Resistance Is Futile………???

Whoop whoop – Swimming Challenge completed. Resistance is futile shoulders – crack on with it!


Yeap, 2.1 miles completed today making a grand total of 13.1 miles over the whole of March – well happy!

Readers of last night’s blog will know that I was planning to do 2 miles today to take my total up to 13 miles, but as I was ploughing up and down the pool I was struck by the idea, (oh heck, another idea!), of making it up to half marathon distance. Oh well, why the heck not!

Any all done! Well chuffed!

Well chuffed

So how are the arms? Well, I can’t actually feel my shoulders and am concerned that they may have fallen off, (this feeling is not helped by the fact I have also done 3 x 90 secs planking), but as my hands and fingers appear to be working in writing this blog I’m reasonably confident that my shoulders are where they should be. They were definitely aching throughout today’s pool session but as per tonight’s title, resistance is futile and once that was taken on board they saw me through the swim quite nicely.

So, will I be doing more swimming? I think I will. Yes, for those long term blog readers you did read that right, I am going to carry on swimming, (to see how far I have really come with my swimming, take a look at this blog post…..Day Of The Watery Nemesis). Maybe not 2.1 miles at a time on a regular basis but certainly using it for training and upper limb strength.

So, to tomorrow’s run and the weather. The jury is out – today the weather has not been great and would not have been good for a run but tomorrow is another matter. It is not looking great at the moment but time will tell……….If all else fails off to the gym again…



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Bye Bye Clean & Tidy House…??? & An Apology – Maths Was Never My Strong Point….

The first part of tonight’s blog is an apology. I have never been good at maths and that combined with the fact that I am in denial how quickly time is going before the big day, means that I genuinely thought that yesterday was the 27 March when in fact, as himself pointed out later on in the evening, was the 29 March and so there were not four days at all before the end of the Swimming Challenge but two. As such, I would have to be a combination of a mermaid, (yeah, right), Michael Phelps and a jet propelled torpedo to get to 15 miles by the end of the month.


Therefore, my revised goal of 15 miles has been re-revised to 13 miles which will be duly completed tomorrow. I can not see any circumstances which will necessitate a re-re-revision short of the pool springing a leak over night and being nothing more than a shallow puddle in the deep end.

I am slightly concerned though that himself was the only person to comment on this faux pas – does anybody else read the blog?

Is there anybody out there? Can you hear me?


Anyway, onto important matters. Let’s face it, I will keep rambling on even if nobody reads this.

Well, firstly to training. The dust appears to be settling – albeit rather slowly. The wind is lessening and so up to about 10 minutes ago I was thinking that tomorrow will be the last 2 miles of the swimming challenge, (first ever 2 mile swim – let’s go out with a bang!), and then off out for a good run on Friday.

That was until I just glanced at the weather forecast and guess what, apparently the dust storm is coming back with vengeance on Friday. Oh great, I thought to myself, just what I need.

I have to say that I take weather forecasts out here with the scepticism, (me? cynical and sceptical?, never!), so I will be keeping everything crossed that it is just a blip and actually it is going to be slightly overcast with occasional glimpses of the sun, cool and no wind.

Michael Fish eat your heart out!


Anyway, as when I was out on my bike this morning there was still enough dust and muck in the air to make me sneeze and my eyes water like the Trevi Fountain I opted for the gym option.

Warm up on the treadmill followed by cross country on the stepper on a high resistance. At this rate I will be able to crack a nut in my buttocks and lift a camel with my hamstrings.


All good at the gym, but even I am getting twitched by the lack of outdoor running. Best I get on and do the ‘Dance To The Wrong Weatherman’ as a matter of urgency.

So, no day in our household would be complete without even a hint of chaos and mayhem.

Well, chaos and mayhem came home to a nice, clean and tidy house the other evening accompanied by himself.

Bye bye nice, clean and tidy house.

The chaos has been increasing over the last few days but plenty of deep breathing and calm thoughts have kept me calm.

Until tonight.

Yeap, it was a double whammy tonight.

Firstly, himself was making a curry for dinner. Lovely, I hear you cry and usually it is. Apart from tonight he left the curry sauce in the wok on the cooker on a high heat and proceeded to go and sit down in the lounge.

