The day has finally arrived….

…..England's first game of the 2014 World Cup. I'm ready….

Ridiculous flags on car? Check. Already fraying quite a bit.

Wall Chart? Check. 'Temporarily' hung in front room – will probably stay there till Christmas.

England flag flying? Check. The flagpole also doubles up as the washing line pole. Classy.

England inflatable hand? Check. Every house needs an England inflatable hand…..

Time for an England song…..

As for Juneathon….

Managed to fit today's run in between shopping and football. 5 miles around town.

Day 14 mileage = 5.04

Total Juneathon mileage = 61.84



Slightly Strange….

This morning was one of those mornings, you know the ones? The ones that seem slightly strange, the ones that seem to be full of too many coincidences.

The morning began in the usual 'holiday' way. I woke up, lay listening to the rain hitting the window for a bit, put the iPod on shuffle and began contemplating when to get today's Janathon run done. First track that came on was a Frank Hamilton track, featuring Mark Grist, called 'Animal Farm'. This is not particularly strange, I like Frank Hamilton and have quite a few of his tunes amongst the 1000s that are on the iPod.

The 'holiday' morning continued, I went downstairs, made a cuppa, grabbed the iPad and carried both upstairs with the intention of catching up on some Janathon blogs. As I jumped back in bed the iPod was playing the Pet Shop Boys. The iPod has gotten into the habit of picking the Pet Shop Boys when on shuffle, I don't understand why, but I've sort of got used to it by now, it still creeps me out a bit, but I've learned to cope. Next track up 'Animal Farm' by Frank Hamilton and featuring Mark Grist. What? The exact same track that was on earlier! Cue an investigation. Why had it picked the same track twice? Is the track on the device more than once? No. Does shuffle even repeat tracks, I thought once it had played a track that was it. I didn't dwell on this too much, it was really no big deal!

Next, did a bit of blog reading before heading off to Twitter to see what is going on in the world. After refreshing Twitter feed, I was quite surprised to see the latest Tweet was from Mark Grist, yes, the same Mark Grist that featured on 'Animal Farm'. Strange? Well, maybe a bit of a coincidence. The Tweet was referring to the fact that a YouTube video of his, 'Girls Who Read', was approaching 3 million views. Now I like Mark Grist and know of this particular poem, it's very good. I've seen him a couple of times, on his own and also as part of Dead Poets. In fact, it would be great if we got him into school to deliver some poetry workshops – must mention it to HoD. So I thought I'd click on the YouTube link and have another look at the video. Here it is….

After reading various Janathon blogs I felt enthused. I looked out the window, it was raining, but not amazingly heavy. I decided to go for it. I got changed, grabbed the dog, jumped in the car and headed for the woods. I sat in the car for a bit, the enthusiasm I had felt earlier was rapidly disappearing. After having an intense conversation with myself I was ready to go for it. The plan was: two laps of the small circuit, at a brisk pace. Recently I have been using RunKeeper whilst running. This enables me to track mileage for Janathon and also plays music via the app. You've probably guessed what is coming next. The music was on shuffle and what track should appear first? I think you guessed correctly: 'Animal Farm' by Frank Hamilton featuring Mark Grist. Now that is definitely slightly strange. I wonder what the rest of the day will bring?

Nearly forgot…..Janathon….

Total Janathon mileage after Day 4 = 15.23

Why not join in with 'Mark Grist Day'….click here to listen to 'Animal Farm', pop over to his website or do a search on YouTube.



Frank Hamilton at Junction 2

Sunday saw a visit to Junction 2 in Cambridge to see the fabulous Frank Hamilton. Now I’ve been to the bigger brother, The Junction, a few times but this is a first for Junction 2. A cool little venue, about 200ish capacity, very swish, comfy seats and it’s even got its own little balcony level.

Frank was, as is usual, very good. Great set list of all the favourites including an impromptu visit to the balcony to play ‘Thinking Back’ unplugged. I’ve seen Frank a few times and every time it gets better and better, it sounded great on Sunday. On the back of #onesongaweek he seems to be catching the eye of a few people, new EP ‘Summer’ out soon and in the midst of another succesful tour. All seems good in the world of Frank Hamilton; long may it continue.


Blog Great Eastern Run

Running and stuff….

Just an 8-miler this morning, according to my training plan it should have been 13! Doh!

