Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Oh no, not just climbing to the bridge. No. Literally climbing the bridge. From bottom to top, across then down again.

When this was originally suggested as something we’ve “got to do”, I thought the world had finally gone mad. Then when I suruptitiously looked up the details, the rediculous cost involve and it is probably all booked up, thought I’d sealed the deal for not doing it…

“Think we should go for it.”

So, after much thought and consideration… (‘Think of all the clothes/posh handbag I could buy with the money?’), I agreed to climb the bridge. It will be a good workout, if nothing else.

‘We can go on any day, and most times are available.’ Hubby joyfully informs me…

History

Since 1912, J.J.C. Bradfield, “Chief Engineer of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Metropolitan Railway Construction” was keen on the idea of a bridge. At that time it was deemed prudent to spend money on the war effort.

After World War 1, Bradfield went to investigate tenders and decided an arch design would be beneficial and the work was given to NSW Department of Public Works for their design. Dorman Long Co Ltd was given the contract,  because of their experience with the Tyne Bridge, also an arch.

The “turning of the first sod” ceremony was held on 28 July 1923 and arch construction of the abutment towers began 26 October 1928.

The two halves of the arches joined on 19 August 1930. The first vehicle crossed the bridge on 19 January 1932 and the bridge was officially opened on 19 March 1932.

The total length of the bridge is 1.149 metres, width 49 metres and cost AU£6.25 million which wasn’t paid off until 1988.

Sydney Harbour Bridge connects Sydney central business district (CBD). Apart from practical transportation uses, it  also has become a tourist attraction and is used by tourists, including myself, for them to partake in climbing to the top of the arches. 

When arriving in Sydney you quickly realise the enormity of the construction. You are able to see parts of the bridge, from many areas of Sydney.

The Experience

It was FANTASTIC! Couldn’t have enjoyed the experience more. You are given all the gear and instructions and off you go. Everything is attached to your boiler suit, including one’s glasses, and you are not allowed to take anything with you (including cameras, phones, etc.). Our guide was Scott. He is a funny, outgoing chap who clearly knows what he is doing and instilled confidence in everyone.

First you climb up ladders, have a brief (history) chat then a walk along towards the arch. Photography is undertaken throughout the session including a team one and it is enormous fun. The exercise didn’t faze me at all and neither did the height. The whole jolly expedition is well worth doing. The stories and history about the bridge are fascinating (which you are told about as you go along) and I would highly recommend the experience.

Onwards towards Melbourne now.

 

 

 

Sources

http://www.bridgesdb.com/bridge-list/sydney-harbour-bridge/

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/sydney-harbour-bridge

Musings about December…

After my rant about the festivities, I had a wonderful holiday and feel quite refreshed. However, now realise some motivation is required to move forward any projects, etc., planned for this year. Funny how you tell yourself ‘after December, I’ll do this, that and the other’ and now it’s here, finally, one needs to make some decisions about life! Trying not to panic haha.

After the family gathering on the 25th Dec, which was a hoot, we went to Sheffield Park Gardens on Boxing Day and had a saunter around the lakes, decorated Christmas gardens and woodland. We took a picnic lunch, because, and I must plan this better, we had so much food left over. Next year, I must remember to prepare less food. I really didn’t need to bake those lemon cakes, and quite so many mince pies. Do you do this?

When in the car for a coffee break, the heavens opened and it poured with rain, so as it was 1 o’clock, we had our lunch. It was delicious and I’ve decided to start taking picnics more often because it’s so much less hassle than queuing up with the crowds and over paying for something quite ordinary.

We ventured back around the gardens and I concentrated on taking some photos with my new camera, the Nikon D3300 which was great fun. The place is beautiful even in the winter. The trees expose their structural form and reflect over the lakes. Having recently done a photography course, I was rather chuffed with the results and hopefully will improve during 2018.

We explored the 250 acres of parkland which dates back to the 18th century and you find yourself pausing and admiring the view of copses of trees around the hills. It is a wonderful place to explore, reflect and admire the parkland, streams, meadows and woodland. If you haven’t been, I can highly recommend a visit. A relaxing and serene environment where you feel you can get away from it all.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

The next day, I took the borrowed dog, Oscar, for a long walk. It was quite windy and the sky was incredible with an amazing sunset. Really enjoy our walks and I’ve got to know many woodland and field walks in the area.

On Thursday, 28 December, we visited family and enjoyed a trip  to the pub for a couple of beers. I drank a very hoppy Dark Star, Hop Head. The Land of Liberty in Hertfordshire, is a CAMRA pub and always has an exceedingly splendid selection of beers.

On Friday, 29 December we went with my son and girlfriend to see the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi. I cooked a beef casserole which was delicious and made a change from turkey. The film was brilliant and wonderfully produced. To be honest, I found it a little long, but I did enjoy it.

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” – Yoda

Mistakes are inevitable. They hurt. They’re hard. But we learn from them. Lift someone up after a misstep with this quote from Yoda.

On Saturday, we met my husband’s brothers for a few beers and a meal in London, Bakers Street. We met up in The Volunteer a pub near Regent’s Park. It seemed funny, because I used to drink there when I worked in the area many years ago. Someone then told me that people don’t drink during the lunchtime anymore. This I find hard to believe. Although, judging by the amount of suits in the pubs during the evening, I assume evening drinking is the new trend? Anyway, the food was good and I tried to have something healthy so opted for a Verdure and then Seabass for my main course. Very pleasant.

On Sunday, we were rather relieved to have ‘a day off’ which is a little ironic as it was New Year’s Eve. We stayed in and enjoyed some beer and watched the BBC drama ‘The Miniaturist’. It is about a new, young wife who is given a doll’s house for a wedding present. The exquisitely made contents, which she mysteriously receives, appear to reflect the Brandt family’s hidden secrets. The drama is majestic and creepy, but quite enticing. The photography of the Amsterdam canal house is extraordinarily clever. In fact, you feel like you are watching a Dutch masterpiece.

We were so pleased not to have to go out, we couldn’t even be bothered to go to our local. Rock and Roll. Strange how we go out all year round, but stay in the one night most people go out!

After all that, although I am against dry January, because it does harm to the pub industry, I do feel I need a break from alcohol and rich food so will focus on feeling better with some exercise and fresh air, etc. More on that in the next blog posts!

So another year over and onwards and upwards. Happy New Year everyone!

Andy xxx

 

Are you feeling SAD?

With the onset of winter, it is easy to feel tired and fed up. The clocks change and make the mornings glaringly light for a few days but the evenings darken immediately.

When I went to Iceland, a young chap told me they only have about three hours of daylight in November and everything tends to get done during that time. During the summer, they party into the early hours as it barely gets dark at all.

In the UK, around 6% suffer from seasonal affective disorder or Sad and in countries such as Canada, Denmark and Sweden, these symptoms are so severe that people cannot function properly.

The condition can cause disruption of sleep, weight gain and depression. Apparently, women are much more likely to suffer from SAD and this is thought to be because of evolution…

Robert Levitan, a professor at the University of Toronto says,

“Ten thousand years ago, during the ice age, this biological tendency to slow down during the wintertime was useful, especially for women of reproductive age because pregnancy is very energy-intensive. But now we have a 24-hour society, we’re expected to be active all the time and it’s a nuisance.”

Many people get the “winter blues” and this is characterised by feeling uninterested in your surroundings, unmotivated and fatigued. Around 15% suffer these symptons although my humble opinion would put it higher than this.

Light therapy is recognised as helpful for people suffering badly. Many people suffer from low spirits during the cold, dark months. However, sometimes you can embrace it, as I have done and explore other places in the world, such a Norway, Rome or warmer climes like the Canary Islands during the winter months. Or just have a jolly day out or a long walk preferably with a lunch break in the pub! Curling up with a cup of tea and a good book is another favourite of mine too. A break and change of routine, during the winter months is helpful and refreshing. Too much emphasis on summer holidays can become tedious and it is interesting to explore different areas and participate in a variety of activities.

So what is the solution? The main thing that will cheer you up is socialising. Sometimes I will invite someone for a meal and take time planning and preparing it. Having a good natter is fun and enlightening. But as for December, it does go on a bit, doesn’t it?

Of course, the most obvious thing that may help is going outside to exercise, even if only for a few minutes a day. Nothing more boring that being stuck in an office. Put on your brightest clothes, (we all wear too much black and grey) and wander out for some fresh air. You will catch some light somewhere among the grey clouds and feel better moving your body.

So what do you do to get through the winter? Do share!

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/30/sad-winter-depression-seasonal-affective-disorder

Many Life Changes…

A lot has happened over the last few weeks, relating to work and fitness. I’m about to leave my current job, mainly, because I’ve lost some of my passion for social media and require a change with some new challenges. My only regret is that I wasn’t proactive earlier because I’ve felt this way for a few months. Things change, and you need to change with them. There are opportunities out there! Do you ever feel like this?

Also this month, I’ve decided to join a class aimed at gaining fitness and losing weight. Many people seem to have gone off the fitness trail and I’m one of them! A class meeting is being held twice a week, with a weigh in once a week. My start has been slow due to a weak ankle and now a bad back. Injuries are unusual for me, because I train to avoid them. So frustrating.

Because of all of the recent changes above, I will be writing some blogs about diet, fitness and well being. I am not an expert, but like to read articles about health/fitness, run (shuffle), exercise and write about my experiences. Also, I’m very normal and prone to overeating and drinking one or two beers. So you can take my ideas with a pinch of salt or try them out and read any attached links if you wish.

So what is the plan? I’m actually going to exercise most days, but start slowly. To be honest, food intake is more important because I’ve lost the plot lately. Hasn’t everyone? My calorie intake will be about 1200 calories with the occasional cheat meal. All food will be recorded. Luckily, healthy food attracts me even more than junk food. Cooking from scratch, whatever that means, comes naturally to me. Also, recently, I’ve devised some recipes which will fill me up,hopefully, without making me fat. (Blog post coming up.)

Although I run occasionally, I will do less of this and focus more on strength training and attend the weight loss class twice a week. Walking is also a favourite of mine, so I’ll do more prancing about the countryside with the borrowed dog, Oscar.

Really enjoyed the first weight loss class. Blaring music and lots of movement, but several exercise options given, in case you aren’t fully fit. Great stuff.

So the plan is..

  • Focus on new opportunities (there is a plan!)
  • Aim to become healthier
  • More outside activities
  • New hobbies
  • Read about health, fitness, etc.

Are you going to join me? Let’s hope it won’t be too arduous. 😏

 

 

How boosting energy will make you run for your life… Part 2

Part 2 – Suggestions on Energy and Motivation…

The vital point is to have enough sleep, as discussed in the previous blog. The other important point is to get lots of exercise. It is ironic how this seems to energise me. Often if I feel sleepy, a walk will help cure any sluggishness.

Upbeat music often cheers me up and procures some enthusiasm for the day ahead. Even on a Monday! Often, if I’m feeling tired, I will put some lively music on and it helps wake me up. Also, if I’m going on a run, music facilitates a good energy boost. Whether it lasts is another matter but, it certainly improves my performance. Sometimes, I may just put some music on and sing along and or dance, which can be embarrassing when someone comes home and catches you, as recently happened to me. Oh well, who cares? 

Sometimes a mental boost such a doing a crossword or catching up on emails help too. In fact, writing this blog often inspires and interests me as I can research and read about topics that fascinate me and hopefully, you as well. BBC Radio 4, or any animated radio show or podcast, is a good first thing, as it helps you think about current affairs and gives perspective to your own life.

Although this seems counterintuitive, often tackling a task can motivate and give energy. Sometimes, I set an alarm on my mobile for 40 minutes and do a blast of cleaning. A boring job, but it does feel great when it is done. The same with gardening. As you watch the grass and weeds grow it is easy to feel overwhelmed, but recently I spent a day cleaning, then weeding and mowing the lawn and felt quite accomplished afterwards.

