It Was Going To Be Such A Routine Training Run…

Before we go any further, remember the post of a couple of days ago about the creeping sweat patch on the screen of my phone after carrying it in the left cup of my sports bra? It is very relevant to this, very, very relevant!

Well, I suppose it was inevitable that himself would read that post and later that night it was suggested to me, quite politely but firmly I may add, that it may be a good idea to persevere with the arm strap as there would not be a new iPhone if the current one got trashed.


Now being the obedient wife that I am, (he hem), I took these words on board and before heading out this evening I dug out the offending article and asked himself to help me put it on to stop it slipping, rubbing, falling off etc, etc. That was my first mistake. When you ask himself to put the arm strap on tight, he does. So, with the blood flow to my arm seriously compromised and a vague blue tint appearing around my hand off I trotted on what should have been a routine training run to consolidate my speed and distance.

Cod’s wallop!


The run started out well, despite the numbness in my left arm and nearly strangling myself on the headphone cable that was under the strap with very little spare capacity to allow for head movement. But I persevered and got used to running with my head at a peculiar angle, tight with the headphone cable.

As the light went I started to hear bangs and there were flashes on the horizon. Things like that are not unusual here, (no don’t get alarmed), the locals like to let fire crackers off, are masters at weird and wonderful driving with skids, bumps etc that make loud bangs and often have large flash lights or wacky car headlights that look like strobes. So, I was not too worried.

The run carried on, the light went and after a while it became obvious that the bangs and flashes were actually thunder and lightning. Still I carried on, blindly optimistic that I would avoid being caught out. Then the smell came. Those regular readers will know that the dog poo bins that are common place around the common can be pretty aromatic, but on this occasion it was not them.

No, this smell was a very unique smell, the smell that permeates the air on the relatively rare occasions that it rains.

Out here, when the rain is on its way, the unique smell of rehydrating camel poo fills the air. You see on the other side of the compound perimeter wall camels are everywhere, a bit like sheep in Cumbria, cows in Wiltshire or, for my Australian friends, kangaroos in Queensland. (I hope I have got that right, it is a long, long time since I went to Oz but I am pretty sure that these fluffy marsupials are found allover).

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 20.33.50

Sorry, gone off subject again, but it goes without saying that the humped population produce a vast amount of poo which just dries in the sun to crispy, dry lump.

Now when it rains the camel poo reabsorbs all the water it can and takes on its former glory – a bit like a Pot Noodle, except that the former glory of a Pot Noodle is seriously questionable but smells not unlike rehydrated camel poo.


So, as I was running tonight, I knew that rain was imminent by the smell that filled the air and within a couple of minutes the first drops were starting to bounce off the nearest dog poo bin as I ran past.

Having lived here for a few years I knew the MO of this shower, the tell tale signs were there and I knew that it was about to hammer it down. With a determined mind set, I asked myself what I would do in London in April if it rained, and I knew that even if it is torrential rain then I will be carrying on so I should carry on now.

Then the lightening came again and common sense kicked in as the rain pelted down on me – even the gardeners stopped their rubbish wagon and collecting the garden off cuts to wait for the rain to pass, goodness knows what they must have thought as I ran past them in the deluge. So I sprinted to the top of A block and sought sanctuary under the first canopy I came to.

So, decision time. Should I carry on in the rain and risk being struck down by a bolt of lightning, (bit extreme maybe but this is me after all, anything is possible), wait there for the rain to stop, (could be anything from 30 seconds to all night) or phone himself and get him to come and get me? I had already had a good run so I decided to call it a day.

Now, you will remember that I started this post with the fact that I had been a good and dutiful wife, (first time for everything I suppose), and had used the arm strap to carry my phone on the run to avoid the inevitable creeping sweat marks under the screen after it being carried in the snug location of my Dolly Parton wannabe.


Well, I needn’t have bothered. As I stood under the canopy I pulled out a very wet and rained on phone to call himself. Firstly, the water on the screen meant that the touch screen was pretty confused. Secondly, my t-shirt was so wet with sweat and rain that actually there was no benefit from wiping the phone on it. Thirdly, my first call to himself was met with that immortal word that everybody here in Saudi hears so often, ‘afwan……’, i.e. sorry, but this phone is off….. Then on the next attempt his phone rang but the water took its toll and my phone cut us off.

Fortunately, himself called back having assumed that I wanted rescuing and asked where I was.

Now, at this point I should point out that he has lived on this compound for almost five years and I assumed that he knew his way around.

So, I told him that I was under the canopy of A7B, near the recycling bins and I would start running towards home, dodging under the canopies and would meet him en route.

