Friday, January 25, 2013

Running, Sundogs, Big P and Little P.

It’s been 300 days now since I arrived in Winnipeg and apart from a jolly every now and then down to the states and across the country I have spent most of my time in this little city. Although there is a fair bit of stuff to do to keep amused I must admit to having a lot of spare time to play with – as I’m not allowed to work. Sometimes people ask me what I do with all my spare time – well I suppose it’s about time I let you in on what keeps me amused while I am at home all by myself during the day!!

Most of you will know that I have been out a lot running. I go out nearly every day to keep my fitness up and enjoy the cool weather outside. Sometimes its that cold my eyelashes and nose moisture freeze  - but thats part of the fun. Today was beautiful - with a clear sky and warming sun, creating 'sundogs' - a rainbow like circle around the sun itself.

I have given myself a target this year of trying to average two miles a day for the duration of the year. That adds up to 730 miles before the end of 2013. Now, I thought that this would be a pretty achievable target, but have been surprised at just how quickly the miles build up. I have in fact already completed 110 miles since the start of January – in just 25 days. That’s averaging just over 4 miles a day. But I know that when I travel again and get busier in the summer months, there will be less time to waste running outside – so for now I will leave the target as it is and maybe increase it later in the year when I see how I am doing.
Frozen eyelashes at minus 40

A sundog!

Beautiful day

Spikey shoe non slip goodness!

Aint it lovely!!

Its that way!

Running on a warm day

What else keeps a jobless retired squaddie amused then? Well I must admit to having watched nearly every single episode of Mythbusters. I could sit for hours and watch, Tori, Grant, Jamie, Adam and especially Kari, build rockets, cannons, remote control cars and blow things up. Luckily there are over 200 hour long episodes so that has kept me amused for days at a time!!

So that’s about four hours a day done – an hour long run, a soak in the bath afterwards, a couple of hours of Mythbusters – what else is there to do ? 

I have two things that have become hobbies that I do on a near daily basis – one of them is cooking – I have a long list of things I have made for the first time since being over here and it has the added bonus of introducing Buffy to proper northern food - so a good pie and lots of stew have been on the menu a lot of times through the cold winter. My second hobby may well come as a surprise to everyone – I have been learning to play the piano.

Big P

Little P

Me doing my stuff!

A few months ago while driving back from a weekend at the cabin – Buffy asked me if there was anything I would like to do while I had the time to spare and I immediately came out with – learn the piano. This has been a weird dream since I sat in the bar of the Union Jack Club in London and saw a pissed up squaddie saunter over to the piano and start playing some really cool stuff! I wished I could do something like that, but never imagined I would get the chance. 

However, Buffy is great friends with a professional piano player called John. He came around last October and gave me a quick lesson on the basics and then left me to it with a rented digital full sized piano from a local music store. I bought a basic piano book that he recommended and started to mess about with it. Now, most people may give an hour or two a week, but I have been playing an hour or so every day and just last week finished the first book and moved onto a second more difficult book.
I don’t know if I am any good, but the simple fact that I now seem to be able to read music fairly easily  - when a few short months ago I didn’t have a clue feels really good. I will never be a professional musician there is no doubt about that, but it is something I really enjoy and will keep it up for the foreseeable future.

The only thing is the cost of a piano – It was costing me about $60 a month to hire a semi professional full sized 88 key piano and although I would love to buy myself one, I don’t think I am yet ready to commit. But luckily, one of Buffy’s cousins had an electric keyboard sitting gathering dust – so last week we went and picked it up, before taking the digital piano back to the shop. I had called the old piano ‘Big P’, and have now christened the new keyboard ‘Little P’, due to his smaller size! It obviously doesn’t sound as good as Big P did, but I am getting used to playing it and still enjoy learning something every day.

So there you are that’s what I have been doing with my life the last 300 days or so – I have run hundreds of miles, watched hundreds of episodes of Mythbusters and learnt to play the piano –It’s not a waste of time after all!!

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