Aliveandrunning August 10 2014


Sunday morning, in a village just outside of Cambridge, UK. These clouds looked very dramatic as they rolled over us. The remnants of hurricane Bertha are causing torrential downpours and high, squally winds. When we were looking out of the windows at these storm clouds, a sudden, very strong gust of wind knocked over about eight  tomato and flower containers like skittles, simultaneously. The wind was powerful enough to sweep a heavy, flat bottomed, terracotta pot off a bench and smash it to the ground. It was all over in a few seconds. I agree this is hardly top of the current news stories but there was emotional trauma. A number of tomato branches were horribly buckled and some tomatoes may not survive. I’ve tended these plants twice a day for several weeks now and they’ve almost become family. People say that you can unburden yourself to pigs (if you’ve reared them) because they are responsive, intelligent, curious and they recognise you. But I say you can be pals with tomatoes quite easily (although they are quite prone to blushing). They love to argue about whether they are vegetables or fruit. So, when it’s cooking/salad time and it’s time to go under the knife, I’m really cut up about it.

flower pot 

This picture reveals only some of the havoc wreaked  by the powerful gust which swept through the garden. I’ve had to censor  images of  my hapless tomatoes lying in a horizontal position.

Cambridge junior parkrun this morning, held in driving rain. 51 children aged 4-14 took part, attended by many parents and volunteers. We all got very wet, the children loved it, all the adults enjoyed it because the children had such a great time. It really is a treat to be part of it.

Cambridge senior parkrun yesterday. It didn’t rain but the course was very muddy with large puddles to avoid or run through. As usual, I ran as fast as possible but the soft going didn’t make for a fast time. As usual, my faster pals, in my age range, beat me. Possibly they are on performance enhancing drugs. Perhaps that accounts for the need for  several people to hold them down to stop them running after they go past the finish line. I don’t know. I’m not the kind of guy to make a judgement like that. I’m sure there’s a very good reason why they froth at the mouth when we  sit down for coffee. I’ll leave it at that.

I should do a long run tomorrow, probably 10 miles. 4 weeks to go until the Grunty Fen half marathon. Should be doable, unless my tomatoes need me. They come first,.

Aliveandrunning May 5 2014

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I thought this Fen Drayton 10k was an ideal opportunity to practice my range of facial expressions.The first pic demonstrates aghast puzzlement with the physicality of prolonged exercise. Of course this still picture is unable to capture me muttering to the Greek gods, vainly pleading with them to send a favourable wind to waft me quickly to the finish line. The second image is a study in the desolate melancholy and gnawing loneliness of the long distance runner pounding the drear, mist shrouded moors, in the depths of winter, a score of miles from shelter and a warm fire. Or perhaps this is my best grumpy face. I can’t quite remember at the moment.

This was the weekend I did four races. On Saturday I ran parkrun at Cambridge (5k) and came in only 14 seconds outside of my personal best. Forsaking social intercourse, I jumped into my car and sped off immediately (I had left the engine running to save precious seconds) to an adjacent village to do another race of 4.5 miles. Yesterday I did the above 10k and today the Histon and Impington 5k. Unusually, I was pleased with all my times. I’m working on running faster but this also accompanied by a running style which seems to worry people. As soon as I passed the line yesterday, a funnel marshal asked if I needed to sit down and another one said they would get me some water. My reply? If I need to recline, it will be on the top of Mount Olympus to the first question and I’ll accept ambrosia but nothing else to the second question.

At the 5k today, I did feel more tired than usual but did OK. Unfortunately, Lorna confirmed my running gait was less than attractive and a  faster club runner pal asked if I had injured my foot during the race. He thought I was partially collapsed on the finish line. Errrr….no! I was simply making a supreme effort to outrun several chums behind me. But I do admit I’m not a pretty sight at the end of a race. I don’t seem to be able to run with my mouth shut or compose my face into an expression of serenity, even for a few seconds, when I see someone I know with a camera.

Anyway, I’m out with the club road running tomorrow evening and there’s a club run 5k on Thursday. I’ve just registered for a local new half marathon (Flaming June) on June 1st. I’ve got out of the way of longer training runs and will need to start soon. This will take me to the banks of the river Cam where I suspect those water nymphs and minor water deities will attempt to delay me, or worse, use their magical powers to ensnare me into their worlds. It’s a risky business, running!


This is my roast chicken supper last night, the fuel of super heroes. The stuff in the centre is stuffing not sausage meat. I don’t eat pork now. I kept four pigs for eighteen months. They were beautiful creatures and good communicators. They gave wise advice in the main but their running tips were rubbish.