I do realise

That my declaration about deciding to buy British yarn does make me sound like a bonkers Brexiteer. Honestly. I’m not. It’s got more to do with reducing my carbon handprint. I have heaps of pretty yarn I want to knit up. I won’t stop buying local souvenir yarn when travelling. I am sure I will slip sporadically. I have one last slip-up planned.

N ran all six major marathons (New York, Chicago, Berlin, Boston, Tokyo, London). He has had socks knitted for every single one: for New York, we’d been going out a scant six weeks at that point and I sent him into Purl Soho to choose some yarn (he chose lurid green as he’d run the marathon to fundraise for Macmillan Cancer Support) for socks, demonstrating his knitworthiness. He gets an extra pair for the extra sparkly medal he got for completing 6 marathons, and he wants a specific colour scheme for that. My slip-up will be the custom dyed yarn. I want to use the same Etsy seller as I used for his Tokyo socks yarn, and she’s based in the USA. So that little package will travel a long way. But she’s fabulous and reliable. See how bonkers those stripes are? And they match the colours on the Tokyo marathon website menu perfectly when seen in real life.



All of a sudden you have a 1 year old

Actually, LK is 13 months old, near as dammit, now. And trying to stand, and wanting to walk, and crawling about like a speed demon. All those things that babies do when they stop being babies and start being toddlers.

In the meantime, we’ve had solar panels fitted (goes with the reusable nappies. Now it’s, well, when we’ve paid it off, more-or-less free to wash the nappies. At any rate, we’re not paying the electric company, we’re making our own!). N turns 50 next week. I’ve managed to run a half marathon – the Midsummer Munro. It took about 3 and a half hours, but, my, it was insanely hilly. I’ll do it again next year. My aims were under 3 hours, and to not be last. I was not last. There was one point where it all felt harder than when the first epidural didn’t work during labour, but that lasted about five minutes, and I got over myself. I really recommend this one as a race.

I am running. Three times a week. I’m somehow beginning to hit speeds I haven’t hit since 2016 – I credit Laura. She’s awesome. She used to coach my Monday night club sessions, and she now coaches me online, one-to-one (work has this amazing benefit that we get money towards health and wellbeing – which is then taxed at source – which means it’s affordable to have a running coach and enter the odd race). My pelvic floor mostly holds out, my core really could benefit with more work than my holding my stomach in sporadically (hey, it’s a start), and I have given up on the idea that I’ll ever fit into my old sports bras again. I’m only feeding LK twice a day now, but even just after she’s drained me out, there is still more boobaliciousness than there used to be. And my underband measurement (or whatever it is) has increased by 2 inches. There doesn’t seem to be any more fat lurking on my ribcage than there used to be….odd what pregnancy does to a body.

I’m also anxious, and worried: the usual. Climate change and Donald Trump and Brexit. Will LK have any sort of a future? What will her world be like in 40 years time? Will she have a family, a job, a home? Will she have enough water and food? Hopefully, a good enough future. Hopefully not on a destroyed planet. Hopefully, we’ll all be getting better at making small changes. Because lots of small changes make for big change. My lying awake at 4am worrying doesn’t help anything. My remembering my water bottle, eating vegetarian food as far as possible (my downfall is porcine goodness), taking public transport, driving a prius, making stock out of vegetable peelings, looking for plastic-free (or very much reusable) alternatives will help. I am lucky enough to have the wherewithal to do this.

I’ve also nearly finished N’s London Marathon socks, and his Mum’s ridiculously twisty cable socks (photos will happen). I’ve decided that I’m going to reduce my carbon footprint yarn-wise – concentrating on buying yarn produced from British Baaaas. Using the patterns I already have. And so forth. As far as possible (look. I’m only human).

(Gin and second sock on a plane. Yes. Am woman of contradictions. Was in Indy for 2 days last week…)



Zero Waste Runner

I think it’s almost impossible to run distances and be zero waste… gels, water bottles, shotblox, trainers, running gear, camelbak: all that plastic. Granted, we can reduce the single use plastic consumption – reusable bottles, bulk buying jellybabies from costco, making our own electolyte drinks (let’s face it, basically sugar, salt and water…we can get fancy and use tablets, but they’re still packaged in plastic), making our own gels in reusable pouches (messy).

So, I was pretty thrilled to get £5 off my entry to Basingstoke Half Marathon for being a “zero waste” runner. No water, no medal (bit sad about that) and no tech top! Because, I carry my own water anyhow, and I have more than enough running tops which actually fit me, without adding in another badly fitting freebie.

