Tuesday, 5 April 2005

Old News - Newsletter April 2005

Hmm, it seems that a couple of months have passed since my last update. I have gotten a year older, been overseas, and changed back to single status ;-). Busy busy, not that that is a good excuse for neglecting you!

To begin, I should tell you that I broke up with Zimbo a few weeks ago. He’s a lovely guy, but just not suited to me. I won’t moan about him, but things had become more and more disappointing and frustrating. I was recently away diving in the Red Sea for a week, and did not miss him in the least, and when I got back I wasn’t happy to see him, so I let him go. It was a very civilised break-up, he took it like a man, and there is a chance we will make friends someday. I still don’t miss him, so I am sure my choice was correct. No one else on the horizon yet, but I am having a lot of fun looking ;-).

As mentioned, I went away to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt with my Mom for a week’s diving at the beginning of March, over my birthday. I love going away somewhere exciting over my birthday – it makes the celebration seem to last for ages. The diving from Sharm is among the best in the world, and I didn’t want to come back!

Mom got qualified while we were there, and ended up with an advanced PADI qualification, which is what I have. While she was doing lessons I took the opportunity to do some really challenging diving. I dived my first wreck – the Thistlegorm – supposed to be the best wreck dive in the world! She is a Second World War supply vessel, and still has on board a full cargo of lorries, motorbikes, aeroplane parts, shells and rifles, and so much more (all a bit rusty and crusty now). You can swim through each of her holds, and also the captain’s quarters. It is a very exciting dive, and demands very good dive skills as most of the places are dark and a bit of a squeeze, and I was very impressed with myself! It was too exciting to be scary!

The next day I found myself swimming through tunnels and sea caves, at one point swimming headfirst straight down for 25m! Wow. I got within 10m of a sea turtle, and I won’t bore you with the vast myriad of fish and coral I saw every single day! The last two diving days I was able to tag along on Mom’s advanced course, joining her for her deep, navigation, naturalist, drift and wreck dives. The Dunraven wreck this time, a much less challenging or interesting wreck although the current was thrillingly strong and it proved to be my fastest drift dive so far! (That’s when you hang motionless in the sea current as it whisks you along – very cool)

Sharm is a very relaxing resort too – I was able to walk around on my own without being particularly hassled. Anyone who’s been to Egypt before knows how bad the locals can be, but I felt very at ease in Sharm. There is a lovely promenade along the seafront that streches for miles, thronging with bars, restaurants and hotels, and we ate in a different place every night. If you have been diving before, you will know just how exhausting it is, and we were asleep early each night, and up before 7am each day to get to the boats. In fact, on my Thistlegorm day I had to meet the bus at 4am!

We decided to spend the last Saturday and Sunday relaxing in the sun instead of grabbing a final day’s dive, and this proved lucky as I ate something very bad on Friday night and had a brief but powerful case of food poisoning. By the afternoon I was able to handle a beer by the pool though, and in the evening we went into the desert to go stargazing with a proper astronomer and a very powerful telescope. He pointed out all the visible constellations, and through the telescope we looked at the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter and some nebulae. It was really excellent. On the Sunday we went looking for souvenirs, and impressed ourselves with our bargaining ;-). We really didn’t want to leave, and both Mom and myself have been a bit down since!

Mom stayed with me for a further week, although I couldn’t take any more time off. We get on extremely well, and I was very sad to see her go. She might be in the same country, but the Isle of Man is just so hard to get to!

The rest of my life is far less interesting ;-).

I still go to Jive dancing once a week, and K and I have moved up into the intermediate class. This is lots of fun, as they teach much more intricate moves, and also a few dips and leans, which still make me laugh helplessly when I find myself in one. We all enjoy flirting outrageously, but no one wants to spoil things by taking them further. Mind you, it is bad enough having 2 exes in my walking club without adding one to my dance class, so that suits me!

Speaking of the walking club, I went on a lovely long 11-mile walk in the Chilterns (rural hilly area) over the Easter weekend. Zimbo (oops, here’s me moaning after all) had a walking limit of 6 miles, which is when I only just begin to hit my stride, so I am loving being able to go on the long walks again! I was surprised not to be sore at the end of the walk, but I suppose all the dancing is keeping me in shape ;-).

And speaking of keeping in shape (this isn’t a letter, it’s a stream of consciousness), I have just rejoined the gym. My company has decided to sponsor everyone’s gym membership, which is brilliant. I not only rejoined, but I signed up for a few personal training sessions! I’ve had one so far, but it was more of a fitness test, which was interesting. She says I am fit and flexible, need to drink more water and have rubbish lungpower. Not sure what the lungpower is for… I guess I need to go running (gasping) more. If fact the evenings are lovely and light now, but I haven’t been able to motivate myself into running shoes lately!

Another thing the company pays for is eye tests, and I went along for one the other day as I sometimes have fuzzy vision at the end of a working day. The doc says my eyes are fine, but a little long-sighted, so I should wear glasses at work to give them a chance while focussing close. It turns out my work also pays for glasses if you only need them for work, so I am going to be a four-eyes shortly! I had a nightmare about it the other night, so I guess it bothers me, but I really don’t like the fuzzy vision at the end of the day so I’ll cope with it!

Apart from throwing perks at us, work is going well. I’ve just been chasing a very tight deadline for the last couple of weeks (lots of fuzzy vision), but it hasn’t been too bad. I start a new project next week, which will be all my own. As much as I like team development, it is nice to have something all to yourself from time to time – at least you know the errors are your own!

And my home is going well too. Spring is well sprung, I have mowed the lawn several times, Mom has weeded my flowerbeds (thanks Mom!), and I have had two barbeques (braais). I have applied for permission to have a conservatory built onto my tiny little house. If it is approved I will double my living space, have a proper dining area, and be up my neck in debt. Enormous fun.

I am not sure how I will fund my holidays without resorting to credit cards, but I shall do my utmost ;-).

Up and coming trips:

I will be popping over to Pretoria for a weekend (yeah, 2 nights) at the end of April for my dear mate M’s wedding (yup, jet set chick, me). Everyone in the area is invited to BestGirl’s house (she is kindly putting me up for my whirlwind stay, she’s a right darling) on Sunday the 1st May to see me ;-). I think between 11 and 4, as I have to catch a plane at 8pm. I’ll be sending a note to the locals in a little while to hopefully prod you into coming over. I know how hard it is to get South Africans to plan ahead, but try guys, ok?

At the end of May K and I are going to Venice for a long weekend. We are very excited!

But anyway, I hopefully will have seen you, or at least spoken to you before then!

So, my life: cool, fun, happy, fantastic! You?