Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas day :-)

Thursday December 25th ( even though it says 24th above)
Happy Christmas to anyone reading my blog today!

Done my exercise for today 2.66 miles, didn't see anyone out, and only one car.
Can now enjoy a relaxing day with the odd mince pie, chocolate, cake.............!

Oh! And the water heater is mended, so we can have hot water over Christmas :-)

Monday, 22 December 2014

running and spinning week

Tuesday 23rd December

After last Tuesdays splendid run the rest of the week was good for exercise, I turned up for my spinning session on Thursday morning to be told it was cancelled!!! I was not a happy bunny as I had arranged my day around it, so after lunch decided to get out and run as the roads were really wet after heavy rain making them very messy. I managed a good 7 miles over the Neroche route, chilly in the wind, but a good afternoon out just before dusk.
I booked spinning for the Friday teatime and went along to a large group for the time of day, another hard session, this time I put on a little more resistance as I found fast spinning had irritated my calf muscle.
Sunday saw Mike out for the morning, a grey morning but not too cold, we headed over to Athelney to check on the flood prevention, much digging out and construction work around, still cant see it having a great effect. The Drayton to Muchelney road was still shut  as they are ‘raising the level’ so it doesn’t flood. A good 39 miles covered today.
Monday I was at a loose end and managed to persuade my daughters boyfriend to come running on the Quantocks, he is a runner and has done several half marathons. As we arrived in the car park there was a strong wind blowing, and the temperature wasn’t too bad, we headed off towards and up Wills Neck the highest point on the Quantocks before going along the ridge to Dead Womans Ditch and Halsway Post, there were quite a few MTBs out, must be the xmas holidays. It was fairly wet and muddy under foot in places. I was pleased after 10 k or 6 miles to see we had taken 1hr 3 mins which is a good time for me for offroad 10k, must be the pacing of my partner!!!
I did tire as we went back up Wills Neck and the car was a welcome site, 10 miles covered, very pleased with that as I haven’t run that far for a couple of months. My calf seemed ok, but legs did ache.
Another spinning session this evening then its rest over xmas Tim is hoping to have us run from Sidmouth to Seaton which is about 10 miles on Saturday!!!
Now today also involves mending our hot water heater, and installing a new anti scale cartridge, I just hope the plumbers have one or we could have no hot water over Xmas!!!!

Watch this space.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Beer Head run

A Great day for a run

The forecast was for a good weather day, and as I was driving down the Axe valley to Axminster this morning there was a  really good cloud inversion, made more spectacular with the sun just rising over Lamberts Castle, one of the Dorset hill forts. It was ‘rush hour’ in Axminster so took some time to get through. There was signs of frost on the fields but the roads were just wet.
I drove along the Axe estuary, the tide was out, so it was covered in seabirds, taking their fill of food. As I drove into the Beer Head carpark, there were no other cars in the park, and annoyingly the carpark fees hadn’t been suspended for the winter!!!

The weather was clear blue skies and sunshine, I set off to run up to the coastguard station, a little slippery under foot with mud, but not wet. I set a slow pace feeling the need to just enjoy the run and also there are some steep hills around here. I descended to Branscombe Mouth, having seen no one since setting off, I took my time on the steep coast path, to avoid slipping even though I had my Fell Raiser shoes on, which have a great grip. I was soon climbing up the other side of the valley walking at the steepest point before reaching the steps. The National Trust had repaired the steps making me pick up my feet!!! I was soon on the ridge, enjoying the low sunshine, shining through the trees. I continued on before dropping down through the woods on a lovely path to the Fountains Inn.
The road said closed but I managed to creep past, as the workers were in their cabin enjoying breakfast, I was offered a mug of tea ;-) but declined. The road was really quiet as no traffic was coming through, I met a bloke on a bike and waved him down to let him know about the road ahead. He was cycling from Southampton to Penzance, and had spent the night at beer, he was heading for Totnes for the night so still had 50 or 60 miles to go. I turned off past the mill, along the valley and back to the coast, the only people I had seen were the workers!! And the cyclist.

