Sunday, December 21, 2008

I forgot all about this!

Oh dear, how on earth could I have forgotten to blog about the piece on ITV Meridian?! If Mike hadn't mentioned it then it would have slipped away unnoticed.

Anyway, we were contacted by ITV Meridian, a local news programme, about the scarf auction and Paul and his cameraman came round to do an interview.

Mike was around and so busied himself taking photos.

First we started in the kitchen with me looking at the auction website I had to try not to look at the camera and to move my mouse around the screen so I wasn't just sitting there staring at it!

Then we moved into another room, jiggled the furniture around, wrapped the scarf round my neck and started talking about the London Marathon, the scarf, why I did it etc. It's much easier to do this when it isn't going out live as you can just re-record any sections that you mess up.

Next, Paul wanted to get Mike into the shot as well - he wasn't expecting that! Just as well as he'd have made himself scarce if he'd known it was going to happen. No photos of this but they filmed us sitting together, looking at the scarf and through the Guinness Book of World Records.

They wanted some shots of me running as this was before the Hastings marathon. I was anxious to be able to wear my Alzheimer's Research Trust vest so they filmed me slipping it over my head and running off.

Peter, the cameraman, said it was a great "tits shot"!!!!!

Then it was just a case of running up and down the lane a few times.

It's always hard to measure what effect this sort of publicity has (exposure of the charity on TV is always good) but this time I had a very positive outcome - a lady I know in Hastings was watching and she clubbed together with her sister to send me a cheque for the charity (one of her sisters is in the middle stage of Alzheimer's). It was worth it for that alone.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Truly Lovely Person

Well, once again I have been humbled by the kindness of strangers. This is a bit long-winded but worth it for the ending.

I have done many radio interviews about the work of the Alzheimer's Research Trust and why it's so important. A couple of years ago a fellow runner was listening to BBC Radio Kent on her way to work when she heard me talking about running the London marathon whilst knitting. She recognised my voice (having a distinctive Lancashire accent in the South of England does make me stand out a bit!) and realised that she knew me.

When she got to work she excitedly told her boss about what I was planning to do. He had lost his own dear mother to Alzheimer's and his father had been her carer until her death so he understood about the disease. Later that same day she emailed me to say that not only was she going to sponsor me but that her boss would too. True to their word, they both made a donation.

This year he sponsored me again for the London marathon which was wonderful - but it doesn't end there.

As the scarf I knitted in the London marathon was being auctioned off I emailed him to let him know, adding that I would be sad to see it go but glad that it would raise more money for the charity. I did actually intend to make a bid for it so I could keep it! Almost immediately I received an email back telling me that he had made a bid of £100 for the scarf and that if he was the winning bidder then I could keep the scarf.

Yes, that's right, not only had he placed a very generous bid for the scarf but he was giving it to me to keep. I'm filling up just writing about it. And so it is that I am now sitting here typing, a bright pink scarf across my lap with a happy ginger cat on top.

In a world filled with doom and gloom, as it is at present, I am bathing in the glow of human kindness.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oregon Update

Excellent service as usual from Gill at the Woolly workshop. She emailed me to let me know it was back in stock, I ordered it yesterday and it arrived today. If only all suppliers were as reliable. I probably won't start the lace shawl immediately but I shall have a go at the nupps just to get the hang of them.

This is where I'm up to with Oregon. I've divided for the armholes and now have 3 sets of steeks on the go. 12 months ago I was terrified of just one but now I feel rather blase about them!
Marina has very kindly let me know that in some sizes, the shoulder joints don't match which is very tiresome and would really annoy me. Thanks for warning me Marina.

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments on my marathon. I still haven't worked out quite what I'll be doing next year so I need to get my act together pronto.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This is what I look like..... mile 22 in a marathon!

No. 16 done and dusted

Thanks for the good wishes!

The weather yesterday was near perfect for a marathon, being dull and cool (perhaps a bit too cold, especially for the spectators) with a slight breeze coming from the sea. It was a very jolly atmosphere and I met loads of people I knew at the start and during the race. I also put some more faces to names from the Runner's World and Fetcheveryone websites.

