Wow! I’ve done it ….

I took up my own challenge and went PADDLE BOARDING! YAY!paddleboarding 1

Now, the nice German lady paddle-boarder I had spoken to (see blog post) said that it was best to learn on a lake.  So when I returned to the UK I searched the local lakes that do water sports for Paddle boarding – but, to my surprise,  none of those did it.  So I searched generally and found SUP Rental based in Cornwall near Cawsand.

paddleboarding 2I contacted them and Lucy (of SUP Rental ) said I could ‘choose’ my weather to pick a calm day with little wind and plenty of sun 🙂 As you can see the sea was pretty calm!

She also said early and late the wind tended to drop and would be less windy. Well, as you may know, I am not a lark – so it was the later spot for me. I watched the weather forecasts and found a slot that coincided with free time and good weather and booked. Lucy had a group just before but we set a time of quarter past six and I met her on the beach at Cawsand. (parking free from 4pm too 🙂  useful!) paddleboarding 3

After a check-list for safety, asking if I was confident in the water and a run through on land of the basic strokes, we waded into the sea – to just less than knee deep.

It was almost high tide, the waves lapping gently and the sun shining – perfect. I hopped up onto the board, on to both knees and central and began to paddle. Following Lucy’s instructions, we paddled out and along the coast, getting the feel of the board, after a while we turned back and it was time to try getting to my feet.

paddleboarding 4aAfter a few wobbles I was on my feet, planted wide, centrally, knees bent and the feeling that my toes were trying to dig themselves in.

Now the paddle strokes came into it play and we got a bit more momentum going.

That FALLING feeling.

A particularly deep sweep of the paddle knocked my balance, but I dropped to my knees and all was well: balance was restored. Once the wake from a motorboat had subsided I got speed up again and got back on my feet. paddleboarding 5

We paddled along the coast, quite a bit out from the cliff, and round to the end of the cove* (see photo below – *just beyond point on right) before turning and, having been taught a new variation on the paddle stroke, practising this as we worked our way out into the bay and back towards the beach.

Though an active sport, it isn’t (or needn’t) be exhausting and we could easily talk as we paddled.

Drawing close to the beach we dropped back down to our knees and paddling with the waves brought the nose of the paddleboard up onto the edge of the shingle and hopped off into the knee deep water again.

(photos of me taken by Lucy – click on to enlarge)

IT WAS BRILLIANT! And I didn’t even get wet so it didn’t matter that I didn’t have a wet suit!

Lucy had started me off on one of the larger boards for added stability. I’m booking another lesson to try out different size boards to see which one really suits me (The large one is very stable but a long way to reach across for the paddle stroke)

So that was my mini-adventure! What was even better was the next day I didn’t suffer from any aches or pains in arms or legs  even though I thought I might – perhaps because of the exercises I do to keep my muscles strong and therefore my weight down.

cawsand leaving
Leaving Cawsand (right) after paddle-boarding, the moon rising.

Now to keep up to date with their Supboarding magazine (online) and keep my eye out for equipment.

If you think you’d like to have a go, the online magazine also has a page that shows you where the closest place to paddle-board is.


Have you challenged yourself to do anything new lately?

How did you get on?

Do share. You know I love to hear from you!!


And this week’s excuse is …..

Ok, so the blog is late….    Radio St austell pic

Sorry… but… and here comes this week’s excuse ….

I blame it on YouTube!

You see I had a long interview with Marj James (poetry and literature) on Radio St Austell Bay – the radio station that has The Eden Project in it’s zone (you know, that wonderful place in Cornwall where I set my latest novel – The Angel Bug) and I wanted to share it all with you.

To share the interview it meant capturing from the ‘listen-again’ service and turning it into a youtube ‘video’ so I can put it on the blog.

(Makes me sounds all good and technical doesn’t it?  But I have to admit that I get one of my sons to do this as, it seems, I do not have the appropriate software to achieve this task 🙂 )

So, lovely son duly does this for me and I happily post it onto YouTube.

  !*YouTube alert – this contains COPYRIGHTED  material and will be blocked *!

Ooops! I had totally forgotten the pieces of music that I was asked to choose to go with my interview – of course they were copyrighted material!

Cue ‘excuse’ so this then meant a re-jig by (long-suffering) son to remove the offending material – who was offline when I found the problem.. and then was working  (I mean what is more important a PhD or re-jigging my interview 😉 ) .

