Tuesday, 28 December 2010

A "Isn't Cheryl Cole a Liverpudlian?" day

Over the Christmas Holidays we ended up watching TV at Colins Mum and Dads house.  We haven't had a television for several years, so we really struggle with the noise and the fast moving pictures.  Watching their TV also confirmed that we seem to live in  a parallel universe; apparently Colin had always thought that Cheryl Cole was a Liverpudlian, so when he saw someone who looked a bit like her, but with a Geordie accent, advertising L'Oreal, he had to ask his sister who it was.  (for other tv less people, apparently she is a Geordie...)

However its not just Colin; I have previously had incredulous stares for;
Saying, when Dermot O Leary was announced as the new host for the X Factor "I'm really suprised that they've chosen a gardener to present the programme"
Not understanding that a  Wii  is a computer game, and being completely dumbfounded when all the young people at my husbands youth club said they wanted one.
Thinking that the gymnast Suzanne Dando was the Crimewatch presenter who had been murdered
Constantly getting Neil Young, Neil Sedaka and Neil Diamond mixed up.

Monday, 27 December 2010

A wrapped up for the cold day

While Col has been out running I've been finishing off a few scarves , which I've either made on my loom or have hand embroidered.  Hopefully I might be able to sell some soon; we're in the process of putting together a website   treehuggery.co.uk, and this might make things easier to sell


Merry days and nights

                                                                                                                                                                                                         Ti's Christmas time once again ,  We are both lucky enough to be off till the New year , so are making the most of visiting the relatives and relaxing. I do feel sorry for those who are made to work Boxing day as it must be hell in the shops.

I have been running the last few days, yesterday it was with Jac and a friend Catherine around Bestwood park, today I ran over to Wollaton park and back a 14 mile route mainly off-road. It was entertaining with snow coming down fast over the last third off the run and me slip, sliding about. Every time it seems to thaw and improve it just seems to end up worse with ice under water and me going flying face first to the floor, but hey - ho small price to pay for running in the light of the day.
On the last leg along the canal there was four horses and riders. the horses had bright coloured coats and antlers on and the riders were wearing Mrs Santa costumes. Amused me a lot shame I couldn't get a photo.


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Whitby and Wollaton days

We have been away for a couple of days in Whitby. While we were on the way up we were treated to the snow and a few slippy roads especially across the moor from Pickering to Whitby. We dropped in at Jac's tutors gallery ,which is lovely and displays her tutors own work and others. It's in the newer part of Whitby and called the "art cafe" amazing what she has produced out of fabrics which she dyes herself.  It was a cold time there though and we were expecting a lot more snow but to be quite honest we were thankful it didn't come as it made it easier for coming home,although across the moor it had settled well and was a little bit hairy sliding about at times.We dropped in at Pickering on the way back for a bite to eat and check out the second hand book store where no book is over three quid (great value) Jac managed to pick up three books and me ,I don't know what to read at the moment ,so any ideas let me know.  Then we headed over to Helmsley to have a look in the "look gallery "  amazing artists at realistic prices and always a treat to look around.Today I have done my long run an 18 miler over to Wollaton park and back along the Robin hood way as far as Awsworth then back across the old screens at Bennerley , just a 12 -15 miler tomorrow probably along the canal.  Been down the allotment and managed to get parsnips and leeks out the ground without having to resort to using a crowbar.  I was quite surprised as the temperature gauge at our house hasn't been above -1 all day. So up to now a productive day.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

A Solomon Day

Today, the Radio 2 hosts Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie, had to help me with my Freecycle dilemma:
I was gifting a digital camera on Freecycle (its a website where you recycle unwanted items by giving them away).  As anticipated I had loads of people wanting the camera, and I couldn't decide whether to give it to the first person who got back to me (or were they too grabby?)  Should I give it to the most deserving (and what criteria should I use to decide? and who am I to judge?), or should I give it to the person who wished me a Merry Christmas (or were they too creepy?)
Stuart decided that in his capacity as the wise old Solomon, that it should be the first person, who got back to me, so that's that  - who ever would have thought that giving things away could be so stressful!

We've had a good day today; we've had a pre Christmas clear out, and caught up with lots of friends.


Update - ok maybe not such a good day, fellow radio listeners have disagreed with Staurt "Solomon" Maconies advice; and suggested that I should have picked names out of a hat, or tried to have established who was the most discerning  -   Feeling very guility

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The triple 'D' ( Dilly Dally Day )

OK so I said in my last post I go out at nights . Well its a Saturday so an early 'ish' run of 15.5 miles today and yes I was dilly dallying ,as if I wasn't sliding on what was left of the ice, I was sliding through the mud on a clear blue skied day.
Got back and my legs felt more like they had done twice the amount of mileage. Got a long slow run tomorrow again , I think along the flat canal tow path.

Jacs down stairs making me a carrot cake. Shes been out for a run this morning then been playing with her loom trying out a new technique for a scarf.


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

slippy nights

      Well we've had the blog a while now and I started the trend of the titles having the word "days" in them, but when I went to put these photos on tonight and couldn't think of a "day" title.
       It got me wondering why we put these kind of constraints on ourselves; we are quite free, but we do often put self imposed rules on our selves that stop us from doing the most simple of things.
       So seen as I tend to do more at night ,I have titled this page "slippy nights". It's more appropriate as I often feel like I get up in the middle of the night (although this is only because it is so dark) .
       I got up this morning knowing it was going to be cold ,but wasn't expecting to cycle to work in a temperature of -9 C. I think that's the coldest I have cycled in (up to now).