Ordinarily I don't like running on roads with heavy traffic but I felt confident as the marshalling was excellent and there were loads of signs out warning drivers to slow down. The organisation was superb as Eric Hardwick has been running the Hastings 1/2 marathon for 25 years. All the marshalls were friendly and encouraging and remained so right until the end (and some of them were standing out in the cold for over 5 hours!).

One of my favourite bits was heading into Battle where a convoy of bikers dressed as Father Christmas drove by!

I ran with many different people en-route, Cathy who's just returned from a 100 miler Himalayan challenge, Captain Wonder Pants who I last saw at Beachy Head, Plodding Hippo aka Ruth (who's now lost 2 stones in weight and doesn't plod any more!) who was running her 90th marathon, a man from the 100 marathon club who was running his 475th marathon (!!!) to name just a few.

I wasn't aiming for a specific time and just wanted to finish inside the 5:30 cut-off so I felt very relaxed with no pressure. I finished in 5:12:46 which is a pb for the year so I'm happy with that. I did the first 1/2 in 2:20 which I thought was quite good but I slowed down on the long flat bit from Bexhill and I walked the bit across the shingle as that had massive trip potential for one as clumsy as me! I really don't like long flat sections where I can see exactly where I'm heading. The horse brass we received at the end is gorgeous and has gone to join my other prized medals on the wall of my office.

Although I enjoyed the marathon very much it has confirmed that I much prefer the off-roaders.

I'll put some photos up tomorrow, including my progress on the Oregon cardigan. The good news is that the yarn I need for my lace project is now in stock and should be with me soon.

The other news is that I wore my Autumn Rose jumper the other evening to a very respectable gathering of the local Horticultural Society. I was careful to wear a camisole underneath, the same as in the photo, and Mike did a respectability check before we left home to check there wasn't a huge expanse of chest showing. Imagine my horror when I arrived home and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror displaying a massive amount of cleavage! The stupid camisole had worked its way down leaving the ladies on full show.

"Has it been like that all evening?" - I asked Mike.

"Yes", he replied. "I didn't think it looked like that when we left home".

"Why didn't you tell me?", I asked.

"I didn't think it mattered", he replied.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

This what I'll be doing tomorrow.......

Tomorrow is the Hastings marathon which will be my 5th and final marathon for the year bringing my total to 16. I can hardly believe it actually! The weather today is vile, with gale-force winds and lashing rain, but it sounds as if it will clear by tomorrow. Fingers crossed anyway.

There was an article about it on BBC South East today during the week.

The article about Christmas without mum appeared in Best magazine this tuesday, so that's a bit more publicity for the Alzheimer's Research Trust which is good, plus Mike and I made an appearance together on ITV Meridian last week.

It's interesting that Fiona Phillips appears on the cover of the magazine (albeit for a totally different reason on this occasion) as her mother suffered from Alzheimers and she is a spokesperson for the Alzheimer's Society.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Terry Pratchett and the scarf outside No.10 Downing Street!

It doesn't get much better than that for a humble scarf now does it?!

Terry, you are an absolute star for being such a good sport. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

If anyone has any pennies to spare and would like to bid on the scarf for the Alzheimer's Research Trust, the auction is now live here and runs until 17th December.

If you want to read my account of knitting the scarf whilst running the 2008 London marathon it is here

On T.O.P. of the world ma!

"T" is for tapering (that means reducing my mileage) ahead of the Hastings marathon in a couple of weeks. It will be my 5th and last marathon of this year bringing my total run, since I started marathoning 3.5 years ago, to 16 of which 12 have been run in the last 2 years. I can hardly believe that I've done it actually but I'm jolly glad I did as it's raised money for the Alzheimer's Research Trust and got some useful publicity too.

"O" is for Oregon which is progressing nicely. The Virtual Yarns wool is very different from the Jamiesons wool as it's all lovely and fluffy to start with, just as Marina had told me. I wasn't sure about some of the colours to begin with but am liking them more as it progresses. I've confirmed that I really am rather a slow knitter as I timed myself and it takes me 20 minutes to do a row. I shall never win a prize for being the fastest knitter in the West!

