Babies, Birthdays and Felt…

Yesterday I braved the approaching storm and set off down south to wish my little nephew, Stanley, a happy 1st birthday….

I wasn't the only person driving down south; there were bloody millions of other people. So you probably won't be surprised to hear that the journey took a tad longer than normal. On arrival I had just missed the cutting of the cake, but stepped through the door in time to toast the birthday boy.

After devouring a couple of slices of my sister's slightly floury beautiful cake it was time for pass the parcel….

Stanley has an older sister, named Grace, who today had no trouble testing all HIS new toys. In fact over the course of the day she had become very attached to his new Tigger, to the point where it needed to be hidden to avoid any bedtime antics. Here she is engrossed with his new toolset….

By late afternoon is was time for the highlight of the day: the opening of the advent calendar. This may not sound much, until that is you see the advent calendar. My sister had created a felt masterpiece: individual numbered felt pockets; felt Christmas tree with buttons; and hidden felt 'things' (including a felt baby Jesus) to hang on said felt Christmas tree. Stanley fished out and hung up the day's felt mini-stocking wonderment, to ooos and aahs from an overly excited audience. Nice job sis!


With Santa's Christmas storm fast approaching I wished everybody Merry Christmas and began the surprising quick and uneventful journey back home. On entering the house I came across another baby! James, my grandson, was staying the night. Here he is looking rather spaced out and modelling a dodgy looking head of hair….




A godson, a baptism and a letter….

Yesterday my beautiful nephew became my beautiful godson….

Stanley was baptised. It was a fantastic day, my sister and her husband had thought of everything, everyone enjoyed themselves and the day went off without any problems at all. But then I began to think a bit more about the day. It was Stanley's day. It was his baptism. So I began to wonder what sort of day HE had had.

A letter from Stanley….

Dear Mum and Dad,

Thanks for a great day on Sunday, although it was a little bit different to our usual Sunday. Normally I'm allowed to chill in my cot for a bit and then get to have a very lazy day being played with and generally have a very relaxed morning. Today I didn't get a chance to relax at all. From the moment I woke up it was panic. I was put into an outfit I have never worn before and had to put up with ooooos and aaaahs from everybody I met for the rest of the day. Let alone being forced to wear a hat that I tried to make clear I wasn't impressed with, but you kept stuffing on my head.

We then went to this huge place that I have never been to before, although from what I understand you should have been taking me regularly since my birth. I met loads of people, all intent on cuddling and kissing me. If that wasn't bad enough I was passed to this fella in a black outfit who promptly tipped a load of water on my head. It's no wonder I zonked out.

I also understand that I have some lovely godparents, but they seemed more eager to show off my certificate than actually allowing me to be in the pictures.

Also, considering it was MY day I was a bit surprised that you let my sister play with all MY presents and eat the sweets that had been given to me. I can't wait until I'm a bit older, I am so going to get my own back.

At one stage I started to get very worried when a knife started to get waved about, especially because of the crazy face you were pulling. Although the cake was lovely, I had enough of it stuffed into my gob throughout the day.

But overall, I had a fantastic day and would like to say thanks.





Unexpected happenings….

Sunday, the home of the long run, and because I'm staying at my sister's, an opportunity to run somewhere completely different. As much as this is great, it makes a welcome change from running around Bourne Woods, it does bring a sense of the unexpected. Tonight's run had unexpected happenings by the bucket load.

I set off just after 7pm with the intention of running 6 miles at a reasonably good pace. As I ran out of the estate road close development I had a rough idea of where I was going to go, a very rough idea, but in idea all the same. I headed out to the right, no path, but only a quiet lane, so chances of being wiped out by a speeding car were very small.

Suffice to say, within a mile I nearly got wiped out by a car so headed for the public footpaths that take you across the countryside. A short dash through some woods took me to a lovely looking footpath with a stile and manicured grass that looked very inviting….

I stopped to take in the view: rolling hills, wildlife and setting sun….

Continuing down the 'footpath' lead me to a gate, that I climbed over. I did think that climbing over gates on what should have been a public footpath did seem slightly strange. But they are a strange lot down south so I wasn't too perturbed. As I made my way across the field in the direction of the footpath arrow, I came across a herd of sheep, they seemed just as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

I continued along the edge of various fields following the very vague 'footpath' signs. Although one farmer had made the effort to indicate the way my creating giant arrows on the ground.

