Monday, 31 December 2012

Twelve of 2012: Part II

Well howdy folks. I hope you've been enjoying the festive period.  This little bit between Christmas and New Year is a little odd, isn't it?  I don't usually take the time off work, but this year I did and have very much enjoyed an extended break.  I've tidied up my living room and it looks so much nicer.  Now I just need to do the same in my bedroom and it'll all be marvellous.

Tidy and lovely
In other exciting domestic news, I ordered a new washing machine earlier today and I just finished a bag of clementines that didn't have a single duff one (unless you count the obligatory one that goes white and fluffy three days before the rest), so I'm feeling very much like I'm on top of things. Whoop. 

Anyway, enough of my domestic nonsense, I know that what you're all really waiting for is.... the next instalment of my exciting Twelve in 2012 series!  Unfortunately, as predicted, I'm bored with this thing already. It appears that I have the attention span of a gnat.  So I'm going to zip through the second half of my list in double time, before I fall asleep from the effort of it all.  So here goes.

7.  Friends.  I'm lucky to have some brilliant people in my life.  This year I've spent time with friends old and new, running, eating, walking, drinking wine, wedding attending.  Some of the people who have brought me the most joy and amusement have been those I've met on Twitter.  Some of them I have since met in real life (such as @claz0r, @leestuartevans & @gutnahofski) and some I haven't (such as @msmac, @lilbeeloo67, @trevb1 & @lellymo) but all of them have enriched my life, if only with a little bit of banter now and then. I was also really happy to meet up with some old friends, particularly Pam & Chris all the way from Calgary and Sarah, who was visiting the UK from Japan.  We watched the Paralympic marathons together and had a great time.

Thanks friends, you are all brilliant. 

8.  Family.  See above re brilliant people in my life.  My family are the best of those.  This year we went on our first family holiday for years and it was a blast.  But I think the best family thing this year has been spending time with my niece.  She'll be two in March and throughout this year she has grown into a real person, with such a wonderful personality.  And she's as cute as a kitten to boot.

9.  Murdoch.  Always Murdoch.  He's going to be in my annual highlights every single year that we spend together.  I love that little guy.  If anyone doesn't know why he's so important to me and why I love him so, then please feel free to read this.

10. Good stuff on TV.  This may seem a little inane, but there's been some great stuff on TV this year.  Obviously the 'lympics, but other stuff too.  This year, I've really enjoyed watching Fringe.  It's the final season and one of few shows that I'll really miss when it's gone.  Not only does it star Joshua Jackson (OMG, it's Pacey from Dawson's Creek, investigating weird and creepy shit!) but it has by far the best character that I've seen on TV for a long time.  Walter Bishop (played beautifully by John Noble) is complex, layered, tragic and wonderful.  I love him.  If you haven't seen this show, go watch it, from the start.  If Pacey from Dawson's Creek does X Files is not enough of a draw, then you should know that it was created by JJ Abrams.  Go watch it.  Other stuff that I've enjoyed are Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (James Van Der Beek properly taking the piss out of himself - VERY funny.  Am I going back to a Dawson's Creek obsession? Maybe.  But JVBD has really grown into his forehead since the Creek and clearly has a good sense of humour).  I was also really surprised to enjoy Elementary which I thought was going to be a giant heap of crap.  Keep reminding yourself that it's not Sherlock and then let yourself enjoy Jonny Lee Miller making a pretty good job of it. 

11 & 12. Learning Pilates, starting to run again and losing a bit of weight.  These last couple of things go hand in hand.  It was at the end of December last year that I was allowed to start running again after five months on the injury bench.  I started to build up very slowly and carefully - possibly a bit over cautious, but there it is. I was able to complete the Great South Run at the end of October, only two seconds slower than my PB.  While I was building up my running strength, I did a Pilates course in February and haven't looked back.  I love Pilates and feel immeasurably stronger in my core muscles than I did before.  Over the course of 2012, I've lost 21lb in weight and I think it looks like more, thanks to the Pilates, I'm holding myself better.  I still have plenty of weight to lose and will continue to work on that throughout 2013, but my first goal for next year is to train for and complete the Brighton marathon, something that did not seem likely this time last year.

And that's your lot.  Sorry that it's a bit hurried and slapdash, but at least it's done.

Wishing you all a very happy new year - I hope that you achieve everything that you hope for in 2013.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Festive!

I'm back home after a wonderful Christmas spent with my family.  Brilliant company, great presents and more lovely food than one human being should feasibly eat in a couple of days.  I may never be hungry again.  

So, here are a couple more of my Twelve in 2012, things that I have enjoyed this year.  It occurred to me that I've already blogged a few of the great things from this year, so I'm going to be super lazy and just link to those posts.  Here you go, four, five and six on the list....

4.  Black Coffee
5.  Swimming with Ian Thorpe
6.  Running with Paula Radcliffe

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

So good they named it twice.

20.12.2012.  I love these magic dates, it makes me feel like there might be a reason for the world.  I therefore find the notion that it might end tomorrow highly suspect. Let's hope I'm right, not least because you'd miss out on the remainder of my twelve in 2012 blog posts!

Today I'm going to give you two things (huzzah!), because what else could I write about on 20.12.2012?

The Olympics.

I still don't have enough good words to describe how much I loved the Olympics.  I tried a bit here, but really I didn't do it justice.  From start to end, I just loved it.  I recently reviewed the tweets that I sent during the opening ceremony and they get increasingly excited and shouty with extensive overuse of the exclamation mark  
OMG, IT'S THE BLOODY QUEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and so forth. Until Macca came on, then I gave up and went to bed. 

Generally, I remember doing an awful lot of crying and feeling very proud to be British.  I mean what could be better?  We had Super Saturday - Rutherford, Jess, MO! 
EPIC
We had Andy Murray finally winning, WINNING! on the courts at Wimbledon, we had people breaking records, personal, Olympic.  We saw the magnificent Michael Phelps showing that he still had what it takes to be a superstar, both in the water and out, triumphant in victory, extraordinarily gracious in defeat.  We had the wonderful Clare Balding, the delicious Ian Thorpe and the magnificent Bert Le Clos.  I don't think I have ever felt so amazingly proud of my country, something that we don't seem to feel massively comfortable with expressing, we reserved Brits.  We welcomed the world to our small, tiny little island and we outdid ourselves.  What could be better than that?  I'll tell you......

