Alive and Running March 26 2015


The Bridge of Sighs, St. John’s College, Cambridge. I had to follow the Tourist Route through the College which doesn’t allow plebs over the bridge but at other times access is granted. Possibly St. John’s has the biggest grounds of all the Cambridge colleges. It’s undeniably impressive and the Bridge of Sighs is a beautiful structure. Must go for a punt soon!

The Naked Rambler, Stephen Gough, who for years has been fighting for the right to walk about naked in public, has been refused permission to appeal against an earlier decision by the European Court of Human Rights that his repeated arrest, prosecution, conviction and imprisonment for public nudity did not breach his human rights. He is currently serving a two and a half year sentence after he walked out of prison only wearing boots and socks following a previous prison term. I presume this extreme punishment is a result of repeated contempt of court. What a sad and ridiculous situation. I don’t think this eccentric man is regarded as a threat in any shape or form other than his willful determination to walk around unclothed. Possibly the authorities feel it could start a trend, or worse, a fashion. Surely, as a caring and compassionate society, we can accommodate a few naked people walking around and not feel so disturbed by it we are compelled to lock them up. Who wants to break a butterfly on a wheel?

I remain only an intermittent runner at present. Last weekend I ran the Swavesey 5 miler although I could have taken part in the Swavesey Half Marathon. I ran it 2 minutes faster than last year which pleased me until I read in my little running log I was getting over an injury at that time. Still, I did enjoy it and the weather was kind.

Club night two nights ago. We ran 6 x 700 metres at varying paces with a recovery jog back to the start. I was the second slowest runner in a group of around 20 but we broke into small similar speed groups and it all seems to work for everyone.

I ventured into the Cambridge University Press bookshop in the Market Square, Central Cambridge this week and cast my eyes over some beautiful books with eye watering prices (available on Amazon but at no reduction in price). No purchase made but it was a close run thing. I might return naked. I suspect they wouldn’t bat an eyelid!

Finally, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, was speaking about her career and the development of the teenage brain on The Life Scientific on Radio 4. Well worth listening to via podcast or Radio 4 Listen Again.



Aliveandrunning June 5 2014 Juneathon Day 5


Oh no! I turn up to compete in the prestigious Kevin Henry 5K series of club runs (this particular one held at Newmarket, the horse racing town, 16 miles from Cambridge) and someone pointed out that I was still wearing my trusty, much loved and comfortable old slippers. How embarrassing. What a crazy, absent minded dude I am! What did I do ? I ran in my bare feet. Did I really run bare footed? No. Did I forget to wear my trainers? No. I made it all up. It’s called artistic licence.

But I did run at Newmarket, on the the Rowley mile where they they train race horses. Five clubs take part and probably around 220 runners came along this evening. The weather was fine and sunny and the course is over one big, flat perimeter circle. You can view the whole 5k with a slight sweep of the head. I ran it in 24 mins 27 secs which was OK for me (the going was soft to firm).

   WP_20140605_005    WP_20140605_007      WP_20140605_006

I listened to Radio 4’s The Life Scientific where leading figures in the scientific community are interviewed by Jim Al-Khalili on podcast this morning. He spoke to Professor Sir Michael Rutter, the UK’s first ever child psychiatrist, about his lifelong specialisation in the field of child development, both as a practising psychiatrist and as an eminent researcher. This was very interesting in itself but I was particularly struck by his description of himself as a non-theist Quaker – that is he wasn’t required to believe in an infallible supernatural  entity and an afterlife. It sounds like a contradiction in terms- rather like UKIP or the BNP/English Defence League shrugging their metaphorical shoulders on hearing that sharia law is going to piloted throughout Essex and EU immigration to the UK is going to be encouraged and funded by the taxpayer. There is a non-theist Quaker website and an organisation for non-theist Christians. I think the emphasis is on the moral guidance and teaching provided by religious bodies rather than an all powerful supernatural being. That’s something those charming Bon Secours nuns in Tuam, Western Ireland, need to consider. A complete absence of feeling and humanity.

The Life Scientific on Radio 4, Tuesdays at 9 am and podcasted, Excellent. You don’t have to be scientifically literate, it’s not technical, it’s not hard or boring, just enjoyable. Listen to it.