This leads to my next point, and that is to get close to nature! Go on a walk in the countryside and enjoy the fresh air and discover new surroundings. Going with family or friends is fun, but I find walking alone (with Oscar the borrowed dog) helps me relax as I explore woodlands and countryside trails. I’ve managed to find my way back home, as well without getting lost lately, and as I have a dreadful sense of direction, this is a miracle, I can tell you. 

Reading helps because it makes you think about something different. It can help you discover new interests too. Often, I find Pinterest or even YouTube is great for this as well.

Although, having mentioned social media, recently I have taken a step back from it, as I am finding the content quite benile and without depth. Unfortunately, this is due to the UK election, but I’m beginning to lose interest in Facebook, etc. I think you get more depth of content from books, documentaries and so on. Turn off any devices long before bedtime because the light stops you from sleeping.

Lastly, mindfulness and meditation are said to be good for wellbeing and energy. Ha hah something I need to try!

Let me know, in the comments, below, if you have any ideas 💡 that work for you.

Thank you for reading my musings about how to get more energy and sleep.

Sum up:

Sleep enough

Exercise

Music

Sing and or Dance!

Mental boost like a crossword

Listen to a podcast

Time yourself and clean

Gardening

Borrow a dog and go for a walk

Read a book

Mindfulness

Meditate

 

 

#Juneathon, update plus a lunch recipe…

Ingredients for the stir fry…

The above means you are supposed to exercise every single day and blog, tweet of FB about it. Nowadays, however, most people just tweet or comment on FB rather than blog. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to blog about my progress, until now, but have been doing the exercise which is my main aim.

Day 1 – 3 Gym
Day 4 – Sunday run – (Did 6 k along local roads and country lanes.)
Day 5 – Short walk
Day 6 – Gym
Day 7 – Gym
Day 8 – A long walk

Sunday run – (Did 6 k along local roads and country lanes.)

Also, I’ve written two posts about sleep and energy as I seem to be lacking on both counts at the moment.  These posts are out this weekend, so I hope you enjoy them.

Last weekend, I decided you use up the oldish veg and do a stir fry for lunch.  Here is the recipe…

Impromptu Veggie Stir Fry

Left over veg – I used cabbage and leeks

Onions

Chopped garlic

Mushrooms

Seasoning, including herbs

Smoked Mackerel

Hoisin sauce (about tablespoon)

Sesame oil

3 Eggs, beaten

Fry in sesame oil, the onions, garlic, mushrooms, seasoning and add the beaten eggs to form an omelette. Remove the omelette from the pan and cook the vegetables and add the sauce. When cooked, serve up with the chopped omelette and add the smoked mackerel. Lovely.

A great lunch, which was exceedingly tasty.

Veggie Stir Fry

Exercise can be contagious – new study finds..

During my Easter run, I decided to make countryside runs a habit. This is because I find them enjoyable, insightful and, most importantly uplifting. When I was young, and struggling to run half a mile, I would have laughed at this. Now instead of clubbing to the sounds of Donna Summer, I run with her dulcet sounds, as I pound the roads of the English countryside. Times have changed. The last thing I expected to be doing, is running.

One thing I’ve noticed is, if I’m honest, I prefer to run alone. In fact, any exercise really needs to be done alone. If you are in the gym, chatting, you are not working hard enough. Ok, I can’t work out and chat because I’m too puffed out haha.

Maybe I will participate in the park run again and enter into the competitive side of running. This element is possibly the best way to improve as you are competing against your own time as well as everybody else.

A recent study indicates that if you run with others you will run slightly faster (0.3 km). Running as part of a group will slightly improve your time. However, women tend to be influenced by other women. This may be because you may expect a man to run faster so you do not feel compelled to compete. I tend to expect males to pass me.

Scientists have found that a runner’s peers influence him or her to run more. Not all influence is equal and individuals are more likely to be influenced by less active ones. Men are influenced by both men and women. Yes, I can imagine!

So, perhaps I should join the local running club. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-exercise-contagious-friends-20170418-story.html