The deadliest, jelliest site ever. Brought to you by Niamh Shaw

Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Invincible canine spirit

Mm, pikelets with jam.

Sorry, got distracted there for a moment.

So recently it’s been all about The Rise of the Asset: gestation, eating, food, mealtimes, and how about some cream with that? WHY, DON’T MIND IF I DO.

I’m sure many of you have wondered what’s happened to The Jedster, that invincible canine spirit who once dominated this blog, striding across the posts like a colossus.

I’ve been literarily neglecting my dog, and I feel bad. After all, Jed has been a part of this family for nearly three years – and we have no idea whether we’ll even LIKE The Asset. After all, how do we know The Asset will be able to lick his own arse or retrieve tennis balls from dense undergrowth? And I can’t imagine The Asset lying under my desk contentedly nibbling my toes.

We’ll see.

This post is an attempt to redress the oversight.

One of our preferred walks used to be a forest track circling Jeep and Meep’s property. It’s a short walk, but afforded something of a workout if we negotiated The Hen’s Beak: a savage one-way 2:1 incline descending almost completely to the Hauraki Valley.

We haven’t walked the track for some time mainly because, at five months pregnant, there’s no way I could negotiate The Hen’s Beak. At least, I could probably make my way down it in the same happy manner as a beach ball; but Andrew would need a system of ropes and pulleys – or a rescue helicopter – to get me back up. The track has also suffered some erosion over the winter.

“How agile are you feeling?” asked Husband eyeing a tree fallen across the path.

The correct response would be: demonstrating all the lithe grace and elegance of a constipated rhino charging across wet sand, but,

“Like a gazelle. Watch!” I said, stepping ponderously over a knee-high twig with some dangerous-looking leaves. “Huh? Huh?”

“Impressive.”

I’d forgotten the track features little in the way of water for Jed. Charging after his tennis ball he covers at least ten times more ground than us, at about twenty times the speed, so he falls into any available creek for a big slurp and wallow. During the winter months, there’s a large puddle at the end of Jeep and Meep’s forest track, but we’ve had over a week of sunshine and presumed it would be dry.

It wasn’t:-

Jed after executing a triple-roll pike turn.

If you’re wondering whether that mud smelled much, OH MY POOR SWOLLEN THROBBING NOSTRILS IT STANK.

Where did you think that sentence was going?

Shame on you.

The horse’s mouth: more than just a mantelpiece ornament

The inspiration for the following conversation came from a ball I’d thrown for the dog, which hit a tree about four feet away and rebounded back onto the path. 

Husband: Well, you’ve got more strength in your throwing, but your accuracy hasn’t improved much.

Me: It has too! My accuracy HAS improved.

Husband: Ok.

Me: Don’t say, ‘Ok’, as in: ‘Ok, I’ll magnanimously let her cling onto her pathetic little dreams’.

Me: I will not be patronised!

Husband: Ok: that’s shit! You sling the ball all over the place; most of the time you have NO idea where it’s going to go-

Me: Have I hit you in the head recently?

Husband: Well. No.

Thus Husband grudgingly agreed my throwing might have improved.

However, I’m now wondering how many times I aimed for his head and missed.

Cold blooded

Ever since Helen’s visit, I have aspired to take up alfresco swimming again. Last July, our mutual friend Chantal’s English Channel crossing further inspired me.

This inspiration generally takes the form of occasionally looking wistfully out the window and imagining myself cresting the ocean like a colossus (a little one).

“You get used to the temperature,” Chantal advised. “You build up resistance.”

Now, I would never call one of my best friends a cold-blooded liar*. However, when Chantal said this, she broke out in a light sweat and stuttered slightly, while simultaneously looking up and slightly to the left instead of making healthy eye contact. She also scratched her nose repeatedly and got unnaturally defensive when I said, “Really?” (Admittedly I was pointing in a manner that could have been construed as aggressive at the time.)

So anyway, I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

As the weather has grown increasingly clement, I have been inspired to revivify** my threats to get snappy with a swimming cap.

The sea has looked gorgeous recently, decked out in a dazzling array of shades from kingfisher blue to aquamarine to a shade of green closely reminiscent of nuclear snot – which might not sound that inviting but looks AMAZING. Then, a few days ago, the sun emerged to evaporate any lingering excuses against relaunching my bid to master the sea in a bikini.

My first effort fell short of resounding success – and it’s not as if I was over-extending.

“Just a dip,” I briefed my towel-handler, “to acclimatize myself.”

Although I strode buoyantly into the sea, my confidence faltered when the water reached the crotchline. I spent a good five minutes standing around screaming, while Husband shouted encouragement from the shore (“It can’t be THAT cold!” “What do you need to feel your feet for?” “JED, FETCH NIAMHIE! FETCH IT HERE! GOOD BOY!”).

At least the experience can’t be described as a complete wash-out – if only because that would imply some level of immersion.

The following day, I was determined to make progress. The plan was as follows: get straight in, short and sharp, no splashing about, execute minimum five strokes.

“Face in water?” asked Husband, anxious to establish the project parameters.

“Yep,” I said grimly.

This time there was still screaming, but less of it and more muted; and I swam twenty four strokes (face in water).

