Posts Tagged ‘cold’

Weather Update

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Word on the street is that it is cold – and I concur. Last week, it was with great pain and general disgruntlement that I put on my winter coat for the first time. I hate admitting that it is cold but chilly winds had made the temperature drop from a balmy 12 degrees to a knuckle-reddening 4. This morning on my run, I went past the SUPER ELECTRONIC signage outside Manchester University on which, through the wonders of technology, it announces the time, date and temperature in a rotating sequence. It was 1.8 degrees Celcius and my wet nose and numb hands believed this to be accurate. It was also the first morning where I almost lost my balance as I ran onto invisible ice. Damn invisible ice… It is very tricky to see. Probably because it is invisible to eyes that are watering due to cold winds blowing into them.

I am currently sitting on my own in my office space avoiding going home. It is raining outside and I don’t really wish to get wet. I have had an unusually productive day considering last week I spent 60 per cent of my time procrastinating and the other 40 per cent eating. Today I went for a run, had a meeting, did some work, payed bills, did some more work, and started writing a hopefully convincing description of why I should be allowed to study a masters degree next year. Does anyone enjoy writing about themselves? I certainly don’t, particularly when I need to explain why I have spent the last four years of my life avoiding responsibility and career paths. Being a travelling nomad sounds romantic and fun but it isn’t academically sound. No one really believes in the School of Life, except for perhaps myself and my dad.

I have no exciting adventures to write about this week as the weekend involved a lot of cooking and the painting of skirting boards at Sir Pubert’s ‘Renovator’s delight’ house. That was fun as it involved a visit to an even bigger B&Q and we went to the Tameside Environment Centre, a poetic name for the rubbish tip. Another highlight of Greater Manchester for me to tick off my list of ‘must visit’s.

Ok. Enough blabbering. It’s time to go home.

If I Ignore It…

Monday, December 9th, 2013

I don’t do sick. I will generally refuse to accept that something is wrong with me, ignore it and just continue with my usual routine in the hope that whatever is trying to bring me down will get the message and go away. Last Tuesday, after six hours of talking on the phone at work, it felt as if a very discontent cat was stuck inside my throat trying to claw its way out. I took some cold tablets and went to bed early, declaring it would be gone the following morning.

It didn’t go away and instead that cat insisted on turning into some sort of ‘cold’ thing that should have been and gone by now. Instead, yesterday (Sunday) morning I woke up with some slightly sticky eyes, a slightly unpleasant experience that has now progressed into GIANT RED PUFFBALLS EXPLODING WITH GREEN GOO. I am not looking my most attractive. In fact, I look hideous. So hideous that I am not going in to work today (something I never ever do) to avoid making all of my hot-desking colleagues look as gorgeous as me. The sharing of keyboards and blue-tooth headsets makes for easy disease spreading.

But really, who gets conjunctivitis as an adult? I have always considered it to be something kids get like chicken pox and nits. I remember getting conjunctivitis as a child and waking up unable to open my eyes. In those days I could call out to my mum who would save me from the eye-goo and let me watch videos instead of going to school. But now I am a grown woman and my mum is on the other side of the world. This morning when I woke up to discover that my eyelashes had sealed themselves together I had no one to call out to. It was just me and Google, working out whether or not I would survive or if I should amputate my eye balls. Plus, I have had to resort to writing a blog entry telling of my woes,  calling out to the internet for sympathy. The worst part is that conjunctivitis isn’t even serious and, according to Wikipedia, will just clear up on its own. No drugs or intensive physiotherapy required. In fact, all I have to do is stay away from other people so that they don’t catch my disease and they don’t have to deal with looking at my ugly face. If roles were reversed and I was reading these pathetic whines I would tell myself to man up! Snap out of it! And I will eventually, but until I cease looking like a distressed mole I might just make myself feel better with dark chocolate digestive biscuits.

Ice Water

Monday, December 17th, 2012

This morning while on my run I realised I never wrote about my morning-run experiences of last week when the temperatures dropped to below zero on some nights. Most mornings now when I get ready to head out, I check La Météo to see what the temperature is. If it is above six degrees I won’t bother with a jacket because after ten minutes of running I need to take it off. Anything below six and I will wear the jacket and anything below two requires extreme measures. I was hit with a bit of a conundrum last Thursday morning when I woke up to discover it was -2 degrees outside. What to wear?! Jacket and gloves are part of my usual kit but the day before I had found a head scarf I had been given as a complimentary gift for doing the 10km race last year. PERFECTO! I have since learnt that by covering your ears, you can keep in at least ten times as much body heat. I’m making these statistics up, but trust me – I was very pleased with my head scarf when I saw the ice floating on the canal.