The yarn I need to start my lace project is still out of stock which is very annoying.

"P" is for the Press as there is going to be lots of stuff about Alzheimer's in the News over the next few days as Terry Pratchett is off to visit the PM to discuss the lack of funding for research into the disease. There will also be a press release about the scarf I knitted at the London marathon as it's about to go to auction. Hopefully it will raise some more money.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lots to catch up with

As usual there has been lots going on with little time to blog but I've got a spare few minutes now so here I go. A couple of weeks ago we had a photographer round taking photos for Best magazine. Tracey is a freelance photographer and regularly takes photos of famous singers/celebs, having recently done a studio shoot with Britney Spears.

She wanted to take photos outside with just a hint of Christmas so she'd come prepared with a Christmas wreath, tinsel etc. The article is about the first Christmas after mum died, how we felt and how I got through it and will appear some time in December. They also asked me what we intend to do this year and as we do not have any family we are thinking of helping out at a homeless shelter so they didn't want the photos to be full of decorations etc inside the house as that wouldn't give the right impression.

Anyway, the weather was vile with winds gusting and heavy bouts of rain and we had to keep dodging back inside. In the last photo you can see part of the front garden where Mike has been playing with the digger! All those stones and bricks will be reused for edging somewhere.

I was wearing my Alzheimer's Research Trust as I always do for photo shoots but she didn't want me to display it so I wore my fluffy purple cardigan over the top of it so at least their colour was visible. I'm hoping that they will have mentioned the charity in the article but I haven't seen the final copy. Fingers crossed anyway.

We're busy decorating the dining room which is very exciting because it is the last room downstairs to do (except for the hallway but that doesn't count as a room!).

I had 2 little helpers the other day. It was raining and windy so Tango came to have a hop round.

Tinker kept a close eye on him. He's grown up with bunnies so knows not to attack them yet he still catches and devours the wild bunnies - not a pretty sight but quite natural for him.

Bunnies love to climb and it didn't take Tango long to investigate the steps!

My Oregon cardigan is progressing well and I will definitely try to take some photos of it over the weekend.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A warm head and hands

I managed to make the yarn last to complete these fingerless gloves to match the hat - and very snug they are too. I didn't use a pattern and just experimented which meant I ripped back 2 earlier versions. They are really warm.

So here's the start of Oregon. I'd forgotten that the yarn was in skeins so there's a bit of prep to do first.

I'm also going to run another project at the same time for a bit of variety (who was I kidding that I'd only have one project on the go at once!) and it's this beautiful Estonian Lace Stole by KnitYoga. I've just received my Addi Lace needles but the colour of yarn I want is out of stock so I've got a couple of weeks to wait. This is probably a good thing as it will give me a chance to get started on Oregon first. I haven't done any big lace projects for a few years so it will be a good challenge - and I do love a challenge!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A husband with happy feet

That's it, I've finished Mike's socks for the KAL! It was interesting to receive the clues on a weekly basis, not knowing quite how they would turn out and I enjoyed the pattern which was simple but effective.

For myself I would have chosen the cable version and I expect I shall have to make some for me at some stage. I should add that the colour is much darker and redder than the photos.

Anyway, they fit well and Mike was very good about trying them on when asked. They are destined to be bedsocks so he will have toasty toes this winter.

Now it's time I cast on the Oregon cardigan..............

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Beachy photo or 2

I've just been sent some photos taken at Beachy head by Tracey's husband Bernard. Thankfully this time he hasn't got me stuffing my face with hot cross buns!

This one was taken somewhere after the half-way point and I was still going great guns.

This was taken when I reached Birling Gap and my hamstring was cramping like mad. At least I'm still running in this one!

On the knitting front, I've just got the toe to finish on one of Mike's socks for the KAL so will be taking photos tomorrow.

Thanks for the kind comments about Bluebelle. Tango, the Orange Rex doesn't seem to be the least bit bothered that she's gone - men are so fickle!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bye-bye Bluebelle

Sometimes a life is far shorter than one would have liked and so it was with Bluebelle, our beautiful Blue Rex bunny. We thought she had many years of hopping ahead of her but it was not to be.

She passed away sometime during the night and we buried her this morning in a special place, sheltered by trees.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I must go down to the seas again.........(with apologies to John Masefield!)

Firstly I have to say that I have trained my socks off for the Beachy Head marathon this year as I was determined to finish in less than 6 hours so I would appear in the Results (they don't record finishing times of over 6 hours and in my previous attempts I have done 6:10 and 6:04). To this end I applied a self-imposed ban on taking photos as I ran the course as I always waste loads of time stopping to take photos. There are plenty of photos on my blog of the event last year here to get a feel for the beautiful scenery.

I was up at 5am and out feeding the horses and bunnies by torchlight and the stars were twinkling beautifully. It was cold and frosty and perfect conditions really as the forecast was for sun later but with South Westerly winds. You expect strong winds up on the South Downs anyway so that wasn't a worry. It's always tough working out what to wear though and eventually I settled on shorts and a lightweight long-sleeved top with a gilet on top to carry my paraphanalia.

Although the race doesn't start until 9am I made sure I arrived in Eastbourne well before 8am so I could nab one of the free parking spaces about 1/2 mile from the start (I like to be a short walk away so that I stretch out my legs a bit after I finish running).

As I was walking towards to Start area I passed a man who I thought I recognised and he said "Is that our Redhead?" to which I had to respond by asking who he was - I knew his nickname but you can hardly walk up to someone and ask if they are Captain Wonderpants now can you?!

We had a chat for a while. He's much further down the hill to madness than me and he was going to a do 12 hour track event in Crawley the next day too!
There was the usual jazz band playing at the start. It was still quite nippy so they were well wrapped up. I had a chat with several people from the Runner's World forum (Fat Buddha, Petal, One Blue Leg, Patsy) and then it was time for the off.

This is the first hill we scramble up and the photo doesn't really capture just how steep it is. There are some steps but they are worn and slippery so I scrambled up the grass, which was also slippery! The people in the photo out on the course already are walkers. They can start earlier than the runners/joggers so that they have a chance of finishing in daylight.

When you get to the top of the hill the course climbs on to the right and as it starts to level out there is always this highland piper (yes, OK, I did stop to take his photo again this year and to give him a clap as a thank you).

Then it was just a case of getting my head down and getting on with it. Up hills, down hills, chalk paths, rutted paths, muddy puddles (more than in previous years), slippery grass slopes up and down. I was running well and feeling strong. The sun came out fully and it was warm although I was glad of my long-sleeves when I was up on the high bits as the wind was biting. I passed the Seven Sisters with loads of time to spare and was well on course for sub 6 hours.

I chatted with lots of people en-route and was entertained by a couple of men and their black labrador who were running it for the first time. The dog was having a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed himself - he even got his own medal at the end but I didn't manage to get a photo of him as I was carrying my stuff back to the car as they passed me.

Well, the marathon is unforgiving and anything can happen at any stage. I'd been dreading slipping in the mud, tripping over tree roots or twisting my ankle on the loose flints but I hadn't counted on getting cramp in my right hamstring (related to the problem I had a couple of months ago and obviously aggravated by the conditions under foot). So it was that when I reached Birling Gap with only 4 miles to go, I had to resign myself to run/walking the last bit.

The last mile is all downhill so I managed to run/limp all of that but the final bit is down the hill we climbed at the start and it's very steep so I had to do a sideways limp down that then sprinted across the finish line in 6:15. That's where my quote comes in:

"I must go down to the seas again............" to get a sub 6 hour time for the Beachy Head marathon! Ho hum, the best laid plans etc etc.

At least I got another medal to add to my pile. You can tell how windy it was from my race number as it's all torn and battered (it's made of plastic rather than the usual paper ones for that very reason).