The Paralympics

In 2012, the Paralympics came home.  First hosted in Stoke Mandeville to rehabilitate disabled veterans, this year the Paralympic Games hit the big time.  Usually seen as secondary to the Olympics, London 2012 smashed all previous records for ticket sales, as London got behind disabled athletes like never before.  This year, the Paralympics were never going to be the little brother.
I LOVE this.
Clearly the high profile of athletes such as Oscar Pistorius (SWOOOOOOON) helped to generate interest, but I think it would also be fair to say that none of us wanted to admit that the summer was over and we were ready to get behind our Greatest Team to see a second round of sporting excellence.  Some of the best performances for me were Oscar Pistorius (I LOVE YOUUUUUU OSSCAAAAAAAAAR!), Jonnie Peacock, David Weir, Hannah Cockcroft, Richard Whitehead and of course, Ellie Simmonds.

I was lucky enough to get tickets to a couple of sessions at the Olympic Park, one for the athletics and another for the swimming.  The athletics session was in the morning, so heats rather than finals.  But I got to see a great variety of classifications, so it was fantastic.  I saw David Weir win his 800m heat and that was an enormous thrill as I've enjoyed watching him compete in the London Marathon for quite a while now.  But funnily enough, that is not the memory that remains the most vivid.  That honour falls to the T11-13 men's 4 x 100m relay heats.  A T11-13 classification is for visually impaired athletes who may run with a sighted guide.

Before the first heat started there was an announcement.  We were asked to be silent throughout these races, as each athlete needed to be able to hear his guide, especially at the point where they needed to pass the baton to the next runner.  We were then told that we could start cheering once the last handover had been completed and all runners were on the final straight.

The gun went on the first heat.  The atmosphere in that packed out stadium was incredible.  Try to imagine the swell of energy generated by 80,000 people, on the edge of their seats, urging on these athletes, silently, but with every fibre of their being.  Try to imagine the explosion of noise that erupted when the last baton handover was complete and we were finally able to vocalise the emotion and excitement that we were feeling.  It was absolutely incredible and best of all, we got to do it all over again a couple of times as the heats played out.  I don't think that I have ever experienced such an intense, highly charged event as that, and I'm so glad that I got to feel a part of it.

That'll do for now.  But watch out for the next exciting instalment of twelve in 2012!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A Year in Review

It's nearly the end of the year.  Can you believe that?  So I had this idea that I'd write about twelve great things that happened in 2012.  I even made a list.  But I'm really busy at the moment and I'm really struggling to find the time, energy or even mental space to write the damn things. Sigh.  But you know what?  It's been a really good year and although I can't be arsed to summon the energy to go for a run these days (it's cold outside. And dark.  Cold AND dark) I should be able to muster up enough to write a little blog post here and there before the end of the year.  I had always planned to do these in no particular order, rather than as a countdown, so I'm starting with something simple and easy to write about.  So here we go.  The first instalment of twelve little bits of good stuff that happened this year....

Becoming a minor twitter celebrity, for a very short amount of time (as is the nature of it)

Back in September, I saw a couple of tweets that really made me chuckle.  So I screen grabbed them and tweeted about it.  All of a sudden, the internetz machine whirred into life and before I knew it, this tweet had been retweeted a couple of thousand times, favourited a thousand or so and I gained a few followers.  What captured the attention of the fickle twitter mob?  

Someone call Sparks McGee

Gotta love them Trekkies, we own this place. 

Coming soon... another exciting instalment!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Reason

It's Murdoch's birthday today! Happy birthday little guy. He's 8 today and we've lived together since he was so small that I could hold him in both hands. The little tinker.
The cutest thing I'd ever seen
Because it's Murdoch's birthday, I'm going to try and explain why he's so important to me, something that I find difficult to put into words, but here goes nothing. Murdoch, although you'll never read it, or need to understand, this is for you.

I don't presume to know what living with depression is like for everyone, but here's what it's like for me.  Mainly there are three kinds of days:

1. Days where things are pretty good.
2. Days where I can pretend that things are pretty good.
3. Days where I can't pretend that things are even close to good.

Most of my days fall into category one, although there are parts of those days where things go south and I need to take some time out to regroup.  It's not that bad things happen to make me react by needing to hide.  It's just that sometimes simply being in the world is overwhelming and I reach a point where it's too much to deal with, which brings me neatly to category two.  

Some days fall into category two, and while there are moments in those days where things are actually pretty good, those days are mostly just about fronting it out and making it through without bursting into tears for what most people would see as no discernible reason, or showing how much I feel mildly panicked and out of place.

Category three doesn't happen too often (thankfully!), but those are the days when I can't face being in the world.  Not in a scary suicidal sort of way, never anything close to that. But in a way that means I can't cope with even the most basic of interactions.  This is not limited to strangers, even those that I love beyond words are too much to deal with on those days and I tend to spend most of them hiding in my flat by myself.  There is no rhyme nor reason to when these days happen, sometimes I just wake up and cannot imagine how I'm going to go and face the world.

Regardless of which sort of day it is, every day starts the exact same way, with the noise of Murdoch's paws pattering across the floor as he comes into my room to see what's going on.  His face is the first thing that I see every morning.  It reminds me that even though sometimes it all seems too difficult to face, there are good things in my life.

He needs me.  He needs me to get out of bed, because he needs to go for a walk and to be in the world, running around and being vibrantly, almost obnoxiously alive.  And because he needs me, I go. When I can't think of a single reason why it could be good to go outside my front door and face the world, I don't need to. Because he is my reason.

It's a powerful thing and he doesn't even know it.  He's spent nearly eight years being the glue that has held me together through good days and bad.  For eight years he has given me simple, unconditional love that never asks anything in return.  His generosity of spirit, which all dogs are blessed with, has allowed me to be selfish and to cry stupid, pointless tears into his fur.  Even when neither of us know what I am crying about, just having him there calms my soul.

So there it is.  As I wrote this (having a quiet little cry in places while I did so), Murdoch was curled up in his bed by my feet.  We'd been out for a lovely walk. It was a good day.

My Reason

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Scenes of Rural Devastation

Sometimes, we'll go out for a walk and it'll be lovely.  There'll be glorious sunshine, or we'll get to see the sun rise, or set. Sometimes there is mist and I'll see something truly beautiful, like the pictures below. It makes me feel so lucky to live in such a lovely part of the world and to have my dog, who gets me out of the door and into the countryside and the fresh air that it provides.

