Butterfly

At my stroke development class, we do butterfly maybe once or twice a term, and only for a small part of the lesson. Most of us, me included, have never learned it, and all of us struggle with it. I’m confident with my front crawl now, although there is still lots of room for improvement, and we’ve started doing a bit more back stroke at class and I feel like that’s starting to improve. I’m the only one at class who really likes back crawl; I love how long and stretched out I feel when I’m doing it. But, my butterfly remains nothing like a butterfly and more like a human-sized caterpillar thrashing itself into a watery grave.

I want to be able to swim a reasonable butterfly. Not for any lofty athletic achievement kind of reasons, but because it’s difficult and when it’s done well it impresses people, and I want to be one of those people showing off doing butterfly. I realised pretty quickly that the time we spend doing butterfly in class isn’t enough for me to learn it, so I asked about booking some one-to-one lessons with the Edinburgh Leisure swimming coaches. They don’t have much availability just now, but we managed to get an hour lesson today.

I was expecting it to be tough but I wasn’t expecting to have to sit on a cubicle bench for ten minutes afterwards before I could find the energy to get dried and dressed!

After a front crawl warm-up, I started by practising the dolphin kick, which I find quite difficult because I’m not very wiggly. After lots of kick, I added in arms, one at a time – one way with one arm, back with the other arm. I got a lot further even with just one arm than with just the kick – but butterfly kick is more about stabilisation than propulsion. Then we tried some catch-up arms with kick. Catch-up is a drill we do when we’re practising front crawl – you do one arm, leave it in front of you, then do the other arm, leave it there, do the first arm, and repeat, so that you’re always bringing your arms together in front. Couldn’t do it with butterfly arms at all; I just kept rolling onto my side and couldn’t keep myself stable at all.

So then we tried one arm at all, but trying to keep to the right rhythm. Kick the arm in, kick the arm out, kick the arm in, kick the arm out.That was much easier for me than catch-up so then we moved onto full stroke. Ahahahahaha.

It’s safe to say I won’t be butterflying to Olympics glory any time soon. But, coach did point out that I was too deep under the water and that was making it harder to get my arms out. Being a bit more level in the water made it easier. Once I was getting the hang of that a bit more, we did some work on how to move my arms under the water rather than just flailing them around, and then tried to add in breathing. I haven’t yet got to the point where I can breathe and keep going without losing the rhythm/my stroke/my last tiny grasp of what was going on, so I was going as far as I could without a breath, which obviously made me tire much more quickly.

Coach said I’d improved in the session, but I’m not too impressed by that. When you can’t do something at all, it’s really easy to improve in your first session. The difficult bit is going to be consolidating what we did today, and then improving on that. I think one-to-one coaching time will be in short supply over the next few months but if they can make time available, I’d love to do more. (Coach says she’ll work a bit more butterfly into class but the rest of the class will kill me if she does!)  But, I did come out of the session feeling like butterfly isn’t completely impossible for me to learn. It will be difficult, and it will take a long time, and I will probably suffer in pain and hurt my shoulders and maybe my back, but I think it is something I can learn to do. And I want to.

I get a legal threat from a struck-off psychotherapist

I think lots of people should see this.

Unsafe Spaces

Previously I commented on the case of Ray Holland, a psychotherapist who was struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy for serious sexual misconduct with an “evidently vulnerable client”. Mr Holland denies the allegations despite the striking-off, and has returned to psychotherapy practice. This week I noticed that he had put up a new business website, changing his name to Ray Bott-Holland.

Today, I received two e-mails from Holland (or Bott-Holland, or whatever he’ll be calling himself next week) threatening to sue me if I don’t remove all his details from my blog.

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The Smell of Bullshit, part 63: crimpage or expansion, who knows?

Way, way back in post 9 in the Bullshit series, we talked about Lush perfume bottles. Customer after customer complained that Lush perfume bottles were leaking, causing the loss of the perfume and in some cases, damage to furniture. After years of denying there was a problem Lush’s answer was that the manufacturing process caused some tiny variations in the dimensions of the bottles, and the crimping machine couldn’t crimp the stoppers properly. They said they’d dealt with it and everything should be fine.

The “Lush kitchen” has just done a new round of perfumes and people are complaining that the 30ml bottles aren’t full. Going by the photos people are posting on the “Lush kitchen” facebook page, the difference in quantity of content is very noticeable. Even the photos on the website show the bottles filled to very different levels.

Lush’s answer to the queries about it is

Hi everyone Apologies for taking a while to jump on this morning. For any concerns about fill levels on the perfumes I hope this reply might answer some of your questions. The machine that we use to fill perfumes is a vaccum filler, which means once a fill level it set, it will let you fill only to the set ml/g and then cut out which means there is very little chance of over or under filling. As it is a vaccum filler, it its also very unlikely that fill levels will alter throghout [sic] the batch. Therefore this leaves a very slim chance of variances on the first bottle filled to the 1000 bottle filled. With regards to variances between each of the perfumes, the machine was set each day with weight checks carried out on each perfume before the batch was run. As mentioned above, the type of machine that we use means they should then all be filled at the same level. There is always a gap left at the top of the bottle for perfumes as the ethanol in perfumes expands and in the past has caused a lot of bottles to leak, so no perfume should be filled completely to the top. As mentioned before the filling machine was set to only fill 30ml, so there was an adequate gap for expansion anyway. I hope the above explains a little more about the fill process of these perfumes. We do our best every day to bring you fresh exclusive cosmetics that you want to see from the Lush Kitchen, but we do still have to use filling machines and as everyone knows, machines don’t always work perfectly 100% of the time We did and continue to do everything in our power to make sure every product that leaves is perfect, and I sincerely apologise if any of you are not happy with your products. Should anyone have any questions or concerns about their products, please just ask or contact our dedicated We care team to discuss solutions.

 

So, last time the issue was the crimpage on the bottles, this time it’s because they’ve left space for some questionable science. What next? Whichever member of staff has fallen out of favour has been siphoning the perfume off to drink?

If you’ve bought perfume and you’re concerned that the content is short of what it should be, take it to your local Trading Standards officers and get them to check. And then go buy your perfume from a company that actually gives a shit.

ETA: Lush are now trying to say that the perfumes are in 50ml bottles, filled to 30ml. That would be funny if it wasn’t so obviously a nonsense attempt at making excuses. How can bottles of a size which has always been sold as 30ml now be 50ml?/ Have they made the glass much thinner so the internal dimensions are bigger, or are Lush selling perfume in miniature TARDISes?

One dedicated person on the Lush International Forum has gone to the trouble of measuring her perfume with a calibrated pipette, and says it contained 22ml, although sold and labelled as containing 30ml. That’s nearly a third missing. So, like I said, if you think your perfume might be short, don’t believe Lush when they say it’s ok, or when they say it’s actually in a 50ml bottle – take it to Trading Standards (see the website of your local council) and get it checked.

The Smell of Bullshit, part 62: even more alternatives to Lush

In posts 44, 54 and 56 I looked at alternatives to Lush, especially alternatives to Dream Cream, which is the only thing I’m struggling to find another option for.

I’ve tried a few handcreams recently, including the Posh Brats Goat Milk, Aloe Vera and Honey Soothing Handcream. It didn’t work well for me. I don’t like the scent, which to me smelled like off milk and detergent, but I did like the texture which was like a very light mousse. It didn’t work well on the dry, sensitive skin on my hands, making them itch and not moisturising well enough. It might work better for someone whose hands are less particular. I like the bath bombs though, and the lip balm is great.

Then I tried the Mountain Balm from The Sugar Loaf Soap Company. I like their lip balms, and their soaps aren’t bad. The Mountain Balm is solid (like a Lush massage bar) and you have to rub it between your hands to warm it up a bit so that the top layer melts and becomes usable. It smell herby. I found it a bit too solid to melt easily so I had to rub quite hard to get a coating. It doesn’t sink in very well, so it was better used overnight under cotton gloves, which was enough for it to soften my hands except for my scabby rough knuckles.

This week, I’ve bought some hand cream from Heather Hills, who are based in Perthshire. I’ve got the Honey Handcream. Don’t ask me how much you get for your £7.50 because the website doesn’t say and neither does the pot. It’s quite a runny cream with a subtle, almost neutral honey scent. It sinks in well and it softens and moisturises without feeling greasy. They don’t give the ingredients on the website and the writing on the pot is so small I can’t read it, so it’s anyone’s guess what’s in it, apart from honey. It’s nice though. I might try their other ones when I’ve finished this.