As I sit here with the remnants of a box of Celebrations by my side I feel quite vindicated about eating them today – even if the process of lifting my arms to choose one and then unwrapping it is a little challenging!
Yeap, 12 of us shed blood, sweat, (lots of that), tears, (even more of those), and did it – yeap we all completed 24hrs each Spinning® as part of our Tommy’s fundraising campaign.
However, let’s not forget all those others who did anything from 1 hour onwards at all times of the day and night to also raise money as well as have the honour of sitting on a Spinning® bike in the company of the legend that is Tommo. Their achievements are equally as incredible – let’s face it not going to bed in the first place to be Spinning® is pretty hard core but getting out of bed in the wee small hours to actually go Spinning® deserves maximum respect……
Then of course there were the volunteers who held the fort both day and night who deserve a special mention. Yes, Spinning® for 24hrs is pretty daft when you think about it, getting out of bed in the middle of the night to come Spinning® is pretty heroic but getting out of bed in the middle of the night to come and watch us Spin, fill water bottles and generally keep an eye on us is beyond super human in my eyes. So, between the day crew and the night crew a very big thank you!
So, how did it go. Well the pictures pretty much tell their own story – especially Col’s hourly selfies – don’t think I need to say much more than that. I have created his own album on the EIOT Imgur page – click on the link above but be warned, small children and animals may get upset! Then of course there is Dave on all fours on the floor during one of his 5 minute breaks, I think his arse was on fire at that point. Tommo was uncharacteristically quiet which rarely happens and so is very disconcerting, himself had a funny turn and had to lie down on the grass outside before I told him to pull himself together, stop being a wuss and get back on his damned bike. Michelle had a major wobble at seven hours then burst through like a wrecking ball going through polystyrene, Tony’s knees will never be the same again and Wayne was happy because he could don his Wales rugby shirt and watch the match live on a bike.
It was Shohreh’s birthday yesterday and so, after midnight, every few minutes somebody walked in from somewhere with birthday cake and candles and there was another chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’, Mike just peddled away the hours and Rich chatted for 24hrs as did Malcolm. Me? Oh yes, me – well for some reason my bike was positioned closest to the supermarket exit, (pretty damned close as well I might add), so a nice pink bucket, (pink? me?), was hung from my handle bars and I was able to make life very hard for people to leave the supermarket with change in their hands without putting some in my bucket. As I am not backwards in coming forwards this was quite a successful ploy and quite a lot of donations were received that way……
Yeap, you will have guessed by now that these events are not your normal Spinning® session and I can safely say that this is the only time I will let things be hung from the bikes, food consumed on the bikes or any other activity be executed that either counts as a contraindication in the world of Spinning®, socially unacceptable, unhygienic or offensive in any way – well we are raising money for Charity after all. So, Friday night saw the bikes lose their pizza, bacon butty, ice cream, cornish pasty and egg sandwich virginities all in one – as well as having items such as rucksacks, sweaty sports kit, electrical cables and pots of vaseline either hanging from the handle bars on cradled in them. If those bikes could talk then they would be having a right gossip between themselves now and would probably be booking themselves into rehab as I write….
Talking of pizza, I would just like to publicly thank everybody for their generosity in providing supplies throughout the whole event – it was quite overwhelming. There was Westy who appeared on Friday evening, disappeared into the supermarket and then reappeared with ice creams for everybody. Then later the pizza delivery guy arrived with 4 maximum size pizzas – all courtesy of Westy again. Then there was all the birthday cake – mainly for Shohreh’s birthday but also from Mrs G who had enjoyed the delights of her daughter’s 8th birthday party and then brought in birthday cake for us all. Then there was Hannah’s banana loaf, Mrs C’s liquid cooler that contained something which we cannot mention, (Voldemort stylee), and then the biggest surprise of all. At the final whistle, after 24hrs on a Spinning bike Mrs B sprung up in front of us all individually with foil wrapped pressies – yeap, there was illicit, contraband pork product in a bap wrapped lovingly in foil – one for each of the 24hr bods – awesome!
I apologise right now and unreservedly if anybody brought anything to us and I have forgotten to mention – my brain is still recovering from the trauma of the last 48 hours, but believe me your contributions were incredibly appreciated!
As we were peddling through Friday night, we were delighted to see so many people come and visit us at various points during their evenings out. The Royal Naval Association were having a cheese and ‘grape juice’ evening and not only were they extremely generous with their donations and raffle tickets sales but they were also very generous in their visits throughout the night in various stages of drinking their ‘grape juice’. One chap turned up in a bit of a dishevelled state, only to return in better order at the end of the 24hrs to be quite taken aback when we said he had visited the previous evening and we recounted the conversations – now children that is what too much grape juice does to you, be warned.
Now, talking of folks turning up after too much grape juice. I need to be very careful how I phrase this next piece – but it was very, very entertaining. A little bit of background information first though. Our small man was very keen to be part of the action for the full 24hrs and he was on fine form, he charmed everybody, was helpful, entertaining and generally a good egg. We offered him the option of going on a sleepover to his buddy’s house but no – he wanted to be part of the action. So, he packed his bag, blow up mattress, duvet, sheet, pillow, toothbrush and Justin Beaver, (please refer to http://everyinchoftarmac.com/2016/01/lego-mayhem-beaver-called-justin/ for a full explanation of Justin Beaver), and along he came for the duration.
So, around about 9pm the small man sorted his bedding area out, blew up his air bed, Jess helped him with his sheet, out came the duvet, pillow and Justin and he begrudgingly brushed his teeth. Under the circumstances, (i.e. we all stunk and were not going to Spin in pyjamas), we allowed him the exciting prospect of being allowed to sleep in his clothes. He was happy and at about 10pm he took himself off to his little bedding area near the cashiers office and slipped into the land of nod. There he stayed all night – apart from one brief interlude when he decided to sleepwalk to play with the diablo for around 23.56 seconds before returning to bed.
One final piece of background information to remember is for those people reading this blog who are not here in Saudi. Please can these people remember that life here is completely unlike life anywhere else in the world and especially the UK. Circumstances are completely different here, people live and work in a completely different way and no matter how hard you fight it to a certain extent everybody has to adjust the way they live in order to survive. One such way is education. The compound has its own school, a satellite of the main British school in town and as a result many of the teachers and staff live on the compound. Some are here in their own right as teachers, some are here as dependents of their husbands and they happen to be teachers so have got employment as teachers at the school. Whatever way you look at it they are here and unlike teachers in the UK who live a considerable distance from school and evaporate into the ether when they go home, the school staff here are regularly seen socially out of school hours.
OK, there is the background, here is the story. At some point in the wee small hours among the many visitors was a teacher from the school. A teacher who is very, very well known to our small man. In fact at the moment this teacher is probably the teacher who spends most time of all with him and who knows him best of all and is most current with him. Anyway, this teacher had clearly been out socialising and while not completely the worst for wear had completely had a few glasses of grape juice. Firstly the teacher came over to say hi to me and starred wide eyed at me – clearly I was the more compos mentis at this point which is saying something after 12+ hours on a Spinning® bike. Then the teacher wandered off to say hi to some of the others. However, in order to get to the others there were two things in the way – a sleeping small man who she knows well and a Beaver called Justin. Now, under normal circumstances you would expect a certain amount of surprise from a teacher who finds a pupil asleep in the supermarket cuddling a small beaver, (don’t start), but no, this is Saudi Arabia on a Friday night with 17 people on Spinning® bikes singing Delilah. Instead the teacher simply steps over the small man as if it is a completely normal, every day occurrence, comments on how cute he looks, (cute?, in the clothes he had been wearing all day, covered in chocolate and cuddling Justin – thats not what I would call it…..?) and starts to stare with wide eyes at the other people Spinning…….
Now that was a surreal experience if ever there was one….
I hasten to add that when he woke up next morning and was told of the visit he was mortified and will no doubt be very quiet at school today.
So, physically – what is the state of play? Well, remarkably well actually. Shohreh and Mike have gone off golfing which is a good sign – it means they can actually move. Several of the others are at work. Himself and I went out for a celebratory breakfast and are now beached on the sofa.
To be honest nothing is ‘agony’ and progress has been made from yesterday. The aches and pains are pretty generalised in most places and on the whole manageable. But yesterday, now that was a different matter. The common painful factor for us all was our bottoms – yeap our rear ends. By the end of the Spinathon the group of 12 people who had been known each other in varying degrees from acquaintances to good mates were now on terms where talking ‘bottoms’ was completely the norm and everybody was reasonably well acquainted with the other’s bottom issues, (verbally, not actually I hasten to add – well as far as I know anyway). By half way through the Spinathon everybody was grimacing when they either went from sitting to standing or vice versa.
There actually comes a point at these events where your bottom goes numb and you cannot actually feel it anymore. Unfortunately it does not last forever and in due course the pain comes back again, but while it lasts it is bliss.
Yeap, we all had padded shorts and or seat covers and Rich even took to tapping towels and jumpers onto his seat, (usually another one every hour or so, by 20hrs I think he had had to put the seat height down to its absolute minimum as there was no much material on the seat he was about a foot higher up than when he started), but very little helped and we all, (including the folks who were doing less than 24hrs), suffered.
Now, let’s not forget one important point. We all took part in this crazy Spinathon for one reason – to make money for Tommy’s, not to trash our backsides, stay awake all night or laugh at the rather merry folks who came to visit. Yeap, it was all about Tommy’s.
So, the photos. I have uploaded all the ones I have got so far onto Imgur and they can be found here – Salwa Spinathon. There will be lots of other photos being uploaded as I get them, so keep an eye on the link.
Actually, as an aside I ought to mention that we did try to link up with Tommy’s Head Office in London during the Spinathon but alas the joys of the Saudi internet let us down and the link was not great. However the thought was there and a massive thanks goes out to the Tommy’s crew.
At the moment it is far too early to say how much money has been raised and to be honest we will never have an exact figure of how much money the Spinathon alone will raise. But, we can have a good guess. So far, we are already into thousands of pounds. With the sponsorship money so far, plus raffle tickets, plus donations, plus what is so far in the Virgin Money account, (which includes the half marathon, cake sale, pancakes etc, etc ,etc), the total at the moment around £8500. However, there is stacks and stacks of money still out there that is waiting to come in.
Ahah…..but there is more….we have not finished yet. March 1 sees the launch of the Swimming Challenge month – I will post more details about this in a separate post later.
Then of course there is April which is Running Challenge month.
But that’s not all – there are still lots and lots of activities going on, the Weight Loss Sweepstake, MODSAP Social Event, the Moon Walk, Mrs Mmmmm’s Welsh Cakes, The Nursery Crazy Hair Day…..etc, etc, etc…..the list goes on.
Oh yes, I forgot, there’s Tommo doing The Brighton Marathon and himself and I are doing The London Marathon – slipped my mind…..
Right – need to sort the photos out in the gallery
Don’t forget to donate, this is all about raising money for Tommy’s