Drabness with knobs on – beyond dreigh!

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Extremely dull weekend. Grey blanket cloud, drizzle, sleet, occasional cutting winds, temperatures around zero. The poor light affects my mood so even more reason to go running.

I ran around 7.5 miles this morning. From where I live it’s  3 miles to the river Cam and I ran about 4.5 miles along the river path. Loads of runners out, mostly training for the Cambridge half marathon. After the A14 flyover a dozen or so university rowing eights were on the Cam with all their support personnel. They looked cold! I think there’s a lot of hanging around. I suppressed an urge to advise them to retire to their refectories or libraries and have a game of darts in the warm. Instead I wove a path between oars and the coachs et al and sprinted on into the gloom, my bravado unacknowledged. 25 minutes later, I met up with my own support team (Lorna) who picked me up at the Green Dragon pub. This run was an outward journey only. Oh yes, and a first tryout for my new shoes. Loads of standing water and mud on the path. They felt very good.

Yesterday the conditions were very muddy at Cambridge parkrun and trail shoes were essential. Again, very overcast and cold. I wore suitable kit to combat the weather but it was still uphill work. And that’s saying something on a totally flat course.

The pic at the top shows the Shard tower and to the right the giant chimney stack of the Tate Modern gallery. The rectangular building on the right is a recent extension, Switch House and you can see the outside viewing level just below the top. This viewing level attracted much criticism from the residents of multi million pound flats who were overlooked by the gawping proletariat determined to enjoy all aspects of the 360 degree panarama.

I have some limited sympathy. Some of the apartments  have visible blinds. But I also assume that buying such transparently open accommodation fits in with their comfort zone which includes living in a goldfish bowl. I didn’t actually see anyone moving inside or much evidence of clutter. Or books. That’s outrageous.

You can access the sandy foreshore  of the Thames when the tide is out ( not recommended when the tide is coming in). To walk along the beach feels exciting and remote and very different despite being within a few metres of the madding crowd.

Back to the Tate. We saw The Radical Eye exhibition of photograhy including Man Ray and later this month or next, we’ll see the David Hockney retrospective at Tate Britain. In May, the Alberto Giacometti retrospective opens, he of the magical elongated pointy men (and women) figures.

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By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46682587

In my mid teens, I wandered around London on Saturdays and often visited Giacometti’s sculptures at the original Tate (now Tate Britain). I still find them beautiful, mystical and mesmorising (other adjectives are available).

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                                                             Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1268495

Mr Giacometti moving his stuff around while munching a ticket.

The Church of England has received substantial criticism from 14 retired bishops over failure to provide leadership concerning gay relationships. It’s expected that the general assembly synod will approve a recent report from bishops in post which upholds the traditional teaching that marriage is a lifelong union between a man and a woman. The church insists that gay clergy must be celibate and clergy are forbidden from conducting same sex marriage services. An open letter rebukes the former bishops’ successors for marginalising the views of LGBT members of the church.

It’s these kinds of beliefs and and thinking that reveal the wilful ignorance and lack of compassion and humanity of organised, traditional religion. It doesn’t recognise healthy sexuality as a fluid spectrum or as a biological imperative. Far better to rely on a dodgy set of scriptures for guidance. God help the LGBT community.

And finally, the Tory goverment can’t help reverting to type. The nasty party abandons it’s commitment to unaccompanied refugee and migrant minors. Such a good idea to let them fend for themselves. I read a comment that the tabloids relinquished their support for the policy after pictures of teenagers benefiting from this programme were published last year appearing to show some of them as looking like young men. So it’s justified, then!

 

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My 250th parkrun completed at Cambridge on Saturday

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Here I am, with my family and family friend Jemma, posing with my 250 balloons after everyone has left the cafe. We all ran, the rain held off and we had plenty of cake to share with friends. It was also Dan’s 50th so it was a double celebration. I’m still returning from injury and continuing to regain my running fitness. My time was only about a minute over what I would be happy with so I was satisfied. 5k is a do-able distance but I’m not up to 10k or more at the moment.

It’s really gratifying that all my family are doing parkrun either on a regular basis or when they can. It’s such an inclusive and positive movement. People who refuse to participate should be subject to the full force of the law. Three parkrun refusals and you get a custodial sentence. Possibly this is going too far.

Dan came up with some interesting stats. There are 1,286,246 parkrunners in the world (824,624 in the UK) and I am the 366th most experienced. It puts me in the top 0.03%. Unsurprisingly, I rather like these stats They have the ring of truth!

I enjoy listening to Radio 4’s The Bottom Line with Evan Davis. He discusses business issues with leading figures involved in specific areas ranging from branding, the arts, and start ups to finance, fashion and banking. It’s a direct and no-nonsense approach and often fascinating. This week I listened to a discussion on sponsorship which was, admittedly, less interesting than I anticipated. I did learn however that Castrol withdrew their sponsorship of the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin because they didn’t allow an LGBT contingent to march.

I’m currently compiling my wishlist of books for Christmas. Eight so far, two fiction, six non fiction. Keep felling those trees!

 

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Yesterday, my partner Lorna completed her 50th parkrun at Cambridge. Very well done indeed! It’s wonderful that both of us are running and have so many good running friends. Our running styles and mindsets are so different and tend to conform to male/female stereotypes. I run as fast as I can, don’t talk because of the supreme effort I’m making, can only wave acknowledgement to the marshals, knock slow people and children into the nettles if they get in my way and double up when I pass the the finish line, completely out of breath and exhausted. I do recover quickly, however. In contrast, Lorna frequently chats her way round, always verbally thanks the marshals, does take a big interest in her time but friendliness and sociability take precedence and often runs with or supports newer runners. After the run we usually have a coffee with friends in the park cafe which helps to acclimatise me to normal and healthy social interactions. The men seem to be in a more supportive role while the women talk animatedly and continually. It’s all good fun and a powerful antidote to feeling down. That’s the benefit of running with others of mixed ability and particularly women. You take your performance less seriously and enjoy yourself more. Men tend to be more fixated with performance, times, distances and superlatives. Anything to help us achieve a healthier perspective must be a good thing.

WE have been talking about Peter Tatchell, the human rights and gay rights activist. His lifestyle is rather less than luxurious and is completely commensurate with his ethical beliefs and values. He has created the Peter Tatchell Foundation ( PTF ) which is well worth looking at online. We’ll probably make a monthly donation. The man should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.