Friday, 28 December 2007


Soooo excited. Got a Garmin 205 from TheO. She knows me so well. Over the moon, I hadn't hinted or anything, even took it on piddly 1mile walk whilst away. ;-)

We're just back from fambly xmas on Malta with the paz-in-law et al. So tired I just want to go to bed. Flight in landed at 12.30am - taxi at 7am this morning ... strange Travelodge bed that was so soft it rolled you whenever the other person moved. Lack of sleep and crap coffee do not a happy me make!

TheO is playing with their new Wii - so far lots of yelling, screaming, and expletives. Is this good or bad? Does it need to go on ebay already? Should the money be invested in anger management?

Hope everyone had a good holiday and managed to put on slightly less weight than me. :(

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Help ...

I've been kidnapped by the spirit of Christmas.
It's forcing me to be cheery.
To sing carols (ok - nasty Christmas chart toppers).
To wrap presents with a smile on my face.
Bah Humbug.

(I've packed my running kit - I'm away for a total of 5 days, including travelling time - can anyone say optimistic?)

Merry Christmas to all my readers. Have a great Yule.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Last Gasp pre Xmas

Managed to make it to the gym today. Have not (yet) got tree, food, or various other essentials.

Decided to take a new tack and try some harder running. Not quite up hill - but at least up a bit of a gradient.
Ran 2 miles at level 3 gradient then,
0.6 miles at 1 gradient (my usual) then upped the gradient from 2 by 1/2 a notch every 0.1 of a mile for the last half a mile. Ended up running the last bit on 4!
Definitely made a bit of a change to the work out. A good way to push it even if time is limited.
So overall - 5k in 29.30 - kept the machine at a steady pace of 9.30 whatever the gradient.

did abdominal machine on 55kg /segment 11 (?)
for 3 sets of 12.
did tricept pull for 3 x 12 (on 5)
did bicept pull on 3 x 12 (on 5)

Ran away like a girl. Knackered - had a terrible night's sleep - almost fell asleep in front of the TV at 8pm ... getting old.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Deck the halls with bags of shopping .. fa la la la ...

So, after a slightly tempestuous start to "the festive season" we're pretty much done. I'll say that quietly lest the spirit of Christmas creep up behind me and bludgeon me. After a few frantic days shopping (2) we only have a few small items left to get. And some food. And a tree. And some logs and kindling. But hell - we're pretty much finito on the whole trailing round the shops fiasco.

Can I ask a serious question: how many mobile 'phone shops can there be? Really, how many do we need? They all appear to have at least 3 members of staff all standing doing nothing. And, if you don't want to get your loved ones a second, or even 3rd mobile for Crimbo - you obviously want to get them cheap clothes (or shoes) designed for the 12-22 year old woman. That's all there is on the average highstreet! (Okay, there's books and CDs too - but come on people, we were trying for gifts that might not be quite as obviously expected!) The first 2 hours were disappointing and hellish. Then we had a late lunch and some coffee and it all perked up a bit. It might have been the low fat lemon muffin that tipped me back into a non-lethal mood.

Hmm, meant to go for a run today - but tramping round the shops for 5 hours was all we managed. Nevermind, at least I got my last work item sent off for Christmas.(Yeee Haw) I got confirmation that TheO's gift will arrive (Yipeeee). And, most excitingly I got the entrance papers for an exhibition I'm taking part in (Yaaahoooooooo). It's in January though so I've got to GET MAKING as soon as I'm back from Malta.

Jings & Crivens.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Panic

Did anyone notice that despite being "all about the last minute panic" in the previous post I failed to mention Christmas preparations.

There's a reason for that - we haven't started yet. No cards written, no presents bought. The only planning is that we have flights and accommodation booked for our journey to Malta (we're spending xmas with TheO's folks and family) - the last section of the flights were booked today!

Maybe that's why I'm calmer - at least something is organised.

I'm all about the last minute panic.

Ah - it's been a week of ups and panics.
Finally got almost all (one to go) of my xmas orders posted. It's still going to be MANIC after xmas and just after New Year - but hell, I can think about that in a week's time.

On the 14th I managed to get to the gym.
4 miles in 37.26 - delighted - set machine to 9.22 and kept running - sped up a little at the end

tummy machine 11th segment weight 3 sets of 12 reps
arm tricept pull 4th segment 3 x 12
arm lateral pull 5th segment 3 x 12
bicept curl 5th segment managed 16 reps, then 4th segment for the remaining 14
pectoral push 5th segment 3 x 12
leg push 7th segment 3 x 12

Felt like a great run and a great work out - it really made the endorphins RUSH.

The w/end was a real break from work - and enormously busy, but in a good way. A bunch of friends came up. TheO and the boys abandoned us and headed pub-ward to discuss Football and other maters of desperate import. I cooked a mighty green curry (some people had 3rds!) which was a touch too limey but good nonetheless, and we drank vino and discussed ridiculously girly things like childbirth ... we didn't mean to - it just happened.
Sunday (16th) saw me speeding to E'burg and back (after v v little sleep) to meet up with my guardian. We managed to make a complete cock-up of the meeting: she sat in the car park for 30min, I sat in the cafe for 30min ... eventually I called, we had coffee. It was extremely irritating - but we had our xmas exchange of gifts (she cooks and bakes up a storm) - and both left in merry mood.
I returned home to find a game of COUNTDOWN just about to start. Gleefully I joined - and came second. Some had to leave after that but HighHeels and SillyMidOff stayed to enjoy Cranford, Our Company, and some Pizza. It was a great end to a lovely w/end. [Even if I got horribly dehydrated and weirdly grumpy at the end - this coincided with my losing to HighHeels in our regular Backgammon Tournament, and made me look like a complete chump.]

Today - just had the most amazing run. The time just flew by. It was a new route, which I think helped. TheO said why didn't I just run to Cupar and she would swim/gym whilst I ran. Hell, why not. It's a fairly hilly route - but on wonderful country lanes with some stunning scenery. It also helps to have a goal in mind - a destination rather than an out-and-back mile building slog.

8 miles
10.28 pace
calories 1131 (hmmmmmm - goooooooood)

9.59 - downhill
10.34 - can you tell I've warmed up!

I was so pleased with the time. I keep wondering what I've achieved this year with my running as post the 1/2 I don't feel like I've improved my speed or worked hard enough. However on long runs it does become clear to me that things that seemed hard no longer really push me. I feel quite relaxed doing an 8 mile stint. Now I just have to work on building up the miles so I can feel more prepared for the marathon should I manage to get a place. (Fingers' crossed - for today, anyway.)

Friday, 14 December 2007

Running & Thinking

On Tuesday (11th) I finally managed to get a mid-range long run in. Seven blissful miles in perfect weather (for me), at a descent speed, with a feeling that I could have run forever. It was such a joyous experience. Sunny, cold, and just feeling the ground beneath your feet. It beat the worry and concern (work, xmas etc) out of me for just a few hours. Not that I ever forgot, but it really reminded me why I love running. That space to be alone with your thoughts, your breathing, and the concentration that becomes a kind of meditation cannot be beaten.

I had on my new trainers too (they'd done 4 miles in the gym and seemed pretty comfy) - they are Nike Pegasus - after trying 7 different models and types it appears that I really do have Nike shaped feet. This is slightly disappointing for me as I love my Nike's but go through them v v quickly. Never mind, at least I'm buying cushioning now to go with my orthoses rather than the expensive structured ones I should never have had! (Grrr.) By way of a mini review I now understand what "responsiveness" is. In Runner's World they talk about 3 qualities in shoes: cushioning/flexibility/responsiveness. I always understood the first two but got baffled by the third. Once running outside in my new shoes I thought that the ground was a little slippy or icy. It took me about 1/2 a mile to realise that it was the shoes, not the surface. I had to trust their grip as I could not feel the surface as clearly as with previous shoes. Once I got used to it there was no problem - the extra cushioning kicked in and I forgot about 'feeling' the road surface. Damn comfortable overall and no blisters after 7 miles - I think they're a keeper.

Other 'exciting' news from the week:

Our previously old and knackered pooch has a new lease of life thanks to her arthritis meds. She's even started catching balls (like they do in flyball on Crufts) which she's never done before - not even as a puppy.

We got a new TV - the buzzing, crap sound, only one AV socket works properly, lump of crap has gone. It is replaced with 'our' xmas present - a wonderful, flat, 32", stunning thing of beauty. One day we'll have sky HD and all things will look incredible. Right now TV is good but DVDs look AMAZING. Watched Pirates of the Caribbean III last night - ooohhhh, pretty.

When running late - due to the phrase, "I'll meet you at the beach"; a phrase which is not handy in a town with 2 very distinct beaches - and bombing it down the motorway, my wonderful Helga ('S' reg Golf) decided in her infinite automatic geared wisdom that a top-gear would not be necessary. This led to a noisy and frustrating journey to Edinburgh as we did little but watch the rev counter hover just above the red zone; and a subsequent bill for £130 - not what I was looking for just before xmas.