Those people who know Salwa will be able to picture my reaction when I explain what happened next.

I started running towards home, dodging under the canopies but looking down the long road towards home so as not to miss himself in the car. I saw himself in the car in the distance pull out and start to head towards me. Ah rescue I thought to myself.

So, imagine my surprise when I saw him turn left off the main road to the side road between K and C. Slightly bemused and getting wetter all the time I carried on running and assumed that he would reappear any second.

I carried on running, and running, and running…….

I finally made it home, some cars came and went past the house but no sign of them, (it turns out J had also been on the rescue mission).

Finally, my phone rang, it was himself, ‘Where are you?’, he asked. ‘At home’ I replied, ‘you took the scenic route’

His cool and calm answer to that was, ‘well I didn’t know where A7B was’……

Is it me?

Goodness knows what state my phone screen is in, I haven’t plucked up the courage yet to take a look. I may be off to see Rafiq in the morning after all…..

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Just In Case Anybody Hasn’t Seen This, It Is A Must Watch…

If by any chance there is anybody left anywhere in the world who has not seen this, then take a look at the clip of Adele not being Adele – it is a classic and I challenge you not to love it!

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I Have Been Very Remiss – Please Accept My Apologies………


I have just been doing some admin on the blog and have realised that I have been very remiss and have failed to keep you up to date on various updates about life in general and random mutterings about training, children and oh yes, husbands…..

Well here is a brief update:

  1. I am still waiting on the confirmation email from British Airways. I think that they are hiding as they know there may be trouble ahead…….., (isn’t that a song??)
  2. Rice pudding – yes, I eventually got round to making the creation and it was duly scoffed along with the strawberry jam. There are now rumblings about making another one.


  3. Yes, the daughter has remembered that we exist and has found time in her hectic social/school/sporting life to FaceTime us
  4. So far today I have not found anymore toothpaste lurking – but that said I haven’t looked! Head in the sand moment and all that…..However, I did suggest to J that he use a new tube of toothpaste which he declined saying ‘its OK Mum, I will just squeeze it out of the split at the wrong end’. Now, I am not sure if that is good logic or just plain ‘WRONG’.toothpaste-cartoon
  5. The screen on my iPhone is well, er still, er not quite as it should be with no sign of improvement and another run pending this evening…I still have not plucked up courage to fess up to Rafiq.
  6. My research into permalink/taxonomies/metas/verification ID’s etc, etc is actually going well and I am getting somewhere – albeit very slowly! I have installed some ‘plug ins’ – hey, get me in my techy speak! – and it is taking shape. Not quite sure what the end result is going to be, apologies in advance if I single handedly break the world wide web, (you may laugh but do my Facebook friends remember when I managed to break the Sainsbury’s website and not even the tech guy there could fix it????), or if I inadvertently manage to melt the world’s collective firewalls by accidentally hacking into them, but at least you will still be able to read the blog.INFOSEC-590
  7. Husband – oh yes, well he has finally stopped grumbling about the fact that I entered him for London and then told him about it afterwards and has pretty much started to embrace the situation. He seems to remember on a regular basis now that he is doing the marathon and does not look at me vacantly when I mention it. However, he is still moaning about his man flu, (we are now in week 2 of this trauma) – as if by magic there has just been a sniff and cough from the lounge as I write.

Heading out for a run in a bit, if anybody on the compound smells burning it is likely to be the chemical reaction of sweat and iPhone in my left cup. Please only offer assistance if you are armed with a wooden stick, (for earthing purposes), and a damp cloth to wipe the phone……

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Entering the Colgate Battlefield…….


I am not a morning person, there we go I have said it. I never have been and I am sure that after all this time things are not going to change. You are probably assuming that I am a night owl, sorry and all that but no – I like my sleep and I have a tendency to fall asleep at anything past 9pm. Yes, it is a socially limiting factor but hey ho, there it goes.

So, by definition that leaves a narrow window of activity when I am actually awake during the day – maximum efficiency to get everything done is of the essence.

I have to say that all this early school runs used to do me in, when I had to get out of bed and had to take the kids to school. This year has been an awakening, Luce is at school in the UK and J is now officially able to take himself to the metropolis that is his school. The alarm goes off at 0615 and several slaps of the snooze button later I am usually prodded into action by J who asking what is for breakfast. At this point I reluctantly crawl out of bed.

But, the luxury of making his breakfast in my pj’s is not wasted on me and once he is out of the door yes I have been known to crawl back up the stairs and back into bed – just to check it is still warm you understand.

So, now you see how mornings are a bit of a struggle.