The damage was impressive, with homemade curry sauce pretty much covering a .75metre radius of the cooker. In fact it is fair to say there was more curry sauce spread about the kitchen than left in the wok.


Himself started to make nosies about cleaning it up when I suggested with some force that actually I would clean it up.

When he asked why, his nose was put out of joint when I replied that if I did it it would be done properly and I would not end up cleaning it all up anyway after he had gone to work in the morning.

No sooner had I finished cleaning that mess up than I heard the small man disappear off into the kitchen. Naively, I was not worried – I should have been.

The Three Musketeers were watching ‘Penn & Teller Tell A Lie’ – one of the small man’s favourite programmes. On this outrageous scientific claims are made – some are true and some are made up.


So, one of tonight’s claims was that by holding an egg with your forefinger on one end and your thumb on the other.

So, the small man felt the need to check this claim personally to see if it was the true or false one.

As I walked into the kitchen I was greeted by the sight of broken egg all over the floor, (guess that was the false claim then).


A summons was issued for the guilty party and I was told that it had been cleaned up – I am not sure in whose imagination that had been cleaned up.

It was at this point that himself suggested I go upstairs for a post gym shower, a long shower or maybe even a soak in the bath. As I climbed the stairs I could hear frantic wiping up of egg in the kitchen….

Not my spelling mistake - I am not taking responsibility for that one!

Not my spelling mistake – I am not taking responsibility for that one!

Anyway, I am now relatively calm, I have cleaned the kitchen floor and there are no obvious signs of curry sauce…

Other than all that everything is as normal in our house. the small man still has blue hair, the strawberry blond hand grenade’s laptop is with Rafiq, the lounge looks like a hurricane has run through it and there is just 25 days till The London Marathon!

Just another day in our household…..


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Challenge Completed – Just Going To Add A Wee Bit More…..

I am chuffed! Yeap, really chuffed! Today I swam another 1.5 miles – making a total of 11 miles for the whole of March. Yeap, in theory that means that my Swimming Challenge is completed.


But, and yes there is always a but with me, I have decided there is another four days till the end of the month so I am going for 15 miles – bring it on!!!

Yeap, another great swimming session, really pushed myself and yes my shoulders are aching more than ever but I did it – hurrah!

I would really like to be able to go for a run – go on dust storm, get lost!


So, what else has been happening today? Well, the small man still has quite a marked blue stripe down the centre of his head, (click here for an explanation of the small man’s hair….) with a slight spike at the back. There is also a previously undetected blue area close to his left ear.

The blue streaks have faded off his face – mainly by virtue of the fact that he came swimming with us this afternoon, (sorry swimming pool for the extra blue tinge in the water). That said it took him a while to put his head under the water and when I finally managed to get the reason out of him, he declared concern that the magnetic putty in the water would react with the chlorine and his head would explode – get your head under the water boy!

08 May 2001 --- Exploding head --- Image by © John Lund/CORBIS

A considerable amount of time this evening has been spent trying to sort out the daughter’s laptop which is seldom used. Panic ensued as she tried to boot it up and remembered that last she used it she had changed the password, but had now forgotten the new password. When I idley asked if she has made a note of the new password, she replied yes – on my laptop……… it me?


So, another trip to see Rafi tomorrow – at least this time I won’y have to pretend that the affected gadget has not been down my sports bra, even I would have problems fitting a laptop into my trusted running buddy or Dolly Parton wannabe!


Right, best go and charge the clippers up, I fear it is really going to be the only solution with a certain young man’s hair……


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‘At Least He Will Smell Nice, Even If He Does Have A Blue Mohican……..’

Well, they are home. Yeap, they descended at around 2330 last night. The nice, clean and tidy house is now……….well not as nice, clean or tidy. But they are back, they had a fantastic time skiing and to be honest it is great to have them back.


The pants weather is still here, the coughing, sneezing and wheezing is ongoing – not just for me but for everybody within a 100 mile radius I suspect.

My trip to the gym this afternoon confirmed that I had made the right decision not to run, our fab South African GP was in there and commented that anybody who tries to run in this weather is likely to be pretty off colour afterwards – not her accurate words but to be honest you had to hear them in her broad South African accent to appreciate their value.

