Tuesday, April 24, 2018

This is it!

I can't tell you how I excited I am to be typing this.

Alzheimer's Research UK (ARUK)  and the Alzheimer's Society have joined forces for the next 12 months to create a Dementia Revolution and become the official charity partner at the Virgin London Marathon 2019.

Oh my goodness, I have dreamt about this for 13 years since I ran my first ever London marathon.  Back then ARUK was known as the Alzheimer's Research Trust and the reason I chose to support them rather than the Alzheimer's Society was that they were a small charity with big ideas, such big ideas, about research to cure this dreadful disease.  The charity has now grown into a major force in the fight against dementia and this collaboration with the Alzheimer's Society will bring dementia to the fore and give the cause the high profile it deserves.

If you check out the site you'll find a photo of me here http://www.dementiarevolution.org/run/fundraise/fundraising-tips as I gave a list of ideas that have worked for me over the years.  I also shared training tips and I expect the site will evolve over the next 12 months.

You can read more about the alliance here.

This really is a wonderful platform to draw attention to dementia.

A Quick Catch-up

I am sooooooo excited I can hardly wait for tomorrow to share something very exciting here.  However, today I am still sworn to secrecy and so I'll do a quick update of 2 events.

The Tractor Run

What's a 'Tractor Run'? I hear you cry.  It's an event organised by our favourite tree surgeon Chris to raise money for a local hospice in Hastings.

We accidentally caught part of it last year as Mike and I were heading off for a walk when a stream of tractors trundled past us so this year we went to the start to watch them set off.

Now Chris has done lots of tree/hedge/clearing work for us in the past, seen here dangling high up in an oak tree but we didn't know beforehand that he had organised this event - good man!

We walked down to Bodiam about 45 minutes before the start and I waved excitedly to all the tractors going past us on the main road.

The first person I spotted was Katie with 2 of her little ones and doggie.

Then we had a quick chat with Chris before having a wander around to look at all the various shapes and sizes of vehicles.  There seemed to be many more than last year and after a while they started to look the same so we headed off for coffee and cake.

Then everyone started to load up and get into line ready for the off:

Katie made some last minute adjustments before loading the trailer with children and dogs:

Are you bored yet?  Are you even still reading?!!!

 OK, I'll spare you the rest.  The next photos are all taken en-route courtesy of Katie:

When they reached their destination they stopped for lunch before retracing their route back.  Thankfully the weather was kind.

I've just heard from Chris that they raised more than double the amount from last year with a whopping £1000.52 for the hospice.  Well done everyone!

Another Marathon

No, not the London marathon this year although it was on the same day.  It was an event organised by Traviss and Rachel who called it the Rejects Marathon, for anyone who didn't get a place in the London marathon!  I was keen to be there as Rachael was celebrating her 100th marathon and the dress code was tutus and tiaras.

The tutu I had already and I improvised with the tiara by sticking some of my purple tinsel on my cap:

It was fun watching people arriving in a variety of costumes.

Traviss made his usual announcements and Rachel presented the other Rachael (different spelling!) with her special number which we'd all signed.

It was hot and the concrete along the seawall reflected the heat and made it feel even hotter.  I just got my head down and started to grind out the miles.  There was plenty of banter amongst everyone which helped pass the time and Rachael's little group kept stopping to pose for photos:

I did toy with the idea of going ultra and doing 50k but by the last lap all I wanted to do was head home for a bath and a glass of something sparkly so I did a brisk walk for the last lap, whilst taking a few photos, and headed for home.

Phew, that was a scorcher and I was delighted to finish in 5:28 which I believe is a course record for me.   Goodness knows how as I felt quite sluggish in the heat!

Love this medal!

Apologies for the lack of words in this post but I'm too excited and I can't wait for tomorrow to come so I can share the exciting news with you.

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Yep, we saw that beautiful yellow globe for a short while last week and what a difference it made to our spirits!  I spent every dry day out in the garden trying to play catch-up interspersed with some maintenance runs - I have another marathon next weekend on the same day as the London marathon which I'm not doing this year.  I also needed to do some preparation for a talk I'm doing in our village next week about my association with Alzheimer's Research UK (I can hardly believe it's been 13 years!).

