Well, it’s been an odd few months. Confession time: I haven’t actually been on my bike since October, a thoroughly miserable little factoid there. When I was first made redundant, I did vaguely have this dream that on days in between looking for work, I could get some extra miles in over the Chase. Unfortunately, as time went on, I realised that the £20+ in fuel it cost to get to and fro the Chase was financially a bit irresponsible – especially as the statutory redundancy claim was taking longer than expected to sort out.
It was, all-in-all, a pretty grim cycle of misery for a few months – I felt guilty about doing anything ‘fun’, as ‘fun’ wasn’t looking for a job or improving my skills. Jobs were scarce, and each week that passed made me feel more useless. The redundancy claim was a fairly fraught process, with an investigation dragging it out, and leading to the delightful conclusion that my role had been TUPEd to another unrelated company. I was informed that I’d technically resigned by refusing a job at the company in Oxford, so wasn’t entitled to anything other than my owed wages, which I’d have to claim from a company I’d never worked for. There was misery, there was despair, a fair bit of anger… put it like this, if I was strong in the Force, I would have been full on Sith and shooting lightning out of my fingertips, with Yoda looking a bit disappointed. There was also a fair bit of weight gain – winter eating combined with no exercise plays cruel, cruel tricks on my waistline. The weather went terrible, and EVERYTHING WAS RUBBISH.
Fortunately, things started to turn around. The company that I was supposedly TUPEd to got their lawyers involved, and I ended up getting my statutory redundancy, loss of notice and unpaid wages/holiday after all. Money may not buy happiness, but it pays the bills and buys motorbikes, so that was a plus. I then managed to not only get my career back on track, but to give it a massive boost – I’m now working on two awesome projects for a company that helped shaped my childhood, and am professionally the happiest I’ve ever been.
And I’ve also taken up a new hobby – archery. Longtime readers (if there are any) will know that I often talk of my love of Lord of the Rings, and my childhood desire to be an elf – ride a horse, live in a tree, have awesome hair, shoot a bow. Well, I tried riding a horse, didn’t like it, but mountain biking is close. Living in a tree is impractical, but we have a semi-detached and a mortgage. Hair… well, I try.
But archery… I’ve been wanting to do it for years, and I finally managed to complete a beginners’ course which demonstrated that I wasn’t going to have anybody’s eye out, and joined the local archery club. I was surprised at the bewildering array of stuff that you can get for recurve bows (my weapon of choice) – sights, long rods, clickers, etc. I’ve now got the basics, and have hopefully passed the ‘excruciatingly bad’ starting period, where my arrows were landing in strange and unpredictable places. Unless you predicted ‘on the floor’ – then they weren’t that predictable. Sometimes I would hit the target… just not the one I was aiming at. Turns out you should keep your head still when shooting, instead of bobbing it around like an angry pigeon or like the possessed lass in The Exorcist. WHO KNEW? But it’s great fun, will hopefully do something about my feeble upper body strength (18lb draw weight…), and will stand me in good stead for any forthcoming zombie apocalypse.
So now, I’ve just got to get back on the bike. I’ve suffered from a lack of enthusiasm because of the weather, but now it’s starting to be less awful, I’m actually a little bit scared. Scared to see how much fitness I’ve lost over six months, scared because people will be laughing at the fat girl on the expensive bike, scared because what if I’ve forgotten how to mountain bike and hurt myself on the Steg, or on the exit to section 8. What if people laugh?
But screw that – I can’t solve any of those problems unless I get back riding. So this weekend I’m going to the Specialized Demo Day, so if anything terrible happens I can blame it on an unfamiliar bike (I’m also quite interested in the Rumour, as it looks like it might be a new-full susser that fits me). So if you see a tubby lass wobbling around – go easy on her, yeah?