So yes, a major gym visit today. In the absence of running I plumped for a major glutes workout and programmed the stepper specifically for glutes on a higher than high resistance for a long time. Ouch. I now feel like I am sat on a coal fire with extra firelighters underneath. Must have done the job then.

My gym session was aided by the arrival of the gorgeous Annie with her little brother and oh yes, her Mum and Dad. Mum and Dad were in to use the gym and Annie and her bro were there to play on the side lines. For those of you who do not know about Annie, I really strongly recommend that you take a look at Inspirational Annie – A Story Of Love and Determination. Annie is a gorgeous little girl and yet another reason why we are doing what we are doing. So, when my glutes and hamstrings were on fire in the gym this afternoon and Annie walked in, what better incentive could there be to make me work harder and make those muscles burn even more?


Swimming again tomorrow – definitely going to go well beyond my 10 mile goal, whoop whoop!

So, the blue mohican. Well, as I mentioned the Three Musketeers are back – in force and yes, as everybody is well aware, it is the school holidays. So, that makes the perfect combination for extra mischief.


Well, during my mammoth glutes training session in the gym the small man pulled a blinder.

I was initially alerted to the situation when I came back from the gym and was told to go straight into the lounge, don’t panic and sit down. Himself and the strawberry blond hand grenade were there, but no sign of the small man. Initially I thought there must have been an accident, but no – they were too calm. Then the small man entered the lounge with his hand on his head. As I frowned questioningly, he removed his hand………to reveal quite a neat and well sculpted blue mohican.


As the small man’s hair is relatively short and blond this mohican was not big, but it was impressive.

It turns out that the small man had decided to create this being using his magnetic putty no less. For those who do not know about magnetic putty, (and I certainly did not know until he explained it to me), it is a thick gloopy gunge which contains some sort of metallic filings. It comes with a big chunky magnet and as a result all sorts of shapes can be produced and all sort of magnetic experiments executed.

The down side of this is that many, many hours are spent playing with this and it gets everywhere. Long term readers of this blog may recall the new carpets which were replaced last year and which I have protected and guarded against all stains, marks, debris, husbands and children – with similar ferocity to Boris Johnson protecting his cycle lanes, any danger is immediately expunged, (Maybe Going For A Run Would Have Been Easier….). However, the inevitable has happened, not with the normal chocolate or juice stains but with small blue spots of magnetic putty that have taken up residence in various parts of the carpet and resolutely refuse to give up their sticky grip on the carpet fibres.


So, I am greeted by a small man with a blue magnetic putty mohican. My initial thought was, ‘well if I can’t shift that stuff out of the carpet, then I won’t be able to get it out of his hair…..’.

At this point himself explained that efforts had been made to comb it out but as it was now rock hard then the moaning and whinging associated with combing made it an impossible task.

I even got the magnet out of the kit to try to coax the putty out but no, it just stuck to the blue gunk and detracted from what was the impressive feature that was the mohican.

So, the next step was the shower. The small man is a typical small man and while he does shower reasonably regularly, the thoroughness of these watery ventures are often questioned. Tonight he had no choice in the matter and he was despatched to the shower with himself instructed to supervise.


Initially there was no success – the gunk refused to be shifted. Then the small man took decisive action – he turned the shower onto as hot as he could cope with.

Success – the gunk started to melt. The plus side of this is obvious, while still having a vaguely blue tinge to his blond locks the mohican is gone. The down side of this is that the shower, and whole bathroom for that matter, is now redecorated with melted blue gunk which has pretty much gone everywhere and reset. It would appear that when melted, magnetic putty increases in volume and takes it upon itself to redesign everything that it comes into contact with.

This is not just limited to the bathroom. The gunk melted and ran down the small man, to the point that his face now has a blue tinge to it, similar to when as a teenager we all tried to dye our hair and ended up with streaks down our faces and necks.

From a distance it does look like he has been in a fight, from a closer perspective he looks pretty hypoxic.

Oh well, if anybody sees the small man in the near future I would just like to assure them now, in advance, that the small man is actually in the best of health and has not been brawling. He has just been into mischief with a tin of blue magnetic putty.

