Post Marathon Catch Up, More Tin Foil Woes & Indian Head Wobbles…

So, the great post marathon catch up continues. I am beginning to see wood again among the chaos of the admin and paperwork backlog around my laptop, the washing machine is now approved to have brief breaks between loads instead of being emptied and refilled as soon as the buzzer goes off and the suitcases are all unpacked and put away – well almost, they have made it as far as the store room door even if they have not made it over the step yet.

Training ready for the next challenge has resumed – no I still can’t tell you what it is and won’t be able to for quite a while yet, I will keep you guessing……

Yeap, yesterday was the first day back on it and to celebrate I threw myself in typical fashion into the indoor swimming pool. Today I went back to the gym and launched myself onto the stepper.

I am delighted, (and not just a little relieved), to say that both sessions went swimmingly, (sorry – I could not resist that one). Yeap, all was well. I was more than ready to get back to it, I was twitching and bursting with energy – it was either get back into training or spontaneously combust in a cloud of endorphins and compressed energy.

In the bigger picture the training option was favourable as the alternative would have made far too much mess and I would not have been around to clear it up.

Having arrived back in the land of sand it is now clearly far too warm for me to run. Himself went out for a brief trot around the compound today and came back a soggy mess. No, I am not good running in heat and it is certainly too hot for me to trundle round in now.

OK, its not hot hot here yet - but it is still too hot for me!

OK, its not hot hot here yet – but it is still too hot for me!

So, for the foreseeable I am going to be swimming, Spinning and gymming – whoop whoop!

Everything else is going along nicely – well almost. Needless to say I am still chewing a brick over BA. On the one occasion I needed them to be true to form and the world’s most expensive and arrogant airline, they managed to let me down yet again! How come that they were 4000SR cheaper than Lufthansa?? How does that work. So, not only have I got to come to terms with the humiliation of them being cheaper but once I have got to grips with that I am going to have to damn well fly with them again in 4 weeks time. Arrgghhh…….

The strawberry blond hand-grenade is going to love this, she is going to laugh almost as much as her father did. At least I will have my small man who would never laugh at his poor old mum…..


An update on the tin foil debacle. Two strips of the offending material fell off the window this morning as I forgot about the stand off situation and opened the blind. Aaahhhhaaaa I thought to myself.

So today has been fab, everytime I have walked into our room I have not had to switch the lights on and have been able to enjoy a degree of daylight through the foil free portions of the window. I felt my vitamin D levels increase as I put the washing away.

Needless to say the stand off situation means that I have not touched the late, lamented strips of silver stuff and they lie where they fell on the bedroom floor. I have however done the decent thing and told himself about the issue with his Heath Robinson make shift black out system.

I can do no more.

There was another odd conversation with the gardener this morning, again heavily reliant on sign language and pointing. That said, it was always going to be an odd conversation as he knocked on the door to be greeted by me just out off bed and wearing my minions nightshirt. I hasten to add that the sign language and pointing was in relation to the garden and not my minions nightshirt.

Anyway, we got there eventually and with several Indian head wobbles later we reached an understanding. Time will tell if that is just wishful thinking or not….


It has just occurred to me that several of the threads relate to previous blogs over several months and as the whole principle of a blog is that people do not read every single post or that they may have become new EIOT readers more recently, (or both I suppose), then you may not have a clue what I am on about. So, if that is the case then here are some links to previous posts that may, (or may not), apply some clarity to what the heck I am on about:

British Airways Humiliation & Tin Foil Shock

Gardener Communication Issues & The Indian Head Wobble

Yesterday’s big news was that I totted up all the remaining money that was here waiting to be transferred over to the Virgin Money Account and promptly hit ‘send’. In addition, several very generous people have also made contributions over the last few days and weeks and with that I am delighted to say that we are now well over £13,000, (£13,827 with Gift Aid).

In addition I know there is still money out there waiting to come in. One very generous group here on the compound had a fundraising evening and have around 12000SR to donate, so with that alone we will be well over £15,000 without Gift Aid.

I ought to add that the legend that is Tommo is continuing his craziness and is now 3 marathons into his 5 marathons in 5 weeks for Tommy’s campaign.

There is only one Mr Tommo - thank goodness!

There is only one Mr Tommo – thank goodness!

Yeap, he started with The Brighton Marathon and since then he has completed 2 other ‘Random@Salwa Marathons’. Yeap, the man is mad and is not fazed by running in the heat. He was joined by his mate Wayne for today’s sprint, (Wayne is also a veteran of the full 24hrs in the Spinathon – what a hero), who has now lost his marathon virginity! Nice one Wayne, but I have to say I can think of better and more interesting places for it than 26.2 miles than round and round the compound!

Anyway, Tommo is continuing his epic effort and lots of folks are sponsoring him. Go on Tommo, keep those legs going and I will cheer you on from the gym and swimming pool.

Anyway, back to the money and sponsorship.

The whole Every Inch Of Tarmac Team would like to say an enormous thank you to everybody who has sponsored any of us in any way over the last few months and helped to contribute to this mind blowing figure.


The Virgin Money Giving page is not closing yet and so if you are thinking of sponsoring or donating to the cause but are waiting for whatever reason there is still time.

The support that we have all had with this came continues to be phenomenal and we would like to say an enormous ‘thank you’ to everybody who has given to the fund or is planning on donating.

There are simply far too many of you to mention, but you all know who you are and thank you.

Right, best I go and check on the status of the tin foil – but I suspect that there will have been no change in its condition.


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

Donate at




Craving Sunshine, BA Humiliation, Need A Truss? & Absolutely Ravenous………

Well, I am back and have been thrust forward at high velocity into life back in the land of sand. The last thing I ever thought I would find myself saying is that I am craving sunshine…Read on to find out what the heck I am on about.

First and foremost my post marathon recovery is continuing incredibly well with just a niggle in my left foot, a couple of aching muscles and yeap once again a sore tummy button. The metatarsal problem in my left foot was on the whole OK on Sunday – not surprising really as it is still full of anaesthetic, it definitely worked well.

Regular readers will know that the tummy button injury has been an issue before but now the mystery appears to be solved. Yeap, it is my running belt which rubs and actually causes quite a bit of damage on various parts of my torso.

The only other issue I have is that I am absolutely starving – constantly. I could eat a horse, (or scabby camel – well I could if they hadn’t closed the camel souq because of MERS, looks like I might have to eat the small man instead). Yeap, I have reached that point where I cannot eat enough and trying to restrain myself enough so as not to over indulge is a bit tricky.


I have spent quite a bit of time today sorting out marathon photos. We took the decision before the marathon to take advantage of the offer from the organisers to have specific photos taken during the marathon and while it was a tad pricey it has been well worth it. So, today they have been sorted out and uploaded to the blog, Facebook etc etc and put on display.

Usually I loath photos of me and will go to just about any lengths to avoid them. However, I took the plunge with the marathon and reluctantly decided to go with the concept. On the whole I am rather pleased with the results, but there is a problem. Yeap, in my head it is quite a large problem.

As everybody knows in the course of all these sporting challenges I have lost a considerable amount of weight, (final weigh in for the weight loss challenge is on Saturday – entries are still open if you are interested…..???), and on many of the photos I look OK.

However, on some I am slightly disturbed. Thanks to the fact that I was wearing my running belt under my vest I look to have a rather odd shape, in fact I look as though I have some medical condition that requires surgery, a truss and usually associated with ‘hims’ rather than ‘hers’. The fact that my running belt was rammed full of jelly babies, a couple of energy gels and my mobile phone does little to mitigate the problem as not only do I look like I have a medical disorder but one with odd and random lumps and bumps.


So, I would just like to say publicly and for the record I am fit and healthy and do not have any such condition. A full recovery was started as I ate the jelly babies and had the first of the energy gels as I made my way around the course and then achieved when I took the belt off at the finish.

So how are things back in the land of sand? Well, as normal really. It is getting warm, much warmer than when I left and today there was yet another dust storm – oh great! Stand by for sinus problems in the next few days.

One major shock arrived this morning when I opened the blind. Himself has been whinging ever since we moved here about sunshine coming in around the window blind in a morning and waking him up. Quite frankly sorting it out has been a low priority on my never ending list of jobs.

So, imagine my surprise and annoyance when this morning I went to ritually open the blind and gaze at the blue sky and sunshine to be greeted by a window covered in tin foil. To add insult to injury the tin foil looks like it has been put up by a one handed chimpanzee perched on the back of a hyperactive camel. There are rips, gaps, it is wonky and held up by copious amounts of sellotape and packing tape.


All in all it looks awful.

After cursing in a very unlady like way I lowered the blind again and walked away to consider the situation.

Should I rip the foil down? Should I call him at work to ask what was going on?

I have been mulling this over all day and have still not reached a conclusion, other than to say that every time I have walked into our room today I have been greeted by darkness – not the gorgeous sunshine that I am used to.

Now I know marriage is about compromise and all that, but this is going to drive me nuts. Not only because of the lack of sunshine in our room but also because of the Heath Robinson fashion that it has been put up.


I suspect compromise may go out of the window, (literally), and I may make an executive decision.

Tonight’s other news relates to that legendary organisation that dominates my life. Yes, British Airways, the world’s patronising airline, has struck again.

In what I thought was my last BA flight yesterday I never for one second thought I would find myself on the BA website again today.

In my catching up with all domestic and admin chores today, I finally got round to looking at flights for Ramadan – four weeks away.

I went straight to the Lufthansa website and had everything sorted and was on the brink of booking when himself walked into the room. As a throw away comment he suggested doing a comparison with another airline ‘just to see’. Just so that I could gloat that actually Lufthansa is much better than BA I went and checked.



How is it that today of all days BA came in cheaper than Lufthansa? Not just cheaper but considerably cheaper – in fact 4000SR (£730) cheaper. Now how does that work? BA, usually the world’s most expensive airline as well as the most patronising, on the occasion of me going to get figures purely for gloating purposes has a special offer on and comes in masses cheaper than Lufthansa who are 99.9% of the time the cheapest and most efficient airline around!

So, once himself had finished laughing his socks off, (well, he would have laughed them off he could get any on over his blistered feet), I had no option than to book the flights with BA.

Chewing a brick does not come close to it at the moment – not happy!


Off swimming tomorrow and looking forward to it. Had a bike ride round the compound tonight – felt good!

Right, best I head off and eat something, the small man is looking more edible with every second that goes by…..


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

Donate at



Well It Was Worth A Try….But Always Doomed To Failure Really…..

Today is my last pre-booked and planned flight with BA. It was booked pre-final spat and so I really would have been cutting my nose off to spite my face if I cancelled it and rebooked with another airline. However, from here on in I will only be travelling BA when there really is no alternative.

