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Thread: Appreciating the little things!

  1. #1

    Appreciating the little things!

    Appreciating the little things in life!

    It’s hard to ignore the continuous uncertainty that surrounds the pandemic. Understandably the situation is having a demoralising effect on peoples aspirations. At times everyday life can be challenging but a day on the fells will often bring clarity; even more so when racing, it’s the perfect remedy - total escapism in the purest form. I’ve noticed that during these times of adversity and the coinciding absence of races my attentions have been focused towards the soothing influences gained from the little things in life. I’m currently cherishing a collection of recent events involving a compliment, a chance encounter and an uninvited guest. These ‘little things’ have been uplifting and invaluable - priceless assets to help combat the trials and tribulations associated with the current ‘new normal’.

    A compliment:

    “Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time, I feel alive. And the world I’ll turn it inside out, yeah, I’m floating around in ecstasy. So don’t stop me now, don’t stop me now, ‘cause I’m having a good time, having a good time”...shouted the high-spirited online Zumba instructor in tandem with the music. Occasionally she’ll deviate from song and emphatically shout to the watching online attendees, “come on, you’re all amazing and don’t let anybody tell you any different”. Her enthusiastic tuition resonates at deafening levels from the precariously positioned iPad that’s propped up against our bread bin. Its location is within arms reach of a wayward shimmy; a potential accident waiting to happen, but I say nothing as I’m too engrossed witnessing the mix of low and high-intensity dance moves radiating across our kitchen floor. Credit where it’s due, my wife seemingly matches the tireless online tutor step for each energetic step, all the while oblivious to my watchful presence from the back of the room. Apparently Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now is regularly voted one of the happiest songs ever written. My own contentment could no longer be contained and right on cue I entered the fray to singalong, “I’m a sex machine ready to reload, like an atom bomb about to oh,oh,oh,oh,oh explode!”. Without missing a beat my wife laughed and informed me at times I can be so irritating. Undeterred, I awaited the midsong guitar solo with bated breath and I’m certainly not left disappointed as the Zumba instructor imitates a perfectly executed rendition on ‘air guitar’. She displays an effervescent bubbly personality that leaps from the screen; typified by her exaggerated guitar playing techniques - imaginary virtuoso shredding at its best. I laughed wholeheartedly and applauded with appreciation towards the screen. My wife said it’s the most fun we’ve had in the kitchen since the time we had freshly baked heavily buttered Tiger bread, whilst simultaneously popping the protective bubble wrap packaging from a recently purchased kitchen appliance. I reminisced and went into the garage in search of the aforementioned wrapping. I found a piece and merrily popped away to my heart’s content; once you pop, you just can’t stop! Alison continued to follow the dance inspired workout, she’s clearly ‘having a good time, having a ball’. Whilst I’m ‘popping’ I interrupted the Zumba once again, this time I’m unfamiliar with the song as it’s some bloody awful uptempo dance number. I’m forced into a hasty retreat, but not before I’d shouted above the racket, “I think you’re more fun than bubble wrap, you’re amazing and don’t let anybody tell you any different”. Alison laughed at my compliment. It’s the little things...

    A chance encounter:

    In the absence of fell races my motivation to maintain ‘race fitness’ is lacklustre. My get up and go, got up and went in unison with the diminished race calendar. Whilst abiding by the sporadic restrictions, trips to ‘proper fells’ have been few and far between. Training runs are mostly enjoyed, but seldom endured - no pain, no gain. I’ve tried to incorporate structure into my running but frequently end up on a wild-goose chase in pursuit of seemingly unobtainable past fitness levels. However, on a positive note there are advantages with ‘going through the motions’ and ‘just ticking over’ when out running. Recently I had a chance encounter with The Beatles...of sorts. I wouldn’t have met the ‘fab four’ but for taking the easy option and cutting my run short. The chance encounter startled me initially as I was stopped in my tracks by four excitable Jack Russells. The little rough-haired terriers displayed high levels of boisterous energy; exemplified by playful energetic leaps for means of affection. I didn’t disappoint and made a fuss of each dog in equal measure. They then showed a surprising amount of obedience when summoned to retreat by an elderly gentleman who bellowed out, ”John, Paul, Ringo”. I interrupted and said “let me guess, this little fella is called George?”. The old man laughed and said “no...she’s called Yoko”. On closer inspection I could see my mistake, but in my defence noticing the genitalia of a short legged canine isn’t always obvious. I’m intrigued why he’d chosen to name the female terrier Yoko, as many blamed Yoko Ono for the breakup of The Beatles. He must’ve noticed my puzzlement and informed me that he wanted to use the name Georgina but his son had intervened. Apparently his son’s heart was once broken following a failed holiday romance with a Greek girl called Georgina and the mentioning of her name was still a painful reminder. I couldn’t help but laugh and to be fair so did the old man. When I arrived home I regaled my wife with my chance encounter. We came to the conclusion that the son should’ve ‘grown a pair’ and the name Georgina should’ve stood for its Beatles themed authenticity. I was tempted to use poetic license and call the dogs ‘mop-top terriers’ but such a breed doesn’t exist and I always aim for factually correct reports. Out of curiosity I asked Alison the age old question; The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? Without hesitation she chose The Rolling Stones - we’re in agreement. It’s the little things...

    An uninvited guest:

    Fell shoes usually stink, especially when wet. Unsurprisingly they’re nearly always wet and for that reason they reside in the garage beside the combination boiler. When strategically placed around the boiler my sodden footwear inevitably dries - not too fast, not too slow - just perfect. Recently I’ve not been the only one ‘dragging my feet’ as the boiler is also underperforming. Upon close inspection a trail of destruction and filth was revealed in the form of insulation debris and mouse droppings. Evidently a small rodent had taken a place of residence within the warmth of the boiler. I don’t blame the mouse, it gets extremely cold outside at this time of year, but obviously it’s not an ideal situation. Our uninvited guest needed to be evicted, but not exterminated. Oh, what a conundrum! A trip to the local pet shop gave me the answer and a humane trip-trap was duly purchased. I asked the shop assistant is cheese the bait of choice. Apparently it’s not, I’m told cartoons depicting mice nibbling on chunks of hard cheese is a myth that needs dispelling. Peanut butter is what mice find irresistible, plus the sticky substance prevents a grab and run food raid. I’m impressed with the shop assistant, he reeled off advice with such aplomb - he’s clearly passionate about his job. The trap in question is a plastic container with a flap that closes shut once the mouse enters the device. It’s recommended you check the trap every two hours to minimise the stress caused to any trapped mice. I suggested to my wife it’s probably for the best to devise a rota for checking the trap. Alison made it clear it’s probably for the best to leave her off the rota. I reluctantly agreed but needn’t have worried as the mouse was caught within the hour. The shop assistant was indeed correct regarding the peanut butter. The face of the mouse was covered in the stuff. I called the mouse Brian - even though determining the sex is almost impossible, but given that recently I’d looked at the genitalia of a Jack Russell, I’d decided to draw a-line where the mouse was concerned - I didn’t want things to get weird. I mischievously named the mouse after my mate Brian because I know there’s no way he’d have humanly caught a mouse. I texted Brian and told him what I’d done. He texted back straight away - ‘That’s not what I’d have done.’ At times my mate Brian can be so predictable. I released Brian the mouse on a patch of grass outside our house in the hope that he’d go into next doors summer house - he’d be cosy in there. When I opened the trap he ran over my foot and before scurrying away he paused for a second and looked up, I like to think he was saying thank you. It was my pleasure Brian, you’re welcome.

    Blimey, happiness can be so simplistic: Appreciating the little things in life!

    P.s
    Today is officially ‘Blue Monday’ - supposedly the most depressing day of the year, due to a combination of bad weather, long nights and the lingering aftermath of the festive glut. My apologies for making it worse!
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Nice to hear from you Darren. Keep your chin up. I take it no ice baths lately?

    I once chatted with a fell runner at Pendle (FTO) who had a border terrier. are they good fell running companions, i wanted to know. yes, he confirmed they were. fast forward a few years, pandemic lockdown 1, everyone working from home, no excuse not to get a dog anymore. now i have a border terrier called Monty to walk and soon to fell run with me. thanks for the advice!

  3. #3
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    Hopefully see you at a race soon Daz...!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by benshep View Post
    Nice to hear from you Darren. Keep your chin up. I take it no ice baths lately?

    I once chatted with a fell runner at Pendle (FTO) who had a border terrier. are they good fell running companions, i wanted to know. yes, he confirmed they were. fast forward a few years, pandemic lockdown 1, everyone working from home, no excuse not to get a dog anymore. now i have a border terrier called Monty to walk and soon to fell run with me. thanks for the advice!
    Hi Ben
    Please say hello to Monty for me - great name. I’m gonna take our Nellie for her daily walk this afternoon, she’s 15.5 yrs old and still plodding on with plenty of enthusiasm.
    Take care pal.
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Travs View Post
    Hopefully see you at a race soon Daz...!
    Ditto Pete,
    All the best pal.
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tindersticks View Post
    Appreciating the little things in life!

    ...Peanut butter is what mice find irresistible, plus the sticky substance prevents a grab and run food raid. ....
    Avocado works well too, though perhaps rather expensive if you have to buy one. But I'm also wondering about soap. I'm currently away from home and in the shower room next to the bedroom where I'm staying there was, on arrival, a bar of soap severely nibbled around the edges by a rodent (or several). The staff replaced the bar with a new one, though I hadn't asked for it. The next day the new bar had also received several large nibbles from a loacl rat or two. They seem to like it! Mind you, it wouldn't have the good sticky effect of peanut butter in a trap.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Latege View Post
    Avocado works well too, though perhaps rather expensive if you have to buy one. But I'm also wondering about soap. I'm currently away from home and in the shower room next to the bedroom where I'm staying there was, on arrival, a bar of soap severely nibbled around the edges by a rodent (or several). The staff replaced the bar with a new one, though I hadn't asked for it. The next day the new bar had also received several large nibbles from a loacl rat or two. They seem to like it! Mind you, it wouldn't have the good sticky effect of peanut butter in a trap.
    Avocado - I don’t think it’s available in Chorley? Be careful around them rats...they’re nasty!
    Darren Fishwick, Chorley.

  8. #8
    Master Wheeze's Avatar
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    Hope Brian did not sneak back into his recently vacated little home once your back was turned!
    I am Kuno....

  9. #9
    Moderator noel's Avatar
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    My old landlady used to drive her caught mice a mile down the road, just in case they came back again.

    In a similar vein, if there's a particularly big scary house spider, I'll walk it a good distance from the house before letting it go.

  10. #10
    Master Mossdog's Avatar
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    I found another half-eaten rat skull, lodged in the crack under the rear byre door this morning. It's the second in a week. Not quite like a scene from the God Father, and one that perhaps counter-intuitively, raised my spirits. Why? It's more evidence that our little stoat lodger has been plying his/her trade.

    Last year I noticed that the new byre door bottom has been gnawed, and I wasn't too chuffed, wondering if it was a rat. However the evidence of some scat pointed to a weasel or stoat. This winter there's no question it's a stoat as we spotted him/her a dozen times, either brazenly hopping past the kitchen window in broad daylight carrying a mouse/vole/chunk of rabbit,and we've clearly seen the tracks in the snow heading from or to the gap under the byre door.

    S/he seems unperturbed by my daily visiting to refill the coal scuttle, and best of all we've not had any of the usual uninvited rodent visitors in the walls or roof spaces this winter, keeping us awake some nights. The frisson of spotting our lodger is a delight, as s/he hops along the top of a stone wall, or between the parked cars in the yard. I was amazed to watch him/her deftly hop right through one of the holes in the chicken wire, along the fence, we use to try to keep the rabbits out of the garden. Stoats are obviously considerably slimmer than they might first appear. Who needs a moggy to feed or pay vets bills for ?
    Eat more cake because life is shorter than you thi...

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