Driving through town today (14th) I almost had some kind of fit. Where there used to be a crap computer shop (they only looked at PCs and didn't sell software?!!) is now a SPECIALIST RUNNING STORE - my excitement couldn't be contained; not even by TheO's withering stare as I banged on the window of the car yelling, "look, a running shop, a real running shop!"* So, lots of lovely things to buy in there - sometime after Christmas - sometime like my Birthday - only a few weeks away! :)

Right - off to drag TheO away from her playstation and towards the gym.
Have a good w/end everyone.

* I am aware a I need to get out more.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Home, home, home home!

Ah, it's good to be home.
I spent a somewhat profitable weekend in Glasgow at a Craft & Design fair. Saturday good - Sunday dreadful. My wonderful friends in E'burg had put me up for Sat night so it was just a train jaunt across to them. I slept like the dead; but awoke not knowing where I was. A horribly disconcerting feeling. That's what you get for 4 different bed's in a week!

Today we managed to sleep in; no - really sleep in. I was angry about how late it was. However we had been woken early, albeit briefly, by an amusing incident which saw me leap off the bed in one bound, screaming, "Bridie No!" whilst grabbing said dog and tucking her under my arm. Yet another teeny, weeny, titchy little wren had bobbed its way into the bedroom and seemed determined to be dog food. Throwing open the windows let it flutter outwards before the black dog's jaws could become clamped round it. This is the third time it has happened - the wrens' are suicidal - maybe they know something about winter that we don't?

Lots of work done today - another 5 orders completed and more keep coming in. I've got to set the cut off date for Christmas soon. And maybe start my own shopping. Eek. And maybe write some xmas cards.

Mmmmm - long run tomorrow - I can't wait.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Stopping to take breath.

Rather than my usual catch-up; which, whilst elucidating my every movement, is usually thrilling I'm sure; I'm going for some edited highlights this time - it's been a while.

- Family left (in droves) and work was manic as I frantically made stock and new pieces for 2 shows on consecutive w/ends. My battered hands were evidence.
- Managed to fit in a delightful and hilly 8 mile run (kept 10.40 average pace) and TheO turned up on her bike at the 6 mile point. Was a weird moment when this person was cycling straight towards me and all I could think was: "bloody idiot, I'm sure there's a code, like on water, where wheels give way to runners ..." Then they said 'hello' and my mood brightened instantly - I had some new helper to go and get the bottle of lucozade I'd stashed in a random 'phone box. :)
- The 1st fair in Edinburgh went really, really well. Not just in amount of sales but in what was sold. I've still been left with some stock for the next shebang *sighs with relief*. Friends' came and visited with good wishes, coffee, and cake! Bless them all.
- Before setting off for York I managed to fit in a city 5K. Bridie came with me and had to be forcibly dragged away from the chips littering Easter Road. I think it was her perfect run. A fun walk, some grass to romp on at the half way point and SNACKS - she never finds those littering her way in the country. Ooh - and we managed to finally go to Run and Become where I got some new trainers. I finally have cushioning trainers as recommended by the orthopaedist, lets hope my feet can feel the difference.
- Despite it taking us 5 hours our journey to York was remarkably pleasant as we just took it easy and made some lovely stops - one at a great craft centre (Harestanes) we'd been to before.
- York itself was delightful. Pretty, interesting, and the hotel was decent. We had a great catch up with Brother-in law and wife - a wonderfully boozy dinner (over 4 hours) then a spot of contract whist. (How v Cranford of us.) We did do some touristy stuff - the Jorvik centre which was hideously humiliating: Designed for 10 year olds (or younger) and a real disappointment; being whisked around on a giant fair ground seat with a patronising voice over in your ear did not make it worth £8! However, York redeemed itself with the Minster, it was truly spectacular. And, as one, of the right age to remember the renovation work on Blue Peter of the Rose window and the bosses by competition winners, it was wonderful to see all the detail and renovations. Betty's Tea Room also lifted our slightly flagging spirits.
- Our final day in York saw me head out for a rather half-hearted 2 mile run. Then we took a quick shopping trip and I got some wonderful red shoes. Sshhhhhhhooooooeeeeeeessss. TheO also managed to find 3 v funky pairs that she likes!
- A quick pit stop dinner in Edinburgh for some delightful chat with friends delayed our arrival home until midnight, but it was well worth it. Managing to catch-up with friends is lovely even on a week night when people are tired/ill/have just sat an exam!

That leads us up to today - plowed through the many messages work related. Lots of new orders all to be fulfilled before Christmas - I might not be able to sleep until then at this rate. We both also managed to drag ourselves to the gym (it was dark and miserable outside) - TheO ran her fastest ever 5K by minutes rather than seconds. I'm soooo proud. I managed to plod through a rather dull 4 miler in 9.40 pace for the whole thing. Sweaty. Then a good bash at the weights really finished me off. The dogs, like us, are delighted to be home!

Just have to go to Glasgow this w/end for the second Fair - then I can work my arse off until Christmas. Eeek.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Stop the world ...

All going at a bit of a blur ...

My Quick run on Fri night (23rd) was super-quick. My fastest ever 5K at 26.42. However - it was only the elliptical, not actually weight bearing so it doesn't go in the stat bar. :-(
The w/end was quite hectic with the boys, their Ma and the wonderful Ma-in-Law. This on top of two giant poodles! But hey, it made for some fun walks; particularly when Goose had the lead. The dogs were so good, they knew and didn't pull him at all. (Please, don't worry, he was fully supervised at all times - his Grannu wouldn't have had it any other way.)

Saturday night (24th) saw us, Prof and Rock God heading to our local market town to take part in a charity quiz. We, and our nibbles, were happily ensconced at our table by 7pm. We were released from the world's longest quiz at 10.30pm. Holy Crap. There were numerous excellent rounds, and a few oddities: Namely, Scottish football songs - knowledge of which tournament/country they related to was essential. We (I mean Rock God and TheO) did some fabulous deductive reasoning so we managed to not completely suck. After the first few rounds we were aware that this was the hardest quiz we had ever participated in (and we're quite partial to a fine quiz). But also, the fairest. You had to know stuff, and use reasoning, and observation, and ... stuff. There were no 'guess the top ten' questions. When the time came for the results to be read out we sat, all slightly nervous that we might be ashamed, and waited. Out of 9 teams I was hoping for a mid-way placing. I whooped internally when they read out the fourth placed team and knew it into the top 3, then they read out the second team and my only thought was, "we're not second?" So, that only left one place. We had won - we tried hard not to look smug as we (3 Sassanachs, and one Scot without Scottish knowledge) had not been beaten by a huge Scottish history round, a mad Scottish football round, and a series of 'identify the local place - including the names of lanes!' round. There were beverage related prizes. Much like the blooper reel at the end of a mediocre film; we were buoyed into a false sense of quiz-magnificence by our win. Overall, damn good - but not 210min of good!

Sunday(25th) saw a large lunch for all pass in splendid fettle as TheO cooked Guinea Fowls and we had a proper roast. A delightful walk *just* before dusk sealed it. Only Ma-in-Law checking the time of her flight the next day and discovering it was so early she couldn't get it disturbed the peace. (All was sorted - after a few frantic 'phone calls.)

Yesterday (26th) was just a complete blur of seeing everyone off after a slightly frazzled car packing and key finding expedition; and madly catching up on work. Slept like the dead - blissful.

Today (27th) I knew some exercise had to be fitted it. When the cleaners came we headed out with the dogs to do a forest run, something we haven't done in ages. I had the evil black and she loved every bound. As did I. My legs felt like they needed to be unleashed and a first mile of 9min was proof. I managed to maintain a 9. 33min pace over the 4 miles (all under 10min) and was dead chuffed. TheO managed their fastest ever 5k too. Brilliant. A quick trip shopping and dinner out at a friend's to celebrate her getting a table for her new flat really made it a pretty perfect day.

Still got so much work to do - but it's all beginning to feel manageable. Especially now the pmt has subsided - Thursday was almost unbearable. Will put up pictures of the new cabinet when it is finished. I think it looks great - let's hope everyone else does too. (Fingers' crossed.)

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Ahhhhhhhhh - WORK
Aaaaahhhhhrrrrgghhhhh - House full, including the 2 adorable nephews.
Aaarrrgggghhhh - WORK

Managed one quick run on the elliptical. Losing my MIND. More as soon as I have my study back - it's the Ma-in-law's bedroom at present.

Only slightly stressed and deranged.


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Up. up and ...

Kept up the productivity today - must be something wrong with me.

Also, went climbing for the first time in aaaages . I was truly crap. Things that I'd scampered up last time just defeated me this time. The only routes I managed to complete were level 2s. BOLLOCKS - that's what it was. Reflecting back on it TheO was encouraging when she spoke about our lack of food and general tiredness. I really didn't realise we'd been climbing (albeit slowly) for 2 whole hours ... breakfast was a dim and distant memory.

I also had some real mental difficulties when we started. The first time with no instructor and a dream the previous night about how afraid of heights I am really gave me the jitters. TheO claimed (briefly) that I just didn't trust her! Rubbish. However, that discussion did give me the mental jerk necessary to feel much better about the height.

