TW3 – 07/04/13 / The 2013 list

What ho!

I’ve been making good use of the Easter break (I refuse to call it a holiday. I went back to work for a rest!) to tick some more things off the 2013 list.

13. Try a new ice cream flavour – Love Potion no.31 according to Baskin Robbins. Funcy raspberry ripple to the rest of us.

39. Do something that scares you – I went ice skating. Girl was taking part in a Easter learn to skate thing and I went on the ice with her a couple of times. Much to her embarassment as it turned out because she was Jayne Torvill Jr after one lesson, while clutched onto the barrier with grim determination. I was much happier when I returned to dry land.

53. Buy yourself something frivolous – nail varnish. A must have for some perhaps, but a cheap taste of frivolity for me.

55. Hang something new on the wall – I might have gone a bit over the top here. The fantastic canvases you see here are the work of Barry Neeson. He is incredibly talented, be sure to click on that link and check him out. Elsewhere, my Marilyn fetish continues unabated, while the photograph of St Fatima (we think) was taken by my father.

This cheerful chap is in the bathroom.

And this is above the kettle – obviously!

It’s been a busy ol’ week for me. I took a few days off work so I could have big days out with Boy and Girl, which went off mostly without a hitch. Though you wouldn’t like Boy when he’s angry…

Most importantly – I CAN EAT CHOCOLATE AGAIN!

Ahem. And how are you?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Inverness Half Marathon – 17th March 2013

In the beginning, there was the River Ness 10k, and at that race there were goodie bags. Those bags contained flyers for the Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon and lo, I did think to myself, how hard can it be?

The answer, as I discovered on last Sunday, is very, very hard indeed.

Sunday dawned fairly early for me. I hadn’t slept well and there had been the inevitable stress dreams. Myself, Himself and Dr Thomas all paced about the house, forcing down porridge and toast and trying not to let nervous energy get the better of us.  Our support crew – Team Cheer – were figuring out which pub they were going to.

We hit the road to Inverness and joined the slow crawl of traffic heading towards the sports centre. We got in, got registered fairly quickly, realised none of us had pens to fill in the details on our numbers and wrestled with binbags in a bid to make fashionable rain covers to wear at the start line. This is the worst bit of racing – the hanging around. Eventually we were piped to the start line (nice touch actually) to do a bit more hanging around. I stuck my headphones in and kicked off my specially prepared, kick bottom playlist (more cheese than an Edam factory) and finally, finally, we got over the start line.

The first 5-6 miles of the Inverness Half Marathon is essentially the River Ness 10k in reverse – along the river at Bught Road , over the bridge and then Ness Walk, onto Island Bank Road and then Dores Road into Torbreck and towards Inverness Royal Academy . I kept it steady, running 11.25/11.03/11.08/11.02 for first 4. During the long training runs I had always picked up the pace around mile 5, I felt settled into what I was doing and ready to let go a bit. It was no different on Sunday. Miles 5-7 slipped by in 10.39/10.38/10.29 respectively. The tunes were pumping and I felt good. Unfortunately, by this stage the weather had gone to hell in a handcart. What had started as a gentle drizzle got heavier and heavier and the wind got stronger and colder. I could only give thanks for my decision to wear my contact lenses and layer up my running t-shirts.

Once we got past IRA, we were into a loop of suburban streets, often running on pavements. Though there were marshals and police to supervise runners crossing the bigger stretches of road, there were a number of roads we had to cross ourselves and not as much signage as there perhaps could have been to alert motorists to the presence of 2,500 crazy people pounding the streets. However, for me at least, there were no close calls. I dropped back to 11.06 during mile 8 and as I passed the 9 mile sign, a stitch started to nag away at my right hand side. It continued to pester me for the next two miles, which were covered in 11.07/11.03 respectively. Myself and Himself had been fairly close together throughout the race and at mile 11 disaster struck. His knee, which had been worrying him for a few days, popped. He slowed right down and our fellow runners had to listen to me bawling at him to keep going. I slowed down to keep an eye on him and was braced to start shrieking for first aid. I shuffled through the mile at 11.37. Himself caught up and told me he had to push on and get finished before the pain got worse. By this time we were back on Island Bank Road , getting ready to cross the bridge and get back onto Bught Road .

Mile 12 was hideous. Horrible. I wanted to cry and actually started but I didn’t have the breath to do that and keep running. I kept watching the runners ahead of me, desperate for some sign than the end was in sight, but they just kept going. The time here was 11.55. The Inverness Half finishes on the race track behind the sports centre and it was all I could do to keep putting one foot in front of the other to get there. I felt like I had nothing left. All I was trying to do was keep Himself in sight and be sure he finished ok. Rounding the track and with the finish line in front of me all I could hear was the most enormous cheer from the right. Team Cheer were there and screaming my name. From God knows where I found the will to lift my feet and beast it to the finish line. Upon crossing the finish line I then hung myself over a barrier and wept. I continued crying while getting my medal and goodie bag and for a little while after that. Mile 13 had been completed in 11.15. I was done, cold, sore and utterly exhausted. I suspect I was also a little dehydrated, I certainly felt rotten for an hour or so afterwards. However, a hot shower, a swim, sauna, another shower and much meat in the BBQ hut helped me return to myself.





I spent most of Monday and Tuesday hobbling about like an OAP. I’m slightly more like myself today (Wednesday) but still dog tired. I’m certainly not planning to put my trainers back on this week, though I will be at my usual class on Saturday morning. Aside from tight thigh muscles, I have escaped remarkably unscathed. Himself and Dr Thomas are already having discussions about the next step (m***thon) which I remain non-committal about. We’ll see…….

I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who has sponsored me for this and the other crazy things I’ve been doing. I am thankful for my running buddies and Team Cheer. I am also grateful beyond words to Dr Ron and the ElfMum for their kindness and hospitality. Cheers guys, I’m away for a lie down

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

TW3 – 11/03/13/The 2013 list

A day late – I felt a bit squirly, so it was early to bed last night. Possibly a wee chill from running in the snow, possibly dehydration, possibly a simple lack of tea through the day!

26. Do something nice for someone you don’t know or don’t much like – Done. No names, no pack drill 🙂

*More interesting conversations with Boy and Girl this week. We covered diverse topics such as Medusa, why did Michael Jackson die and are you our stepmother? Sheesh.

*I wandered from clothes shop to clothes shop in increasing frustration. I am bored of skinny jeans. I do not ‘heart’ the peplum. Is it me?

*Is there such a thing as too many toys?


*More running, in the snow, again. This time next week it will be done and I will have had my first drink of 2013. And second. Probably third too, to be fair.

*Entering the Baker Hughes 10k. Why am I continuing to do this to myself?

*Wishing my mummy – and wonderful mamas everywhere – a Happy Mother’s Day.

*Boy is autistic and this report in the Independent, about a game which simulates the impact of autism, was very interesting. I think Boy is on a different place in the spectrum to the child in the piece, but I would love to open a little door into his head and see what is happening in there sometimes.

*The former journalist in me was geeking out over this – the full transcript of the e-mails between Vicky Pryce and Isabel Oakeshott. Fascinating stuff.

And how are you?

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

TW3 – 3/3/13

*I ran 11.5 miles today. ELEVEN POINT FIVE MILES. I’ve been hobbling about a bit since. I still can’t quite believe I’m managing this.

*I assume the foam Jesus’ are sold separately?


*Much cutting out for the benefit of Brownies.


*Getting Himself into The West Wing. Resistance is futile.

*Cringing at these tales of interviews gone wrong – via the Graun

*I do love a list – via the Graun

*Animals! – via The Telegraph

I am terribly far behind with Sarah Rooftops/Foof&Faff’s list of things to do. I am hopeful that this will resume (along with many other things) after the half-marathon.

And how are you?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Goblinproofing one’s chicken coop

Because it gets boring typing ‘TW3’ all the time 🙂

*Taking a trip straight down memory lane with one sniff of a bottle of amoxycillin. Boy has had an ear infection. He is much better now.

