My Mum had a clear out (Part 2)

It is finally here. No longer will you have to sit huddled in front of the screen eagerly clicking refresh. No longer will you have to stare at your Twitter timeline hoping for the update. No longer will you have sleepless nights. After the first episode just a few days ago, Part 2 of 'My Mum had a clear out' is here…

Just to recap my Mum gave me a load of stuff that she had collected over the years. There was a lot more but Mum had done a cull of items over the last couple of years. What we have left is a collection of 'stuff' that makes for interesting reading: school reports, school projects, old certificates, drawings and various other bits and pieces.

Being a teacher I was looking forward to seeing my old school reports. I've written a fair few about various 'little darlings' I have taught so was interested in what my teachers said about me. Below is just a flavour of what a 'fabulous' pupil I was.

First year primary school…class 1L….July 1978…..I think it works out year 3….

“Philip is making good progresscommunicates well….his written work is beautifully presented….interesting and imaginative….tries hard.” The phrase, “written work is beautifully presented” made me smile because my handwriting is pretty atrocious. But my favourite part has to be this….

...enjoys learning new things...

Second year primary…class 2TW…July 1979….year 4…

“Philip is a very competent reader….methodical….natural aptitude…good positive attitude to school…very helpful in the class.” It all seems to be going very well so far.

Third year primary…class 6W…July 1980….year 5…

“Philip has made progress but not as much as I had hoped for….lack of concentration…easily distracted and readily talks for the remainder of the lesson…lacks imagination.” I think this teacher may have got me confused with someone else! Although I particularly like the following phrase…. wouldn't hurt to use a few adjectives...

Final year in primary…class 8B…July 1981….year 6….

Class 8B, Mrs Bickers, she is the only teacher I remember from primary school and from what I actually remember she was nice, so expecting a good report. “Philip has continued to make progress…his written work has maturedspeaks wellpleasant responsible boy….I have enjoyed teaching him.” Glad to see I finished my primary education on a high. Although it is interesting that the head made a comment on the report, “He is still rather shy and quiet, I hope he will grow in confidence next year.”

What is also interesting is that there is not a level or grade in sight in any of the primary school reports. But as enter the world of secondary education that is all about to change. And in a cliffhanger style you will have to wait for the next part of 'My Mum had a clear out'…..




My Mum had a clear out (Part 1)

Recently my Mum told me she was having a clear out and she had lots of stuff from when I was younger: old school reports, stuff I'd made and some Charlton bits and pieces. So it wasn't unexpected when I arrived at mum's the other day for her to hand me some 'stuff'. Loads of old school reports as well as 'projects' I'd done and some examples of my handiwork. But also some Charlton stuff.

I've been a Charlton Athletic fan for as long as I can remember. In the very distant past I remember my Dad taking me to watch Millwall – that was his team – but for me it was always Charlton. The scarf and hat have seen a fair few matches. When I was a 'cool' teenager I don't think the bobble hat would have seen the light of day too often, although today it is the height of fashion. During the 70s and 80s the scarf was a must wear. Everyone had one on. I'm not sure if the scarf is held as dear in today's 'must have a replica top' world. I was forever thankful of the scarf. The times when I was proud to show my colours: the 5-0 mauling of the mighty Manchester City in 1986 – how times have changed – it was the only match where I can ever remember singing 'we want six'. Or the times when it was used to hide my face: an apathetic performance against Cambridge United – they were then bottom of the league – resulting in a heavy 'home' defeat. I even remember a phase when I wore it tied around my wrist in a 'Showaddywaddy style'.

I think this may have been the first 'official' Charlton top I was given – although I'm not sure it was 'official' or even if such a thing as an 'official' kit existed. It may have just been purchased down the market, or from the club shop, but for me it didn't matter. It was Charlton. But as you can see I wore it out….

They say what goes around comes around. Never is that more true than in fashion. At school the lads all have these retro bags, and they don't believe that I once had a bag like that, and that I was actually 'cool'. Enough said….

Coming soon: My Mum had a clear out (Part 2) including old school reports and lots more.



Post-Party Juneathon Day 2

Last night was Mum's 70th Birthday Party, a fantastic evening of singing, dancing and chatting. So when I woke in a slightly delicate condition Juneathon was under threat because of far too many pints of Guinness and a late night sleeping on Mum's sofa.

Today's run was therefore a nice gentle jog in the sun at around lunchtime. A circular route of 4ish miles taking in some of the sights of the area. The Tarn was a favourite place to visit as kids to feed the ducks and run around the lake….

Today's mileage = 4.12

Total Juneathon mileage = 8.81

Mojo level = very high (despite a slightly hungover start to the day)



Juneathon Day One

We're off! Day 1 of Juneathon is well and truly complete!

If you are an avid reader of this amazing mediocre tedious blog you'll be aware that I'm in London for a few days to celebrate my Mum's 70th Birthday. Which began with yesterday's fabulous helicopter ride over London, read more here.