The biggest problem – ignoring actually getting into the water in the first place – is a pretty much spontaneous headache when I submerge my face.

Evidently, I don’t have a fat enough head.

I’m not sure how to address that.

However, this morning, I managed sixty strokes AND kicked a crab in the pleopod. At this rate, I’ll be swimming across to Wellington for a light lunch within two months.

* Although the cold-blooded bit potentially explains how Chantal spent six months leading up to her Channel bid training in the North Sea and greater London lidos without succumbing to hypothermia. OR, she may be part-penguin.

** Can you believe ‘revivify’ is a valid word? I KNOW! I can hardly handle such extremes of excitement in one day; it might have to be spread out over the week.

This is what happens when you just press it

I’ve been meaning to post these videos of The Barfster for a while. I’m not sure when they were taken. The first could have been any time beyond six months ago. My father’s unwitting debut as home video director would either have been last December, or January of this year.

When we lived up Opanuku Road, we often walked the Ferndown Track due to its accessibility.

This first video is of Jed in one of his watering holes: a big puddle in the first creek along the track. There was always water in various states ranging from flowing to stinking viscosity, depending on the time of year.

Jed’s ritual has remained the same since he was a puppy:-

1/ Engage all fours for maximum impact with water
2/ Plunge around in order to identify ideal flop spot
3/ Sideways roll
4/ Stretch out back legs
5/ Carefully spit out ball & secure under front paws
6/ Blow bubbles

My father’s video shows Jed in his all-time-favourite mud-hole (rated according to various criteria, including but not limited to: mud quantity, depth, grunge, olfactory persistence, long term stinkeability) further up the track, and demonstrates the denouement:-

7/ Retrieve ball from under front paws
8/ Make like swamp monster
9/ Shake mud all over everything within the vicinity ≤10m

Late breaking pics

Sitting here in Port Underwood on a sullen day, with mist shrouding the peninsula and the sea a chilly slate-grey, it is hard to believe that these photos were taken just over a month ago, in Ireland coming into summer.

All pictures are courtesy of the Wednesday Walking Group’s photographer, El Bruno.

I would like to point out that I did not buy the t-shirt, and only wear it for its sentimental value because a dear friend gave it to me. Also because I don't have any more. MarkJ, can you get me another? Preferably one that doesn't inspire strangers to approach me in the street and whisper, "I'm totally with you, that Angerlina Jolly is a slut." In fact, a t-shirt that would compel strangers to buy me coffee would be ideal. Thanks.

In addition to being a photographer, El Bruno is also a Frustrated Rock God - but then aren't we all?

 

Waterfall off the Old Kenmare Road: This is me contemplating the beauty of nature, whether my t-shirt covers my arse, and whether it matters since I'm sitting down.

  

The Wednesday Walkers (subset) L-R: Ann, Claudia, Niamh, Eileen.

I'm not sure I was on this walk, but I like this picture because you see the dude on the rock? The one with the ski-pole and two false hips? That's my dad; and I love the way he's perched up there, because that is so completely HIM.

 

L-R: Eileen, Claudia and Dad

I carried the bag

We’ve had a couple of spectacular crispy days here, so I gradually reintroduced Andrew to exercise by hauling him up Mt Robertson on his second day home. Mt Robertson is about 1030m high, and a four and a half hour round trip from Port Underwood Road at perspiring pace. That includes a half-hour stop for a packed lunch.

Andrew: <mumble, mumble> the bag?

Me: Well, it’s a bit late since I’ve already carried it all the way up-

Andrew: No, I said, will I DO UP the bag?

Me: Oh. I thought you said, will I TAKE the bag?

Andrew: No.

Me: Right.

Jed takes a bath. Note the ice on the right.

 

Sometimes being brown is a bonus - for instance, it camouflages the mud. If you can't make it out, Jed is absolutely filthy here.

 

At the top I distracted Andrew by asking him what altitude it was. Then I ran around naked.

 

When I say, 'Smile', this is what happens - which is why it doesn't happen a lot.

The dapper dog about town

Marlborough is colder than a witch’s tit in a brass bra doing push ups in the snow. It’s so cold, local lawyers have their hands in their own pockets. The other day we met a brass monkey looking for a welder.

Ok, well, maybe not THAT cold.

A tit bit nipply is all.

Undaunted by the chill, Jed and I still enjoy our daily walks. I wear about ten layers with gloves, a scarf and beanie. The temperature doesn’t deter Jed from leaping into every mud hole in his path.

When we get home, I throw Jed into his paddling pool and give him a cursory wash – or at least loosen the larger chunks of mud. Then I towel him down, remove my boots, collect his foodbowl, fill it; then shower while Jed dines.

We had a late walk yesterday and when we got home it was dark and cold. Jed was shivering by the time he’d finished eating. He was completely uninspired when I turned the hairdryer on him, so I turned up the heater and within half an hour Jed had reverted to balmy bliss. 

Today we found the perfect solution:-

This is what the dapper dog about town will be wearing this season.

When Jed was a puppy, Her Goatiness made this woolly waistcoat for him for duck-shooting season. It was so temperate in Auckland he never had occasion to wear it, but I think we will be seeing a lot more of this:-

Not many dogs can pull off this look.

Jed works it.

Tag Cloud