Perhaps we need a weekly round up round here?

This shall be done in Headers this week….


I actually made it to parkrun (27:41). It might have been a bit faster, but for the fact that we were near the back to start with, so there was an awful lot of weaving about. In a field of 488, I managed 216th. 40th female. 4th in my age group. I am quite happy with that – it was far easier than the parkrun we did before going on holiday. Fitness is slowly returning. Just in time to hit IVF, I reckon…. My 10 year old intervals session is slowly producing the goods (and is getting a bit quicker. Now I’ve written that, this week’s attempt will be slower).


I’ve had my pelvic scan. Utterly fine until my left ovary got coy, hid itself away, and then there was an awful lot of poking and prodding, and I felt like a grey dishcloth by the end of it. Very pleased my boss gave me a ‘comp day’ to recover. By 3-ish in the afternoon, I felt more-or-less myself again, and we had a lovely evening entertaining friends of the family. There was wine. There was sausage casserole. Oh. The Sausage Casserole. Definitely making that again. Even if the oven didn’t get up to heat and I had to put it on the stove top to prevent solid potatoes.

The next step is the preliminary assessment on Tuesday. We get the latest sperm analysis then, and hopefully get some sort of timetable. I’ve found a local counsellor so I can have some extra support in addition to the couples’ counselling we get at the clinic.

Ubiquinol, Evening Primrose Oil, and vitamin D have been added to the vitamin regimen of fertility vitamins, iron, and probiotics. I rattle.

Having been horrified by a reference in Grazia magazine about women over the age of 40, with older partners, not being successful in IVF at all, I had to sit down and then think. We can think of at least two couples where IVF has been successful for women over 40 with older partners. N is under instructions that he not cook his balls.


I am fairly convinced that all hair loss (looks pretty ghastly under a bright light – guess who has a bright light above the bathroom mirror?) is related to the Clomid. I have a section where there is no long hair at all. It’s all a maximum of 4″ long. However, I have also found some little new hairs in that section today. Not many. One is grey…. So, I hope it might come back again. In the meantime, in addition to the vitamin regimen, Biotin and Collagen are being consumed, and rosemary oil added to the conditioner when I’m washing my hair. Shampoo is currently either T-GEL or the super-coconut based stuff from the GP. I’ve got another appointment in 2 weeks to potentially change my asthma medicines. A short google suggested that steroids can contribute to hair loss (although, usually anabolic steroids in men). A bit more google suggested that Symbicort users have recorded hair loss, but I can’t find any Fostair users (that’s the stuff I was on before Symbicort) who have mentioned this. I know my hair texture has changed in the last 4 years or so – when I also started taking Symbicort. And, now I’ve moved out of London, I don’t seem to need the Symbicort as much as I used to. I’m better controlled. I can’t remember the last big attack I had (and the last time I needed extra Symbicort during the day was on a super-polluted day in London back in May, which was the first time for a loooong time. When I lived there, the extra was needed about once a week). So: might as well try going back to Fostair. Bonus – Fostair is an aerosol inhaler. You can use a spacer with it. And this might, might, might, reduce the oral thrush side effects.  It’s worth debating with the GP, and worth trying for 6 months. Plus it’s a pretty pink inhaler, and I am shallow.

Efforts to reduce stress are ongoing. I ought to have more warm baths and early nights.


I have one pair of sock monkeys nearing completion, I am on the home straight of the first of the pair of N’s Boston Marathon socks, and I have made two baby blankets for L’s IVF twins (these were her third attempt).  I have found a new pattern in this month’s Vogue Knitting magazine to try on the yarn which refused to knit to gauge but which is so soft and lovely, and I have discovered a podcast app, Overcast, which will actually play the BBC podcasts (the iPhone App refused – it wasn’t just my phone. They also failed to play on N’s phone). I do like a good podcast and a knit on the train into work.  The Archers, More or Less, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Case Files, They Walk Among Us, The Guilty Feminist, BBC Comedy of the Week, BBC Friday Night Comedy are my current favourites. I can’t quite decide if I like the Nerdery or not.

We have two more episodes of Twin Peaks to come this week – and those are very good for knitting to (we went to see Fire Walk With Me and The Missing Pieces at the cinema. I have had my fill of popcorn recently. I find it ironic that the most narratively coherent piece of Twin Peaks seems to be the film made with the outtakes/deleted scenes).


