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February 2024

What’s up, people of the world?! 

(Sian: I appreciate that it is early on in this post for me to interject, but, anyone else read that in a Spice Girls chanty way? “People of the World! Spice up your life!” No? Just me then…..🤷🏼‍♀️)

After eventually crossing over the seemingly ‘impossible to get to’ finishing line that was the end of January, I eventually got to February! (Sian: Funny that!🙄). And it has been a fun month. There’s a lot to be said for having fun, going with the flow, running with it……whatever it is. You never know where anything might lead…..I think that’s what helps Jamie in Jump2. Being open to new ideas and embracing every opportunity that comes her way.

So with this in mind, I decided to get a bit more creative, you know every day, rather than just pockets of creativity when I am writing or when I am thinking of ideas for school. Don’t get me wrong, when I am in the zone I can get totally lost in imaginary worlds. For hours. I remember 2 or 3 years ago, I was under pressure to finish a major remaining chunk of Jump! as I had been dragging my feet a little. Rosanne was taking the kids on a train journey to Barmouth and the plan was to lock me in the conservatory for the duration of the day so I could crack on with the book. I know I was locked in and had little choice in the matter, but after a slow start, I did crack on. Big time. For a change. My choice of music at the time was a 3-minute loop of Clair de Lune by Debussy. The music fitted where I was with the book perfectly and I lost myself for 10 hours. So, a 2 mile walk to the train station, a 2-hour train journey, 4 hours at Barmouth, 4 ice creams, another 2 hour train journey and another 2 mile walk back home, I was still “cabined, cribbed and confined” in the conservatory, hypnotically galloping (doesn’t sound very safe I know) to the final finishing line of Jump! And still listening to Clair de Lune. For the 200th time!

But although I have always had periodic spells of intense creativity, I decided to try and be a bit more creative on a daily basis. Not that I put it on my daily to-do list ( YOU would have a ‘to-do’ list!) I just started doing it……

And what perfect way to be more playful and creative on a regular basis than embracing Tik Tok! I have been thinking of a few video ideas for a while but for whatever reason (Sian: procrastination, apathy, rebellion….take your pick!) just not finishing them, or starting them! So, armed with my newfound sense of “just do”, I have been spurred into action. 

Early in the month, I was playing a must win team match at the squash club. The team score was 2 all and it was time for their inspirational captain (creative licence!!) to step up and seize the moment! (Sian: Well, that conjured up an image! The swashbuckling hero parting the crowd as he strides confidently down to court cutting through an intoxicating mist of deep heat, lynx and antibacterial gel…..) Sadly I squandered a series of seminal moments - 5 match points!! and unfortunately lost. Robbie Blair would not have been impressed. Apocalyptically livid, I left the court and unfortunately destroyed an unsuspecting bin that had the gall to be standing in my way, smugly taking pleasure in my defeat. Thankfully, 3 and a half days later, I was soon over the ignominious defeat. But it suddenly came to me…… I could use some of the live footage from the game and splice it skilfully together with  a meticulous  recreation of the shameful bin scene. And with that shameful episode behind me the floodgates opened!

What next, I thought!? Well just as this thought came out…. I noticed the statuesque figure of our County no 1 Duncan Moselhi majestically gliding around the maple boards of court 3. How could I get near him? How could I beat him? So began my ‘Challenge Duncan’ videos. Duncan with a 50-year-old wooden racket, me with a modern one. His racket was horrible, poorly balanced with a shiny, slippy grip. Still he cruised to victory. What else could I do? It then came to me. Keep it simple. Like all the best plans! (Sian: you disregarded ‘the get fitter and more skilful’ option then?

Dress him up as an Anglo-Saxon warrior, complete with a genuine iron helmet and battle-scarred round shield. To get him in the mood (moodish!!) we even anointed him! King Arthur style!

“Go forth and conquer!” came the mysterious tones from the marker’s chair.

And conquer he did.  Again. Ah well. In the words of Blakey from “On the Buses” I‘ll get you!”

One Day.

(Sian: Not that I dont admire your tenacity, but I wont be holding my breath…)

So where will I get my inspiration next?

(Sian: I am almost afraid to speculate tbh)

Perhaps we can learn from the intrepid exploits of Annie Edson Taylor. In November 1901, this plucky American school teacher became the first ever person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls. In a barrel. She also decided to do it on her birthday! Presumably a meal out with a few friends didn’t tick all the boxes! Apparently, she was struggling making her teaching pay and so after considering the options available decided the best way forward was to launch herself over the world highest waterfall in a wooden barrel. As you do. Her planning was nothing if not meticulous though and she “road” tested the whole challenge by sending her pet cat down first. 13 minutes later the cat was removed from the sodden barrel, dazed and confused but still alive! 

Picture the scene, if you will:

Post- Niagara Falls Barrel Challenge Feline Road Test (Sian: A niche WhatsApp group!)

Bedraggled emptied puppet of a cat is extricated from barrel

(Annie Edson Taylor stands on, looking down, from the muddy banks, simultaneously observing her feline friend but also ripping up her “Cat Owner of the Year application form!”)

Annie: Thoughts??!

Cat: Seriously?! Just don’t even go there! We are done!

Dramatic paws 😉

(Sian: I hope the cat left its ‘displeasure’ in her favourite shoes……..bloody hell!)

The rigorous testing out of the way, it was game on for Annie! So, on her 62nd birthday, Annie got in her air compressed, lightly cushioned barrel and was lowered into the icy waters. 20 minutes later, Annie was retrieved from the depths of her battered vessel. And like her pet cat, dazed, confused, but alive! Go girl! Watch out Duncan!

Anyway, back to business! Jump2 is currently being proofread by the eagle-eyed Yasmin, so in May (fingers crossed) you will finally be able to catch up with the latest sporting exploits of Robbie Blair and his good friend, Jamie. Not long now!

Remember to follow me!

Check out my 'Challenge Duncan' videos on TIKTOK and Instagram!

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