Well, this morning perhaps I should have been a little more ‘with it’, ‘on the ball’ or ‘AWAKE’.

Having finished his breakfast, J disappeared off upstairs to brush his teeth. All very routine so far. When he came back downstairs and nonchalantly said, ‘Mum, there has been a bit of a toothpaste incident in the bathroom. When I squeezed the tube it farted’, perhaps I should have taken it a little more on board.

Off to school he went, back upstairs I went and despite the smell of minty freshness, I failed to look towards the bathroom and yes, the bed was still warm.

A little later I was wondering around upstairs and glanced in the general direction of the family bathroom. By this point I had my lenses in and I was marginally more awake than I had been earlier.


The carnage that was the bathroom slowly dawned on me. Actually, it wasn’t slow, it was quite fast really.

Yes, the tune of colgate had indeed ‘farted’. You see despite my best efforts to persuade J to put the lid back on the tube, he doesn’t and so as a result the toothpaste dries out and blocks the tube. Now, as you already know J is no midget, he lacks no strength and stature. So, he had gone upstairs to brush his teeth, clearly he had been unable to get any toothpaste out as normal, so he had used force and had obviously used his greater than average strength to squeeze the tube.

So, with the top of the tube dried solid and an impressive amount of force being applied to the tube, I guess that the toothpaste had to go somewhere – in this case from the bottom of the tube which had split and the toothpaste had been jet propelled across the bathroom.

Now, I am familiar with pressure and BAR and I appreciate that the toothpaste is crammed into the tube. However, I am genuinely amazed today at how much toothpaste actually was splattered across the bathroom. It looked like a hand grenade had gone off in the Colgate factory. Yes, it was made slightly worse by the fact that J had clearly tried to clear up the mess with a flannel before thinking better of it and going to school – but even so. The square area of the colgate covering the bathroom by far outweighed the volume of the tube.

Quite incredible.

By the time I had absorbed the full enormity of the problem it was some time after the initial incident and so the debris was drying out with some speed.

So armed with my marigolds, a scrubbing brush, jay cloth and cleaner off I went into the Colgate battlefield.


Half an hour later I was still finding toothpaste in various places, scrubbing hard to get it off the tiles and scrubbing with the brush to get it off the grouting. I suspect that this is going to be one of those times when it will be found in places for some time to come.

Now, if there is a good thing to come out of this experience, it is that thanks to the Colgate effect, we have some of the cleanest grouting on the compound, I was even almost moved to apply what little is left in the tube to the rest of the grouting to make it match!


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Oh bugger, The Phone’s Copped It Again In The Sports Bra…..

There is the saying that once bitten is twice shy, well that concept seems to have passed me by tonight.


Those people who have been following this blog will be well aware that in my training I do have quite a few issues with appropriate brassiere. Between the self-releasing front fastening number, the disintegrating, paper thin version and finally the Dolly Parton wannabe, finding a suitable supportive buddy for training is a bit of an issue. When looking at that, please consider the fact that popping down to M&S in Riyadh is not quite as easy as it is anywhere else as:

  1. Women can’t drive here in Saudi Arabia and so I would either have to persuade himself to drive me into town, negotiate use of the car with himself and get a driver to take me into town or wait and jump on the shopping bus on the appropriate day, leg it into M&S and be back on the bus in time for prayers and the trip back home.
  2. Although female shop assistants are becoming much more common place here, they are still in the minority and so even in the lady’s lingerie department of stores you are highly likely to be served by a bloke. Now, for routine shopping this would not be a problem, but even I draw the line when I am searching for a suitably supportive running buddy.

So, as you can see it is better to make do with what you have got and hang in there, (literally), until you head out of Kingdom.

Now, again, those of you who have been keeping up with the roller coaster that is this blog will know that I have not had much success with my arm mounted phone holder during training and after my last run I ended up almost binning it.

Well tonight, in my infinite wisdom, (not), I decided that as my phone had survived the osmotic effect being shoved down my bra during a run last week despite the obvious sweat leak at the top right hand corner, it would be fine tonight.  Space is somewhat limited in my Dolly Parton wannabe kit, but just to make sure that no sweat dared to go near it,  I would that it face it outwards then the sweat would simply slid off the back of the protective cover.

Some hope!

One tough run later, digging the phone out from the confined recesses of the left cup, I was somewhat miffed to see that there is now a creeping sweat patch at the bottom right hand corner of the screen, slowly making its way up to meet it’s buddy in the top right hand corner.

Oh bugger!

Poor Rafiq has so far been spared the trauma of sorting this out with the accompanying explanation of how it has happened, ( I am still as bad as lying as I was when I wrote last week’s post on this – I suppose after 40+ years of being bad at lying times are not going to change).

So, what to do, well this seems like the obvious answer….


After all, we do have more than our fair share of sand out here…..

Stand by for more updates on the state of my iPhone, my supportive running buddy and the creeping sweat patches.

If anybody from Apple is reading this, I would be more than happy to test out any of your latest, super dooper, in development new gadgets to help eliminate future problems…….

Oh yes – tonight’s run. Well, being blissfully unaware of the issues developing in my left cup I had a great run, I even had to slow myself down on several occasions. Increased distance, increased pace, no unpleasant smells around the dog poo bins and the hip stood up to the challenges!

So, onward and upward and all that, (definitely upwards in that sports bra). They have forecast heavy rain over the next few days, (!), so it maybe Spinning® time again. Heavy rain out here brings it’s own set of issues that I am sure I will mention should the forecast be right, but let’s not talk about that at the moment, my phone has been traumatised enough by moisture today and any further chat may be a little too much for it to cope with….

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81957_charity-shopping-and-pampering-evening-in-aid-of-tommys-charity – #misCOURAGE

Take a look at this video, this is just one of the many reasons why we are doing what we are doing.

Tommy’s do incredible work researching stillbirth, miscarriage & premature birth as well as providing help for parents to be.

Click on the link below and let’s help them even more.

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Submitting My Application To The Grammar Police……

Rest day today which in theory means that I should be relaxed, at peace, so mellow I am horizontal or to get down with the kids, (hey, get me!), ‘chillaxed’

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Wrong! It was all going so well that even arguing with J that the plural of sheep is actually sheep and not ‘sheeps’ did not wind me up – even when he did his damnedest to continue the argument in an attempt to irritate me.


Then I blew it, big style. In a moment of carelessness and without prior consideration I did it, I picked the phone up, calmly put the numbers in and phoned British Airways.

You may recall my post of a few weeks ago when I mentioned the cease fire between BA and I, well actually more my ceasefire as BA just brush me aside with one swot of their corporate fly swot. Also, those who have followed me on Facebook will know the trauma that has befallen me and those who have travelled with me over the years a lot of the time with BA.

Well, as a result BA and I have had a few ‘set to’s’ – usually with no outcome at all and usually leaving me to chew on a brick and grumble. However, convenience always wins through and I always end up booking more flights through them.

Today, I decided to get to grips, again, with the daughter’s social life and sort out an exeat weekend trip for her next year. Another flight was in order, this time between Manchester and Heathrow. Quite routine I thought to myself and to be honest the first three quarters of the booking procedure was just that – quite routine.

It all went to pot when he told me the cost of that return flight including ‘Skyflyers’, (the BA unaccompanied child scheme). Forget what it says about the cost of Skyflers on the BA website, oh no, the actual cost is extortionate and each leg of Skyflyers actually costs more than the corresponding flight.

So anyway, as they had me over the barrel and the poor chap whose ear I was chewing off was just in a call centre and had no authority to do anything other than book the flight and take the money, I paid and waited patiently for the confirmation email to arrive so I could look at the cost breakdown and find out what the heck was going on before the bell rung for the next round of Carby V British Airways.

I waited, and waited, and waited. Usually these emails ping into the inbox within a fraction of a second of making the booking, but on this occasion, the one occasion I actually needed it, no sign, not a hint of an email.

Eventually I called again to chase it up. Now, I was and still am pretty chilled today, despite the best efforts of BA in telephone conversation no 1. That so nearly went to pot in conversation no 2.

My call was taken by a chap whose accent made it obvious that english was not his first language. Not a problem, except that what should have been a very simple enquiry about my confirmation email turned into a very complicated conversation which made everything a lot trickier than it needed to be.

Then there was ‘it’. Now because english was not this guy’s first language he had obviously picked up from somewhere and decided to run with the phrase, ‘a short minute’. Now every sentence that this guy said ended with ‘a short minute’. For instance it was, ‘I will just check that for a short minute’, or ‘can I put you on hold for a short minute’ or, (and this was his main tag line, repeated several times), ‘we’ll have this sorted in just a short minute’.

Now I am no member of The Queen’s English Society and I am sure that this blog is filled with grammatical bloomers, but I do like to make the effort to use english as correctly as I have ever learnt it. So, after a few minutes of talking to this chap, I was struggling to contain my exasperation and was actually, physically hitting my head in my hand with irritation.