Well, best I go off and attempt to scrape the blue highlights from the bathroom.


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Four Weeks To Go & Yes – I Am Terrified!???

Well the peace is about to be shattered – yeap the gruesome and himself are en route back from their skiing jolly to the land of sand and are due to burst forth through the front door later on this evening.

That said I can’t complain – I have had a week of peace and quiet spread between the idyllic Cumbrian countryside and latterly back here in the land of sand – yes, there was the flood issue but it helped to make for a more interesting return home.

So, as I sit here in the clean and tidy house my mind wanders to how long it will stay as such…….


Anyway, big day today. Yeap, it is four weeks to go to London!  This time in four weeks I will be lying down in a heap somewhere feeling very proud of myself. Positive thinking and all that.

Am I ready for the extravaganza? I don’t know to be honest as I have never done a full marathon before but everybody who I talk to who has done London all say that the atmosphere and crowd support get you through it.

London, UK. 26 April, 2015. Fun runners in fancy dress during the London Marathon 2015.

I have hit one small problem though. I have come back to the land of sand to be greeted by dust storms. For those people who have never experienced a true Middle Eastern dust storm then think of strong winds on a beach and multiply it by a lot. Except that the sand here is not like that at Bridlington or Sutton-On-Sea, it is much more gritty and dirty – it is mixed with copious amounts of dirt and yes, almost certainly, camel poo.


These dust storms make running outside impossible. Just being inside I am wheezing, sneezing and snotty. So, it is off to the gym and pool.

The swimming challenge is going exceptionally well. 1.5 miles per session is now routine and I am delighted with how my swimming has come on over the last month – really delighted. And yes, stand by for a shock, I am actually enjoying it. Yeap, there’s a surprise for all the regular readers – I am enjoying my swimming. Believe me nobody is more surprised about that statement than me. I got to 1 mile today and was enjoying it so much that I did an extra half without any problems. I was tempted to do another half  as well but the lure of the salad bar and a rumbling stomach was too much to cope with. Yes, thanks to all this swimming my shoulders feel like they have doubled in width but all good – everything is a positive for the marathon.


I am now 9.5 miles into my 10 mile challenge with 4 days left in the month. I have decided to aim for at least 12 miles now – strike while the irons hot and all that.

So the gym – I am at that awkward stage where in order to progress on the amount of time that it takes in the gym to reach new pastures and unknown territory is so long then the boredom threshold hits way before then. At least in Cumbria I could run in gorgeous countryside and crack on there, but no the gym here is no substitute.

But I will persevere. I am training everyday at the moment, one day swimming and the next the gym to maximise absolutely everything as much as possible and hopefully these damned dust storms will settle soon. A few runs at 2000ft above sea level at the moment would do me no harm at all.

Right, best I go and get ready for the imminent arrival of the Three Musketeers and the subsequent chaos. I will be pleased to see them though. Despite the pleasures of a week of peace and quiet I have really rather missed them…….shhhhhh – our secret, don’t tell them!



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Mopping Up At Midnight Was Not High On My Agenda For Last Night………

So, back in the land of sand on what was actually quite a routine flight. Well, almost routine apart from the fact that I nearly missed the damned thing! Yeap, at Heathrow nice and early, shopping done, beer and bacon consumed and then I took a seat with my back to the gate and put my earphones in……

Don’t think I need to elaborate any further, other than to say that by chance I took my earphones out to hear the final boarding call and the fact they were about to close the gate…..whoops!


Anyway, I made it and flew a relatively uneventful trip back home – now there’s a first!

It was when I got home that the fun began.

In my innocence I opened the washing machine to load it up as I unpacked the first suitcase………

I was actually cursing himself who had left the door closed and I hate this as it makes the machine smell. However, a few moments later I was quite relieved that he had. Had the door been open then the resulting chaos would have been monumental.

You see the washing machine had, despite being switched off, been slowly filling with water all the time we were away and had actually completely filled. As the water level was way above the door there was no sign of any problem…..

So, as I sleepily opened the door I was greeted by a tsunami of epic proportion as the backlog of pressure exploded across the kitchen – engulfing me in the process.

