hawkwing_lb: (Default)
When I went out to do my errands before noon, the world seemed saturated in light. High sun, blue heavens, a heat-hazy mist on the horizon. The tide rising towards full, with a seal bobbing its head at the mouth of the harbour and the water clear and millpond-still, taking a milky hue out around the headland. Chilly to the feet when I went to paddle, but less so than last week - so I hurried through my errands and hastened home for my swimming things.

The Irish Sea is still officially fucking cold. But rather less so than last week: the submersion less shocking, and I proved actually able to swim for a thirty-count rather than a ten-count. Shocking cold. Feel capillaries contracting. Headrush. Wow.

My skin tingled all over for an hour after I dried off and got dressed again. Now I suppose I should do something that counts as real work, perhaps...




I haven't been very talkative here for a while. Mostly because when I feel like talking it is rarely about things I feel comfortable talking about publically, anymore: it's very weird, but I'm more conscious of how much of my self-presentation is - has to be - mediated through various personas now. And since I handed in my thesis (viva date in June! Eek!) I've been engaged in several not-exactly-comfortable processes of self-discovery/self-realisation: I'm not entirely certain of who I am and how I want to present myself - as opposed to my work - to the world these days.

That's taking up quite a bit of my thinking space. And, well. Work and job applications and worry over the future: they take up the rest.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
...despite it being one of the most gorgeous days of summer outside.

Gym:
Benchpress: 2x5 @67.5kg, 2x5 @70kg, and a nice bloke called Nikil was kind enough to spot me for one of those 70kg sets. (I am always nervy about asking the lads to spot me. It reminds me of how much I stand out in the main weights area as one of maybe two female-bodied people.)
Assisted pullup: 2x5 @25kg assist
Pullup: attempted, failed
Exercise bike: 12km in 32:10.
Rowing machine: 1km in 05:00
Treadmill: intervals, a mess. Still, I tried.

I think the ligament in my right ankle is a bit fucked up again. Tenderness around the Achilles tendon and over the top of the ankle joint. I need to see if I can make a physio appointment, because clearly my exercises for attempting to strengthen it aren't working on my own.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Here is a thing that happened today, and rather spoiled my happy I-have-swum-the-sun-is-shining pleasure at the world.
Three in the afternoon. Doorbell rings. It is a man from the gas company. "Hello," says I.

"Is your mum or dad there?" says he.

I make the WTF face and nobly refrain from asking how fucking old does he think I am. "Can I help you?" says I. ("Can I help you?" is code for TELL ME WHAT THE HELL YOU WANT OKAY. I thought everyone knew this.)

"Are you the Man of the House?" says he.

WTF says my face again. With great restraint, I repeat: "Can I help you?"

"But are you the MAN OF THE HOUSE?" he says again.

At this point, I confess, I lost my temper. "Dude, do I look like a guy? GO AWAY." (I have never said "Dude" out loud before.) Closed the door, and retired to seethe, and to recount this funny story to the internets.

Moral of the story: if you have short hair and a t-shirt and shorts, and aren't performing traditional femininity, at least one of Bord Gáis's travelling doorsteppers will go straight to TEENAGER ALERT and/or MAN ALERT.

I'm tempted to write a complaint. ARE YOU THE MAN OF THE HOUSE?

No. THERE ARE NO MEN IN THIS HOUSE. BECAUSE WE ARE AMAZONS. AND MAN-EATING FEMINISTS...

Actually, because it is possible to be short-haired and female-ish. And it is also possible to live in houses without men, it's a thing that happens sometimes, STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.

This entry was originally posted at http://hawkwing-lb.dreamwidth.org/616111.html. There are comment count unavailable comments there. Comment where you like.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Here is a thing that happened today, and rather spoiled my happy I-have-swum-the-sun-is-shining pleasure at the world.

Three in the afternoon. Doorbell rings. It is a man from the gas company. "Hello," says I.

"Is your mum or dad there?" says he.

I make the WTF face and nobly refrain from asking how fucking old does he think I am. "Can I help you?" says I. ("Can I help you?" is code for TELL ME WHAT THE HELL YOU WANT OKAY. I thought everyone knew this.)

"Are you the Man of the House?" says he.

WTF says my face again. With great restraint, I repeat: "Can I help you?"

"But are you the MAN OF THE HOUSE?" he says again.

At this point, I confess, I lost my temper. "Dude, do I look like a guy? GO AWAY." (I have never said "Dude" out loud before.) Closed the door, and retired to seethe, and to recount this funny story to the internets.