Chimpanzee with Hand Over Eyes --- Image by © Bob Elsdale/Corbis

I was desperate to say to him that actually a minute is 60 seconds, it is a defined period of time which is not variable. A second is subject to the same principle. Therefore a minute cannot be short, long, fat, thin or any other adjective for that matter. A minute is a minute, 60 seconds, whichever way you choose to look at it.

You will, however, be relieved to hear that I restrained myself and did not put forward my comments on this chaps use of english and instead just rocked backwards and forwards while moaning gently. Perhaps my OCD like tendencies just went a step too far, which ever way a minute is a minute.

And no, the email confirmation has still not arrived…..


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No Waffle Here……

When I first started this blog, I promised myself that I would not write for the sake of writing and if nothing had really happened then I would not fill the space just for the sake of it. I will not be that person!


Well, with the exception of training, today has been that day. I am not sure that I have even ventured outside of the front door, let alone actually go out. I didn’t even make it s far as the take-away salad bar to see Darwin and Bernard, the ever jovial Philippino waiters who never fail to be entertained by the amount of raw onion I eat. I was meant to be popping into school briefly at one point, so I had girding myself for the experience, had meditated and thought calm and gentle thoughts and was in a calm state of mind for the venture when I found out it had been postponed. Ho hum………

So, a full day at Chez Carby. Today was a training day, but you may recall that yesterday evening J rugby tackled me with such gusto that I had actually been knocked off my feet and landed in a heap on my right hip with a larger than average 7 year old on top of me, (J).

Well, over the course of last night the hip slowly deteriorated. A self-physic, sorry physio, assessment assured me that there was nothing broken, but even so it brought tears to my eyes by bedtime.

The Nurofen came out again this morning and this time common sense kicked in and I reverted to the low impact option of Spinning® – one 3 hour 55 mile training ride, 2 episodes of Silk, (Mr Turnbull was absent again from the BBC Breakfast couch – hurumph) and half a film later I was done. Three hours training for the Spinathon completed – hurrah, bring it on!


So, that was today, it is funny how a 3 hour training ride can make a great big hole in your day.

I am sure I said at the start of this post that nothing had really happened and I wouldn’t fill it with nothing………………..maybe it wasn’t such an empty day after all….

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Please Remind Me Not to……


How could I have forgotten this little nugget of information???

The big news is that the legend that is ‘Tommo’ Thompson is doing a marathon for Tommy’s! Yeah, never one to be held back Tommo got a sniff of a marathon and we couldn’t hold him back!

So, all the Tommy’s places are full for London, so the legend that is Tommo has got a place at Brighton the week before – so hurrah! Not only are we going to raise more money for Tommy’s but we have another chance to wear out Tommo! Hurrah!

Brighton is on 17 April and over the next few days and weeks Tommo will be organising his fundraising.

Stand by for more Tommo type excitement, if we can we cope with that, over the next few weeks.


Well, a summary of today’s rest day events;

  1. It rained. People reading this back home are probably saying, so what? But here it is quite something – especially when it is prolonged steady rain and not the 2 minute deluges that we are usually treated to. This morning’s rain was almost English like, I was almost tempted to put a light jumper, shoes and socks on.cartoon-camel
  2. Much to my disgust himself has continued J’s apparently essential education into the world of Blackadder. Not only is J now well versed in ALL the aspects of Blackadder 2 but he  is currently wandering around the house singing the Blackadder theme tune. I suppose it is an improvement on the songs from The Blues Brothers that also much to my disgust he seems to know off by heart. Oh, well, could be another interesting conversation with his teacher tomorrow.
  3. eb_by_tsukkuThe daughter finally found time in her hectic school and social life to FaceTime – now that is progress! We told her about The London Marathon to which she was impressively underwhelmed. Should have expected that, she is almost a teenager after all. Well we’re excited!
  4. Now with reference to the title of this post, please, please, please remind me that between now and the Marathon, under no circumstances am I to have a wrestling match with J. For those of you who do not know J, he is only 7 and he is a big lad – let’s rephrase that, if he carries on the way he is going he will affect the tides, throw vast swathes of earth into shadow and cause a Jonah Lomu, (RIP, what a guy!), type fear throughout the fly half rugby population. So, when tonight he and I ended up in a heap, having a wrestling match the light dawned and I realised that actually I was in danger of doing myself a mischief. More so when he tackled me and I ended up crashing to the floor on my hip with a pile of 7 year old boy on top of me – even himself took a sharp intake of breath and asked me if I was OK on that one! No major damage done, but lesson learnt! I do not want to be doing next year’s events boasting a repaired fractured neck of femur or any other injuries for that matter.8f7a786fed04835ec73e799f5e22fe75

    Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s

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