So, all in all – here is my interview – minus these pieces of music. Daydream Believer by The Monkees, Tusk, by Fleetwood Mac (which got messed up anyway and ended up at the end instead of the middle of the programme) and Hi Ho Silver Lining, which was going to end the programme.

And now, for some weird reason of its own the ‘video’ will not ‘appear’ on my blog (as it usually does when I use the ‘share’ code.. oh no, this time I have to give you this link  below which will take you to YouTube and the ‘video’ – but don’t forget to click back to this blog when it’s done 🙂 .

Well, after that all I can say is that was another notch on my experience list – a really long interview (thanks to Marj James) and a ‘tussle’ with YouTube!

How do you get on with all the different types of social media and sharing options?

Do they cause you more stress or less?

Which ones do you like best – Facebook? YouTube? Pintrest?  Twitter? etc, or do you dislike them all ?

Do share your experiences – you know I love to hear from you 🙂


Who’d be a YoYo?

Apparently, millions of us!

The Men Who Made Us Thin  is the latest BBC documentary by Jacques Peretti – who did The Men Who Made Us Fat series. (Watch on YOUTUBE at the named link)

photo via creative commons by rjp zimpenfish
photo via creative commons by rjp zimpenfish

My brief summary, however, would go something like this:

The university of Minnesota’s research showed that the amount lost by dieting and kept off over 2 – 5 years averages 1kg (2.2lbs) with one to two-thirds actually putting more back on. This appalling failure-rate shocked even the researchers!

Peretti shows that the ‘average healthy weights’ were originally set in the 1940s by an insurance analyst  – not a medical one, and that this gave no lee-way for age or build – and ‘made’ lots of average weight people into ‘overweight’ – thus driving a route towards the emerging diet industry.

A GOOD TIP – avoid any diet that claims huge losses in a short time! It is a recipe for disaster and yoyo dieting – and is a sure sign of a fad diet.

Findings by Dr Hirsch, as long ago as fifty years, showed that ‘diets’, especially calorie restrictive diets, don’t work in the long term – a  fact has been totally ignored. So much so that the fact that ANY diet will work in the short term, meaning that people will lose weight – put it back on .. then return to the diet ‘solution’ again, is a business model that works.

Weight Watchers own figures say that 2 years after reaching goal weight only 20% are still there and after 5 years only 16%. I have a ‘blog friend’ who has lost weight this way and kept it off! So I suspect she took the sensible eating to heart and had enough will-power to be her own support group. I have other friends who have lost a LOT of weight with this, put it back on, lost a lot with it, put it back on … yoyoing.

The former Finance director of Weight Watchers admitted that the business model of a weight loss system that WORKED would be a failure – that Weight Watchers (and by implication all the other supported weight loss programmes) is one whereby people lose weight.. go on to regain over time … come back to lose etc (on the basis of ‘well, I lost weight with it before’)

The fact that almost all the major ‘diet’ companies are now owned and run by FOOD manufacturers speak volumes – for them it is win: win. They win when you eat, they win when you ‘diet’ using their systems and their specialist foods. It’s almost hilarious!

Peretti also looks at the Atkins diet.  I read all about this one.. and used it – modifying it a bit as I really did not think that his early weeks of NO vegetables was a good idea -ever. It worked, mainly because it was high protein and lower-carb than the conventional way of eating. However, it was not very sustainable, it meant eating in a totally different way to those around you. It was difficult and pricey to do for a whole family. The Dukan diet is very similar.

Much as nowadays, I really like the look of the Paleo diet … lots of aspects make sense. I can see how well this would work for single people, but for families.. hmm? Life doesn’t quite work like that.

What I do know – about both of these diets, is that the emphasis on LOWER CARBS is right, and the emphasis on avoiding insulin spikes is right. What seems to be missing is sustainability for everyday family life and everyday family shopping.

Here’s my plug – the book I am working on gives guidelines to help you eat a lower amount of carbohydrates and better fats and proteins to keep you feeling full and satisfied, without being prescriptive. It is designed by a busy family woman for real life, making it ultimately more sustainable and it doesn’t ban any one food completely. It is using these guidelines as an everyday, easy to follow, way of eating that can suit everyone in the family, that means this way of eating can be followed easily for life, whereas a ‘diet’ just can’t.

This works alongside the less-than-15-mins-a-day workout, which you do at home, to build lean muscle. Something about this combination seems to reset your body-weight distribution and loss patterns to those of your younger self.

What are your experiences of ‘diets’, good, bad or indifferent?

Have you ever found one that is easily sustainable in the long term?

Do share, you know I love to hear from you.


Planning for fun …

I know it is still 2013… but I have one of those big birthdays coming up next year and have started planning something fun for myself.  I’m not the only one, a relative of mine hits the same number in the same year and is planning a treat – a trip to the Isle of Man TT races. (He’s into motorbikes)

I’m thinking I’d like to learn something new, perhaps something a bit different for someone hitting 60. A good friend of mine took up belly-dancing on that big one… but I have been belly dancing for YEARS. The husband was given a ‘fly a plane’ trip for his 60th last year, Which he thoroughly enjoyed, and I even had a go on the short return trip. I considered whether this would suit me, or a balloon trip.  On reflection I decided that these would always be one-off events and would not expand my skills, and as you know, if I can learn something new – I am a happy bunny.

Ann Bodyboard
Ann with body-board

I had been thinking about surfing lessons. I had even gone so far as to say to the Husband that  I was thinking of doing this, even though I had a lesson many years ago .. organised by the WI. Sadly I did not achieve the stand. I got to the one knee, one foot stage more times than you could imagine, and tipped off at the stand each time. I persevered until I felt sick with exhaustion (and the tightness of the wetsuit across my throat – I can’t bear any clothing touching my throat) and the three hour lesson ended.

As you may know I LOVE body boarding (or boogie-boarding as it seems to be known in other parts of the world) and have just returned from a week in Brittany where I was out riding the waves every day, come sea-mist, hot sun or wind with drizzle. (Alternating it with writing the first 8,000 words of my next novel)  Once in the water the adrenalin takes over and I do not care what it is like as long as the waves are good. And I do this sans wetsuit – and seem to stay in the water longer than my wet-suited contemporaries – though I am often the only person not wearing a wetsuit AND body-boarding.

NOW, this is how things happen. I was just coming out of the sea for a break, to have a drink of water and replenish the sunscreen on my shoulders, when I passed a lady walking down to the sea with what appeared to be an over-sized surf-board and carrying a long thin paddle. Sitting on my towel, I proceeded to watch as she reached the water, walked in until about knee deep, hitched her board to her knee with a tether and hopped up onto the board – standing. Within seconds she was paddling the board out through the breakers, riding each one, seemingly, effortlessly. Once out past the main breakers she waited (along with the surfers – she standing, them lying) The next big wave came and with a sweep of the paddle she was ahead of it as it broke and she surfed that wave right into the beach, turning the board with a sweep or two of her paddle and was heading out again, over-taking the surfers that had caught the wave, and was soon back out with those who had not managed to catch the wave at all and were still waiting.

She caught more waves and surfed in more than the surfers – and that’s what it’s about folks, not the hanging around waiting for the wave – it’s the buzz of riding the wave, being driven along and getting the best from every wave.

I was so interested that I practiced a phrase or two in French as I returned to the sea, determined to ask about what I recognised a paddle-boarding ( though I had never actually seen anyone doing it) .  When we had both caught the same wave and were in the shallows together I waded over and asked her.

She wasn’t French. (I should have guessed this as, in my experience; French women in general do not seem to go in for water sports, like surfing or even body-boarding, much)  She was, in fact, German, and had excellent English. (Though not French – as she apologised in English saying Sorry, I do not speak French)

After a conversation, where it transpired she had tried to learn how to surf (from her surfing instructor husband) for two years without success and had found paddle-boarding much better, my thoughts now changed to paddle boarding. When she also explained her ‘board’ was actually inflatable (you could not tell from touching it!) and that it therefore could be easily transported – I was hooked – and regaled the Husband with my new choice when I got back from the beach.

paddle board woman don debold
Photo via Creative Commons attribution Don DeBold

If you’ve not come across paddle-boarding – here’s a picture of what it can look like – now that looks really sedate compared to the surfing type! A good way to learn!

Next morning, as it happens, the husband (who’d not even heard of paddle-boarding before I’d come home enthused) told me of the  news that a man had paddle-boarded from Cuba to the USA – a journey of 111 miles (179 km)!

Since I’ve been back in the UK I’ve been looking up places to learn, prices of boards and lessons and finding I can also call it SUP-boarding. (Stand Up Paddle)  Only problem is….. I do not want to wait until next year – you never know what next year may bring.  I think I may find somewhere to have a few lessons before next year.. and then if I like it, treat myself to a board when that big day comes.

Any one out there already paddle-board? Any tips?

What did you do for your last BIG birthday? Or are planning for your next?

Do you like the challenge of learning something new?

Do share, you know I love to hear from you!


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