So, the small man and I departed Lincolnshire at a unhealthily early hour to head down to Heathrow to return the car, (complete with the miraculous, healing seat warmers), and get ready to get on the BA big bird back to Riyadh.


In line with my life principle of nothing ventured, nothing gained I cheerfully asked the guy at check in if there was any chance of an upgrade for a marathon runner with extremely tired legs. To prove the point I even added a few grunts of pain as I lifted the bags onto the belt and then proceeded to prop myself up on the counter for extra effect.


All I got in return was a sarcastic sneer, not even an answer either positive or negative.

Anyway, resigned to the lack of an upgrade the small man and I made our way through security – but a greater blow was on its way.

As we made our way to a seat in the lounge a tannoy announcement rang out with my name and asking me to make my way to the information desk. Oh I thought, that nice man at check in had put an upgrade request in after all and it had been approved and we were on our way to business.

With all due enthusiasm, (well as much as an aching body will allow),  I made my way over to the desk expectant of good news, to be simply told that they had found my Saudi paper visa in security and I would have to walk to the other end of the terminal to fetch it.


What an anti-climax!

Oh well, visa fetched and safely replaced in my passport.

So, onto other matters.

The body is recovering well and I can now walk almost normally – hurrah!

I am still, and always will be I suspect, incredibly proud of last Sunday.

So, back to Riyadh and perhaps a modicum of normality in life. The first thing I need to do is catch up with the enormous backlog of things that have suffered over the last few months, admin, household chores and life in general.

Then, I need to work on my next sporting challenge……I still can’t comment any further on this and won’t be able to for ages yet but work is underway…..

Right, best I go and continue my mission to rid the lounge of vino.


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

Donate at



Incredible Pride But Gee Everything Hurts….??

Well I have made it back up to the flatlands of Lincolnshire to rescue Grandma and Grandad from the grips of their energetic youngest grandson, not that I think they needed rescuing as I suspect there has been quite a lot of fun all round.


Himself is, as I write, somewhere between Heathrow and Riyadh and hopefully able to stretch his legs out.

So, how is it going? Well, we both hurt and both need a good nights sleep. Between the trails of endorphins kicking in in the middle of the night and everything hurting if you even dare to think of moving in the night then there has not been a really good sleep since the main event.

That said, we do not really care. Neither of us tend to indulge in self indulgent pride and boasting, but in this case hell yes – we are damned proud of what we did and are not afraid to say it. The after effects are irrelevant, we did The London Marathon and we helped raise a stack of money for Tommy’s in the process.


Himself is suffering with his little toes, he is walking in a shuffling fashion and when I spoke to him earlier he said that a sweet older lady in the lounge at Heathrow had taken pity on him and had been bringing the wine to him rather than him going to the wine.

I am making good progress. I was awake last night as my quads were on fire and my feet throbbing. But today Avis played a blinder and as per my loyalty account gave me a double upgrade. So the minute Hyundai I booked was upgraded to a brand new Lexus 4X4 with heated seats. It may sound a bit crass but the heated seats in this wonder car have done wonders for my trashed muscles and that combined with vino, (after driving I hasten to add), has led to a massive improvement in my condition.

Yesterday was a bit of an anti-climax. We had fully intended to make the most of a whole day in London sans children and had planned out in great detail a wine bar ‘crawl’ around London. Well, it didn’t happen. Far from it.

Well, two days ago actually but the principle is the same....

Well, two days ago actually but the principle is the same….

We started off with a quick trip to the Apple Store on Regent Street. Normally a quick walk from the RAF Club to Regents Street would have been no problem at all – but no. A cab ride yesterday. However, the taxi driver was very understanding – a quick look at his shuffling passengers told him that we were post marathon and the sympathy meant he was not upset at the short distance.

After the Apple Store we were at a bit of a loss and so shuffled to the nearest Costa – wow, get us!

After staying beached in Costa way beyond our coffee and hot chocolate we made our way to wine bar 1 – there we stayed for quite a while.

One more wine bar followed and that was enough – back to the club and I regret to say to sleep.

Ho hum……it was 3pm!

Anyway, all is well. We are recovering – albeit slowly.

This morning was a tad traumatic, underground from Piccadilly to Heathrow with heavy cases – ouch! But we did it, even if we did delay half of the commuting population of London and make them late for work.

So, to the actual event. Memories keep popping back into our minds. Personally I keep remembering how incredibly grateful I am for Sara who propped me up and got me to the end.

Other thoughts keep popping into my head – such as when I hit the wall and was running through traffic lights. Such was my state of mind that I would see a red light and want to stop ’till it turned green but reality would kick in just in time and I would carry on.


Another over-riding thought is at the end when Sara and I charged over the finish line at full pace, and carried on. It was at this point that a poor race official put his arm out to stop me and said ‘its OK, you can stop running now, you have finished’. That was a shock.

There was Bagpuss, (mentioned yesterday), there was Mr Red Arrow, there was a herd of rhinos, (one of which did mow me down), and there was Sara.

There was the incredible crowd and there were the Tommy’s cheering points. There was a camaraderie among the charity runners which was something that I have never experienced before. There honestly was no competition between us all – everybody was there for their own reasons and everybody supported everybody else.

The question keeps popping into my head – ‘would I do it again?’. At this point I don’t know but to be honest I suspect I would. However, I think my main focus will be half-marathons.


