Unscheduled Restday & Silver Surfers…….

Tonight’s post is being written very, very carefully. In fact I am writing it so carefully that I am considering getting it checked by two independent moderators, getting official approval on paper and running it in front of a legal advisor before I hit the ‘Publish’ button.


All will become clear in a few minutes, but before I go any further I would just like to say that I have not trained today, despite planning on ploughing up and down the swimming pool. To be honest I listened to my creaking body, (which I have to say is vastly improved after the toils of earlier this week), and after much deliberation and deciding that I was not being a wimp I decided to give it a break for today.

That was one reason why I did not train today. The second reason is directly related to the reason behind my caution in tonight’s post.

You see up to Christmas the possibility of certain members of my family seeing this blog were remote, in fact forget remote, they were non-existent. Despite having a computer and internet access, their World Wide Web usage was limited. As you are about to find out the possibility of them now reading the blog have increased substantially – hence my extreme caution.

Their limited internet use changed dramatically last week when a certain couple of older members of the family took the plunge, visited an Apple Store and bought each other iPads for Christmas.


I suspect that the reasoning behind this has been twofold, first of all the fact that the younger members of the family are all contactable on one sort of ‘i’device or another but I also suspect an element of curiosity also played a part.

Anyway, one part of the family had aided in the setting up of the iPads since Christmas and today it was my turn. The fact that I am over 3000miles away was irrelevant – as I suppose it should be in this internet age – and I took on the role of Apple tech support advisor.


Now the people in question are clever people but they are not too familiar, yet, with the pro’s and con’s of APPLE technology. So the Facetime conversations that took place this afternoon were quite interesting and entertaining to say the least.

Now out of family respect for these silver surfers I do not feel at liberty to divulge all the details of the somewhat protracted technical support this afternoon, but I am sure that anybody who has offered telephone technical support either on a professional or amateur basis will appreciate the nature of the conversation.


I do not want to  appear to be knocking the inclusion of technology into the wider family, far from it – I am delighted and the connectivity of the family is now going to be a lot simpler. However, the entertainment value is vast – once we have moved beyond the initial challenges of remote instruction on connecting to the internet, the difference between an iCloud username and password and given reassurance that telling me the iCloud username over Facetime does not mean that the account will be hacked and their every worldly possession be stolen.

Anyway, here’s to silver surfers!

So that is the other reason I did not train today, I was somewhat tied up with matters technical!

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

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…….

I have a question for you,  bit of a random question I have to admit, but a question none the less.

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, desperate for the loo and actually had to decide what would be more painful – hanging on for the loo until morning or getting out of bed on your aching legs and walking to the loo, lowering yourself gently onto the seat, doing what needs to be done, raising yourself back up again and walking back to bed on the same tired legs?


Well, guess who that was last night, I don’t think I need to elaborate any further – other than to say that the potential collateral damage of not going to the loo when required had a considerable influence on my decision and I decided a trip to the bathroom was the best course of action.

To be honest it was not that bad – if walking like a plank of wood can be described as not that bad. But the deed was done and actually today it has not been too bad…….


Anyway, apart from the middle of the night deliberations, it has been a good, non-training day. The small man almost voluntarily had a shower, the oven door continues to gleam and I have actually managed to catch up on a load of overdue admin – just for a host of new admin to come in as a direct response to the admin I completed! Argh!

Anyway, as today is a rest day it is a great opportunity to say that the planning for the sporting challenges is hurtling along almost at 200mph. The team for The Sangcom Half Marathon now stands at 11, lots of people are wanting to take part in the Spinathon with quite a few interested in 24hrs, the response for the swimming and running challenges is as encouraging as ever and more and more people are offering to do all sorts of different activities to raise money for Tommy’s – hurrah! In addition, the blog is continuing to grow! Whoop whoop!

So, let’s keep the momentum going and let’s raise lots of money for Tommy’s! Please spread the word as far and wide as possible and let’s get people to dig deep and donate!


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

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It’s Been A Funny Sort Of Day…….

Well, best laid plans and all that. My planned early morning run failed dismally – completely my fault I hasten to add. I woke up just after 7am and was primed in my head to run, then next time I glanced at the clock it was 9.22am – whoops! By that time I was ravenous and more to the point so were the kids…….


I was actually finally woken up by the doorbell. It was one of the drivers who had called round to collect some things – but I wasn’t expecting him this morning. I was roused by the doorbell and then Luce telling him I was in bed (!), I shot out of bed without thinking and ran down the stairs without checking in the mirror. Luce looked at me suitably disgusted in an embarrassed teenager sort of way and as for the driver, well the poor guy will probably have nightmares for months. Now, I have known this driver for quite a long time and his english is not good at the best of times but any scraps of communication deserted him this morning……..

After he left I glanced in the mirror to see one pyjama leg above the knee and one below, hair resembling 10.000 volts passing through my body, bed creases on the left side of my face, possible evidence of dribbling or failing that remnants of toothpaste and woolly socks – I told you it is really cold here at the moment, well there is nothing worse than cold feet in the middle of the night…..


So, once I had sorted out the various cosmetic issues, instead of running random jobs took over – most random of all taking the oven door off it’s hinges, dismantling it, cleaning it to within an inch of it’s life, (hand held steam cleaner was called into action – that was how serious it was), put it back together again and replaced it on it’s hinges. It is now gleaming.


Now this is indicative of my life these days. Gone are the days of a reasonably ambitious career path and here I am getting excited about using the hand held steamer and cleaning the oven door.

I am also questioning myself as to whether or not it is right or even healthy for that matter, to keep finding myself walking up to the oven door to marvel at it’s immaculate and gleaming surfaces. I have even put a rice pudding in the oven, (for the true relevance of this statement please refer to early blog posts), just so that I can have the light on inside and marvel at being able to see the oven’s contents – oh yes, and also to feed the son.

Yo, get me – domestic goddess!


Now talking about the son, today he provided me with a revelation that I would rather not have had. The kids had declared today a pyjama day – which I was happy to run with. That is until the testosterone filled child declared he had his underpants on under his pyjamas and not only that but they were the same pants that he had been wearing continuously since Christmas Day and that he had also not showered since.


Now, those people who know me well will realise that this does not sit well in my mind, (although I am sitting physically sitting relatively normally now after the major Spinning® training session of Boxing Day), and after I had got over the initial shock of the revelation serious and urgent action had to be taken.


A hot, deep bath was run with extra bubbles, the ‘boy’ was marshalled up the stairs. Supervised toothbrushing was ordered, the pyjamas discarded and ‘the’ pants’ removed. The boy was then ordered into the bath and told to stay there for some considerable time.

He appeared sometime later looking like a newer, cleaner version – much to his disgust.

I have since been assured that such unsanitary behaviour is normal for small men, it is going to be a lllooonnggg few years until he starts showering to impress the ladies!

And the pants? Well, despite my initial instinct to bin them, they are currently in a hot wash with extra powder – a final decision will be made when they emerge.


So, I finally made it out onto a run this evening – and what a stonking run it was. I am not sure what happened to my pace, but it was good! Great distance, really getting somewhere. Aching legs though – 8 hours Spinning® on Boxing Day, great run with good pace today – guess I will be swimming for next training!

By the way, massive thanks to everybody who shouted encouragement tonight – the new Tommy’s/London Marathon t-shirts have obviously had a big impact and just about everybody I saw this evening gave me nothing but encouragement – THANKYOU!

Please keep an eye open around the compound for more of the t-shirts over the coming weeks, hopefully Tommo’s Brighton Marathon ones have arrived as well and himself will be wearing a London one for training in the very near future!

I will ask Tommo to model both models soon – those who know him know that no excuse is needed for Tommo to pose in front of the camera so stand by for photos in a blog very, very soon…..

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

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Are You Sitting Comfortably? – I’m Not!

Well, I have to say that today has been a tad uncomfy and as per my post of this morning riding my bike this morning was a bit of a tear jerker!


Anyway, progress has been made over the course of the day and I am now sat symmetrically and not fidgeting!

Anyway, a routine day today – if you include fighting kids, L taking it upon herself to do housework while I was out by cleaning the windows with pledge, J and himself taking up residence outside after dark with the telescope and thermal cups of hot chocolate and oh yes, juggling potential flights between the aviation legends that are British Airways and Saudia! I will keep you posted on that last one, it could be an interesting adventure this next one!J and himself have now come back in along with Terry the telescope and J must be cold – he has squashed me into the corner of the settee for a cuddle and we are smothered by a blanket.

Anyway, running tomorrow. Just wondering whether if I go out in the morning, by the time I get back if the kids will still be in one piece each or not…….might have to give that one a go for entertainment value.


My steep learning curve into the world of behind the scenes social media and using it to increase exposure, (of the Facebook page I hasten to add, my rear end has not been quite so bad that it has to be exposed – yet). Yeap, I have been researching yet more backroom stuff and experimenting with gadgets. I have to admit that I am actually quite enjoying it, I have always been a gadget freak! I am having terrible problems keeping my its off Terry the telescope!


Right, best I go, having terrible trouble moving my arms while being squashed into the corner of the settee for body warmth – so I am going to cut my losses for this evening and be squashed!


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

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A Little Chuckle For A Sunday Morning…..

Just to make you chuckle on this post Christmas Sunday morning.

I just saw this on a friend’s Facebook feed and love it – I thoroughly intend to be that woman!


By the way, for those who read last night’s post – I cycled to the shop this morning with tears streaming down my face and hovering 2 inches above the seat…..


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

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Rehydrating Camel Poo, Slightly Jaded & Star-Gazing……

I hesitate to say this as Boxing Day is not completely over, but we do seem to have made it through the festive period without any major mishaps, any injuries, broken toys, tantrums – (that is just me) or disasters. Now, here in Riyadh there is still a tad over 4 hours before today is over, but even I am reasonably optimistic that we may make it.


One slight complication was the fact that the big fella in red brought a hoofing great big telescope for J – on one of the very, very few days that we had rain and cloud – resulting in a big zero on the visibility stakes. Yeap, of the well over 300 blue sky days that we have here a year, yesterday was not one of them. So, although the lounge was turned into a mini observatory, there was absolutely no chance at all during the day of seeing anything other than cumulo-nimbus through the telescope.



I hasten to add that today has seen a significant improvement in the situation – to the point that himself has been found sat outside this evening – complete with woolly hat – supposedly calibrating the telescope on J’s behalf.

With the rain came the inevitable – yeap that heavily discussed issue of the smelly rehydrating camel poo. It has persisted it down pretty heavily and so the smell has been pretty odorous, to the point that you can actually smell it while lying in bed. The mind boggles about the state of the desert on the other side of the compound perimeter wall – quite possibly littered with rehydrated camel poo so large that one misplaced footstep could result in an incident requiring hospital treatment – best I stay on this side of the wall I think!

So, today saw a return to training – to keep up the pre-Spinathon, pre-swimming challenge and pre-marathon momentum, as well as work off the excesses of Christmas lunch yesterday.

In typical fashion I threw myself into a full Spinning® training session rather than a training run and spent 8 hours pedalling away on a Spinning bike®, managing a total of 140miles. All the remaining episodes of Silk series 2 were watched, (Rupert Penry-Jones making the whole session much more palatable), along with one of my most fav films ever – Invictus and finally the recent epic which is Spy. However, not even that feast of visual entertainment could fend off the inevitable…..


I have to say that I have come a long way over the lest couple of months or so and despite having aching legs, they actually are in pretty good shape and coped with the rigours of the training session well. I just wish the same could be said for my rear end, which to put it politely, is a little tender. Yeap, I built in standing but still……..As I sit here writing today’s blog on a wooden chair, (there is little or no advantage to sitting on anything softer at the moment as it is all damned uncomfortable), my backside feels like it is on fire.

Anyway, enough of my rear end – it will all be worth it eventually and hopefully my tales of woe and pain will strike a cord of sympathy with the reader that will only be eased by making a donation to the fund, hint, hint….


Anyway, despite the discomfort, it was a great training session and I am well on target for the Spinathon which is looming on the horizon.

Right, better go. I apologise for the lack of any humorous anecdotes today, but it has been a bit dry on them thus far today. Himself is back at work tomorrow so we will see if the kids’ ceasefire holds or if I straight jacket them both in the garden.

So, have a great Boxing Day evening, raise a glass on our behalf and see you all again tomorrow.


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

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An Enormous Thank You & Christmas Greetings

Well, here we go – against all the odds everything seems to have slipped into place for Christmas festivities – famous last words I know, but at this point in time we are pretty much all systems go.

So, this is just a brief post to sincerely thank everybody for their support and pledges to take part in the Sporting Challenges, offers of help, pledges of money and promises of future pledges. It is all truly appreciated.

We will look forward to stepping everything up again after the holidays.

In the meantime I would like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



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Normal Service Is Resumed…….

Well, after a manic couple of weeks normal service is resumed. The kids and I are back in the land of sand. I am pleased to report that a ceasefire appears to have been brokered between them and at the moment they appear to be the best of buddies. How strong the ceasefire is and how long it will hold is yet to be seen, but at the moment the signs are positive!I will keep you updated on this, but I have the Father Christmas bribery tactic up my sleeve for any breakdown in the peace, so I am reasonably optimistic.


So it is almost time for the big man to descend with Rudolph and his buddies. Needless to say we are not ready in our house but that will come as no surprise to anybody, but I am optimistic that it will all slip into place in time and all will be well. Hold on, didn’t I say that about the birthday party…….


Great training fun tonight – great pace, good distance and generally pretty cool. Increasing distance again next week and getting ready for The Sangcom Half Marathon at the end of January. I will be sending out sponsor forms to all those taking part for Tommy’s straight after Christmas and will be talking to Tommy’s again about t-shirts then as well.


All good here – everybody OK out there?

