Sunday, 5 December 2010


Well. I'm getting used to running in the snow and ice. Which may be just as well, because it looks as though it's going to be around for a bit yet.
Although last week was a bit of a low mileage week I still managed to get out every day. My left knee which has been a bit "iffy" since my last run in with the tarmac has remained ..."iffy". I'm pretty sure that this is down to a couple of snow related factors. "A" trail shoes: much better grip in the snow, but not much cushioning, also they are "neutral" and while that's ok for the odd run, if you need a bit of support I do think it starts to have an effect after nine days or so. "B" the nature of the snowy terrain. It makes every run like cross country. Your for ever up and down and into hidden dips and ruts etc. puts a bit more pressure on the knees. "C" you run like a big Jessy in the snow .... well I do anyway. Don't think its a conscious thing, but I'm aware that I run a bit "tensed up", perhaps that's not helping.
Anyway a few anti-inflammatory pills before a run and slathering the knee in Tiger Balm seems to be helping.

Did the "Festive Half" with the club today. A half marathon through John Muir, out onto the North Berwick road, up to Law Head, past Knowes Farm shop, before retracing your path through John Muir and finishing at Hallhill.
Quite a bit slower than the last time (1:35 today), but given the conditions and the terrain I happy enough.
Ran most of the way with Ian S until about the last four miles, when his competative streak kicked in and he started pulling away.

Been listening to a lot of new music while I've been off. Highlights have included a couple of "bootlegs" that I have acquired. Rita Marcotulli and Andy Sheppard recorded live at Bonn in June 2010 - wonderful stuff this. Only four tracks long, but who cares? Andy Sheppard has always been one of my favourite saxophonists and I tend to get disappointed that his own releases have been so few and far between in later years (though I thinks that's more a problem with labels etc). He seems to be more of a "serial collaborator" than a recording artist in his own right these days. But his duets with the Italian pianist Marcotulli are really wonderful.

Another "live" recording that's really hit the spot for me is one by the Portico Quartet recorded in Salzau in July of this year. Bit a danger that the Portico Quartet turn into a "one trick pony". They feature (a bit too heavily??) an instrument called the "hang" that's a cross between a steel band type drum and a xylophone.
Anyway. I like the sound, but worry if it will be enough to carry them beyond the two albums they already have out that feature it.
Well, if this live set is anything to go by they should be ok, as here they still feature the hang, but it seems to be taking more of a back seat role to Jack Wyllie's saxophone. The hang is used as a rhythm piece while Wyllie weaves wonderful almost free style solos through and around it.
Not everyone's cup of tea perhaps, but well worth trying.

The other thing I've enjoyed while off work has been reliving part of my childhood. To wit... watching Colditz on the telly. Brilliant stuff! Though I suspect that Anne was not quite as enthused as I was.
I've not seen this since I was eleven when this was first on. And this is the first time I've seen it in colour! I was glued to the telly on Friday for the last episode (even though I knew the end).
A 36 year old TV series and it's still head and shoulders above the dross they try to feed us now.

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