At the end we went back to do a route we've done every time with relative ease. TheO really pegged it up there making to the top in 58 seconds. I tried and when my foot slipped onto another colour of route and therefore 'cheated' it really riled me. I was done for day. Whilst it hadn't been the usual super-tough work out; I'd obviously just reached me limit of patience and grip. it was the first day that everything seemed to get really slippery. Hmmm. Overall was very glad to have gone though and do like the challenge. Might just need to pretend that there's someone watching to make me HAUL MY FAT ARSE UP THE DAMN WALL. The invisible scorn of others appears to be a good incentive.

Still feel a little restless and knackered simultaneously. Apologies for the less than stimulating posting. Pah. I'm off to bed.

Monday, 19 November 2007


An immensely satisfying day.

Managed to get 3 commissions done, all of which I am happy with; a simple alteration, and an order completed. The cleaners came and did their best - always makes me happy. And we managed to walk the dogs and have lunch out. A salad and panini split which I adored (and sadly TheO loathed).

The dog walk was a bit of a mistake - I urged for the beach as it would be swift and the dogs could be off-lead and romp. TheO was foolish enough to listen to me. It was pouring, and blowing a gale. One of the most unpleasant walks I've had in years. I was not easily forgiven as we were soaked to the skin and a little grumpy. (Even the dogs looked less than amused.)

Yesterday despite both of us feeling less than inspired on the exercise front we managed to get out for a run. We went up the hilly road to a wee village and back covering 4 miles in a manageable pace. (My legs were knackered after the 10K on Friday.) It was 30 seconds faster than we'd completed it together last time so TheO was suitable pleased with herself. It was a bit cold but a lovely early-Winter day, all crisp and clear.

Off to throw a few things in the polisher to finish off then make dinner. Red Cabbage & Sausage - perfect for winter.

Saturday, 17 November 2007


Well I was tagged by Warriorwoman.
The rules are:
  • link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
  • share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird
  • tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
  • let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.
My five things are:

1. I like to eat crisps in size order. Start with the teeny crumbs, then broken bits, then the smallest whole ones up to the most prefect big ones. (This might just be the proof that I have OCD.)

2. I used to not 'get' exercise. I thought my time was better spent 'having a fag'. Now I live up to the phrase: No zealot like a convert.

3. *Hangs head in shame.* I occasionally use the long hallway in my house to practice my 'model walk'.

4. Really simple things make my happy: Sunshine, pretty clouds, laughter. But it can turn in the blink of an eye. (Translation - unstable moody beyatch.)

5. Despite trying really hard I am bad at self censorship and tend to swear around small children.

Essential Nephew Update: He does not have to have a skin graft - whoo hoo. And, might be released on Monday. Bloody brilliant.

I tag (and hope they don't mind):

TheO over at her blog

Cassie at Rector's Wife Revamp. (Cassie was the first person to link to me.)

Ruth at SeeRuthRun.

Tall Girl Running at her blog.

London Jogger at her eponymous place.

Job Done!

I've been TAGGED ... but first I'll catch up. (Long Post)

Last you heard we were heading West. With some apprehension we went off to see Wrecker and Eldest. Who knew what state either of them would be in. A burnt 2 year old and a cooped up 4 year old were a challenging prospect, mix in some understandably stressed parents and you can see why we might have had our fingers crossed. Luckily for us, all were in good spirits. Wrecker looked much more cheerful than I could have hoped for, despite a fully bandaged arm, leg and torso. Eldest was, I think, just delighted to be the centre of attention and enjoyed some quality aunt-time.

13th At his mother's suggested we headed to Kelvin Grove Museum - it managed to entertain us all for a good few hours. Then we headed to a park for some excellent run-around-and-shout-a-bit time. Auntie TheO then came up with the genius suggestion that we head to the Botanic Gardens. We were minorly way-laid by the first of many encounters with A Glasgow Squirrel. These squirrels were incredibly friendly, even coming to nose Eldest's hand as he sat nice and still. They proved greatly entertaining. (Although we decided not to tell his mother lest there be a discussion of evil-venomous-squirrel bites and disease.) He was having fantastic fun. This was only added to by some cake and a smoothie. Then, fully sugared-up we made it into the Botanics. He loved every minute: big fish in the pond, a jungle of ferns to play explorer in, carnivorous plants, hot houses, pretty orchids, tiny fish in tanks and the sensitive plant that folded its leaves when stroked. Finding a great playpark at the end made it pretty perfect. Even if it did take us a while to get a cab at the end.

So, after a day designed for Eldest our search for accommodation started. It was arduous and extremely tiring, especially as we were beset by having to drive up and down a road with more sets of traffic lights than one would have thought possible. Eventually we stopped and I ran into a place that looked nice. Yes they had a room and they could (as it was last minute) give a good deal on it. (RESULT!) Mentally realised that Simon Pegg (from Run, Fat Boy, Run) was sitting having a drink in the lounge. Ran back to the car - tried not to be too over excited about how nice the hotel was, failed.

After being shown to our gorgeous sumptuous room with huge 4 poster bed we instantly went back down stairs and asked if they had a room free for the following night too. We also booked a meal in the restaurant. We freshened up, and slunk down to the bar feeling the need for a drink (how all parents do not succumb to some sort of alcohol induced numbness after the kids are in bed is beyond me); the large GnT's were just the job. After perusing the menu for some time [here I direct you to TheO's blog - she waxes more than lyrical about the wonders] we sat down to have the most wonderful meal I have ever experienced in my life. We've had some damn fine meals but this brought tears literally to the eye. My ham hough was tasty perfection, but even that was not a patch on the boiled egg. The lobster was perfectly cooked, the hot mayonnaise a dream, and the chocolate thing with pear ice cream was to die for.
It was food taken to another level.

It was also service taken to another level. I don't know how they managed this but it was remarkably good. You could take the most traditional type there who wanted all the obsequiousness of 'fine service' and they would feel entirely happy. But, conversely, you could also take someone who hated that stiff formality, and they would feel equally well served. Everyone greeted you with a smile and a polite hello - this sounds so silly but it was a wonderful change from staff scuttling past guests in the corridors making both parties feel a little embarrassed.

A wonderful, only lightly alcohol induced sleep made the next morning dawn significantly brighter. Not to dwell on the food too much I'll just say a few words about breakfast. A huge range for the continental with the glossiest fresh fruits and yogurts, tiny perfect Danish pastries, toast, coffee, fresh juices. Yum!

So - onward to the Eldest. 14th. Luckily we had his Dad's company for a few hours that morning. We all headed to the Science Museum. Looked like it was a bit beyond him but, by allowing his entirely A.D.D. behaviour free reign it managed to entertain for a good 3 hours. Lots of see and everything was there to be played with and handled. Another trip was requested to the Botanics - we happily obliged. Finished off with the play park (again) where Eldest entertained us by proclaiming on the roundabout that he: wanted to go so fast my willie goes all funny. This whilst giggling hysterically. Hilarious. Not possessing a willie I was previously unaware of the effects of a roundabout. Hmmm, must find some friends to ask about that one.

A more relaxed evening ensued at our hotel. They had a small gym (no running machine - idiots) in the basement so I managed 20min on the rowing machine and 12min on the bike. Enough to get the heart pumping and not feel too guilty about ordering room-service and chilling out all evening.

Our final day (15th) as nephew sitters started (for me at least) with yet another delightful Continental breakfast. We then rushed off to the hospital where Eldest's mother was free from baby-sitting so could join us for the morning. Eldest - again - asked for the Botanics so we went and he showed his Mum all the bits he really enjoyed. A simple Italian lunch followed before we delivered him back to both parents and high-tailed it out of there, desperately trying to beat rush hour.

Our return home was welcomed by Professor who had ably coped with our two dogs and a new arrival. Huge thanks - as always.

Yesterday (16th) was a day of returning to normality and trying to run off some of the excess accumulated over the last 3 days. Went to the gym, set the machine to 6.2mph and just kept running. Ended up with 10K in 59.42 - just 59 seconds off my best ever time. Delighted. (Feeling it today though.)

Friday, 16 November 2007

Weird search results - mid-month madness!

So - this month's weirdest search result is:

fat sweat sweet smell

I'm quite freaked out by this. What was this person really searching for - and why?

Back from the wild west, Goose recovering well, but not quite out of the woods.
Full update soon.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Heading West

After a nice little dog walk on Saturday - where the demon dog walked herself into a whole heap of pheasant. Then refused to come back. Sunday was a day of delightful debauchery. We went to see a pair of teaching friends (still freaks me out that any of my friends are mature enough to be entrusted with the education of kids) - Northern Lass cooked up a fantastic meal, Mr. Meep entertained us with his Wii. First time we'd played - it was bloody brilliant. Loved the duck shooting and the tennis. Air Hockey and Cow Racing were beyond me. Fantastically competitive nonsense. The dogs all managed to behave themselves - their pooch has calmed down with age and now understands that when Bridie growls she would really like to be left - the hell - alone. (Alright, she almost understood. Only one chunk of fur was lost to the black evil.)

After a long lunch and an even longer games session we wended our way homeward - only stopping for a quick nibble at a local Chinese place. Stuffed, to bursting... best not to think about it and move on. On, to a world where there isn't as much cake, or creme fraishe mash, or msg-flavoured goodness. Good bye cruel, cruel, calorific world.

