Normal running resumed (almost)

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Nice couple of lips on the go! I’m spending a lot of time thinking about modelling/sculptural ideas and execution. I’m particularly exercised by problems concerning improving the bases and ensuring a high standard of finish. Subsequent to these two examples I’m preparing some old reclaimed wood I bought at an exorbitant price from a reclaimation yard with a view to cleaning, sealing and waxing rather than painting.

Running has been a bit neglected over the last 6-7 weeks. My hamstring is still twinging occasionally and I haven’t been doing any runs over 50 minutes to test it. But I have been running reasonably consistently, albeit shorter distance. Parkrun is okay despite not doing the times I managed a year ago. It’s only about 60-90 seconds slower per 5k parkrun so not truly shocking. I have had a nice cup of coffee with running mates after, though. Plan: to slowly up the weekly mileage. I’ve got a half marathon coming up in October so I need to know I’m properly fit for that.

Too much egregious world news to comment on just before I go to sleep. Suffice to say that Boris Johnson, ex British Foreign Secretary ridiculing traditional Muslim female dress in the right wing press is vicious, divisive and cruel. It’s a typical extreme right wing Fascist technique. In this case hidden behind the mask of a clown.

As for the Catholic Church and the Benedictine Order and the damning report into decades of sexual abuse at two “leading” Catholic schools, Ampleforth and Downside, it’s a searing indictment of the corrosive and self serving nature of religion.

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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!

 

Janathon Day 9 We’re gonna be famous for 15 seconds!

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A very enjoyable Cambridge parkrun this morning. We had a record 504 runners and BBC Look East came along and filmed the whole proceedings. This picture shows our mate Kerry (who ran his 100th today) being interviewed by Jonathan Park. Kerry’s standing by a supply of cakes and a photo montage of Kerry centred pictures. Just out of shot is a couple of hundred drooling runners being held back by volunteers and gagging to devour the confectionery.

The run was very muddy, as anticipated, but the weather held. No rain and surprisingly mild. The camera man and interviewer Jonathan (who also ran) were very friendly and to blended in comfortably with everyone. They appeared to take possibly ninety minutes of film which might be edited down to a few minute or less. We’ll know on Monday evening when it’s scheduled to air. Hopefully it won’t feature me running with my mouth open and looking as if I’m about to collapse (my default appearance).

We tend to mark 50th, 100th and 250th runs as well as significant parkrun dates, and birthdays, with cakes at Cambridge. We also tend to take a lot of photos. Are we narcissistic? Obviously! Do the majority of other parkruns do this? Hopefully!

After the run we queued in the cafe and then enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee to further reward ourselves in good company. Next week, we’re off to Wimpole parkrun (cancelled today because of water logging)to celebrate their 3rd anniversary. For more of the same.

Perusing my wood pulp hard copy edition of that middle class, bleeding heart liberal, wooly, comfortable, arm chair lefty Guardian newspaper, I came across  an article :

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/08/church-of-england-fears-talks-on-gay-rights-could-end-global-anglican-communion

It discusses the high degree of likelihood of continuing fundamental disagreement in the world wide Anglican communion over gay rights and same sex marriage. As a humanist, I can only continue to marvel at the intrinsic lack of humanity, wilful ignorance and vicious, self serving prejudice in an organisation whose mission statement has something to say about love, tolerance, inclusion and diversity. And there you have it! It doesn’t say that sexuality is on a spectrum, varies within that spectrum for many of us and is often a biological imperative. So centuries old prejudices and sexual fears and anxieties are maintained and justified supernaturally. The church, with the clear conscience of the self righteous, can condemn and preside over the persecution of anyone outside of their definition of God approved sexuality. I think it would be more useful to return to the old, less cruel practice of estimating the number of angels who could stand on the head of a pin!

Sermon over.

I think these summit delegates would benefit from going for a 5k run before they begin to pontificate.

Aliveandrunning November 27 2014

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It was Dr Johnson, who, in the 18th century, said “He who is tired of Brussels sprouts is tired of life.” Humphrey Bogart made a reference to sprouts in the film Casablanca and Pope Francis recently gave them a mention in a private audience with the mercenary Tony Blair (along the lines of being able to accommodate celibacy but not contemplate a world without Brussels sprouts). The message is clear. Take these delightful green orbs seriously and they will repay you endlessly. Somewhere, under the salad, flat bread, olives, raw onion, broccoli and a mound of Brussels, lay pasta and turkey bolognese. I am now being repaid endlessly.

Not a lot happening on the running front. I last went out on the weekend when I did Cambridge parkrun (5k). I missed club night on Tuesday due to family commitments but I didn’t go out yesterday despite the opportunity to do so. It’s taken me a month to get over my cold and I’ve lost motivation. Oh dear! I’ll do Cambridge or Wimpole Estate parkrun next weekend and then try to get back into the running groove. The bloody miserable weather doesn’t help. I may get a SAD light and sit in front of it looking at my watch and waiting for it to cheer me up.

Not running is not a problem. My motivation will return and I’ll return to form. My level of fitness is good and won’t disappear overnight. Unless I am completely seduced by MYCOLOGY!!! Following the fungi foray I went on a few weeks ago, I am now seeing the little blighters everywhere.

WP_20141119_002 For example , I noticed these little chaps as I was about to get into the car. I had to prostrate myself on the grass to take this shot. It wasn’t a pretty sight, it wasn’t dignified but it had to be done. Not sure what they are. Might be a Shaggy Inkcap (or Lawyer’s Wig).

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I noticed this little group because they were giggling as I passed by walking Rupert the dalmatian. Probably from the Mycena family. I don’t know which one. See what I mean? With all this focus on fungi, it’s a distraction from running. Perhaps I’ll never get back in the running groove. They’ll whisper as I pass by “He used to be a running god. Now he’s Mushroom Man”. At the very least I’ll be regarded as a fun guy (geddit?).

