Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lochs, hills, hearts and apples

It’s been a funny kind of week, mostly because of the Festival. In many ways, I love the Festival. For the three weeks that the Fringe is on, Edinburgh has a completely different atmosphere. People come from all over the world. There are street performers everywhere (the oddest I’ve seen this year is the man on Princes St who stands on his head, hands-free, in a bucket. He doesn’t sway or anything. The bucket hides his face completely, which adds to the surreal nature of the feat.) I’ve been to various shows, all enjoyable, but I’m quite tired from going out in the evenings (last night I was at a show which didn’t start till half-past midnight). In a way I will be glad when it’s finished, although the streets will seem strangely empty and life will be a bit flat.

Look what I did on Wednesday! Don’t worry, it’s only henna…

I decided to do my own design – one of the vaguely Celtic-style heart shapes that come out of my hand when I’m doodling. No, it doesn’t mean anything in particular (a couple of people came up and asked while it was being applied – which was just slightly embarrassing as I was sitting there in my vest top with my unfortunate arms exposed. It took me a long time to find a flattering angle to take a photo). I think of it as a tree of life, but that sounds awfully pretentious and new-agey when you say it out loud!

Anyway I’m pleased with it, although it’s slightly ridiculous, as nobody is likely to see it – it’s on my shoulder so it will always be concealed by my clothes. I rolled up my T-shirt sleeve for this picture! But there’s something obscurely enjoyable about walking along the street thinking “You don’t know what I’ve got on my shoulder”. I guess that might be the attraction of having real tattoos – which is not something I’d ever do. Firstly I’m a big wuss about needles and blood, and secondly I can’t imagine ever being able to choose a design and be certain that you would like it forever. Mine will wear off in about two weeks.

Our trip to the Highlands went well. We travelled to Fort William on ordinary Scotrail trains, then to Mallaig on “The Jacobite” steam train. You can see some photos from the trip if you scroll down (the earlier ones chronologically are at the top. It seemed the easiest way to do it).

“Enough of this piffle about henna and steam trains,” I hear you say. “Have you been moving and eating properly?”

Oh, OK. Well, mostly. Exercise over the weekend mostly consisted of an impromptu walk up a big hill and then down again while we were trying to find the B&B, and then a gentle wander through Fort William and then Mallaig. But I have been back to the gym twice since then and – are you impressed? – have tackled the scary cross-trainer Nordic machine thingy.

In fact I only did this because the gym was very busy and there were no treadmills left for my first burst of cardio, so I did an interval programme on the bike instead. After doing my Nautilus, the prospect of more biking just seemed ineffably boring…

I can’t say I really found it easy. There’s still the same problem of maintaining a regular rhythm, although that became easier when the resistance level went up a bit. However, I did fifteen minutes – not very fast, but hey – and it definitely reaches parts other machines do not touch, such as the top parts of the back of my thighs. Weird feeling. My abs were also involved, possibly because I found it quite tricky to maintain a comfortable upright posture. But my back didn’t hurt afterwards.

Eating has been – well, not as good as last week, but it hasn’t been entirely my fault. The vegetarian options in Fort William and Mallaig are a little limited – baked potatoes are pretty much it. As we know, baked potatoes are not low-GI, although I had them with cottage cheese rather than nice melty cheddar.

I’ll admit culpability regarding the apple pie, the Mars bar and the jelly beans.

The Apple Challenge is going pretty well – I’ve had an apple every day since last Thursday, except for Saturday when I didn’t come across any (that was the day I had the apple pie. Does that count? No, I thought it didn’t.)


Zara said...

Yay for apples!

Hey, the henna looks so cool! And your own artwork, even?! I think you should go sleeveless and show it off. Your arm looks very nice!

Thanks for posting the beautiful photos and descriptions. A buffet for my eyes!

Sounds like you have found a nice balance between leisure and work. And by work, I mean diet and exercise, hehe.

Rosemary Grace said...

Nifty design, I made the mistake of getting a henna thingy on my stomach once, then I realized I couldn't get UP without wrecking it, and had to lie there until the paste was completely dry. The next year I went for the forearm, so my mother could freak out about it being visible at school. Muah hah hah.

You've got long hair, do you get chased by the hair wrap people as they calculate how much they could charge for hair as long as yours?

Appleblossombeck said...

So Scotland really is as beautiful as they say...that's good to know. Congratulations on eating yummy and nutritious apples! Do you weight-train at all? Keep up the great work!

K said...

Zara - that's my arm artfully held out from my body so it will look thinner. It's not at all a representative photo, alas. I was quite pleased with the photos of the trip :) so am glad you like them.

RG - I've never been chased by a hair-wrap person. But my sis and I used to do hair-wraps on each other when we were younger and it took a very, very long time. Hours. Probably a hairwrapper could do 3 normal heads in the time and earn more money that way. I once did all of my sister's very thick hair in tiny little pleats for a Halloween party. Her hair was bum-length at the time - just as well she only wanted the ends wrapped or we would have been there all night...

Appleblossombeck - you're the first LaMie to comment at my site! Cool. Nice to see you (you know what I mean) and thanks. Yes, I weight-train, and it's had a really noticeable effect on my legs and abs, but not my arms so far. But I'll keep trying, and maybe try some new things soon to see if they help.

BethK said...

Man, do I ever need to get myself to Scotland. I was planning to go to Worldcon in Glasgow, but then my sister had to go and get married and make me change all my plans. Soon, though. Lord, that's some gorgeous country you have there. Next year's going to be Seattle so that makes 2007. I should be in shape to make it over those hills by then... I hope!