Although I ran 13 miles last Sunday and 12 miles a couple of weeks before so I thought with just two weeks until the Peterborough Half I'd take it easy a bit. It was a lovely morning and didn't really want to spoil it by going hell for leather* chasing a particular pace. I'm confident of completing the race, just need to decide whether or not I'm going to try to beat my PB. I'm going to crack on with the training schedule, throw in a couple of fast 6-milers and see where we're at.

This morning's run did throw up some interesting observations:

  • The amazingly fast walking man – he was walking his dog and going at such a pace I had trouble overtaking him.
  • I nearly killed off an elderly couple – it would seem that didn't hear me approaching and my cheery 'morning' nearly brought on a heart attack.
  • Caused a bit of commotion at the ponds – some fishermen didn't appreciate the dog jumping in the pond and scaring off the fish.

In other news…..

Currently reading 'The Cry' by Helen Fitzgerald, great book about a baby that goes missing in Australia. A dark psychological thriller with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart. Well worth a read!

And finally….

Off to see the fantastic Frank Hamilton in Cambridge tonight….lovely jubbly….

* This is not a phrase I use very often and just wanted to point out that I do actually run in running shoes not some great pair of leather clad boots.


Great Eastern Run

Running, indulging the doolally and univocalism….

This morning my 'lovely' half-marathon training plan exclaimed that I should do a long 'steady' run of 12 miles, yes you read that right, 12 miles! Not quite sure why it wants me to run so far considering I still have five weeks until race day. But not wanting to upset the fecking thing, that is exactly what I did.

12.65 miles in a time of 1:38.38. Average pace 7.48 per mile.

Still slightly slower than target pace (although I had to go through various gates, cross roads and climb hills), but it felt good!

I had planned a slightly different route that enabled me to pop into a shop and get a drink at about halfway so that I didn't have to bother carrying a bottle throughout. Also, I had even created a new playlist to accompany me on the run. Get me!

Yesterday included a trip to Peterborough for a bit of a wander about. Once there we stumbled upon The Peterborough Arts Fest – a celebration of Peterborough and its people. With the rather catchy tagline of 'Indulge the Doolally'. According to the programme, we were promised, “jaw dropping spectaculars”, “internationally acclaimed acts” and an “extraordinary finale”. What we actually experienced was an event that nobody seemed to know about, there were very few people about, and actually very few acts performing. So, as you can imagine, we didn't hang around for the “extraordinary finale”. Although I did manage a picture sitting on a massive deckchair (small things and all that)…..

But also, more excitingly, performing in the Talkative Tent (sponsored by John Clare Cottage) were Dead Poets….

Dead Poets are made up of Mark Grist, him of poetry slam fame….

….and DJ Mixy, the pair formed the collaboration to challenge the preconceptions of poetry and hip-hop. If you get a chance to seem them you should, it's a very entertaining performance. Today was no different, Mark performed a piece of univocal poetry entitled 'The Fens' which was very clever. Univocalism is a poem that uses only one vowel, here is a rather poor attempt….

Jog to Morton

Born to jog,

Sort of hobby,

Good to go.

North from town,

Off to woods,

Lots to look.

Dogs too jolly,

Poop on boot,

Not good look.

Cows in fog,

Not to worry,

Jog on strong.

Boozy horror show,

Bosoms and knobs,

Long story.

Grotty old dog,

Soggy from ponds,

Looks odd.

Horror show,

Jog too slow,

School tomorrow.

In other news, Frank Hamilton has released his first, what he calls, 'serious' video….



Day 16 #juneathon

Sunday 16th June…..Father's Day….or to put it in a simpler form….Ridiculous Mass Consumerism Day. But that didn't stop me beginning the day by taking full advantage of it (reconstruction)….

This rather slow and lazy start to the day continued until about lunchtime when a spot of shopping in Peterborough was needed: summer shoes/sandals were top of the list. There are a plethora of summer footwear around at the moment: Birkenstock, Toms, Reef, to name just a few. I nearly went for this rather groovy pair from Cushe, although at £50 I decided against it for now…..

However a beautiful pair of Toms are the way to go!

After shopping I did a bit of work: edited a video for school, marked a couple of bits and planned lessons for tomorrow. Although now the Y11s have left it does make for a slightly lighter day tomorrow; I am particularly looking forward to period 4.

And so to Juneathon….

After a couple of short runs the past couple of days I was determined to get a few miles under my belt tonight. A date at the woods was arranged. Completed over 8 miles with the help of the iPod on shuffle which made for an interesting mix tonight….here is just a flavour…

Frank Hamilton – a few tracks from Frank tonight came on, but this one particularly stuck in my head…

U2 – now I can't stand them and not entirely sure how they got on the iPod, so how about a particular attractive picture of the old rocker himself (what a mess)…

And for the sophisticated, beautiful and classy people out there, a bit of opera, Vide Cor Meum, as featured in 'Hannibal'….

