Friday was tough. That’s the way funerals are supposed to be I guess. We talk about celebrating a life and when it comes down to it, saying goodbye hurts. Badly.

I wrote a tribute to Dad and with gentle encouragement I decided to read it out to the 140 people who turned out to say goodbye with us. Toughest. Gig. Ever. I was fortunate. John Williams, the man who conducted the formalities, was my first reserve. It helps to know someone’s got your back in a tight corner.

Keira wrote a lovely note to her Grandpa and read it out to everyone. I think it’s a shame more kids don’t go to funerals, they are an important moment and as John Williams said to us, ‘do whatever you feel you want, and be mindful you can’t come back and try again next week’. Kids rock – well done Keira.

Keira's Letter to Grandpa

Writing about Dad dying has been very helpful for me. I wouldn’t say it’s eased any sadness, rather it’s given it some direction. And a good friend suggested to me that continuing to write letters to the dead can be a useful way of moving on. We’ll see.

Thanks everyone for being so respectful and supportive, and goodbye Dad.


Take it outside

Hi – how are you? Did you have a good Christmas, a happy new year? I hope so. I’ve not been around to ask you these questions because of my determination to take a proper break from work. I haven’t written for well over two weeks and though putting the tools down felt odd at first, I soon relaxed into things. Until my Dad bought me a DeWalt drill for Christmas and that led me to toolish adventures of different kinds. More of that another day. Perhaps.

I went for a run with Carole on Friday morning. She runs often and I’ve not done so since leaving school. When I was at school I was one of the saddos who volunteered to do cross country running. Yep – I did it by choice, I enjoyed the grinding muddy trudgery enormously.

Why did I agree to this run on Friday? Well I’ve learned not to say no to Carole 😉 and I thought doing something out of the ordinary would help me get my getting ready for work head on. And those of you who’ve been around here a while will know I’ve done some fairly serious cycling before now. Riding up huge French mountains, 100 mile time trials, that kind of thing. After a couple of nasty moments on my bike a couple of years ago I’ve fallen out of love with cycling somewhat. I’d like to get back, so this short run is the beginning of a return to some fitness. I’ll set me a few small goals and let’s see how I get on – more of that down the road.

What struck me most about this short run was the simple beauty of being outside. OK my shortness of breath bothered me too sometimes, but simply being outdoors is fabulous. The picture above is taken at my outdoor gym. I confess I joined a regular gym once. I hated it. Smelly, impersonal, stuffed with toned and buffed showoffs – I’m never going back.

Did you make any new year resolutions? I hope not – new year resolutions suck. And if you are thinking that a healthy body makes a great double act with a healthy mind then I wish you well. And please – take it outside. Gyms suck your enjoyment and your soul and dump them somewhere unspeakably damp, smelly and horrible.

How did I get on yesterday? Well I made it all the way (3.6 kilometres) without stopping, Carole tells me I did pretty good and that will do for me. Thanks for the encouragement Carole. Hello fitness, I can see you way off there in the distance and I’m coming to get you.

Update: Hat tip to Mervyn Dinnen for pointing out this article in the Telegraph about gym rage.

Update: Hat tip to Jorgen Sundberg from Link Humans for pointing out this article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a backhanded list of reasons to help get the best out of the gym, I like these two observations:

“Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you’re basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.

If you’re at the point where you’ve bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It’s way more fun and it doesn’t make you listen to C+C Music Factory.”