To Fetch A Pail of Water

I did two scary things this weekend!

1. Held A Tiny Baby
When I wasn't scoffing hot cross buns on Good Friday baby and meI got to cuddle my friends brand new bairn. I am rubbish with babies; I'm terrified of breaking them. But this little fella was gorgeous, and it warmed my crusty heart to see the parents so completely besotted by their new creation. I also felt an attack of the warm fuzzies to see Gareth holding him baby and Dr G somewhat nervously but overall my overwhelming feeling was, "Lovely, but not for me." Not for now, anyway.

All of a sudden I have reached an age where people ask about my breeding intentions. Wasn't it only yesterday they were asking what I want to do when I finish high school? I haven't even figured that one out yet!

Just the other night I was out with friends and one of them said, "So when's the baby due?". I got all huffy, "Are you saying I look lardy? I have been BUSTING MY ARSE at the gym!". But he said no, it was because I looked happy and I'd only been drinking pints of water all night. Ahh, nice logic.

Anyway. Babies. It would be great if we could have a wee family in a few years, but right now I'm not interested. I have only just started to look after myself properly, let alone a screaming child. I spent so many years all surly and depressed, merely enduring life and just dragging my lardy arse through the days. But now that I'm finally fully present and participating, I'd like to enjoy my delayed youth for a bit longer.

2. Climbed Up A Big Hill
Gareth is mad into hillwalking at the moment. His fitness level makes me spew with jealousy – not only does he cycle a casual 80+ miles per week, he also wanders in the hills for hours on end.

Anyway, the other day he was heading out to Dumyat, a small hill of 418 metres (1,373 ft), and asked did I want to tag along. He assured me it was a quick and easy walk, popular with old grannies and small children.

"And you could add hillwalking to your New Activities list!" he said.

I was not sold. It wouldn't really count as I used to walk up Mount Ainslie back in Canberra. Not as high but felt bloody grueling back in 2002. People run up that hill in 10 minutes, but it used take me nearly an hour!

But then he told me he'd packed sandwiches and a thermos of tea, so my stomach led the way.

There is a very straightforward, gradual path to the top but of course Gareth likes to be different and took us on a much steeper cross-country route.

I have to admit I got shitscared. And really puffed. And cranky, because Gareth was barely breaking a sweat.

Why do hills have to be so… hilly? I don't trust my balance. I seem to believe that my body will somehow defy gravity and I'll fall off the hill and break all my bones.

My first worry is the ol' knee. Not the pain, but the fear of pain. Almost two years since I first hurt it, I am terrified of hurting it again. So I am really awkward and tentative on my feet.

The second problem is my former belly. For many years I couldn't see my feet because of my huge stomach, and I was always worried I'd lose my balance and fall down stairs/escalators/ravines etc. And even though the stomach isn't there anymore, I'm still nervous in descent mode. It's irrational and highly annoying. So I couldn't let myself enjoy the climb because I was too busy worrying about how I'd get back down again.

My tactic was to haul myself up the hill like a demented gorilla. Back hunched over, arms outstretched, fingertips grazing the ground, ready to catch myself if I started to fall. Not the most efficient technique, I tells ya.

But the view form the top was Image053amazing. Bloody windy Image056though. Our tracky-dacks billowed in the breeze in a satisfying MC Hammer style.

The world was beautifully silent and peaceful, far away from our neighbours and their squeaky tumble dryer, far away from work worries. I could finally understand why Gareth enjoys it so much. It puts the world into perspective. Plus if you've been puffing uphill for an hour you can totally justify a big sandwich.

Our descent was painfully slow and took even longer than the climb, no thanks to my Baby Learning How To Walk technique. Tiny, lurching steps with arms waving in the air and lots of screaming. But it was satisfying in the end, looking back at how far we'd shuffled.

My muscles were deliciously hurty the next day, but my knee felt fine and I was feeling rather smug about the whole thing. I realised again that my fitness level is quite good these days, it's just my silly fears that keep slowing me down. So I will keep working on that.

Of course Gareth had to go out-smug me yesterday by climbing another hill with his mate while I was still whimpering about my tired legs. It was four times higher and involved rocks and extreme steepness and scrambling on hands and knees. But I guess one man's Everest is another man's stroll in the park, so I will stop comparing our feats all the time. The sporty git.

36 thoughts on “To Fetch A Pail of Water

  1. Ah, yes. Why do hills have to be so hilly? I’ve spent far too much time this morning trying to find a long run route with reasonably flat terrain. And it’s impossible. I will have to deal with hills on a long route, no matter what.

    Unless I move to Kansas.

  2. I’m a bit of a fan of hiking though I don’t seem to do it as much these days as I used to. However I always find it much much harder going downhill than up. It’s not quite as puffy but it’s murder on the knees and I have a dodgy ankle so tend to take it really slowly, worrying that I’m going to turn my ankle and end up having to crawl or be carried the rest of the way.

    Sometimes the only way I can get down though is to say ‘what the hell’ and to run down at full speed! Highly recommended (on a short, safe stretch!)

  3. arghh I hate coming back down again!!! I get that awful churny feeling in my tummy and think I’m about to fall off the world hehe. Great pics btw shauna, you’re looking fantastic xox

  4. We do rather a lot of hiking. Even though I do NOT do real climbing which includes hands and knees. Ordinary upwards and downwards. I too have ha bad knee. My doctor said it is OK to go up and down hills, only going down I’m not allowed to carry any packing. So I’m SO sad that my guy has to carry everything when we are hiking πŸ™‚

  5. Spent the weekend walking in the Peak District (and justified the gooey chocolate pudding i had Saturday night). I HATE the downhills — always convinced I’m going to pitch forward. Hate it when we get to the top and everyone always says, “It’s all downhill from here” — ha ha. I’d rather climb up and up and up than go down… but am slowly, slowly learning… Where on earth do I get this insane fear of falling from when there are four-year-olds and old grannies tearing down the hill at four times my speed…

  6. beth, YES!!! the downhill is so much worse!

    i do like the sound of that pud, though.

    and emma, that is cool πŸ™‚ gareth carried all the gear the other day too, methinks i will have to tell him that it’s probably best he continues his sherpa duties. hehe.

  7. Hey Shauna! First of all, let me congratulate you, you look bloody fantastic! (even with the baby, that was totally cute) I so understand you when you say you love babies but they’re just not something you’d consider right now… I feel the same, but it seems passing a certain age, everybody expects you to have a precise baby-plan and i just don’t. I know one day i’d love to have one but just not now, unlike you, i still can’t really take of myself properly πŸ˜€ Ah well the Hills, tricky stuff! I’m constantly looking for reasonably flat routes when i’m on my bicycle but the problem is there are none, or maybe i should move to Holland cause there everythings nice and flat!

  8. Have you considered a walking stick? Just til you are more confident with your sense of balance? It might give you the little extra you need to actually enjoying the view _during_ the hike, and not just at the top!

  9. WOOOO HOOOO on climbing the hill, ain’t it the greatest feeling to be able to do something that just a short time ago would have been IMPOSSIBLE!!! I have those moments all the time too, JUST LOVE EM! Babies, yep, really cute, but don’t stay that way long… highly recommend only having them once you’ve had a life! I have 8, don’t recommend that many either!

  10. Oh my, that hill looks steep! Since Gareth’s such a mensch, I don’t see why he can’t pull you behind in a cart.

    Speaking of Gareth, I must say he looked quite natural holding that little person…!

  11. Brilliant! So, are you adding this to your New Activities list, or what? Wouldn’t that make it 2 for 2? The other one was kick-boxing, right? Sounds like a grueling hike. Uneven terrain makes such a difference — my guy and I were at the beach this weekend and it involved a decidedly strenuous hike back up the hill to the car afterwards on a hill of dry, shifting sand, barefoot. It wasn’t even that much distance, but my calves and quads were burning at the end!

  12. Climbing hills is great, there’s such a sense of accomplishment at the top, and it’s so nice to do something fitness-wise that isn’t in the gym. Plus, the snacks are great. You should try an all day walk sometime, it’s all about the snacks really :-).

    … and may I just say how slim and FIT you are looking?! You look so healthy. I’m not suprised, just impressed.

    Also, that hill sounded much harder than Mt Ainslie, so I reckon it should totally count as a new activity.

  13. I have to concur with Kezza about how super healthy and hot you are looking in all those photos. Like a glowy fitness freak woman who goes running and stuff just cos she wants to rather than needs to! I am also impressed rather than surprised. Go you!

    “He also wanders in the hills for hours on end.” gave me images of Val Doonican (Some old timer recording artist that my nanna liked who sang Danny Boy and stuff like that. In the hills). Or Kate Bush, failing that.

    Love it.

  14. Be careful! I actually got pregnant after watching Evan hold a baby. I’m not kidding. Something hormonal happened and my eggs started racing around like girls chasing a bouquet at a wedding reception.

  15. Shauna you look absolutely FANTASTIC!! So much more toned than your previous photos. (The baby was gorgeous too)


  16. Gotta agree on the baby thing – I love them to bits, love to hold them and get all mooshy… but I’m so-o-o happy to give them back. Oh, except that MY reasons are a little different – I’ve done my time. Three times already!

    You look G.R.E.A.T. by the way.

  17. I remember how shocked I was when I realized I could go up and down stairs with “no hands” on the rail. . .and you are right – down is much scarier than up.

  18. WAIT for babies – They are great, I have 2, but I am SO glad I didn’t cave to the masses and have them before I was ready (mid/late 30s). I too needed to enjoy some me time first!

    And the HILLs? You’ve made me want to go find one to climb… Excellent exercise!! Add it to your list!!

  19. I agree that going downhill is so much harder on the limbs than going up. It’s all about muscle control.

    And may I say, that I am totally jealous of how toned your arms looked. I covet all that muscle.

  20. i dunno about toned arms, mbbored, et al!!! i was probably flexing from the tension of holding a baby! eeeeeeeek. i was too nervous to even eat any hot cross buns. for ten whole minutes! πŸ˜›

    but thanks, am feeling much healthier and fitter these days.

    as for the hills, i would love to add it to the list but it would be cheatin’ due to the Mt Ainslie walks back in Oz. back to the drawing board! hehehe

    momo – your val doonican/kate bush comment is a classic image πŸ™‚

    chris – 8 kids! WHOA i am in awe πŸ™‚

    ellen – i have heeded your warning mate!

    and babs! YES! i am thinking of getting a stick. i don’t care if i look like an old lady, they really look like the business! and once i get my balance sorted i could just use it to poke people.

    cheers for all the comments comrades. now i must away back to work. bah humbug.

  21. You. Are. Courageous. πŸ˜€ Babies ARE terrifying. IΒ΄m just getting a bit better with them myself. And planning to MAYBE adopt one day. Strongest maybe ever. Perhaps an older child πŸ˜‰ IF I ever qualify.


  22. DG, I too think you are looking fantastic!!

    Go the hillwalking πŸ™‚ I share your woe at a fit husband though… We go cycling together and I’m often near dying of a heart attack saying “please, even just pretend that you are a little puffed….”

  23. I quite like how babies smell. Like, when they are not smelling minging. But feel no need to have one at all. Odd. I don’t think there is a maternal bone in my body…
    Anyway, hill-climbing: ask Dr G if there is much chance of you perhaps going out and up a hill in winter, if the answer is ‘yes’ then sod even the stick, time for a mighty ice axe. Carried by hardcore climbers as a sort of walking-stick – you’d have to get used to it by using it in the summer. So safety in a more ‘bearded’ way. Why have a stick when you have have an axe?

  24. Thanks for sharing the pics! Lovely scenery over there and way to go on the hill climbing. In an exercise we do together, my hubby if faster, better, fitter. Well, he is doing triathalons so will never compete with that but oh well so can relate.
    I always felt a little strange holding babies and worried if I was holding them right but when I had my own you learn quickly and then it seems second nature.

  25. Hey! I know allll about having/not wanting/wanting babies thing! I”m 28, by this age my mom had her fourth, the oldest was 8 and I was 5 years old already.

    But – take your time. I prefer people to have their babies later in life, than to make a mistake by bringing them in too early and not being ready for them.

    You’ll know when it’s time. My time was my first Christmas with hubby and seeing him with his niece/nephew. And… waiting a bit longer, when I saw him with my friend’s baby. I know our children will have a really fun childhood.

    And I get to play the role of the mean mommy as disciplinarian πŸ˜› Can’t wait!

    You look fab by the way!

  26. I’ve been reading your blog for close to a year now, and for some odd reason, today, just wanted so say:
    “I’m very fond of you, although we don’t know each other”
    “If you ever come to New York, you will have a friend, activity buddy, and licensed tour guide at your disposal”

  27. I concur, you look totally freaking awesome lady! Teeny-tiny and delicate holding the wee bairn.

  28. Babies are Very Good, by the way. Yum.

    Love the descriptions, as usual. I agree about going down hills – I always seem to suffer from knee wobble.

  29. I got pregnant 14 days after holding a newborn baby. To be fair, it was planned, but be careful! Nothing on this earth can prepare you for the sheer hard work of being a parent, so do all your fun stuff first – life with a baby IS fun, but in a different way. Not sure I’d include hill-walking as fun mind……… xxr

  30. I am near VOMITING from laughter at Charlie’s 20006 summary of the telly.

    I cannot – CANNNNNOT – wait to watch such shit on my return!

  31. I’ve never wanted kids – thank goodness. I know too many people who’ve had a massive ‘maternal urge’, had a baby and then reverted back to their normal selves, thinking ‘why did I do this??’
    Babies aren’t for everyone and I’m happy with my life as it is. So take your time and don’t just have them because it’s the usual thing to do!

  32. I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while and you’ve become a great source of inspiration.

    I wanted to ask you something: In the entry, you wrote “I spent so many years all surly and depressed, merely enduring life and just dragging my lardy arse through the days. But now that I’m finally fully present and participating, I’d like to enjoy my delayed youth for a bit longer.”

    Is it possible for you to point to a specific time period in which you made that transition from the former to the latter? Was it a conscious goal or did you just wake up one day and realize that you’re confident enough to live life?

  33. Hi Anon!

    It wans’t a conscious goal so much as a slow realisation. I began to feel differently quite early in the lard-busting process, after a few months of exercising and looking after my eating a bit more. Up until that point I saw my whole life through my fat goggles. My fat affected everything i did, or rather what i didn’t do.

    But slowly i appreciated there was more to me and to life than what i weighed, and i didn’t have to hold back and ‘wait to be skinny’ to start enjoying life. From then on it became a conscious decision to try to get out there and try new things and get on with it πŸ™‚

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