The climb up to the caravan park was hard, I took a breather at the top, this is the entry to the low level coast path, a nice single track the meanders along the cliff face, slippery in places, but lovely running. It wasn’t long before I came to the ‘stair way to heaven’ a walk at this stage, 6 miles run so far. At the top I still felt good, and the run back to the car park was fantastic in the sunshine, views across Lyme Bay. This is the quietest I have ever seen it, I didn’t see any dog walkers at all!!.

7.24 miles covered, back to the van, change and then a mug of coffee and a left over custard donut!!!
It had been a great morning out, I took my time and felt good when I got back to the van. I called at the sports centre on the way home and booked my spinning lesson for this Thursday morning and next Tuesday before Christmas.

My calf muscle felt ok,I did strap it up in case and I will put some muscle rub on it tonight.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Closer to shortest day, 2 cycle rides and an off road run

An uneventful week but at least I managed to get a 6.5 mile off road run round Neroche forest, it was just before dusk so there were a few more dog walkers around than normal, all friendly and all well behaved [dogs and owners] It was damp underfoot but not too muddy, although I did get wet feet! It  was a cold start as well with a brisk cold wind blowing across the car park, it took me a good 2 miles before warming up, helped by the forest.

Two days Bikeability and poor weather was forecast, BUT! We were very lucky and escaped any showers, and it wasn't too cold.

Two cycle rides one a 28 miler on a very frosty Saturday morning making some of the roads rather a challenge till later in the morning, when the sun had gained some strength. It was however a glorious day, clear skies with wall to wall sunshine.

Monday saw  Dave P a mate cycle over from Yeovil to try out my ‘Qoroz’ Titanium bike, after the trial I cycled part the way back with him along the cycle track and then onto the old ’Fosse Way’ which turned out to be extremely muddy in places and made worse with hedge cutting! Fortunately we escaped punctures. I left Dave at Lopen Head and headed towards Barrington, the National Trust village before heading over my usual three hills back through Crock Street – only 22 miles, but enjoyable, much warmer today.

My calf muscle has started pulling again – this was after my spinning class last Thursday, my first one for a month, will now try to make it a weekly event. I hope the calf starts to calm down again, as it’s a very niggling pain.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

few days in the Lakes and flu has flown!!!!

Sunday 30th November

Sunday saw us heading north on the M5 calling at Gloucester on the way for coffee with GD. For once it was a painless journey despite the numerous roadworks. we arrived in Morcambe late afternoon, checking into the Travel Lodge before having a walk along the front. Morcambe has to have one of the most stunning sea front views in Britain with views over the sands to the Lake District. We were fortunate to capture the setting sun.

 Sunset over Morcambe

Sunset over Morcambe

The fantastic sculptures of the sea birds silouetted against the setting sun

 View across the bay to the Lake district

Late afternoon sun reflecting in the Midland Hotel windows

It was then off to Wetherspoons for some tea! burger and chips !!! lovely in the aptley named 'Eric Morcambe ' pub

Monday it was time to move on up to the Lakes but we had a mooch round Lancaster first, a very well off city in contrast to the run down state of Morcambe. Some nice parts, with development blending old and new. A little christmas shopping was also done!!

We then drove up through Carnforth etc. to our pre-booked  centrally heated caravan at 'FallBarrow Park' at Bowness, the drive up was really pleasant, very little traffic compared to the M5 or even driving round there in the summer, managed to spot a speed camera in time as well, phew!!!
After a nice mug of tea with cake we went for a walk down by the lake, beautiful as always, very few people around, just before it got dark, the swans, geese and ducks still pestering visitors for food, the usual squarking and fighting amongst themselves. The weather forecast for the week was good, and Tuesday promised sunshine, with a chilly breeze.

I was up before dawn, deciding to resume my running. Several layers, hat and gloves, ipod plugged in I stepped out of the caravan to a dark cold morning. I switched on my head torch as the park was still dark and I didnt want to become a casualty within yards of the van!!! I ran down through the park to the Nab ferry before returning in a round about route, the ducks and swans were still asleep, headds resting on their backs, the beam of my headtorch picking out boats moored on the lake, a very dark liquid looking very cold. But it was lovely the sky was starting to ighten and showed a blue tinge on the horizon - I covered 2.5 miles and felt good, back for a shower and some breakfast.
They were right, it was a beautiful morning, so quickly packed a rucsack, wrapped up and drove to park at Rydal Mount for a walk around Rydal water. Despite being early there were already cars parked and we headed up to the caves above Rydal water, before heading in the Grasmere/Loughrigg terrace direction finally dropping back down to the main road and climbing back up to 'White Moss Common' before following the 'coffin route' bridleway back to Rydal, views across Rydal water were stunning, the stone walls casting shadows from the sunshine which was very low in the sky and black sticks of the leafless trees standing out against the very green grass, bespeckled with sheep grazing.It was a  welcome lunch at the splendid tea rooms at Rydal Hall, a 'retreat centre' it was lovely soup with chunky wholemeal bread, no cake this time though!!!
 Caves at Rydal

 Rydal water peeks through

 Towards Grasmere
 down from Loughrigg towards A591 road

 Road up towards White moss
 Coffin route back to Rydal

 Rydal Hall grotto and the tea rooms

We then descended back down to the car, only about 4.5 miles, but a lovely walk. 
It was a call in Ambleside on the drive back to look around the many 'gear shops' nothing to tempt me or Mrs IanB this time, we were rather annoyed by the excessive car park charges though for December, 'rip off' spings to mind.
Wednesday dawned, another sunny, but cold day so we took advantage and packed a flask of coffee and mince pies and walked down to the Ferry at Nab, the mist was just lifting off the water whilst we waited for the ferry, it was good to be walking rather than driving. There were several cars but reasonably quiet for early morning. The water was like a mill pond, with reflections of the trees very mirror like. We disembarked and walked through the woods to the track that goes to Wray. A strange occurrence was happening on the lake, the mist was drifting up the lake from the Newby Bridge direction , enveloping all, including the sun, we were a little worried that it would spoil our morning coffee sat in the sun by the lake, but! It seemed to melt away as quickly as it had formed. A small motor launch was chugging away up the lake, creating a small bow wave as it went; whoever it was has got one of the best jobs in the world on a morning like this. The air was still chilly and I was glad I put on my thicker coat.
 The view down the lake from the landing stage at Fallbarrow Park
 Waiting for the ferry
 Cars on the ferry, not ours though!
Coffee spot!
 Coffee Spot
View down towards Newby bridge from the ferry on the way back
We walked along the edge of the lake for about a mile, not seeing another person or vehicle, each rise we went over introducing a new view of the various islands on the lake. We finally found a spot opposite Belle Isle, a convenient rock to sit on and another to act as a coffee table. It was very peaceful sat there as though the world had stopped, the only noise were the swans, upending in the water fishing for their food. The sun continued to shine and the temperature did rise a little as we walked back towards the ferry. A little busier now with more people and cars disembarking from the Nab side, walking poles, rucsacs, boots were in abundance, However, our return journey was just as quiet, we were the only pedestrians and there was only one car and a scooter.
The walk back to the caravan alongside the lake was beautiful, very peaceful. We got back just in time to drive to ‘Wilfs’ at Staveley for lunch, the best café in the whole lake district, he does a superb veggie chilli served in the old mill.
Another run was planned for this morning, so up early and similar routine as before, there was a cold wind blowing off the lake as I ran past and on through the park again, I managed 3.5 miles this morning extending my Tuesday run, I was pleased I was back with the land of the living and running again.Thursday was a day out in Keswick, trying to link a little Christmas shopping, with site seeing and of course a nice lunch out! [there is a theme here on cafes!!]
We were able to roadside park saving us a few pounds which we were then able to buy coffee in Booths supermarket [no relation] we did pick up a couple of pressies, and again we had lunch in the ‘old justice house’ which is now Wetherspoons and it was curry day!! There was a very nice craft market on in the town.