My only exercise was early (for me) on Sunday morning. Despite setting the alarm I only managed to have breakfast at 10.30 - I had to head out for my run at 12. With only 90 min from food to run I was convinced I'd get a stitch. I didn't - it was some kind of revelation.
Did 5k in 30.18. (Splits were 9.47, 10.19, 9.24 and 0.56 for the last bit.) Really quite pleased but need to focus on getting more miles under 10min, and build up some decent length.

Might not be able to blog for a few days now. Sis-in-Law needs us in Glasgow to help with the boys. The mighty Goose is still in hospital from the burns. They have fingers (and toes) crossed that he wont need a skin graft. Specialists checked today and the healing seemed to be good. He goes for more general anaesthetics on Wed and Fri - wound checks and debris-ment I assume. Ah well, we'll know more tomorrow. It's an early start. Blessing are showered upon Professor and Rock God - they're taking our dogs at super-short notice, looking after a paying-guest dog should we not be back in time and generally rearranging their lives completely. Bless.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Wrecker in Iceland

Running out of puff

As usual recently I seem to have been too busy to blog. **Holds mouth in shape reminiscent of The Scream painting.** Surely it can't be true?! Well, for once I'm up to date with work - still a healthy to-do list, but not such a nagging list of things which are starred, and underlined, and high-lighted!

After TheO passed their cbt we needed a day of gentle reflection. What we actually did (7th) was go and exercise. I managed a 4 mile run outside - desperately trying to keep all 4 miles under 10min a mile. Almost made it. 4 miles in 39min and some change - only due to really getting the pace up in the last (flat and downhill) mile - 8.55 - excellent! Then I was picked up by my delightful chauffeur service and taken to the gym. Did another 2.2 miles in the gym in 20.22. Really was hard work but worth it to have completed a 10K for the day in around 60min... albeit with a 20min rest. Then did all the usual weights - taking it slowly but using slightly higher weights. A good work out.

Yesterday 8th - we received the news that Wrecker my wonderful nongod-godson and TheO's nephew had pulled a coffee pot over himself and had been helicoptered off the remote Scottish island where he lives (with his Ma, Pa, Bro, Dog, Cattle, Sheep etc) and deposited in Glasgow with 16% burns to his body. His Dad has sent us photos to prove he really is looking quite chipper despite numerous bandages and a feeding tube. His skin grafts are tomorrow. Poor little bugger.

Today (9th) we took the Golden Angel pooch to the vet for a quick check up. Have decided the vet we saw today was a complete numpty - kept referring to her as "an old dog". This is just bollocks for two reasons; 1) You shouldn't talk about a lady like that in front of her. 2) She isn't old - she's only 7 and could easily have another 7 wonderful years. Pah.

TheO had her usual squash game so I trundled to the gym a little apathetic. Managed to get a new fastest ever mile 7.03 and OMG was it hard work. Also how obsessively irked am I by those 3 seconds. DAMN THEM. However I recovered just enough to do all the weight machines on a good high setting. Can't wait to go climbing again and see if it's made any difference.

Finally off to bed - only stopping for a shower.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Whooo Hooooo

TheO passed their CBT basic motorbike training. I'm v proud.

Running Behind ... in every sense.

As usual I'm behind. In my defence the house was taken over by, what high-heels referred to as: the ravening hoards. My study was playing host to some friends so computer access was seriously limited.

After the success of climbing and aqua-fit, Thursday (1st) was only gently active. We took the pooches for a 2.5mile beach walk - they were delighted, we were almost too knackered to move.

Friday (2nd) was the perfect example of being behind. Don't really know how it happened but we ended up shopping for feeding 10 for a w/end at 5pm on Friday night! This was not logical, but thanks to delightful transport issues everyone was running late. (Wipes brown with relief!) We ended up having a great dinner of Normandy chicken and much wine. Chat and song followed - although we did talk all the way through The Long Way Down. (So much so that Wheeler watched it again the next morning.)

TheO - being an obsessive planner type - had a great plan for Saturday (3rd): We were all having a good brekkie then heading out to the beach for possible surf, games and picnic. Unfortunately she awoke (having had a terrible night) in extreme back and neck pain. This left me to make breakfast - hilarious, managed to glue a pan to the sink-matt, mmmm plastic smoke! TheO didn't come to the beach but managed to do some cooking whilst we ran around like fools on sand dunes and placed French Cricket with a rounders bat and ball - not to be recommended! Wonderful clear Autumn day - incredible skies. Even gave Norman (the camper van) a chance to demonstrate his (IMPRESSIVE) tea making capabilities. (High-heels might actually have drooled.)

When we got back there was a moment to feed the dogs then head out to Ceres for torches and fireworks. It was beautiful, not a display - more fireworks being set off in random bunches - but the atmosphere was great and we were pleasantly cheered by the glittering lights (and roast chestnuts). Returning home to gorge on game stew and open TheO's presents was a damn good end to the day. We all went to bed a little after midnight - our age might be showing.

Sunday (4th) there was the obligatory huge roast (lamb this time and mighty fine) with only slightly charred parsnips. A quick run in the morning - went with Wheeler and Smiler - they chatted (to each other, thank god) for the first half then sprinted off for the way home. 4 hilly-ish miles in 40.40 - not bad, felt a bit slow and crap though. Need to do more running this week. Finished off the Sunday revelries by having afternoon tea at The Craigsanquhar hotel - yum and double yum.

Yesterday (5th) the tree surgeons arrived at dawn to start giving us our view back. It was far too early for me. Still recovering. Did a few bits and pieces for work and then gave the dogs a 20min walk - we all need a rest.

Having difficulty settling down today - might be the constant sound of chainsaws, or a niggling worry about TheO as she does her Basic Motorbike Training today (fingers' crossed). Or even possibly waking at 7 and only fitfully dozing until I got up - more sleep desperately needed. Off to really get stuck in - honest!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Everywhere Aches

After the hectic w/end we had a delightfully quiet Monday. Gave the dogs a lovely walk - remarked that the forest park now shuts at 3:30pm due to the change in the clocks... 3.30! Pah.

Tuesday (30th) was all go. I knew I wanted to go for a run - anything between 4 miles and 10k. I mentioned this to TheO and she wanted to go to the gym and do a good indoor bike session. We made a plan, a plan based on me doing a long run.

7 miles in 10.35 pace all the way into town. I think my little legs were quite shocked. But the last two miles were the fastest so they didn't let me down. I'd only had toast for brekkie (normally I'd have porridge when doing anything over 10K) so sipped away at some Lucozade Sport before heading out. Managed to do the whole run without a gel - this was a big step forward for me; I just waited to see if I would need it - I didn't. A real first.

After a late lunch and a little rest we met up with Hermitina for Aquafit. It felt harder than last time (and my arms ached the next day signifying it really was harder) but maybe a run before hand will do that. There were loads of leg exercises too - more than last time, typical. We then went to the DCA for dinner - it was lovely. Simple food, good chat and a little cocktail to relax those aching muscles.

Today (31st) the plan was to have a rest day but TheO looked in good shape from the exertions of yesterday so I badgered to go climbing. A gentle nudge in the right direction. (I mean - my direction. :-) ) Called Avertical World again and luckily they did have an instructor free - Dave: The ambulance car medic doing Modern History at Uni whose 2nd job is climbing instructor! Obviously set to be an over-achiever. He was lovely to us - clearly explaining things and challenging us to some new and old routes.

We tackled a 3++ course after going round the walls at a low level to warm up the muscles. Luckily it was nice and easy. We were shown how to tie the basic 8 knot before you attach the rope to your harness and then a few points of finesse were given to us. Pah! Finesse - just getting up and clinging on for dear life were still my highest priorities.

We went and did the into-a-corner route (probably has some fancy-schmancy climbing name) and were told how to use your legs further apart across a corner and lean your head in to give your arms a break. Worked like a charm.

Now for my nemesis - the round-a-protruding-corner route. Last time I fell off one of these - some mental block about not being able to see my limbs. This time I made it up with only a tiny cheat on one coloured block. Bah. Still not very comfortable on this type of route. Dave was trying to get us to use the natural features and to grip with our feet. Progress on this was v slow for me - still like the nice safe holds. TheO was quite happy to trust the wall and put in some really great footwork. Dave was happy.

Then - after a tiny water break - we tacked the overhang we did last time. Piece of cake in comparison to the 3-4 goes it took me last time. Really pleased. Might have used a foothold from the wrong colour once (or twice)... keep telling myself I didn't cheat.

Our penultimate route was the hardest - a 5. Given that it goes up to 9C you can see that it's not that hard really. TheO suggested that 9C must be like: climbing up a polished block of ice; Dave corrected this and said, "an over-hanging polished block of ice!" So, something to never build up to there then! But, back to our route: It looked fairly innocuous but was a complete bastard. You had to keep tiny weeny hand holds (to a beginner) and practically hoist your legs to armpit level whilst not falling. It took forever - and I had to cheat using some of the other route handholds. Challenging but fun. My thighs - already slightly achy after the run and aqua-fit - are not going to be thanking me tomorrow.

After this Dave took us back to a nice easy route and suggested we use some finesse to get up it. I dragged my now weary carcass skyward merely happy not to be balancing on a penny. He then declared that (despite TheO's view that my belaying sucked) we were competent to become members. Result! We got our membership, discount cards, and wended our way homewards happy but exhausted.

Tomorrow we REST!

Tuesday, 30 October 2007


Can't imagine why Runner's World are taking so long deciding on the winner of their 'design a technical t-shirt' competition.

Mine obviously rocked.

Off for a long-ish run and just procrastinating.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Burn Him, Burn Him!

That was the cry that briefly hurtled upwards into the cold night air by a few hardy Scots. Unfortunately the rest of the hideously repressed crowd (myself included) remained tight-lipped on the matter of his fiery punishment. Old stick-face was going to bite the lit end of a torch whether we yelled in wild abandon or not. And he'd rather we didn't mention his rather 'thick' thigh muscles. Must be a cyclist.
After a quiet morning on Sunday TheO got that look in her eye. The one that means I should pack the car swiftly and remember to bring the camera - we have to GO SOMEWHERE. The only place we found after searching t'internet was Archaeolink Parkabout 30 miles north-west of Aberdeen. They were, we were told, having a wicker-man burning and human sacrifice. I can only say that their advertising was only half accurate. (And damn it, if Sunday isn't Sunday without a human sacrifice!) However, having been a little uneasy about such a long drive I was thoroughly over-excited about the wicker man. (There was some historical stuff too - we looked round - it was good.) Despite some general milling around the organisers had timed the lighting of the wicker man to perfection and the light against the dusk was stunning. He took light quickly and was soon dropping showers of sparks over some badly placed spectators.

Pottering homewards the car filled with the delightful aroma of wood smoke. We took some quiet (if a little trying at night) little back roads and made it home in good time. A brilliant day.

Today 29th - I behaved a little more like a petulant brat. After being told by TheO that we should wait a week until we climb again I was pretty excited (it really doesn't take much) that today was 'a week'. I duly called and booked - got places on the evening course, cheaper - brilliant! Then we headed out for a dog walk. TheO was feeling the pain (in her back and neck) I promised a neck rub and anything helpful. Eventually it became plain (mostly by being told in words of one syllable) that we shouldn't go climbing*. I sulked. V quietly. It was mean and unfair as I know she wanted to go climbing. I knew it was ridiculous but I was just disappointed. I don't deal well with that sort of thing.

Never mind, at least we got some chores done - a new fancy-er airbed has been purchased; and we discovered that the West Port has a lovely menu.

I now know what to do. Grasp the nettle. If we're both feeling good we do something waiting is utterly pointless. Sometime this week we'll be stuck on ropes hauling ourselves across almost unimaginable rock faces, and I'll be glad to have had the extra day's rest.

*By 'we shouldn't go' I mean that this is something we're going to learn and do together - therefore one of us getting more advanced than the other in the learning process is ridiculous. TheO said I should go on my own - bu that would have defeated the point.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Reluctant activity

Been a busy few days.

26th - after some cajoling from TheO who was heading to her usual squash games - I actually made it to the gym. A new record was broken. I tried a fast mile - 7.19 - this is so incredibly exciting for 2 reasons. 1) I've finally (more than) halved my original time for a mile when I first ever ran. (It was 15min of death.) 2) I wasn't dead at the end - I managed to set the machine to 8.2mph and just keep running, plus a little bit of sprint at the end. Obviously this lack of death made me think I could have tried harder and therefore beaten the 7min barrier ... I would be kidding myself though. Baby steps. Then did all the weights - was knackered.

The 26th was also our anniversary - 9 years - 9 whole years ... how did that happen? Well, I was crap and did nothing for it (unusually) so in return I was spoilt with great gifts. *Beams uncontrollably!* The only hilarious point of note is that we split a half-bottle of champagne, "so we don't feel all grouchy and headachy after exercise". Pathetic.

Today (27th) TheO was feeling restless so instead of heading-off to the wilds for a few days (kyboshed by me who's having an I LOVE BEING AT HOME moment) we headed off to Perthshire for a 'proper walk'. The book suggested it was an unchallenging 7 miles and should take 3-31/2h. It was the Den and Hill of Alyth walk found in the Pathfinder guide series No 27, if anyone should care. The first mile and a half was stunning: through a tiny valley with Autumnal trees turning the sky golden and the ground a burning red. The dogs ran freely up and amongst the trees and down, taking full advantage of the stream. It was deserted and completely peaceful. The next mile and half was on roads - a little trickier with the dogs but we only saw a few cars and we were still in the midst of a lovely deciduous wood.

This is where things began to go awry. The book stated we would find a sign to Hill of Alyth Walk - we didn't. There was a sign for a different walk. But after a v small detour we decided to ignore the written instructions and stick with the OS map image. Luckily this was a good decision. Further instructions told us to turn "half-left" when the signs, road and OS images clearly suggested it was turn RIGHT. The final fury being: "walk down this road", neglecting to mention there was no 'road', only a deep,rough, grass track with multiple gates. These irritation led to a bit too much book reading and at times slightly frenzied discussion. However the length of walk was just right - only 6 miles completed in 2.50, and we all (both four and two footed) had a lovely day. Stopped on the way home at the old Alyth station - now the Belmont Arms Hotel where they gave us great coffee with shortbread and mints (I'm easily impressed) and the food looked good, possibly a place to remember.

Now recovering from take-away related indigestion. Knowing I brought it all on myself doesn't make it hurt any less. :-(

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Autumn Loveliness

On the 24th TheO and I went for a run together. It was really lovely. Misty and quite cold to start with but I soon remembered why I love this weather to run in - I don't overheat and feel horrible about 30min. We did a great 4 miles up to a tiny hamlet and back - nice and hilly and a good steady pace of 12min/mile. Really enjoyable - nice to get an outdoor run done, v proud that TheO managed 4 miles easily after quite a few weeks without a proper run. :)

25th Today (even though we're past the midnight hour) I managed to get a good deal of work done. Go to the doctors - boo hisss. And go bramble picking (blackberries for southerners and others) - is was so lovely and autumnal. We got a good basket full and might get a few more in the next few days, but it really is the end of the season. The dogs came with us and were only slightly put out by having an on-lead walk (spoilt brats). Saw lots of country things: flocks of birds, bursting hedgerows, tractors trundling past, horse riders waving hello, and dog walkers. Made you glad to be outside. Then TheO built a big fire in the living room and we decided not to go to aquafit... too cosy to move.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Reach for the Skies

Well - starting at ground level - we went for a quick swim and try of the aqua gym in Dundee on Sunday. Aqua-Gym was rubbish - just designed for those coming back from injury etc. Dundee training pool was a revelation. A pool - where you're only allowed to swim lengths - with no children or old grannies doing widths! Brilliant! Did a nice wee 500m and then stopped. Not a great workout but better than sitting on my arse at home.

On to the skies. Picked up a free local mag and discovered that Avertical World had an offer on for beginners during the day - managed to get the last day! We've been talking (as a group of friends) about trying climbing for a while - this seemed like a great chance to give it a go close to home.

We turned up and it was in the obligatory old church - I really love to see these buildings being used. Our instructor was a nice lass (off to film school soon - about 6 years younger than us - good hair) who gave clear instructions and was delightfully encouraging. Like all vaguely 'extreme' sports it's got its own lingo - all of which is v silly. Knackered forearms = PUMPED. Having to shake out said arms = shakin' down. She said, and I hope with some irony, "that's what all the cool climbers do!" Hilarious.

But, onto the climbing. We started with some bouldering - was only aware of bouldering because pre-camping trip we were in Tiso and I saw the baby crash mats and just had to ask. So, bouldering is climbing without ropes at a low level, trying tricky moves, and landing on crash mats. (Not the official explanation but it'll do.) We were doing it to try and get a feeling of being on a wall and how the holds might feel in our fingers. I hated it at first. It felt unsafe and weird. Also I turned round whilst still looking at my wall and discovered that TheO was at the very pinnacle of her wall having scaled it like some mountain goat.

Ooooo - the kit - I forgot to mention.
1. Weird moulded rubber soled shoes, designed for people with triangular toes. Strange at first but soon quite comfy.
2. Helmet - ick.
3. Harness. Essential and quite comfy when not attached to the ropes. Surprisingly painful when all my (vast) weight is resting on two straps horribly close to my lady bits. But, like most things, you get used to it.

Back to the actual climbing.
After being taught how to tie the right sort of knot we approached the first wall. I had the dubious pleasure of being first. Our first wall was either straight up or a slight lean-to to help us up. It was tricky but a good sense of achievement to get to the top. Once I'd trusted to let go of the wall, abseiling down was amazing - whoooo hooooooo. Having something to focus on and being attached to both the wall and the rope really sucked the fear out of me. Thank god - I have terrible vertigo and thought this might be a step too far.

Was told when I got back to the bottom that it was a 30ft wall. Wish I hadn't been told as 'wall two' was the same height and I definitely had a shaky moment. It was a climb into a corner so you had to use two walls - one on either side of you and therefore your body was much further away from the wall. Knees had a moment or two but got there in the end. TheO was still making it look easy - practically sprinting up the damn thing - she deserved my applause at the end.