Now to what I was going to post:
I headed out late afternoon yesterday for a run and was able to see these great views and a brilliant sunset.  I got back when it was nice and dark after a 13 mile run  and only slipped around a couple of times.  I am gaining quite good night vision at the moment and not relying on the head torch at the moment . And at least it was only about -2C when I arrived back so quite balmy weather, really

Minus Days

Yesterday when Col went out for a run in the snow and ice he came across two skiers  -which probably doesn't sound so remarkable, but we live in Derbyshire!
Now that the snow seems to have finished for a while, the temperature is plummeting..
Today I went out in the car , and there was ice on the inside of the windows, and the temperature guage registered -14 C  , I couldn't even get into the car park at work as theres still 2 foot of snow in it.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Disorganised days

Seeing as last night was a beautiful snowy night, I thought I'd start writing some Christmas cards  - hmmm what should be a simple task can be oh so complicated when your distracted by whats going on beyond the window  - some people have 2 cards, some people have a random gift tag inside theres, and there's always the obvious cover up of "and family"  which doesn't fool anyone, when you have a senior moment and  can't recall everyones names.... I just know that there's the potential for more mayhem when the cards are distributed and opened and more errors are discovered.
Today we went for a lovely walk in what might be the last of the snow for a while  - I'm hoping to turn some of my piccies into sketches and into textile works for my course - more later

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Dedicated Days

I've been lucky enough to be able to work from home this week, its just been to snowy to even spot which of the cars parked on the street is mine, never mind about drive it anywhere.
Poor Colin doesn't have the option of working from home, and has been cycling the 8 or so very snowy miles to work, cycling back home, and then going for his snowy runs in preparation for the ultra race he is planning on doing in January. 
Hmmmm makes my short 3 or 4mile runs in the snow this week look very pathetic - I really must try harder!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

the first of the snowy days

We had a nice relaxing break at Norfolk this weekend; and made the most of taking it easy by swapping running for walking for the weekend.
I'm a bit concerned Colin might have shocked anyone who was out and about in the snow, and saw the footprints that Colins "5 finger" shoes made. The shoes, which I think are scary, have separate toes and are like gloves for feet, they're supposed to help improve  posture; Col gets strange looks from people who see his bizarre footwear on his feet, and I would have loved to have seen people's faces as they stumbled upon these footprints!

Despite the snow at the beginning and the end of the weekend, the Saturday was a really lovely sunny day, great for walking, and taking snapshots of windmills and fishing boats; just what Norfolk is famous for!


Sunday, 21 November 2010

A small world day

I joined my local Embroiderers Guild yesterday - which was very good (more later) and rather bizarrely ended up sitting next to Colin's old art teacher from school  - what a small world!  She was very lovely, and strangely rather complimentary about Colin,  maybe she'd forgotten that Colin had colluded in his friends trick of swapping the white paint for a pot of glue.....Reminding Colin about his old art teacher,set Colin off giggling all over again, as he recalled the story of  Diane's confusion after finishing her work of art with flicks of what she thought was white paint, and later returning to find that they'd disappeared!

The presentation at the Guild was very good: called "Entertaining Angels" by Anne Menary; it was a series of embroidered and collage angels who we might entertain, but are also entertaining; largely by plummeting down to earth head first as they learn to fly.  Anne's sketchbooks are just as interesting; more an aide memoir to ideas than a sketchbook her paper collages utilise whatever is available, consequently angels are represented by catalogue models and the great bear constellation by a panda!  - All very skilled, and very amusing!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Remembrance Day

Today being Remembrance Day also means to me that its the Booth Decorators League X-Country race at Chaddeston . I can't say it's the most picturesque place to be running but it definitely means that I can act like a kid. It's a fairly flat course over around a muddy field , But what I do like about it is the running through the stream and best of all we get to do it four times so as to freeze your feet.
Today wasn't a bad race as I took it steady to start with and picked off runners steadily through out the race.
Only trouble I really had was that I have picked up Jacs bad habit off shoe laces coming undone part way round . I was a little worried on the second lap and two stream hops to go that my spikes (shoes) would come off . thankfully they didn't and I came home first for our club and in 23 rd position overall.

Didn't think this was to bad a result as I had run 16 miles yesterday. My mileage is starting to creep up again so lots of long runs thru the winter.


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Vegetal Days

After lots of deliberating Colin has purchased a new mobile phone with a camera, we realise this isn't a necessity but did think that it would be great for taking photos when we're out running.  (We can probably justify it further in that my phone is still of the brick variety, never switched on, and rarely charged up)
As we keep pointing out, neither of us are comfortable with technology, so, when Cols new phone went off in the middle of the night, he went charging downstairs to answer it, and stressed by the burglar alarm beeping, grabbed the phone only to realise that he'd taken a photograph of himself with no clothes on....

On a completely unrelated noted, here's a carrot from our allotment
And on a completely unrelated, but vegetal note, we've just discovered the delights of pumpkin pie; it sounds healthy but unfortunately its not, but it is really really nice.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

messy days

I'm definately not cut out to be a screen printer - I love most textile techniques and am happy to give them ago, but I also know my limitations and am aware that precision and tidyness aren't my strengths - As part of my textiles degree I've had to try and get to grips with screen printing, where neatness and precision are quite crucial....
Thankfully I've managed to do most of my practicing while Colin has been out of the house, and think that I've managed to clear up quite successfully after each attempt.  While I've found this a difficult technique I have enjoyed it and can see possibilites for mixing it with other techniques.
Here's one of my attempts "Dancing in December" inspired by the Dancing Building in Prague.
Screen Printing inspired by the Dancing Buildings in Prague

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Derbyshire day

I have had a trip down memory lane today on two accounts.

Firstly a long while ago I used to spend most of my free time in the peak district walking and climbing, over time I have stopped climbing due to one reason or another ,and I also have stopped walking as much in order to run more. My second part of my memory lane was to catch up with a friend from school.

As my friend  now has children so walking for a young one is at a slower pace ,I did however see more of the peak than I would normally have . On all accounts The beautiful day (no wind sunny and my favourite no  rain) catching up with friends and being up in one of my haunts Its been a great day all round.


Monday, 1 November 2010


Col ran the Worksop Halloween half marathon on Sunday, and despite his running shoes falling to pieces at mile 3,(personally I think they caught fire!) he got a pb with a fantastic time of 1hr25.  The route is a really pretty one at this time of year as it goes through Clumber park, and apparently was made even more entertaining as many of the Marshalls and runners were in fancy dress.   - One of our friends, Al, has created a problem for himself tho'; unable to do the race due to man flu, he gave his race number to another friend who is a fair bit younger and happens to be extremely fast, unsuprisingly he came in pretty quickly so Al is now recorded in his age category as coming in second!

The Halloween theme was continued as we fetched all of the pumpkins from the allotment, and later when we went to a Halloween dinner party  where we had numerous lovely treats including brown bread icecream which sounds strange but is thoroughly recommended, its lovely.  Interestingly and suprisingly we discovered that everyone sitting around the table was TV less  - so maybe we're not as strange as we thought!  -  it was quite funny to hear the conversation about the moment of deciding to get rid of the TV and life afterward being TV free, to anyone overhearing us it must have sounded like an AA meeting!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

quilting day

This isn't one of mine, but I wish it was,
....we went to the York Quilt museum today, which is excellent, this particular piece is from an exhibiton called the emergence of an embroider as an artist.  Perhaps unsuprisingly Colin was much more interested in the architecture of the building and the craftsmanship of the tables, so I think we were perhaps an interesting pair for anyone else to observe.  Colin was also much more interested in the arcitecture of a felting shop that we came across; it had previously been a public house and had many old fixtures including a very old bar fitting from the "gentlemens room" that was hiding behind piles of beautiful merino wool.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

20/10 2010

Well we decided to completely escape the governments Comprehensive spending review and went for a walk in the Peak District; I didn't fancy climbing any hills after Sundays' Marathon effort, so we went for a bimble along the river Dove to Millersdale. And the weather was just perfect for an autumnal walk, bright and sunny, yet frosty and cold, I don't think the temperature ever got above 3 degrees all day.  Colin had a complete moment of muppetry, with the thought that he is so uncomfortable with the cold, he'd never be able to go to Antarctica - durr!  We've been!
Neither of us could remember all of the money trees between Dovedale and Millersdale, I've taken quite a few photos' hoping that they'll inspire some textile work.
Its also the first time that we've been since the infamous stepping stones have been concreted over,  Actually they've been covered with limestone, complete with crinoids, and they're not too bad at all - they're higher than they were which means that people will still be able to use them even when the river rises, and they'll soon moss over and look much as they did before - but won't be as slippy!

Monday, 18 October 2010

An achy legs and tired day.

Oops I looked myself out of the house this morning - I must have been more tired than I thought, but I do have a good excuse.

Yesterday was the marathon  - Myself, Colin and friend Sarah got up to see the first 5o clock of the day, and it was really cold, there had been a good frost.  The car never registered above 2 degrees C on the drive from home in Derbyshire to Sleaford, it was so frosty they'd even had the gritters  out that night in Lincolnshire, brrrrr  (and according to the locals of Lincolnshire the gritters are nowhere to be seen when its been snowing!)

Myself and Colin were running the 26mile challenge, while Sarah more sensibly opted for the 13 mile walk, and while we were all freezing waiting for the start, we were really fortunate with the weather, as it quickly turned into a glorious sunny day.
The route is beautiful; it starts at Lincoln Castle, with a run down the aptly named Steep Hill, before heading along a riverside path, and crossing various fields, through picturesque villages, and beautiful woodlands, heading to the finish at Sleaford Hub.  It was hard going underfoot, while Lincoln might be dead flat, the terrain was really bumpy with lots of tree roots, holes, and divots, and rutted fields to negotiate - we even got mildly lost once.  
Sarah beat us back, but we did manage to pick off a few runners and walkers along the way. 
While tough to do, the beautiful and changing scenery made the challenge of 26 miles fly by.  If you're interested in doing a 13 or 26 mile run or walk, we couldn't recommend this highly enough, everyone we chatted to was really friendly, and the Marshall's who organised it were brilliant, and we got a great Tee Shirt too (not bad for a tenner!)www.spiresandsteeples.com/Challenge

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A noisy day

I've had official notice of my impending redundancy today, however because I work in the public sector which is sooooooo bureaucratic it is unlikely that I will actually finish for 6 more months  - crazy!  We'd decided that we would try and do something nice at work today to make up for the depressing redundancy notices, such as go for a picnic at lunchtime, however the fact that the work fire alarm got stuck on "on" during a routine test, mean that we all had to (ahem) "work from home".
Might go for a short run later!  This will be the last one before Sundays Marathon - I've never felt less ready for anything in my life...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Night Running

Now the nights are getting darker again, I've been making the most of the nights by taking my head torch and running off road - on Friday night when we were both out we saw an owl and some bats. Tonight though I did a run where I got a bit spooked; I'd been running for about 40 minutes in the pitch black across the old colliery screens and was cutting through Shipley Country Park and running past one of the old houses (which for those that know the area is now part of Green Health) and the temperature plummeted. I know that a lot of the buildings around there are supposed to be haunted but I've run past them loads of times before, and never felt unnerved like I did tonight. I quickened up my pace, and as soon as I was away from the house, the temperature rose again, and I felt ok again. The funny thing is that its so protected by trees I would have expected it to have felt warm. On a positive note, I got a bit of speed work in, and its the closest I've come to feeling a presence.

If the night wasn't exciting enough, I saw a fox on the way back home too - he didnt seem suprised by me at all. I love night running!


Hospital Day

Col fetched his dad out of hospital today, complete with new knee joint (ouch!). For the last 2 years he's been walking around with no cartilage in his knee, that must be painful, anyway he's now got a plastic gizmo that seems to be doing the job. I have told him about the 26mile race next week, but I think he's going to see how he goes this week first.

I'm on a taper week before the big race day, only 20 miles this week, - hoorah I feel like I've been running 50 miles a week for ever. I had a short 10mile run today which was beautiful; sun shining, crunchy leaves underfoot, and lots of friendly walkers out commenting on the unseasonable weather.

I've seen a business premises that I'm toying with looking at; I could potentially run it as a cafe and develop an art gallery there too - It has the added bonus that it would be a great outlet to get rid of all the excess courgettes. We still have loads!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Last of the long runs day

Well my marathon is only a week and a half a way, and my taper is underway - I've had a really high mileage to do this week (57 miles; 20 on sun, 11 on tues, 15 today wed, and 11 on fri) - all of my runs are feeling a bit of an effort now as my body is just sooooo tired, but knowing that my longest run pre race is only going to be 11 miles, is making every thing seem a bit more bearable.
I had thought of doing an ultra with Col after the marathon (an ultra is any race longer than a marathon) I was thinking of doing one that is about 30miles long, whereas Col is now looking at the possibility of doing one the Cotswolds Hilly 100; which I guess fairly obviously is 100 miles (and hilly) or the Bob Graham round (42 peaks, 74 miles, and 28500 ft of ascent) - the goal of both of these runs is to complete them within 24hours; complete madness! .... and makes my marathon and thoughts of a 30 mile ultra seem pretty insignificant.

On a different note my loom came today, I plan to start doing some weaves, and hopefully selling them, soon!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

nearly forgot

Nearly forgot to ask, still on the subject of the cinema, does anybody know whether 3d glasses work if your colourblind? Not asking for me and Col obviously (as Colin would probably be sick watching 3D), but we have a friend who's colourblind, and is unsure whether he would see the 3d effect. (Quite reassuring to think that its not just us that have got the potential to struggle in the cinema!)

a Wet day

My longest run of my schedule (20miles) and i'd still got a cold and the rain just wouldnt stop - I felt like a puppy who's been dragged out of the front door, by its owner, insistent that it goes out whatever the weather.
That said, running through mud and puddles is actually good fun, so once I was out there it wasnt too bad; it also has the added advantage that most people had stayed indoors so it was really quiet, which also meant that I got to see quite a few squirrels and rabbits darting in and out of the rain.
And we made the best of a wet afternoon (and the fact that I had really achey legs and didnt want to do anything too strenuous) by going to the Cinema, which we haven't done for ages - I think its fair to say that we're probably quite entertaining to the rest of the audience when we do go; we haven't had a tv for about 5 years consequently we find that we haven't seen any of the adverts in the trailer, that everybody else has seen for months, and so we laugh out loud at things that everybody else is bored by; not only that, as soon as the trailers start up, I cover my hands with my ears, because the sound seems way too loud to me; and poor old Colin struggles with the speed of the moving images, and finds that they either hurt his eyes or that he gets motion sickness.
Yeah, yeah as far as entertainment and technology goes we're a disgrace!, (its only a few months ago that I learned what a Wii was - Col had told me that all the young people at the youth club wanted "a wii" and apparently my puzzled and bemused face made it clear that I needed futher explanation!!!)
Oh yeah, the film "Made in Dagenham" is really good; all about the women machinists at Ford striking in the 1960s for equal pay; i'm not sure how satisfactory the recommendation of 2 luddites is, but we really enjoyed it - and it didnt hurt Colins' eyes....

Monday, 27 September 2010

a Dave Gorman kind of day

Funny old day today; I went for an interview and when I gave my name to the receptionist she became a bit flustered - It turned out that someone with exactly the same name as me had also just reported their presence for the same interview......
Apparently her application form had got lost, so although she would be well qualifed to do the job, she didnt get invited for an interview. After about a month she phoned up to see what had happened, and the person she spoke to saw that I'd been invited for an interview, and obviously presumed that she was me, and gave her the details of when and where to turn up.

