Saturday 26 February 2022

A tale of two parkruns

We have been doing a bit of parkrun tourism lately, and I think that we have visited nine different parkruns in the last ten weeks.

I don't have many photos of the rest of them, but the latest two are both on the record.

Last Saturday we went to Pomphrey Hill near to Bristol, and they had a photographer who took some pictures on the course of the final sprint. By chance I was in fighting mood and had secretly decided that I was going to beat a lady who looked a similar age to me. I caught her up and overtook her on the last hill, and then charged the final half mile to the finish. Rounding a corner and seeing the finish line I heard footsteps close behind.

There was no way I was going to let anyone overtake me and I sprinted full speed for the line. It was very close but I beat the little boy, and then his dad said that he thought that I would let him win. I just smiled politely and thought 'no way'. 

This morning we got up early and caught the train to Oxford to do the University Parks parkrun.

This one was full of hundreds of super fit students along a beautiful route in a park. Over 400 people took part and I finished a hard won 227th.

Daz took this action shot on the final straight. Unfortunately the guy in blue overtook me in the last 100 metres but I managed to stay ahead of the two girls.

Sunday 13 February 2022

Stone folly

We have been working hard in the garden and the toilet at the end is our latest target.

It has been over run with ivy for many years and it is gradually working its way under the roof. It will have to come off one day, but it is a haven for the birds and potentially very attractive.

Here it is now and I am hoping that it will look like a folly. The ivy has had a hair cut, the toilet had been smashed out and removed. Unfortunately the door that I really liked was too rotten so is in the process of being replaced by Darren.

We are also slowly clearing the river bank, although the brambles are vicious and absolutely enormous.

Now that we can see the river we are finding out that the wildlife is amazing. There are swans that swim right past us and two days running now I have seen a kingfisher whizzing past. Hopefully I can get a photo soon. 

Saturday 12 February 2022

Wood burning stoves

Very exciting day yesterday as our new stoves were due to arrive. We currently have electric storage radiators that are very expensive to run and not actually very good at heating the rooms, so we are looking forward to seeing a roaring fire and keeping warm.

The fitters arrived, put up a work tower and got straight on with clearing the chimneys. The first problem was that the chimneys didn't have cowls on the top and over many years jackdaws had dropped a mountain of sticks inside one of the them. This was discovered when the workmen took the cap off the base. They filled bucket after bucket with dry sticks, but eventually they got through to the top.

Then it was up on the roof to put the shiny metal pipe down the chimney, and to take off the old television aerial attached to the chimney.

After that it was plain sailing and by the end of the day we had two beautiful new stoves.

We are just getting the hang of lighting them and I have learnt one very important lesson - never put your finger on the glass at it is extremely hot. On the slightly plus side I may have burnt off my index fingerprint, so I could consider becoming an international spy.

On the not so good side, it appears that the old aerial on the roof was the one that worked and not the modern one that is still attached to the side of the house. Disappointing. 

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Weekend in London

I will just list the top three things that we did in London in the last two days.

Firstly, we went to the theatre to see a matinee of Pride and Prejudice, Sort Of. This was completely fantastic, just five women playing all of the parts, plus all of the musical instruments as they turned the book in to a musical, and all of the servants who don't even get a mention by Jane Austin. 

We were right at the front to one side so couldn't see all of the stage, but it was great to be so close to the action. It was over two and a half hours long, which is usually way too much for me, but I was sad to see it end and the standing ovation was well deserved.

The next morning we went for a jog along the Thames - always very scenic, but also a challenge because of the endless building work. We had to keep taking detours off the route and at one stage we ended up in the middle of a dual carriageway. To escape, Darren had to give me a leg up on to a pretty high wall, climb over it himself then help me jump down the other side on to the pedestrian path before we could carry on.

Thirdly, this morning we walked to a fancy Indian restaurant called Dishoom. On the way we passed the Seven Dials monument and it's really interesting as seven streets with angled buildings all meet at the same junction. 

The restaurant opened at 8am for breakfast and was really lively. We ordered Bacon naan and mango lassi and it was all extremely tasty. Afterwards we had a quick wander around Covent Garden, but it was a bit early and most of the shops and stalls were not yet open, so we headed to the station for the train home. 

Friday 4 February 2022

Baby lambs

We went for a little walk today to North Stoke, which is up an extremely steep single track road. Great views of the Avon from the top, and we even spotted our cottage in the distance.

On the way down we walked through a field and a few of the sheep had tiny lambs with them. It seems very early and the church newsletter said that they were due to arrive in March and April, so something has gone wrong. Hope the weather stays warm for them. 

Every day I take a carrot to the donkeys and I think that they are starting to recognise me, although one is definitely keener than the other. They live with three sheep friends and one of them is now coming over to see me too. 

Finally, a few days ago we heard from the team at Graven Hill to ask if we could show a few people from Homes England around our house. It was a bit of a surprise that so many of them turned up, and we aren't really sure why they were there, but they all seemed to have a nice time and asked for a photo with us.