*Not judging by appearances. His foundation could have been measured in inches but he was an unbelievably sweet chap.


*Enjoying my niece’s birthday party. Pizza, sausage rolls, crisps and many cups of tea.

*Also enjoying some new Sh’Bam routines.

*After posting my tribute to running, I had a truly pants run on Wednesday. C’est la vie. Much better today, apart from getting felled by a horrible stitch. I swore loud enough to hear myself over the tunes blaring in my ears, so I probably caused some consternation. 3 weeks to go…..

And now to share some lovely links…….

The real reason why I plumped for my post title – courtesy of the BBC

Paging all cider lovers – via The Independent

The Guardian’s new running blog – well worth a look

In fact, the whole Grauniad Life and Style section

And how are you?

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Running. And why I do

My running journey began almost 3 years ago. I had just moved into a new home and started a new job. It was a time for fresh starts after a fairly unhappy 18 month period in my life. One of the perks of my new job was access to a gym, with a running machine. I was overweight and unfit but here were the tools to change all that and in the same building I worked in.

Friends had waxed lyrical about the Couch to 5k programme, so I looked it up and off I went.

It was hard work. Really, really hard work. The clock on the treadmill always seemed to drag, I would frequently come out of the gym drenched in sweat and I was making life even tougher on myself by wearing a dreadful pair of trainers. My knees are straight out of the bargain basement anyway, courtesy of a couple of heavy falls in my younger days. Crap trainers and having to shift my 16/17 stone bulk about was not helping. Better yet, I didn’t have a sports bra! The first run I did after getting good trainers and hoisting the ladies into proper foundation garments was a revelation. I’m amazed I kept at it as long as I did and I can only credit my stubborn streak for that.

Eventually I began to find the treadmill limiting. By February 2011 I had entered the Baker Hughes 10k and I knew I needed to take my trainers outside. This is where I hit a new stumbling block. I was trying to push it as hard on the tarmac as I had been on the treadmill and I couldn’t do it. Thankfully, I was able to buddy up with someone who could keep a steady pace and keep me in line. This was a real breakthrough for me and I have barely been near a treadmill since. I ran my first race on Sunday 22nd May 2011 in just over 65 minutes.


Since then there have been 3 more 10k races and a 5k Santa Dash. Over that period I have spent something in the order of £300 on trainers (the Asics Gel Cumulus series, fact fans). In less than 4 weeks there will be the Inverness Half-marathon. I am training harder for this race than I ever have before, actually following a proper training plan. I’ve run in snow, rain, skidded about on slush and ice and almost fell flat on my face last week. On Sunday I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do less than go for a run. I forced myself, in a very bad humour, and got some of the best times I’ve had. So why do I put myself through it?

Partly it’s that stubborn streak of mine. I haven’t done all this hard work up to now to waste it and go back to being a lardarse. Partly it’s competitiveness. I am very competitive, in my own wee way. I get jealous of anyone who does a better time than me, regardless of their ability, training or experience. I also want to beat myself, do better than I did in the last race. I am my own harshest critic and I don’t really feel like I’ve done myself justice in any race since my first 10k. I know I can cover the distance, I know my legs will carry me, so why get stressed? Part of the reason for picking a new race was the extra challenge – can I run 13 and a bit miles? I am in new territory now, with training runs of 7 and 8.5 miles under my belt. Running further and longer than before and I’m coping. I’m actually doing it! The ego boost you get from that is addictive.

Also….don’t think I’m weird….but I actually kinda enjoy it. Not every time. A face first dash into the snow along North Deeside Road the other weekend was not, in itself, enjoyable. The sense of satisfaction at the end was. When I’m getting disheartened and spending too much time focusing on how others are doing, I remind myself of how far I’ve come. How much stronger my body has become. These days I’m still breathing through my backside at the end of a run, but the return to normality is dramatically quicker.

So there you go. That’s why I do it. Well, all that, and also to raise money for a flipping good cause – 

And how are you?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TW3 – 17/02/13

This week, I have been mostly….