I wish more races would do this.


And all of a sudden, you’re 40…

Or, rather, I am. There I was, merrily failing to pay attention to anything (this has resulted in a rather fraught afternoon as between us, we’d failed to tax the car. Or, indeed, register it to me. Or, in fact, keep track of the MOT certificate. Honestly. The DVLA and the Post Office were very helpful in sorting it out, but it was not an experience I’d care to repeat). Anyhow. There I was, failing to pay attention to anything, and all of a sudden, I had a birthday with a zero, a really rather impressive cake, and a nice pile of yarn to play with to make a crochet lamb for LK. Not that she’s in any way, shape, or form, deprived of soft toys. She has an entire menagerie on the shelf. Including a swan masquerading as a flamingo, a husky, a lion, an elephant, a penguin, a monkey, a lamb, four teddies and a whole bouquet of unicorns.

She has also, thank goodness, fallen asleep after complaining for about 40 minutes about the iniquities of being asked to go to sleep On Her Own and Not Attached to Mummy. She has two teeth now. I’m not keen on being nibbled to sleep, and she needs to learn how to go to sleep on her own. It’s a fairly basic skill. The second tooth appeared yesterday, half-way through lunch at nursery, and resulted in her second settling-in session being a maelstrom of sobbing, falling asleep on one of the staff, and waking up faintly confused when I went to collect her. Poor little girl. She is horizontal across the cot, but I’m not going in to deal with that quite yet. I’ll give it half an hour to make sure she’s well and truly off.

For, I am back to work from 8th April – LK is in nursery from 1st April. She’ll do four days a week for the first month, as I’m able to have 4 days a week at work, but be paid for 5, so we still have a few more buggy runs to ourselves (showering after one of those is a bit of a challenge, so I tend to do them on Friday when N works from home and he can keep an eye on her for 10 minutes while I de-mank). In some ways, I am ready to be back at work – in others, I am not. I would love to be able to go part time, and spend more time with LK, but that’s simply not an option. And I’m really not ready to find a new job when this one does let me work from home any day I fancy – vital to get LK to nursery. As she weans, I’ll get my lunch hours back, and be able to run rather than pump milk, and this will be a vast improvement on going for a run after 8pm – I don’t feel safe all the time, and intervals on partially digested supper are no fun. Buggy running I love, and she tends to fall asleep mid-run, which is a bonus. Child can manage to remain awake for 7 hours solid without getting particularly grouchy – but she does like to be entertained while that’s going on, which makes keeping track of nappies and laundry particularly spectacular. Weaning is easier – she’s quite happy watching what’s going on from her high chair. She can roll, she’s trying to crawl, she feeds herself with her hands (she ate a fish finger, some broccoli, some cauliflower, about three peas and a fair amount of mashed potato for supper – baby led weaning is brilliant. No faffing about with purée, just give them the same as you’re having, but without any salt, and see what happens). She’s getting more and more strength in her legs, she babbles, and giggles, and gurgles, and bashes her electronic kitty to make it sing songs, and attempts to mountaineer off the changing table given half a chance. Her smile lights up the room, and her eyes are pools of blue to swim in.

So yes. I turned 40. I ran a 10km race in Reigate which measured 1/3 mile under 10km – I’m not quite sure what went wrong there, but I’m not the only one who measured short. The organiser is failing to respond. It was rather gutting, so I went and bought a book in the town centre to recover. Then I failed to effectively escape Reigate, owing to a combination of narrow streets, a weird one-way system, a crucial road being closed, but Google Maps not realising that it was closed, and general panic. There was a point when I wondered about driving around faster and faster and praying that I just sort of pinged out of the town centre and landed on the M25 in either direction. Never again shall I drive to, in, or from, Reigate: by the time I had escaped, my carefully planned rehydration-bladder emptying strategy had completely gone to pot, rendering the drive along the M3 a rollercoaster of emotion combined with a burning desire for one of the incontinence pads I was given in case of my waters breaking in the car. Not a pleasant experience. Nor shall I run a 10km organised by that particular race promoter if I can help it. It’s a pretty fundamental thing: to get the distance of the race correct. When it’s a 10km race run over 4 laps, it’s even more crucial to be accurate about which path to take, and where the corner of the lap should be, and where you should run round it.

40’s OK. I can hit a 9 min/mile reasonably easily again. I can run 10km without collapsing. I can see that I will manage that sub-4 hour marathon in about a year’s time.

40’s brilliant. I have an amazing daughter, a loving husband, a comfy sofa, and I don’t have to share a washing line.

