in months, prior to that, years) and decided to try out my ankle weights!

Can anybody guess how that went?

First run in ages, with a kilo strapped to each ankle.

Not well is the answer, in case you were wondering.

I managed to miss the road I was aiming for so went on a much longer circuit, I completely outpaced myself and by the time I got back (only twenty minutes or so later) I thought I was going to throw up.

Not an unqualified success then.

We are supposed to be starting training sessions on Sundays now the TKD classes have been cancelled so I thought I’d get a head start. Apparently you need to be able to run a mile in under twelve minutes (OK, stroll a mile in under twelve minutes) before you can qualify for black belt. I could do that now. But to do it with élan I really need the practise.

So I got back, tried to get my breath back, then carried on with the rest of my work-out. When I’d finished I tried out my latest invention: The Device!

As you can see it’s just two home-made ankle loops attached to a length of rope that passes between two eyed screws. The pulley does the rest. Pop your feet in those loops, pull the cord on the pulley, then weep like a little girl.

It’s a home-made substitute for a £150 device you can buy. Mine cost about £20 or so, and I have enough rope and screws to build another.

That’s the crowing over, the question was: will it work?

Oh my sweet lord, yes.

I tried it out yesterday after my work-out, when theoretically I’m as stretched as I get, and it stretched me further.

Today I was so stiff, with the leg weights and the stretching, that I had to do a quick work-out. This promptly turned into another run in weights (much better this time, thanks for your concern) a work-out and back to The Device! This time I managed to pull another nine inches or so through the pulley. (I marked the pulley cord to give me a record of my progress.) This is not as impressive as it sounds, my feet did not go nine inches further back, there is a 6:1 ratio on the pulley. I’m here to tell you that when you feel at full stretch, then pull another nine inches of cord through, it feels like you are being torn in half, however insignificant the actual improvement is in inches.

I have placed it behind where my kick/punch bag usually hangs (I only took it down for the sake of clarity on the photo’s) usually it looks like this:

The benefits are many. It hides most of the mess, and more importantly my girly, sobbing face when it is in use and when I have become more flexible I can use the bag as a backrest, thus increasing the angle of stretch possible.

I’m having a splendid few days off, what with the extremes of pain and exertion. It don’t get any better than this.

I was outbid on that really nice touring push-bike. I was willing to go up to £76, (though in the heat of the moment I did bid up to £82!) it sold for £125. Bum.

However, I have finally got myself a racer, for £40. It has long mudguards, a rack, and ten gears. I’m going to pick it up after tea, if everything works as it aught, that will do me nicely.

I’ll take it for a spin tomorrow, if all is well use it for work during the week, then next week maybe go for a ride for fun. Seems an odd concept, but I used to do it all the time.

Oh and as an added bonus, my license got back from Swansea yesterday. Sunday today, Bank Holiday tomorrow, so there will be none of the top brass managers in work until I return on Tuesday, so I’ll take it in then. Hopefully get the ball rolling in my driving.

All is peachy, time for tea,

later,

Buck.

PS, just picked the racer up. It rocks, I’ll elaborate tomorrow but I went for a quick spin to the top of our street and back, and she flies! Have to adjust the seat height, the angle of the handlebars, tighten the headstock, and swap reflector and lights from my mountain bike to the new beast, but I think I’m going to like this one!

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