I’m having an epic fail to concentrate on work: Dad’s having a pacemaker fitted more or less right now (following fainting and falling over a couple of times before Easter: not something you want to be doing while on blood thinners, as it can get very messy), and I’m quite simply disinclined to pay attention to what I should be doing.  It’s all done under local anaesthetic, but one still worries a little bit. Daddies are important! I reckon the pacemaker’s long overdue, so this should improve his quality of life a bit. He’s just looked exhausted a lot of the time.

So. What’s occurrin’?

Nick STORMED Boston Marathon in 3:44:32, on a ridiculously warm day. I positioned myself right at the top of Heartbreak Hill for a sweaty kiss, but didn’t manage to catch up with him before the finish line. I’m very proud. He didn’t overheat. He didn’t collapse. It wasn’t his fastest marathon (3:22:25 at Berlin) nor his slowest. Boy did well. He’s having a bit of time off from running so hard – it’s been 2 years since he started the Boston Adventure, by training for Berlin, and he’s keen to get back to cycling. I believe a fourth bicycle is being eyed up. I got to see Emerson College. Way way back, as a teenager I entered a short story competition hosted by it. And I got a commendation! You wouldn’t believe it, given my haphazard writing style now.

We went to the Blessing of Athletes. It was brilliantly bonkers. Queuing round the block to get in. White ribbons to wave every time the word Alleluia was said (or sung – and we rounded off the service with the Hallelujah Chorus…), a full brass band and a bagpiper. Very welcoming: I have no idea which stream of Christianity we were in, but I heartily approve and I wish more churches were like that. Even N, who is atheistic, enjoyed the proceedings.

Yarn to make Boston Marathon Socks


It was a lovely viewing spot…

Yes. That’s Bobbi Gibb. First woman to ever run Boston.

The Amtrak to New York from Boston is lovely. Ditto from NY to Montreal. So much more civilised than cramming into a plane. And more environmentally friendly. I did have an awful Clomid-related meltdown on the second Amtrak. I really do hate the stuff (even if I am now, apparently, ovulating! Woo hoo!). The depths of despair which I end up plummeting into on day 3 or 4 of taking the things really makes me question if I’ve got the mental fortitude for IVF. On the plus side: I’ve had a CBT appointment, so hopefully we can get me slightly more sorted out and calmer, trying to do less, and trying to be less wound up. My MiL has done some woo-foot reflexology on me, and I am supplementing, and eating oily fish, and avocado, and egg, and proper dairy, which should help with progesterone levels in the second half of the cycle. TMI?

Ate the burger. Polished off the milkshake. Wandered round for about an hour saying ‘that was AWESOME!’ on a total sugar high. Probably won’t repeat the experience, but man, did it make up for the time I turned down a super-duper ice-cream sundae on the grounds of having cleaned my teeth (my parents had fused the lights in the hotel room by making tea. Or, rather, failing to make tea. Mum and I were reading in the corridor, the concierge turned up, said ‘oh’, disappeared, reappeared with said ice cream. Mum ate it… Such a typical 7 year old move).

Montreal’s lovely. Really really excellent food. And a bonus 5km race, which I stormed in 25:29 chip, a full two minutes faster than the previous parkrun, and one minute off my PB. It was cold, wet, and a nice flat course with lots of space. Even went onto the F1 Grand Prix track (briefly). We’d visited that the day before, and stood in pole position. Can’t imagine just being able to wander round the Grand Prix track at Silverstone, but here it was open for all to use, and had a couple of damp looking cyclists doing laps.

I like local yarn as a souvenir

Since then, I’ve been running in a jetlagged fug. It always takes me a good two weeks to recover back from a trip over the Atlantic. It’s a lovely problem, but frustrating.  I’ve also had a lot of early nights, particularly this week, being on call and wanting to be at my desk by 8am. Which doesn’t sound fearful until you take into account the fact that I need to be on the 6:46am train in order to achieve that.