40’s ace. I don’t have to apologise for being me. So I intend to eat some more birthday cake, and have an early night while N goes to see one of Megadeth’s former guitarists in the next big town over.


Woohoo! I finished something!

I’ve just sewn on the buttons (which are cute, and wooden, and have no plastic packaging, and came from Hobbycraft. Which is a direct contrast to the acrylictastic yarn which was a gift but will wash well). Pattern is Little Wriggler by Easyknits and it’s the most useful garment for a slightly nippy day or when the heating isn’t on. This is a pre-blocking photo so that I have *a* photo. I am not sure the post-blocking photo will happen.

We are all jetlagged. We went to Canada to ski, and to my cousin’s wedding (outdoors in a ski resort).

Most of my family lives in the Vancouver area, and the wedding was in Sun Peaks. It was so utterly lovely to catch up: some I haven’t seen for 18 years. Then we got to go skiing, or snowboarding (I ski, N boards) and hang a little more with family and generally have a glorious time. LK was superb on both long flights: I am never going to fly with her in my lap again (we do not have an aircraft approved carseat, nor could we borrow one. Her next seat will be aircraft approved, and she’ll have her own seat. Between mild turbulence and a total inability on the airline’s part to provide a bassinet, it was somewhat exhausting and nervewracking). We togged her up in ski-goggles and carried her round the resort. She was definitely the cutest baby. Everyone said so.

She’ll be learning to ski in a few years’ time. Needs to get the knack of standing and walking first, though. Me, I stuck to the easy green runs when I was out, and had a lovely time.

With luck, LK won’t get spooked at 11:30pm tonight, and thus we’ll all sleep before 2:30am. Last night’s shenanigans were just a tad challenging: she had such woe. It was so exhausting, N slept through his alarm this morning and ended up WFH, which was rather lovely. Both LK and I napped simultaneously, though, which means the house is in total chaos and the laundry’s out of control again. Usually she naps and I sort out chores: yesterday she napped so soundly, I was able to unpack her suitcase in the same room!

With even more luck, I’ll have the energy for a run tomorrow…



Oh LK, stop losing your thumb…

We thought stopping the dummy would reduce the falling asleep woe: because it wouldn’t fall out and then you wouldn’t be upset that it had disappeared if you’d not had it in the first place. But oh! The woe of you losing your thumb while trying to nap. It has been a jarring 15 minutes for all three of us.

Mind you, you have been an awesome little trooper. 9 hours on a plane, and you were only really upset when you got a bit too warm, and a trip to the back of the plane, with half an hour of singing (how many verses can I make up of “Prickle Eyed Bush”?) and a dose of Calpol (don’t judge. She was feverish) sorted you out. You’ve slept nicely in the cot in the hotel, at more or less the correct local time, and more or less in line with your usual patterns. That work on “it’s dark, you sleep, and Mummy and Daddy don’t entertain you” appears to have paid off.

Ahh. You’ve found your thumb. You’ve gone down for a nap without being fed to sleep. You rock, little one.

And Mummy got to go for an altitude run (20 mins on the treadmill, 5 mins on the bike at 1255m). So Daddy also rocks too for sending me off…

And all so we can go to a family wedding (yes, those are enormous shin bruises. I whacked myself with the carseat at the airport).


I feel rather better

I’ve banged out 8 miles at an average 9:17 min/mile and sussed how to get the strava app to tell me the miles as I run, and how to get it to auto-pause (handy as I had a gel at 4 miles). It was grand running as the sun began to think about setting: such a lovely golden light.

I’ve taken my laptop to have its OS reinstalled (my profile corrupted. I have had my laptop for 9 years. I don’t want a new one), and hopefully get it to keep running for a few more years. I may have lost the Christmas Card spreadsheet in the process. I backed up everything else. With luck this will sort out its tendency to freeze and hiccup. LK got hungry just as I was booking it in, inhaled boob in the handy Mamas and Papas next door, fell asleep, then woke up in the lift. She has napped for a grand total of half an hour today.

I have bought a rather smashing silicone mat thingy with built in food catcher to take to Canada with LK next week (baby led weaning is a messy business, and I am slightly germ phobic when away from home. I feel that this mat thingy is an improvement on anti-bac wipes).

I have managed to have a sensible, grown-up conversation with N and sorted out most of the whinge. I also gave myself a firm talking to while on my run, on the subject of why I feel guilty asking N to look after LK. I think it boils down to my Mother (don’t so many things?!).