Holidays always seem too short and our German adventure in September 2014 was no exception. When I left work the Wednesday before we went to Cologne the prospect of thirteen whole days off seemed like a long time. As with all holidays it flew by though. When we got back home, in the early hours of Tuesday morning I had great plans about what I was going to do over the following week. What I didn’t count on were the German germs I picked up courtesy of Easyjet’s recycled air. Continue reading German germs and black swan cygnets – first published 24 September 2014
This morning was mostly about resting, sitting on a sunbed by the pool reading in fact. Commando wasn’t reading, he was mostly snoozing, because he had the first race of the Cyprus International 4 Day Challenge ahead of him. When I got fed up with reading and my eyes began to close I went for a little wander in the hotel grounds admiring the bourganvillia growing in huge stone pots in shady areas. There was no time to wander any further, besides, I needed to conserve my energy because, one way or another, I had a bit of a walk ahead. Continue reading The Coral Beach 6k Time Trial and a Cypriot sunset
Even before Sue joined me on my walk to the shipwreck I’d planned to return along Sea Caves Road. For one, it was a far shorter route than the meandering rocky one along the cliff top weaving in and out of all the little coves. It was also, in part, the walk I’d taken this morning with Eddie. Then I’d been busy talking and I hadn’t had my camera with me. There were a few things I wanted a closer look at. Continue reading Sea Caves Road
From the cold windy coastline at Gosport yesterday we dashed back home to get warm with coffee and showers. There was just time to download all the race photos from my camera to my Mac and from there blue tooth them to my iPad before were were off again. This time we were Gatwick bound. Continue reading Gosport, Gatwick, Pafos
The first week in my new job and the rain was back, just when I thought we might have seen the last of it. Ironically, as I was now working for a bus company, there were no busses passing my new office. It was too wet to walk the whole one and three quarter miles though so I used my shiny new bus pass for the first time to get across the Big Bridge. At least that was the coldest, wettest part out of the way. Continue reading A rainy start and a golden finish – first published 27 March 2014
After a busy week searching for boundary stones, today brought a chance for a little sit down. Commando, CJ and I were off to the football. For once, the match wasn’t really the main attraction.
On 2 October Francis Benali, one of my favourite ex Saints players and a familiar face at running events, began the monumental task of visiting every Premier League and Championship ground in just two weeks. It might have been a simple task, except he was running and cycling the whole thousand mile route! This amounted to running a marathon and cycling around seventy five miles every single day. His aim was to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
This isn’t the first long run Franics Benali has undertaken. He can often be spotted at events like the Wivern 10k and the Southampton Half Marathon, or just running on the Common. In 2014 he ran to all twenty Premier League Grounds to raise money for the same charity. This though, was his toughest challenge yet. Franny, set off from Bournemouth feeling, in his own words, “nervous and apprehensive”. He was due to arrive at St Mary’s the final ground on his massive tour, shortly before kick off. Of course, we wanted to be there to cheer him on. As it happened the crowds were so big and I am so stupidly short that I barely saw the top of his head and completely failed to capture him in a photo but I’m pretty sure he must have heard me shouting his name.
Inside the ground we found Franny masks under our seats. Of course Commando couldn’t resist trying his on. For a brief moment I felt like a very badly dressed WAG. Then it was down to the business of football. While Burnley and Southampton thrashed it out on the pitch Mr Benali must have been having a little rest somewhere in the bowels of the stadium. Hopefully someone was rubbing his tired muscles and making him a nice cup of coffee.
At half time a slightly tired looking Franny ran onto the pitch to a rapturous and very loud reception. After a short interview with his daughter, who is the announcer at the stadium, he finished his amazing feat with a run around the pitch. Of course, we were high up at the very back so only saw him as a tiny red dot circumnavigating the grass but we stood and cheered anyway.
Despite an unfortunately timed rain shower he ran the whole distance and was met at the far side by the unmistakable figure of Lawrie Macmenemy. When Franny went off for a well earned rest Lawrie Macmeneny, with his now white hair and trademark long black coat, walked around the outside of the pitch right below our seats. The ex Saints manager, who led the team to their one and only FA Cup victory in 1976, got almost as loud a cheer as Mr Benali.
The football may not have been the main attraction at this match but it was the icing on the cake when we won 3-1. Winning always makes the walk home more pleasant and, this time, we even got the beginnings of a pretty sunset over the river as we crossed the bridge. Hopefully Franny was having a sleep by then. He certainly deserved it. What a hero!
Sometimes Commando likes to take me on magical mystery drives and surprise me. In January 2014, after his ten mile marathon training run and my very short walk around Hum Hole, he had a plan to make sure I got my full quota of walking in for the day. He took me to a familiar place for some very different views. Continue reading A Sunday Surprise – first published 19 January 2014
One of the hardest things about losing my job at Silver Helm was walking away from the wonderful views over the city from our office on the fourteenth floor. In the penultimate week a foggy day brought some of the most breathtaking yet. They were all the more poignant because I knew they were going to be some of the last. Continue reading An island in the clouds – first published 11 december 2013