Natural Beauty
The sky's the limit!
Sometimes though, the weather is not kind. Like the lunchtime a couple of weeks ago where we got caught out in a hailstorm. You've never seen a dog so miserable. So like any caring, responsible dog owner, I videoed my poor dog's misery and am now sharing it across the internet. Should I report myself to the RSPCA?



In other news, the worst has finally happened.  The farmer has had the temerity to HARVEST HIS CORN. The look on poor Murdoch's face when he saw this scene of rural devastation.  He was utterly bereft.

Whaaaaaaaaat the f@%$& has happened here?!

YOU did this! How dare you!

My corn! My beautiful corn! GONE!

Found one!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Three things I have learned this week (part two)

More from the hinterlands of my brain, the latest instalment in an occasional series, perhaps more aptly titled "things that have mostly pissed me off recently".

1.  No-one uses their indicators any more.

Seriously. No-one does.  My driving tends to be fairly local, around the town and winding lanes of Godalming and surrounding area.  I can tell you that the vast majority of people around here do not use their indicators.  Is this a local phenomenon, peculiar to this area? Is it because there is a recession on and people are worried about the cost of replacement bulbs, should they wear those lights out from excessive use?  I'm actually considering popping a video camera on my dashboard and setting up a "People not using their indicators at roundabouts / junctions / anywhere they might be useful to indicate directionality" Tumblr.  What this space.  

1b. Saw an idiot driving through Godalming with no lights on at all yesterday at about 5 o'clock. Idiot.

2. Adverts on commercial radio can be astonishingly awful.

Since I realised that I was too old for Radio 1, on the basis that pretty much everyone on there started annoying the shit out of me, I have taken to listening to Eagle Radio. I'm not against commercial radio as a principle, but some of the adverts are just awful. There's one at the moment for Next.  A national retailer. They must have money for advertising creative to try something cool. But instead they go for a really lazy ad, that requires two poor actresses to utter the immortal words:

Embarrassed Actress One: "Great! What's the website again?"
Dismayed Actress Two (having already mentioned the website to idiot 'friend'): "next.co.uk!" (subtext, "jeeeeez, just Google it already, or take a stab in the frigging dark")

Surely it's possible to come up with a smarter, more subtle way of getting the point across. And don't even get me started about the ad that tries to tell me that it's best if my kitchen stoneware and bathroom tiles "work together as one".  They're frigging tiles, love. In completely separate rooms. I'm quite happy if they do their own thing.

3.  Murdoch really loves sweetcorn.

In a surprising "something that hasn't pissed me off" entry at number three, Murdoch has discovered sweetcorn.  It's been growing in the fields where we walk for months, but over the past week or so, the idiot hound has realised that it's really nice. As a result, I see very little of him during our walks as he slopes off into the field to help himself (sorry farmer, I think he eats much less than the deer!). The end result of this is *ahem* interesting, as Murdoch is now pooping something that is 90% sweetcorn held together by small amounts of poo. Good times.
Murdoch's in there somewhere. Eating corn. Yup.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Three things I have learned this week


A brief round up of things that have occurred to me this week.  Actually, it's more a list of things that have peed me off this week.  I've kept it to three things.  We'd be here all day if I listed everything that annoyed me on a weekly basis :)

1.  Coming back to work after a holiday really sucks.

It really does.  It's just awful.  I don't think it matters what your job is.  You could work on a fluffy bed of cotton wool with marshmallows and unicorns and it would still be a dreadful shock to come back after a holiday. Gah.

2. Cadbury sucks (and sometimes I get unfeasibly mad at things that probably don't matter much).

On Wednesday, I got really mad when I read this article about a new chocolate bar that Cadbury is launching.  It's not that I'm against new chocolate.  In fact I'm all for it.  Bring on the chocolate I say.  What has really irked me about this is the way that Cadbury has decided to market this to women.  The new Crispello bar is supplied in three sections and comes in a resealable wrapper "so it can be eaten one piece at a time and saved for later", presumably so that we can all nibble on it like ladies are supposed to.  Which in turn implies that any woman who actually just wants to eat a bar of bloody chocolate is not quite ladylike and is in fact DOING IT WRONG. Well hoohaa to you Cadbury and your astonishingly dimwitted marketing types who probably never spoke to any actual women about this.  I am going to continue buying normal sized chocolate bars, when I happen to fancy some chocolate, and I'm going to eat as much of it as I like, even if that is *gasp* the WHOLE BLOODY BAR IN ONE SITTING.  And it won't be a Cadbury bar until you cease and desist with this stupid crap. Hurumph.

3. Liam Gallagher is an unmitigated twat who likes to "wind his dogs up" (and sometimes I get righteously mad at things that really matter). 

This story makes me feel very, very angry.  Apparently Mr Gallagher recently said "I like winding me dogs up. I just stand there with the lead, shaking it for ages until they're shitting and peeing all over the floor. And I'm stood there going: 'Walkies!' Then I sit back down again."

Well let me tell you, Liam.  I'd like to get my leather dog lead and "shake" it vigorously at you, in the general area of your testicles.  See how you like it. What a [insert rudest word you know here].

PS - Liam, if you're going to make a career out of slagging off your brother, maybe you shouldn't carry on singing his songs at Olympic closing ceremonies etc. Just a thought.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Legacy

I'm so sad the Games are over. It's been such a wonderful summer and I've been so inspired by the dedication, determination and athleticism that I've seen over the past few weeks.  Haven't we all?

I've been thinking about the legacy of these Games and what that means to me.  And I've come to the conclusion that it's about so much more than sport, and is more vital even than our changing attitudes towards disability (although I believe that is very important). 

I feel like the Games have brought out the best in us.  As individuals.  As a nation.  For the past few weeks we've been better than our usual selves.  We have seen value and felt joy at real people, achieving real things, sometimes against the odds and confounding all expectations.  We've laughed, we've cried, we've urged athletes on to victory with every fibre of our being.  We've felt the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

If we can take one thing away from this summer, I'd like it to be that we all try to keep being these best versions of ourselves.  Isn't that what the elite athletes, both Olympic and Paralympic, strive towards every day?  To be the best that they can be?  I think we can learn a lot from that, whatever "best" means to each of us.  So I plan to keep a little 'lympic flame burning in my chest and to try to be my best self, each and every day.  I won't get it right every time, sometimes I'll have to settle for being out of the medals. but that won't stop me from trying.

What does the London 2012 legacy mean to you?