A walk down by the piers, with views over the mountains and the lake was truly outstanding, quiet, no wind, mirror lake and black mountains silhouetted against the sky, all summits were clear and there was a slight dusting of snow on Skiddaw. Catbells stood out and you could see the route to its summit, but I couldn’t see anyone on it today, surprising as its usually a busy peak as its not too difficult.
All too soon it was time to head south and return home, but not before we had a super veggie breakfast and cafe tier of coffee.
 We hit the M6 around 10 am and did quite well until junction 19 – then STOPPED!! After 45 mins queuing we discovered a very large lorry had broken down in the middle lane!!! So traffic was down to one lane. After this hold up we were lucky to have a clear run the rest of the way home, a call in Gloucester for a mug of tea and a cuddle with GD, who had great pleasure showing us her Christmas tree complete with flashing lights. Overall it took us 51/2 hours to get home plus a stop, so not too bad for a Friday. When we got home the house was freezing and took some time to warm up with heating on full for several hours.

We had, had a great trip, thoroughly enjoyed and would like to have stayed longer, we will be back to the lakes in spring [I hope] and we will return in December again, the Lakes are a different place in midweek winter, well worth the trip.
Saturday was a beautiful day and instead of doing what we should ie housework shopping etc we skived off to Sidmouth and the White horse for our customary egg, chips and peas. it was very busy with christmas shoppers, the sea was very calm, it was strange to think 24 hrs earlier we were in the lake district. 
Late afternoon saw me out on the streets in my running kit, 5 miles covered around one of my town routes - really pleased this week as I have run 11 miles!! the first running miles in 3 weeks!
Sunday was grey and damp but I was determined to get out on my bike, a text from Mike said he was ill and wouldnt be out. I finally emerged around 10 am and headed out over North Curry, nothing significant in the ride except the roads were really muddy and it was a cold damp ride, I was pleased to get home and lunch of homemade tomato soup with homemade bread - 32 miles covered.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Work and no play

Saturday 29th November

Four days Bikeability, in a range of weathers, one soaking!! And one nice sunny day. Children seem immune to wet weather enjoying riding through the puddles! All children this week were very excited to be riding on the roads, most tell us their parents don't allow them to ride on the roads, unless they are on the pavements! So we are usually starting at point zero with awareness of the hazards on the roads and trying to build their confidence of being in traffic. The down side this week has been my flu/cold has continued, with a cough and a sore throat trying to shout instructions to the children . The other downside has been no running or cycling ( although we did cycle about 5 miles a day on Bikeability ) as I decided the cold was on my chest, I didn't want to make it worse again. I hope to be able to start again over the weekend, although I will be starting afresh as it's three weeks since I did any training.I have now passed it all to  Mrs IanB, so she is now poorly with runny nose aches, coughs etc.
The days are short now, but without wishing life away it's only 3 weeks to the shortest day!!:-)  
I am sat watching the Snowman Triathalon on tv at the moment, looks a nice event, in a fabulous area, must be nice to be that fit.
Updated Saturday evening:-)
Managed to get 26 mile cycle ride this afternoon as it was a beautiful sunny afternoon. I headed over Broadway and out to Hatch Beachamp, fields looking very soggy, and the hedgerows are black twigs, waiting for spring to return, so they can start life again. As I came past Merryfield airfield, the wind sock was very limp, with no wind to fill it. The sun was now very low, the wet runways glistened, almost mirror like.
The roads were quite busy, the good weather fetching them all out. The climbs back over Crock Street were taken at a very steady pace. I was pleased how I went given its 3weeks since I last went out. Average speed was down to 13mph rather than my usual 15 mph. A really nice ride, quite warm, it was good to get out again. The roads were very dirty, with mud spilled out from the verges where tractors had pulled over, so the bike was in a bit of a state when I got back. Seems a regular job now after a ride. The mug of tea and fig roll were welcome when I got home.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


Sunday 23rd November

Well its been a non week exercise wise as the dreaded flu decided that I was not to exercise. The flu was a continuation from the previous week, and sadly I was very poorly, recovering enough to look after GD on Thursday and Friday in Gloucester, again using the excellent 'Brierfields Motel campsite' with the campervan, we were amazed tha the site was full on a Thursday night in mid November, clearly people don't stay at home when you have spent your money on an expensive motorhome or caravan!! we did manage a very wet walk along the river at Tewksbury with GD, which was very pretty, but wet!! BUT! GD enjoyed the splashing in the muddy puddles :-) - so 0 miles running and 0 miles cycling, but still find myself on Sunday evening coughing and a cotton wool head, be it less than it was. Cold remedies! how do they get away with the advertising!!!!  they don't work - end of!!! had my clod/flu now for 2 weeks,I have been watching bits on 'You Tube' of mountain runners and fell running to keep me inspired - they just seem so fit.