And, the Science Day I’m organising for 200 Guides seems to be coming together nicely in the last week – I was panicking. Now I’m energised.  There is still a LOT to do this weekend.

Knitting is occurring too. Right now, I have a Color Affection on the needles for F, some socks for L (no link, I want to surprise her), a sweater for me (not going well, I have gauge issues) and a little cardigan for J, which I’m going to Swiss darn the flowers onto.  I think this will look better than intarsia. And the number of ends to sew in will be the same.



98% done on War and Peace

I’ve become slightly bogged down by Epilogue 2, and its historiography: never my strongest point at university, it must be said. It’s not half as fun as Epilogue 1 (which brings us up to speed with the lives of the protagonists since the end of the war). It appears to be a proto-marxist dialectic. However, I’m skimming this last bit, and I doubt any of it will actually stick with me. I shall be reading something utterly frivolous on the commute next, thus freeing up brain power to read “The Red and the Black” by Stendhal, at bedtime. I was getting a bit confused as, stylistically, the translations I’m reading of each book, are far too similar. So, for the last few nights, I’ve been reading one of the Dresden Files at bedtime. Supernatural pulp fiction with slightly gory bits, and grand fun.

We’ve had a lovely weekend away with the guide leaders. No internet, no phone signal. Peace, quiet, proper darkness, excellent excellent food, and some raucous laughter. I’ve finished a pair of socks (apart from cast off) and a pair of booties (including buttons!). I am almost at CampBlanketZero. We had a go at Free Being Me, and improving our body confidence. On trying to explain this to my mother afterwards, her two comments were “but I need makeup”, and “it’s important not to go too far the other way, and to still be neat and tidy.” The latter comment, I think, has a point. While trying to attain the body beautiful that the media presents to us is a total waste of time, effort and emotion: how many of us have felt better for a little bit of pampering? A wash and blow dry from the professionals. A manicure. Really nice healthy food, rather than something laden with fat and sugar. A session or so at the gym, or a run, or a muddy walk. New mascara or lippy. It’s about balance: the question isn’t as black and white as we might think. (now I’ve tried paying forward about body confidence, do I get my badge?). While we don’t want anyone to be obssessed with their appearance, or to make themselves ill and unhappy about it, or to miss out on doing fun things because they feel diffident about their body…at the same time, it’s important to remember that feeling good about oneself is about feeling good about everything. So, while I may not care that I look hot-and-sweaty post-run when I’m among my friends, I’d still prefer not to have my photograph taken until I’m slightly less pink and slightly less smelly! This isn’t an option when I’m racing (they just leap out at you, and then it’s out there for everyone to see you suffering!)

There was, naturally, alcohol. And cake. And we made little felt owls (photo to follow). And bird scarers. And bird feeders. And marshmallow baileys shots.

And I went for a 9 mile run up hill, down dale, through the woods and the dingly dells. And I didn’t get too lost in the process. I found myself by finding a pub (accidentally) and re-orientating my map from there. I should have realised that the compass hadn’t become confused about where north was, really. I had become confused about where I was on the map. However, this was a great improvement on last year, when I got even more lost, and didn’t have a proper map with me. I found myself far more speedily. I also saw a shetland pony, 1.5 brace pheasant (one of whom was female), squirrels, lots of dogs, bunny holes and fox poo. I have decided that I don’t want to live anywhere with a high incidence of single-track-roads-with-passing-places, as they are scary scary places, but, since I managed to reverse into a parking space with my father ‘helping’ at the end of the weekend, I am probably OK at reversing into parking spaces.  It is never fun to be reversing into a space with pa ‘helping’.

My eyelid twitch appears to have gone as a result of this nice break. Happy happy J.


We went to The Palace

It was fabulous. K invited me to be her plus one for a Buckingham Palace Garden party, so of course I said yes within about three nanoseconds of being asked. I’ve wanted to go to a Buckingham Palace Garden party since I was about fourteen, just because. I’ve been round the Palace gardens on a tour with the Carlton Club, I’ve been to the Royal Warrant Holders’ party event with my parents’, so I feel that I know the gardens themselves well. However, a proper Garden Party, with a Stiff White Invitation with Raised Printing (yes, just like my wedding invitations) hadn’t happened. And N no longer has access to the system that he built to organise the invitations for such events, so we couldn’t jemmy me in. Not that we would. But oh, the temptation!

