Aliveandrunning July 9 2014

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Those men in lycra descended upon my home town and caused mayhem on Monday. The lurid colours made me squint, no cars were allowed on any of the roads around Cambridge within a 50 mile radius (including farm tracks), people with French accents informed me I couldn’t walk on my own City pavements, some public safety announcements were made in French and Park and Ride  which they implored us to use to come in to town, threw us off their double deckers about 10 miles away from the town centre, forcing us to walk in. I had to carry a 103 year old woman on my back and deposit her in a convenient spot to watch the lads whizz by!

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However for most people it was a very enjoyable day. There was a great sense of anticipation and everyone was in a good mood. To offset the reality that the entire 200 cyclists would pass by in a few minutes (and because the stage started in Cambridge, they sauntered past us and gave us a few more seconds gawping and cheering time before starting to race outside the city centre), there were many dozens of support vehicles, camera motor bikes, sponsor cars, and cars bearing hundreds of spare bikes continually passing by and preceding the racers to thrill to. I was left with a nice warm fuzzy feeling and cancelled the UKIP membership I had taken out an hour earlier.

Not too much happening  on the running front. Two days off after parkrun on Saturday and went running with the club yesterday evening. Nothing today and possibly not tomorrow either. It doesn’t matter too much. A minor running god like myself can remain at peak fitness indefinitely (or at least until next week when I can start running in earnest again.

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss to chair the historical child sex abuse review which will look into allegations of far reaching abuse perpetrated by politicians and  Establishment figures? I don’t think so! She is the sister of Sir Michael Havers, an Attorney General  in the 1980’s (now deceased) who made decisions about whether or not to undertake prosecutions of paedophiles. She herself is an Establishment figure who commands huge respect and confidence (by the Establishment) and also by her nephew, that nice Nigel Havers. Clearly a conflict of evidence . Is it likely that that the 80 year old ex-judge is going to to possibly trash her brother’s reputation?

 

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Aliveandrunning June 27 2014 Juneathon Day 27

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The madness of the off road runner. I was drawn to the on coming tornado like an iron filing to a magnet. I ran across uncharted fields, untrodden since medieval times. I felt an urge to embrace the tornado like some people hug trees and then to enter the centre of the funnel where Iwould experience a transcendent peace. As I raced ever nearer, I spied cows and pigs swirling around the vortex 50 metres off the ground. I sang Follow the Yellow Brick Road in my head. I was a few seconds away from being sucked in but at the last moment, it abruptly changed direction and at such a speed I was unable to follow. The heavens opened up and I got thoroughly soaked. I took it easy on the homeward journey but still got jogger’s nipple. It could have been a lot worse!

About 5.5k in all. The paths were very overgrown in parts. There was no-one around. The loneliness of the short distance runner.

Tomorrow we’ll go to Wimpole Estate parkrun as Cambridge parkrun is not happening.

Very interesting and thought provoking headlines in the Daily Star about a prediction by scientists that a new generation of rats will be the size of cows. The same paper tempted you with the front page description of another story inside : “Evil Savile Sicko Sex.” This is the level of a lot of discussion about Jimmy Savile’s decades long sexual abuse of men and women, adolescents and young children. It leaves you with absolutely no appreciation or understanding of how or why this behaviour might have come about, how a person might develop such proclivities. http://bit.ly/1mEcx8E This link to The Guardian’s Oliver James assists a more grown up view of what may be going on in this man’s head. Such a pity there is very little discussion at this level.

 

Aliveandrunning April 11 2014

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     I decided to post this  snap of Rupert despite his objection that it didn’t flatter him. I countered this by asserting it was in the public interest to publish. It wasn’t everyday that you saw a dog with 5 “o” clock shadow! He growled something about entitlement to privacy and me acting like paparazzi but I overruled him.

Tomorrow is Cambridge parkrun. Last week I restricted my food intake Friday evening, hoping this would result in a better than usual time but this wasn’t successful. Tonight I’ll be eating up to midnight  and so I’ll be able to contrast and compare.

It’s Lorna’s birthday next week. Her Achilles tendonopathy continues to improve and she’s back running. Her joy at running again was reflected in prematurely ripping open her wrapped present, extracting the Garmin 10 from the shredded paper, immediately charging it up and then running in small circles, grinning inanely when the readout informed her that she was below the set pace.