Before privatisation, when large swathes of industry and utilities were publicly owned, the trades unions were demonised and the nationalised industries were felt to be soft, unproductive and a bottomless pit into which huge amounts of tax payers’s was thrown. Now the unions are neutered, the companies are privatised and the nasty poor are a terrible drain on our welfare system (funded by hard working taxpayers). But there is very little focus on the extensive tax breaks, incentives, subsidies and tax avoidance methods currently in situ for privatised, (previously nationalised)industries and their shareholders(funded directly out of the public purse).

The Tories and their media may bleat about Labour provoking a class war when they questioned the charitable status of privately run schools but clearly their tax concessions amount to a subsidy (or state handout) to a particular class of people. You know where you are with the Tories – well educated, cruelly self centred and very adept at scapegoating  the most vulnerable in society. Tories too soft? Vote UKIP, the BNP Lite party.

Gardening project update : no planning permission needed apparently although a polytunnel and a new shed are essential and these will need permission so I’m a bit confused. Awaiting clarification. Good news is that I will get a donated polytunnel and will be able to choose the size.

 

Alive and Running November 7 2014

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I sashayed into the City of Cambridge yesterday with premeditated intent. I didn’t start sashaying until I had  alighted from the romantically titled Park and Ride bus at the Grafton Centre (about half a mile from the City centre) with a view to exploring Mill Road cemetery. Consecrated in 1848, it is now full (around 3,500 marked graves and about 20,000 unmarked graves). Overgrown in many places, many people use it as a walk through, a place to walk dogs, a quiet private space and a valued green wild park like area.

I came out onto Mill Road, the “Bohemian”district of Cambridge with lots of independent shops, a sizeable ethnic Chinese population and controversial plans to build a big mosque complex. Bring it on! *

*other religions are available. All of them are self serving and perpetuated mainly by males, whose primary motive is to retain power, authority and wealth.. Other interpretations, possibly more benign, are available.

Looking into window of the large Oxfam shop in Burleigh Street, this 1960’s Penguin edition of John Wyndham’ The Kraken Awakes suddenly spotted me and called “Help ….I deserve to be rescued.. take me home…have pity.” So I did! John Wyndham is quintessentially old fashioned British sci-fi and this is a great cover.

The other two books I found in Cambridge Central library. The middle book on therapeutic horticulture in the UK looks at research and is very pertinent to the gardening project charity I am setting up. It discusses concepts and outcomes which I instinctively feel to be true so I think I am on the right lines. Earlier in the  day, I spoke to the Small Charities Coalition advice line which helped me decide not to go down a particular route. I don’t need to become a registered  charity because I don’t anticipate my annual income will exceed £5000. This will make some things a lot easier. I can still go for registration if I choose to expand.

Running has taken a complete backseat at the moment. I’m still not fully over my cold of 12 days. Well, not a complete backseat. But I haven’t run since last weekend when I did a 10k race. I am doing Cambridge parkrun tomorrow and I am registered for the St. Neots half marathon which is on November 17. I might visit the Oracle and take advice. Whatever, I will rise from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix, leaner, meaner and hungrier, and go on to further running glory. Possibly. Anyway, volunteering at Cambridge junior parkrun on Sunday; always a pleasure as long as I don’t muck up the timing.

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Aliveandrunning March 17 2014

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Following last weekend’s Cambridge half marathon when I ran a good time and then made it memorable by becoming dehydrated and requiring medical assistance (see blog dated March 10), I am now back to form. I ran with the club during the week and parkrun on the weekend. The Cambridge parkrun run director and her partner, who have bright red hair and a Mohican respectively, were stepping aside after four years. Dozens of regulars wore convincing wigs in celebration (see pic above). I think I should have spent more time finessing my coiffure. My lush Mohican came rather low and I had difficulty seeing my way around the course. I was also carrying a placard so my time was slow. Still, we had a lot of cake afterwards and everyone was very appreciative of the hard work they have put in since parkrun began in Cambridge.

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Here I am modelling my tattoo sleeves after the race. Generally I am anti tattoo but these sleeves are hardly distinguishable from the real thing (as long as they are viewed 20 metres away with sun glasses). I am now scouring the internet to acquire a whole body lycra  tattoo stocking! How cool would that be in Cambridge Central Library or a Tesco super store.

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It’s curious how many runners revere cake! Very few of them seem to worry about the sugar or fat or calorie content. Anyway, it was a very enjoyable, OTT morning.

I attended a funeral last week and had yet further proof that, all to frequently, there’s nothing less Christian than a practicing Christian. I’ve heard examples from family before and also seen it with my own eyes. The genteel, comfortable middle classes Church goers don’t seem to be able to welcome anyone who doesn’t conform to their particular norms. This is very clear when their services are attended by individuals whose behaviour may be loud or inappropriate or if they look different. They simply get ignored or sidelined or frozen out. I witnessed the good church folks in action against a women who probably has a borderline personality disorder in the reception after the funeral service. They really should have been able to accommodate her and make the effort to respond and make her feel comfortable. But they didn’t. And haven’t done on other occasions. I don’t like being around such hypocritical people. I don’t like to see such displays of prejudice and unkindness. They don’t take their own moral teachings seriously. They are self righteous nitwits!

Hot news! Scientists have found evidence of the signal left by the super-rapid expansion of space that occurred fractions of a second following the Big Bang, leading immediately to the creation of the Universe. That fraction is estimated to be a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. Wow!! That’s even faster than the Tories took to start dismantling the NHS by letting the for profit companies take over services. That’s why we need health union leaders of the calibre of Bob Crow who very sadly died suddenly last week, aged 52.