* Musing on the fact that exactly 4 weeks from today I will be in a private pool, contemplating a meal of all the meat in world at the BBQ Hut. I’ll have to knock out a half marathon beforehand right enough…

* With that in mind, more running this week. I covered 8.5 miles today, my first run with the Nike+ running app on my phone. Himself has been a big fan of this for a while but I wasn’t fussed one way or the other. One run down and I am a convert and have been happily geeking out over my splits this afternoon.


* Noting the difference a week can make. Last week I ran face first into swirling snow and wind. Today was positively tropical in comparison. Spring must be round the corner, right?


* Sticking to Lent so far. I miss cake 😦

* Cursing toothache in all it’s forms. Not me, but Himself. He’s bearing up remarkably well, all things considered.

* Quality romance on Valentine’s Day 😀 Also, check out this article on first date disasters from The Grauniad.


*Speaking of the Graun, how about this thought provoker on disabled people and sex?

And how are you?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Lent 2013

It’s that time again. A bit of self sacrifice is good for the soul. Apparently…..

Anyway, I’m making my sacrifices public in order to better stick to them. You lot are my witnesses, ok?

1. No chocolate. An oldie but a goodie. I have enjoyed a hearty final meal 🙂


2. No sweets, cakes or biscuits. There is too much of this rubbish in my diet, time for it to go.

3. No sugar in my tea. I’ve been on this one for a week already, so far, so good.

Will you be giving anything up? And how are you?

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The 2013 List

23. Write a big, long list of things that make you happy
  1. Himself. (If you don’t like soppy stuff, I suggest you skip down the list)

I had been single for a long time when I met Himself. I had gone down several blind alleys in my pursuit of love, forgetting that these things have a habit of popping up when you very least expect them. For whatever reason, it fits. I feel comfortable with him. That might sound dull, but it’s really not. Occasionally I will look over at him and just be swept away by how much he means to me. Also, he finds me funny. A lot is said about how we all want someone who can make us laugh, but what I hadn’t realised is how lovely it is to be the person provoking that laughter. I really like the fact that I can make him laugh, that he finds me funny. The novelty of that hasn’t worn off yet.

  1. Boy and Girl.

As previously discussed here.

  1. Getting into a freshly made bed, preferably with sheets that have been line dried.

Self explanatory, that one.

  1. The perfect cup of tea

I am well practised in the art of tea-making and I know what I like. However, there are those occasions when the planets align, the water is the right temperature, the tea brewed for the right time, the right amount of milk (and sometimes sugar) is added and you have before you a cracking cup of tea.

  1. Cookery programmes

Not all of them – I cannot abide Heston, for example – but Masterchef: The Professionals, Nigella, Delia, Nigel Slater and Rick Stein all make me a very happy girl.

  1. Recipe books

I sit and read these like other people read normal books. It’s the ultimate in comfort reading as I plan a whole range of feasts. I never cook any of them right enough….

  1. Planning/organising

I love the anticipation of events, at least as much as the event itself. Checking, researching, writing plans. Love it!

8. Waking up in the middle of the night, looking at the clock and realising there’s still hours to go before I have to get up.

Another pretty straightforward one.

What makes you happy? And how are you?

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

TW3 – 10/02/13

This week, I have been mostly….

* Answering more direct questions – specifically ‘what are those (tampons) for?’ I think I managed to strike the balance between honesty and keeping it relevant for a 6 year old.

* Doing (much) better than I thought I would on this grammar test from The Grauniad. How did you do?

* Being utterly fascinated by these pictures of North Korea, as seen in The Telegraph. I am a bit obsessed with the DPRK, one of my best Christmas presents was Nothing to Envy, a brilliant book focusing on people who’ve defected from the North to South Korea. I’d highly recommend it.

* Dog sitting.


*Feeding my ongoing Marilyn Monroe fetish. It’s helping charity at the same time, so it’s not all bad.


* Sweet loading. It’s a real thing. Honest! Lent starts on Wednesday, so I’m enjoying every last sweet morsel I can.

* Being a bit worried about the Decline in Dahl. I love Roald Dahl, the idea that a new generation of kids aren’t connecting with him is quite sad.

And how are you?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments