you’re my favourite earworm

You work your way into my brain,

Burrowing deep through the ear

Worming your way into canals

Hitting synapses like piano keys

Firing up memories

From too long ago.

There is a Co-op advert on the TV at the moment and the song that accompanies it is a new version of The Only Way Is Up which was originally a hit in the 80s for Yazz. I heard this song over and over when I was in bed, feeling sorry for myself after my ultra run and now it hits a nerve every time I hear it.

It’s amazing that when a song works its way into your head, especially during an emotionally charged moment, it lights up the brain like a firework every time you hear it afterwards.

This is a real problem if you do long events as an earworm can end up rattling around your brain for up to 30 hours. Imagine that. Thirty hours of a song, and you can normally only remember the chorus, so it can get quite annoying.

On my last event I had Oh Happy Day playing on repeat, and I am still too scared to play that song at the moment as I think that I have a minor form of PTSD.

And, these songs can still be recalled years after the event. When I swam the Channel in 2013, I had Emile Sande ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ rattling around my head. That was 9 years ago and I still associate that song with the 14 hours that I spent in the pain cave that day.

Do other people have earworms that they will remember for a lifetime?

Much Love

Rachel xx

how our paths can diverge

empty forest
Photo by Anthony on

Our paths can seem so straight, unwavering

And there is all the certainty of undiluted promises

Made by universes trusted with our lives.

But sometimes universes glitch and sometimes they collide,

And then what do we do? Curl up and cry?

Pretend it didn’t happen? Try with all our might

To find our way back? Scrabbling through dark

And murky waters with no signposts or breadcrumbs

To help us along the way. We will diverge though,

Like it not, and please take my advice

And never wish that you were on their sexy road,

That reeks of money and gifts and lavish things,

Because that road of luxury will always come

With a price tag that you never saw.

I saw the opening ceremony for the Paralympics today and it reminded me of a girl that I used to race when I was a competitive swimmer. Ultimately, it reminded me that I sometimes need to stop looking at other people’s road to success and focus on my own, because you never know when the path you didn’t take could end in disaster.

This girl that I was reminded of was much faster than me and although we both represented England, it was obvious that she was destined for greater things. I eventually quit swimming and she carried on and started to represent Team GB. As I drifted away from swimming I lost track of what she was doing and just assumed she had continued on her very successful path. I was, of course, very jealous.

However, about seven years later I was handed a swimming magazine and this girl was featured as she was going to the Beijing Paralympics. I was obviously shocked that something really bad must have happened to my old friend.

Reading on, I found out that while swimming in an able bodied international meet she was kicked in her neck. If anyone saw the Olympic Open Water races you will appreciate just how rough some of those races can be. She ended up paralyzed on one side of her body.

She went on to win gold at the Paralympics but I wonder what the cost was to her? She doesn’t ever talk about the accident because she is traumatized and she is in and out of hospital with poor health.

I look back to when we were kids and how I was jealous of her talent and wished I could be on her path to certain glory. I haven’t won any gold medals but I’m healthy and I think when it comes down to it, her path is as far away from what I’d want for myself now.

I’m so proud of everything she achieved, but I’m glad I’m where I am.

Much Love

Rachel xx

wilderness vlogs

aerial shot of mountain
Photo by Tobias Bjørkli on

I need the green to soothe the fuzz

Of faceless offices that swirl in minds

And fill our day to day.

The hum of crickets, the songs of birds,

Even if I can’t be there myself,

I watch and wait for my own turn

To swim in waters wild and cold to touch

And hike the rocky outcrops that

Are always there to wash away this life.

I cannot stop watching Youtubers who create content about the wilderness, hiking, wild camping and wild swimming. Their wilderness vlogs are sometimes the most calming thing in my day and they fill me with some excitement for life – something that I think we can all struggle to find from time to time.

There is something so beautiful about watching a well put together video that shows the beauty of what we have right here in the UK. The Lake District and the Scottish Highlands are just two of the places I’ve been looking at.

I’m lucky enough to be visiting the Lake District in two weeks time and I can’t wait to go for some runs and hikes. I’m even going to take my swimsuit and goggles and I might put in a couple of miles in Coniston.

There is just something so human about being away from the cities and towns that are sometimes so jarring to our souls. The wilderness is both beautiful and dangerous and I think that resonates with all humans on some level.

Much Love

Rachel xx