Alive and Running April 19 2015

WP_20150419_015 New tactics for parkrun. It’s a good example of thinking outside of the box. I was musing (metaphorically) about scything down the competition and then I thought  why not in actuality! So when I saw this scythe at a local garage sale, I knew the universe was giving me something I needed. I bought it for a song ( Let It Be, and I threw in a shortened version of American Pie as an encore). I still have to figure out where to place myself on the start line but that’s not likely to be a problem since I think there’ll be plenty of space around me wherever I choose to stand (particularly if I’m wearing something black and hooded.

Anyway, back to a pre-scythe parkrun at Wimpole Estate yesterday. It went OK. Not too cold, a reasonable time and some unexpected sun. There was a frost at 7.45 am when I walked Rupert the dalmatian but by 9 am it had warmed up sufficiently to run without a jacket. A good cup of coffee and a fruit scone with strawberry jam in the National Trust restaurant/cafe with Ms Alive and Running and our running chums completed a very enjoyable morning.


In the afternoon we went into Cambridge for a birthday meal. The sun remained out and the scene on the Cam was barely distinguishable from the Venetian Grand Canal.


And so, today, to Ickworth House, which is a rotunda, to run a Hoohaar 10k on the estate. I think all races should be held on National Trust properties. Great facilities (lavatories instead of toilets, lovely large, airy cafes, wonderful grounds) and entry to the right class of person. The plebs are turned away at the Gate House and advised to go and run in a public park. Only joking! The hoi polloi are guaranteed entry everywhere.

The race went well and I knocked off 90 seconds from last year. There is an evil hill at 9k which slowed me down considerably but I’m not complaining (much). It’s a beautiful course, mainly trail, and undulating. Unfortunately one of our running friends, who moved to Yorkshire and came down for this race, fell and injured her knee. Unable to continue, she had to hobble back because of a lack of mobile signal and inadequate contingency arrangements.

And speaking of class based entertainment, one can do no better than listen to BBC Radio 4’s Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair, a 2013 production of Francis Durbridge’s detective drama at 11.30 am on Fridays. Paul Temple, his wife , Steve (female) and the top policemen have cut glass English accents and weld power effortlessly with confidence and panache. Gentle drama, gentle comedy and so redolent of a 30’s and 40’s class divided Britain.

Aliveandrunning April 5 2014


Hurray! Chinchin! Lorna’s back running again following prolonged recovery from her Achilles tendonopathy injury which not only stopped her running last August but also made walking painful. She successfully completed Cambridge parkrun (5k) in around 33 minutes and so far her ankle is OK. Cue renewed interest in all things running. Excellent!

Last week I ran Cambridge parkrun in just under 24 minutes which represents a reasonable return to form. Today I ran 8 seconds slower, coming in at 24 mins 4 seconds.I was roundly beaten by my two arch rivals, Mike and Kerry who both got personal bests of 22 mins 21 secs and 22 mins 20 secs respectively. A lingering doubt continues to trouble, despite my outwardly calm exterior. Did they conspire to take a short cut, away from the beady eyes of the marshals? Should I request a marshals’ inquiry? Or are they simply faster than me? No, that cannot be. I’ll definitely call for an inquiry.

Tomorrow I’m doing the Cambourne 10k alongside Mike and Kerry. I’ve arranged for 20 “spectators”, strategically placed along the course, to ensure fair play. If they beat me by more than a minute I’ll eat my (old) running shoes and post it on You Tube.



Last year, work on renovating a neglected pond came to a grinding halt when I uncovered a small colony of bees located under the old liner. What to do? I rang my old mate Tony Blair for advice. He took a few seconds free time from his Special  Middle East Envoy role to consider the problem and then gave me his sincerest view. He said “Let them live in peace…allow them their allotted life span…don’t destroy their habitat.. they’ll be gone in the Autumn… complete your pond at that point.” Thanks, Tony,” I gushed, “you’re a sage. Now, please return to sorting out the Middle East on behalf of everyone”. Two days later I received an invoice from the Tony Blair Set the World to Rights Foundation for £31,321 with reference to services provided via a phone call from Bahrain. This seemed a tad expensive but I accept this kind of top advice doesn’t come cheap.

Anyway, that was last year. The above pic is the current state of development of the pond. It’s still a work in progress but I’m reasonably happy with it. It quickly got colonised by a variety of water dwelling creatures including newts and a frog (do frogs eat newts?). water boatmen and skaters and the newly created rock garden overlooking the pond looks good. I daren’t let Tony know the good news. I know he charges £500 a second just for listening!