Wall 3 was straight up with some hold on the right hand side where another wall abutted against the climb. Can't really remember this one - think I might have been getting quite tired.
Did our first belaying on wall 3 too. The thought of being responsible for the person on the end of the rope is daunting, but just like being responsible for the passengers in a car when driving, you just do it - to the best of your ability, and paying the right amount of attention. It's all to do with rhythmical, flowing motions. One thing that really freaked me out was that I was so focused on watching TheO scale the wall in double-quick time, and taking in the right amount of rope, that I kept looking up - eventually the wall began to look flat - my brain just flickered in it's decisiveness for a moment and I wondered why I couldn't just walk up the surface I was looking at. Luckily I looked down and the brain being an incredible organ just adjusted again (then blew raspberries at my imagination for being so silly).

After a much needed coke break and sit down we tackled wall 4. This was round a corner so you were straddling the wall and using grips on both sides. I did fall off - TheO was paying attention and caught me on the rope with ease. Damn it was I mad with myself. Particularly at the moment I clung to the wall as if my left depended on it. Bloody instinct. But, despite that hilarious set-back I eventually made it there and back. Still over excited by the coming down.

Wall 5. Jeez. I'm not even sure I want to think about it. You had to go up and out over a small overhang. I say small - when you were face to face with it, it seemed quite gargantuan. I took 3 breaks just sitting in the harness in mid air before I got passed the bloody thing. I thought my arm sockets and hips might never be the same again. I winged and complained my whole way up. There were many moments when I thought I just couldn't do it. When I got back down the instructor described me as "a breather" in the fact I was breathing v loudly. Sounds hideous and made me feel like a bit of a numpty. It was damn hard work though - sweated buckets - deeply unpleasant.

At the end I was quite excited to have found something that we might really be able to do together as an activity. We should only need one more 1.5h session before we can register and climb together without an instructor. It feels like the perfect antidote to running - no impact, all stretching and loads of use of the shoulder and back muscles. Might have found a great companion sport.

Today I am feeling it - my triceps and shoulders are letting me know this was new terrain for them. Even pulling up my jeans gives a dull ache. Never mind - that'll pass. Quite excited!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Holiday! It'll be just fine ...

Malta was great - it was lovely to see TheO's parents again. It was relaxing, a real break, a chance to get a little bit of sunshine and ultimately fab to be home again - the best sort of holiday. TheO has, as usual, outdone herself with a series (6 or 7) posts about our trip to Malta. If you want to have a look just go to her blog and you'll be able to check out the many sights of cultural interest we managed to pack into our trip.

I am just going to concentrate on the important stuff - the exercise. Jeez - my levels of sadness appear to be unbounded at present. But - onwards to the stats:

12th October - due to the fantastic pool TheO's parents have my first bit of exercise was a swim. It's an unheated outdoor pool of 11m in length (yes, I did measure it to find out). So I hopped in (finding it a pleasant but cool temperature as there had been just enough sun to heat it up) and did 100 lengths. Due to the pool being so short I tried really hard not to push off when in the deep end so I actually swam the distance rather than just glided every length. :) Kept up a good pace and felt delightfully wobbly when I got out.

13th October - this I had been dreading. A run. In the heat. My lovely friends were exceptionally nice to me and wandered round a garden/park for about 40min whilst I attempted a run. It was great to be somewhere safe with decent-ish paths - but it was still quite rough trails. That, combined with the heat, and the huge hill I insisted on tackling made for a really, really, hard run. I had to keep telling myself that even if no-one could see me - I would know if I had walked! So I did two loops which involved a big uphill and then a gentle decent loop and a simple flat section. These were a mile each and were completed in 12.20 and 11.40 respectively. (I think this shows the heat/hill affect.) The for the last 1.1mile I just pootled round the park finding flat-ish bits until I had plodded out the distance. 11.20 + 1.30. A total time of 36.50 was damn slow but I was just delighted to have done it.

15th October - Took my courage and decided on another swim - on a day with no sun -it was arse achingly freezing. Did 92 lengths (1012m) and called it a day. Not bad when moving but any slight stop was almost too cold to bear. Am obviously crazy.

17th October - Was beginning to despair. Malta - especially if you are out in the country - is not a good place to run. There are precious few pavements, poor street-lighting, and crazy driving. Road running would be suicidal on all but a few new roads. In towns you might be able to do some good runs round the outer sections - but you'd have to know your routes well. It was a busy last day with lots of footie watching planned (an England match on the tv; then Malta v. Moldova in the national stadium). Luckily for me we were heading into Paceville (Pa-che-ville) to watch the England boys get gubbed. TheO's Ma suggested I call the Hilton and ask about their gym. I was suspicious as I've tried this at home and no-where lets you use their gym without either a membership or an induction (how many inductions before I'm inducted to death!). Luckily Malta has different standards - bless! For the vast cost (let's not even talk about it) I could buy a day pass and just turn up and use their gym and pool. At least they give you a free locker and towels. :) So I went in and planted myself on the running machine to churn out a mind-numbing 5 miles. The machine was in K and a bit crap so I managed only to get it to do auto-start then alter the gradient to 1% and get the speed to 10kph - 5 miles/8K in 10min/miles was done - two quick stops with me randomly hitting buttons to get it started again - in about 53min. Apart from watching Sky news and the match I had an incredible view out to sea of the huge stormy swell battering the coast - it was stunning.

BACK in the U ... K
19th October - After a blissful sleep in my own bed - more like passing out having been up for 21hours straight the day before - we decided it would be a good idea to go to the gym. TheO went to play squash and I toddled into my local. Managed 5k in 27min was absolutely delighted - only 8 seconds off my fastest ever 5K - really feel like I'm coming back to form (even though I'm carrying far too many excess pounds). Then did all the weights except the tummy machine.

Hoping to have some quality weeks at home. Get loads of work done. Eat a healthy diet, get a few more pounds off before Christmas, up the exercise and appreciate all the things I love about home. Sounds slightly too good to be true.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

200 posts.

For my 200th post you'd think I'd find something fascinating to say.
This will have to suffice.


More scintillating tales soon.


Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Late summer - Summer Holiday.

Time just seems to be whipping by at the minute. After the hectic w/end where I celebrated another friend's 30th. (Fancy dress - I went as Buffy - drank nothing but bubbly wine all night - got overly competitive about giant jenga - had lovely food.) The following day we took a lovely, restorative, walk along the river Almond by Crammond in Edinburgh. Nipper took charge of Bridie and had a great time - both dogs greeted Nipper and his dad with delight; it was brilliant. Beautiful spot - few too many people but it was a lovely day. Glad to be out doors and alive. Time to chat - told them about the marathon entry ... really want to get in now.

After working feverishly for the last few days - designs to get done, gallery orders to fulfil - I've finally got some new designs to post. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these new pieces. They are quirky, cute, retro and quite evocative; well, maybe just to me - but then I did grow up in a house obsessed with the weather forecast. They are the "weather" items in Flickr. (Blogger wont let me up load at the mo.) It's nice to have some pieces I'm happy with. Just got time to post everything off or deliver it tomorrow before we go to MALTA.

After waking up feeling fat, standing on the scales feeling fatter I was delighted to make it to the gym today. Lovely bracing walk with the pooches first. :) Happy paws all round. Went to the gym for 1h - did a 4 mile run then a good, fast, hard, weights session. Managed to take the tummy machine up to 13 - a first.

My run was hard work but I tried really hard to keep a good pace and never let it dip below 6.2mph. I came away with 4 miles in 37.08 an average speed of 9.17 a mile - my fastest ever 4 miles ... faster than in a race, and faster than I've ever managed before. My much over used word - CHUFFED. This sets me up nicely for the hot, hot, hot runs I might have to do next week. Away in Malta for a week with TheO, Professor & RockGod - we get to celebrate TheO's 31st with her parents too. Should be a damn nice break.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Tired & Happy

Some days a little miracle happens and it all comes together. Today was one of those days. I'd had a nice new route planned for Sat. but feeling a bit ropey it didn't seem like the right time to tackle a slightly hilly 9 miles. Today the sun was shining, there was a light breeze, and it was cool enough to be pleasant. Bliss

The first 3 miles were not new to me - they are hilly and involve a pretty tough ascent (for the fat and slow) of 200ft in 0.5 of a mile. Mile 4 was blissfully all downhill - having TheO with me made me take it easy and not push too hard on the downhill - I was grateful for this later. 5, 6 and 7 were fairly flat with the odd gentle rise or dip. Then came 8 and 9, which, whilst looking fairly flat are in reality a steady, leg sapping, climb up for 170ft. (Hmm, just converted that to metres (56ish) and realised it doesn't sound quite as 'leg sapping'.)

It was such a great run. And I say this even after the edorphins have calmed down and the legs are filled with dull ache.
Brekkie - 1 slice toast, porridge with brown sugar and the usual large coffee.
2h later (after a bottle of Lucozade Sport citrus) I was out the door with TheO on her bike to keep me company (and give herself a hard hill session to boot).

Total time: 1.38.10
9 miles
Avg speed - 10.55 - delighted - was aiming to keep it at under 11min/m so I'm chuffed!
Calories 1287 (drool - I hear an Indian take away calling me).

One surprisingly lovely Power Gel taken on the run (at 60min).


It was brilliant to do such a long session with TheO. I'm used to it being very solitary (which I like) but this was such a change, and so peaceful and brilliant I might be tempted to coral her support for many more long runs.

I've got a secret. Shhhh!
Despite many protestations, especially to RF, I've entered into the Edinburgh Marathon ballot. It gets drawn on my birthday (which seemed like a 'sign' when I was filling the form in) so it's a long wait to find out. If anyone knows what the odds are I'd love to find out. Fingers crossed - toes quaking in anticipation.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Not to make this run and run ....

That's what I call SERVICE.

Selaine from Less Bounce (yes, her who started the company) called me - mere minutes after the email was sent. She assured me that all the research was genuine. They checked it all, and they have used the same research centre and testers. She has tried the bra herself and was satisfied with the performance.

She knows these things are subjective and just wanted to let me know that they're confident about the research and the article written. I'm delighted that I haven't been swindled by advertising - and I can get a refund :). I've got my fingers' crossed for them as they have 'hundreds' on back order - let's hope that other peoples' boobs find it a more supportive home.

Once Bitten

Ah well, the Triumph arrived this morning. Please see the letter I wrote to the truly terrific online sports bra retailer Less Bounce minutes after its arrival.

Dear Less Bounce,

My new Triumph Tri-Action Extreme arrived this morning. As did an email from yourselves promoting the Daily Mail article.
It was this article (found online earlier in the month) that convinced me to try this particular bra - I've tried many others on their list and their comparisons and comments seemed fair.

I think you're about to get a flood of unsatisfied customers. I might be wrong, but having tried this bra, it does not stand up to comparison with many of the good sports bras listed. When taking it out of the packet I thought, "this doesn't look very supportive" but I thought I should, at least, try it on. I did. It's truly terrible: the sides are low and flimsy providing no real structure to the bra; the cups neither compress nor separate fully; the low scoop, two hook back is insufficient for a sports bra of this size; and the adjustable straps - even at their shortest - were too long for me, 5'6", and a woman of 5'8" (I got a friend to try it to check).

I was initially a little bit apprehensive when I called to order it and was told it 'hadn't been released yet'. That made me wonder if the Daily Mail article was really pushing a new product rather than doing a fair review. I now believe it was. (Please see post above for illumination.)

You are a respected and trusted retailer of sports bras and I have always thought your 'thumbs up' ratings turned out quite well - especially difficult in the very subjective world of sports bras. If you promote this bra with the Daily Mail article you will lose some of your reputation and respect.

I consider myself to be one of the first fools who fell for such an obvious advertising trick. I can get a refund (the bra will be posted back today) you will have to try much harder to rebuild your reputation.





In this article (Daily *spit* Mail - ANNA HODGEKISS -Sept 17th 2007) they asked Bridgitte Swales, of the Sports Performance Assessment and Rehabilitation Centre at Roehampton University, to analyse the most popular High Street brands. Each bra was worn by a runner with a 34D chest.Then, using specialist computer softwear, she was checked for horizontal and vertical breast movement. The reviews were as follows - all reviews from September 2007.

BERLEI SHOCK ABSORBER, £32.99 (Looks like a B109 to me - but they don't say.)
CLAIM: 'The Shock Absorber works with your body. Research has shown that a Shock Absorber reduces 3D breast movement by up to 74 per cent.'
MOVEMENT: Vertical 6cm; horizontal 2cm.
VERDICT: Bridgitte Swales says: 'This is an "encapsulation" bra, which research has shown is usually better at supporting the breasts during exercise than "compression" bras. Encapsulation bras look more like an everyday bra, with moulded cups to separate the breasts; while compression bras compress the breasts against the chest wall.
'The thick straps and the "racer" back provide good extra support. However, disappointing amount of movement.'
Rating: 6/10

ENELL: £37.99
CLAIM: 'This is designed to enable larger breasted women to exercise in comfort.'
MOVEMENT: Vertical 3cm; horizontal none.
VERDICT: 'A serious sports bra - one of the compression models. And compress it definitely does, to the point where I feared the tester's blood might stop.
'It's designed like a corset, with ten fastening hooks at the front. It was tight around the ribcage and left marks on the tester's skin, so could become uncomfortable. On the plus side, there was very little movement - the best performer in this test.
'High chest coverage means it cushions the pectoralis major (the muscle the Cooper's ligament comes off) and its thick, supporting straps make it good for big-busted women.'
Rating: 9/10

PANACHE £31.99.
CLAIM: 'Provides excellent comfort and support.'
MOVEMENT: Vertical 4cm; horizontal none.
VERDICT: 'The fit is extremely tight around the ribcage, which caused pain when running. Tightness around the ribcage is not good because it could put unnecessary pressure on the xiphoid process - a small piece of cartilage at the lower part of the sternum - making the exerciser feel sick.
'This bra did not fit the tester well - it was too big. But the fact it still only allowed 4cm of movement (one of the best scores) indicates it's structurally a good bra. It is cut quite high on the chest, so the pectoralis major will be supported.'
Rating: 7/10

CLAIM: 'The most comfortable bra you'll ever wear.'
MOVEMENT: Vertical 6cm; horizontal none.
VERDICT: 'This compression bra is very comfortable and resembles the more traditional crop-top-looking sports bra. It has a good depth at the side and a lot of elasticised "give" around the ribcage.
'Although it's one-size-fits-all, it's very stretchy, so probably will suit all shapes.
'However, it was not very good in the support stakes: the vertical movement while running was very visible and one of the highest in our test, putting unnecessary strain on the delicate breast tissue.'
Rating: 5/10

CLAIM: 'Gives great support for average-to fuller figures.'
MOVEMENT: Vertical 4cm; horizontal none.
VERDICT: 'Essentially a compression bra, but also slightly encapsulated and supports the breast well.
'The compression provides a good, snug fit across the chest, supporting the muscles.
'Thick, adjustable straps provide extra support. The fit is good and the ribcage is not compressed.
'The aesthetics of this bra don't do it justice - it had one of the lowest vertical movements.'
Rating: 9/10

CLAIM: 'Superior support and control you need for those high impact workouts.'
MOVEMENT: Vertical 5cm; horizontal: none.
VERDICT: 'The high chest coverage means the pectoralis major should be supported. Other pluses are the breathable mesh, sturdy support at the side and adjustable straps.
'But, surprisingly for an M&S bra of this size, it didn't fit well - emphasising the importance of trying a bra on before buying.
'Despite the problems of fit, there was no horizontal movement on the treadmill, and this bra ranked midway in the vertical movement stakes.
'However, it was difficult to put on because of the fiddly hook at the back, and you need to make sure the band around the ribcage is not too tight.'
Rating: 5/10

CLAIM: 'Firm wing support for stability and confidence.'
MOVEMENT: Vertical 4cm; horizontal none.
VERDICT: 'Unlike the other Triumph model, this is an excellent sports bra. The breasts are perfectly encapsulated and there is sturdy support at the sides and back. The gel in the thick straps also makes it comfortable.
'The fact this was slightly too big for the tester and still had one of the lowest movement levels means it's ensuring the breasts are moving with the body, so supporting the Cooper's ligaments and preventing breast sag. It also looks good.'
Rating: 10/10
They also reviewed Royce, Moving Comfort - Maia, and Triumph:Tri-Action Power Move. All of these scores were rubbish 1 or 2 /10 so I took them out.

I've looked at lots and lots of bra reviews over the last year. I find that in a batch of 20 bra reviews you find one 36D who says "it's the most amazing bra I've ever tried" and another 36D who says (of the same bra) "rubbish, no support, chafed everywhere". It's too subjective. I liked the above review as it gave simple, understandable statistics, showed a picture, and gave a concise overview of other factors (appearance, strap thickness, ease of catches etc). I'm about to get my Triumph and my Enell (to add to my Berlies and Champions) so I'll see if my own subjectivity (and boobs) agree with these stats.

Highlights and Lowlifes

Jehsus! As my delightful N'orn Irish friend would say. Is this what I have stooped to. I was whistled at today and - despite being a slightly arsey feminist with mildly ranting tendencies - I was bloody delighted. Why! What makes this acceptable? I tried to explain my joy to TheO (who luckily understood and was willing to let me witter and self-justify) by saying that just to be whistled at is complimentary; there was no leering, no intimidation, no attempt to engage in conversation - it was entirely harmless (in a sexist objectification type way).

They were obviously out without their guide-dog however as I was wearing quite tight running gear (in the post office on my way for a run) which does not my particular figure flatter. Ah well. I'm just taking this moment and appreciating it for what it was.

Now, the run itself was less of a joy. 2 bits of toast and a 4 hour gap does not a successful run make. When will I bloody learn?! But a nice 1mile loop was found in St. Andrews and I'd done 2.5miles by the time TheO turned up (a slow 27min). I was eager enough to stop so we just enjoyed the indian summer day (yes, albeit slightly cold) and walked some v happy dogs. Just being outside in real, sunny, daylight made me feel like a new woman. I can't wait for my next run now.

In more exciting news TWO different sports bras should arrive tomorrow. The famed Enell and a new Triumph Extreme which got the top review in the above article. Once I've got them I'm going to do my own tests on the ones which work best for me. Joy. Shopping & Running.