It was so cool (both literally and Americanly.) I had already completed two kilometres when I started running along the eastern edge of the canal. I run past a movie cinema that looks on to the canal and there are always tourist boats in the water at that point. The canal water was beautifully still and then I noticed that along the edge of the canal and particularly in between the tourist boats, the canal water had frozen. It was very exciting times for this Australian who is learning so much about the physical properties of water, ice and snow.

I was able to survey the ice quite well for most of my run as I had to go reasonably slowly due to slippery conditions. There was a ROAD SAFETY ALERT out for all of the Parisians who freak out every time there is some sort of slightly-more-extreme-than-usual weather. My observations revealed to me that the canal had only frozen on one side – the eastern half. My little non-scientific brain attempted to work out why this was but failed. All I could boil it down to was water flow and the fact that there were boats. Not very technical so if anyone reading this can shed some light on this freezing phenomenon I would love to hear the REAL reason.

In a slight aside, there was snow in some areas outside of Paris and the television screens that usually tell you which line is down as you entered the metro had a huge warning for POTENTIAL SNOW that might affect the train lines. WARNING! WARNING! ALERT! ALERT! It’s worse than how nervous everyone in Perth gets every time there’s a sprinkle of rain – HAIL!

That was the coldest of my morning runs so far. I have now run in -2 and +38 degree temperatures. I’m not really sure which was worse… I wanted to die and regretted my decision more after the 38 degree run but running in the cold is rather painful too.

New Friends

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

It is a glorious morning in Paris today – crisp, cold and clear skies with the sun glistening off the frosty ground and trees. The birds are loving it, and I have just had some delightful visitors on my windowsill. I had to quickly close my window as one stuck his head inside but these little guys have been busy flittering about in the park and on my rather dead plants.

bird

Bonjour petit oiseau!

I hope they come and visit again soon.

 

I Come From the Land Down Under

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Greetings to one and all from the most isolated city on the earth. Or is it? Some people say there’s somewhere in Hawaii that beats us but I am willing to bet there is more to do in Hawaii than there is in Perth. Well, at least you won’t have to sell you left arm in order to do it.

Perth. I do love this city and every time I come home I realise how nice it is. But then I try and do something or buy something or eat something and I realise that something is fundamentally wrong. I have complained about the prices of food in Perth previously but I am going to do it again. IT IS RIDICULOUS. I can’t afford to live here. Ever. So it looks like France will have to accept me and let me stay in Paris forever. Good plan.

My time in Perth so far has involved various ‘catching up’s with friends and family, helping my Dad build a shed at the Wanneroo Museum, and digging holes in the backyard in order to find a leaking pipe. Even the unsuccessful hole digging has brought an element of happiness to my life. The shed installation involved me, a pair of electric shears and some corrugated iron which is the recipe for GOOD TIMES.

Shed at the Wanneroo Museum

Nice shed.

I do enjoy coming back to Perth and seeing what power tool my Dad give me to try out. We’re going to be making a printing press for me to take back to France as well, so who knows what electric saws/drills/sanders I’ll get to use. I should have been a boy.

I am also remembering how glorious the Australian landscape is with its wide open spaces and clean, clean air. I haven’t smelt the horrible stench of urine for over a week! BLISS!

Perth sky

Look at that blue.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings of last week, I dragged myself out of bed at 7am when the temperature was hovering around 10 degrees, put on my bathers, and went to the beach. Am I insane? Most probably. Did I feel good jumping into the ridiculously cold waters of the Indian Ocean the day after there was a shark sighting? Not particularly. Will I do it again this week? It is likely. The thing is, after you have gone through the pain of getting so cold that it hurts to walk and you finally go home and step into the warm shower, get dressed and have a cup of tea and some breakfast, and then life is good and you want to do it all again! It is a drug – a very healthy, sinus cleansing drug, and as long as my toes don’t fall off then I think I will continue to do it for as long as I can.

What a Champion!