Saturday, 18 August 2012

In which I go for a swim

After the excitement of meeting Paula Radcliffe last Wednesday, you'd have thought that my week couldn't get any better.  I certainly didn't think it could. But boy, was I wrong.

Last Saturday morning I was on Twitter and saw a series of tweets from Australian Olympic legend Ian Thorpe saying that he would be heading to Tooting Bec Lido on Sunday morning to give swimming tips to people, to get the London 2012 legacy started before he headed home.  Well who would turn down an offer like that?  So I enlisted R, a friend of mine from my swimming days and we arranged to get the train and head up there together.

So Sunday morning saw me get up at five o'clock in the morning to walk Murdoch before I left to get the train.  Oof, super early for a Sunday, it wasn't even fully light, but luckily I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise.  What a great start to the day.
Good morning!
I had just enough time to feed Murdoch, run in and out of the shower and drive up to Guildford station to get the first train of the morning heading towards London.  I met R outside the station and we got on the train.  Once again I found myself getting off the train at Clapham Junction, but this time the connections were much smoother, no delays and we got on the bus towards Tooting Bec.  And got off it a mile too early.  Oops.  But luckily we had plenty of time to walk to the lido, so no harm done.  

We arrived at around 8.30, in plenty of time and got to watch a weekly race that has apparently taken place for the last 100 years.  Great stuff.  Then Ian Thorpe arrived.  Wow.  What a guy.  On TV he's pretty great, but in real life, he glows.

He gave swimming lessons to all kids that wanted them and then he let a couple of groups of adults have a go.  And one of them was me.

First of all we had the chance to chat to him and ask some questions and then it was time to get in the water! We swam a short way so that Ian could see our stroke and give us some tips.

There I am in the yellow hat!
He advised me that I need to get more movement in my hips, so the next length, I tried to do exactly that and promptly swam in a diagonal line across the pool.  When I raised my head and realised that I'd done that, I treated Ian Thorpe to my loudest cackle.  Oops.  But it was great advice, I'm already getting better extension with my arms.  R also got some great tips and we had an amazing girl in our group who had only learned to swim breaststroke at the beginning of the year taking the first few tentative steps towards front crawl.  Phenomenal.

All too soon it was over, but we had enough time for a quick photo with the Thorpedo.

*excited face*
What a great day.  Ian was really kind and patient, brilliant with the kids and a genuinely nice bloke.  What a fantastic way to kick of a fantastic UK swimming legacy after 2012.

Monday, 13 August 2012

In which I go for a little run

In my last post, I gave you a little tease that I would be doing something exciting.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook will already have a very good idea what happened, but here it is in all its glory.

On Wednesday evening last week, I (briefly) met Paula Radcliffe.

How did this miracle come to pass? I saw a post from Nike Running UK on Facebook about the event, which was held at the Nike Fuel Station on the south side of Clapham Common.  I knew I'd kick myself if I didn't, so I sent an email asking for a place.  And I got one!

I'd guess that Nike had loads of publicity planned around the fact that Paula would be running the London 2012 marathon and when she had to pull out, they had to change their PR plans. It was quite simple.  They asked everyone to go running with their Nike+ app and log it on Twitter with the hashtag #legendsrunforever.  Simple as that. Go run in Paula's honour.  So I did, we did, in our thousands.  And some of us got the opportunity to go to London to see her.

I had a bit of a fraught journey to get to Clapham Common.  I managed to leave work promptly and get the right train which then got delayed.

*sigh*

So I arrived at Clapham Junction later than expected to find that I'd missed the bus I needed to get.

*double sigh*

Just as I was standing at the bus stop dithering, a couple of runners approached the bus stop.  Their train had also been delayed and we decided to grab a cab together and head to the Fuel Station.  What a couple of nice chaps - Martin & Miguel - and we had a nice chat about running as we hurtled towards our destination.  Thankfully we arrived in time, queued up to get our free running t-shirts (white, with Legends Run Forever written in gold letters, very nice) and then sat down on the grass and waited for our heroes to appear.

First out onto the little stage was Carl Lewis.  How exciting.  A genuine Olympic legend and quite a witty guy to boot.  Then came Paula, to enormous cheers and excitement.  I hope she felt the love there that evening!

Look! It's Carl Lewis! and Paula! (and some guy asking them questions)
A half hour Q&A session followed, which was great, as it was Paula's first public appearance since she announced that she would not be competing.  One thing that really stuck with me was Paula's response when she was asked what inspired her to go out and run.  She replied simply that it was she loves to do it.  She just loves it. I think that's wonderful, and I really hope that her recovery goes well and she can get back to it soon.

After that Paula came down onto the grass and was very patient while everyone scrummed around her clamouring that get their picture taken.
Hero Worship
Paula was very gracious, and had the same lovely smile for every picture.  She is a complete inspiration on any number of levels.

I was so excited to get my picture taken that I nearly missed out on the run that was taking place!  I just managed to tag onto the back of the last group to set out around Clapham Common.  It was great fun, with people from the Nike run club escorting us around the Common.  Then there was a barbeque before it was time to head home.  I got directions back to Clapham Junction from a lovely friendly Nike Run club member and walked back.  As I got to the station, I heard "It's you again!" from behind me - it was Martin and Miguel, my taxi buddies!  I had to wait a while for my train, as the line was still a bit messed up, but got home without issue.

What a great evening, massive thanks to Nike for putting this event on (did I mention that there was no entry fee, it was all completely free, including the food) and for giving us the opportunity to connect with not one, but two sporting legends.

I didn't think it could get any better than that, but Sunday's events proved me wrong (another teaser!!! I'm so mean to you guys).

Separately, I'm loving the Nike Find Your Greatness ads - this one in particular encapsulates everything that I believe about sport.  This is Nathan from London, Ohio being Great.  Enjoy xx

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

In which I do some sport

Everyone, something exciting has happened!  You know that sporting legacy malarkey that we're all supposed to catch, except that none of us has, because we can't stop watching the Olympics long enough to get off the sofa and do the hoovering? ("No, it's really important that I watch the Greco Roman wrestling, I'm really into it now!").  Well, in your face Beeb 24 channel red button sport watching addiction, because on Friday evening I actually went out and did SPORT! (I know! Wow!).  

For a few years now, I've been aware of a series of local aquathlon events based at the Guildford Lido. Every year, I've thought about entering and then have never quite got round to it, for one reason or another.  So this year when a friend suggested entering, I took it as a sign that it was time to stop titting around and just do it.  So we did.  I shan't bore you with exhaustive detail on this.  Suffice to say that we swam 500m in the outdoor pool (tiring, as there was odd current pushing back at one end - breeze? I don't really know) followed by a 5k run around Stoke Park (which had been ploughed after the massacring it got for Guilfest, very uneven underfoot).  

I'm not going to lie.  The whole thing hurt like a bitch.  The swim felt good, but the run was tough.  My left shoulder hurt throughout, my left calf was really tight and I had a stitch in my right hand side.  But despite all of those things, I really enjoyed it and we have already signed up for another one in Hertfordshire at the beginning of September.  

I plan to actually train for this one (if only so that it doesn't hurt so much), so I have already hit the pool and shall be going running once I've posted this.  In actual fact, I would have been running anyway, as my training plan for the Great South Run starts this week, so it's all tying in together nicely.

Please note that Murdoch is not joining me in my sporting endeavour.  He is currently doing this....
Oofy oof
... lying in his bed blinking and making his best tired "oofy oof" noises, as he has been at the Dog House all day and as a result is knackered. If there were a gold medal up for grabs in a "lying on your back huffing" event, he'd win it.

In other news, I'm off to do something even more exciting tomorrow evening.  Eeeeeeek! That's all I'm telling you for now, I'm a tease!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Playing the Game

I've been thinking quite a bit about the Olympic badminton fiasco.  You heard about this, right?  In case you haven't, this is the story about eight badminton players being disqualified from the competition for "not using one's best efforts to win".  I didn't watch the matches, but essentially these players were deliberately playing badly so that they would lose their doubles match and therefore get an easier draw in the next round, easing their way through to the final.  I agree wholeheartedly with the disqualification because the actions of these players have annoyed and upset me considerably.  This is why.

We talk about athletes across all sports and disciplines "representing their countries".  For many people this is quite an abstract concept, but for me, it feels much more real.  I believe that these athletes, their effort and endeavour, truely represent the people of the country that they are competing for.  They are our finest, our best and they are competing on behalf of each and every single one of us.  Why else do we get so much joy and excitement from their success?  Why else do we feel so deflated when they do not perform as well as they and we had hoped?

In contrast to the attitude we saw from the badminton players, earlier this week we had the British men's rowing eight competing at Dorney, aiming to win the gold medal.  They gave it everything they had, went out like the clappers and risked going home with nothing as a result.  Thankfully they left with the bronze, making the nation proud in the process.  

So I guess my question is, who would you want representing you?  Who do you feel better represents you as a person, as a citizen of your nation?  The participants who seek to make their way through the competition by taking the easy option?  By choosing the path of least resistance?  Or those who hit the finish line leaving everything they have on the floor?  Those who strive for excellence?

I know my preference!  Bring on the British bulldog spirit - grab on and don't let go until the job is done.  Go Team GB!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

A Wonderful Weekend

Is it Sunday evening already?  I've had a wonderful weekend and the time has just flown by.  

Now that quite a few of our group have babies, we're finding different ways to spend time together, as it can't be all about going out on the lash.  So these days we meet for walks, brunches and on Friday evening we held our book club's inaugural event.  The first book chosen to read was Fifty Shades of Grey.  Which I hated.  I could go on for a loooooooonnggg time about exactly why I hated it, but instead I'll direct you to this blog, that says it much better than I ever could.  Despite my rabid hatred of the book being discussed, we had a whale of a time, chatting about the book while enjoying a nice drink and a take out Thai curry.  A good time had by all, and hopefully a better book picked for next time!  We'll be reading Wonder, by RJ Palacio.

On Saturday morning I got up early and walked Murdoch before heading out for a run with B.  We did three miles before B split off to grab a few things from the shop.  Just afterwards I bumped into a couple of former colleagues wandering the streets of Farncombe trying to find their way back to Godalming, I took pity on them, jumped into the car and drove them back to Godalming.  Then after a quick shower I got a call from J asking me if I wanted to join him at the gym for a quick go on the bikes - he's just joined Fitness First and is super keen!  I thought "why the heck not?", got changed into some clean gym kit and headed out the door.  I'm really glad I went, B used to be my gym buddy but she now uses a different gym, so it's lovely to have someone to go with again.  

After that it was another quick shower before I had to head into Guildford for an optician appointment.  Guildford was rammed (because of Guilfest?) and I got stuck in traffic.  This led to me rescheduling my appointment, which was fine, but meant I had little time before I had to get back and collect Murdoch for our weekly walk at Blackheath, which was lovely as always.

After the walk I had just enough time to chuck Murdoch into the flat and throw some food down his throat before I went out again.  This time to a garden party to welcome my friends' baby into the world.  It was wonderful to see them and to meet baby Elsie, who is a lovely little girl.  I also got to catch up with some friends who I hadn't seen for some time while enjoying some wine, so all in all a lovely way to end a really busy day!

Today was a little less busy, but no less exciting.  I got up early again to walk Murdoch, but went back to bed for a while afterwards and caught up on some sleep.  Then it was time to get ready.  Because I was heading off to the theatre for an event that I have been looking forward for ages.  I grabbed B and her other half, S and drove down to the Chichester Festival Theatre to watch David Suchet take part in a rehearsed reading of Black Coffee - Agatha Christie's only play to feature Poirot.  It was fabulous and during the Q&A afterwards, David Suchet confirmed that he would never do this play again, so I feel really fortunate to be one of only a very few people who will ever see him perform as Poirot live on stage.  

I got back in time to take Murdoch for his evening walk and now I think it's time for bed, before heading back to the office tomorrow for a rest!

Friday, 6 July 2012

A Cad and a Bounder

My story starts a couple of weeks ago.  I was sitting on my sofa at about half past nine on a Friday evening, as I often do, when I heard my letter box clatter.  How odd, even the pizza guys don't normally deliver flyers that late around here.  So I went to see what it was.  

It was a handwritten note which said

[name, which I won't put here] (no 11)
[phone number, which I won't put up here]
ANYTIME (this is actually double underlined, for lots of emphasis)

Well you could have blown me down with a feather.  Although number 11 is directly over the road from me, I honestly had no idea at all who lived there and who this guy was (for the purposes of this post, I'm going to call him Norman, although that is not his name).  So how did he know who I am, to the extent that he'd put a note through my door inviting me to get in touch ANYTIME (double underlined)?  I sent B a text.  She lives a few doors down from me and knows more people around here than I do.  She didn't know who he was either, but thought he might be a plumber (it turns out that he isn't).  

The story now goes quiet for a week, as I dithered about whether to call this guy or not.  On the one hand, he could be a weird stalker type, but on the other hand, he might just be a sweet guy who plucked up the courage to contact a stranger who he saw and thought was cute.  There was also the fact that, while he knew what I look like, I had no idea what he looks like.  My worst case scenario was that he might be a very old man with a Hitler moustache.  And a house full of cats.  Does that make me shallow?  Maybe.  In any case, I'm sure you can see my dilemma.  

Cut to the following Friday night, when I headed round to a friend's house for a few drinks with the girls.  As the wine flowed, my tongue loosened and I was soon telling the girls all about this odd situation.  This led to an animated discussion about what I should do and a frankly hilarious bit of role play where one friend was Norman, another friend was herself (using her GCSE drama skills and a fake moustache) and yet another friend was Norman's front door, as we thought of ways that we could identify who this guy was without me actually having to speak to him (looking for a lost dog being the favourite scenario). As funny as it was, once I sobered up, I realised that there was only one thing to do.

So I dithered a bit more, of course.  Procrastination is my speciality.  Then on Monday morning as I opened the curtains in my front room, I saw a man drive away in a car as a woman on the first floor of number 11 waved him off.  I wasn't sure what to make of that, my first thought was WIFE!, but after a bit of consultation with my friends, I decided not to jump to any conclusions - it could just as easily have been his flatmate or sister - and to just send him a text message.  

So I sent him a short polite text, apologising for not knowing who he was and asking if we'd met.

He replied almost straight away, saying that we'd never met, but that I'd smiled and waved at him.  This was not very helpful to me in identifying this man, because I smile and wave politely to pretty much everyone I encounter, whether on foot or in the car.  I guess it made quite the impression on this occasion.  He also said that putting his number through my door was not the sort of thing he usually did and he didn't know what had come over him.  A couple more texts were exchanged, nothing very exciting - mainly because I was being quite guarded as I was still very much in the dark about who he was and very mindful that he lived over the road from me, making it a potentially awkward situation.

Then he asked me if I was on Facebook and I immediately saw an opportunity to find out a bit more about him  without giving any detail about myself.  So I asked him for his name and told him that I'd look him up.

So I did.  And the first thing that I saw on his public profile was his relationship status......

MARRIED.

Good lord.  Stunned.  Absolutely stunned.  You might ask why I was stunned, because there had been a couple of warning signs, but I honestly didn't think that even the most foolish of married men would be stupid enough to mess right on their doorstep!

I immediately sent Norman a text message telling him that according to his Facebook profile, he is married and that I therefore didn't think it was a good idea for him to have put his phone number through my door (duh!).  He replied:

I know, but I did say I dunno why I done it.  Just a spur of the moment!  I see you didn't add me either though!

Errrrrrmm riiiiiiiiiiiight.  So the fact that it was only a spur of the moment decision makes it ok that you decided to put your phone number through the door of the woman who lives directly opposite you and your WIFE?!  And do you really think that there is a possibility that I might still add you on Facebook?!  Not a chance sonny.  I responded immediately:

No - and I won't be either.  Please delete my details from your phone.

And there endeth the tail.  Sort of.  You can only imagine the level of outraged hilarity in the email trail that ensued with my friends.  So there are several things that I have learned from this situation:

1.  There are some really awful and stupid people about.  I can't decide if this guy was super cocky or just really stupid.  In case it's not bad enough to proposition another woman when you're married - to do it to a woman who literally lives in your wife's sight line?  My mind is still blown by that.
2.  There are some really really stupid people about.  What if I'd decided to follow his lead and post a note through his letterbox?  Good luck explaining that to your wife buddy.
3.  My friends are a fantastic bunch of smart, witty, lovely and hilarious women.  I love them and are very grateful to have them.
4.  Aren't some people just awful?

I know that this post may seem to be treating the situation in quite a flippant way, but I would like to stress that I feel just awful for Norman's wife.  I feel so sad that this poor woman that I have never met is married to a man that would behave in this way.  That said, I will not be enlightening her, it's not my place and I'm not going to drop that bomb.  I hope that Norman has learned a lesson from this situation and behaves himself in the future.

My final lesson from this experience is perhaps to be more careful about who I smile at.  My smile is clearly a weapon.  In fact, only yesterday evening as I walked to my car after work, I smiled at a couple of guys walking towards me.  One of them said "You have a nice smile" and I thought "Oh don't you bloody start!" and walked on by.  So I have a new strategy, to only smile at reeeeeeeaaaaaaaally hot guys and hope like heck that they turn out to be single!

I'd be really interested to hear people's thoughts about this situation, please feel free to comment x


Monday, 2 July 2012

Fridge salad and a nice risotto

Yesterday's dinner: fridge salad
Vegetarian month got off to a somewhat unpromising start yesterday, when I realised that I couldn't be bother to cook.  So I made a quick salad out of stuff I had in the fridge: baby spinach, some rather tired spring onions, a bit of grated cheddar and some potato salad.

Today also did not seem promising at first.  I had a really busy day at work and bought my lunch from a snack van that does the rounds of our town.  Usually when I buy my lunch from the van, I'll have a chicken and stuffing sandwich, or ham and tomato.  So this was uncharted territory.  And ended up being a bit of a disappointment.  The only two veggie sandwich options were egg salad (I'd rather eat a poo sandwich) and cheese salad.  So I had cheese salad.  It was ok.  I really need to get organised and sort out my own lunch.  

Today's dinner: kale and pea risotto

Today's dinner was much more of a triumph.  I am very fond of a risotto.  I quite often make them without adding any meat, so today's evening meal of kale and pea risotto was not too much of a departure from the norm.  Very simple to do, just chop up plenty of onion and garlic and soften them off in some olive oil (I always add a few flakes of sea salt as well). Add the arborio rice (keep the heat quite low) for a minute and then add some vegetable stock.  From there on, you know the drill: keep adding stock bit by bit until the rice is as soft as you like it.  In the meantime, steam the kale and the peas so that they are ready to add to the risotto with the last bit of vegetable stock.  I prefer to leave my risotto with quite a bit of gloop to it, but some people prefer a drier dish, I guess.  I also added a little bit of grated cheddar at the end (see what I mean about the cheese?  I can't seem to eat things without it!).  I made a big old pan of the stuff, so can now enjoy this dish over the next few days. 