On Sunday we’ll be spectating at the London marathon. The weather is expected to be reasonable ie not cold and not raining, and we’ll go to Canary Wharf in Docklands which was a good spot last year. Amazingly we saw a number of runners known to us.

“Pope Francis asks forgiveness for child abuse by clergy” is one of the items on BBC News.   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26989991. The report shows a great pic of the Pope looking as if he is overcome by overwhelming sorrow, contrition and empathy for the suffering. Nice piece of acting  by the caring Pope who is frequently puffed up as the man of the people destined to bring about real reforms. The Catholic church, like other long established religions, is as self serving as wealthy conglomerates such as the pharmaceuticals and armaments industries. The only real difference consists of the involvement of millions of good, reasonably well intentioned people who still, inexplicably, are motivated to have the wool pulled over their eyes.

Aliveandrunning February 6 2014

Nearly a week since the end of Janathon and I’m back to my normal running regime. Two days ago I went out with the club and we did 3 x 3mins 30secs x 2, that is running for 3 minutes 30 seconds (timed by a whistle), 90 seconds recovery and two further reps then 5 minutes recovery followed by another set. Not a great distance but good speedy interval training. And in the dark!

Today, I ran 10 miles before the weather deteriorated in the early afternoon. It was gloomy and damp and the sun refused to come out to play. I ran down a main road through a village which was closed off to traffic because of resurfacing. One of the men was operating a white line machine in the middle of the road, using both hands, and had a lit cigarette between his lips! Not even one of those absurd e-fags that the credulous and impressionable openly flaunt. I did what any reasonable, level headed young man would do. I sprang off the safety of the pavement, onto the nice new tarmac and snatched the burning white stick of compressed tobacco from his mouth. Theatrically, I threw it down and ground it underfoot Grinning to indicate friendliness, I told him I did it for his own good and paused for a response. He looked startled, dismayed, angry and murderous in that order. He then noticed his machine had deviated and laid down a long bendy line across the road where no bendy white line should be. At this point I divined that my life might be forfeit if I lingered and abandoned my intention to deliver a “working towards a healthy lifestyle” explanation. He roared and lunged at me at which point I discovered I could run backwards. This seemed to enrage him even more. I think he would have nabbed me had not Zeus, observing my predicament from one of the rain clouds, snatched me from danger and set me down 200 metres away. “Lad,” his deep baritone voice boomed, “choose your battles more wisely and don’t forget to remain hydrated on your longer runs.” “Thanks, Zeus,” I spluttered, ” Give my regards to your good wife Hera and don’t spare the ambrosia.”

Unsurprisingly, I chose a different route on my return. It was incident free.

Tomorrow, I’ll have a rest day. Saturday is Cambridge parkrun. I’m running and volunteering (post race clear up) and on Sunday I’m doing a 10k in Greenwich Park, London with four of my children (I never thought this day would come).

The Vatican response to the damning UN committee on the rights of the child report which gave recommendations to the Roman Catholic church on the steps they have failed to take but now should implement, concerning child sexual and physical abuse, was provisional but  typical of their refusal to appropriately acknowledge the problems. In fact the church is a law unto itself in the context of protecting priests who commit crimes. It dispenses its own canon law which is self serving and protects the the reputation of the institution. The new Pope Francis is nice and smiley and very good at public relations but heads a corrupt organisation. Paradoxically it has many thousands of good members but its administrative and spiritual heart is hollow and pitiless.

Aliveandrunning Janathon January 17

Day 17. I must have some bat DNA in me. I am consistently only getting around to running at  dusk or when it’s dark. Not too much DNA, I hope. I don’t want to find myself  scanning for insects and running with my mouth open.

Longer runs are eluding me at the moment. I’ll have to start soon because I’m in the Cambridge Half Marathon in less than 8 weeks. Running alone, along the banks of the Cam towards Cambridge, is my preferred option but I’m spoilt for  choice. Cambridge and Coleridge Running Club organise long runs on Thursdays and club members run together informally in a group on the weekend. Fen Edge Runners, a new, local club are also offering long social runs.

Tomorrow, my new trail shoes will have their second outing when I do Cambridge parkrun. Last week I was lucky I didn’t lose my right shoe in the mud. This time I’ll make sure the thin cord laces are  sufficiently tight. Next week we are going to Walthamstow parkrun, East London to meet up with old friends and run with them, as well as two of my children.