Back to Bikeability tomorrow so hope I have the voice and the ability to stand for hours on a cold street corner, and hoping by later in the week to manage a short run.
My son is already asking if I want to enter Exe to Axe at the end of March ,we did enter last year then due to bereavement had to pull out. This year I will enter late, and try to gauge my miles at the end of January and if I will be fit enough for the 20 mile coast run [lots of steep ups and downs!].
I can also gauge with my Grizzly cub run on the 1st March which is 9 miles along part of the route.
I was hoping to increase my mileage this year even though I am up on last year still not as good as 2012
         running    cycling
2014  555           2511
2013  501           2398
2012  590           3000

If I put a good spurt in perhaps I will beat 2012!!! although I have lost at least 2 weeks.

Monday, 17 November 2014

No runs, no cycle ride, but a few days away in the campervan.

Monday 17th November  
No running and no cycling last week! Didn’t even get to my second spinning class!
The week started full of promise of getting regular runs or cycling in including a weekly spinning session, this all changed when our Grand Daughter was sent home from playgroup as being unwell. We were duly called in to help out whilst parents carried on trying to earn a crust to pay the mortgage!

Monday and Tuesday were a deluge of rain and wind for two days, so no getting out to run [wimp!] Wednesday saw us driving up the motorway to stay at the 'Brierfields' campsite, outside Cheltenham a very good and cheapish site that is in a great position for Gloucester and Cheltenham, sadly it was Cheltenham festival so the campsite was very full, but remained quite.
We had a good three days with our Gdaughter with a bus trip to Gloucester docks and a visit to Bourton in the Water one of the Cotswolds tourist traps, but, very pretty and the Gdaughter really enjoyed feeding the ducks across the many bridges and of course the strawberry ice cream. Riding in the campervan with ‘wheels on the bus’ on the ipod was also a favourite with Gdaughter whilst cow spotting from an elevated position in the van. We were lucky with the weather as it was only really wet on Thursday, but GD was not well enough to go out anyway. Sorry no pictures, the colours across the Cotswolds were stunning, with the beech trees now changing colour, and in the misty light added a real atmosphere.
I clearly had to cancel my spinning class, I can’t get now until two weeks time.
I also started my flu symptoms on Thursday and these continued through till today, I have felt dreadful over the last few days with a heavy cold, aching legs, and thick head.
I don’t understand that every time you get to a point where you are reasonably fit, and managing to get the regular runs/rides in, there is always something that gets in the way, meaning you almost have to start again from scratch, in my case this time it is a cold, but I have had injuries before. Maybe it’s the body telling us enoughs enough!!!
It was nice to be away in the campervan, the van is surprisingly warm  and cosy especially when you hear the rain pit pattering on the roof!!

I should be at Bikeability this morning[Monday]  but, one of the side effects of my cold has been losing my voice, so I had to get cover, I must say, I really think standing on street corners this morning in the pouring rain would not have been good!! So really pleased I took action to cover on Saturday.

