Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: fitness

Dream a little dream…

A couple of years ago, I had a really strange experience. I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep. I thought I was still awake and I opened my eyes and was sure that there was someone in the room with me. I closed my eyes tight, absolutely terrified and felt someone sit on the bed and then I felt as if someone was sitting on me as I couldn’t breathe and I was completely unable to move or struggle. After what seemed like a couple of minutes, I eventually woke up and found that it had all been a rather hideous nightmare, and it took me a long while to recover.

This same dream has happened to me maybe half a dozen times since. Always the same feeling that someone is in the room, a feeling of terror and the same suffocating sensation and the worst is not being able to struggle. It happened again last night with one refinement, this time, I knew what was happening was a nightmare and I although I still tried to fight the person off, it was more a case of trying to wake myself up as this time, I knew subconsciously, what was happening to me.

I was listening to the radio a while ago, and they were talking about why people think they have been abducted by aliens. One of the doctor/scientists on the programme said that one explanation was ‘Sleep Paralysis’ and went on to describe exactly what I have described to you above. I have since read a lot about about it and it is a very well documented phenomenon – try googling it, there are lots of references to it. Not everyone experiences the hallucinations which accompany the paralysis but it is felt that it may be a possible explanation for people thinking they have been visited by witches, ghosts and aliens and such like.

One of the many web sites that explains this experience is run by the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada and it has links to lots of other ones. The painting at the top of the page is by the Swiss artist, Henry Fuseli and is called ‘The NIghtmare’. It has been suggested that he may be depicting a sleep paralysis episode. In mythology, the Hag is a well known figure of a wizened old crone who is supposed to visit during sleep, sit on your chest and send you nightmares. So if I look a little ‘hagridden’ today, you will excuse me I’m sure! And it is Friday the 13th today…

Anyway, back to business. A couple of weeks ago, I got chatting to an old lady at the market stall when I was buying those plasticized fabrics. She asked me if I would have a go at restoring her favourite poetry book which she loved and used a lot, but which had fallen to bits after her dog had a go at chewing it (obviously not a poetry fan then).

As you can see it was in a bit of a state, I was going to make a new case for it but she said she liked the original cover (teeth marks and all) so as I’m not really a book restorer I did the best I could with what I had, I hope she likes it. She won’t know of course that the first time I did it, I opened the book up and realized I had stuck the text block in UPSIDE DOWN. One of the advantages of making blank books is that this doesn’t normally matter. In this case, it mattered a lot, so I had to rip it apart and start again…

This has all been a bit serious hasn’t it? I’d better leave you with a bit of silliness to lighten the mood or you might not come back :-)

And to keep you up to date on the progress of my diet….

Please look away if you are of a nervous disposition….

I am not one of life’s natural green fingered, gardening types. Don’t get me wrong, I like having a nice garden, I just don’t particularly enjoy the process of getting it nice. I have a chap who is supposed to be my gardener but he is so busy at this time of year, the most he manages is keeping the lawn under control. Last year, I planted some Irises and some Arum Lilies on my river bank and the gardener strimmed them to death before I had time to mention I had planted them. Recently, I ventured out and planted some lily of the valley plants under my lime tree. Unfortunately, they went the same way as the lilies and irises….

The gardener also doesn’t plant out the pots and planters in the garden so once a year, I deck myself in old clothes and gardening gloves and spend a day planting marguerites, geraniums and lavender and getting very grubby. Have I mentioned I hate having dirty finger nails…

When I had finally finished, I had a shower and noticed that my knee was a bit itchy. This morning, I awoke and my knee was VERY itchy. Look away at this point if you are of a nervous disposition….

I have a huge blistery bite thingy on my knee which has been driving me insane with itchiness all day. I knew I wasn’t cut out for gardening…. A friend said it was probably a spider which had laid eggs under the skin and as we speak, hundreds of little spiderettes are hatching and growing….I think he knows I am a hypochondriac and was just teasing – wasn’t he?

I watched the Stella Artois tennis championships on TV this afternoon. ( to try and take my mind off the itching). Rafael Nadal was playing and he beat Jonas Bjorkman 6-2, 6-2 . He seems to have recovered after beating Roger Federer in the final of the French Open, and to have adapted to playing on grass (after the clay at Roland Garros), with no difficulty at all.

During a break in play they showed this little clip of Rafael Nadal exercising on court before the match. Watch it and weep…

This guy has muscles in places I don’t even have places!

You will have noticed that yet again, I have done no bookbinding. Well, the sun was shining, the tennis was on, I had a poorly knee….oh dear, and it can only get worse as the summer progresses…

This word is turning into a bit of a buzz word over here, isn’t it? Still, two posts in two days can’t be bad….

Lots of stuff (or I’ve run out of titles…)

I was driving into Dorchester yesterday to the hairdressers (no major disasters there, hair same but shorter, hairdresser fully mobile again!) when I passed through an area called Poundbury. This is a ‘model village’ (read ‘housing estate’) which is being built on the outskirts of Dorchester by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

It is a very contentious development as opinions are divided about the architectural merit (or otherwise) of the houses being built there, the density of the development and its eventual size. This quote is from a local web site and reflects some of the ‘anti’ feeling about Poundbury (the full letter can be read here, it’s hilarious!)