We hope to buy a super duper new camera soon and this will enable us to take a load of images at races and particularly parkrun. I will also be taking pictures of my bowl of porridge, lichen and trees, alleys and ghostly passages. I could use it at political demonstrations and shoot video of the police taking video of the demonstrators. I inadvertently came across a demonstration and march, meeting in central Cambridge a couple of years ago. It was held up for around 20 minutes because the police photographer was late arriving. Oddly they never seem to record their colleagues behaving badly.

Interesting article on the Vatican’s attitude and responsibility for global Catholic priest sexual abuse in the Guardian.     http://bit.ly/1i76QP5

Aliveandrunning2013 December 11

I continue to run but I have mislaid the Winged Sandals given to me on loan by the Greek god Hermes. I’m not flying along effortlessly and I can no longer kid myself that it’s still late summer. A 45 minute run a couple of days ago was a lacklustre affair and drew no comments from passersby like “Wow, you strongly remind me of Usain Bolt” and “There goes a top class runner we are proud to have living in the Cambridge area.” I missed an outing with the club yesterday and instead heard Ian Rankin. UK crime writer interviewed in a rather lovely church in central Cambridge. See my other blog http://oscardiamond.wordpress.com/ for my very brief review and my view on Scientology following a Supreme Court ruling in London today. Scientology, you couldn’t make it up ? Or could you ?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/05/pope-francis-approves-panel-fight-clerical-sex-abuse The Catholic Church appears motivated to set up a high profile commission of experts to fight clerical sex abuse but, as explained in this article and another the previous day, the Vatican has refused to give a United Nations panel information it requested on clerical sexual abuse. Additionally there is still no clear plan to examine the issue of bishops’ accountability in clergy abuse cases. You would assume that a religious organisation that has caused, and allowed to continue, so much harm would be highly motivated to make whatever amends it could. Unless that organisation was so thoroughly self serving and saturated with hubris that it decided to continue to minimise the impact of abuse and make an industry out of lip service and crocodile tears.

I have a cunning plan to encourage myself to be more sociable. I will invite more people to come around for coffee or (in exceptional cases where the person is very discerning) lapsang souchong. At the point of invitation I will give them a card stating the maximum length of time they may stay eg I hour, 2 hours, 3 hours etc. They know where they stand and the whole thing has a nice manageable feel for all participants. It also gives a chance for people to increase their favour with me and receive subsequent cards of longer duration. It can’t fail.

 

Aliveandrunning2013 September 16

Entirely missed the Great North Run on TV yesterday. We journeyed from Cambridge to Barnes, South West London, to see my sister-in-law’s cottage located a stone’s throw from the Thames. The London  traffic was horrendous. It took us 3 hours to complete 74 miles but it was worth it. We had a lovely meal and then walked around the area. Excellent places  to run, particularly along the side of the Thames which is still wide at this point. Barnes Bridge is the finish for the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge.

Technology was primed to record  the Great North Run but declined to cooperate when the time arrived. No matter, Lorna has registered our interest in entering the ballot for the race in 2014.

Note for pedants : the use of “tremour” instead of the modern variant “tremor” in my previous blog  was deliberate. I personally favour the archaic spelling, thanke ye verily muche!

Small article in the Guardian’s G2 concerning the commencement of the UK doughnut wars. Dunkin’ Donuts are going head to head with Krispy Kreme. The former company plans to open 150 restaurants in the UK. Apparently there are 49g of sugar in each a single donut. This is clearly good news for diabetic and obesity hospital services, the diet and weight loss industry and funeral directors. Thank you, Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kremes for safeguarding and creating UK jobs.

The media is currently full of reports of sexual abuse and exploitation, sometimes historical, with national celebrities, priests, senior clerics and many individuals involved with adolescents in care homes, being charged or investigated. There seems to be a complete absence of any discussion or debate about the nature of male sexuality and power, how widespread this behaviour appears to be, whether or not these sexual proclivities are a congenital part of male sexuality, why cultural norms of acceptable sexual conduct are so frequently breached, what can be done about it and the psychological and emotional development which can lead to these outcomes. Society at large is adept at reporting and describing taboo and destructive  sexual behaviour (when it eventually finds out) but only utilises it as drama and entertainment. We gasp, condemn and move on to the next shocking breaking news. There’s precious little analysis of the wider issues. That’s a pity.