I've come close to meeting someone with the same name as me before, as somewhere in Nottinghamshire County council, which is where I currently work; someone there in another building has the same email as me, and sowe often get each others emails (only hers are usually more interesting!), but this is the first time I've had that Dave Gorman moment of "I'm Jackie Ward," "No, I'm Jackie Ward" - It wasn't unlike a programme Graeme Garden used to present where he used to ask the real XXXX to reveal themselves - (can anybody remember what it was called?, it was loosely based on "Whats my line", and its going to annoy me terribley that I can't remember...)

Anyway, I don't think I've got the job, but at least I didnt have the terrible experience of the poor old other Jackie Ward, who was asked to go home and rewrite her application form, and then return back the same afternoon for the inteview and test - how stressful is that?

Jackie (The real one!)

Sunday, 26 September 2010

lazy days

Its amazing how much you can get done when you can't run (I've pulled my hamstring, and have got a cold, so havent been able to do 3 of my runs this week, including my 19mile long run; Mad dog isn't going to be pleased with me, although to be honest I'm just glad that both things have happened together as my race is only 3 weeks away). As a result of all of this free time I've accumulated while nor running, we've both managed to get lots of things done, including more textile work for me!.
I've been doing some more samples for my Moroccan project, - I do love collage, and have to really try hard not to use it for everything I do, and now I am off to pootle around at the allotment, but best of all me and Col have made up a new game! Its based on the old "Give us a clue" charades, but instead of miming, you describe a band/group without using any of the words in their title. So....... "spiffing vagrants" might be used to describe Supertramp , whereas "a catasrophe in the Far East" could be used to describe China Crisis.
Its kept us amused for hours! - we really should get a telly!

Friday, 24 September 2010

sewing day

I'm currently doing a project on Morocco for my textiles degree; Its probably no suprise that theres a big emphasis on Moroccan girls learning needlework at a very early age. I was inspired to create the collage above when I learned that young girls take part in a ceremony when they're 4 years old. This involves them sitting on a childs chair and holding a pair of scissors, a needle and a thimble; this will then lead them to become proficient embroiderers.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

pictures today

Thanks to work they have let me have a few pictures of what I made and installed for them down in Harrods . I'm quite pleased with how this came out and also impressed that after a long shift I was able to take an OK picture.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sunday run

Well we have been for our Sunday run and Jac's now concerned this running lark is going to go up to 60 miles a week with her Mad Dog trainer.(It's 51 miles this week and then 54 the following week). Today's was a sedate 18 miles along local canals and fields. The weather seemed to get better and better which was not what I had expected and so was wearing long sleeved top and trousers. Jac in her shorts and t-shirt was more suitably attired and not as hot as i was when we got home some 3 hours later.

This week has been a bit different for me as I was persuaded to go and install a cabinet I had made with a couple of others down in Harrods. the cabinet was to display a dolls house worth a few grand. That place is so weird in that you have to walk under the streets and the shop to get to the delivery area . Its also comes across as being run down compared with what I was expecting. Thread bare carpets and a look not that dissimilar to an old Co-op.
We knew we were approaching the right area when all you could see was camera flash's in the distance; the outside of the building is pretty impressive though. It also seems most people were more concerned with getting the Green Harrods bag more than what they were buying inside.

We've been down the allotment over the weekend and have some impressive carrots and a few rude looking ones (where's "That's Life"?) . The courgettes are still coming on but hopefully slowing down. Courgette soup last night courgette pasta tonight. possibly courgette on Monday. (what do I mean possibly? its bound to be!).


Sunday, 12 September 2010

Mull holidays

We've just come back from a lovely week on the Isle of Mull - we stayed at the same Fishermans cottage in Haun, near Treshnish that we first discovered a few years ago.

If you like really remote places, you'd love it. Haun (pronounced How - en) is 2 miles up a farm track, and probably about 9 miles away from the nearest shop.

There's a beautiful white sandy beach (Calagry beach) with rock pools, and further around the island are otters and seals, whales, basking sharks and eagles (not that we saw any whales or sharks, although we might have seen eagles and not recognised them, as our bird spotting leaves something to be desired).

We spent our time relaxing, walking, running (the terrain is really difficult for me as I'm used to road running, and had to contend with headwinds, big hills, muddy/peaty/boggy ground, and rocky ledges). Driving about was fun too, all of the roads are single track, and this presents quite a few challenges when big stoopid highland cattle decide that they want to be in the middle of the road and have no intention of moving, and when farmers and their sheepdogs decide to herd up their flocks.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

A Nice day

A well deserved nice day today - especially after yesterday, Colin nearly got knocked off his bicycle by a complete idiot who thought it was funny to drive at speed in his car and then do a handbreak turn , finishing inches away from Colin. And I'd gone to my doctor cos i havent been able to sleep, only to be told to do some exercise - surely 50 miles a week is enough!

Anyway today I had a lovely 13 mile run on a lovely sunny day; some old guys putting in a new gate thought it would be good fun to try and get me to steeplechase over their gate, I saw one of my friends from the running club, someone asked me if i was training for a marathon (Result!, I do look like a runner!) and I saw 4 squirrels. Can it get better - yep, my car's passed its MOT, I've finished another scarf - hopefully I'll have enough to sell soon, and my friends lent me the new Ben Elton Book - life is good!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Four days

Its been four days since my ultra and The first time I have rode my push bike to work for over two weeks. Was very stiff Mon / Tuesday and was hating the bending down to get the tools out of my box. It seemed like every time I got up from getting one item out I decided I needed another ( was walking like I was in plaster casts) .