We made a day of it, in our smart Guiding uniforms. We had lunch at Claridges, and, I will say, this was hands down the best gluten-free dining experience I have ever had. “What on the menu is gluten free, please?” “Oh, just choose anything, and we will make it gluten-free, madam.” We may have had the fixed price lunch (three courses, £35, then coffee and wine), but they treated us like everyone else, and, indeed, just made everything gluten-free for me. I’m going back there. I may range round the menu a bit more next time. It may become expensive.ImageImageImageImage

(they have a long rope of marshmallow from which they cut slices. Four different flavours. Yum)

And then, we went to the Palace. Selfie outside to go on the Division Twitter Feed, photo with a Jolly Guardsman, in his Jolly Coat, with his Jolly Buttons to his Jolly Throat. The heavens opened. We opened our brollies and sheltered people nearby. Simon Hughes introduced me to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (a surprisingly deep voice, and you would not have thought she could be any more horsey in person than she comes across on the telly, but she is. Her lovely silk suit was soaked, and she can’t have been comfortable. It didn’t show at all). We met some Guides, and recruited a new leader, we met some scouts, mayors, holders of the Empire Medal. It’s lovely how a Guide Uniform makes you approachable. As someone entirely socially inept, I like the help it gives me, although I’m always conscious that I must be on my best possible behaviour in it.



(hours later, the button exploded off my left shoe. I’ve had those shoes since I was 17, and I’m determined to get them mended!)

Quite frankly, it’s the most exciting event of the year so far. It would be the most exciting event of the year, but for my wedding, which I anticipate is going to be even more exciting. Particularly since two of my Canadian Cousins are now coming over. They had a trip planned for October, then J’s third husband got carried off by Lymphoma three weeks ago (boo. Sodding Cancer), and they brought it forward. They’ve changed the dates again to come to my wedding, and this means I have an unprecedented eight members of my family (including myself) at the wedding. This is the biggest family reunion since my christening! There’s only the cousins in Norfolk, who don’t talk to us (we don’t know why, we tried) plus my Aunt and Cousin (insert whole can of worms which will be left firmly shut) who don’t really talk to my Mum and vice versa, left. All those on Dad’s side… I do send cards to my Aunt at Christmas. Mostly because I don’t want to be the impolite one.

I’m sitting in slightly lonely state at N’s Dad’s – who is rather perkier than he’s been recently, and was actually awake when I got here, which was rather nice. Poor N has gastroenteritis. I bought a thermometer yesterday, and then wished I hadn’t. A temeperature of 39.9C is, well, scary. It came down with paracetamol. He thinks he might try eating something today. Maybe. He’s got lucozade, rehydration drinks, ice lollies and the complete Sandman to read, and he’s staying put in bed until he’s better. I believe that once you’ve made your way through all the Sandman books, you’re better. Mostly because my re-reading them seems to coincide with my being ill, and it always takes longer to read them than it does to be ill.

I think I’ve avoided it. I do hope so. He started being ill on Sunday, and it’s now Wednesday, so I think I’m in with a fairly good chance here. Plus there’s been lots of handwashing and loo-cleaning going on. All hail the Dettol Loo Wipe, which makes one feel fairly secure. All hail plain old soap too. And, all hail the fact that for the first time in weeks, I’ve had enough time to paint my finger nails. I had a moment of epic selfishness last night, and did them after having run two DBS checks, collected stuff from Boots for N, and looked after him a bit (which involved another trip out to the supermarket for Lucozade). There was a point on Saturday where I was just totally fed up with being Div Com and I wanted my life back. It passed over OK. I was just a bit over-Guided. I had some B-vitamins and some iron tablets, and they seem to have helped.