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A Recap – Why We Are Doing This?

A very good friend recently suggested a recap as to why we are doing what we are doing, why we have the blog and what we are aiming to achieve.


Well, the initial reason behind all this is simple and I will explain in just a minute, but since launching Every Inch Of Tarmac and the Sporting Challenges numerous other reasons have sprung out of the woodwork and just made the resolve even stronger not only for us but for a host of other people as well.

Athlete running on the road in morning sunrise training for marathon and fitness. Healthy active lifestyle latino woman exercising outdoors.

The first reason is the fact that good friends of ours lost their little sunflower for absolutely no reason as 6 months gestation in October. This was devastating in the first instance for them but has also knocked everybody who knows them for six as well. I am not good with grief and fluffiness, I am proactive and need to do practical things to cope with issues – hence the decision to run The London Marathon for Tommy’s.

The blog came about as it is widely acknowledged that humour and minor misfortune follow me and my family around and that combined with fitting in a crazy training programme for initially the marathon may just provide entertainment. If I can provide a modicum of entertainment then people may well be prepared to donate to the fund at the end of the challenges.


Since initially launching the blog and announcing the marathon, the support has been incredible from everybody near and far and requests have come in for other events to help raise funds – hence the other challenges such as swimming, running and we all know how much we are looking forward to the Spinathon!

Finally, since launching Every Inch Of Tarmac it has been amazing how many people have come forward and saying that they or a close family member have experience of miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth.

I am sure that regular readers will remember the incredible story ‘Inspirational Annie’, (blog post 3 Dec). Even after having known Annie’s story for a long time now, her determination and the love of her parents never fail to bring a tear to my eye and make me even more determined to raise as much money as possible for Tommy’s. However, so, so many other people are also affected, there is another little baby here on the compound who was born at 27 weeks – she is doing well and growing rapidly we are pleased to report!

Almost daily somebody comes forward who says they have been affected in some way, either recently or many years ago but the grief and effects are just the same.

So all this just firms up our resolve – let’s crack on and let’s raise as much money as we possibly can for Tommy’s!

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

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Answers To Questions, Swimming, Spinning & Running Challenge Details……..

Morning! Yeap, another uncharacteristic morning post – but as the kids are trying to see how long they can hold each other down in the swimming pool then I actually have a few minutes to jot down some musings about the sporting challenges. Regular readers will know that mornings are not my best time of day, but here goes, I will do my best.



First of all massive congrats to all those who back in the Land Of Sand spent 6 hours Spinning® training ready for the Spinathon – epic effort and best I get Spinning® this week as my Spinning® training is only at 5 hours at the moment!!


I am getting a fair few questions at the moment about the various challenges and what is involved. In particular a few people are concerned that their offspring are being asked to run or swim considerable distances in one session. Just to clarify the running and swimming challenges are accumulative distances for both adults and children over a month and not to be done in one session, (unless of course you want to).


The guidance distances for the swimming challenge are 10 miles per adult and 5 miles for children, however in all honesty people can set their own goals and distances and as long as money is being raised for Tommy’s then we are all delighted.

So, to the timetable of events:

January – The Sangcom Half Marathon – 23rd Jan. This is an extra event that has crept into the agenda, (but we are delighted). Some people are treating it as a training run for the running challenges and some people are being sponsored for Tommy’s.

February – Spinning® month. The Spinathon is on 26 Feb and we are busy making plans and arrangements. Don’t forget – nobody is expected to do 24 hours on a Spinning® bike unless they really want to and anybody wanting to take part can do as long as they like as long as they do hour increments.


March – swimming challenge. As already mentioned the distances are accumulative over the course of the month and are really relative to what each participant is happy doing. Because of this then it can be done anywhere and not just on Salwa – already people have expressed interest from several different countries!


April – running challenge. Three of us are doing UK marathons for Tommy’s, but many other people are grasping the challenges and setting themselves running challenges for March. Again the distances are completely subjective and what people are comfortable with. One Salwa resident is planning on doing a midnight marathon the night before himself and I do the London marathon, but do not worry – marathon distances are not compulsory!


Again, the running challenges are open to anybody and not just limited to those in Riyadh – so get those running shoes out!


In addition there is a group of ladies who are planning other non-sporting events to raise money – stand by for more details of these events in the new year.

I have now got official Tommy’s sponsor forms and will start getting these out to people as soon as possible.

I think that covers everything for now – please remember the distances are accumulative and not to be done all in one session.

We are heading back to the land of sand this evening so normal service will be resumed. As it is only a short flight then hopefully I will be able to make it back without any major disasters or incidents and that I will arrive home with 2 children and not have misplaced one en route.

Keep smilin’ – the big bloke in a red suit will be here in a few days!



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