Repainted, ready to rent. Worked out why the sink blocked under the previous tenants – this would be all the rice which wasn’t scraped off any plates before being put in the dishwasher (which also didn’t have salt or rinse aid put in it).  Finding an inch of stagnant water in there when I was aiming to de-scale it was Not Fun. Curtains are up, shower works, there is now an extractor fan in the bathroom, the carpets are cleaner, and N will be putting up a proper blackout blind in the front bedroom this week (he’s taller than I).  Currently having a mild tussle with the agents over the fee – the contract says 15%, my emails say 12% (letting, rent collection and management. I cannot be spending any more mornings trying to unite tenants and plumbers…).


Finished Enigma of Arrival, started The Drowned and the Saved. Also reading Elif Shafak but can’t remember the name of the book, and it’s so much harder to remember the name of a book on a Kindle. Loved The Forty Rules of Love, though. Beginning to feel like I’ll never read all the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die before I die. The project’s been going on 10 years now…and a lot of the books on the list are hard going. While I was on holiday, I knocked through Naked Lunch, All the Pretty Horses, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Autumn of the Patriarch, The Wind Up Girl, Paul Merton’s Autobiography, Jayne-Anne Gadhia’s Autobiography and The Forty Rules of Love. Only the last 3 did not include the word ‘Sh*t’. I got really quite fed up with how I’d managed to choose so many books that just seemed to be mired in faecal matter (to be fair, All the Pretty Horses was using the word mostly as the very occasional swear, but the rest were decidedly smeared and besmirched).



I may have made jam

I may have made a sticky mess. The jam thermometer says that it should set. But it’s anyone’s guess. We picked about 2Kg of blackberries on Monday night: far too many for crumble for two. We may have got a bit carried away by the sunshine and a hefty dose of nostalgia on my part. 

Last weekend we headed into London. N’s birthday always means a meal at MASH so he can eat half a cow, and I can wear my favourite Damsel in a Dress dress (which involved a brief crash diet of the type beloved by Jilly Cooper. Pro tip. Remember to eat enough the day before running. It’s hard to run without fuel). Mission was accomplished. Epic fail to take a photo. But the dress did up, and I could sit down in it without it splitting. Bonus: after a brief week of wearing my fattest jeans, I am back in the normal size. 

We also went running round Hampstead Heath, and saw Leon at the Prince Charles Cinema. Awesome film. 

The weekend before, we entertained our neice and nephew. Small is a cutie pie. Big is a cuddler. We haven’t seen them properly for aaaaages as they usually live in Dubai. 

That hobby horse is awesome. It makes galloping noises. 

And isn’t that dragonfly cool?

I’m now in the throes of knitting socks and baby blankets, having hundreds (or so it feels) of blood tests pre IVF and to see if my hair thinning is thyroid related (probably not: but I suspect I’m generally not getting enough iron as that cam back as “normal” despite the iron supplements). Friday I have a pelvic assessment scan (not fun) and the rest of the day off to recover (last time I had one, I just felt sick and crampy for the rest of the day) and a  dinner party. The PAS can only be done between days 2 and 6 of my cycle, and we go on holiday on Sunday. It was not my plan to have a dinner party on the same day as a scan. Posh sausage casserole for the win….

Tomorrow, I get up early to have a run. I am hoping to be a bit faster than last week. Certainly, my intervals are improving a bit. Fitness will return. Heck. My resting heart rate has dropped about 4BPM this month. Partly I suspect due to cutting out caffeine. Partly due, I hope, due to speedwork. 


I want to run more

That half: it was hard work. It could have been easier, I was 4 minutes slower than last year (even with the slightly easier course), my heart rate was woeful (my heart rate is always woeful – I have a lovely, slow, resting heart rate, but I seem to spend entire half marathons at 180+ bpm. This seems to worry doctors until they look at my resting heart rate. I had an ECG this morning – which put the first part of my pulse a bit short, but is apparently nothing to really worry about. I also reckon both symbicort and ventolin push up the heartbeat). But, by golly, I enjoyed this race.

And I want more.

Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 13.13.36Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 13.14.10

I am particularly chuffed with that PR – I seem to recollect last year I whinged quite a bit round about that point.

This time, I walked when I needed to. I walked when my heart rate was >190 (and dropped it down to 175). I sweated profusely – and chafed something horrible under my heart strap and on my shorts label (I am covered in sudocreme now). And I LOVED this race.

It’s small – about 600 last year (not sure for this year, but about the same). The marshals are awesome, and there’s LOADs of them. There’s water at sensible intervals, it starts at a football stadium, so there’s a fair quantity of proper, flush, loos. A most excellent goodie bag, and a pretty decent medal. Lovely route (apart from the first and last mile – it’s a bit industrial estate getting out of the stadium), mostly on road, but just enough off-road to keep me happy.

My knee yelped a bit at mile 3, then behaved perfectly. I got through 3 gels. I felt good – not pushing too hard (and it was never, ever about a PB for this race).

But now? I want a bit more running. I want to be back up at 20 miles a week. I need to keep the weight (I am 26.2% fat – spot on for conceiving. BMI is 22ish – needs to be at least 20. Wasn’t in December…). I need to keep the fat. But I want to run more. I am going to have to work this one out. Next half is the Farnham Pilgrim in September. Another hilly one. And the vicar is wildly running 52 half marathons this year, and has invited us to join him for the Thames Meander. Please sponsor him: he’s a sweetie pie, he did us a wedding sermon with a Dr Who theme, and he’s raising money to keep the church in one piece (more or less). He’s now got a half marathon pb of 1:45…

Apparently I’m also possibly slightly lacking in calcium. I wonder if this is the missing piece in the fertility jigsaw…certainly, none of the pre-pregnancy vitamins have any particular addition of calcium, and I mix up milk with non-dairy milk. I shall go and find a supplement.


In times of k-need

drink gin? Knit? Consume chocolate? All of the aforementioned in turn? Or simultaneously?

Having not run for a week, after falling over, it seems that I’m perfectly capable of morris dancing a mile and then some (balls of the foot), but, as a heel-striker, running, not so much. Sunday’s 8 miler got aborted about 0.7 miles in. Tuesday’s 2 miler was a bit better, but still painful at times. 2017 is not my year for running.

I *think* I’ve worked out what’s going on: tight muscles – there is much foam rollering happening. With appropriate grimaces, groans and attempts to remember to breathe. I *think* I’ve worked out how to tape it: not how I taped it on Tuesday. I *think* I’ll be OK for High Wycombe Half on Sunday: it’s going to be boiling hot anyhow and there is no shame in walking parts of the course. Particularly the hilly bits. And DNF is generally an improvement on DNS.

I hope I have worked out what’s going on here. Because, frankly, this week is being just a tad tiresome. Friends are suffering. Period arrived just late enough to raise hopes (10 day luteal phase? Not long enough, really, if you think about it. But the three mornings of feeling utterly nauseous were, shall we say, thought-provoking? Yes. I think that’s a reasonable description. Better luck next month). The diet overhaul is possibly not quite enough, but almost right. Maybe. Perhaps I am clutching at straws here. We are supposed to have a referral to IVF, but the clinic has no record of it – but then again, Mr R hasn’t been in to open his letters (from himself to himself…).

Roll on the weekend? Or is that wishing my life away?



We did Pride

With my morris side (@newesperance). 

I am more knackered than I ought to be. There was a lot of waiting about. But once we were parading it wase awesome!

(And my lippy is still vaguely attached!)


Glad tidings

I made it in to work without falling over. That I then managed to ram my grazed knee into my desk is neither here nor there. 

But I thought you’d all like to know, being, as you are, agog regarding the status of my knee. 



I ran 10 miles.

I collected my prescription and bought some replacement tweezers.

I did ironing.

I tidied.

I started sewing up the widdle knitted jeans (So. Cute!)

I made banana bread.

I harvested two radishes.

I ovluated (which I’d given up hope of doing, given I’m 23 days into my cycle. Twenty Three).

Today: by 7.15 am I had fallen over into an A-road, grazing my knee so badly I needed to get a dressing from the Train Station first aid kit (rather than bleed at my fellow commuters). I spent the entire commute into London in actual shock (i.e. feeling sick), bled through the dressing, bought some more dressings at a chemist, bled through one of those by lunchtime (gosh, tarmac is sharp), and failed to properly get going.

With knee rapidly stiffening, I would like to declare that I am done with today.