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Sunday finally saw the arrival of the Paris Marathon – something my friend and running buddy, Becky had been wanting to get over and done with. I was also looking forward to the completion of it as it would mean less 30km runs on weekends.

The conditions for running 42km were less than perfect – a cold, overcast day with lots and lots of wind. Signs of spring were certainly about as pollen from the horse chestnut trees was flying through the air and getting up my nose and in my eyes. Not fun. Probably even less fun for the 40,000 runners who were killing themselves on the epic route through Paris.

I had planned on catching Becky as she passed through the Bastille but I mistimed my arrival and she had already sped past me. So, Tom and I caught the metro to the finish line where runners were already arriving having completed their race. Amazing! Becky had started further back in the pack and was therefore at a disadvantage and therefore still running. Definitely nothing to do with her abilities, speed or running finesse. Tom and I found ourselves a position with a good view of the approaching runners and waited…

Interesting fact: if you stare at a large number of runners approaching you, trying to spot a single tall, blonde female wearing a purple top, you will go cross eyed.

Just after the five-hour mark, there she was. And so we screamed! BBEEEEEECCCCKKKKYYYYY!!!!!!! GOOOOO BBEEEECCCKKKYYYYY!!!!

Paris marathon

I was too busy cheering to get a clear photo.

I don’t think I have yelled that loudly since my year 7 athletics carnival. She may not have come first, but Becky is a winner in my eyes. An absolutely amazing feat – I send my congratulations to everyone who ran in that race. It was insanely long and no human is really designed to run that far.

Another interesting fact: while waiting for Becky to arrive, we watched the security guards pull illegal runners out of the pack – people who had some how joined the race without paying to be in it. Most of them looked like they had only just joined as they weren’t red-faced like the REAL competitors. Clearly they just wanted the fame and glory of crossing the finishing line, and perhaps a free piece of fruit. I think these people should be FORCED to run the entire marathon as punishment because clearly they’re not good enough to enter it for real. That’ll teach ’em.

Freezing Cold

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

While it snows in Paris, I am supposed to be enjoying hot summer weather in Perth. For most of the past week this has been the case, with many trips to the beach in the mornings and a general feeling of sweatiness. However, on Friday I went with my parents to Greenbushes, a small tin mining town three hours south of Perth. The weather forecast for the day said we could expect cooler temperatures, however I was extremely surprised to discover it was 17 degrees when we arrived in Greenbushes. My choice of tshirt and skirt wasn’t the best for these chilly temperatures, particularly when the wind blew. Anyway, I probably gave the locals something to laugh about as the city girl shivered in her inappropriate outfit.

Greenbushes

The main street of Greenbushes was closed off for the event.

The reason for our trip to Greenbushes was to attend the opening of the Heritage Amble – a series of 77 signs located throughout the main part of town that highlight some of the key heritage sites. My Dad was the consultant on this project and I had played a small part in the development of the signs so it was great to see them finally in action.

Greenbushes heritage amble

Purple.

As always in a small country town, the community spirit was in full flight with lots of locals attending the opening ceremony to celebrate their new initiative. The local theatre group dressed up in ye olde costumes to add a bit of spark to the day and there was, of course, a morning tea provided for all attendees.

Greenbushes

Lovely ladies.

It is great to see the passion and enthusiasm that goes behind these sorts of projects. Lots of people spent hundreds of hours working to get these signs installed and the final result is fantastic.

Catching Up

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Gosh, how time flies when you have an approaching deadline. Four days have past since I last wrote which means I have lots of Fun Time Count Down events to tell you about. Let me see if I can remember…

Monday

Tom and I have decided that now we have been living together relatively successfully for almost a year it is time to take things further. We know it is a big step but we feel we are ready. It is time… to buy a Le Creuset pot. PLUS what better time of the year to do it than during the winter sales! For those of you who haven’t discovered of Le Creuset, step out of your restrictive shell and open your eyes to the world of cast iron cookware. They are beautiful, heavy as hell pots that will last you a life time, once you’ve made the investment. Being that they come from the land of the French, they are significantly cheaper in France. Plus with the current 20-30% discounts we’ve been seeing on them at shops throughout Paris, they’re even MORE of a bargain!

Anyway, on Monday Tom and I walked through Paris in search of a bargain pot but were slightly disappointed. Mostly because at one point we decided to go to Galleries Lafayette which is ALWAYS a mistake. I dislike that place with an ever growing passion. It is hot, it is stuffy, it is full of snooty Parisians and tourists. The staff are rude and I’m clearly not rich enough or touristy enough to be worth serving. Anyway, we didn’t end up buying one. But I have since found the exact pot that I want, in red, at a shop near my house. With 30% off the original price. Excellent.

All of this shopping had made me hungry so we had crêpes. I had my usual Nutella, while Tom went all out and ordered a cheese, ham and egg crêpe from the crêperie that claims to have the best crêpes in Paris. They are good, and they’re freaking huge. Tom spent the rest of the afternoon/evening walking around like a stuffed duck. Good times.

Crepe

It warmed my hands nicely, but then I ate it.

Tuesday

Tuesday wasn’t the greatest day as our friend and fellow Australian who is trying oh-so-hard to stay in Paris next year discovered that her application for a sponsored work visa had been rejected. There were tears, there were profanities directed towards Monsieur Sarkozy and his anti-immigration policies, and there were very early evening drinks at Pip’s bar. There’s still hope for Pip’s visa if she reapplies when she is in Australia (weird French policies about not being able to get a new working visa if she already has one… blah blah blah) but it’s ridiculous really. Anyway, I bought Pip a jasmine flavoured biscuit from a very unique patisserie Tom and I walked past.

Jasmine biscuit

A delicious heart for a broken heart

We also purchased a pistachio galette for ourselves as a “we have to make the most of being in Paris” treat. It did make things slightly better.

Pistachio galette

Mmm... so green.

Wednesday

I have been trying to do some writing and expand my range of writing styles and genres. I figure I should attempt some different forms other than first person narratives about Paris. So I spent the morning attempting to do this, failing mostly but at least I tried. In the afternoon we met some friends for afternoon tea at a café called Rose Bakery. It is very popular in Paris as a BoBo place to be and sells organic and home made food. I had a date slice which was delicious and a long black. The long black was served as an espresso with a jug of hot water. Strange. But it worked.

In the evening Tom and I went and cured my pizza craving at a restaurant on the other side of the canal. Maria Luisa is one of the few places in Paris where you can get a REAL pizza and their toppings are fresh and delicious. The restaurant itself is a bit pretentious, but of the three wait staff who served us, only one was grumpy. A miracle, really.

Pizza

Mmm... pizza... so big it is nearly falling off the table.

Thursday

Thursday was a busy day of washing, shopping and eating lunch with a friend from the Récollets. She is Romanian and made us romanian crêpes which were essentially the same as French crêpes only made by a Romanian. They were gooood. In the afternoon, I went for a walk to burn off my lunch, and attempted to get lost in Paris. Unfortunately I have tried to do this too many times now that I always know where I am. That’s a good thing probably. Anyway, I ended up at the WHSmith bookshop where I purchased three books for under 10 Euros. I was happy. They are all ‘classics’ as I am on a bit of a “I must read must-read books.” So I will soon be literary and knowledgable.

My walk home involved a sprinkling of rain, sunset (well, the sun was going away but it was cloudy so you couldn’t really see much) in the Tuilleries, a sparkling Louvre and turbulent and lively waters of the Seine. It was wonderful. But it also made me realise how much I don’t want to leave this place. But I’ll be back. Just you watch.

Louvre

Sparkly!

Weekend Fun Times

Monday, January 16th, 2012

I was thrilled to be living in Paris this weekend – we had amazing weather with very cold temperatures but crisp blue skies and the occasional puffy white cloud. I love this weather as everything glistens with the icy frosts and sparkling sunlight. So pretty.

After my run on Saturday morning, I decided I deserved to eat whatever I wanted that afternoon and so headed to my favourite cafe – Kooka Boora – for a coffee and a piece of cake. Somewhat unfortunately, over the past few weeks, the owners of Kooka Boora have decided to renovate and have installed new furniture. The comfy couches have been removed and replaced with pine box seats, lots of tables and little wooden stools. While it looks cool, it is now a very difficult space to navigate and everyone is sitting on top of each other. It is far less comfortable and is now clearly designed for people to come, eat and leave, rather than sit around reading a book for a few hours with a cup of coffee. Pity. It will still be good in summer when the outdoor tables are available but the new indoor layout isn’t really doing it for me.