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Hush............

A gentle hush has fallen.  June is done and across the blogosphere, Juneathoners are taking a well earned break from jogging, logging and indeed blogging.  Ssssssh, don't speak too loudly, a whisper sounds like thunder in the void...... :)

As I mentioned in my last post, I didn't do enough of the community side of Juneathon, but ho hum, there's always next time and overall I'm happy with my totals for the month, who knew I walked so much?!:

Walking 122.7 miles
Running: 23.3 miles
Swimming: 1k
Crosstraining: 5hrs

In other news, I've hit upon a challenge for July.

Interesting fact about Amy: for nine years as a youth, I was a vegetarian.
(Another interesting fact about Amy: sometimes she refers to herself in the third person. Gah.)

I stopped being a vegetarian Stateside during a holiday with my parents.  I was 22, teenage idealism had worn thin and I really freakin' wanted a burger.  So that was that.  These days I still don't eat meat with every meal, but I'd like to see how I get on without it for a while.  So the questions are:

1.   Can I revisit vegetarianism for the entire month of July?
2.  Can I do it without eating my own bodyweight in cheese (oh God, I really love cheese)
3.  How long will it take for someone to offer me a great vegetarian recipe centred around the mushroom (oh God, I really hate mushrooms)

I'll try and blog regularly to let you all know how I'm getting on and will post any recipes that I've tried and enjoyed.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Admitting defeat

Early morning Guildford skyline
Sometimes in life, you just have to admit defeat.  I'm in that place at the moment.  I have to admit that I've managed an epic fail on the Juneathon front, I haven't blogged for the last week and only just caught up with over two week's worth of activity logging on RunFree.  Which is an astonishingly hateful task if you don't do it as you go along.  I seem to have done a reasonable amount of exercise (totals below) but I've not done so well on the community front.  I've read blogs and commented on a few, but really I don't feel as though I've really been involved, which is probably reflected by the fact that for the most part, Juneathon participants haven't commented on mine, which have been (at best) sporadic.

I'm also admitting defeat on some other fronts too.  I've come to the realisation that you can't make people like you.  You just can't.  Not everyone on this planet is going to like you.  Sometimes, you're put in a situation where it's difficult for people to like you.  Sometimes your actions contribute to that situation and do not improve it.  But it is what it is.  And I'm finding it important to remember that I have lots of amazing friends who do like me.  So I should probably stop worrying about the people that don't.  It saps what little confidence that I have and makes me retreat into my introspective depression shell to hide, which isn't helpful to anyone, least of all me. 

Anyway, that's about all I have to say for myself for now.  I doff my cap to people like Lesley who has found something interesting say every single day this month and also to everyone who took part in the Longest Day Run event at the weekend - I logged 4 miles, which may not seem like much, but is the longest that I have managed to run this year on my injury comeback trail (yaaay!) 

Juneathon totals for the month so far:
Running: 23.3 miles
Walking: 109.8 miles
Swimming: 1k
Pilates: 4hrs
Bootcamp: 1hr

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Long Way Round

Juneathon the Twentieth.  In which we take an unexpectedly long walk, encountering poo swarms, cows and the very real possibility that we may never, ever be able to leave the field.  Ever.
Larger picture here
Well didn't we have a lovely walk this morning.  I decided to deviate from our usual route and go round a different field.  This was my first mistake.  My second mistake was not letting the enormous swarms of flies that were covering the cow pats lining the path put me off.  Seriously, they were everywhere.

The coup de grace came when I saw the herd of cows hiding over the brow of a hill in the corner of the field.  Right next to the stile that we needed to go over to get out of the field *sigh*

So we turned around and headed to a stile that took us into the next field.  From which there was no exit.  We went to each corner of the field in turn, desperately hoping for a stile, a gate, anything!!!!!! To no avail.  We walked (increasingly desperate) around the field until we were back pretty much where we started.  Right in the middle of the poo swarm.  Dagnammit.  I say "we" a lot, but really there were two distinct camps here.

1. Me.  "Oh God, there are no gates or stiles or any way of getting out of this damn field! This is awful.  Just awful!  WE MIGHT ACTUALLY DIE HERE!!" *flail*

2.  Murdoch (pootle) (sniff) (pootle)

Anyway, we made it home after adding an extra 1.35 miles onto our walk with this fiasco and just in time to jump into the car to take Murdoch for his annual boosters at the vet.

I also took Murdoch for another walk this afternoon - keeping to a well-established route this time - for a total of seven miles walked today.

In other news, I am aching like fool following yesterday's bootcamp effort.  Everything hurts.  I guess that shows that I worked pretty hard, unlike the two ladies next to me who chatted the whole time.  It's possible that they're much fitter than me, but then shouldn't they still be putting more effort in?

I had originally considered going for a run today but the sad state of my post-bootcamp body, combined with the fact that I have a run-date with my friend B first thing tomorrow morning have led me to cop out.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Juneathon Bootcamp

Another lovely day away from the office and this morning I had booked myself into a bootcamp session at Charterhouse Club.

So after taking Murdoch for the first walk of the morning at the Dog House and leaving him there for lots of dog walking and fun, I headed home, got myself ready and headed out to the class.  I was greeted by a friendly blonde woman who seemed very nice.  Until she yelled at us to run down to the track where we'd be doing the session.  Cripes.  I'm joking, she was actually lovely and encouraging, which was helpful as I found the session really tough.  Even aside from the persistent feeling that I might be sick at any moment (I'm not kidding.  Burpees, jump squats, spiderman thingies, press ups etc etc etc) the fast pace of the class was the direct opposite of Pilates, where you're encouraged to move slowly with a focus on position and form.  Here, there seemed little focus on form, rather on getting as much done as quickly as possible, so it was a real change of pace.

But overall I really enjoyed the class, my heart rate was up the entire time and it's something that I'll definitely do again.

So that's my Juneathon for the day.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Longest Day Run


A much sunnier view at the weekend
Nearly an entire week has passed again and I've mostly been doing dog walking as my Juneathon effort.  Thankfully the weather has improved considerably and Misog has disappeared for a while.

I don't feel like I have masses to say and wouldn't be writing this blog at all if it weren't for Juneathon!  I have however read quite a few blogs over the past week, so feel a bit better about that.  This week I have the week off work.  I've decided that I'm going to try out a few classes at Charterhouse Club as well as getting a couple of runs in during the day.  

