Well, I will start off with the good news today – it has been a whole week and I still have not touched a cigarette! It has actually been a lot easier than I had expected it to be but I think the decision that I made to steer clear of alcohol for a while has certainly had a big influence. Although I have had several urges and cravings for cigarettes whilst in the vicinity of people smoking I have been much better equipped to deal with it this time as I have been completely in control of myself mentally and have therefore not dropped my guard at any time. I must admit though that I have probably not been as good conversation as usual at times!
Thursday night was indeed a later finish than usual so, as predicted, I could not make it to training again. I must admit I am a little frustrated to have not been to training in almost two weeks and there is a chance that I might not train tomorrow – I was told today that there is a really bad weather front coming again from Siberia and the snow will be at its worst since a really bad storm back in 1978! If this is the case then I think it would be very difficult for me to make it to training, if it is even on. Before Christmas I could just get a lift but now that Roman is here I have to take him into consideration. If the weather is as bad as predicted then it would take me forever to walk to Kirschhausen and then the same to get back!
This weekend has been a pretty quiet one for me really due to my decision to not drink. I am going to try not to drink through the whole of February as I think that it will really help me to quit smoking once and for all. I was invited up to the pub on Friday night to watch Hamburg play against Wolfsburg, which finished 1-1 incidentally. I decided to say no as the match didn’t kick off until 8.30pm which would have meant that I would have been walking home with Roman at about 10.30pm. I have to walk through some very dark stretches of road to get home and, given the icy conditions, I prefer not to be out too late – it can be treacherous enough when I can see where I am going!
I finished work pretty early on Friday at about 1.30pm and, as promised, I went home to collect Roman and walked him back to where I work so some of my colleagues could meet him. I think they all liked him although a couple of people were obviously a little intimidated by his size! Roman loves the attention though and, once more, behaved really well for the new crowd. We stuck around for about 10 minutes before heading off back home and I think Roman was pleased with his unexpected 5km mid afternoon walk.
I used the majority of my Friday evening in to catch up on some Football Manager. I have been so busy since I have been back in Germany that I had hardly touched the game since I got back – not like me at all! It was a nice quiet evening really although I spent the majority of it, strangely, craving a cigarette. I have no idea where it came from but I couldn’t shift it from my mind all night! My dad has a theory about associations – when you finish a meal, when you take the dog for a walk and other times you would typically smoke. He reckons the key is to alter the routine slightly so that you no longer have the association. Easier said than done! Still, I didn’t give in so another small battle in the mental war was won!
Saturday was the first real test for me with regards to giving up smoking. I had spent the majority of the week either working, walking Roman or locked away at home. As a result I had come into very little contact with cigarettes. On Saturday, as we do every weekend now, we went to the pub to watch the football for the afternoon. It was my first chance to test my resolve around people who would be smoking. I have to say, it was pretty difficult and I felt pretty tense for the whole of the time we were there. I was originally going to stay for the evening match but decided that I would go home so that I could get away from the smoke as I didn’t feel like I was very good company – I hardly said a word all afternoon as I battled away with my own mind!
To take my mind off it on Saturday evening I decided to cook a massive Bolognese. It is said that keeping your hands busy is very important when giving up smoking so the preparation and cooking certainly helped to pass a little time. I cooked loads so I had some left over for yesterday too – I always do this as it makes it so much simpler for the following day! I am going to try and get hold of some plastic tubs this week so that I can cook huge pans full and then freeze portions separately to make life easier. It would also help on days when I have football training as I would be able to have a proper meal for lunch as I don’t normally get to eat until about 10pm when I train.
I took a few photos on my way back from the pub using my camera phone so that I could upload them to Facebook so there are now some more shots of Heppenheim and Kirschhausen covered in snow. It is such a pretty place, especially in the snow. As we were watching the football it had begun to snow and by the time we left the pub there had been another few inches of snow fall. It seems like there will be no end to the snow this winter here in Germany and I for one am making the most of it and really enjoying it. I have been assured it’s not always like this so I guess I have fallen pretty lucky in my first winter here!
I also had some fun with Roman as we walked back making snow balls and throwing them in the air for him to catch. I am sure the motorists passing by thought I was crazy! It must have taken almost an hour to get home on Saturday when it usually only takes 35 minutes! Roman really enjoyed himself and was very excited; he almost pulled me over a few times when I was throwing snow balls – if only we could have been in a field so that I could have let him off the lead! I reckon he would have a brilliant time in the snow if he could run around but I just don’t know any fields where I can take him and let him off.
I now have an even bigger urge to buy a guitar and am determined to sort something out this week. I think the nearest place to buy one is in the next town but I can only get there if I catch a train or if one of my friends drives me there. I have managed to find a website though where I can get an acoustic cheap enough so I will ask one of my friends to order it for me and I will pay them. It is a pain in the arse not having a card that I can pay for things on the internet with and I will have to get that sorted out at some point in the future.
One of my Facebook friends has recently acquired a guitar so a lot of their statuses this weekend have been about that. I have been sending a few links to her of guitar tutorials on YouTube for songs I reckon she would like (and she has so far) and she has sent me a couple back. Even though we only communicate through text over the internet I can tell how excited she is to be learning to play and it has made me want to get back into it even more. I reckon that it could really help me to avoid cigarettes too as my fingers will be constantly busy if I take it up again!
Yesterday we spent the majority of the afternoon in the pub again as there were two matches that I wanted to watch. The first, at 3.30pm, was Stuttgart against Dortmund. Dortmund have been excellent this season and Stuttgart recently sacked Markus Babbel after an awful start to the season. I said as soon as he was sacked that they would immediately go on a good run and they have; they followed it up yesterday with a 4-1 victory. The 5.30pm kick off was Leverkusen against Freiburg. Leverkusen have looked really good this season and currently sit at the top of the Bundesliga whilst Freiburg have really been struggling and look like they could well go down. Leverkusen won 3-1 and Hyypia managed to bag a goal!
Yesterday evening was a pretty quiet one really. I was going to play a bit more Football Manager but decided to watch a film instead. I watched This Is England and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had seen it before but only once and I always find that a second viewing of a film, especially one like this, often makes you think about things a little more deeply. The first time I saw it I felt that it all seemed a little awkward in terms of the acting but this time I enjoyed it more. It’s a very powerful film really and bears a lot of relevance to current events in England I think.
I had a bit of a lie in this morning and didn’t start work until about 10am so I will be working until at least 6pm this evening. If I can do enough hours each week from Monday to Thursday then it means I can have an early finish on a Friday and have more of a weekend with Roman so that is what I am trying to do. It also makes it easier to do things as the shops are all shut on a Sunday here so I only have Saturday to sort stuff out if I work all day on a Friday. Hopefully I will be able to get up at 6am for the rest of this week so that I don’t have to work later.