We have managed to book a few days in the Lakes in early December after a deal through ‘Fallbarrow Park’, a great position in Bowness so it will be nice to spend a few days before Christmas in the lakes and give us something to look forward to. I hope I get the chance to nip up a couple of mountains, but will be happy rambling around the valleys if the weather is poor, should be snow on the tops J

I am hoping I will be well enough to resume my running before the weekend. I think the cold is starting to shift, but left with a cough, I was also looking at the 10mile Bicton Blister over Woodbury common on the 30th November but! After the break in training I think that is out of the question, I will have to look for something else before Christmas to give me a goal to aim for and give me an idea of my fitness.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Pittville park, grotty weather

We finished the week off with a day out with our Grand daughter in Gloucester, visiting Pittville Park in Cheltenham, on a wild wet and windy day. Pittville is a lovely park with a nice playground, some birds and rabbits and the obligatory pond with ducks. We had a lovely day with the autumn leaves blowing around, GDaughter enjoying the freedom in her Welles splashing in the puddles.
I managed a 5 mile run around town on Saturday at an 8.5 minute pace. Sunday was bright and sunny so a cycle ride after coffe on Seaton seafront, only 32miles but enjoyable anyway.
No bikeability this week so mor decorating! Weather is really poor,  heavy rain and gales, and forecast for the rest of the week, hence, grotty weather title.

Spinning again on Thursday, so looking forward to that.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Fence panels, a run and my first spinning session

Thursday 6th November

Busy week so far, Monday was a cutting back trees and bushes ready for fence panel replacement on Tuesday when our  eldest son came  over to give me a hand to replace ten six foot fence panels! and a concrete post. After removing lower branches off next doors ley landii  [grrrrrrr! horrid things!!!!!!] so we could lift the panels high enough to get them in the concrete slots, very hard, lessons learnt on the first one, good job it wasn't too windy either. We did well on the first couple but!! by the fifth they were getting heavy. Next job was to dig out a lump of concrete and a elderberry root, Son had an ingenious method using a farmers jack to pull out the stump, which worked really well. He then used the hole, but a bit deeper to bury the concrete we removed. Working for the National Trust has the benefits of tricks of the trade when it comes to trees. One of the hardest jobs was removing an old fence panel covered in ivy, which was covering one side of the fence, and was at least 20 - 25 mm diameter in places!! - so a good job done, especially between showers. I also forgot to mention that Bramble the brown lab was there with his ball, insisting it was thrown between hammer blows or spade fulls of dirt!!!

Wednesday morning saw me working with year 2 at the school hearing them read and talking through the plots of Biff, Kipper and Wilf :-) After lunch the sun still shone so as I hadn't run for a week and not run off road for several weeks I headed up to Neroche castle for a run and took my camera this time hoping to get some Autumn shots, I was surprised to see many of the leaves had now gone!! I had a good 6 mile run from the Castle over to Staple hill and back, not too muddy, and the weather perfect, lots of dog walkers out today and the views stunning as always. I was also pleasantly surprised with my time of 1 hr 11 mins which to say I stopped several times for photos was good [hopefully the results are below]
 Starting at Neroche castle
 Down Stairway to heaven

 Flat bit down to the road crossing

 selfie before the road crossing

 Starting the climb up to Britty after about 1.5 miles

 Crossing the open field near Britty
 Climb up to Staple car park nearly 3 miles covered
 Nice track from the carpark, flat and time for a breather!!
 Looking over summit of the Blackdowns

 Entering the woods on return journey

 some good steeplechase type obstacles

 nice single track through the woods
 View over towards Wellington and Exmoor
 Car park at Neroche

Its amazing again, how last weeks run was hard work, but today much better, funny thing the body!!!

Thursday was my first Spinning session, I apprehensively went down to the local leisure centre, towel, and water. As I got there one man was setting up his machine, so I followed getting the seat the correct height. Another 8 people appeared a good mix of male and female, young and older!!
the Instructor started us of with a warm up spin to a good music beat, I was soon very hot and sweating. The session continued with more resistance  applied to make it harder to pedal, and I found holding the speeds for the what seemed lengthy 30 secs,  hard!! and we had to increase resistance each time, sometimes standing. It was a good session , but very hard, I was not used to the bike, or the resistance, totally unlike a real bike, it did seem to me much harder than 'real cycling' or even running up hill, so I hope it will make a difference. We finished the session with some stretching. I did enjoy it, got very hot, legs did ache, I now look forward to next week as I have already booked !! I need to keep it up at least once a week.
It was nice to sit down at home with a nice mug of real coffee and a couple of Brioche rolls with homemade jam. AND! of course sitting writing this blog