I came across a very strange looking bridge that crossed a stream. I was unsure if it was designed to help people cross or stop people crossing. But things were going well and a strange looking bridge was not about to put an end to my run.

At this point in the run the public footpath signs began to appear slightly less often, and when they were visible the direction of the arrow was not always clear. At one stage the signs were even hidden in the bushes….

Things were bad….but they were going to get worse. I was lost. I climbed various gates following what seemed like a public footpath, but was to turn out not to be a public footpath at all. At one stage I crawled under an electric fence in pursuit of what seemed like a public footpath, although this was just to end up as another dead end. I did find a track that I thought may take me back to a road, only to follow it for 400 yards before I saw signs telling me to 'beware of the dog'….

At this point I decided to turn round and head back the way I came. This wasn't as easy as it sounded, I had totally lost my bearings, and everything began to look the same. At one stage I even looked at the map on my phone to see if I could regain my bearings. It didn't help. All it told me was that I was in the middle of nowhere. I knew that already. Ironically, I found a big pile of crap….

Eventually, whether by luck or judgement I found my way back to the road. Albeit still a couple of miles from my destination. Finally, on a road again I picked up the pace for the final bit. Although I did stop when I saw the name of one of the cottages on the road….

….and when I saw this rather strange landscaping…..

I made it back, what started as a 6 mile run, ended up just short of 9 miles. But in terms of half-marathon training, it can only help.

Splendid indeed!!!



Left with the kiddies!!

My sister headed off to church this morning. No, she's not a practising catholic, or a born again Christian, or into Scientology, or even a devil worshiper. The reason she has gone to church is simple. Stanley gets christened in a fortnight and she is trying to convince the vicar that she believes in God so that he will perform the ceremony.

I was left with the kiddies!

Stanley was having a nap when she left, leaving me and Grace to sit and draw in the garden….

We watched Derek on Cbeebies, I wasn't amazingly impressed with Derek, but Grace seems to think he is very cool, I just think he is a dick….

Stanley woke up after 40 mins, so we had a game of peek-a-boo…..

After that we got Stanley up on the sofa and Grace piled up 100s of toys in front of him….

… that we could play with the bricks…..

We somehow survived the morning in one piece. Cushty!


Great Eastern Run

Tilgate Parkrun

I was a parkrun tourist today.

I'm visiting my sister in Kent and her closest parkrun is Tilgate Parkrun near Crawley. So we planned to set off at 8am to give it a go. When I say 'we', I was the only one planning to run it, but my sister and her two kids were coming for the ride. It's been a while since I've had little ones, so had forgotten just how crazy things can be when you're trying to get out the door, Grace is 22 mths and Stanley is 8 mths, so this morning was not a matter of get up and go.

A few things needed doing before we could leave: nappies changed; bottles drunk; breakfast eaten; changing bag prepared; pushchair sorted; clothes on; spare bibs in bag; snacks and drinks in bag; nappies changed; toys in bag; pushchair in car; kids in car seats; car seats in car; and we were ready to go, only a couple of minutes behind schedule.

Lovely setting for a run

Tilgate Park is about 15 miles away, despite having no idea where we were going we made it in good time, and after unloading all the stuff (and kids), walking in the direction of everyone else, we arrived at the start with ten minutes to spare. A quick warm-up and we were off.

As is usual with every other parkrun I have been to, it was well organised and well attended. The 5km course began near the boathouse and does a lap of Tilgate Lake before heading to Titmus Lake, up a short sharp incline (which is not particularly short, but definitely sharp), before turning back towards Tilgate Lake for a second lap, at which point I managed a high five with Grace as I sped whizzed ran past, before reaching the finish in 13th place in a time of 19.57.

After the run we headed to the fantastic looking playground at the top of the hill….

This playground may have looked fantastic, but the items in the playground had a dark side: they were slightly more tricky than they looked. Standard swings: no problems. Springy bouncy jeep thingy: fine, until a lad jumped on and began rocking the thing like it was traversing the moon. Slide one: no problems. Slide two: huge metal corkscrew slide, which was vey high, had one go but too scary to attempt again. Slide three: steeper than it looked, Grace even managed a bit of free fall at one stage whilst travelling down it. Scramble net bridge: tried but too difficult, one step on and feet fell through holes.