“In my understanding, be it correct or otherwise, the Poundbury development was intended to reflect the architecture and community of a traditional West Dorset country village. This, I assume, is the brief that the designers, architects and developers are working by. It is possible that I am not the only person who is struggling with that concept, considering that the Poundbury development is quite possibly the diametric opposite of that brief, in every perceivable way.

I am no designer, nor an architect or a developer, but it doesn’t take an expert in this field to reach the conclusion that the surreal, and quite frankly “fake” Poundbury development appears to be taking heavy inspiration from the following:

– Kensington & Chelsea
– Walt Disney
– Regents Park Residencies
– 18th Century Normandy
– Southern European/Spanish
– Rural Germany/Austria
– Peckham
– Far-Reaching corners of the Milky Way.”

Personally, I think it’s dreadful and I could fill a whole post with my objections (hmm, now that’s an idea for a dull day) but one good thing that comes from all the digging and excavations that are going on are the poppies which spring up along the roadside. I was driving past and screeched to a halt to take some photographs of them. You can see some of Poundbury in the background.

I don’t mention Dorchester much but I went into town the other day and walked through the Borough Gardens and spotted the clock and the bandstand which have just been freshly painted and look really good.

All the bandstand needs is the Wessex Military Band which plays in Bucky Doo Square in Bridport on Saturday market days. They look amazing in their scarlet uniforms. I managed to get a shot of them last Saturday.

It makes a change to be showing you shots of the towns instead of the coast – I thought you might be getting a bit bored with those. I had a lovely surprise yesterday. My book swap book arrived. It was sent to me by Crazy Daisy Girl (alias Diana Waite) all the way from Utah. It’s a gorgeous little book and to tell me something about the town she lives in, she made the cover from a flour sack from a local flour mill, the pages are red to represent the red rocks which are from the area. Here are some photographs of it.

My album is coming along. I have finished sewing the pages together and have started to make the cover. It has been a nightmare! I am using thicker than usual board as the it needed to be sturdier due to the size of the album, so I had to take it to the gallery I used to work at where they have a huge guillotine which made short work of cutting the board to size. Of course I always have problems with glue and manoeuvering large sheets of gluey paper is just so difficult. I originally intended to have leather corners on the album but to be quite honest it would have made it even more difficult to position the marbled paper so I chickened out… Anyway, progress so far…

So far, so good, so stressful….now I need a lie down :-)

Instead, I am going to go and play with my Wii fit. I am trying to lose weight as you know and this is such a fun way of exercising. I love the step class and the hula hoop and the jogging and the downhill skiing slalom and the yoga….brilliant fun. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, check this out.

I have to close the blinds in case the neighbours think I have gone insane….next thing I’ll be moving to Poundbury :-)

Keep off the grass

This is another of those plastic coated cotton fabrics. It’s really fun and waterproof and wipeable. Which I found to be quite useful when I spilled a glass of juice over my work area. Oops.

It’s all very odd. I was checking my stats and for the last couple of days I have had a huge spike in page views. Everyone seems to be reading a post I wrote in September last year called ‘Back to the Drawing Board‘ – 1107 page views yesterday. It was all about an album I made for my (then) boyfriend’s son and was also the post where I first tried out the woven binding – which I repeated using foam a few days ago. Very odd indeed! Today, there is another spike, this time for another post in September called ‘Double the Fun‘. I don’t quite know why these old posts are suddenly so popular but I’m not complaining!

I’m going to a dinner thing tonight. As usual, I have been trying every item of clothing on in my wardrobe looking for something suitable to wear. It’s black tie so I need something dressy. My only problem is that I have put some weight on since Christmas, which I have been trying half heartedly to lose. When you have no will power, it’s hard, believe me. I think I have found the solution though….

Now that’s my kind of diet. Maybe I should exercise more but then there’s always the danger of this…..

….instead of this.

Now that’s what I call exercising to music. Very cool tune isn’t it? Well, these guys think so…..

I could have danced all night….


Last night I fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition. I drove up to London to see Sylvie Guillem, the French ballet dancer perform. She appeared with the dancer Russell Maliphant in a fairly short program of dances choreographed by Russell Maliphant. It was nothing short of stupendous. I was completely spellbound. Sylvie Guillem is simply the most elegant, graceful dancer I have ever seen, she moves effortlessly, fluidly with perfect balance and astonishing agility.

She started out to be a gymnast and switched to ballet at the age of 11. By the time she was 19 she had been chosen by Rudolf Nureyev to be the youngest ever principal dancer at the Paris Opera Ballet. By the time she was 24, she had caused outrage in France by moving to London and joining the Royal Ballet. Now aged 42, she is still dancing wonderfully, she is still incredibly flexible and gracefully athletic and able to perform her trademark ‘6 o’clock leg extension’ with ease.

sylvie guillem

She has become a champion of contemporary dance and has performed with Russell Maliphant on many occasions. Here is a clip of her dancing from a piece called ‘Broken Fall’ – I can’t embed this video so please click on this link here and watch this. It’s magical.

Next, this is one of the pieces she danced last night. It’s called ‘Two’ (not sure why……) It’s starts out very quietly, the fabulous music by Andy Cowton, slowly builds up to a crescendo and the dance develops into a whirling motion of effortless grace. The wonderful lighting (by Michael Hulls) highlighted her hands and feet which appeared at times as white blurs, while the light shining on her from above shows every muscle in her body.

I am so in awe of her talent. I have never wanted to be able to dance so much as I did last night.