Sunday, October 11, 2015

Free days

I’ve been back at work for four days already after my “health retreat”, which is what I called my few days off, with my tongue half in my cheek. But it was very good to have the time off to recalibrate a few things.

Since tearing my calf muscle the running necessarily fell by the wayside, and it was a little difficult to get back into it because I needed to have the time to do that by intervals, which I didn’t really have before work, but during the week off I could just take it slow and make sure the leg would allow me to run without needing to stop. The physiotherapist also told me it would take two to three months to get my fitness back, and I thought ‘what??!!’, but he is probably right because I have been slower than usual.

I also did a lot of home jobs – cleaning up some more plants and pruning the enormous camellias away from the gutters and the neighbours and cutting back the neighbour’s tree in turn, painting more small furniture and picture frames in chalk paint (which doesn’t mean black paint you can write on in, it means a self-priming paint in any colour that you can slop on anything – an op-shoppers best friend!). I am so grateful for my little place here. It’s probably not much by the standard of some Canberrans, but after leaving Sydney, where I couldn’t afford anything at all, I feel like I have a mansion. I have friends living in the inner-west of Sydney with four children in a house smaller than mine (though it would be worth almost three times as much). And once upon a time I might have dreamed of a cottage with a big garden, but the reality is that big gardens are a lot of work on weekends when you have a full time job, so I am happy with my little garden beds and pots. (Some friends from church gave me two Japanese maple trees in pots a few weeks ago that he had grown from seed. Boy was I excited. They are lovely, and the larger size costs about $150 in Bunnings. He didn’t want these ones because they aren’t the right colour and have green leaves, whereas red are to be desired I believe, but I am happy to have my trees with green leaves. I have a box elder maple in the garden which is an environmental pest here and is right on the fence so I will need to get it out, and I am not sad about that now that I have these two other maples.)

The one thing I regret is that I didn’t spend as much time sitting and reflecting and processing as I thought I might, but a week goes quickly. I wanted to sort more through some personal stuff and at work they keep asking me whether I am coping with some of the material we are dealing with and do I need professional supervision of some sort, but so far I feel that I am coping. (The person I work for in this professional standards business goes on “retreat” regularly, but they need to deal with things at a different level to what is required of me.)

So that was the week off. Then yesterday I went on a bushwalk with some colleagues, just out to Booroomba rocks, south of Canberra. It’s beautiful out there and we had a fabulous morning. I am very happy to have found some bushwalking enthusiasts and they were calling it “Ali’s Bushwalking Club”, so I am chuffed that I had a personal bushwalking club, even if it was two people for a day. They are already asking where we are going next, so maybe it will become a real club: bushwalking for weekend sleeper-inners who just want to do a little exploring. When we got to the Namadgi National Park visitor centre there was a group of walkers sitting under the trees with drinks out relaxing and I said to my friends ‘they are probably finished’, because the problem I have found with bushwalking clubs is that they want to begin at some ridiculous hour on a Saturday morning. We met there at 10.30 am, which is much more civil (I just have to get some good clothing to make sure I don’t get any more sun, instead of the old dregs I dug out).

Here are some pictures. None of us are into taking selfies, but we decided to give it a go, with varying success. It was hazy and the light was not the best, but you get the idea. We carried on with the clichés about refreshing our souls and restoring our perspective etcetera, but it works.

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