Moral of the story: if you have short hair and a t-shirt and shorts, and aren't performing traditional femininity, at least one of Bord Gáis's travelling doorsteppers will go straight to TEENAGER ALERT and/or MAN ALERT.

I'm tempted to write a complaint. ARE YOU THE MAN OF THE HOUSE?

No. THERE ARE NO MEN IN THIS HOUSE. BECAUSE WE ARE AMAZONS. AND MAN-EATING FEMINISTS...

Actually, because it is possible to be short-haired and female-ish. And it is also possible to live in houses without men, it's a thing that happens sometimes, STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
A light fog had rolled in. The sea was chill, just the right kind of chill to take the edge off a humid day without being cold, the colour of milky steel under drifting bands of mist. Just barely choppy enough to slap you in the face once or twice, so you'd know you'd been kissed, clear and pungent with salt. Perfect enough to make you cry.

A jellyfish sighting chased me out after only fifteen or twenty minutes, but god, that was glorious.
hawkwing_lb: (Anders blue flare)
I slept poorly last night. The air was hot and close - for Irish versions of hot and close - and nightmare thoughts kept chasing each other around in my head. At dawn I slept finally, and woke at noon.

The sun lingered between clouds. Since it is my birthday this month and I'm experimenting with treating myself as though I deserve to be happy and have pleasant experiences until that date, I took a stroll down the beach in company with my mother - the tide on the way in, the air rich with salt and that indefinable ocean-smell, the shallows warm - and around the harbour to the ice-cream place. I treated myself to a gooey Nutella and butterscotch crepe and a milkshake for breakfast/lunch. Sugar overdose. A lonely old man was sat outside the ice-cream place looking for conversation from passers-by.

On the way home it started raining.

Now I'm sat with the kitchen window open and the world smells green and full of life. But there is no sunlight any longer. Bye-bye, summer!
hawkwing_lb: (It can't get any worse... today)
As of this day, I am three years shy of thirty.




I never thought, when I was younger, that I would know so many interesting people.

I never thought I'd be able to call so many interesting, wonderful people friend.

You guys. You guys. You've made my life better in so many ways. I don't have the words to say how much I appreciate you all, beyond thank you.

From the depths of my heart.




My day started with swimming in the sea. At Skerries, where the deep water is: the sky hazed where the sun had yet to burn off the damp, the sea grey and gently choppy and cold beyond the dreams of men. It steals the breath.

Twenty minutes in the water. Emerging to dress and eat lunch and catch a train. The sun burning off the haze, temperatures reaching 24C. The gym deserted, plenty of room to push intense alternating intervals on bike and treadmill.

A good day. I even managed to hand in my paperwork to the travel fund and see my supervisor!




Now, dear friends, it is time for cake. And thesis. But mostly cake.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Since my post of this morning, I have writ upon my thesis and made a chewy sponge cake and gone for a run in the evening sunlight north along the beach with a low milky tide gradually turning inwards.

Unfortunately, it transpires my right ankle is a conscientious objector to running and swimming in the same 24-hour period. Still, I did intervals, and came home in time for my mother to torture me show me a couple of yoga poses.

And now I have legs covered in Deep Heat ointment, because of the tightness of the muscles. Clearly I need to work on the flexibility with more vigour.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)


We're all going to die.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Ireland has astonished me by providing the fourth day of clear cloudless sunlight in a row. Instead of going to the gym, I stayed abed an extra hour, got up and did a few reps with my dumbbells, and then Mum and I made for Skerries, where the water is deep.

Deep and cold and clear, swimming off the steps layered over the rock of the headland and not off the beach. The water still as milk, a haze out past the islands; several swimmers including a bouncy black retriever. Long strands of weed reaching up for one's ankles, and a handful of tiny fish. And the sunlight, hot on the back of your neck while every other part goes numb and tingling.

It was gloriously cold. Getting in, I flinched quite a lot: the worst part is always the knees and then when the sea hits your waist. Cold enough to give you a headache when you dive. I was twenty-five minutes in the water and I didn't want to leave.

Thalatta! Thalatta! The sea! The sea!
hawkwing_lb: (Liara doing)
The brief but glorious summer continues. I read part of a book on the not-so-busy north strand and swam when the tide was high on the crowded harbour beach. Waves too high and wild to properly swim, but the water warmer (to perception) even than yesterday, almost temperate. Some Polish lads were peeling pink, and some black lads teased me in a friendly manner about going for a dip, and dozens of skinny Irish children screamed in the shallows and jumped into breaking surf.

But soon the summer will disappear, and we will wonder, "Was it all a dream?" "Does the sun even exist?" "Perhaps it was a hallucination brought on by chemicals in the rain." But by the Peeling Tomato shade of healing sunburn, we shall know it was true, and that once, once, the sun appeared in glory.

And the memory of light will endure behind the clouds of another year. *strikes a grand and tragic pose*

Therefore let us continue on towards suppertime. And have cake and grapes, because it is summer.
hawkwing_lb: (Helps if they think you're crazy)
Yearly rebaptism by ice and salt accomplished. The sea high, rolling moderately-sized breakers up onto the sand in the tiny bay between the headland and the harbour. A current dragging southeast along the shoreline, the water so murky you cannot see your feet. The smell of weed, the waft of old fish from the harbour, the rattle of a train coming into the station over the viaduct. The cringing moment before jumping headlong into a wave and the shock of cold as it breaks over your head.

More people on the beach than usual. Often it's all but deserted bar dog-walkers. Today Loreto girls (I was ever that young?) getting their too-long skirts wet in the surf, Polish families, a handful of Igbo women in flower-printed wraps, Irish people turning the traditional summer shade of Peeling Tomato: I left my kit beside a trio of young sunbathing possibly-Albanians (I am good with identifying foreign language groups but not that confident) and splashed off into the water for twenty minutes (roughly). I am all tingly and sleepy now, and decided to skip on going to town in favour of being a coffee shop yuppie - spending money I don't have in order to see if I can get more work done. Where work = writing a funding report in order to get a pathetically tiny amount of money. Still. Money.

Here's hoping this brief summer lasts a little longer.

Swimming!

Jun. 4th, 2011 05:20 pm
hawkwing_lb: (No dumping dead bodies)
The Irish Sea proved almost warm at full tide today. Warm enough to stay in for nearly forty minutes, anyway.

Proof below the cut:

Read more... )

Weather's supposed to break tomorrow, although the week should be mild enough. (12 Celsisus is still mild enough, right?) Provided the winds aren't too high, I might even get in another swim or two while my houseguests are here.

We'll see.
hawkwing_lb: (CM JJ What you had to do)
Books 2011: 67


67. Terry Pratchett, Guards, Guards!

It's been long enough since I've read this that it probably counts as a new book. Vastly entertaining. I'd forgotten how far down Sam Vimes started.

I am sad that further adventures of Errol and his missus probably will never happen, but one can't have everything.




Swam yesterday and today. Sea temp is probably around 12 degrees, and with an air temp of around 18-20 that's plenty balmy for a nice, refreshing dip, particularly since high tide has the courtesy to be around noon, and the breeze is mild. The sea has been clear and calm as (slightly greenish) glass these last couple of days. Beautiful, if numbing.

Sadly, the weather's expected to break on Sunday and go back to being cloudy and drizzly, but at least I have acquired a small itchy mild sunburn in these few precious bright hours!

...Also, there must be something peculiar in Porterhouse Red Ale. I drank a bottle on Tuesday, I think it was, and ended up staying awake until 0530 in the morning. I drank half a bottle when I came in tonight, and was struck by the urge to go running. And I ran longer and further than I have in months. (Although not faster. Still, 18 minutes at about 5mph is not a terrible thing, and the walk back was refreshing.)
hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
I appear to be mostly packed, and the ash cloud seems to be behaving itself. Be good, little ash cloud! I owe the weather gods a libation of hard liquour if I travel safely and without delays. One for going, and one for coming home.

I've lost one of my flipflops, and I apparently have half as many pairs of socks as I thought I did, half of them with significant holes. The things you learn!

In other news, the grandmother came around to visit today. She seems convinced I will be Eaten by Terrible Uncivilised Americans. Or, you know. Have other dreadful things happen to me and end up Deported In Handcuffs.

My grandmother, she does not always look on the brightside.

My mother is less convinced of the likelihood of being Eaten By Cannibals. On the other hand, she tells me if I fail to check in with her every day, she's getting on a plane herself to come track me down.

I'd be irritated by all this parental concern, except, well. It's remarkably warming to know that should anything happen to one, there will be a search party mounted. Loudly. Possibly with the brandishment of sticks.

Anyway. Tomorrow is set to be a fine, sunny day. There might even be swimming. So I must consider what books to take on the plane now, with care.
hawkwing_lb: (Criminal Minds JJ what you had to do)
I appear to be mostly packed, and the ash cloud seems to be behaving itself. Be good, little ash cloud! I owe the weather gods a libation of hard liquour if I travel safely and without delays. One for going, and one for coming home.

I've lost one of my flipflops, and I apparently have half as many pairs of socks as I thought I did, half of them with significant holes. The things you learn!

In other news, the grandmother came around to visit today. She seems convinced I will be Eaten by Terrible Uncivilised Americans. Or, you know. Have other dreadful things happen to me and end up Deported In Handcuffs.

My grandmother, she does not always look on the brightside.

My mother is less convinced of the likelihood of being Eaten By Cannibals. On the other hand, she tells me if I fail to check in with her every day, she's getting on a plane herself to come track me down.

I'd be irritated by all this parental concern, except, well. It's remarkably warming to know that should anything happen to one, there will be a search party mounted. Loudly. Possibly with the brandishment of sticks.

Anyway. Tomorrow is set to be a fine, sunny day. There might even be swimming. So I must consider what books to take on the plane now, with care.
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Howth 033
Howth 033,
originally uploaded by hawkwing_lb.
Flickr finally worked. Yay!

Clicky for pictures. :P
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Howth 033
Howth 033,
originally uploaded by hawkwing_lb.
Flickr finally worked. Yay!

Clicky for pictures. :P
hawkwing_lb: (No dumping dead bodies!)
I woke up this morning stiff as a fricking board, and as a result slept in two hours past the time I'd meant to be up. But guess what! Today, that was just fine. Because today, instead of sticking my nose into dusty books and academic articles, I was going for a hike.

A short hike, and one that started in the afternoon, because even on a Mental Health Day, articles on Social Complexity in Prehistoric Cyprus still exercise a siren call. But eventually I got going, and together with the long-suffering parent, headed out to Howth Head for two hours of joyful walking.

Howth's a brilliant place. I spent most of my childhood there, and going back every so often to walk Deer Park or around the cliffs is a kind of ritual. At this time of year, with the gorse in full bloom and the rhodendrons just beginning to peek out among the green, it's beautiful.

And let's not forget the fact that views from the Ben of Howth and Black Linn - I've never hiked Shielmartin, since to do so one has to cross a golf course full of enthusiastic hard flying objects - are incredible, on a clear day. (On a foggy one, sometimes you can't see your feet.) You can see clear across the north county, and south as far as Dalkey, not to mention the city, and the islands of Ireland's Eye, with its Martello tower and ruined church, and most distant Lambay, opposite the harbour. (The Vikings named them. You can tell.) And Howth Castle, of which the oldest bits still standing (the gatehouse) date to the 15th century.

So the parent parked us in the hotel carpark, and we made a brisk run of it up to the Ben. It's only twenty minutes up, give or take, up a path almost like a tunnel through rhododendron bushes. The view is well worth it. If flickr ever lets me upload my pictures, I'll share 'em.

The top is barren rock and gorse. Two sides are mostly sheer: one side slopes - through many overgrown trees and bushes and the steep path up - to an unused reservoir: the final side slopes more easily down to the dip that lies between the Ben and Black Linn. Standing here, you can see forever. Twenty kilometers easy on an ordinary day: farther, today. And I had my pocket binoculars in our backpack (one of the reasons the parent still consents to go walking with a bouncy twenty-something-year-old: I carry all our crap) which meant we could even see the airport.

We carried on down into the dip. The path was clearer today than it usually is: it's been such a long winter, despite the fact the gorse is out everywhere, under the trees, the ferns haven't had time to grow back from their winter-brown absence. The dip - it's a little gulley: it runs from the flat flank of the golf course to the edge of the reservoir and along towards Howth village proper - is a bit of a wind tunnel, and it was weird to be there, surrounded by new green growth, and not a fern in sight.

Where the slopes of the Ben are forested and bushy, Black Linn's a barren scar of rock. Only gorse and heather grows on it, though in sheltered spots the gorse can grow over head height. It's half an hour from the top of the Ben to the top of Black Linn, if you're pushing: the slope up to the peak is at a greater than 45 degree angle in places. At the top there's a hearth pit: it's been there since before the parent was born and could well be older than a couple of centuries. I've never had the opportunity to try and track down its date.

From Black Linn, there's a couple of ways you can go. If you have all day, you can head up by the quarry for the summit and the cliffs, and hike down for a couple hours to the Asgard Road and the harbour or around by the Bailey Lighthouse to Red Rock and Sutton Strand. Since we didn't have more than an hour to spare, and we wanted to arrive back at the car in timely fashion (these other options rather work better when your goal is the Dart station or a bus stop), we opted to head up towards the radio mast by the quarry and circle back around the shoulder of Black Linn to the Ben, and return the way we came.