A great run tonight, bringing the total Juneathon mileage to over 75 miles, so heading west from Bourne that would take me to Uttoxeter, although a break half-way at Melton Mowbray for a coffee may be required!

Today's mileage = 8.68

Total Juneathon mileage = 79.08

Mojo level = very high

Over and out…or should I say…NEVER over and NEVER out



I must confess…

….it has been three weeks since my last blog.

Quite a lot has happened in that time….

A trip to The Engine Shed in Lincoln to see the rather fabulous Lucy Rose. Since buying the album 'Like I Used To' I've been a fan….and when I heard she was to play Lincoln I was on it like a rat up a drainpipe.

Lucy Rose has been described as an English Suzanne Vega and been likened to Laura Marling…so what could go wrong? Nothing. The set was full of her own brand of acoustic folk/pop yet mixed with jazz-funk rhythm that cannot fail to entertain. Good gig – she's going to do well me thinks.

Next up was a trip to the ole smoke to see Frank Hamilton (again) at The Borderline. Although not the best gig of his I've been to, due in part to the big heffer standing in front of us who seemed intent on trying to step on the feet of everyone, complete with her ridiculous boyfriend who thought just because he had a big camera this gave him the right to be a complete arsehole. And what is it with girls in London and their stupidly huge handbags that that refuse to put down, they just hang around their elbows sticking them in you. Now I'm a Londoner and proud of it, but things have definitely changed.

But Frank himself was on top form, not the best set list he's every played, but he is slowly attracting more and more acclaim, I think 2013 is going to be a good year for the man.

There was also a very early, or should I say late, Christmas with my sister that I somehow remembered to blog about here.

School has been absolutely crazy: workshops, immersion days and so much exam prep that if my boys and girls don't pass I'm not sure what to do. This week we said goodbye to the Y11s…I've really enjoyed the last couple of years with my group, they've all done really well and developed into lovely young men and women over the years. I wish them all the luck for the future.

But half-term has finally arrived….a relaxing week in store with a few bits and pieces to do at home….mum's birthday party…Billy Bragg gig….and on the horizon we even have #juneathon. Oh crap!



What an evening!

The Date: Monday 22nd April 2013

The Venue: The Cookie Jar, Leicester

The Artist: The fabulous Frank Hamilton

If you ever want to experience a fantastic singer/songwriter you can do a lot worse that attend a Frank Hamilton gig. Following on from #onesongaweek in 2012 that culminated in a sold out gig at London's The Borderline in Camden, Frank has followed it up with a UK tour…..

Tonight was the second night of the tour – held at a great little live music venue in Leicester, The Cookie Jar located in the basement of The Crumblin' Cookie. Frank was on top from, sharing his own brand of indie-folk-pop music and brilliant song writing skills. He is a very likeable fella, lyrics that express Frank's emotions and experiences, from travelling around, moving to a new city, through to finding and losing love.

It was a great set, including the fantastic, 'Things I do', 'Make Things Make Sense' and the splendid 'Flaws and Ceilings'. Frank manages to write about things that relate to everyone: a soundtrack for life. Who can't relate to this….

“I wonder what she's thinking when she lies in bed, coz when I wake up when she's in my head, and I'm thinking in few years time will I still be yours, will you still be mine”

If you get a chance go and see Frank Hamilton: you won't be disappointed.


Blog Janathon

Back in the Blogosphere…

Let's be honest: Janathon was a disappointment. Only managed to run for 22 days, barely reached the 100 mile mark and found the second half of the month very tough. Cue an endless list of excuses: cold, snow, ice, busy at work, snow, cold, ice, dark nights, busy at work and it was very cold.

Following on from the monthly projects in 2012 and Janathon I feel like a bit of a rest is needed in February.

Work has been very busy and I've been working hard to catch-up with marking in an attempt to have a pretty quiet and relaxing half-term. The hard work has paid off and I've somehow managed to do everything apart from a class set of Y10 controlled assessments that need doing. A week to recharge the batteries this week because the next term is probably going to be very busy: exam preparation, after school sessions and other general rubbish.

So the start of half-term began with beer, some vodka martini in a James Bond style, some blue stuff…

….followed by some green stuff….

In other news….I have managed to bag some tickets for a few gigs in the coming months: