Fitness

Making shapes with shadow boxing

 

I spend a lot of time searching YouTube for pro boxers and their shadow boxing routines.  Something to do with my trainer always telling me to keep loose and keep flowing so I’m always looking for examples.

I started learning to shadow box by reading a guide by Johnny N then watching YouTube videos of Paul Williams, Manny Pacquiao, then Amir Khan, even an Instagram clip of Ivan Delgado.  Yesterday I came across Chris Eubank Junior’s 10-minute warm up.

His warm up was really impressive.  He’s stretching all his limbs and in between he’s shadowboxing – really small arm and shoulder movements at times but what I found impressive was watching him practice shifting his body weight:  A small step back, a little shuffle right, a subtle tilt of his body left.  Really deliberate.  It was like watching a sleek panther limbering up and moving.  Just watching him made me want to  start throwing and that was around midnight.

Like watching performance art.


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You’re always lucky if you find something that makes you feel free.  Exercise can be a horrible thing (I personally hate interval training!) but I don’t think of boxing as exercise (or football/soccer) – more about expression.  Hope everyone reading this has an activity that makes them feel the same.  It’s good to unburden the soul.

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My first supervised sparring session

 

The sparring? – That was great!  I can’t even remember the name of the kid I was sparring with – that’s really bad – I went off on a tangent writing this – that’s why my memory has gone.

It was just light stuff – no need for even a gum shield but I chose to wear my face guard because I didn’t know the guy.  I didn’t know how hard he would hit.  Plus I hate it when I get punched in the face and it knocks out a contact lens.  I thought it would be good to get used to wearing a face guard… and lastly in the back of my mind… maybe I thought the face guard would encourage the kid to come at me a bit more.

Hmmm I was catching him in the face a little more than he was catching me (at least that’s how I felt it was going) and I read somewhere that the person who’s stronger should  let up a little and try and encourage the other guy to box more.  So I tried not to discourage the kid completely by unloading non stop and not let him get near me.  I was fitter as well but I knew the kid had spent the week boozing at the T-In-The-Park Music Festival so he hadn’t exactly been conditioning himself prior to today.

I tried to work on my movement a little and tucking into my guard just to get used to taking a few body shots.  I think we had something like a total of 3 rounds of 2-minutes.  I got some good feedback from Gary afterwards.  I was a little stiff in my movement and I need to just relax everything and flow a little better.

I really enjoyed it and I hope it didn’t put off the other guy either.  He’d just started out as well.  (Jeez why can’t I remember that kid’s name!? – Was it Kevin?) – I asked Gary if he was in his early twenties – he was seventeen.  Seventeen.

I would love more practice at sparring.  I told Gary that’s where I wanted to be.  Eventually I’d like to get my medical card so I can box at amateur level, competitively.  There are a couple of clubs that offer days that are just sparring and if I start to go to some of those evenings regularly I’d improve but if Gary can find me regular people I can spar with and help with my ring craft then that’s even better.

I always get a little nervous coming back to my trainer.  I try and reason it out and I think maybe I just care about Gary’s opinion and I wouldn’t want him to look at me training, one day and think he was wasting his time.

In a fantastical, ideal world, I’d be 27 years old (not 37) and I’d at least have a chance to win something where Gary would need to put up a shelf to hang a trophy on. Some small amateur competition or a piece of fighting memorabilia like a fight poster of mine.

There’s nothing wrong with an older man dreaming. 🙂

Some things you do in life are purely for your own selfish reasons – maybe even ashamedly so at times but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about the people close to me… Helping me, training me, putting up with me day in, day out.

Even if they despise this sport I love, or can’t see or feel what I see and feel when I lace up my gloves.

I always imagine my first competitive amateur fight will be alone – I don’t think I’d want anyone I know to see me go through something like that.  But it doesn’t mean they’re not in my thoughts in some deep recess where my heart and guts are.

People can think you don’t care because you never call, or you’re never at some family function/special occasion. Maybe you haven’t taken time to meet a new baby that just popped out but those people are always part of you.  I see their faces and hear their voices for a split second when I’m struggling to push myself up or when I’m crying into my towel.  I love those people.  They don’t know it but I can make their strength my own and even on the bad days when I hate myself, I can convince the damaged part of me that I can still do anything.  That it’s not too late.

Is that being over dramatic?  What was this about again?…

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It was a great feeling being in a ring.  It really was.

 

Back at home

Hmm what can I write about?  You ever get that?

Well I’ve been training away and that’s a normal part of my life now so nothing really new there.  Went to Lusby’s during the open mat slot around 16:00 and I was pretty much on my own but that was fine. I lent my iPod to one of the Filipinos, Sherwin, back on the boat.   Sherwin’s iPod broke down and he’s away at sea for three months at a time and I felt bad for him so that was my good deed but I could have done with having my iPod with me, today.

I always get a touch nervous going to my own gym.  Maybe because my trainer is in there and I don’t want to look like a moron.  I needn’t have worried on this occasion.  I was pretty much alone but I managed to get a decent workout and I needed to get a feel for the place again before I come in again this Thursday.  Different gyms have different atmospheres and vibes.  I need to acclimatize a little.

I’ve done a lot of bag work while I was offshore.  To be honest, this time round I’m hoping to learn more ring craft stuff but I’ll speak to Gary and ultimately he’ll determine when I’m ready to learn more. But like the guy said in the movie Creed…

– Kid’s hungry, you gotta feed him sometimes.

I’m enjoying my writing too, just now.  I sent a manuscript for a short story to a couple of publications for some feedback so I’m waiting on that.  Could be a couple of months though. I find it’s quite an anti-social thing being a writer.  I zone out because I’m concentrating a lot on what I’m writing but that’s not good for Emma because it’s bad enough my work takes me away for half the year.  It’s like the boxing though – I just don’t want to waste any more time because suddenly I’m aware that I’m not getting any younger.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all that old either but I don’t have so much time I can casually piss away.  Procrastination is a terrible thing.

Certain topics are easier to write than others.  The boxing stories like The Journeyman I wrote just seem to flow – it’s easier than writing something like a Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings style fantasy.  You don’t have to imagine whole worlds and  create stuff in your head from scratch.  I was thinking of maybe writing a larger fictional story.  Boxing themed again.  Something cathartic, on the theme of redemption – the stuff I wanted the movie Southpaw to be but (for me) didn’t quite manage.

We’ll see. I’m starting to build up a list of writing projects.  Some of them are more ambitious than others.  I’m not such a prolific writer that I can just crap out works of fiction.  My friend Vicki (a writer) was right… It’s important to finish something.  So many ideas never see the light of day – or the light at the end of the tunnel.  I needed to write some shorter stories so that I could know what finishing a story felt like.

The boxing training’s important to me, too.  I can’t always explain it so gracefully but I want to be good in a ring. I don’t want to go in there and look like I’ve just been taken out of a pub brawl.  It’d be nice to look back on all of this some day and say: Yeah, I could box a little bit.

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My 16oz Winning boxing gloves…

I’ve never actually owned a pair of really nice gloves before these and I’ve certainly never written a review on a pair of boxing gloves.  I’m not going to write massive, long prose on subject matter like stitching, don’t worry!  I think there’s someone on another site that’s done that already! 🙂 – just in case that sort of thing floats your boat.

The quality of the leather is really good.  Soft and feels broken in blahdy, blahdy blah [ Sorry! ] but it’s the feel of the glove that’s on another level.  Before this I was boxing in a pair of RDX T9 bag gloves which are about 37 GBP (about 50 USD).  Putting those on and putting these Winning ones on… it’s like night and day.  The first thing you notice when you’re punching is the balance.  The weight distribution on these is amazing.  I can’t really describe it any other way.  They’re so well balanced that despite being 16oz, you can’t actually feel it.

I managed to pick these up on a good deal on ebay from the seller Kozuji for 220 GBP (288 USD) but I know that for some of the fancier colours you can easily add on another 80 USD. You can guess where the money is going.  Materials (without doubt), craftsmanship (absolutely) but for me it’s the balance.  When you lace those suckers up and they’re on your hands – they just feel great.  It’s like you’ve got the boxing equivalent of Excalibur on your hands.

This is my first lace up pair but it’s actually a nice thing walking up to someone and asking them to help you lace up your gloves.  I don’t know what it is but it can help break the ice if you’re in a different gym and you can use it as an excuse to introduce yourself.

They’re a premium price though – there’s no getting around that but if you’re into your training and boxing’s not just a casual fancy then I’d consider these.  I’ve heard about the longevity and the quality of the padding as well.  I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t regret them.

I love mine.

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Weight obsession and 10,000 hours to become great?

I swear I’ve never been so obsessed with my own weight since I started to box.  If I go offshore I’ll probably weigh myself before the trip and then after the trip.  And then when I go home, I’ll probably never even look at the scales but now, I’m weighing myself every day or every other day.  I mean, I don’t even box competitively so there’s absolutely no reason why I need to stay within a certain weight bracket just yet.

…And yet… here I am weighing myself every other day, after I go to the toilet (maybe too much information there!)… it’s ridiculous.  Maybe because I’ve got it into my head that I don’t want to be above middleweight.  I mean can you blame me though?  Some of those guys above that weight are big.  You’re also talking about men that don’t have much body fat either.  It’s almost all muscle.

I’m reading this interesting book just now: Journeymen – The other side of the boxing business.  It’s about the less glamorous side of the UK boxing scene. It’s quite an eye opener.  These journeymen are like the poker grinders of the boxing world.  They fight a few times a month and are often pitted against younger, popular fighters that can sell tickets at venues.  Some of their records are terrible but it’s a mistake to think they can’t box.  They know a lot of tricks and their defence is good. It has to be.  If a journeyman boxer is cut then the officials will forbid that guy from fighting X number of days and therefore, no income to feed your family.  Journeymen boxers can get called up last minute to fill in a spot and they often fight in more than one weight bracket in order to pick up more work.  A guy can fight at one weight, one week and then a few days later he’ll bulk up to make the weight for another fight and then come back down weight again for the next.  It takes a lot of discipline to do that.  It’s a really good book.  I’m about halfway through it.

Talking about weight and eating, I’m trying to use up everything inside my freezer so yesterday was a food scrounge.  Managed to make a vegetarian curry out of the pepper, cauliflower and potato and I also made this lemon loaf cake with some lemons I found because… well… a house is always happier when there’s some kind of cake to eat.  It’s good for the soul.

Went for a run to clear my head.  Poppy’s mending but she can’t walk long distance yet.  I do miss those walks so I ran the route instead.  Nothing crazy.  I don’t time myself – it’s about 5 – 6 songs.  Maybe that’s around 20 minutes – probably equates to around 4 km.

That 10,000 hours thing…

I plan on doing some training later today.  I had some self doubting and self loathing yesterday when I suddenly thought what if I’m no good, what if I’m just looking stupid?  Have you ever seen that statistic that says it takes something like 10,000 hours to become good at something?

I tried to work it out:

If I go offshore, I spend 2.5 hrs a day training for 35 days = 87.5 hrs

I spend half a year offshore so that’s 6 (trips) x 87.5 = 525 hrs

When I’m at home I’ll train maybe a quarter of that 525 / 4 = 131 hrs

So at that rate of training… 10000 / (525+131) = 15 years

15 years to become good.  (Someone should check my math)

I’ve well and truly lost that window.  Ideally I’d want to start at 11 years old and hit my peak at 26 years of age.  That’s if you believe that 10,000-hour statistic.

I can’t just give up though.  I’m not going to be chump change for anyone.  I have to be able to hold my own in a ring.  Maybe that’s all this is. Some kind of pride thing.  I’m not sure anymore.

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Hand wrap review

Okay so it’s not a blog to set your hair alight but I just got back from offshore yesterday and I had a couple of parcels waiting for me like Christmas presents – plus I need a couple of days rest before I carry on with my training so I thought why not write this?

I love the process of wrapping your hands.  Like Johnny says on his ExpertBoxing website – wrapping your hands is the 5-10 minute ritual where any office worker, athlete or school kid transforms into a boxer.

You wrap your hands to protect the small bones in your hands so it’s very important you wrap your hands correctly. This wrapping your hand guide on ExpertBoxing is the only one I use (apparently recommended by Pepper Roach – Freddie Roach’s brother of Wildcard Boxing Gym)

I’ve been mainly using these wraps from Adidas while I was offshore, 4.5m long which is like 15ft.

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Really nice material with a little bit of stretch.  Much nicer material than the ones made by RDX.  I was training everyday with these for the last 5 weeks and they were washed every day too.  The only problem was that after 5 weeks, I found the velcro was wearing and it was losing its stickiness.

I ordered these VL-B wraps by Winning and their knuckle protectors while I was away and tried them on just now:

You just wrap over the knuckle protectors but it feels really good.  The Winning wrapping is much thinner than the Adidas type and it resembles the tape and gauze wrap that you see professionals using.  It’s very fine though and it was a touch more fiddly to keep the wrap straight when I was making my turns.  The Winning wrap is longer than 4.5m but you need that extra length.

My hand felt great though and it felt really good inside my glove.  I’ve never used additional padding on my knuckles before but I was putting a lot of time into the bag work and I may start using this more.

The Winning wrap and the protectors are washable and re-useable unlike the gauze and athletic tape that pros use.  I’ve never used the gel gloves or wrapped over these but Gary, my trainer, doesn’t recommend them.  I don’t know if anyone out there has tried gel gloves and wants to comment.  These knuckle protectors may be a happy medium.

Washing hand wrap is still a nightmare to untangle from the rest of your laundry and NEVER, EVER buy red hand wrap!  The colour will just run and stain your other laundry in your washing machine.  I’d stick to black, white or yellow.

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White collar boxing

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day…

Now whoever said that probably didn’t mean for me to eat double the intake to try and guarantee I had a grandiose style day.

I’m in the Scandic Solsiden in Trondheim Norway after a 5 week trip offshore so if you can’t take a few liberties here and there… well then… I don’t think life’s worth living

There’s a cost-reducing initiative at my company so getting off the boat and checking into the hotel – I had to double up with Bryan just for the night.  There was a moment of panic when we walked into the room and saw this:

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We just laughed at that point but I think we were both glad when we realized the beds could be pulled apart.

I’ve been working nights and the boxing’s taken its toll so as soon as I showered and sat in bed, I pretty much blacked out.

When I woke up I just lay in bed… window wide open, fresh air blowing in – plugged in my headphones and listened to some music… I thought about my wife, my dog, the boxing… just being home again – had a big smile on my face.  I went down for an early breakfast and just left Bryan sleeping with the room to himself.  Gotta give a guy his privacy.

Talk more about the white collar boxing!…

[…sorry yeah I was just getting onto that!…]

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs and I found a few good ones to follow including John Grimshaw, a guy training for an amateur charity boxing bout in 5 weeks.  It’s under the UK company Stealth UK Boxing.  StealthUK do these white collar boxing events where amateurs and beginners train for X-weeks and then they get to fight someone of equal ability.  They get the full arena-style experience and all the tickets that get sold, go to charity.  Sounds pretty awesome I have to say and I’m more than envious.  He’s got 8 weeks to lick himself into shape and he (and his wife) have my heartfelt admiration.  Training that intensely can take you away from the things and people you love and it’s never easy on your ties.  So if you’re reading this John, here’s to you, Mrs Grimshaw and baby Grimshaw.

There’s nothing like a deadline to keep you focussed either.

I’ve been boxing since April which puts me around 8 weeks but one day when my trainer Gary thinks I’m ready, I may look for something like this.  John’s bout is in Middleton, Manchester which is a little out of my way (me living in Scotland) but I’m not ruling out any part of the UK.  That’s the whole Musha shugyō thing again.

It’s not just about boxing or even health and fitness 🙂 … whatever you’re training in or whatever goal you want for yourself keep going for it and when you’re tired and strung out… just try to remember why you began in the first place.

As for me… well right now, I’m just looking forward to returning home.  I’m going to take a couple of days off this week and then I’m going to start training again.  Nothing too strenuous.  4-5 km runs and a bit of bag work.  That will shave my weight back down to 73 to 74 kg and in the second week, I’ll be back inside Lusby’s gym.  Back with Gary, back to my training and back to business.

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There are all kinds of people in the blogosphere and the rest of the world – with their own goals, heartache and personal motivations. I’ll try and say a prayer for all of you.  Love you all. – Southpaw Swan


Musha shugyō (武者修行?) is a samurai warrior’s quest or pilgrimage. The concept is similar to the Chinese Youxia, or Knight Errantry in feudal Europe. A warrior, called a shugyōsha, would wander the land practicing and honing his skills without the protection of his family or school.

I don’t want to hurt anyone…

Sound familiar?

I came across a blog post today where someone was interested in boxing but wasn’t so sure due to the fact that they didn’t like to hurt other people.

Part of the  refusal to “engage” in hurting other people is to do with your own sense of humanity in some ways.  Some people have no problem with clouting other people but if you’re a considerate person who thinks a lot before you act that’s also a good thing.  Maybe it’s the reason why you’re always trying to second-guess yourself before you throw down.

You don’t need to actually hurt anyone if you don’t want to!

Depends how passionately you feel about your boxing and other physical sports?  With boxing are you just learning the techniques for fitness or do you truly wanted to spar – and I did say “spar” and not “fight” – they are two different things.  (maybe not to some but they are different!).  You have to work out what kind of a person you are.  In my mind, sparring still remains that truest test of whether your techniques have borne any fruit.  Whether you can translate that training to your instincts inside of a ring.  You are going to get hit of course and you are going to end up hitting the other person but there’s nothing wrong with two people standing against each other practicing together.  “Today I’m going to learn something about you and in doing that, I’m going to learn something about myself as well.”  You have to take things in the correct spirit and with yourself.

There’s a lot of respect between two people who box and spar and fight.  I think we all have instincts – some are not so easy to see in others – with some people it’s very obvious if they’re leaders or warriors or if they’re more introverted and cerebral in their approach. I don’t think people who practice boxing are are any different.  You just have to work out what kind of person you are and remember – if you decide to box purely to learn the techiques, for fitness without the sparring stuff… well there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that 🙂  But if you’re passionate about something, you may discover things about yourself you didn’t realize were there.  That’s the beauty of falling in love with something.  Be it sport, boxing, people, whatever.

I truly think there is a sport or activity for everyone out there.  Something that becomes instantly identifiable within, when you try it.  You just have to have a bit of luck to discover it and be a little bit outgoing to actually come across it in the first place.

When I look at a piano, I just see a piece of wood and some pedals but for some people, they can just sit at it and they just know they’re supposed to play. That doesn’t mean they’ll instantly be great at it but they know deep down it’s something meant for them. 

We’re all creatures of habit. Some more than others but if you like the look of something then never be afraid to give it a go.  You never know where it may take you and with most cases, the journey is more important than the destination.

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Last of the offshore sessions

The end is definitely within sight now.  I thought I was going home on Sunday but those plans changed so the big vessel exodus is still Monday.

I was going to take my morning off training today  and watch the Wales v Belgium football game but I was so tired I slept in until 23:30.  I think it’s just coming to the end of the trip and my body has completely worn down.  I was happy for Wales though as they won 3-1.  I missed a good game apparently.  Typical!

I’ll probably go for a session after shift and then I’ll go for a final one tomorrow when I wake up and that will be the end of the offshore sessions.

I’m getting some weird pains in my left arm when I try and throw a left hook which is really strange.  I’m not sure where that’s come from in the last few days but it feels like the pain vibrates right up my arm to my bicep.  It’s quite a sharp pain.  Almost makes me freeze.

It’s been good though.  Training-wise it’s been great.  Boxing offshore’s really given me something to look forward to every single day. The boxing gear I ordered for the ship arrived as well.  To be honest I try and stay away from the welfare committee nowadays as I feel it’s becoming more of a thankless task.

The welfare commitee is basically a group of people on the vessel who discuss what to do with the welfare money in order to improve the living of the rest of the crew.  Like getting gym equipment, buying a new TV for the day room, organizing a day trip out to a theme park – that’s all classed as “welfare”.

The aim is to try and do some good but then someone starts to complain yet you find yourself roped into doing it again because (a) You’re one of the few that can be bothered and (b) you’re that guy.

It can get to the stage where your crew have fallen out with the other crew over something and the welfare money gets split into two.  You end up in a situation where “You do what you want with it and we do what we want with it.”  That kind of thing.  That’s a rare case but it’s just an example.

I have to visit Lusby’s boxing gym when I get home and Gary can see if I’ve made any progress.  My arms definitely have better  stamina now and it feels like I can punch a little faster.  Note I said faster not harder.

My Adidas boxing boots are stained with dirt, a few salt water marks and the grip on the sole’s worn down a little as well for good measure.

I went and bought a pair of Winning Pro gloves from ebay which I’m seriously excited about.  They’re almost like the Holy Grail of boxing training gloves and a pair of flourescent yellow Nike Hyper KOs.  The Adidas boots I’ll take offshore with me to train and the Nike ones I’ll keep at home.

Nike Hyper KO16oz Winning Training gloves

 

I’m a bit wary of buying nice gear though.  Let’s face it, you don’t want to buy great gear when you’re absolutely crap at something – you just end up looking stupid.  I just love that colour and design of boot though and as for the boxing gloves, I’ve heard that there’s no fit and protection like Winning.  Let’s face it, out here I was spending between 2 to 3 hours a day training so protecting my hands is really important.

More than anything though I miss Emma and my dog.  I just want to go home and enjoy their company, do a little more writing.  I miss visiting the boxing gyms near my home and I just miss being a civillian I guess.  My wife even told me someone from my local village football team was looking for me to play.  Now there’s something new.  I’ve been talking to them for a few weeks now to see if I can get a game and they finally came calling!  I watched a few games down our local playing fields and it looked a little “blood guts and thunder” which I’m not too sure about. It’s a different vibe to your friendly game of fives.  As a country we talk about wanting to be on a technical par with the rest of the world but you look down at this level and we’re still a nation of warriors when it comes to football and I think to myself – is that something I want to be part of?

[Sigh] I’ll see when I get home.

 

I’m nearly home

My alarm kicked me up at 22:30 today.  (My shift starts at midnight) – I knew I was going to take a rest from the training but what I didn’t expect was to fall deep asleep again.

Like I blacked out.

Next thing I know Rich (my room mate) is knocking on the door. Luckily he needed to go to the gym so at least I could get my shit together and leave the room nice and tidy.  Just as well we were at the dockyard and not on shift, out at sea.

So yeah check my new room out (I got the top bunk):

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Getting down from there is a nightmare.  That ladder does absolute Jack.  What I really need is a fireman’s pole to slide down.  But then again I sleep completely naked and the thought of where a friction burn may occur is making my eyes water.

Why do I gotta move cabins?

I’ve had to move into another cabin and share because it’s pretty busy just now at the dockyard.  The vessel is maxed out with engineers trying to do their work.  I haven’t slept in a bunk for a while (maybe 3 years).  It gets warmer because there’s not as much circulation – you’re closer to the ceiling. I woke up and I was sweating (despite the temperature turned right down).  I couldn’t be sure though because I had a bad dream about Hiss, the snake from Jungle Book.  Sharing the cabin’s fine though because Rich works days and I work nights.  We’re never in the room at the same time.  Oh yeah and I banged my head at least 3 times during the night.

I’m tired…, erm again

I needed to take a day off from the training completely today and that whole sleeping-in thing just confirmed that.  Either that, or my sleep was so poor that my paltry 5-6 hours just wasn’t cutting it.  Plus I woke up and my elbow joint was just sore.  Plain sore.  Too much punching action.

Want to write more

I was thinking of my short story The Kid and even though it constituted the equivalent of a a few hundred words… that’s the first piece I’ve ever finished writing since I was 15.

And you know what?

…I really enjoyed just reading something complete.  I just hope I can translate that into something bigger.  I’ve wanted to publish something since I was 15 but back then my old man stopped me from pursuing that.  He got it into his head that going science and engineering was a safer bet.  Maybe he was right (because judging from the number of stories I’ve trashed maybe I’m not a natural storyteller) but it’d mean the world for me to be able to get a story out.  Something finished.

That boxing gear we ordered on welfare arrived!

Did I mention that some of the other crew took a bit of interest in my boxing?  So I think some of those guys  wanted to try it at some stage so I was allowed to buy a new heavy bag.  (The one I resurrected was pretty old and by week 2 I’d punched all the sand to the bottom). We also decided to buy some gloves and some focus pads and some other bits and pieces.  Hung the bag up just today – check it out…

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It’s 1.5m tall – that’s 5-feet.  It’s pretty solid.  Had to do some trickery with the chain to get it to hang higher.  It sits pretty nicely now.

Reunited with my Reeboks

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I left these on another boat almost 4 years ago.  The crewing manager promised me I’d return but I never did and they actually demobbed her a few weeks ago and I got some personals back.  These are just a pair of Reeboks I bought when I was in Galveston, Texas. First pair of Reeboks ever but they’re such a great running shoe.  They only cost me 45 bucks (compared to some of the crazy 200 dollar jobs you can find) but they’re the only running shoes I ever tried to buy thereafter.  I don’t think Reebok make the Realflex model like this anymore.  There’s something about this design I love so much.  It’s a shame they stopped.  The new one’s aren’t so nice.  I’ll treasure these until the day the grip dies.

Poppy is getting better

I mentioned my dog had a stroke while I was away but she’s getting better.  She’s walking stronger, getting back to her old self.  Stairs are still a bit of a problem for her but she’s improving all the time.  I’ve got 4 more days away from my wife and dog (and the cats) but I miss them so very much.

One more thing I need to mention…

When I started writing this blog I just wanted to keep a diary on my boxing… but I read and follow other people.  I didn’t expect that I’d take an interest like that but some people are keeping diaries on their illnesses, their problems and their worries and I found that I really care about those people.  I want them to get better and get over their hurdles.  I’d love for people like  peaceableme to not feel so forlorn or for boxingandballet to feel better at work.  It makes my problem of trying to make my left cross better seem so trivial and stupid.  I hope they’re all fine.

Here’s a view of Rissa in Norway where we are just now.  This is about as dark as it ever gets this time of year and there was more light than this because the exposure on my camera phone wasn’t so great. (I was stood underneath the helideck)

rissa

Hey tomorrow I’ll tell you the story of how I took this forklift truck for a joyride, how does that sound? – Still sounds crap maybe? Oh well, I’ll try and make a fair stab of making it seem interesting.