Sunday, 26 March 2017

Le Weekend

Unusually, the sun came out this weekend. It had been looking like this might happen for a few days and we'd been discussing what we should do. Peter needed a 30 miler to keep his perfect Tynecastle Bronze record. I was reluctantly acknowledging that I do need to start doing some properly longer runs soon as I have a marathon at the end of May. But I didn't want to run 30 miles. The longest I've run this year is 16 miles, so 18 would be an appreciable increase. 20 was more than I wanted.

But I also had a shiatsu massage lined up for Saturday morning. I like trying things out and have discovered that you can get cheap shiatsu massage if you let shiatsu students do their exams on you. And it was just on the next street, which was perfect. Shiatsu massage is just light touching with your clothes on, before you get all excited. It's aligned with Chinese Medicine and I think they shift your chi around.

To accommodate everyone's needs and wants, Peter planned to hook up with Nick W to start a Tynecastle Bronze at Longniddry - run to North Berwick where I would join them, and continue on some 18 mile loop which Peter was selling as being filled with exotic fowl and tropical insects, beautifully manicured trails and sea-scapes to die for.

There was some tight timing involved so I had my massage and then had to shift gear somewhat - throw some strong coffee down my neck, and a big flapjack and motor down the road to get to NB in time. The sun was out, the coffee was hitting, there was some big baritone singing opera on Classic FM and the world seemed simply marvellous. 

I arrived in NB before my ETA but Peter and Nick were already there. In his enthusiasm, Nick had decided to do a Parkrun first and then pick up Peter and drive to Longniddry so they were ahead of time. I met up with them in Poonthai's where their table was crowded with teapots and cups. It was amazingly hot - 14 or 15 degrees after it having been snowing a little earlier in the week.
All of us suffered with it.

The boys were holding back for me but I was still going just slightly quicker than maybe I should have. I slowly dropped back and 'the boys' (some old guy and Nick W) joked that maybe my masseur from earlier in the day had put my chi in the wrong place. Haha. Puff puff. Plod Plod.
It was a nice trail. Nick and Peter claimed to see a green pheasant. I doubt it. I didn't see anything.

The sun seemed to make my lower legs all hot and my feet swell up and the last 5 miles were a bit of a horrid slog which I spent thinking about how much I don't want to run a marathon. Maybe I should transfer my place? Imagine that! Just not bother doing it!

A green pheasant. 

 So that was yesterday. We definitely didn't drink enough AND we burned our stupid faces. I had to get up in the night twice to drink water to cool down. My muscles were all achy and twitchy. It was hotter than hell.

Today we went for a much more moderate, soothing 6 miler at Gullane. We got some much needed coffee in at Falko's. Tempers were frayed and we got a bit shouty for a while. Nice to be out in the sun again though. After the first mile some of the cement fell off my legs and it was easier to run again.
The car opposite 'Picassoed' the Berlingo in quite a groovy way.

Hello deer.

Hello Beetle.

I didn't tell him to put his hands up, it must be force of habit.

A bird with a fishes tail!

Harry the Crab deceased.

And that's it. It was nice to see Michael Law at the start of our run and Graeme Dunbar at the end, both in real life!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Late Run

It was drizzling persistently yesterday morning despite Metcheck, the Met Office and BBC Weather all conspiring to say that the sun was shining. Me and Buchanan sloped around the house until things looked more promising. We're sometimes a little en retard, but yesterday might have been something of a record. We got down to Gullane after 3pm and were having difficulty getting out the car when we got there. These low grey skies can make you terribly grouchy and apathetic.

However. We got hopped up on coffee and scones and got out there. It took maybe half a mile to get into it.
The light was low and the photography was...illusive...

After feeling so very sluggish I found myself running quite briskly. We decided to extend our run as at least it was dry and who knew what tomorrow (today) might bring.

Skegness is so bracing.


There were a distasteful number of dead white toads bobbing just under the water. We suspect the heron.

Hohoho. Buchanan eats a tanker. Or he would if I could get it lined up properly.

I'm going to make the 3 following photographs into a triptych called

"Stand still you wee bastard."

Effective camouflage, but a fat lot of use that is to me.

Another Saturday gone. I wonder what we'll do today.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Spring Days

I've been using up my annual leave for my NHS job and so had a few extra days off here and there.
Last Friday Peter had finished up the job he'd been working on, so since I was off, he was at me to go to the BP portrait award exhibition at the Portrait Gallery. I wasn't keen. Our forays into the city aren't as successful as our forays into the country. At the risk of sounding like a philistine, art galleries are okay if it's raining or you're too tired to run or you need cake or you're cold, but otherwise...
and particularly the gallery space at the Portrait Gallery, which is cramped and brings you into much too close proximity to other people....

I went for a run first, which was good, because otherwise I'd have felt like I wasted my day. It was maybe bad because my legs were sore afterwards and sore as I walked around the gallery trying to fight down my irritation and wishing Peter would hurry up. There were some posh kids running around the gallery in outfits that probably cost more than my car. They were getting shushed not vigorously enough by whoever they were with. Clearly, they wanted attention. Nothing wrong with that but not in that context. Meanwhile the guard eyed me suspiciously, like I was going to steal the picture of the bishop. Who wants a picture of a bishop?  "Don't eye me! Go and tell Delilah and Abigail to shut up!" I didn't say. Maybe I should have. 

I liked this painting best. I see it didn't make it to the "highlights" part of the webpage, which is a shame. It was only later I realised that it was one of the few paintings that was of outside - which is probably why I liked it. I like the strong sun, and the flaky wall surface and I like the boy's tousled hair and the way he looks like he wants to be moving on somewhere else.

Evaporar-se pinched from the National Portrait Gallery website

 Later we made some art of our own. I enjoyed this a lot more.

Nothing creepy about this at all.

Here's me wearing a burn's helmet.

The next day I thought running would be challenging as I'd over-cooked it the day before. However, the sun came out, and maybe getting a bit more sleep was helping, because I felt super-charged and we had a great run round Gullane. The toads were out, which is always a really nice sign that spring is on its way. It was very still, so all we could hear was birdsong and nonsense. The nonsense was our own.

The next day I happened to notice that sunset and moon rise and the tide being low enough to go over to Cramond Island all happened within a few minutes of each other. I proposed that we hang off until nearer the time and maybe run over to Cramond island and get pictures if the moon coming up. I went on a bit of a cleaning spree before this, however, so I was kind of done come running time. This tends to happen and it's why I don't like putting running off until later.
We ran the airport route - which was kind of nice, but I was tired and my legs were achy.

 We kind of mis-timed the moon thing and it was higher in the sky than I'd meant it to be by the time we got back from the airport run and could see it. I'd hoped to catch it coming up over the sea. Whether it did or not, I don't know.

I took the next day off running to try to help my legs recover. When I'm working there are two days when I pretty much can't run, so these are my days off. Without these days I have to actually decide when not to run, which is hard! Anyway, Monday was it. I hoped that would mean I'd be fresh for Tuesday.

The Holy Grail. Scones and cups of tea.

Tuesday there were westerly gales forecast for the whole day but it looked like it would be sunny. We thought about going to the hills but it looked like it would be just too wild. I think this was right. We hatched a plan to start running from Longniddry where the nice trails start and run to North Berwick where we could catch the train back to Longniddry. Not a bad plan. In my head we were going to be sailing along lovely flat beaches with the wind behind. Sometimes that can be just the greatest feeling. However, we were both unaccountably done in and the wind was troublesome. It was knocking us side-ways, making us lean, blowing sand and foam in our faces and generally making us feel harassed. The tide was close up to the shore and the sand that was exposed was water-logged and very, very sinky. The wind was too loud to talk to each other a lot of the time.

At Yellowcraigs we made the decision to steer inwards rather than stick to the shore, where we were taking a hammering. I was grateful for a bit of tarmac again and the pace, which had been glacial, picked up a little bit. In North Berwick we just had time for a slightly incongruous scone and cup of tea in a Thai restaurant before getting the train back to Longniddry.

Hours before I had voted for parking the car in "Longniddry Bents Carpark no. 1"  because it would give us a bit more distance than just parking at Longniddry Station. I had not anticipated just how tired we would be by the time we got off the train and how unwelcome the 1 and a half mile run into the teeth of the wind would be. And then it started to rain. Buchanan berated me pretty much every step of the way but sadly I couldn't really hear what he was saying as the wind was too loud.

Now I have books to read and some work to do this evening and I am avoiding it.

I quite like all of my work but I like doing whatever I like when I want to best. I would like to win the lottery. There are a lot of stories about how winning the lottery brings suffering in its wake, and I would like to take on that suffering so that someone else doesn't have to. Just sayin'.