Saturday, 7 February 2009

There's No Place Like Rome.......

So the budget was finally passed (bit late with this I know). The Greens, as I predicted were put back in their box having ended up with less than half of what they originally had in their hand. Labour, voted for it after conspicuously failing to cover themselves in glory (not really got to grips with the idea of constructive opposition yet eh guys?).
But who was mooted as the 'party of the moment' by one TV pundit when they looked ready to strike a deal with the SNP? Step forward that collective of parliamentary charlatans the Lib Dems. They had demanded a 2p tax cut as the price of their support. This would have caused a black hole in already precarious finances of some £800m, a hole that they helpfully failed to offer any solutions on how to fill apart from some kind of 'it'll be allright on the night' type thing.
It was clear to me that the Lib Dems were never expecting to get their way when they sent Chief Whip Mike Rumbles to negotiate for them. Mr Rumbles had previously enjoyed a mild, albeit dull, notoriety after adopting some kind of bizarre maverick persona whilst the Lib Dems were in coalition with Labour, but this has failed to have any impact now they are in opposition. It was inevitable that he would give a burlesque storming out of the meeting with Swinney performance, allowing the Lib Dems to do their usual hand wringing and breast beating. In the end, they caved in for not very much at all. Smart move guys.

On a personal front, I got my Roman armour mounted on a stand:

I'm getting two more stands made for my harnesses of 15th and 16th century plate armour. My new harness of 15th century Italian armour is still being made, although the helmet has arrived. I'm looking forward to fighting in it, although I will try and avoid a recurrence of an incident when some 'friends' put a few tropical fish fridge magnets on me in places I couldn't reach. It was a colourful albeit bizarre incident which confused small children.

I'm coming to the end of the 15th week of my diet. I'm down five suit sizes, and feel much healthier, although a journalist friend phoned me up and told me that "everyone preferred cuddly Jim". Encouraging. The leader of the council also asked if I had surgery. The answer to that is no, I simply stopped eating crap and drinking alcohol.

I now train with one of these for four hours a week:

It's a Russian Kettlebell and it provides an amazing workout. If you want to see rapid results you could do a lot worse than try training with one, though be warned it is incredibly hard work.

The dreaded Valentines Day is almost upon us and having promised Girlfriend dinner in some nice and suitably expensive restaurant, I have left it too late to get a table anywhere. To be fair to girlfriend, she is being very good about it and seems to have known this would happen.

That very nice blogger Fox in Detox (who is also reticent about Valentines Day) has tagged me with a challenge to post 25 random facts about myself. I'll compile them over the next day or two and post them up (though I may be a tad circumspect given some of the people that read this blog).

I haven't booked a holiday yet, but this year looks likely to be France or Italy. If it's Italy, then we would have to drop in on my relatives, and Girlfriend isn't that keen. In a strange coincidence, my cousin was elected to his local council near Pisa at the same time I was elected here. Last time I was there was with former fiance and they lent us a car which was so impossibly small I had to have the sunroof open so I could sit up straight whilst driving. This provided two weeks of amusement for the locals as I drove around with the top of my head sticking out of the roof.

I have finally persuaded Girlfriend to come to Japan with me next year. I have wanted to visit Japan since I took up martial arts twenty years ago, but have never managed it. Helpfully, having lived there for some years, Girlfriend speaks and reads Japanese which is really the only way the trip is possible for me given my notoriously bad sense of direction.

Apart from all of that, things remain very busy both on the council and work front. The announcement by the Scottish Government that local elections will be put back until 2012, giving us a five year term, instigated a sense of humour failure in Girlfriend, but I enjoy serving the community and at the end of the day it's a privilege to do so.


Luke said...

Hi Jim;

Hey, you will enjoy Japan, I went there on a months work placement around a year ago & I still miss the place! But whatever you do don't read any street or shop signs :)

What diet are you on? Sounds very interesting! (15 suit sizes, wow!)


Jim said...

Hi Luke,

Thanks for stopping by.

I'm really excited about the trip and can't wait. I only wish it was this year instead!

The diet is a high protein one. I eat a lot of protein bars instead of meals up to a set amount.

I also 'calorie shift' which means on some days I have more calories than on others, although I now go out for a meal once or twice a week. I cut out alcohol completely and am surprised not to miss it at all.

I walk for an hour a day, but as the weight loss started to slow, I supplemented this with the kettlebell training which has speeded it up again and is starting to add some lean muscle too.

I have only just got into the fifth suit size down, and have another two to go to achieve my target, which I hope to do within ten weeks.

It's been hard work, but well worth it!



Fox In Detox said...

Wow Jim! Congratulations on all the hard work.. and having it pay off. Something I'm still trying to achieve. Thanks for the shout out too. I'm looking forward to your "list".