I slammed the door shut and managed to contain some of the water but by now there was a lake in the kitchen and I had been stood directly in the way. Much as I would like to claim to have been a break water, alas not – I was drenched.


The water was everywhere, under the cooker, tumble dryer, dishwasher………

So, an impromptu kitchen clean after an international flights……lovely……..

Anyway, the legend that is Apol, (the compound’s own walking, talking home gadget expert), arrived. Apol has featured in the blog before – primarily when the cooker went on strike but in typical form he arrived when summoned and scratched his stubbly chin with a sharp intake of breath as he diagnosed the problem – only when he had finished laughing at my plight as I described the flood chaos of last night.

Apol is one of those guys who is pretty much ageless, at the roughest possible guess he must be mid to late fifties. Like all the guys who keep the compound up and running he is from somewhere east of here. I do not actually know where Apol is from but I suspect the Philippines.

The best way of describing the dude of Apol is to compare him to Mr Kesuke Miyagi from Karate Kid. There is a distinct resemblance between the two – even if the accents are not completely the same.


The big difference is that Apol wears a baseball cap, boiler suit and rides a tricycle that over the years he has fashioned with various additions to carry tools and spare parts around the compound. I suspect that somewhere there is an attachment that means he could carry a whole washing machine if needed. It even has a roof to protect him from the sun in summer…

So, now you have an image of Apol, the compound’s electrical appliance repair guru.

So, imagine my surprise as he gave the kiss of life to the washing machine this afternoon and I was wandering around with music on, when I heard him start to hum and then sing along to Gym Class Heroes.


No I jest you not, it was brief but I am sure that he did…….epic……

Anyway, more swimming this morning – another 1.5miles completed. My total is now 8 miles and I am well on target to complete my 10 miles by the end of the month – hurrah!


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Adele V Bette Midler – No Contest Really………

Today has seen me in an enforced very long car journey – pulling together all the odds and sods before heading back out to the land of sand tomorrow. Yeap, I have driven from deepest darkest Cumbria to Skipton, to Manchester and then down to Heathrow.


This prolonged and at times tortuous journey has given me plenty of time to work my way through several Radio 2 DJ’s – in the nicest possible way – and when the going got tough with them several opportunities to listen to various genres of music.


So today I once again listened to the musical genius that is Adele.

Regular readers will know that I am deeply in awe of Adele, (A Near Disastrous Washing Machine Incident, More Adele Humour & Oh Yes A Good Run and Just In Case Anybody Hasn’t Seen This, It Is A Must watch….), not just for her musical prowess but also the fact that she is down to earth and despite the phenomenal level of success she is deservedly enjoying, she has kept her feet firmly on the ground.

However, as per my post of a few weeks ago, (Pedalling Like Crazy But Not Getting Very Far….) I am still not impressed that I am the same age as her Mum and as such could, in theory, be Adele’s Mum. I will continue to encourage our daughter to achieve the same level of success as her would be ‘big sister’ and so to keep her Dad and I in the style that we would like to become accustomed.


So, I listened to several Adele albums on my drive today – including the stunning album ’25’. Before I go any further I would just like to say that listening to the epic songs on the album I am slightly concerned that my heroine has a bit of a premature age issue and as she sings regularly the idea of getting old scares her. However, I would just like to state for the record that at 26 she is not old and even with her blistering success old age is way beyond the horizon.


That little snippet of advice comes from a 46 year old who is about to run her first marathon – be prepared everybody…..

Anyway, as I sung my way through ’25’ I came across the legendary song that is ‘When We Were Young’. I love this song and have listened to it what must be a million times. However, the solitary confinement of today’s drive meant I could really focus on it.

As I was singing along to it, it reached the 3 min 50 second point. The true relevance of this will become clear in a moment as I am about to become controversial. I attempt to avoid controversy on the blog – after all the whole point of this piece of amateur literature is to keep you entertained so that at some point you may be tempted to donate to the ‘Every Inch Of Tarmac Tommy’s Fundraising Campaign’ and as such I do my best not to upset anybody.

However, the 3 min 50 second point came around on several occasions, (mainly be virtue of the fact that I replayed the track over and over again….) and it was at this point that I was completely blown away by my heroine’s voice.

At this point I hasten to add that I am not musically minded and so any musical inaccuracies in the following description are done with the best intentions and I can only hope that nobody is offended.

At the 3 minute 50 second point in the song ‘When We Were Young’, Adele bursts forth with what I could call a classic and lung busting key change. It is truly mesmerising and as a result I almost crashed the car several times today on the M40.

Anyway, the mesmerising effect of this point in the song got me thinking and for some obscure reason that is still to be identified I was reminded about and got to thinking about about the horrendous and ear piercing song by Bette Midler, “Wind Beneath My Wings’.

This song has always been an anathema to me. I have never actually worked out what justification there is for it and despite it being a million years old it is still regularly played on the radio. I have to admit that when it is played if I am in vaguely easy reach of the volume button or even better the on/off switch then the opportunity is grasped. If not then earphones are utilised and failing that I will simply leave the room.


How the heck she won a Grammy with it is beyond me.

The song itself is brilliant – that is clear by the number of big names that have done versions of it. However, the Bette Midler version is pants.

You are probably wondering what this has to do with my heroine’s incredible rendition of ‘When We Were Young’.

Well, as already mentioned Adele bursts forth with an incredible, lung busting key change, (if that is the right term), at 3 minutes 50 seconds. This reminded me that Bette Midler does the same towards the end of ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ – I do not know at what point she bursts forth as to get that information I would have to listen to it and that is one step too far.

Adele’s key change is impeccable, even to my non-musically gifted ears, Bette Midler’s is horrendous and for the last million years has always sounded to me to be off key, flat, out of tune or whatever the correct terminology is. It really makes me cringe and sends a horrendous shiver down my spine.


I am hoping that by finally jotting down my thoughts about Ms Midler’s effort there will be a cathartic effect and the song will no longer make me want to vomit every time I hear it. If not then I will use Adele’s magic to heal the wounds.

I am also hoping that next time I listen to my heroine’s magic in ‘When We Were Young’ I am no longer reminded of the screech that is Ms Midler’s rendition of ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’.

Apologies to any Bette Midler fans out there – I warned you I was going to be controversial.

Even if you are offended, don’t take it out on the Charity push, you can still donate to the cause……….??

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Crisis Over – Now There’s A Relief!…..?????

Not much to report today – rest day and general diff naff & triv. However, the crisis is over! Hurrah! Yeap, a quick call in at Booths this morning revealed that the big Booths gluten free lager wagon had paid a visit and the shelf was stacked full.  Before you asked, no there were no mini eggs today – I learn’t my lesson with the message from a higher being yesterday….


Whoop whoop on the lager though!

Anyway, no near misses today – well apart from an escaped sheep blocking the track to the cottage but that is pretty much par for the course around here and not very exciting.


So, I won’t ramble on with senseless nonsense this evening, (there’s a first!), and will wander off to enjoy my GF lager.


Only for now - you don't get away that easily!

Only for now – you don’t get away that easily!

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A Crisis In My Affairs…….Aaaarrrgghhh…………..?????

So, this morning swimming training. To try to avoid the minestrone soup effect I made sure I was there as the pool opened at the crack of sparrow farts as the pool opened – lush, an almost empty swimming pool.  Whoop whoop!


So, off I went with the usual uncoordinated legs, arms, head and anything else that was mobile. Coughing and spluttering and giving great concern to the lifeguards, (that said I think they are getting used to me now and don’t get half as worried as quickly about me now). Yeap, in short I am like an octopus in the swimming pool, not the graceful cephalopod mollusc that inhabits our underwater world but more like an octopus out of water and being expected to run a marathon. Arms and legs floundering and a vague sense of panic.


Anyway, off I went. I have been delighted with the progress I have made with my CV fitness over the last few months and putting to one side the minor difficulties in getting air and not water in my mouth for one moment, my exercise tolerance is great.

So, ploughing up and down the pool, being constantly supervised by the twitching lifeguards when something incredible happened.

I got to a mile in breakneck speed, (well, speedy for me anyway), and then I just carried on.

Before I knew it I had hit 1.5 miles and felt great. I finished there, not because I was tired but because by then the pool was filling fast with a combination of blue rinses and children with exasperated parents looking to wear the kids out on a Sunday morning. Time to get out.


Anyway, crackin’ swim – really chuffed. So far in my March 10 mile challenge 6.5 miles completed and well on track for smashing the challenge.

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the biggest challenge for the marathon, (5 weeks today – eek!), is not going to be my fitness but my feet, ankle and the metatarsalgia.

I am going to do the whole of the savage, evil local 14.2 mile run this week. Yeap, it is going to hurt, it is not going to be pretty and it is not going to be quick – but I am going to do it.


Some of the locals have actually commented that if you can complete this run with all the savage hills then you can definitely run London. Fingers crossed on that one.

I was idly glancing through last weekend’s results from the actual race – it is mad, crazy and insane. The winning man’s time was 1 hr 23 mins & 24 secs. The women’s equivalent was 1 hr 38 mins & 54 seconds. I would like to emphasis that the course is 14.2 miles and not 13.1 and in order to appreciate the true achievement of these turbo nutter runners you need to at least drive the course, ideally walk it or if you are feeling slightly addled run it to see the demon hills that it incorporates.

I hasten to add that from the finishing list, and chatting to locals, it is clear that the majority of the runners are local and so this area is their natural training ground. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.

I think my normal training ground of a flat compound in the desert maybe a million times more boring but is a lot more user friendly, (or not as it may be in my case…..)

Needless to say my time will not be anything to threaten the accomplishment of those hardy souls last weekend – it took me 90 minutes the other day to run 9 miles of it, so for me a 3 hour completion would be quite respectable.


Anyway, maximum respect to those nutters who completed last weekend and good luck to me as I complete the route this week before heading back to the land of sand.

My left foot is throbbing already at the thought of it……

So, to the crisis in my affairs. Well, double whammy actually – double crisis. Now this may not seem major to you, but please consider my plight. Well, there is no plight really but I am here on my own in deepest, beautiful Cumbria. Himself and the gruesome twosome are skiing somewhere in Europe and I am here all alone, snuggled up in front of the fire, watching what I want on TV, whatever film I choose, talking to the sheep in the fields and generally having some real quality ‘me’ time.

So, after my crackin’ swimming session this morning off I went to the fabulous supermarket that is Booths. I decided to treat myself to a couple of bottles of their fab gluten free lager – one of the few gluten free lagers that is actually drinkable.


So imagine my chagrin when I spied no GF lager on the shelves. Complete devastation, only mediated slightly when I remembered that actually it was me who bought the last couple of bottles and emptied the shelf a couple of days before. Even so, how rude – they could have had a delivery by now!

So, having chewed on a brick and grumbled to myself, I compromised with a bottle of wine. Not the same but hey ho, needs must and all that.

At the check out my eye was caught by the bags of mini eggs on ‘special offer’. Oh well, why not, with the amount of training I am doing at the moment what harm could they do? So, a SMALL packet was added to the wine and after a jovial chat to the lady on the check outs, (which went some of the way to appeasing my unreasonable and self-imposed grumpiness on the lack of GF lager), off I went to the car.


I opened the mini eggs and was happily chomping on a couple as I pulled out of the car park. It was at this point that some numpty made me stop with alarming promptness and sent the mini eggs scattering all over the floor of the car.

Now under normal circumstances I would have blown on them and devoured them, but after the kids being in the car with food, muddy boots and general rubbish common sense dictated that it would not be such a good idea.

Divine intervention I suppose to stop me eating the eggs…….

The wine made it through unscathed and is a rather nice smoked chardonnay….

Right, best go and not waste the wine……


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A Surprise Trip To The Airport, Killer Running Routes & Painful Feet

More fun in the cold but spectacular Cumbrian hills, well most of it is fun – the rest is just marital exasperation.


Why do men not read important emails?, only the ones that are full of drival and information that they do not need? Why do they assume that the information that they really need will somehow miraculously osmose into their heads?

This week the email arrived with all the information needed for himself and the gruesome twosome to be where they should be at the right time in order for departure onto the school ski trip.

Now, as I have not gone on this extravaganza I assumed, rightly or wrongly, that I did not need to do anything with this email as himself had a copy and I assumed that all would be well.


The alarm bells should have rung when at around 0900 this morning himself asked if I was sure that they had to be at school at 1000. When I commented that I did not know but it was on the email I should, with hindsight, have been slightly alarmed.

Anyway, as I dug out my copy of the email, himself was reassured that yes it was 1000.

So, as we drove into the car park at 0945, the look of surprise from the Headmaster did not go unnoticed by me. As we heaved the bags out of the car and towards the minibus, the Headmaster intercepted us and explained that as per the email, (!), only children who were travelling without their parents were for the minibus, everybody else was to make their own way to the airport and meet at the check in desk.

At around this point, out of the earshot of the Headteacher I hasten to add, I asked himself if he had actually read the email. The answer of no with the retort of ‘have you?’ came back, with the blunt response of ‘no, but it is not my trip’ from me…….


I hasten to add that this was himself’s contribution to the Headmaster’s perception of our family as a tad dysfunctional, my contribution was made at the airport check in desks as he handed out boarding passes and as he approached out family I promptly fell over the suitcase wrapping machine and ended up in a heap. His reassuring words of ‘whoops, be careful’ were reassurance that he had seen the unfortunate incident and I could not hope that it had passed him by.


So, one unplanned and impromptu trip to the airport later, (taking a grand total of four hours including hanging around the airport to make sure there were no other pieces of vital information that had been missed – such as remembering that he has sole and complete responsibility for both children and ensuring that both children get on the correct plane with him), I am back at the cottage, fire lit, wine bought, rugby on and book ready for reading between matches….

So, what has been happening since my last submission to the EIOT blog?

Well, yesterday I set off on the savage, cruel and evil route of the 14.2 mile local run – all good except I can definitely say, without any hint of doubt, that the hoofing great big painkilling injection in my foot has worn off and to add insult to injury metatarsalgia has now set in in my other foot – damned painful.

There is clearly something wrong with my running gait, but the inner physio has thus far drawn a blank.

That said, the route is stunning, and I really mean stunning – beyond my wildest imagination and to a large extent that takes my mind of my feet – but alas it is still there and running over cobbles reduced me to a quivering mess.

But the route is evil – really evil. There are hills in it that would reduce a lot of runners to martyrs begging for mercy at the bottom. I am convinced that there are more 1:7 signs in that whole circuit than in the depot where 1:7 sign posts are made and stored for when unsuspecting runners are setting about a Cumbrian training regime. Perhaps they are actually made somewhere around here and the route is actually packed with storage points for them?…..who knows…..


These are the hills that separate amateur runners from the elite and as I fall into the former class rather than the latter then it all makes for quite a challenge.

So, I didn’t do the whole route, but the stuff that I did was not in a bad time, not a bad time at all. I was, for once, really impressed with myself. And yes, it was up hill and down dale of the Cumbrian hills – those savage, evil hills of Cumbria were not going to get the better of me. I sang, chatted to the sheep, watched the water and was generally captivated – apart from my feet which regularly burst back into my consciousness with searing pain.

When I was talking to himself later, (yes, we do occasionally speak and do not always grunt at each other), he asked how my cardio-vascular system has coped and after I thought about it, (such was the minimal inconvenience that this mornings 9 mile run had placed on this system), I was actually really proud to say that my cardiovascular system was absolutely fine and while my legs were a little tired all was well there. The only issues I had were my damned head, (regular readers will know what I mean), and of course, bigger issue, my feet. Without doubt if my damned metatarsal heads had not been such a nuisance then I would have completed the 14.2 miles.

Darn it!

So, where to from here? Well more of the same. London is a little over 5 weeks away and I know I am on track if I can just get my feet sorted. Everything else is steaming along.

So, more swimming, more gym and lots more running.

I have an appointment with the dude Dr and his Indian side-kick on 13 April for another hoofin’ big needle and I am wondering if I can persuade him to extend it to both feet. If he says yes then the upshot will mean two numb feet, so for the first few days I will falling over everything whether imaginary or real – but I will get through the marathon.

So, the gruesome twosome and himself have cleared off skiing, leaving me here all on my tod to run, swim, write the blog, read my book and drink wine – oh the hardship of it all! Back to Saudi towards the end of next week – bugger!

Right, Wales have whooped Italy, onto the next match…….


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