Saturday, 29 September 2007


Serves me right for being excited. Woke up feeling decidedly rough. A little bit achy, rough throat, sniffle, sneezing. Generally pissed-off. Ate quite a bit last night and didn't drink thinking: I'm off to do a 9 mile run tomorrow this is both excellent fuel and I'll burn it off.

Whilst I'm not "ill" I'm pretty usre that a long run would weaken the defences a bit too much. I'll try for a sensible day with lots of vitamins and rest. (Not that, that will stop me from being a grumpy bugger.) At least I can fit in a long run next week ...

And my new sports bra didn't arrive.
And I've got to go into town and do lots of pissy little chores.
Boo Hiss to today.

Friday, 28 September 2007

What is wrong with me.

It's 11.46pm and I'm excited about my 'big run' tomorrow. I mean, WTF. I must be a crazeeeee.

Went out for a lovely dinner at The Doll's House with Tigger and Tom - ate too much (which has been a bit of a running theme this week) and my steak was boggin'. I've finally got to bite the bullet and admit that I only like fillet (damn me and liking expensive stuff) and only when I've under-cooked it to my liking (think raw with a bit of colour on the outside - for show).

Ah well, nevermind. Yesterday evening did a lovely 5k in the gym. All at 1% on the machine (shudder) and managed a respectable 29.30. Unfortunately afterwards I thought I was going to hurl (this never happens to me) - had to go and sit in the loos until it passed. Then did all the weights as usual. But, at the end of that too I felt chunder-some. I might have been working REALLY hard but I think it had more to do with my afternoon choice of food: bagel saurkraut cheese etc think this was not good for digestion. Luckily TheO was super sweet, drove me home and made me a simple veggie pasta dinner. Bless.

The plan for tomorrow is a nice big run - about 9 miles - on a new route. Start with 3 hard miles with quite a bit of uphill. Then an incredible downhill stretch - a few small rises, but mostly just flat and down. I can't wait. Might be able to try my new sports bra out if it arrives in time - the famed Enell.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


Several friends do Aqua-Fit on a weekly basis in Edinburgh. Today we two gave it a go.
Overall - not bad. Feels as good as a gym session but not like a run or a proper swim. We will go again (might adjust this if I awake in pain tomorrow) and add it in as an additional session in the week. Great location in the dive pool in Dundee - plenty of space and good deep water.

I was a bit of an exercise snob about it. I'm never that convinced by something I can't measure. I could go regularly and not really know if, it was getting any easier/I was getting any better. I found somethings tricky from a balance and co-ordination point of view but it didn't feel like that hard a workout. Good to be forced to keep going through it all with music and a teacher though. Bizarrely I got two rubbing patches on my arms from my swimming costume and the constant arm pumping/swinging motion - who'd a thunk it?

Almost had an argument with TheO as I was possibly unfairly disparaging about people who, "couldn't run 10K". Difficult to express that it's only by holding onto thin shreds of belief in my own physical ability that I manage to aim for faster/stronger/better - and I can only do this by making comparisons. I don't want to be 'quite good for a fat girl' I want to really surprise people with my strength and level of fitness. That's why I want to challenge myself physically. Who would have imagined that aqaufit could have provoked such levels of debate. And we didn't even get onto the fact the instructor was quite cute!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Today - we're all caught up now.

Met Bloom for lunch in St. Andrews, with his Ma which was a delightful. Funny, Civilised. But then we went to the gym and exacted a kind of torture on myself. Two weeks since my last visit and I'm not sure my limbs are going to forgive me. My hip aches like an old woman.

Ran 1mile in 8.24 on 1% gradient. Good.
Did all the weights, was damn hard work.
Then 1 mile on elliptical level 20 (so glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads get a blasting) varying between 1 and 2 resistance ( took 12.30).

Also got lots and lots of work done - about 7 people emailed and new commissions are agreed.
Stood on scales, weight bad but fat % is looking like it is down at my peak 1/2 marathon conditioning. I have been putting the work in - just have to sort out the food now.

Another one bites 30 on the ass. 22nd Sept. 2007

Well, that's how cricketboy would love us to see it. He'd had a bad week, but luckily his girlf high-heels had organised (and I use that word loosely) a wee surprise party, paint-ball and a Thai meal.
He was suitably surprised. I was really excited by the idea of paint-ball. I'd never done it, heard all about the pain though. Well, I was to be quite disappointed. It being a Saturday, everybody and their stag party/school outing/birthday celebrants were there. It was 40 a side teams, hideous cheating and no strategy. Hmmph. I did manage never to get shot which pleased me more than it should have done. I was even in the last stronghold of a few games so that was quite cool. Glad I didn't get hit, the bruises are NASTY.

Great meal in the evening I really like the company of RF and Wheeler - think we might have bored high-heels at times but she was knackered so may just have been drifting anyway.

Sunday was spent at home - doing nothing - it was just what was needed.
Seriously this might have been my dullest post ever. I'll come back to form soon.

10K again. 21st September 2007

Slow as ... 1.07.11 for 6.2 miles (about 71 seconds of stops - for 7 cars/tractors etc)

Felt great - really good stamina even if the speed wasn't up to much; looks like the walks on Skye actually helped. Just spending 4-5 hours solidly walking has given me a real endurance boost.

Saw my first conkers of the year - Autumn is officially knocking.


avg 10.49
best 08.02
calories 848 -mmmm good

Huge Skye catch up. I'll stop this madness soon.

I'll start where I left off. All those who want a more erudite and fuller description of Skye can find it at TheO's Blog. (There's about 6-7 posts dedicated to it - with piccies.)

Girls came up after we'd had a hard days shopping. Camping is ridiculously expensive when you have to buy the stuff. I now own walking trousers... my only trousers except jeans ... not sure how I feel about this.

Packed KEITH our beloved landrover. Pic from Tiree not Skye but he's a bit shy so can only be shown in profile.
Headed off for the long but pretty drive. Found excellent cake - which is quite frankly the only thing that high-heels needs to be kept in a good mood. Once arrived on the isle we had a lovely short walk to a ruined castle - it was pretty and boggy.
Set up came at Glen Brittle, had the ubiquitous pasta meal, chocolate afters and whiskey chaser - slept fitfully as it was bloody freezing.

We awoke to rain. Lots of rain. Marriedman turned up we drove to Talisker distillery. Left some of us there whilst we sat in The Old Inn: played games, had lunch, played more games. We eventually braved the downpour for a forest walk in the rain for 1h - not bad - not good. Got back to discover all my stuff was pretty sodden - wearing only a few items for the rest of the trip. Mmmm stinky. Bought more sleeping bags from the camp shop where they assured us that it was "dreadful weather" and usually it was "much nicer" - really! SHOCK NEWS: slept well for the first night ever in a tent - BLISSSSS.

Awoke in quite possibly the best mood ever. Had a good 7mile walk; little rivers to ford, lots of bog not too much uphill,enough to be challenging but not too tiring. Lovely chambered cairn at the end. Went to the pub for dinner -ate all 3 courses - stayed late-ish playing cards.
Marriedman was cursed; after so much rain we now had a storm for most of the night - made sleeping hard it was so noisy and freaky. Had to check tent was still attached to terra ferma - bloody un-ferma terra if you ask me.

Walked to the shower block and was greeted by high-heels who said: "Holy Crap"! She then expanded on this comment with the following: "we've all aged 10 years with lack of sleep, I just thought you should have some warning before you looked in the mirror." Nice. She wasn't wrong.

Went to Raasay - bloody brilliant, amazing views of skye - found lunch in wee hotel with v cute puppy - good sarnies and chips. Walked to Hallaig (deserted village) along a lovely cliff path - only 4 mile walk in total - v gentle. Drove all over the island - saw callums road (road made over 10years, by one man, by hand to stop his village being cut off). Made jokes about having a swanky two-island holiday.

Sunshine and showers so rainbows everywhere - the colours were spectacular. Had dinner in the landrover (back at base camp) then a drink at the pub and lots of cards and silly games - loved it. At this point it should be pointed out that it was a 20mile round trip to get from camp to the pub and back! We really loved that pub. Our final night in a tent.

RF made "mess" for brekkie all eggs sausages bacon and ham in a pan and cooked up in one delicious mess. After packing the car again - how did it all ever fit? - we
set off for longest walk yet. 9 miles along cliffs to Macleod's maidens - brilliant lovely walk out but a bit tricky to get a nice rhythm going as we had to keep stopping for slower members. Then we had a 1/2 hour break and saw them (the Maidens, 3 sea stacks) - briefly - as the weather turned and we walked back in the rain for 2 hours - it poured - we were all dripping through when we got back to the car.

Ultimately was seriously pissed off with the walk - it wasn't hard, you didn't need a map and it didn't get the heart rate up, so I didn't get that glow of achievement ... lots of time for little return - nice views though.

Drove to The 3 chimneys, got in they gave us coffee and cake - bless them and we had 2 hours to freshen up and look smart for dinner - we all managed to use as much hot water as we could and returned to dinner much revived. They even put my dress in the drying room for an hour or so - brilliant, didn't have to sit through a soggy dinner. Lived up to every-one of the many thousands of pennies we spent.

Drove home in slightly sleepy mood. Delighted to be back.