Cambridge half marathon a fortnight away, walking along the cam and those evil Tories again.

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A cold, sunny Sunday in Cambridge yesterday. Plenty of eights on the river powered by the gilded youth, loads of runners and cyclists to knock you flying, hordes of couples mooning  around (St. Valentine’s Day) and shoals of tourists shimmying from one photogenic setting to another (it can be such uphill work getting people to believe you’ve actually visited somewhere unless you are able to show evidence of yourself in a snap with relevant backdrop).

I’m a creature of habit when I go into Cambridge. I always go into WH Smith to look at the magazines and usually buy one or two, I often go into Heffers bookshop or Waterstones, walk around the market square and visit the second hand book stall and take photos on a particular bridge over the Cam. Out of preference, I like to have a nice coffee and a tuna and cucumber baguette in the marvelously anonymous Eat cafe and possibly wander around John Lewis, a rather civilised department store. I like to trip through the extensive cosmetics area in a vain attempt to identify any of the sales operatives who have abstained from caking themselves in their own products. They are always immaculately turned out and attractive but wearing no or minimal makeup doesn’t appear to be an option. Are they contractually obliged to over do it?

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These grand and beautiful trees are on Jesus Green. How lucky are we?

Cambridge half marathon is only two weeks away. I haven’t done the training I would like to do because other things have got in the way. Nevertheless, it’s good to know that despite not having put the mileage in, my overall level of fitness enables me to step up quickly to do 13 miles. It’s speed that suffers, of course, but if speed is your objective you are following a false god! The very shallowness of the concept of speed! Does anyone really care about this over valued aspect of running? I rather like these fall back arguments when you’re getting slower and slower.

Anyway, I did 13 miles today and 9 miles a week ago plus a 5 miler and a parkrun since the beginning of the month. I might do two more parkruns and a couple of long runs up to 10 miles and that will be that.

A government task force has published a report, A Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, which is very critical of the state of Engand’s mental health services, click here to read Observer article Today’s Guardian headline is NHS vows to transform mental health services  with extra £1bn a year. The report talks about a sharp increase in the number of suicides, estimates three quarters of people with a psychiatric condition do not receive help and documents that children are being sent all over the country to an available bed that may be hundreds of miles from their families.

The Tories and the coalition government have presided over savage cuts to bed availability, support services, staffing levels and overall funding of mental health facilities. Cameron in his ever so reasonable, we have learnt lessons, we must all pull together and defeat stigma, senior Tory style is presenting the spending announcement as an innovation and Tory triumph. David Cameron and his mates are duplicitous, fraudulent, own class supporting, unfeeling,  and lacking in basic humanity. They appeal to the voters who share their values – the cruel, the selfish, the self centred. May God help decent and vulnerable people.

 

 

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Aliveandrunning August 14 2014

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Just another temporary space/time travel portal opening up in the enchanted woods where I take Rupert for exercise. Much too dangerous to walk through and I simply change direction. On this occasion, Rupert was tempted to jump into it. He’s turning his head to one side because I’m presenting him with a reasoned argument why he should avoid doing that at all costs.The chance that he’ll emerge into a world ruled by canines who lord it over human type people is very remote indeed. Much more likely it will be a hostile environment not conducive to his doggy psyche or comparable to the standard of living he takes for granted in this world. I said I would give him a top class dog’s dinner when we got home. He turned around on the spot. So easily convinced. So trusting. So credulous. That’s a dog for you!

I went for a 10 mile run on Sunday in preparation for the Grunty Fen half marathon on September 19. This went OK. I passed a number of runners who decided not to acknowledge me. Bad karma, man! I wasn’t wearing my Cloak of Invisibility. I ran humbly. I was ego-less. Yet they passed without even a cursory nod. This is on a par with the anglers who never offer, or look for, a greeting.

I ran with a water bottle in a holster belt. This is a bit of a pain because it’s awkward and heavy but allows me to have two good drinks if I run 10 or 13 miles. I no longer get the excruciating cramp that I suffered in the past and I think that’s due to drinking more consistently.

Club running night last night. I chose to do 4 x 1 mile. This also went OK. May go for a 2 mile run tomorrow and do Cambridge parkrun on Saturday.

The death of a very well known public figure like Robin Williams or Princess Diana is always a complicated event and results in diverse responses, aided by a  dependably irresponsible media. We lap up real life drama, love extreme speculation and can’t get enough cloying sentimentality. The suicide of a celebrity touches us with a degree of emotion which is absent in a statistic such as the fact that 6000+ people kill themselves annually in the UK. Are we willing to generously support children’s, animal and cancer  charities? Yes, absolutely. Do we have a reasonable understanding of mental illness, psychological problems and their treatments. Would we give generously to MIND or protest that mental health is very poorly funded compared to the physical illnesses. Certainly not. Never mind. We can still enjoy the irony of one of the world’s most funny men taking his own life.