Grace loves the swings!
Me and Stanley

After the playground we settled on the grass for a little picnic, a little relax, and three 'little' trips to the bin.

Lovely morning! Cushty!



Day 10 #juneathon

One third of the way through Juneathon and still feeling pretty positive about the whole thing. Tonight, predictably, a run round the woods. Nothing really to report except that maybe the dog did manage to avoid getting lost – which is always a plus. A gentle 4ish miles at 9min/mile pace – may go training with the club tomorrow. Taking part in Tuesday night club training has been seriously lacking recently.

Blog is lacking pictures tonight. Although I have got one of my gorgeous niece at the bar with money and ID in hand….lovely jubbly…

Today's mileage = 3.89

Total Juneathon mileage = 49.64

Mojo level = high



Whizzing across London in a helicopter!

Today was quite a day! We have reached about half-way through Mum's never-ending 70th Birthday celebrations….and today a helicopter ride over London. We've always said that London is the best city in the world, and Mum has certainly seen a few, but today just backs up that statement.

Arriving at Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey, we were greeted by the friendly staff of EBG Helicopters, including Nick, our pilot for today. After a quick coffee and identification checks, including a safety briefing of: “don't stand on the rail thingys at the bottom”, we were off!

Once airborne the champagne was poured – it had been open prior to entering the helicopter as I'd imagine you don't really want a cork bouncing around in the cockpit. Travelling at 1200ft and 130mph we reached London in 9mins and were treated to some truly amazing sights. We followed the route of The Thames from Fulham and turned for home at Greenwich. Along the way we whizzed past various landmarks: Hampton Court, Wimbledon, Wembley, London Eye, Westminster, The Shard, The Gherkin, Canary Wharf and many many more.

A number of things strike you when you are up there: the amount of green spaces in London, the closeness of everything and the fact that London is indeed a fantastic looking city.

We all had a fantastic time, especially Mum who had wanted to do this for a long time. Happy Birthday!




It’s Christmas!

It may only be May but in sunny Edenbridge it is Christmas! Very exciting!

For my sister last Christmas was a bit of a washout, due to her second child turning up on 22nd December in a rather traumatic way, therefore Christmas is taking place right now! Christmas music and the smell of turkey is filling the air.

Christmas Eve was spent in the pub, as is the tradition, although midnight mass didn't take place due to the vicar being rather unwilling to open up the church just for us. However, Santa did remember….

Jill has been busy with preparations: food, decorations, drink, she even managed to create a 'shed' for the nativity scene….

Can't wait for dinner!!!!



Breaking News: mother & daughter caught cheating….

Egg-streme Cheating

Mother and daughter caught cheating at egg and spoon race.

Yesterday at a National Trust organised Easter Egg Hunt in Chartwell a mother and daughter were found to have cheated in an egg and spoon race. Jill Lawrence, 36, and mother of two, was allegedly said to have sellotaped her daughters egg to the spoon. The much anticipated under 6s race, the highlight of the day, had begun in good spirits, but it wasn't until the race had started that eyebrows began to be raised.

Grace (18mths), clearly unaware of the scandal that is to follow

News of the scandal broke when a young lad noticed the shiny looking surface to the egg, when his father looked closer the Sellotape was clear for all to see. “My boy has inconsolable,” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, “my boy has been training for weeks and then some jumped up woman appears to try to claim the glory, it's disgusting!”

Sellotape is clear for all to see

Mr E Bunny, National Trust Easter Egg Hunt organiser, had this to say, “Following reports of alleged cheating we have suspended Mrs Lawrence and her family from attending any National Trust Heritage sites and events. We are also looking into claims that the same woman may have not completed the Egg Trail but still claimed the prize,” he went on to say that, “she is the lowest of the low, and to drag her innocent daughter into her web of deceit is unforgiving.”

The local Edenbridge Police Constabulary have put out this alert:

This is just the latest in a long line of strange and worrying behaviour that includes, amongst other things, forcing children to wear bizarre bunny ears and adorning her daughter with strange pagan symbols, these pictures have recently surfaced…

This woman should not be approached. If you do see her call 999 immediately.

The full story can be read here.