However, there are so many other things I want to do, now that I have done not just a marathon but The London Marathon, then perhaps they may take priority.

Right, best I get the small man packed up to head back to the land of sand. Tomorrow is the big BA bird back, (I will endeavour to avoid any fisticuffs with BA but no guarantees), to Riyadh so there will not be a post.

In the meantime I will endeavour to get some shut eye!


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

Donate at





It Wasn’t Fast, It Wasn’t Pretty But I Did It…..??? & A Very Heavy Marathon Medal..

I am very proud of my London Marathon 2016 Medal – everybody else will be sick to the back teeth of seeing it over the coming weeks. So when I crawled into bed last night I hung it from the wall light just above my head and yes when the endorphins were raging in the middle of the night and I was wide awake, yes I did look up at it in disbelief that I had it.

However this turned to disaster a few minutes ago when lying in bed eating Jelly Babies and I reached out a painful arm for more supplies. I caught the medal with an aching and uncoordinated arm, it detached itself from the light and landed on my head.

London Marathon 2016 medals are heavy, especially when they land on your head and the you have not got the reflexes to fend it off.


So, not only does every part of my body hurt in a dramatic fashion, but now the only part of me that actually did not hurt, the top of my head, now hurts.



So, yesterday. Wow! I think the reality of it is going to settle in over the next few days but before I go any further I would like to say an enormous, nay gargantuan, thank you to my new best running friend, Sara.

At mile 10 I was having one of my psychological nightmares and was in a bad place – the remaining 16.2 miles were more than intimidating.

Sara and I had been leapfrogging each other for a couple of miles and somehow we ended up side by side around now. We said hi and it went on from there.

It turned out that she was in a bad place as well. That was all that was needed. We were stuck to each other like glue till after the finishing line. When one of us got down, the other picked up. We got each other through and when I hit the wall later Sara was a gem and got me through it.


I honestly think I would still be out there now if it wasn’t for Sara.

So Sara, Reading Half Marathon next year????

I would also like to say a thank you to the poor lady at the finishing line who presented me with my medal. There was a rare display of emotion on my part and I broke down on her. She lovingly gave me an enormous hug and I sobbed on her shoulder, pointing vaguely and talking incoherently at my Tommy’s top. I apologise to that poor lady whose shoulder I left covered in sweat, snot and tears.

I will write more about the marathon over the next few days as memories come back to me, but what were the high spots?

Well, being mown down by a Viking longboat with legs for a start. Then leapfrogging bagpuss – no comments necessary on that one thank you. The comaradery, the incredible crowd support, the fantastic messages of support before and after.


I would like to make another unreserved apology to the poor lady supporter that I looked at with daggers about 300yards in. In typical fashion she shouted my name with 101% enthusiasm and took me whom what by surprise to the point that I must have, unintentionally, glared at her in shock. I looked at her as if to say who are you? and do I know you?. I trundled on and it wasn’t until a few yards later and exactly the same thing happened that I remembered that my name was emblazoned across my running vest…..doh!

Finally, a pre-emotive apology to the lovely Mrs CH with whom I have a pedicure appointment on Thursday. Judging by the pain in my toe nails at the moment I think a few may have gone AWOL by Thursday and it may be quite a quick appointment.


Finally a thanks go to Tommy’s for the fab cheering points – a major boost, for the after party – much needed and for all their ongoing and continued support. Thank you!

Right, there will be more but at the moment my priority has to be to raise my self out of bed and into the shower. Easier said than done I suspect.


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

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Constipation Is Not An Issue Today……..

Everything is done, the race packs have been collected, 6 months worth of hard training, 24 hrs on a Spinning bike, Sangcom Half Marathon completed, 13.1 miles swum – but yes, I am a nervous, quivering mess and yes, my toilet roll use I pretty much astronomical today – constipation is really not an issue.

Mouse:Toilet Paper

So what is going through my mind – everything imaginable and more besides. So far today there have been tears, silence, constant chatter, excitement, sickness, despair, fear and pretty much every other emotion that it is possible to feel. It is a long, long time since I have been in such a state.

My brain has completely blocked out the training that I have done and is convinced that I am in no shape to do tomorrow. Stupid I know but hey ho, that’s the way my brain rolls.


The Expo this morning was great but to be honest I think my mindset just sent me into a spiralling decline of despair and we did not get the best out of the experience.

I looked at everybody at the Expo this morning and decided that I am the only person completely crippled by fear – everybody else looked so chilled and relaxed. Completely unreasonable thought I know. I did ask himself about this and he just laughed and commented that if I thought that nobody else was nervous or terrified then I needed a reality pill. Typical himself – blunt as always.


To be honest the problem is how to fill this afternoon. Under normal circumstances a child-free weekend in London would mean wine bars, nice food, sight seeing – but not today. Neither of us know what to do with ourselves. I did suggest the cinema but himself was not keen. He fancied the pub but no way – no booze for me today and even he has a self-imposed embargo in place. Food – paranoia on that one, no way I am having a culinary extravaganza the day before tomorrow. Museums, ermm, no. Not keen on any extra walking than necessary today, however we had a good stomp around town before and after Expo which was a great leg stretch, himself forgot as always that his legs are twice as long as mine and that one of his strides are worth two of mine so I almost ran a 10KM race this morning alone.

Short Legs

So, we are just slobbing around at the hotel and rediscovering Saturday daytime TV – whoop whoop! Escape To The Country is over and now I find myself staring vacantly at an odd programme about a woman who rescues things from recycling centres and turns them into furniture. All very odd.

Oh well, football is on in a while. Himself is busying himself making ponchos out of bin bags in an attempt to keep us warm on the start line tomorrow. In typical fashion it is not enough to simply cut a head hole and two arm holes, oh no – they have to be done with military precision and tried on several times before they are deemed to be ready…..

We both just need to focus on why we are doing this.


I assume that all is well with the gruesome twosome. We did have an impromptu Facetime call first thing from The Strawberry Blond Hand Grenade – evidence that actually she is thinking about us and making sure we are OK.

As for the small man, well I suspect that he and Grandma are into mischief and keeping Grandad on his toes. I tried to Facetime earlier and the small man clearly grabbed the iPad and hit answer. Just as he answered I heard Grandma say something about cancelling the call so as I said ‘hi’ he retorted that ‘Grandma said to cancel the call, so bye’. With that he hung up and nobody is answering Facetime – charming!

Right, this lady on the TV is making a fox out of chicken wire – best I go and learn how to do this, you never know when such a skill will be of use…..

There may or may not be a post tomorrow…….

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

Donate at


Whatever Would Hilda Have Said & A Healthy Appendix After All……

I adored my Grandma Hilda, (I still do even though she shuffled off in a characteristic no nonsense fashion some twenty odd years ago), and I often think of her and what she would have said about all sorts of things as I trundle through life. When I am in a quandary I often still ask her what I should do. Needless to say there is a resounding since in response but it makes me feel better anyway.


She was a hard-core Lancastrian lady. Up at the crack of dawn she would have cleaned out the fire, scrubbed the front door step, delivered a baby, laid out the latest person to have shuffled off in the street and done the washing all before breakfast. Yeap, she was a formidable character but was a dude as well.

So, as she is no longer with us instead of dealing with everyday matters before breakfast, she probably organises St Peter every morning before polishing the Pearly Gates and getting all the new comers settled in.


So, with her own unique directly spoken approach she has probably of late told Prince that purple is not his colour, told Paul Daniels to put that damned rabbit down, barked at David Bowie that that amount of make-up on a man is really not acceptable and would finally have asked Victoria Wood for a rendition of Barry and Freda which always reduced her to tears of laughter.

After all her morning chores and getting everybody in order on Sunday, I fully expect the much loved Hilda to look down and see me and himself on the starting line for The London Marathon. Hilda and himself always got on well, ever since we visited and he proceeded to peel and chop the carrots for Sunday lunch. Hilda was impressed by his aptitude with a vegetable peeler and his carrot chopping skills and from that moment onwards he was approved of. She really could not have cared less about his aviation skills. She often talked about the carrots episode for several years afterwards.

So, as Hilda stares down at us on Sunday morning I can fully envisage her asking what the heck we are doing and ‘why the bloody hell would they want to do that?’. There would then be some grating comment about them not realising that they could get a bus from Greenwich to Buckingham Palace, (not that she ever visited London as far as I am aware and so would have no knowledge of the bus system).


These thoughts are pretty much what I have been thinking over the last few days as my emotions roller coaster from sheer terror to excitement to absolute hypochondria. I still stick resolutely to my policy of refusing to beat myself up over the whole event and a grim determination to have a laugh and enjoy the experience – but sheer terror is certainly a regular visitor to my daily life.

However, I know why we are doing this and I know that a few hours of getting myself around the streets of London is absolutely nothing if I can do my bit to help raise a stack of money for Tommy’s and help save babies’ lives.

All joking aside, I know Hilda may well be quite vocal about her apparent perception of our crazy activities, but that a lot of this is pure bravado and actually a sense of pride and she would have been very supportive.

Without wishing to be gushing and over sentimental, (regular readers will know that I simply do not do cuddly, fluffy and emotional stuff), I do hope that she takes a break from her organisational tasks at The Pearly Gates on Sunday, takes Gabriella, (click here to remind yourself of Gabriella’s story), under her motherly wing and they sit together and guide us through the whole run.


One of Hilda’s constant mantras was that it is always worse thinking about something than actually doing it and this is a thought that keeps rattling through my head. It is worse thinking about the marathon than doing it – I am sure.

So, what has been happening over the last few days. Well the small man is safely installed with Grandma and Grandad and is eating his way through all Lincolnshire’s food supplies.

We played a blinder on the Strawberry Blond Hand Grenade yesterday – a surprise visit from Mum and Dad and out for tea. Yeap, she had no idea that we were inbound and as we approached the edge of the sports field she froze to the spot as she clearly deciphered what she was seeing. Needless to say I was avoided as she ran to throw herself at himself – that Daddy/daughter relationship thing wins every time in our household.


So, having handed over the goody bag with Grandma’s baking, a fab evening was had by all before depositing her back into the safe hands of school later in the evening.

So, here goes. Yeap, we are heading down to London – this time the day after tomorrow we will be in the thick of it. If we are not ready now then we never will be.

That said, that was not what I was thinking at 0300 this morning as blind panic overtook me as I was convinced my leg muscles were wasting away thanks to this tapering business.

I then convinced myself that the pain in my side was an acute appendicitis and that I would be in hospital rather than running the marathon. It quickly became apparent that actually my appendix was fine and the pain was due entirely to an acute case of wind.


I would just like to say a massive thank you to everybody who has messaged us via whatever medium over the last few days and weeks with messages of support. It really is so appreciated. To know that so many people are behind us is phenomenal. Thank you!

So, onward and upwards and all that. Or in that case down south clutching trainers and zinc oxide tape.

More jottings will be made I am sure…..


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

Donate at


Naked Jelly Babies & Psychological Warfare…..

It’s a quiet sort of day today – the sort of day when every thought relating to The London Marathon springs through your mind, from complete fear and trepidation through to excitement, determination and gritty stubbornness.


After the almost life-threatening experience in the local swimming pool yesterday I opted not to run the gauntlet with the more mature members of the community at their morning swim meet and instead decided that I really ought to chill before Sunday.

Now I am not sure how much of my current physical state is down to psychology and how much is down to me actually falling apart. I suspect that it is 99% the former and 1% the latter. It seems to me that the closer Sunday comes the more aches and pains I have. Today my other foot has started aching, (the poorly one may well be trying to ache but to be honest it is so pumped full of painkillers that I would never feel it anyway), my left hip is niggling, my right knee is uncomfy and my right ring finger is inexplicably stiff.


Under normal circumstances I am sure that none of these aches and pains would bother me in the slightest and I would probably not even notice them but pre-marathon paranoia has set in and everything at the moment is being blown out of all proportion in my head and is becoming a major obstacle in life.


Oh well, something has to keep my brain busy I suppose. God bless Nurofen is all I can say!

So, what has been happening? Well I think we have convinced Grandma that Sue Barker is not in Star Wars, the small man has completed all his Lego but is resisting the reading and I have successfully managed to iron himself’s and my names onto our running tops withstand any drama and most importantly of all without sticking them to Grandma’s iron, ironing board or any surrounding surfaces. That was a task that was also causing me concern as any damage to any household appliances, work surfaces or in fact anything would have resulted in excommunication.


So, yes the vests are done and packed. The zinc oxide tape is bought and packed. I just need to buy the world supply of Jelly Babies and I think I will be there.

To be honest I did not run with Jelly Babies in Saudi, Starbursts had to suffice. The reason for this was that I omitted to buy any to take back from the UK.

You are probably wondering why I simply did not buy any there. Well the reason for that is simple, I have never seen any for sale there and assume that they are not available.

The reasons for this could be many, but in reality I suspect, (with absolutely no evidence as corroboration), is that Jelly Babies are naked and as such are not allowed into Saudi Arabia. Yes, I know it sounds strange but stranger things have happened in the Land of Sand believe me….


OK, that pretty much covers it for today. There may not be a post tomorrow as himself is arriving and we are heading straight ‘up north’ to do a presentation for his work and so much of the day will be spent driving and presenting.

If I have chance to write down my ramblings I will do, but otherwise the next gripping instalment of my insecurities over The London Marathon will be on Thursday.

Keep smilin’!


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Tommo Glory, Soggy Bottom, Sue Barker in Star Wars? & Vassos Alexander……

First things first – massive respect and kudos goes to the legend that is Tommo. Yeap, yesterday the one and only, unique Tommo completed The Brighton Marathon for Tommy’s. He is now, justifiably, basking in Tommo glory in Brighton before heading back out to The Land of Sand. Massive, massive congratulations go out to Tommo – you are truly a legend Mr Tommo, brilliant work!

There is only one Mr Tommo - thank goodness!

There is only one Mr Tommo – thank goodness! Tommo glory at its best!












Massive congratulations also go to everybody else who completed the Brighton Marathon yesterday – especially those who ran for Tommy’s, you are all legends.

Congratulations also go to Tactical Pascale. Yeap, as we all launch into marathons for Tommy’s, Tactical refused to be left out and threw himself into a slightly unorthodox marathon. Yeap, in his absolute wisdom out very own Mr Pascale embarked on Saturday on ‘The World’s Most Boring Marathon’. Let’s be clear about this, it really was boring! Yeap, he ran round, and round, and round, and round the compound. Numerous laps of the 2.2 mile perimeter of the compound. Being slightly masochistic, Mr Pascale even refused music on his quest, that would have reduced the boredom factor and not have met the run’s criteria, in his opinion.

Tactical Pascale with his support crew post marathon

Tactical Pascale with his support crew & supporters post marathon








The demands of this marathon should not be underestimated, he had a support crew of three at best – none of the thousands of people in Brighton or London next weekend and his food supplies were in his wife’s bike basket as she cycled round the compound after him to keep him energised.

So, well done Tactical – a stunning effort out in the desert!

So, where are we up to? Well, himself is back in the Land of Sand post Abu Dhabi prior to heading out to the UK later in the week. The small man and I are installed in Lincolnshire and I am relieved to say that thus far Grandma has not offered to make any pancakes and I have thus far avoided and incidents with tea-bags -click here to find out what the heck I am on about.

The normal chaos has ensued since arrival, the small man has discovered the rather large Lego, reading books and colouring books order that I made to keep him occupied while he is under the care of his Grandparents and has dived into it all in glorious fashion and largely completed the Lego within 36 hours of arrival.








I did have a brief foray into the local town this morning to the toy department of the largest shop and considered buying Twister for his entertainment. Then I considered the arthritic state of the older members of the household and thought better of it. The last thing I need this weekend is a phone call as I am on the marathon starting line to say that Grandma is stuck with one hand on a red dot and one foot is on a green one. So, common sense kicked in and I opted for a Denis The Menace jigsaw instead – the risk assessment is somewhat tamer on that one.