So as May came to a close the focus turned to Juneathon. Early thoughts were to begin Juneathon with a parkrun, this did not materialise because I woke up slightly too late. Therefore, the first day of Juneathon was to be completed pounding the streets of London. This has many pros and cons:


  • Concrete is everywhere – no problem with underfoot conditions
  • Roads are all massive – no single tracks to risk your life on
  • Houses everywhere – no problem with choosing a route
  • People everywhere – lots of people to say 'morning' too


  • Concrete everywhere – can make it a bit hard on your feet
  • Roads are all massive – therefore loads of cars, vans, buses, lorries, etc. making crossing roads a risky business
  • Houses everywhere – very easy to get lost – on more than one occasion I would 'nip down here' only to come out not quite where I had expected
  • People everywhere – the people I did say 'morning' too just looked at me with a blank expression

But it was quite enjoyable to be running somewhere slightly different, and I even managed the odd picture along the way in a bid to liven up the post.

This I couldn't resist….taking advantage of the green space and extending your garden, there are so many plastic ride on thingys that it looked like a branch of Toys R Us, although not sure what they would do if the council insisted that the trampoline be stored in the garden…

Also, as I was running along the 'Green Chain Walk' for a bit I crossed the railway line, this involved bounding up the steps in a 'Rocky' style and punching the air. No trains about, although I think engineering works were in 'progress' as I did spot a couple of fellas in fluorescent jackets leaning against the fence having a smoke….

Day 1 mileage = 4.69

Mojo level = very 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!




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!



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!!!!



Olympic Experience

After watching the fabulous opening ceremony and watching some brilliant performances from Team GB from the safety of the sofa, it was finally time to experience the Olympics for real. The date had been on the calendar for about 18 months, Tuesday 7th August, after failing to get various sports in the initial ballot, we ended up with Hockey in the second chance ballot. I have to admit that Hockey was not the first choice event, but we were going, we were going to experience this 'once in a lifetime' visit to a home Olympics. We were all very excited.

Our ticket admitted us to a morning session of Hockey at the Riverside Arena in the Olympic Park, Men's Hockey, two matches: Netherlands vs Korea; and Australia vs Pakistan. First match kicked off sticks away started at 8.30am. Despite staying at my Mums, in South-east London, this meant an early start. Plan was get up at 5am to be sure of leaving at 6am, to ensure we would not miss a kick a whack a hit any of the game.

So, 6.15am and the short walk to the station, Jill and Craig in good spirits…

Leg one of the journey complete, train to London Bridge. Next up was a quick jump on the tube to Stratford. Didn't quite go to plan. As we entered the platform, we were greeted by the Great British public queuing in an orderly fashion (this would not be the last of today's queues) to the sounds of a tanoy, “We apologise for the delay – we have a signal failure on the Jubilee Line”. We waited for around 15mins, several trains coming and going, all packed solid, allowing very few passengers on board. A few prayers to Lord Coe later and we were on board, like the proverbial sardine. Various announcements, all completely ignored, told us to get off at West Ham if we were travelling to the Olympic Park. We therefore went past West Ham and duly got off at Stratford, with everyone else….

Despite the amount of people, we got into the Olympic Park, including various security checks, quickly and without fuss. A short stroll and we had reached the Riverside Arena, followed by a climb of 1000s of steps and we had reached row 29 of 30 and in position to enjoy the hockey.

The Hockey was actually quite exciting, a very fast and skilful game. The Dutch were too strong for Korea and beat them 4-2, whilst the Aussies whooped Pakistan 7-0.

After the Hockey we went to Park Live to watch the Brownlee boys bring home gold and bronze in the triathlon on the big screen.

Then a stroll to the Velodrome where I re-enacted my celebration at seeing Chris Hoy win another gold….

We passed the biggest McDonalds in the world, apparently, before seeing the biggest queue in the world to get into the London 2012 Megastore. Both we avoided before taking a closer look at the Olympic Stadium…

We ended the day by queuing for fish and chips….it was a really great experience, well done London!!!



Busy Weekend

The end of half-term has appeared incredibly quickly this time, and coincided with a very busy weekend.

First up was a trip to London late Friday evening to stay at Mums for a family gathering on Saturday. Brother Paul is home from China for a few days and my niece is visiting.

Saturday morning I went to Norman Park in Bromley to take part in my first parkrun, a free timed 5km run. It is a great idea and the race was great fun, three laps of Norman Park – finished in a time of 20.53. After the event you even get a text with your time and details of the race:

“Bromley results for event #130 – Your time was 20.53 – Congratulations on completing your 1st parkrun and your 1st at Bromley today. You finished in 41st place and were the 37th gent out of a field of 298 parkrunners and you came 5th in your age category VM40-44.”

AND they sent me a ¬£15 off voucher I can use for my next pair of trainers from Sweatshop. Apparently these events take place all over the country at 9am on a Saturday morning. However, it would seem that my nearest ‘home’ parkrun is about 30 miles away! If anyone fancies running a parkrun near me, feel free!

Later in the day my niece came for a visit……

Grace is doing fantastic! I hope she enjoys ‘Discovery Bunny’ that we bought her. I drove back Saturday night to be ready for this morning’s Sleaford Half-marathon.

Initially I was not going to run this event but with the cancellation of the last two races due to snow, plus all the mileage I did in janathon, I thought¬†I should go and run it. Firstly, let me just say it was a cold and very windy morning, when I say windy, think….

The Sleaford Half is an event I’ve done a number of times. A rural course, slightly undulating, and because it begins at RAF Cranwell, very open. So the wind was a big issue especially over the first half of the course. Finished in a time of 1:42.06 – pretty happy with that.

Next event up is a club 5-miler Frostbite followed by the Grantham Half-marathon.