Then on Saturday I'm going to be taking part in the inaugural Longest Day Run event.  The idea is to run as far as possible between midday on Saturday 23rd and midday Sunday 24th.  In my case, I'm aiming for only five miles, which will be the farthest that I've run this year.  Check out the website and think about taking part - seems like a fun challenge to me.

PawPaw McGraw

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Playing Catch Up (again)

Oh dear.  Once again I've been epically shit on the Juneathon front and haven't blogged since last week.  Nor have I had much time to read and comment on other people's blog.  I hereby declare that I will be chasing that elusive "negative split" and will do much better in the second half of the month.  If I fail at this, please feel free to come and do some monkey style poo flinging at my comments section.

Misog
So what have I been up to in the past week?  Mainly lots of dog walking.   In the rain.  You know it's got bad when on arrival at the park, the first thing Murdoch does when you let him off the lead is glance back at the entrance to the park, wondering if he could make a dash back to the flat before I could catch him.  I swear the only reason he (grudgingly) followed me into the park was because I don't let him have his own front door key.  In fact I have temporarily renamed him.  His current name is Misog because he is such a damp and grumpy misery dog. Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes.  So Misog and I have been doing lots of walking, sometimes clad in the Wrong Trousers, sometimes braving it in mere walking trousers (am I brave or foolhardy? I'll catch my death etc etc).

The view from the Gibbet. On a clear day you can see Canary Wharf
On Saturday morning I headed to the Devil's Punchbowl to do the Saturday morning run out with the lovely HBAC folk.  I particularly enjoy this session, as it always ends up in the cafĂ© having a nice spot of breakfast.  Super.  It's really lovely at the Punchbowl.  Well it always was, but since the Hindhead tunnel opened, the Punchbowl and the Gibbet are no longer bisected by the A3 and it's now just wonderful.  Must take Misog down there for a walk.  At the end of the session, we were told that we must come next week as one of the coaches has something special in store for our little back to running group.  This has struck fear into my heart, mainly because Julia's idea of fun is running repeatedly up and down very steep hills.  She's lovely, but y'know, that's just madness.  Anyway, I'll find out what that is on Saturday, and if I survive, I'll tell you all about it.  

On Sunday morning I did a Pilates class at Charterhouse Club.  I really love this class, partly because I'm much better at it than I thought I'd be!  It's a great change of pace and I always leave after the class feeling energised.

Anyway, that's probably more than enough from me, I'll finish by giving you my Juneathon grand totals so far (*drum roll*):

Walking: 56 miles
Running: 14 miles (is anyone else having trouble getting RunningFree to speak to Nike+? They have clearly had a falling out and are standing on opposite sides of the room sulking.)
Pilates: 0 miles (1hr)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

June-bilee Shenanigans


Oh God.  I'm playing catch up again.  It's just been so busy, these past few days. Enough ado, let's get stuck in.

Monday 4th June.  Got up, walking the dog, 3.2 miles done.  Trousers got soaked in the long grass again, wished I'd worn my waterproof trousers.

On Monday afternoon it was time for the inaugural Godalming Jubilee 5k (presumably they will rename it next year!).  There was also a 10k option, but I decided to stick to the 5k, with a 20 minute walk into Godalming as my warm up.  It was my first race since my return from injury and I was planning to take it easy, get round the course and just enjoy the day.  

Excited at the start with Leila
That plan lasted till the gun went off, I got caught up in the excitement and legged it round at full pelt.  The course was great, a great mix of traffic-free road running combined with an utter bitch of a hill that came as a bit of a surprise!  Ended up getting round in 27:29, which is a pretty respectable time for me and I was 19th woman home.  That probably says more about the depth of the field than it does about my performance!  It was well staged, particularly for a first time out and apparently the 10k was great too, with another couple of killer hills thrown in for good measure.

After hanging around the finish area for a bit with Leila, I walked home to Farncombe and took Murdoch for a walk - another 2.5 miles in the bag.  When I got home, I nearly fell asleep on the sofa, but managed to drag myself back to Godalming for an evening of Jubilee festivities.  At this point I should probably mention that my poor sad PF heels were giving me serious cause for worry.  Not only had I gone out pretty hard, but it was mostly on road, whereas my training since injury has been mostly off-road to minimise impact.  As a result, I'm afraid I spent most of the evening in a bit of a grump, and wasn't drinking as I wanted to be able to drive home. Reh reh reh.

On Tuesday I awoke to a miracle.  My heels didn't hurt!  I think this may have been because I had done quite a bit of stretching and had massaged my legs quite a bit.  Huzzah!  This was excellent news and I joyfully set off to walk the dog.  Trousers got soaked in the long grass again, wished I'd worn my waterproof trousers.

At around lunchtime I headed down to Liphook where there was a Jubilee street party in my parents' road.  Had a nice time chatting to the neighbours, even though it was PISSING it down.  After a couple of hours of British stiff upper lip, we gave up and went inside.  Had a nice cup of tea to warm up, then headed home to walk the dog.  There is a reason why I rarely crack out the waterproof trousers, despite wet leg misery.  This is because they make me look like Wallace wearing the Wrong Trousers.  Judge for yourselves.  

The Wrong Trousers. More tea Gromit?
But I did get them out for the second dog walk of the day - it was peeing it down, after all.

Got up this morning and immediately knew that something was amiss.  Aaaw hell, I'm going to have to go back to work.  Hurumph.  At least I had a dog walk first to cheer me up.  Did the usual route with the dog walkers, left Murdoch there for the day and headed up to London.  Did a good day's work and then got my running kit on.  Our offices are near Tower Hill and I decided that it would be lovely to run back to Waterloo along the South Bank.  
Last time I ran over Tower Bridge I was in the middle of a marathon!




And very lovely it was too - had to do quite a bit of tourist dodging and had a very scary moment near the OXO tower when I realised that my rucksack had suddenly got lighter than it should have been.  Turned around to see a male runner coming towards me carrying my jacket, a shoe and my purse.  Apparently a girl had seen them fall out of my bag (which had come open) and he offered to run them up to me.  I was enormously grateful - I've no idea how I would have got back from London without my purse, which contained all of my money, cards and my train ticket.  Disaster very narrowly averted and faith in humanity restored!  The slight downside to my day is that I missed my train home and as I got home quite late, it was easier to leave Murdoch overnight rather than do a late pick up.  I miss that little guy.  The flat seems very empty without him!

So now you're up to date again, are you as exhausted reading this as I was writing it? :)