And man, was it beautiful. It was still and empty up there, a handful of birds in the heather and the wind in the gorse just chill enough to cut the warmth of the sun and make walking with a pack comfortable. The area of Howth Head is protected by legislation as an area of natural beauty or something or other, legal nonsense that for once actually makes sense.

Two hours of walking, and my calves are letting me know all about it now. But it was worth it.

Howth Head: )

And now I return to the mines of JSTOR for an hour or two. Wish me luck. And give flickr a kick for me, so it starts uploading my pictures.
hawkwing_lb: (No dumping dead bodies!)
I woke up this morning stiff as a fricking board, and as a result slept in two hours past the time I'd meant to be up. But guess what! Today, that was just fine. Because today, instead of sticking my nose into dusty books and academic articles, I was going for a hike.

A short hike, and one that started in the afternoon, because even on a Mental Health Day, articles on Social Complexity in Prehistoric Cyprus still exercise a siren call. But eventually I got going, and together with the long-suffering parent, headed out to Howth Head for two hours of joyful walking.

Howth's a brilliant place. I spent most of my childhood there, and going back every so often to walk Deer Park or around the cliffs is a kind of ritual. At this time of year, with the gorse in full bloom and the rhodendrons just beginning to peek out among the green, it's beautiful.

And let's not forget the fact that views from the Ben of Howth and Black Linn - I've never hiked Shielmartin, since to do so one has to cross a golf course full of enthusiastic hard flying objects - are incredible, on a clear day. (On a foggy one, sometimes you can't see your feet.) You can see clear across the north county, and south as far as Dalkey, not to mention the city, and the islands of Ireland's Eye, with its Martello tower and ruined church, and most distant Lambay, opposite the harbour. (The Vikings named them. You can tell.) And Howth Castle, of which the oldest bits still standing (the gatehouse) date to the 15th century.

So the parent parked us in the hotel carpark, and we made a brisk run of it up to the Ben. It's only twenty minutes up, give or take, up a path almost like a tunnel through rhododendron bushes. The view is well worth it. If flickr ever lets me upload my pictures, I'll share 'em.

The top is barren rock and gorse. Two sides are mostly sheer: one side slopes - through many overgrown trees and bushes and the steep path up - to an unused reservoir: the final side slopes more easily down to the dip that lies between the Ben and Black Linn. Standing here, you can see forever. Twenty kilometers easy on an ordinary day: farther, today. And I had my pocket binoculars in our backpack (one of the reasons the parent still consents to go walking with a bouncy twenty-something-year-old: I carry all our crap) which meant we could even see the airport.

We carried on down into the dip. The path was clearer today than it usually is: it's been such a long winter, despite the fact the gorse is out everywhere, under the trees, the ferns haven't had time to grow back from their winter-brown absence. The dip - it's a little gulley: it runs from the flat flank of the golf course to the edge of the reservoir and along towards Howth village proper - is a bit of a wind tunnel, and it was weird to be there, surrounded by new green growth, and not a fern in sight.

Where the slopes of the Ben are forested and bushy, Black Linn's a barren scar of rock. Only gorse and heather grows on it, though in sheltered spots the gorse can grow over head height. It's half an hour from the top of the Ben to the top of Black Linn, if you're pushing: the slope up to the peak is at a greater than 45 degree angle in places. At the top there's a hearth pit: it's been there since before the parent was born and could well be older than a couple of centuries. I've never had the opportunity to try and track down its date.

From Black Linn, there's a couple of ways you can go. If you have all day, you can head up by the quarry for the summit and the cliffs, and hike down for a couple hours to the Asgard Road and the harbour or around by the Bailey Lighthouse to Red Rock and Sutton Strand. Since we didn't have more than an hour to spare, and we wanted to arrive back at the car in timely fashion (these other options rather work better when your goal is the Dart station or a bus stop), we opted to head up towards the radio mast by the quarry and circle back around the shoulder of Black Linn to the Ben, and return the way we came.

And man, was it beautiful. It was still and empty up there, a handful of birds in the heather and the wind in the gorse just chill enough to cut the warmth of the sun and make walking with a pack comfortable. The area of Howth Head is protected by legislation as an area of natural beauty or something or other, legal nonsense that for once actually makes sense.

Two hours of walking, and my calves are letting me know all about it now. But it was worth it.

Howth Head: )

And now I return to the mines of JSTOR for an hour or two. Wish me luck. And give flickr a kick for me, so it starts uploading my pictures.

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