Carbeth Cardigan

As soon as the sun peeped out the daffodils burst into flower with a vengeance and we used the opportunity to take some photos of me wearing my Carbeth Cardigan standing next to a clump of daffodils, as you do!  I was surprised to see a whole load of traffic coming to my blog from Ravelry and when I checked I found that Kate had included me in her blog post entitled 'Carbeth Colour'.  Thanks Kate.

Yep, still showing off my 100 mile buckle!

I used just under 4 skeins of Artesano Alpaca aran (no longer available but gorgeous) and used 5 & 5.5 mm needles.  I made the 2nd size which has just the right amount of drape.  I made the sleeves longer than usual so that I can leave the cuffs rolled down to cover my hands in cold weather - I have arthritis in my hands and spend most of Autumn and Winter wearing fingerless gloves around the house.

It's an absolute stunner and I'm really pleased with it.

I love this cardigan even more than the jumper version and I'm sure it will be a firm favourite.  By the way, Kate has now released her pattern for the longer version with lacy stitches.  It's called 'Carbeth Swan Dance' and yes, I'll be knitting that ready for the autumn. 

Into the Garden

We've had so many visitors recently, all getting prepared for their respective broods:

A pair of Jays spent hours gathering small twigs from the orchard

Mrs T. Duck, wife of Titch (of Titch and Quackers fame who have lived here for about 5 years now) started to take a great deal of interest in the pot by the front door.  She kept flying up into it and pushing all the soil aside to make a nice hollow.  I carefully gathered up the bulbs she pushed out and planted then elsewhere!  It isn't the first time she's laid eggs there but they were more exposed until I planted a small conifer in there which seems to make the eggs less visible.

Her preference was to lay an egg first thing each morning after breakfast, sit on it for a couple of hours and then leave it alone until the next morning when she'd lay another one.  They don't lay them all at once 'cos it would be impossible as we've seen nests containing 15 eggs before.  When she's satisfied that she's laid enough she will start sitting on the eggs which are then called a 'brood'.  Last time I checked she'd laid 8 eggs and she seems to be spending much more time sitting on them now and when she leaves the nest to get food she covers them with down plucked from her belly.

As she's right by the porch door we try to leave as quietly as possible and she just watches us carefully but doesn't move.  We're praying that the Magpies don't spot her as that's how previous broods have met their end.

Another welcome sight was this beautiful Greylag Goose who landed down by the pond one morning. I'd seen 3 flying over earlier so assumed he'd just lost his friends momentarily and had stopped for a rest.  He had a good look round and then came up towards the house so I got a wonderful view of him:

Then I turned my attention to some tidying of grasses and pruning in the front garden.  Getting rid of the dead grass makes such a difference to their appearance so although it's not the most glamorous of jobs it's well worth the effort.

This one had the added bonus of a young Natterjack Toad hiding in its midst!  Thankfully I didn't hurt him and I still left him plenty of dead grass to hide under.

Next it was the turn of the Pampas Grass which is much more tricksy as it's quite tough and you need to use leather gloves or it can cut your hands.  You also have to get right inside it to pull out the old stuff in the middle and the strappy leaves are quite strong and can hurt any exposed flesh.

First I cut off all the dried stems

Then I pulled out as much dead/dry material as possible.  After 1.5 hours I'd removed 2.5 barrow loads!

Aah, that looks a bit tidier!

I also cut down the massive stems of the Cardoons (you can see their silver leaves in the photo above right) and took all the stems round to the compost heaps.  Why?  Because they provide excellent nesting material for the birds who we keep seeing flying off with their beaks full of beautiful soft lining material for their nests!

I was also way behind with my pruning regime so there was a massive pile of sticks when I'd finished so I made a bonfire, as you do, and kept adding to it as I cut more branches.

These beautiful stems from the dogwoods are far to pretty to burn and I use them as plant supports:

I also did a bit of remodelling of the Pittosporum at the side of the house as it was getting too big for the space:

I stood back and looked at it for a while before deciding on the shape I wanted and settled for a ball as I could see the perfect place to start shaping.  That's much neater!

I have loads more to show and tell but not enough time so will save it all for later.  I also have a secret I'm bursting to share but have been sworn to secrecy for a while longer (which is agony as I've known about it for nearly 6 months already!).