Saturday, October 31, 2009

Morrigan's on!

I finished Morrigan a while ago but didn't get round to sewing on the buttons until this week.

That didn't stop Mike wearing it though and it's already turned into a favourite. It's so warm that I'm really rather jealous!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Good-bye and good luck

Last week we said good-bye to our lovely Anna who's gone to start a new job leading her very own Team.

We've worked together for 9 months now and have had great fun as well as producing good work and I was very sorry to see her go.

I've never worked anywhere before where staff are employed on 'Seasonal' contracts and it's very strange to be saying good-bye to lots of people all at the same time. I have 2 more staff to say good-bye to over the next 7 weeks so I'd better get knitting!

I felt the only way to wrap the scarf was as a triangle and it seemed to work out OK. Here she is modelling it on the hip as in the photo in the book.

She's a very stylish young lady and I know she will wear it in her own unique way.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hello Graham!

A couple of weeks ago a letter arrived in our box and there was hardly any address information on it, except that along the bottom was written "Marathon Runner, Scarf Knitter".

When I turned the envelope over I saw it was from my dear friend Graham in France who I hadn't heard from for a couple of years (we usually exchange Christmas cards and news). I was very relieved as I had wondered if perhaps the worst had happened and I just hadn't been told.

I chuckled at the way he had found me as he'd googled my name and seen the knitting stunts then found my blog. Then, knowing that I live in a small village he hoped that the postie knew how to find me - thankfully he did! Apparently he'd moved house without passing on his new address (men!) and then lost our details (men again!).

So Graham, if you see this, I have received your letter and will write asap but we have a postal strike at the moment so there is no point even trying. It was lovely to hear from you and I look forward to catching up soon.

An inbetweenie

I finished Morrigan, bar the sewing together, last week but before I could do that I realised I had something else to make - yet another leaving prezzie for someone at work! I'd decided on a lacy scarf or a shawl so had been swatching patterns from Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby.

Nothing was right for the young lady in question so I flicked through the book again and spotted this simple fichu and realised that was just the thing for Anna as she is young and very petite. I love the suggestion of wearing on the hip and it will be just perfect for her.

The trouble was that by the time I'd finally decided on the pattern, the week was nearly over and it was the Abingdon marathon this weekend. So on Monday evening I was looking at my progress and wondering if on earth I'd get it done in time. Panic over and it's blocking now ready for gifting to her tomorrow. Phew!

A full report on the marathon will follow asap - as usual, there's loads to tell.

Monday, October 19, 2009

No. 17 done and dusted

Last Sunday was the Abingdon marathon. The one for which I've trained really hard all year. I was so excited about it and had tapered sensibly (reduced my mileage ahead of the race) but there was a fly in the ointment - I felt grotty for the whole week prior to the event. It felt as if I was about to come down with a cold so I dosed myself up and fought like mad!

The alarm clock rang at 4am and I got up feeling OK. I hadn't slept much the night before but that is not unusual. I had a long drive of roughly 2 hours 45 minutes ahead of me so I left at 5am and drove off into the darkness.

I'd only gone about 20 miles when I encountered my first twit of a driver. I was going up a hill towards a blind bend when 2 cars came round the bend, one overtaking and the other obviously trying to prevent the car overtaking by speeding up. Instinct kicked in - I knew there was a car behind me but that it was far enough back not to worry so I flashed my lights like mad and slammed the breaks on hoping that the airbag wouldn't come out. The fool who was overtaking managed to get past the other car and sped off whilst the other driver laughed and waved at me. What a pair of &6%4£@s!!!!

That did shake me a bit but I pulled myself together and drove on, arriving in good time so I had a cup of coffee and phoned home before heading off to the registration point. There I met lots of runners I've met before - Hippo, Blisters, One Blue Leg (who was doing her 100th marathon dressed as an old lady in a dress and wearing a grey wig!), Johnny Blaze, Jim the Plum, Mick'n'Phil plus I met lots of new people from the Fetch and RW sites which was nice.

It was jolly cold at the start and I was glad I'd worn a long-sleeved top underneath my running vest plus I wore my fingerless gloves which are great because they're small and easy to stash away if I get too hot.

At 9am we were off. The race started and finished with a circuit of a sports stadium so I felt like a real athlete! As usual, I started near the back and quickly settled into my pace of 10 minute miling. It felt good and I was in a very positive frame of mind. Ar around the 2 miles mark I hooked up with Beders and Mitten from the RW forum and we struck up a conversatiion that lasted until mile 17 which really helped to pass the miles - but I'm jumping ahead of myself. Just remember mile 17 for later.

The course was a loop around Abingdon which is an attractive small town with prehistoric connections. I didn't have time for sight-seeing but the houses I saw looked very interesting. Then it went out along a couple of quieter country lanes although the scenery wasn't particularly nice. At one point we ran past a turkey farm where they were roaming free and they made such a noise as the runners streamed past; it was as if they were cheering us on.

I deliberately didn't take my camera with me as I was concentrating on beating my pb time of 4:50 set at the London marathon in 2006. The reason I had chosen this particular marathon was that it has a reputation for being fast and flat and therefore a good pb course. What I hadn't realised is that being a semi-urban marathon it involved lots of hopping up and down pavements and running with traffic (which I hate and is the reason I will never run the Thanet marathon again!). Plus, lots of the roads had potholes and the pavements were very uneven.

Anyway, the company was nice and we held a good pace, reaching the 17 mile mark in 2:50 which is spot on 10 minute miling. Now this is why you had to remember '17' because this is when my right ITB band started to twinge and my hamstring began to cramp. I tried desperately to ignore it as I couldn't believe it was happening again. This is an old problem that I thought I'd overcome as it hadn't surfaced since my very first marathon at Loch Ness in October 2004. Suffice to say that during that marathon I had to literally drag my leg for 13.5 miles in order to finish. So it was with great sadness that I told Beders and Mittens to go on ahead whilst I slowed my pace right down.

I could quite happily have curled up at the side of the road and sobbed it was so painful. Giving up was not an option as people have made donations to the Alzheimer's Research Trust and I couldn't let them down so I had to get my head together and struggle on.

So struggle on I did, watching all hopes of a pb disappear with every painful step. There was little crowd support en-route but the people who did come out were vociferous and generous with their encouragement. This photo was taken by the lovely RichK at FetchPoint where the fantastic Fetchies cheered and clapped everyone who passed through, Thank you to all of you as you really helped when the going got tough. A massive thank you also to RichK who I have chatted to on-line, since I started running 7 years ago, and who has taken photos of me at various events but who I had never actually met before. Thanks for the hug and kiss and good luck (you know what I mean).

Finally I neared the stadium and my watch told me that I was very close to my pb time but I simply could not speed up. As I worked my way around the track I heard several shouts of 'Redhead' from the stadium and I saw a group of forumites waving and cheering. My smile got bigger and bigger as I neared them and I gave a massive wave as I headed towards the finish. As if that wasn't enough, the lovely Ant Bliss from Sussex Sport Photography was there snapping away and he gave me the biggest hug ever after I crossed the line. There are loads of photos of me on his site if your enter my number - 48. I should mention that I first saw Ant when I was doing my 7 marathons in my 50th birthday challenge and he took photos at several of them so he's seen me looking much worse than this!

So there it is, marathon number 17 done and dusted. A minute and a half outside my pb - how annoying is that! Never mind, there's always next year.........................................................................

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Extraordinary Service

Most of the time we consumers have to put up with mediocre or downright poor service so when I get good service I shout about it!

So, on Sunday I ran out of yarn and I thought I'd have to wait an absolute age for it to arrive. As the yarn is now discontinued I thought it might have been a problem but I was fortunate to find it on eBay. I did not have high hopes of receiving it quickly and resigned myself to swatching for a lace scarf for a friend whilst waiting.

However, I ordered the wool on Sunday evening and it arrived with the post on Tuesday. Now that is really impressive.

So, I would like to recommend eBayer Aileen for her outstanding service. I notice that she's got the latest Louisa Harding book Queen of Hearts which I like the look of so I may be popping back there in the near future.

Sadly Aileen's life has been touched by Alzheimer's too so I will add her to my growing list of people to think of when I'm pounding out the miles.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I've run out of yarn

Can you believe it? I've just started the second sleeve of Morrigan and I've run out of the mottled red/brown colourway and the green is looking a bit dodgy too. I bought the quantities as stated and my tension is spot on. Now that is very irritating. Thankfully I've found some on eBay and it isn't too expensive but now I'll have to wait for it to arrive.

So many things.......

There are simply not enough hours in each day to do everything I want to do! I keep meaning to update my blog but finding the time to do that takes me away from all sorts of other things. But then I actually enjoy writing my blog as it's great record of what's been going on in redheadland.

So, things get forgotten and written about out of sequence. I must be more organised!

Since I last wrote, Denny and Daniel have been to stay and it was wonderful to see them both. Just to clarify their significance in our lives, it was Denny who suggested that at my great age I should stay at home and do my knitting rather than run marathons - and so the running and knitting idea was born! Here she is looking rather uncomfy with the beautiful Esther, my Haflinger.

I've bought a really old loom on eBay and been playing around with that. I only threaded a small section of it - it can go up to about 16" which is wide enough for a cushion - just to see how I liked it.

The creative possibilities are endless and I know I shall great fun with it.

Just in case anyone has every wondered what field gates are for other than to keep livestock in the correct place, Kizzy is demonstrating their use as a bottom-scratcher!

She is such a lovely old mare and a joy to care for.

Isobel loved the scarf I knitted for her but adopted a completely unnatural pose when I tried to snap her wearing it!

At last I managed to catch the sheep in the graveyard!

One was very friendly and couldn't wait to be stroked. Her coat was really thick and she must have been roasting as it was a very warm day.

The other was quite timid and kept her distance.

She's so pretty and dainty. Mike said she looked as if she was all dressed up to go out somewhere!

I loved Shan's comment on my earlier entry about how eco-friendly it is. It just seemed so natural for them to be there, especially as there are so many sheep in this area.

We've been taking lots of photos of clouds recently as reference for Mike in his paintings and I couldn't resist these 2 beauties taken on 1st and 2nd October.

What glorious colours.

In knitting news, Morrigan is coming on nicely with one more sleeve to complete and I'm feeling much happier about going back to Oregon (the cardigan that is, not the place!).

On the running front I'm now tapering (ie reducing my mileage) ahead of the Abingdon marathon. I find it very hard to reduce my mileage nowadays as running high mileage has become so much a part of my life. All this extra time has been put to good use though and I've had more time for my many crafts.

The other thing I'm pondering is which events to do next year. There are 2 marathons planned already - Brighton on 18th April, followed by London on 25th April (where there will be another stunt but I can't reveal it just yet!!!). Although I ran the Kent 52.4 mile race I've never done marathons with just a week apart so that will be a novel experience. Of course, things are never quite as simple as that in my world and I've just had an email about the Paris marathon on 11th April and I'm wondering if I could manage 3 marathons in 3 weeks................