On Friday it was five years since I moved to Scotland. Half a decade?! I cannae believe it, hen.
I’m elligible for proper British citizenship now. That costs £655, so I ordered a heart rate monitor instead. You people were very persuasive! Thank you for your comments. As an celebratory experiment I will wear my HRM while eating a deep-fried pizza and see if it has any immediate effect on my ticker.
Yesterday I went walking with Gareth and our mate Steve in the Lomond Hills. We did a 14km loop, featuring steep bits, flat bits, sheep poo, snow, mud, heather and gravel. My dodgy knee hurt a little, no doubt since it had been so long since I’d been in the hills. There was one steep bit where I did my freak-out-and-freeze-with-fear thing, but I took a deep breath and maintained a neutral expression as I slid down the rocks on my arse. Couldn’t have Steve thinking I was a wuss!
Yesterday I learned that it sucks being the slowest person in a walking party. Steve is freakishly fit, compared to me anyway. After four hours we’d reached the final little hill. My face was red, my legs were lead; I was drooling. I slumped over my walking stick as Steve strolled casually, shoulders relaxed and hands in pockets. At least Gareth had the decency to look a bit sweaty!
Also, if you’re slowest – you never get a chance to catch your breath. The lads would stand at the top of each hill, politely admiring the scenery while they waited for me to haul myself up. Then once I’d caught them, they’d set off again! So I’d go too, thus never really getting a rest.
Overall it was a good walk with good company. I used to hate exercising with people – even a crowded Body Pump class felt solo, coz I’d zone out beneath my barbell. But these days, aside from weights at home, all my exercise is social. At kickboxing, you gotta look people in the eye before you whack ’em. Then there’s the lunchtime walks with my work pals. I seem to push myself harder than if I was alone, as I don’t want to look like a slacker or get left behind.
Ahh, humans. They’re like heart rate monitors on legs, really. I didn’t need to buy that contraption at all.
Anyway, Scotland. It’s a great place to be! I’ve moaned about the weather over the years but it’s really a pretty mild climate, if you can get past the rain and dark bits. I remember people warned me I’d "stack it on in Scotland" with all the lager and greasy stuff but in many ways it’s easier to be healthy over here. I’ve become more outdoorsy that I ever thought possible, and I put that down to knowing I won’t roast alive if I go outside. My epidermis favours the Northern Hemisphere. That said, I still miss alfalfa sprouts and cheap mangoes. Both countries have their pros and cons and both countries feel like home. Och aye, mate.
Finally, here’s some shaky footage of Gareth and Steve staggering around at the top of West Lomond yesterday. I’d never seen/heard wind like this before. Howling!