Anyway, I've got 6 weeks to sort out this hamstring problem before my last marathon of the year in Hastings in December so I've booked myself some deep tissue massage with Mary Massage Lady to try and get to the bottom of the problem. Although the Hastings marathon will be hilly in parts it is run on the roads so is a totally different animal. I wonder what time I'll do there...............

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Top that

Not the best photos ever but they sort of give the idea.

Rather than make a pom-pom, I crocheted lots of curlecues in the colours from the main body then attached them at the crown, weaving one end on the inside.

This left me with the same amount of ends to play with on the right side so I just plaited them and finished the ends with a barrel knot, leaving them dangling for extra texture.

I rather enjoyed doing that and it's made me want to start a crochet project as I've been neglecting it in favour of knitting of late. I must have a rummage through my books and magazines for inspiration.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Short row shaping but no pom-pom (yet!)

The hat was quite an interesting experiment. I enjoyed the stranded garter stitch and it's made a lovely fabric with a sort of woven look about it. I just cast on 60 stitches and then worked back and forth from crown to brim doing short rows at the crown with an occasional partial short row (without the wrapping) at the brim end so that the brim would have a bit of grip when turned back.

Of course I'd sewn the seam before I thought it might have been interesting to show the fabric beforehand as it was quite a strange shape. Never mind. It fits perfectly and is really warm.

Now all I've got to do it stick a pom-pom or curlicues or some other ornamentation on the crown as it looks a bit bare at the moment. I shall play around with my crochet hook this evening.

Tinker very generously offered to model the hat for me so that I could show the short-row shaping I did at the crown!

My hands are a bit sore at the moment as I've been digging the garden for the past week. We have heavy clay and it's jolly hard work. Poor old Mike has hurt his back so has been excused digging duties (only for the moment though!). I won't be doing much running this week as I'm tapering (reducing my mileage) ahead of the Beachy Head marathon this Saturday. I'm really looking forward to it even though it is one of the toughest marathons in the UK.

It will be my 4th marathon this year and my 15th in total, 11 of which have been done in the last 2 years. Also, it's exactly 4 years since I ran my first marathon and if anyone had told me where it would lead I would have laughed out loud!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's not my fault!

See, I've finished clue 3 of the KAL and Kirsten won't be releasing clue 4 until next wednesday. Well, I can't just sit here and do nothing can I?!

Yes, I know there are sewing projects I can still get on with but I do like to have something from each discipline on the go so I've been swatching for a quick-knit hat.

I've settled on these 2 yarns. The multi coloured one is full of blues, greys, plums and cream and is a Noro yarn leftover from a pullover. The beige is leftover from the last time I did an arran sweater which must be about 3 years ago.

The stitch is stranded garter stitch where one stitch is knit in yarn A then the next in yarn B etc etc. It gives an interesting loopy effect where the yarn is carried. I'm just going to make it up as I go along so we'll see where I end up!

After the KAL I really must start on the Oregon cardigan as I seem to have been sidetracking.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Grow your own!

No not fruit and veg, wool!

These little beauties have come to stay with us for a while.

It's a nice arrangement with a local farmer - we provide the grazing, he gives us hay for the horses in return. Suits us all as the horses don't need all the land and also it keeps the worm count down in them as the sheep graze the grass lower and eat the worm eggs which aren't harmful to them.

Mike went for a walk around the land yesterday morning and I asked him to take photos of anything of interest so he chose the sheep. They are very nosey, even though they won't always come right up to you, so it was no surprise that they followed Mike on his walk.

It's like a scene from the Pied Piper of Hamlyn!

In knitting news, Kirsten has just released clue 3 for the mystery sock KAL so I should get both of those done soon. As I was getting bored waiting for the clue I started to experiment with stranded garter stitch with a view to perhaps making a hat to keep me going inbetween clues. I'm not allowed to start a big project as I made a promise to myself last year that I would stick to one item at a time so that things didn't get abandoned through lack of interest - I am the worlds worst for unfinished items! It's worked well so far so I'm trying to stick to that rule.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Clue 2 completed, taper time & Best magazine

Here's one of the socks for the KAL. It's a very simple stitch and grows quickly. If I was knitting it for myself I would have chosen the cable version as that looks lovely - scroll down the page to see Kirsten's cabled version but Mike is quite happy with this as they are for bedsocks.

