Hoop Physio

Hoop Physio – neck, sternum & rotator cuff rehabilitation of sports injury

Happy New Year! Here’s what I’ve been up to, most of the last couple of years, since crash-landing on the parkour gym tumble-track in June 2013, folding in half at the neck and faceplanting into my own torso – technically I shouldn’t still be here, let alone walking around, blogging, breathing etc… thanks to yoga for life for the extra bendy spine.

Issues have been many, varied and changeable – pain, stability, vomiting, swallowing, speech slurring, pain, holding head up, walking in a straight line, sitting upright, pain, clumsiness, dropping things, pain, pins and needles, pain, insomnia, boredom, muscle atrophy, nerve signal, sudden eye deterioration (possible vertebral artery insufficiency – having another MRI to investigate neck scarring, discs and positioning in the next fortnight)… strength, dizziness, vertigo, more pain…

I’m about halfway back together now, following sternum surgery and physiotherapy, fixed braces for a year which helped by aligning my bite and reduced neck muscle aggravation by stopping me grinding my teeth, lens replacement and vitrectomy in both eyes just before Christmas, and a very recent gym referral.

Last year I started messing around with my hula hoops, and developed a separate set of exercises that addressed a lot of my issues with muscle tone, flexibility, nerve signal, stability and grip. A few people got interested in trying them out as well, so I’ve just finished making this video tutorial and session run-through to share.

Sitting at the computer editing and rendering the finished version was harder than filming it, pain-wise, but I hope it’s worth it – someone else might need the physio inspiration, you never know.

New Year’s Resolution for 2016 – keep doing more of this stuff, and maybe change my career… 🙂

L xx

Opening Doors Inwards and Going Outside: Writing v. Parkour

My blog exchange piece for Dan Holloway, on an unexpected pairing of pursuits, posted this week 🙂 x

dan holloway

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience of endurance rowing training, and the effect it has on my creative life. As I wrote, I found myself thinking about more and more of the creative people I know
(and those, most famously of course Haruki Murakami, about whom I know) who do something similar, training hard (I won’t indulge in transferene and say obsessively) at a particular kind of individual, repeetitive, non-competitive, endurance based physical activity. And I realised I really wanted to find out how it affected them.

And so I decided I’d love to have those people write for me about their experience. I am delighted to start with Lisa Scullard. Like many of my writing friends, I met Lisa on the writers’ site Authonomy about 5 years ago. We have since met in person several times and I have had the privilege of hosting…

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Caruncula Royale: A Zombie Parody

Prince vs. Kate Bush – Times for Running mash-up…

We dash past the customers of Casabladder, who deign to turn their icy stares of apathy at us, as we hurtle through without caution.

“My brother!” Cottoneye Joe bellows, and Sandy skids abruptly to a stop, while I cannon into his back, like a Newton’s twat. “Your medicine. For our cousin.”

He holds out a green glass bottle with a cork stopper, held in place with an intricately-twisted gold filigree wire.

Sandy accepts it, with a deep bow. I find myself sagging in the same manner automatically in self-preservation, still determined not to offend anyone if I can help it.

“Thank you, B’Dah B’Dim!” Sandy shouts at his own sandals, before tucking the bottle inside his belt and snapping upright again, in a way that would have put most men’s hamstrings on the at-risk register. “Come, Miss Bellum!”

Remarkably, nothing is disturbed in our wake, as we rush back outside into the streets of the citadel comprising the Eight a.m. Lounge.

“What will happen to Carvery and Amiira?” I gasp, struggling to keep pace.

“That is up to the Surgeons of Justice!” Sandy calls over his shoulder. “Let us hope the officials are having a good day!”

We pound along the narrow alleyways, getting busier now with traders and hagglers. Somehow, Sandy keeps his robes clear of the stalls and passers-by in the headlong rush.

Two shadows fly overhead again, and I recognise Ace still in pursuit of Luke, across the rooftops.

“Stop, you stringy chav!” Ace’s voice is heard yelling. It is followed by the sound of gunshots, which almost stops my exhausted heart in its tracks.

“Why are they shooting?” I cry.

“They are easily excited, Miss Bellum!” Sandy tells me. “They all want to be part of the chase and the capture! A running thief is vermin here – open season is declared!”

“Sounds more like ‘Open Fire!’,” I retort, and am rewarded with a volley of further shots.

I try to keep my eyes on Ace as he runs along the ridge-poles and gutters, after our errant taxi-driver. They clatter over the clay tiles, and slither over laundry laid out on the baking terracotta to dry, in the morning sun. More than once they cross the alleyway, leaping from aerial flight-path to flight-path, as Luke attempts to shake off his pursuer.

“If you didn’t nick it…” Ace hollers. “Why are you running?”

“Only dead men stand still!” Luke cries over his shoulder, and is almost proven right on the spot as a brick chimney beside him is shot to pieces.

He clutches his hands to his head, cursing, and dashes wildly away again.

Ace runs straight through the wreckage of the chimney, kicking the rubble aside, and disappears after him, out of sight from the ground below.

“Hurry, Miss Bellum!” Sandy urges me.

I realise that I’ve been staring into space at the spot where Ace was a second before, and pull myself together once more. Oh, yes. What will happen to Carvery? I hope they have some special torture policy here prior to cutting bits off him… or just a little room somewhere with a broken deckchair and some manacles… maybe do a few choice things to him with a knotty rope and some hot water…

What’s it called, the torture thing they do, with the board? Wakeboarding? Surfboarding? Maybe I made it up…

We reach the alleyway outside the surgery, and at first I only see the huddle of camels.

“Amiira!” Sandy roars. “Where are you? Make it known that you are chaperoned, my white desert lily!”

Carvery steps out from behind the largest camel, frowning.

“What’s with all the yelling?” he grumbles.

“Ace said you were here alone with Amiira,” I pant, catching up.

“Should have known he’d go and drop me in it,” Carvery scoffs. “He won the toss over who got to chase Luke when we recognised him, and left me here on my own. For all I know, Amiira’s still inside, with Crispin and Homer and A’Bandaiid.”

Sandy hurries inside. But as for me, I’ve never felt so disappointed. The tears are pricking at my eyelashes before I can stop them.

“What?” Carvery asks, suddenly grinning. “You look like you’ve lost a dollar and found a dead donkey.”

“But… but…” I blab, the exhaustion and adrenalin too much for me all at once. “I only wanted to see them do the cheese-board thing before they cut anything off…”

“Why are you obsessing over what you’re missing out on in the world of cheese?” he wants to know. “If you’re that hungry, I’m sure there are some spare parts from the Seven a.m. Lounge that Crispin might let you nibble on. He could probably spare you a kidney.”

One of the camels groans, in almost a human fashion. Carvery slaps it on the many layers of blankets sharply, and it stops.

“No, I’m not hungry,” I sigh, and slump against the wall dejectedly. Damn. No entertaining torture for Carvery Slaughter yet. I’d have loved to see him get cheese-boarded, I acknowledge shamefully.

Yes. Tie him to a large Blue Stilton and force a well-matured Stinking Bishop up his nose until his brains explode out of his ears…

“Sarah,” Carvery says, in that warning voice that suggests he knows exactly what I’m thinking. “You’re drooling again.”

“Sorry.” I wipe my chin absently.

“Are you sure you haven’t had a stroke?”

Sandy emerges again, looking concerned.

“She has gone off alone, it appears,” he announces, and scratches his brow in agitation. “She must have sneaked out when you noticed the thief, Mr. Slaughter! My brother B’Dah B’Dim will cut off her allowance if she keeps gallivanting about like this!”

“That sounds painful,” I empathise, quickly. “How is Homer? Will we know if the medicine works soon?”

“He is not himself at all, Miss Bellum!” Sandy shakes his head sadly. “I fear that knock on the head may have affected him permanently!”

He whirls and goes back into the surgery, and I gulp. Poor Homer… and poor Crispin! How is he coping? But I daren’t go inside to find out. I have a feeling I’m still not going to be in his good books.

A crash overhead and a plummeting flowerpot indicates the passing of Luke once more, and his silhouette sails across the passage outside the surgery, disturbing the camels. It is followed by a skidding noise, and suddenly a stream of tiles flies after him, spinning one-by-one through the air, as if fired from a clay-pigeon trap.

“Wanker!” shouts Ace, skimming a sixth or seventh terracotta tile.

A distant yelp from Luke answers him, as one of the missiles evidently strikes its target. The yelp is succeeded by a loud crash, and looking up, I see Ace crouch, just before he clears the alleyway with another single leap, heading in the direction of the commotion.
Shouting erupts, and someone calls for a net.

“Sounds like they got him,” Carvery remarks, and gives the camel a sharp dig with his elbow, as it groans again in a pained manner. “I really hope we’re not missing all the grisly stuff.”

“Quite,” I agree, still thinking about Carvery getting cheese-boarded.

So unfair… even a little cottage cheese in the armpits, or some cold Dairylea, right in the ear-canal… I’d pay to see that…

Freerunning/parkour chase from Casino Royale – enjoy 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords

Diuretic 13: A Zombie Parody

House of Pain vs Bel Biv Devoe – Jump Around/Poison mash-up…

I drain my Sloe Gin Sling quickly, as Sandy hurries to my side.

“Are you all right, Miss Bellum?” he asks.

“I think I just need some fresh air,” I say, rising unsteadily from my seat. “Who was that?”

“No-one of interest,” he assures me. “There are other parasites here besides the Squidmorphs! We will take a turn around the fountain in the courtyard. The scent of the lilies and wisteria will revive you.”

He gallantly offers me his arm. We head through the bustling bar and out through the far side, into the glorious dappled sunshine of a shady walled garden within the buildings. A bubbling fountain in the centre cools the air, and the rainbow array of flowers are a soothing contrast to the harsh hubbub indoors.

I try to take deep breaths as we walk around this little oasis, before my brain is overwhelmed with further adjectives.

“This is quite normal for the Caruncula Casabladder, Miss Bellum,” Sandy reassures me, as I rest on the tiled edge of the fountain. The decoratively cool mosaic design is a relief through the seat of my all-too-thermal Naval uniform. “You must not take anything personally. But it is safe to talk here. It is one of the few places where it is safe to talk.”

For some reason I don’t feel like talking right now. I’ve just seen a man decapitated for sitting down at a table with me, and calling me a traitor. I’m more wary of further offending any other law-abiding citizens of the Eight a.m. Lounge, after that little display.

“You did mention treason,” I say at last, cautiously. “What constitutes treason here, exactly?”

“Attempting to broker or sell sacred hereditary objects, either whole or in constituent parts,” Sandy replies. “Sleeping with one’s mistress within the Palace walls, or courting a new one in his Lordship’s apartments. Procuring a beast for carnal knowledge. Watering-down of lamp-oil or medicinal spirits. Entering the Temple of the Moon on a Tuesday morning after 09:20 hours wearing a blue feather – Homer has had some narrow escapes there, I can tell you. Public preaching of sacrilegious texts, or unconfirmed UFO sightings. Many things, Miss Bellum. There is a six-hundred page moral addendum in the Library of Scrolls here if you would care to look – but it can only be accessed on a Thursday between 10:04 and 16:17 hours without committing…”

“Treason?” I guess, and he nods.

“Wise indeed. I can tell you are a woman who respects cultural differences!” he approves. “And what is your own personal heathen faith, if you will permit me to ask?”

“I would not dream of offending you by mentioning it aloud,” I reply, politely.

He grins broadly, revealing several gold molars.

“Clever girl.” He gestures around the courtyard. “We like to consider this a free society, in our decadent little Eight a.m. Lounge pied à terre, away from the rest of the civilized world – but you would be amazed how careful folk are. More than anywhere else. To do business in such a confined and limiting space, you will find good manners are learned quickly.” He sighs. “Life here functions very well. But there are others who are envious, who would wish to tax and regulate such a successful independent enclave. Introduce their hypermarket monopoly culture, and fast-food chains. Their modern places of mass consumer worship. Destroying the solitary businessman. Destroying the soul’s own unique journey through life – and the afterlife.”

“I can see why defending the Lounge is so important,” I venture.

“You will have noticed similar tendencies elsewhere also!” he agrees, in his usual enthusiastic way. “Arming themselves to the teeth, ready for any invasion from either side, yes? Practising their skills and manoeuvres, maybe?”

A small part of my hindbrain kicks me in the upper lobes. Perhaps what he means, is: HAVE you noticed similar tendencies elsewhere?

Is he fishing for tactical information on the sly…?

“I wouldn’t be qualified to answer,” I reply at last, honestly. “I saw a lot of laundry being done, and some failed attempts to brew Guinness. But that’s about it.”

“Hmmm,” he muses. “Yes… where Guinness is concerned, a plentiful supply of clean laundry is certainly necessary. I do not think you have anything to concern yourself about there, Miss Bellum.”

I’m already concerned… in a tactic of my own, I try changing the subject.

“Will Cottoneye Joe – I mean, your brother B’Dah B’Dim – will he have the right medicines for Homer?” I query.

“The best tonics known to mankind are right here in the Caruncula Casabladder,” Sandy confirms, proudly. “We will soon have that curious brain and those wayward kidneys of my cousin’s functioning properly again.”

A sudden supersonic roar overhead makes me jump, and three triangular flat shadows streak above the courtyard. Across the walled city, a Doppler of automatic rifle-fire follows them, joined by a chorus of indignant shouting.

“What was that?” I ask, half-deafened by the noise.

“Those are aerial spies from the Nine a.m. Lounge,” Sandy tells me. “Every day, they fly past, hoping to find us swallowed up by the desert, so that they may move in and expand their territory. Fools. They look forward to the day they believe that the taxmen and regulators will flatten our haven of peaceful business, and turn it into some ghastly modern theme park of glass and cement. They are too narrow-minded to see that without the Eight a.m. Lounge, there is no Nine a.m.”

He reaches inside a fold of his robes. I gulp.

Am I about to be sacrificed also?

But instead of the dagger I am expecting, he produces a tiny handmade notebook – almost an exact miniature replica of Mr. Dry Senior’s diary!

He turns it reverently in his fingers. It is only about an inch tall.

“You will take this micro-text to the Nine a.m. Lounge,” he states. It does not sound like a request. “There, you will give it to our contact in the Dry family empire. He will know what to do.”

Oh, my God – I’m being press-ganged into becoming a spy!

“But…” I begin, as he presses the small leather-bound book into my hand and closes my fingers around it. “Who? How will I tell?”

Before Sandy can speak again, there is a crash in the wisteria behind him, as something falls heavily from the roof. We both turn to view the damage.

A dusty shape groans, and tries to stand upright.

I’d recognise that brown Christian Audigier hooded jacket with the gold skull motif on anywhere…

“Luke!” I shout, as Sandy’s scimitar finds his sword-hand again, prepared to strike.

Our Nigerian taxi-driver – and thief, Mr. Lukan – leaps free of the shrubbery, eyes widening wildly. From a standing jump, he avoids the sweep of Sandy al Dj’eBraah’s blade, flying onto the uppermost rim of the stone fountain.

“Sarah!” he cries out to me, running around the narrow circumference to evade the slashing thrusts, kicking up diamond-like droplets of water from the shallow marble bowl. “It’s not what you think!”

“You stole the clockwork hand!” I shout back at him. “That was given to me to look after!”

“You don’t understand!” he yells, on his second or third lap of the fountain. “It doesn’t belong…”

He is interrupted by a second flying shadow. From the terracotta tiled roof of Casabladder, a glistening flash of bare-torsoed wiry muscle and dark Naval uniform trousers leaps, coiled like a spring, and lands with a menacing splash – right in the marble alongside.

My heart implodes. Oh boy – Ace Bumgang sober

“Cough it up, dude,” Ace says, without any attempt at preliminary Machiavellian wordplay.

Luke curses, and jumps the opposite way, desperately. Fear propels him to the far side of the roof, where he barely grabs the guttering before scrambling upward the rest of the way, and disappearing across the protesting clay tiles.

“Ace!” I cry. He glances down at me briefly, muscles twitching and ready, like an Adonis on Aspartame. My heart is using my uvula as a trapeze! I try to swallow it back down. “Ace – who’s looking after the camels?”

Nice, Sarah Bellum, says my self-esteem – putting my ego into a headlock and drop-kicking it into my large intestine. Show him where your priorities lie, why don’t you?

“Carvery and Amiira,” he replies, flatly. He shrugs to flex his shoulders, and clicks his neck. “Stay there, I’m going after Luke.”

And he jumps clear across the square to the other rooftop, landing with both feet on the tiles before running after the taxi-driver, in pursuit.

“They must be stopped!” Sandy gasps as they depart, sheathing his sword. “It is forbidden. There will be uproar! The hounds will be unleashed!”

“Let me guess,” I say, once my heart has recovered from Ace’s energetic display. I wave my hand in the direction he has just taken. “Treason?”

“Yes! You have a keen mind, Sarah Bellum!” Sandy claps me on the shoulder, almost knocking me over. “But not by Mr. Bumgang…”

“I meant Luke – for stealing the clockwork hand!” I interrupt, trying to explain.

“No, no, Miss Bellum!” Sandy is almost frothing at the beard. “Our sister Amiira has been left alone with the camels – and Mr. Slaughter! No chaperone! It is forbidden!”

“Really?” I exclaim, but he is already ahead of me. I hurry after him, back into the bar.

Ooohh – I wonder which bits of Carvery they’ll cut off first?? I hope we’re not too late to see that…

District 13/Banlieue 13 Ultimatum original trailer (en Francais) – Salut! 🙂

More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum

Also available for all other devices, and online reading, on Smashwords