Janathon Day 31 Rupert, no ordinary dog

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Rupert contemplates the mysterious matrix of shadows and turns away to dwell on the fragility of choice. If all roads lead to Rome, he ponders, how can I be certain of reaching home (and not Rome). This is an example of the conundrum he falls into on a regular basis. That’s why he’s known locally as Rupert the philosopher.

The end of January and the final day of Janathon. I nearly tried a short run today but decided against it. My cold hasn’t run its course and I don’t think it’s a good idea to stress my body. Instead I went for a two mile walk and completed it in twenty five minutes. I listened to the finish of one Guardian Long Read podcast and started on another. Top class journalism

I haven’t got around to totaling my Janathon runs and walks. The mileage is less than I anticipated but I did manage to do something each day. I’ll have a rest now.

 

Janathon Day 30 Is this normal? He used to be such a lovely lad!

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Cambridge parkrun’s 6th anniversary. Fancy dress and a Bake Off competition. We definitely love having our picture taken at Cambridge (big time). For example, this week we have three main albums of photos totaling around 900 snaps. See Cambridge parkrun Facebook page here Cambridge parkrun Facebook

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Today we had 475 runners in rain free, relatively mild weather combined with muddy paths and lots of puddles.

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This vision in red is our good friend Kerry wearing his sub 23 minutes top. He’s currently sub 22 minutes (Grrrr!) not that it matters, of course, since parkrun is a run not a race (the results page is just for reference).

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Only about 200 metres to the finish where there are plenty of people to applaud her.

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The quick lads wait while Mike finishes his cup of coffee. Fair enough! If they insist on being disgustingly fast, it’s only fair they pay some kind of penalty. I offered to buy Mike another coffee before he blew the horn but he graciously declined.

All in all a great morning topped off by coffee with friends. I didn’t feel well enough to run but I did take photos. In the evening I went for a two mile brisk walk and listened to BBC Radio 4 podcasts – Woman’s Hour and Last Word. Note to self : remember not stare at the pavement lost in thought when walking in the dark or risk jumping out of your skin when someone suddenly looms up in front of you.

Janathon Day 29 I’m not the full ticket

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My screen printing course continues relentlessly. Next week I’ll overlap these shapes with other shapes to make it super interesting. I can’t wait, you can’t wait. Next Friday cannot come too soon. Let the days whiz by!

My runny nose, followed by a weird throat, has turned into a cold so I decided not to run today. That’s the third day without running. I did go for a two mile walk. Parkrun tomorrow. I’ll see how I feel in the morning. If I do run it will be a gentle jog. It will give admirers the chance to see me properly rather than as a blur as I power past them.

I feel like a fallen running god at the moment. Or perhaps like Superman who has been weakened by exposure to kryptonite. Or drained of the will to live by watching East Enders. Can anything be worse than a cold!

 

 

Janathon Day 28 The future? Possibly less running

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I had to go into Cambridge this morning and I decided to do a second Janthaon walking day. It may be the cold weather, it may be listening to medics speaking about the risks of running excessively (Trust Me, I’m a Doctor BBC 2 yesterday, with the excellent Michael Mosley) or it may be I’m a little tired. Unfortunately for me, there’s a current body of opinion which asserts that after a certain level of physical exercise, you may be jeopardising your health by stressing your heart and damaging your circulatory system.

I recovered very well from my heart attack six years ago and I still feel I could run as long and as far as I want. But I don’t think medical opinion would support that approach. In future, I’ll continue to focus on parkrun and probably do fewer 10k races and perhaps just one or two half marathons at a slower pace. And more walking

The Tory government stance, and particularly Cameron’s pronouncements, on very conditional requirements for accepting lone children caught up in the migrant/refugee crisis, is sickening. Clearly, Cameron wants to keep them at arms length and despite his ever so rational explanations about the sensible Tory approach, it reeks of an intrinsic absence of empathy and compassion. Goodwill and sensitivity towards vulnerable children, who have no family to care for them and who are at terrible risk, should be a no brainer, even for the Tories. Their current policy reveals the emotional deadness within.

Janathon Day 27 A walking day

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Sun coming up over Wort’s Meadow a few days ago when it was frosty.

Didn’t manage a daytime run today and unusually I didn’t feel like running in the evening. but I did fancy a walk and listened to BBC Radio 4 podcasts. It was pleasant walking in the dark. I became aware of the Cambridge lights around 4-5 miles away. The red lights at the top of the tall new constructions were particularly prominent . Distance walked : two miles .

I’ll be doing Cambridge parkrun on Saturday. It’s their 6th birthday. I intended to volunteer as a marshal but the rota is now full so it’s deferred until the following weekend. That’s good because parkrun will be my penultimate Janathon jog.

 

Janathon Day 26 Bleakness and gales

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I decided yet again not to run with the club tonight but go for a solitary long run during daylight. The sky was overcast and it was very windy. I usually love running by the river but the light was poor and there was a very strong, sustained  headwind. At times it felt like I was making little forward progress and the wind chill made me cold. As a matter of habit I run towards Cambridge (and, of course, the river Cam goes through Cambridge) but I decided to turn around and not complete the intended distance.