I did my last long run before the Beachy Head marathon and it was a rather strange one. It was so foggy that visibility was down to about 50ft in places so I stuck to the quiet lanes. As I was out really early I didn't meet any vehicles until I was nearly home so that was OK. I ended up very wet though and I had little water droplets on my eyelashes which felt most peculiar.

The other thing of note is that I did another interview for a magazine the other evening. The magazine is a weekly publication called Best and I always thought it was just celebrity gossip type stuff. Anyway, the journalist is doing an article about the loss of a loved one and how it felt the first Christmas after their death. She has interviewed someone who lost her husband, a lady who lost her child and me who lost my mum. She was interested in my fund-raising acticities too so I'm hoping that it will get more coverage for the Alzheimer's Research Trust. I'm not sure when it will be published yet but I've sent some photos over and she said their own photographer will be along to snap me at some stage.

Now I'm trying to work out my fund-raising strategy for next year. The marathons will all be for the Alzheimer's Research Trust but I'm thinking of trying to get a team of ladies from our village interested in running the Race for Life in aid of Cancer Research UK with me. It's a cause I always support as that was why I started running in the first place in 2002 and it quite literally saved my life by setting in motion a series of events that lead to me visiting a Specialist. I won't publish the details here but suffice to say that if I hadn't seen someone when I did then I most likely wouldn't be here now, so I feel I owe the race a debt of honour and do it each year.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A humbling experience

These 2 little coins may not mean much on their own. They total 15p which translates as perhaps a few cents. But they were given to me by a dear old lady who I often see out walking along the lanes whilst I'm out running.

I was wearing my Alzheimer's Research Trust vest as always and today she stopped me for a brief chat. I know from previous conversations that her mother suffered from Alzheimer's and I suspect that she might be in the early stages of dementia herself. Anyway, she reached into her cardigan pocket and pulled out these coins, apologising that they were all she had with her. Her clothes are shabby and worn and she often looks unkempt and these 2 small coins are probably worth a lot to her.

She brought a tear to my eye. I am so often touched by the generosity of people.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mystery sock KAL

I've decided to take part in the TTL Socktoberfest Mystery Sock KAL hosted by Kirsten of Through the Loops

It's rather exciting knitting away at something and not knowing what it will look like. As the socks are unisex, I decided to make them for Mike so he chose the colour, burgundy, of Cherry Tree Hill yarn. I was very impressed as I ordered the yarn on Friday lunchtime from The Woolly Workshop and it arrived first thing the next day.

I was too busy playing around with the hat over the weekend and didn't start the socks until Tuesday evening. The first one I did was interesting because we discovered that Mike has very petite ankles and although the cuff went over the widest part of his foot with ease, it was quite baggy around the leg. So I've gone down 4 stitches and I think this will be much better. Anyway, I managed to complete one and found I'd got a second set of 2.5mm dpns so I've done a few rounds on that as well.

This is the cuff of the first one and the first few rows of the second. I think today's the day that Kirsten issues the next set of intructions.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Arm Warmers and Thorpe

At long last Mike has the arm-warmers I started some time last year! I'd completed one and then got bored with the other so abandoned it. I changed the colour sequence within the diamond for a bit of variety. The pattern is from Rowan Magazine 40 and is knit in Rowan Kid Classic which is really soft and warm. I finished them on Friday evening and he hasn't taken them off since!
I had loads of wool left, as is always the case with this sort of project, so I decided to whip up a Thorpe by Kirsten. It's a really easy pattern to follow and grows so quickly. I started it on Saturday and I finished it today. The only modifications I made were to add stripes (using the jogless method) and to extend the decreases on the ear flaps so that they end in a point. I then crocheted the edge using 2 yarns held together and made the plaits out of the same 2 colours.

Needless to say, Mike is delighted with it (even though he refused to model wearing it!) and I know it will become a firm favourite.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

But at least I made it into the Rejects' Magazine!

Whilst feeling sorry for myself, I decided to flick through the magazine they send and there was a 2 page spread about all the Guinness World Records from the marathon earlier this year.

It made me smile and brought back happy memories.

Rejected and a bit Dejected

Boo hoo. No sooner do I write about the London Marathon than my rejection pack arrives.

I know it's not the end of the world and I have run it 4 years on the trot but I really wanted to make it 5. Now the only way of running it is to go for another Gold Bond place and with the economic situation the way it is I just don't know how feasible that would be as I've already hounded everyone I know for sponsorship for the last 4 years!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The London Marathon waiting game

It's that time of year when anyone who has sent in an entry for the London marathon starts biting their nails and wondering if they are going to get a place (me included!). For non-elite runners in the UK there are basically 4 ways of getting into the London marathon - via the ballot (where 90,000 plus people are vying for about 25,000 places!), by getting a 'good for age' place (whereby you can prove that you can run a marathon in a certain time - way too fast for most people), via a place from a running club (running clubs are allocated a set number of places which they often raffle for their members) and finally a Gold Bond place from your chosen charity (basically this is a place that the charity has to buy from the organisers for about £250 and they then allocate them to people who promise to raise a certain amount). I have been rejected in the ballot 5 times and accepted once so the 3 others times I have run it I had to take a gold bond place.

A couple of days ago I had an email from Debbie, a fellow runner who I met briefly at the Three Forts marathon earlier this year, who's the editor of a new website how2fundraise giving people advice on how to go about raising money for charity. Apparently she has had a lot of emails from people who are scared of making the commitment to raise the £1500 that most charities require one to raise for a 'gold bond' place (some charities require a minimum of £2500). As she knew I'd done a lot of fund-raising she wondered if I'd share some tips on their website.

Naturally I was only too happy to help. First of all she asked me to complete
this questionnaire about what I've done. Then she asked me some other questions about the London Marathon in particular so that she could include the details in a special article she's putting together about the London Marathon. She'll send me a copy when it's finished.

Tinker update

Tinker's results came through today and it could have been better news - the lump was a fibrosarcoma which is a cancerous growth that can be quite aggressive. This was not want we wanted to hear. The vet said that he took away a lot of tissue around the edge of the tumour and that he hopes that will do the trick. However, he said that we have to keep inspecting the site for any regrowth over the coming months. Tinker is very happy within himself so I am glad we had it done but the uncertainly is going to be a worry over the next few months.

Poor little fellow, he's such a good natured cat and I really don't want him to suffer at all.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Here he is, our brave little fellow. We were a bit shocked at the size of the incision but it doesn't seem to be bothering him at all and he's purring happily and doesn't seem to have any pain (thank goodness). The lump has been sent away to be checked so I expect we'll hear in a few days.

On the knitting front I finished the second Pomatomus sock and have restarted Mike's fingerless arm warmers which I lost interest in last year when I discovered Fair Isle! Must take a photo. I've promised him that I won't start anything else until they are completed. Then it will be the turn of the Oregon cardigan and I can't wait.

We always like to watch the sunset if possible and there have been some beauties this past week. I loved the pink reflections on the clouds.

I see some glorious sunrises too and this was taken on a very hazy autumn morning when I was out feeding the horses.

This weekend I did my 3rd 20 miler prior to the Beachy Head marathon. It was rather chilly when I left home at 6:30am and barely light and I foolishly didn't take an extra layer (how long have I been doing this?!) so was rather cold for the first 2 hours. Then the sun started to warm things up a bit so I was OK. I chose a really hilly route along the lanes and it was quite tough but nowhere near as tough as the actual marathon itself. Next week I'll do 20 miles off-road then I get to taper (reduce my mileage).

It was such a glorious day as well so in the afternoon Mike and I took a walk up to Great Dixter and that helped to stretch my legs out. It's a great feeling to be able to run 20 miles in the morning and then go for a 5 mile walk in the afternoon. If someone had told me 6 years ago when I started running that I would ever be able to do that I would have laughed!