Monday, 15 December 2014

Another night, another dram

This weekend we visited James, it was his turn to host the now-traditional (at undetermined intervals) whisky tasting nights.  We took Willow as we stayed over and she entertained us all afternoon with frantic lapping of the dining table, meeting Jelly the cat, and playing the piano.  It is funny how such things feel like a holiday – sometimes home is the most relaxing place in the world, but sometimes, when the house is a mess, the to-do list is growing faster than it is shrinking and when Christmas is fast approaching, it is less stressful to just remove yourself from the possibility of addressing these stressers.  I am sure Willow climbing and descending the steps over and over and over again would have got tiresome at home long before it did at James’, where it was just entertaining.  I wish I had her energy.

Once we packed her off to bed we started on the good stuff. And good it was – featuring, possibly the ‘best’ whisky I have ever tasted.  Then ensued a long discussion on the merit of comparison with Holly and James supporting the view that whiskies are different and so you can’t compare them.  I say everything is comparable.  For example, the top of the range BMW is better than the finest roast dinner.  See? Makes perfect sense.  Which is why I can say with conviction The Avengers is the greatest film of all time.  Anyway, the Laphroaig in question was typically peaty (which I like) and yet sweet and spicy from the sherry cask it was aged in (which I like) – quite unusual but very fantastic.  Along with another seven or so almost as fantastic drams.

In our merriment we also dreamt up a cunning plan for next year.  Not involving whisky.  But perhaps involving Cognac.

Thanks to James for having us over to his very nice house, hosting and providing the medicine (as usual!). 

On Sunday we had the long trek through London (road south of the river are quite terrible) to William’s (of Sean and Laura) first birthday party.  The last time we saw them was Willow’s party so it was nice to catch up.

(Do you see how I don’t even mention fitness and training anymore?)

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A tale of not a lot

Dear Readers,

Today I blog more through a sense of loyalty and obligation to my fans than having anything useful or entertaining to say, but blog I shall.

I am in a bit of a fug at the moment – all desire to train evaporated when I caught some death-cold a few weeks back.  We have entered the Rat Race Dirty Weekend but it is so far away one can easily put it out of one’s mind. Besides, we are so close to xmas now, it’ll be the New Year soon, when all things begin anew.  Work is not a happy place for me at the moment, which is my greatest problem by far – sucking all life from me – but let’s not talk about that too much for fear of me ending it all.  And I seem permanently exhausted, even when Willow sleeps in past my alarm clock.

Speaking of which, Willow is continuing her fast development – stomping round the place at a rate of knots now.  She can now wink, seems to know most animals, can happily climb up and down the stairs and does Downward Dog on command.  She called me a pig last night in sign language as I came home, but I later realised she was just telling me Pepper Pig was on the telly.  She also thinks she is an actual Moose.  Nanny pretended pushed me over while playing which I exaggerated in the name of hilarity, and moments later Willow was feigning falling in slow motion (though quite close to actual falling at times).  When I played dead she poked a finger in my eye to test if I was.  She is also very into her books, so much so that I am very bored of her books.

In other news, we have watched Guardians of the Galaxy twice in a week – Holly said in a whisper after the first viewing she thought it may be better than The Avengers.  Serious words.  But she isn’t far wrong – it is on a par.  Oooooh child, things are going to get better...

Our local curry-house-of-choice was shut down because of this: . How do you feel after seeing that? Now imagine having eaten as much curry from there as I have.  I will not be using the rebranded-but-probably-the-same place that has opened in its place.  The quest for a replacement continues.

Christmas is almost near, I know because I was despatched to the loft to retrieve the decorations last night, so I will blog some festive blathering at some point, even if nothing else happens.

In the meanwhilst, Mum sent me this picture – there is just over a ninety year age gap here!

Willow and GG

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A sign of the times

The tomatoes refused to ripen.  So, I made Green Tomato Chutney.  What else would a guy about to turn 33 be doing on a Sunday afternoon?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Fluffy, yet deadly.

Yes, that’s right, it is Cuddly Sniper Nick!

While clearing out some old emails (I never delete anything but an now nearly at my 15gb limit!), I found these.  Sometimes, weird stuff just happens...

Monday, 13 October 2014

Is this Sparta?

On Saturday, Lee, Matt and I did the London Spartan Beast.  Which wasn’t in London at all, but on Pippingford Park training area at Crowborough, that we know very well indeed.  This is one of those new fangled Obstacle Course Racing events, which seems to be a sport in itself now and even has its own magazine.  As with most things we jumped straight in at the deep end, doing the hardest event they run – the BEAST (they seem to like capitalising it) at 20+ km.  In the end it certainly wasn’t much more than 20k, if at all.

When I agreed to do it, I set about my usual action of constructing a complicated training programme – the difference being, this time, I flatly ignored the entire thing and have been going backwards for months.  Not to worry, I said, getting ever more worried.  We roped Matt in at a fairly late stage, and he also did reassuringly little training.

After a bit of a snafu with registering, we made our heat just in time – which meant we were at the back so the start was slow, but it did mean we missed all that ‘Aroo!’ crap they seem to love so much.  It was interesting seeing the training area from another angle, and they made excellent use of the space.  I pity the poor souls who have an exercise there in the next couple of weeks, the place is a quagmire now, and I do have some hesitation over the environmental impact of 2500 runners with massive lugs on their shoes destroying the area, then again, where better than an MOD training area?

The obstacles were mostly good fun, in a masochistic kind of way.  A lot were lugging things, including a one mile tyre carry (Micra tyre nabbed pronto!).  The water crossings were numerous (and some, surprising unmarshalled) but I didn’t expect a full on swim.  I am not sure how far it was, much less than the 50m I have in my head I suppose, but jeez, did I struggle.  Doggy paddle is not very effective.  A chap in front of me wailed for help and as the canoe fetched him and I sank lower in the water, I rather thought I’d need fishing out next. But make it I did, just.  The monkey bars were long and hard and I only just made them, but one obstacle I thought wouldn’t be a problem was the rope climb. Well, I couldn’t get off the floor. Let’s just leave it at that.

All in all, we finished in 3hrs 8min, and Lee placed 457th of 2403 finishers. I didn’t get a time, perhaps my chip was broken, but I’ll go with his.  So top 20%, on first event, with no training.  A reasonable g’effort I think.  I think we’ll all be doing another one.

After finishing there was only two things left to do – have a beer (nice touch organisers) and have Matt’s car dragged out of the mud.

'Aroo', I guess.


Look how low I swim in the water! Streamlined eel, or a precursor to drowning?

Another update: Willow begins her training for next year's race: