System addict


It’s been a tough old week. Firstly, because of the return to proper exercise, a reduction in fun things to eat and drink AND the first serious mace workout – which I’ll come to in a minute. On top of that, I’ve had loads of bother with my iPhone, which is still not resolved. For a week now, I’ve been communicating using a device of pre-smartphone vintage, that looks like this:


There is no internet access on this phone. There is no swiping. To use it, you must actually PRESS THE BUTTONS. Can you imagine the horror? I won’t bore you with the saga, but essentially in a money saving bid, I decided to get a SIM only contract and update the battery on my phone whilst in the process, as after two years it required to be charged twice a day. Apart from that, there was nothing wrong with the phone. After replacing it with a battery purchased suspiciously cheaply on the internet, (installed using an internet tutorial) it wouldn’t charge, and even with the old crappy battery replaced, there was no joy. I finally took it to a reputable iRepair place today for a new battery and after getting it home, I discovered it still won’t charge, so back it goes to the shop tomorrow. I feel confident that they will fix it and I do have a warranty, but right now I am no better off.

During all this time, I have been highly distressed by the lack of smartphone loveliness in my pocket. I admit, I have cheated by using my work Blackberry for urgent internet usage. But actually, WTF is urgent internet usage? I am old and of the generation that used to arrange to meet friends in town and just turn up, as mobile phones only existed in the realm of Hollywood movies and those that did were the size of bricks. We did not text to say we were running five minutes late, as we couldn’t. And when we met up, we talked to each other, instead of constantly checking for more exciting experiences via social media. This image seems to me incredibly sad, yet it’s something I see all the time:


On my ten minute train journey to work of a morning, pretty much everyone is face down in their phones. I don’t, but then perhaps I am equally anti-social with my music in my headphones, or a book. And on a night out, I still like to talk to my friends, although I’ll admit to posting pictures on Facebook for fun. The rest of the time, I prefer to enjoy conversation. I read this article with horror – people use their phones in the shower and while having sex? Jesus. And this is two years old, so it will be worse now. Yet despite feeling smug about not having the signs of smartphone addiction listed here (okay, maybe one or two), I have felt twitchy this week without my iPhone.

The good news is that there has been a return to making phone calls. Texts are just too annoying with the buttons, so to lessen my impatience in making arrangements , I have just phoned people up. Just like the olden days. It’s been said before, but the increase of technology and the unstoppable rise of social media is making us more unsociable. Why speak when you can text? We know why. Maintaining proper human communication will stop us turning into one-click, consumer robots and will restore our emotional intelligence. I can’t wait to get my phone sorted tomorrow, but this week has taught me to be more mindful of my smartphone usage. And I can genuinely say that my life has not suffered as a result.

Talking of suffering…the mace. I have briefly mentioned the use of the mace in some of my short training sessions. But yesterday was the first time I have used it in a workout for a prolonged period. And now I’m hurting like I haven’t for a while. Walking down the stairs was a bit of a challenge today, which is clearly the kind of action I needed. There was a 50 minute workout yesterday with a lot of mace work, including burpees where you thrusted the mace overhead in between, and about 50 million squat moves, such as these:


Which explains the agony in my quads today. At the time I was cursing the invention of the mace, the squat and everything in between, and today I still am. However, I do appreciate it for what it is: a hardcore routine that works out every bit of your body. The worst bit is that the main weight is at one end; if you do 20 evil moves with the ball on your right side, you know for damn sure that the next set of reps will be exactly the same, with the ball on the left side. Some of them are damn near impossible but satisfyingly primal, and mace you feel as though you were an extra in the Coliseum in Gladiator.


In retrospect, l like it in a sick way. I found this article that places this type of training in an ancient history context, which pleases me. And it was the source of these amazing drawings. It was used by the toughest and best-moustachioed Hindu warriors 2,000 years ago and I like to think of myself as a bit of a warrior, even though it’s often just against myself. I especially liked the bits which referenced Alexander the Great’s Macedonian army. Now I am probably a bit out of whack when it comes to ancient history, but this sounds like exactly the kind of thing that Spartans would be doing to win battles. In other words, it’s right up Queen Leda’s alley. Spear stab? Bring it on; I can think of a few folk to visualise on the other end. Never mind that I was nearly in tears by that stage and could only manage the most pitiful jabs. Give it a couple of weeks and I will be lethal.


So what did I learn this week? Modern life has it’s good points, but we can all learn from the ancients once in a while.

Until next time,



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  1. Really funny you love torture!

    Liked by 1 person

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