With the wind behind me I made better progress and decided on a footpath, which I rarely take, towards Ely, still along side the river but with open views across the fens and cultivated fields. Despite the openness, it was less windy but the dismal, grim light remained. There was nobody about and it was , bleak, bleak, bleak.

I ran up to Bottisham Lock and felt so lonely I was compelled to talk to this motorised sluice gate winding gear as I stood staring at the unyielding landscape. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t respond. I regurgitated the one joke I know. Still no response. I gave up and moved on.

Total distance : 5.76 miles

The Guardian, today, gives headline prominence to statistics obtained by the Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb which reveal that deaths among mental health patients has risen by 21% over the last three years, from 1,412 to 1,713. There has also been a large increase in “serious incidents” – involving unexpected or avoidable deaths, serious harm, injury and abuse. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/26/rise-mental-health-patient-deaths-nhs-struggling-to-cope

These outcomes are linked with cuts to mental health service funding and the consequent degradation of services in the community and  hospitals and the substantial reduction in hospital beds. You’ve got to be a Tory not to care!

 

Janathon Day 25 Rupert knows the score

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A later run this evening and also a leisurely one since I ran on a fairly full stomach. I travelled to East Londinium and back today and nearly decided to count Rupert the dog’s walk as my Janathon distance. But two miles was manageable even after I had eaten.

I’ve posted this pic before. Rupert does like his football.

Janathon Day 24 The rabbits are coming…..

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The weather has turned very mild again ( in the East of England). This afternoon it reached 13C and I was wearing a tee shirt (plus a few other items) when I continued building the rabbit proof fence around the polytunnel and allotment area.  I suddenly became aware of large group of rabbits, at least twenty, about 30 metres away, who appeared to be watching me and laughing. Several of them began to jump as if on springs and must have reached a metre in height. By coincidence my fence is a metre high. Clearly I will have to keep an eye on this. If the rabbits team up with the muntjac deer, it could go from bad to worse. I had visions of the deer carrying bunnies on their backs to assist them to jump down over the other side..

I had a lie in this morning so Rupert had a late walk, I went to the Emmaus community shop, did other stuff, worked on the fence and then went for a late two mile run just before dusk instead of a long run as I had intended. Never mind, it was still a productive day. I managed to buy a sturdy six foot by three foot table in Emmaus which is perfect to use as a craft surface for screen printing, cutting stencils and tee shirt design.

The Tory party has announced plans to help Muslim women to learn English and Cameron said a £20m fund would provide classes for all women struggling with the language. He linked better or attainment of English skills with helping to prevent radicalisation. However, the coalition government severely cut funding for language classes aimed at migrant women and between 2008 and 2015  there was a £160m reduction in available funds for teaching English to this target group. This is high end deceit. The Tories specialise in it.

Janathon Day 23 Can you take me seriously?

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Rupert considers his next move. Actually this pic was taken last year, or even the year before, when it was particularly frosty. He struck a similar pose this morning but there was no frost  and I didn’t think it worthy of a picture. He’s still sulking. I’m thinking of making an appointment with the vet. Is narcissism in a dog treatable?

Cambridge parkrun this morning. Muddy and mild. I’ve done the last four Cambridge parkruns within four seconds of each other and two of them in identical times. I’ve noticed similar patterns before. I don’t look at my watch during the run and always run as fast as I can. Conclusion? Week to week I am very consistent or rather I have periods of consistency. At the present time I am consistently running two minutes slower than in October last year, just before I fell in a half marathon and injured my thigh. Injury is all cleared up and I feel I am flying. Conclusion? The nature of time has changed. It’s obviously speeded up!

Still, I enjoyed the run and had a nice cup of coffee with Eric and Kerry. The women were surprisingly absent so we were able to endlessly discuss football, darts, fast cars, technology and do a bit of online gambling on our smart phones. We also took turns to read off our running stats from Strava, Garmins and Fitbitty things. And then we went to the pub and sank a number of pints. No, I’m making this up. I just had coffee with Eric and Kerry and we chatted about running stuff. An enjoyable morning.

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Janathon Day 22 On the way to being the next Lichtenstein

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It’s incredible! Print Making course, second week in, and Tate Modern in London and Tate Liverpool have been in contact, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst have messaged me and I’m being lauded as an exciting new talent. Here’s more –

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Despite this recognition, my fellow students failed to point out that I had a big blob of turquoise acrylic paint nicely positioned in my hair, just above my forehead. Luckily it came to my attention when I went to the loo before leaving the college. I was able to remove some of it but it looked very messy. I had to do a big shop in Tesco with very visible green highlights. Never mind. All in a day’s work to a creative like myself.

In the morning, before it went all kerflooey (this word was brought to me by dictionary.com : word of the day), I went for a run in a bitter wind and light, driving rain. Not my first choice of weather for running but it certainly made me focus and feel alive.

Change of plan for tomorrow’s parkrun. It’ll be Cambridge, and not Wimpole Hall Estate, the former probably the muddier of the two. Possibly a long run on Sunday.

Reasonably realistic and sympathetic depiction of puerperal psychosis/bipolar disorder relapse in East Enders at the moment. This is a soap being sensitive and responsible. The only dud note if you’ve been watching it is the time taken for East End characters to appreciate her level of illness and their capacity to accommodate her severe symptoms. Tonight she received treatment!