In which I was ill

And then I had a couple of days off from the internet. With the result that: I am actually on top of my to-do list (bar needing to get writing paper to write to people), I have almost gotten organised on printing photos for a photo album, I have put some wood floor down in the main bedroom of the dollshouse, and papered a wall in it (both badly, but I have done it and I am thrilled with the result. It’s not a perfect house. It’s my house. And these were jobs which were anything up to 17 years overdue. The hall lamp has not been working for far too many years. And the rewiring job needed covering up). There’s a bit of painting to do on the dollshouse, a bit of sorting out the fireplaces, and then I’m onto arranging furniture, and making new soft furnishings for it. Which is where I’ve wanted to be for some years now.

I’ve also decided to not run the Midsummer Munro (but I will be marshalling, so I can do another race in the Trionium Series later in the year without losing money. Seemed sensible, as the day was already set aside), and to do Wycombe Half instead. No way can I be fit enough for 13.1 miles of epic hill in 1 month’s time having had the better part of two weeks out with a chest infection. But, give me three more weeks, and something with mild hills, and I’ll be fine. I was just getting into longer runs when I went down ILL during Brownie Holiday last weekend, and I spent much of this weekend either driving clobber to Guide Camp or sleeping. Naturally, I am feeling perfectly fine now the long weekend is over, I am not supposed to be at Guide Camp (I did not go to Guide Camp – I was not well enough to do more than drive, and that practically knackered me irretrievably) and all I need to do is go to work. Go figure.

I have finished Color Affection (gosh, those last rows are boringly long-winded). I am about to cast on some Blu jeans for T’s baby.  A schoolfriend is having IVF twins in November – so I have chosen a pattern for them (and need to acquire some suitable yarn). N’s marathon socks are yet to be started, but I do have the socks that I left round someone’s flat during a planning meeting back in my possession.

In other words: I gave myself a break. And I feel vastly better for it.


Conversation I never dreamed I’d ever have

Me, to N, on my way out of the kitchen and before he heads to White Hart Lane for the very last time (a 40 year love affair). 

“Don’t rip your seat from the stand on the way out.”

N: “I’ve already bought it.”

Me: “…?”

N: “They’re going to pack it up in a presentation box and send it over.”

Me (internally: What The Actual F***? This is a thing already?): “Oh jolly good. Where are you going to put it?”

I’m now watching the special closing of the ground ceremony on the tellybox, getting totally overemotional (good thing I am not there…) as they march out players of days of yore. Goodness me, Peter Crouch is about a foot taller than everyone else. Someone who also has a degree in Russian has just appeared. The crowd goes WILD for Glenn Hoddle.  And wilder for Pat Jennings… Cliff Jones has just jogged (seriously) onto the pitch. At the age of 82. Eighty two. And he’s jogging. 

Oh yeah. N was on the pitch too. 


He’s all pink now…

Rosy! And says that he can feel the pacemaker going off: so this was obviously something that really needed doing.

Quite a long scar, he’s not allowed to move his left hand above his head for 3 weeks, can’t drive for six (and has abandoned plans to mow the lawn in the interim….).

He looks much perkier. In a sort of ‘I am recovering from minor surgery’ manner. So all is good.

On the minus side, I got a chip in the windscreen of the car on the way back. How? HOW?!



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.



So I actually made it to parkrun

And, I got round in a fairly respectable (i.e. not my slowest on this course) 27:32. With negative splits!

 This, however, was apparently as much effort as my sub-25 min achievements across the summer of 2016, and I was totally unable to continue with my initial plan of running 8 miles total on Saturday (1 mile to parkrun, 3 miles at parkrun, then 3 miles along the canal and 1 mile home again). I did try – but my legs were not up for it. So I went out on Sunday instead (which meant eschewing my lie-in, but did mean I got 6 miles in the bag before getting on a train at 10:38 and going to Northolt to help sew up a wedding present blanket).

However, the effort involved in this run tells me that I need to pull myself together a bit if I’m going to enjoy the Midsummer Munro half. I need a couple of speedwork sessions. I need to push myself rather than bimbling. I need to get some of my fitness back, as it’s evidently lacking. Between running less, sprains, colds, work trips – well. I have finally hit 100 miles run this year. Last year I’d managed that by the end of January. Losing most of February was something I did not need. Hey ho. It happens.