Part of the Lego order for the small man was a rather impressive model from Star Wars called ‘Millennium Falcon’ – I am sure that Star Wars aficionados will be very familiar with this space thingy but as a self-confessed Star Wars numpty it is new to me.

However, this has caused some discussion and confusion between the small man and Grandma on all things Star Wars. This has particularly been focused on the character Chewbacca. I am not sure if Grandma’s hearing is failing or the small man is not talking very clearly but Grandma seems to think that actually Sue Barker is starring in Star Wars and is a pivotal character in the plot……

sue barker





So, this tapering business – what a pain, a complete and utter pain. I just want to be out there training. Yeap, I know it is important and has to be done, but this tapering down of activity is up there with the toughest things about training – well apart from running around the compound.

So, this morning I took myself off down to the local swimming pool. Now, please bear in mind that this is the same swimming pool that I used to go to from school for swimming lessons a few thousand years ago. I am pretty sure that it still has the same decor and staff as all those years ago and possibly the same water……

However, it is a pool and it works – just. Even if it does need some TLC.










But there was a problem. I arrived at the pool at around 0900 this morning and went straight through to the pool.

Now, I think we have all been in the position where we have walked into a bar somewhere and as we walk in the whole bar goes quite and turns to look at you in a questioning fashion.

Well, that was the swimming pool this morning. I walked into the pool area and a stoney silence fell across the entire area. I swear that several grey haired folks stopped swimming, stood up in the pool, (it really is not a deep pool so even the slightly smaller, shrunken folks can stand in the deep end and have the water at mid stomach height), and glared at me. Even the life guard turned her zimmer frame round and stared at the newcomer in the camp who had dared to gate crash their morning swimming meet.

I pretended not to be aware of the thousand, (well about 20), sets of eyes burning holes in me and got in the pool.

It was at this point that it became increasingly apparent that I had gatecrashed their daily swim meet. Suddenly there were pensioners everywhere and it was clear that they were not going to move, the obligation was on me, (as the uninvited newcomer), to move out of the way of them and they were going to continue in a straight line at all costs.

There were grey haired heads all around me, especially in front of me and where I wanted to go.

So, everytime I reached the end of the pool I had to form a plan in my mind about what course I was going to have to take to get through the melee of pensioners and have a clear plan of my zig zag route.

I honestly think that an aqua GPS would have been of use.

I have to admit that I did almost bin the idea at one point and head out of the pool, but sheer pig-headedness would not let that happen. Anyway, if I had done that then they would have had nobody to tut at an aim their merciless glares at.










Finally a nice chap offered me his swimming space as he was getting out. He had carved out a lane at the side of the pool, but it came with a warning, ‘I would get using it quite quickly if I were you before one of these folks, (nodding towards the grey haired brigade), grabs it’. I took his advice and managed to finish my session relatively unhindered.

Anyway, I survived – just and I may just go back again tomorrow morning, just to see their reaction.

The only problem I had was that I had forgotten to take post-swimming clothes with me – a bit of an issue when you are heading into the metropolis of the local town after the pool.

A whole new meaning to the term ‘soggy bottom’.

So, to Sunday and The London Marathon. Yeap, nerves are jangling but my philosophy that I am determined to enjoy the experience, have fun and not beat myself up over it purveys. I am going to have fun – even if it hurts!

This philosophy was bolstered this morning as I was listening to Vassos Alexander and Chris Evans chatting about The London Marathon on Radio 2. Fab! I have been reading Vassos Alexander’s book – ‘Don’t Stop Me Now‘ – about his road to marathon running and it is pretty fab.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 15.44.25









But, this morning Vassos said something very interesting which hit home with me. He said, forget about times and forget about speed, the actual challenge is actually between the runner and the distance, it is a personal challenge.

Point taken.

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Another Epiphany, Much Fun, 8 Days to Go & Pooped Shoulders……

Well, once again apologies for the tardiness of this post, I put the blame wholeheartedly and unreservedly at the door of Mrs M. Yeap, I blame the legendary Mrs M for leading me astray, forcing me to partake in alcohol and making me lapse in my devotion to The Every Inch Of Tarmac blog.


So, what has been happening? Well, firstly and most importantly I am out of Saudi Arabia and the next time I am in the land of sand I will be accompanied by my London Marathon medal – whoop whoop!

So, yes, I am in Abu Dhabi and later on this evening the small man and I will be boarding the BA big bird and heading over to England to voyage up to the flatlands of Lincolnshire to deposit the small man with Grandma and Grandad. Yes, I am travelling BA but this flight was booked pre-falling out dramatically with BA, (well, my falling out with BA – they haven’t even noticed and do not care), and I would be cutting my nose off to spite my face to go Etihad or Emirates.


First and foremost I would like to reassure everybody that the camel stool, Arabic doors and Saudi Arabian flag made it through to Abu Dhabi unscathed and almost disaster free. I would say completely disaster free but that would be a lie. There was a small skirmish at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh when the Saudia check in guy got a tad over enthusiastic about the doors and himself got slightly over demonstrative in his reply. However, the check in guy did his best Arabic smile, winked and allowed them through. Himself just grimaced with a ferocity only he can produce and grumbled loudly for the subsequent 20 minutes. Anyway, all the baggage arrived here in Abu Dhabi unscathed much to the delight of Mrs M and as I write tonight’s submission my feet are resting on the camel stool – albeit a slightly damp castle stool as I have just spilt G&T over it, much to Mrs M’s disgust!


There has been a remarkable improvement in the state of my sinuses, the humidity and lack of general rubbish in the air has led to a major deluge of grot from my sinuses and an overall ability to breath – very reassuring.

Well yesterday was largely spent shopping. Yeap you can shop in Saudi but it isn’t quite the same, the Malls are not as nice and quite frankly when you have to leg it round the Malls in your Abaya before everything shuts down for prayers then it is a bit of a pain. Whereas in Abu Dhabi the Malls are fab, no Abayas and while the prayer calls are made the world does not have to adhere to them and so life continues. So, a good deal of yesterday was spent in Yas Mall – Abu Dhabi’s newest Mall with all the latest stores.

Now I have to admit that I made a mistake last week. I happened to mention to Mrs M that since my weight loss with the mad pre-marathon training my clothes were largely hanging off me and I ‘simply had nothing to wear’. Well that is not what you say to Mrs M.


All children despatched with their fathers, she and I hit Yas Mall big style. Now, those blog readers who know me well will know that actually I am much more comfortable wandering around the Apple Store, Virgin Megastore or any good quality sports store than wondering around clothes stores. Mrs M also made its completely clear to me that any visits to M&S were completely out of the question.  Since I finished work and himself left the RAF, I no longer had the need to be ‘professional person’ or ‘wife of’ then I no longer had to begrudgingly drag myself around numerous clothes shops. This was only augmented by the move to Saudi Arabia, where quite frankly on the compound wearing anything other than shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops is out of place. Alternatively swimming costumes are the norm unless you head off compound when abayas are a must – but quite frankly you can wear what the heck you like underneath that, or not as the case may be. All a bit farcical really,


So, Mrs M has rumbled that I need new clothes after my weight loss. Oh dear. Two hours in Yas Mall, just her and me with the bank card. Ouch. Well, a few sets of clothes and shoes later I was sorted. The whole experience was not without trauma, two very strong characters shopping together with very different ideas of what was needed. Yeap, there was very nearly a friendship divorce in the shoe section but we made it through relatively unscathed overall.

So, new clothes in hand, babysitter booked and Mr & Mrs M, himself and I were going to head out. Yeap, a night out, that is two nights out in one week, what is becoming of me? Social animal. Nice meal out to start off with and then onto The Viceroy for cocktails on the roof terrace – oh get us! Very sophisticated! Some sort of cars zipping around on the Formula One circuit below us, don’t ask me what sort of cars, they were loud, fast, quite colourful and had four wheels each – that is about all I can report on that one. I do however wonder what Mrs M has been up to there in my absence as on arrival the host waiter clearly knew and remembered her from a previous visit as did our table waiter who greeted her like a long lost friend and even gave us free drinks….Mrs M resolutely denies any wrong doings in the past but personally I have my doubts.


It was at this point in the evening that Mrs M decided to take a photo of himself and me on my phone and in my questionable wisdom I posted it on Facebook. Well, I say – what a response. At the time of writing I think we are on about 109 ‘Likes’ and 24 ‘comments’. Yeap, in our terms we seem to have gone viral. I say, what a surprise, who would have thought that himself and I are that interesting??? Well, I never did.

So, onto other matters. In the early stages of yesterday’s shopping session, at the point that despatching the male members of the party as well as the small people would have been viewed as rude, unacceptably early and resulted in stroppiness, we visited a fab store called HQ. This is not just a store but an adventure centre. The branch in Yas Mall is relatively small compared to other branches but as well as being a fab store for all outdoor activities it also has a climbing wall – perfect for wearing out small children. Anyway, yesterday I took the opportunity to buy the Speedo swimming paddles that I had been after for a while for my swimming training.

Today, I used them for the first time in the sea here in Abu Dhabi. The benefits of this are multiple – including a good salt water nasal enaema but as far as my arms are concerned these paddles are killers.


I am now struggling to raise my hands above my head. Yeap, it says on the box that they are designed for strength and endurance and there is no way that Speedo can be caught on the Trade Descriptions Act for that one. My shoulders feel like they have grown in width by 3 feet on either side and have been on fire since I finished swimming. In addition, somehow my face somehow copped it with the sun while I was swimming so while my shoulders are burning away and I am struggling to lift my G&T to my lips, my face feels like it has been attacked by a blow torch on max setting colouring a creme brûlée. Yeap, I am glowing gently albeit with a swim hat line running across my forehead…..

So, to the epiphany. Regular readers will know the roller-coaster of emotions that I have The London Marathon. Yeap, I have been everything from terrified to panic-stricken to manic to resigned. Well, with 8 days to go I have come to realise that actually I am doing The London Marathon and I could not have done any more than I have done to prepare. So, a week tomorrow I will be doing The London Marathon to the best of my ability but if I have to walk some of it so be it. Also, I refuse to beat myself up over it and get completely stressed out about it. This is a once in lifetime experience and I am going to enjoy it, have fun and relish every moment. No, I am not stressed, I am excited.

I will finish, I will get the medal and I will help to raise a stack of money for Tommy’s. I am slightly concerned that I am so chilled but hey I know I will do it come what may.

Right, best I go and throw the debris from a  weekend in Abu Dhabi in a suitcase and get ready to greet the BA flight to London this evening. I am sure that our arrival in the flatlands will be warmly appreciated as the small man and I arrive with sand covered, wet swim kit, sunburnt faces and general post Abu Dhabi weekendness. Ho hum……


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

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