Anyway, the guy taking orders was in a very generous and somewhat flirtatious mood and insisted on giving me a HUGE piece of blueberry cake. I can’t say it was an issue for me – their cakes are really very tasty. So this was my Fun Times Count Down item #6.1 as I had already been for a long run that day which counted as my fun item for Saturday.

Blueberry cake

That's a big slice.

Sunday was a quiet day for me but as I sat inside talking to my parents on Skype, I became increasingly aware of how great it looked outside. So after lunch I grabbed my book and went in search of a sunny seat in the park or along the canal, for my Fun Times Count Down Item #7. Unfortunately I forgot that while the sun might be shining, 5 degrees is still bloody cold, and no matter how sunny a spot I found, I couldn’t sit still for long as my bottom would freeze to the chair. So instead I took photos of the canal for you to see how pretty it was (although please excuse the poor quality of my phone camera) and then went shopping. I bought myself two books – one with sewing projects, the other about handmade products that have been designed by artists around the world. More inspiration.

Canal Saint Martin

So pretty.

Tom came and joined me and we went and had a cup of tea at a BoBo-tastic cafe/bar near the canal called Le Comptoir General. It is a big shed-like-space with lots of couches, tables, chairs and knickknacks lying around. It is very hippy-chic and the local BoBos love it. My cup of tea was over priced and that yucky green tea that tastes like seaweed. Tom’s hot chocolate was over priced and only half of his already small cup was filled. So we weren’t that impressed. While the space was interesting, I’m not sure I will rush back for more tea.

Comptoir General

BoBo-nified

Exercise Challenge is Fun!

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

As I have frequently mentioned, every morning I go running with my friend Becky, our running courses usually involving 6 to 8 kilometre circuits of the canal and local parks. Becky has signed up for the Paris half marathon AND the full marathon later in the year. I would have attempted the half marathon with her, however it is on the day that I return from Perth so I will be asleep and/or on a plane. Very annoying. Anyway, in order to help Becky train for the upcoming half-marathon and to burn off a few of those excess Christmas-calories, I suggested Becky and I attempt a longer run on the weekend in order to see how hard running longer distances really is. This was my Fun Times Count Down item #6.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning, Becky and I met at 10am and caught the metro to the Bois de Bologne – a wooded area just north of the Eiffel Tower that is notorious for being the place to find prostitutes at night time and if you want to be murdered and buried in a shallow grave, go here when it is dark. Fear not, it is perfectly safe and full of people exercising on Saturday mornings.

Becky had planned a route that would be approximately 20km long, winding through the woods, circling a hippodrome and doing a figure-eight around Lake Superior and Lake Inferior. Interesting fact – Lake Superior is SMALLER than Lake Inferior. How French. We set off well – the first 3km passing easily and then everything seemed to slow down. It took forever to reach 5km, and then 7km was even slower. It wasn’t physically straining, it was just taking forever. We played eye spy in French for a little while but it became far too easy as we both have a limited vocabulary and there wasn’t very much to spy in the woods anyway.

We eventually made it over the half way mark and up to 12km but then our team was struck by injuries – poor Becky was hit with a terrible cramp in her lower calf that just wouldn’t go away. We called for our medical staff but no one came – no good looks physiotherapists to massage away the pain. Becky struggled on for a few more kilometres but it soon became clear that running was not a good plan. We decided to stop and walk back to the metro, having run 15km. Not bad for a first effort. The walk back to the metro was another 3km so in total we did 18km. I was pleased with our efforts and we are planning for a second attempt at the 20km challenge next Saturday.

It was a particularly enjoyable activity to be doing on a cold Saturday morning – the temperatures have dropped over the last few days so it was really very cold and I should have worn my gloves. It was about three degrees as we were running and there was frost on the ground – the closest I have seen to snow this winter. While it was cold, the sun was shining and the sky was crystal clear – a crisp and sparkly morning. The cold weather made my room temperature tap water in my water bottle turn refreshingly cold. Instant refrigeration.

So a great start to the weekend – I hope next Saturday the weather is just as nice and we can make the full 20kms. It was a lot of fun and I am really enjoying the fact that I am physically able to make these longer distances. Having run 15kms I know I could have easily continued on to complete the full 20. Maybe the marathon isn’t such a crazy idea after all…