Of course it rained this morning and although I had my bike lights on the North Midland Construction pick -up truck that tried to kill me by not stopping at the island seemed to be UN-aware he had done anything wrong seeing as he couldn't see out of his misted up windows . Thank you it makes me know why I love being on two wheels, either motor or push bike.

That's better rant over. Calm now

On the plus side legs are now a bit freer and hoping to run tomorrow . Also just seen the pictures from the weekend run on Rory Colemans site and they are really good .

Monday, 23 August 2010

A knotty day

Despite the fact that the alloment has been neglected with all our running, its looking suprisingly healthy. The major problem in not visiting it enough is that courgettes that are too small to pick one day, very quickly become the size of large marrows.
I'm currently working on an allium scarf made out of french knots, hopefully I'll post it later

Sunday, 22 August 2010

funny runny day

Cols' ultra was a good run. He ran 50K (31 miles) along part of the Robin Hood Way from Blidworth to Nottingham Castle. Its a boggy and undulating route, and isn't particularly well signposted, hence he and a lot of the other runners ended up getting lost, which resulted in even more mileage and time on legs. (One runner managed to approach all 5 checkpoints from different angles and went through the finish funnel the wrong way!). Despite having problems with his knees all the way round and having to run/walk most of the route, Col managed to bag 5th place.

My 14 mile plod from Attenborough to Trent Bridge is a bit tame in comparison, but entertaining in its own right - I managed to run past a hedgerow stuffed with the biggest mushrooms I had ever seen, ran past a woman on her mobile phone who seemed really pleased to see me and was commentating to her friend on my progress while waving and encouraging me (I don't know who she was, but she was very friendly), and saw a pack of 7 beagles being taken for a walk.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

busy days are on there way

We're busy sorting out everything we need for a couple of runs that we're organising for our local running club (Ilkeston Running Club) - I've been making lots of cakes for the feed station - that should slow people down nicely, while Col has been printing off the race directions and organising a points system - with points deducted for complaints about the weather and the hilliness of the hills, and points added for good water station etiquette e.g. safe disposal of paper cups.
Col is also sorting out his gear (safety pins, food, nurofen etc) for his 50K race on Sunday - it follows the Robin Hoods Way from Blidworth to Nottingham Castle, and is quite hilly, and in places very muddy after rain - ooops its raining lots outside at the moment, and the weather forecast is predicting more!
We're planning on nipping down to the allotment in an attempt to stop the courgettes from getting too big - we've still got loads, we've given loads away but there are still more on the way - more recipes if you're interested are poached egg ratatouille (actually really nice, although slightly strange in appearance) and courgette stir fry (yeah, yeah, we know we're scraping the barrel now!)
I'm still waiting for Mad dog to get back to me - I'm sure he's given me the wrong running schedule for next week, there's no way i should be running 48 miles in a week without the peak of my schedule in sight....

Sunday, 15 August 2010

A fine day

Its been a fine day today. I was expecting the worst in the weather and my head, but my head was fine even though I'd had a couple of pints the night before. We were at my Aunt and Uncles 50th wedding anniversary . It was great to catch up with a lot of the realatives I do not see very often and some who I'd not seen for over 20 years. What was surprising though was that a member of out running club was their and he's been a friend of my Aunt and Uncle for years, and I had no idea. Small world . Also in this small world, I managed to meet the midwife to deliver me some 37 years ago, I certainly don't remember her, but she does remember me - perhaps its my beard that gave it away? The only thing i've previously heard about my birth is that I was nearly born at the top of my street because I was too impatient to wait to get to the maternity hospital.

Today Jacs been for a 15 mile run ,which she seem's to have enjoyed because I wasn't there (hmm) Although the present Mrs Ward also managed to get lost and trip her self up on said run, ....not so good.

I 've been down the allotment the last two mornings digging out the potatoes and clearing the ever growing weeds,its looking neater down there again . oh and before I forget; more courgettes there seems to be no end to them. Last of the peas are doing well and the chard is looking healthy and the onions are ready and i'm trying to dry them out.

Friday, 13 August 2010

courgettes again today

Jacs not going to be a happy bunny. Yes you've guessed it 6 more courgettes although i am picking them earlier so not so big and we then just might get through them.

Not sure if I want to tell her that the cauliflower is nearly ready and that the sweet corns are doing rather well. Still digging out the potatoes and due to lift the onions so all in all I should be putting on a few pounds soon.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A Heavy Day

Yikes - didn't realise i hadnt emptied my rucksack until i completed my 13 mile run - In addition to my 1litre of water - I was also carrying around my diary and various bits of shopping - no wonder it felt like hard work.
We've still got loads of courgettes, even after trying to be more inventive and coming up with things like courgette burgers and ratouille pie, I dont seem to be making any progress in reducing the courgette stockpile.

Monday, 9 August 2010

snakey day

Well I wasn't quite the racing snake that I'd like to have been at Newark half marathon, (my runs home from work and other long runs in the week are just tiring me out too much to do anything but plod), but Col did find a grass snake on the allotment this afternoon - I'm not sure who was most suprised; col or the snake. Finding it then led to a conversation about whether a grass snake would eat our next door allotment neighbours' chickens - wiklepedia says that grass snakes "almost exclusively feed on amphibians" - but i'm not sure that "almost exclusively" rules out chickens to be honest. I'm also quite scared of snakes, and have a deep fear that they can flip open letter boxes with their tails and then crawl through and into houses.
We got into a bit of a tussle about what to do with all of the caterpillars in the allotment too - Col wants to kill them all, as quite obviously they're destroying all of the crops, but I was brought up on Eric Carles "the very hungry caterpillar", and cant bring myself to kill any - I did contemplate moving them to someone elses allotment, but I guess that won't bring much good kalma.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

dandilion day

Here's my dandilion scarf, which is my final project for this textiles module. Its designed to be
reversible, so depending on how you want to wear it, the stalks should still be in the right direction. It was a complete nightmare trying to think how to make dandilions that would look wispy - I tried all sorts of things; taking a blow torch to material, slashing material, layering materials - I finally settled on this which is deconstructed climbing rope - hope Colin doesn't have any lengthy climbs in mind!
I'm planning to start my next module soon, which will include screen printing, and looking at inspirations from different cultures

Monday, 26 July 2010

Harvest Sunday

We went down the allotment and came back with mountains of courgettes, they're the size of marrows! even after giving loads away, and chopping up loads and filling the freezer, theres still too many.

In fact we've got loads of everything; potatoes, onions, garlic, beans and peas - I think i spent over an hour shelling all the peas there were that many

I've been sent another running schedule for the next couple of weeks by mad dog; I'm sure he's got my schedule confused with someone elses, theres no way i can up my weekly mileage to 46 miles

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A blazing day

Seeing as we were both off work today, we decided to head up to Blaze farm, near Buxton in Derbyshire. Its really set up as a working farm with animals for kids to play with _ Great!!!

After playing with the kittens, and then being stalked by a cat, that was more interested in us than the chickens, we spent most of the time laughing at a peacock that was so vain that he was admiring himself in the reflection of a shiny black car. At one point he actually headbutted the car to scare the other peacock it thought it could see away!

If you get the chance you have to go to Blaze Farm, it has a whole host of ice creams freshly made on the premises

This evening has been spent using up some of the apples from the tree in the back garden - there's tonnes, far to many to use, even after giving loads away - Thanks to the freecycle freezer we've at least managed to make a big batch of apple crumbles, - 'made loads of apple chutneys too (but haven't frozen these), .... we still have loads of courgettes, so courgette soup again tomorrow...

Going to try making sticky onion marmalade tomorrow - which will also use up some of our homemade port as well as a big stash of red onions
who said gardening was relaxing!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

having a bad day

Well, it all started ok, i'm moving on with my dandilion scarf and had some new ideas for it which i'm hoping will work well, Col came back with armfuls of courgettes - again! I'm hoping my veggie cookbook will inspire me with some more ideas for what to do with so many.
Everything was going fine, up until I stepped out the door at 4.30pm for my long run of 13 miles .... The fact that it just started to spot with rain the very moment that I closed the door behind me, should have given me some idea that the run might not be a good idea. As I set off the rain just got heavier and heavier and heavier and heavier, at one point I couldn't see, was soaked to the skin, and was running through a river where there is usually a path. When lo and behold it started to thunder and lighten (ing?) AND then, there was the sound of cracking - really big branches started breaking off the trees - but not just any old trees, oh no, the ones that were above and around me - oops.
Have to say, I started to get a bit concerned, as at the moment I'm very tired, and only have one running pace; slow. After the branches had hit the floor, I decided that 13 miles was probably going to be pushing my luck, and made for a quick (well slow) exit home and a warm bath -
on the bright side, my mad dog trainer, who is normally non to sympathetic has suggested that i just do a short 7-8 mile run on friday, and put this week behind me. Here's to drier and less traumatic runs next week

Sunday, 11 July 2010

loads of crops days

Hoorah the allotment is doing us proud - we've got loads of lettuce, courgettes, potatoes, onions, peas and beans, and suprisingly garlic (we hadn't thought the garlic had taken, and had thought it was a row of onions)
i'm trying to be as creative as i can with all our lovely crops; so courgette and pesto soup, courgette fritters, courgette and cheese bread, lettuce soup, courgette and chocolate cake, have all been made, and i'm busy scouring recipe books for more ideas.
Please feel free to post more ideas

Our fellow allotmenters have given us some loveage - hmmm any ideas of what to do with it? (sadly, and embarrasingly, my familiarity with loveage only goes as far as "my lucky number" and "I want money, that's what i want" )

I'm busy creating a dandilion scarf for my textile course - I'll post my progress later

Thursday, 1 July 2010

lots of gifts days.

I swapped some books with a friend in Ethiopia, and in return I got an amazing stash of beautiful materials and silks, some of them are pictured here but there are far too many to photograph. She also sent some Ethiopian coffee beans, we haven't roasted them yet, but apparently the Ethiopian way to roast them is just to put them on a pan over a fire and shunt the beans around until they're all black, then grind them with a pestle and mortar. They smell lovely.
Our neighbour has also been kind to give us a bottle of wine made from grapes from their sisters home in Italy, apparently its a red thats best drank chilled, sounds interesting too.
I've been hearing lots about the Random Acts of Kindness movement over the last few weeks, this is where poeple do kind things mostly for complete strangers, with the idea that those who benefit will also do a random act of kindness and the world will be a better place. My favourite so far (although i'm not a fan of McDonalds) is where a man going through the McDs drive in, paid for his meal and for the car behinds; he pulled over to witness what would happen, and 6 cars, when told their meal had been paid for, paid for the car behind - it only stopped when the 7th car was a family of 4!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

reminiscing day

Well I'm doing my nostalgic weave, and have started reminiscing about the 70s and 80s.
Got me thinking - whatever happened to Buster Bloodvessel?

Monday, 14 June 2010

back to normal day

Well, back to normal after a lovely week walking in the Yorkshire Dales; it was so lovely to be out in the countryside every day laughing at sheep for being stupid, and feeling really lucky when we saw wild deer, hedgehogs and field mice. We managed to catch up with some friends while we were there and walked the 3 peaks with them; it was really cold, wet and windy on the tops- fortunately nobody had listened to my advice that "its the middle of june, of course you won't need hat and gloves" - sorry guys. Col did an anti-taper and after a running a really hard rocky 10 mile run with me, doing the 3 peaks and countless other walks he did a 25 mile "fun?" run around Chatsworth on the Saturday, and then went to the allotment on sunday.
I've been slightly more leisurely doing hill work, and am now back to my weaving - I'm working on nostalgic weave based on the 70s - if its any good i'll post it later.

Monday, 31 May 2010

a weavy day

Well, I've been learning to "loomless" weave - with just a frame - its a bit fiddly but its a really good feeling to create material, and you can make it from just about anything - I'm even thinking about weaving liquorice !
Cols been down the allotment much more than me recently, and its looking really really good - our raddishes are huge - bigger than tomatoes! The sun and the rain have really helped.
I'm still thinking about running another marathon in october - although if we have a hot summer, the training is going to be really hard

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Good days are here

Well it's been a good few days for me. Starting with meeting up with friends last Friday and having a few beers (which went straight to both of our heads.) This drinking lark needs some work . Nice to meet Kens new girl friend . Shame one of our other mutual friends couldn't make it Hey Ho

The Sunday was a great day in that we were both doing the Eyam half marathon, Jac was a bit iffy with a dodgy calf ,but went on to complete it 3Min's quicker than her previous best on the route . Me ,well I will blow my own trumpet in that I got 10th place (out of397) and a PB time of 1hr 29.14.

The guy I was following in the wake of is known as RTS (respect the stupidity) I'll say no more but I will be joining him and others on a route around the peak district in a few weeks ( just the 25 miles)

Tuesday night was a great running night at the BDL league race . This was at teversal (highest point in Notts they say? ) A 4.9 mile run which I got a 19th place and a time of 29.16 which was made all the better by holding a fella off who normal beats me ,but the determination was their and I was going to let him past me this time. Must admit that I only beat him by 4 seconds .

Today I have had a good day at work and I don't often say that then managed to get down the allotment and plant out my sweetcorn and runner beans ,they were getting a bit leggy in there pots. The allotment is coming on well . Just need to get some pictures done to show were still tending it.

This weekend I'm of in to the peak to meet friends at a camping barn and have a few walks ,beers and a good laugh.

Monday, 10 May 2010

plastic fantastic day

I've been experimenting again with plastic bags, and while this isn't perfect, i thinks its a good use of old plastic bags

Sunday, 9 May 2010

a productive day

We've both managed to get long runs in today, and get down the allotment and plant some seeds, and I've managed to start weaving a bag too.

I'm a bit worried, having decided to train for another marathon, I've enlisted a coach; I should have realised that having a coach called "mad dog" was not a good idea. Not only as he set me far too many runs, at the end of each run I have to do squats, (and not just a few mind, he's suggesting that i get up to between 450 and 550), AND then if thats not enough i've got to hose pipe my legs in cold water

I've always known that certain names carry certain traits, Kevins are stoopid, Danny's are naughty etc, why I decided to go for a coach with a name like "Mad Dog", I'm not sure

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Technology Thursday

I have told Colin, to stay in bed on Thursdays, or at least keep away from electronics - it didn't get any better ... his electric saw has also broke, closely followed by his mobile phone, and last Thursday it was his ipod....

Can things get any worse? well...... we're off to my sisters Election Party .... I have spent the day wondering what election party food should look like: humble pie? bitter lemon? rhubarb,rhubarb,rhubarb, or anything thats just cheesy.

Hope my sister likes the pictures of her dogs I've sketched for her

bad start to the day

Well I think it is going to be one of those days .

I was thinking I had a lie in this morning but it turns out I don't , as my dentist appointment isn't till next week Oops, So got the motorbike out ,started it up , all is fine .Went in to put on bike gear , went out to go to work . Yes your ahead of me IT WON'T START . Now I have spent over two hours trying to get Pidcocks to come and get it as it is still under warranty,its not the first time or the second time its probably nearer the tenth and now I'm fed up.

More later if things get better?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

A chainy Day

Went out on the bikes today, I've got a little recumberant, which seems to make everybody we see, smile.
This evening I was lucky enough to get another entry on Radcliffe and Maconies' "The Chain". The previous record had been The Streets with "Dry Your Eyes Mate", so I went for Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry", can't believe its never been on the Chain Before.
Did some sketching with charcoals too.
We're both running home from work tomorrow - Cols running in to work too, but then again his work is only about 8 miles away mine's 13.