N, on the other hand, has been storming along (after a brief panic with a niggly knee – turns out his muscles had locked up round it rather than anything truly ghastly like a torn meniscus or ACL). He is absolutely set for Boston on Monday. It won’t be a PB course (too much hill). But he will not disgrace himself in his eyes, and I hope he will enjoy it. Last night, he came to GOSH Scouts and Guides with me, and we talked about running marathons. We’ve hopefully inspired the three kids who were there – I did talk a lot about that brilliant feeling you get at the end of a marathon (because, let’s face it, if it goes reasonably well, you do end up with an impressive high). They tried on his medals. And they made him a poster that I can flap as he goes past. I have *no* idea where I’m going to stand…and I’m not looking forward to the wait for him to go past. I’ve only gone to support him at a couple of races where I’ve not been running myself, and it’s a truly ghastly experience. I worry so hard, and so much, that I just spend the entire time feeling faintly sick. Boston seems to have the added worry that it’s such an iconic race, it was bombed a few of years ago, and thus has strict security (runners cannot wear camelbaks, for example) for runners and spectators.  I need to acquire a small bag for the essentials (phone, wallet, ID).  After Boston, we’re having a bijou holiday. I’m very much looking forward to this – actually being off work for more than a week. Last time that happened I was too busy recovering from the endometriosis surgery to enjoy myself.

On that note, we had one of those immensely frustrating trips to the hospital. The type where you wait for 45 minutes with no explanation (and the display screen is insistent that no-one is running late). You’re seen by yet another new doctor, who does not apologise for the wait, who blatently has not read the notes, who cannot get your age correct in the notes she’s writing, who tells you that the blood test done in January suggests that you are ovulating (woo hoo. The OTC test told me that), and to keep going for another 2 cycles with the Clomid. Having had to be told that you’re in cycle 4 already. Why this could not have been done by telephone, I know not? Would have saved everyone a lot of time.  Come back in 8 weeks, presumably to get a referral letter for private IVF. Because, remember, you’re too old for NHS IVF in this area. Go home. Eat the last of the birthday cake. Sulk because you weigh 9 stone now…

Otherwise: I have been massively involved in organising a STEM Day for the County Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Senior Section in May. We have over 175 girls signed up for this, it’s going to be utterly wonderful and completely terrifying. I’ve just ordered the badges. It’s the same weekend as the Kensington Dollshouse Fair – which means I’m going to miss that, which is a shame, as I’ve finally managed to get the lights working in the dollshouse (20 years after I got it. Honestly. It’s old enough to have its own mortgage.) and I am keen to sort out the fireplaces, but I want to actually see what I’m buying. Having the biggest dollshouse fair close enough to visit on public transport is lovely: and this is quite frustrating.

There has been some knitting. A pair of socks going badly. A sweater going better (I have just ordered some new knitting needles for that – turns out that while I do have 2 size 5 UK needles, they are not really a pair, they are horrible plastic, and I feel the situation could be improved). I’ve remembered how to tat, and I’m going to use the tatted edging I’ve been working on as part of the dedication panel for this blanket. No photos of that until after it’s been handed over in late May: I don’t think that the recipients read this blog, but, then again, weirder things have happened, and let’s not tempt fate, eh?



If you’re going to spray that second skin wound spray stuff on a particularly deep and nasty papercut on a wriggly finger (well. It was a cardboard box cut), acquired while making an anti-Brexit placard (or, indeed, any type of placard), I suggest removing all jewellery first.

One week later, and I’m still picking extremely sticky bits of plasticy stuff off my wedding ring. And it is nowhere near as satisfying as picking glue off my fingers in primary school. Nowhere near. It just does not want to come off. Which makes me worry what it did to my cut (other than help hold it together where plasters were not an option).

Meanwhile, I achieved 7 miles this morning. 9:30 min/mile, my heart rate was appalling (so much fitness lost) but a good tired feeling in my legs. I miss running properly. I don’t like this half-assed stuff. I may go out twice mid-week next week, and also a long run combined with parkrun on Saturday (I have to be in London for noon-ish Sunday. Or, rather, Northolt. And that’s quite the trek). I’m no closer to being pregnant than ever I was. It’s a bit wearing. But: I am eating Good Food, I am still exercising, and I am swallowing the appropriate vitamins.

I have since done 3 hours of guidemin. And eaten some particularly good chocolates which were part of my birthday present from my parents.