Monday, 28 February 2011



Sadly, we do not live in an ideal world (if we did then we wouldn’t have the “music” of Sting or Phil Collins to name but two).

Another thing that would be “ideal” in an ideal world is the banning of people who do not actually take part in sport from having an opinion on it. Obviously that in itself may be a bit harsh and I wouldn’t dream of denying Douglas Badder the right to comment on the 400m hurdles for example or remove from David Blunkett the chance to talk about last nights snooker on the telly. But I would ban non running parents who take their kids along to races – with the sole intention of fulfilling their own petty desires and aspirations veraciously through their kids. What a pain in the arse! The parents who run themselves and want to get the kids into it? No problem, they know the score. The ones who think that simply bunging the kid into the 4x4 and driving them to an event makes them Brendan Foster? Shoot them all.

“He needs to know the route (every bloody inch of it mind – not just the rough outline)”. “Should he wear spikes or studs”. “I can see your busy...but Im going to ignore that anyway what time did he get?” “I know your up to your eyes in work. But did she win anything”. FECK OFF the lot of you.

Rant over.



Helped the club organise a leg of the cross country yesterday. Mostly went OK and the weather was definitely on our side. I started the junior race then scuttled off to Hallhill to start the results while the senior race was getting underway..

Didn’t get much of a chance to have a natter with folks when they got back, which is always a shame. Though I did get the chance for a brief word with one or two – including Ray who I chatted about jazz with for a wee while.

Sadly, due to lack of space, I was again left in the position where I had to sit in the main hall doing the results while everyone else got to mingle and, more importantly, eat cakes (though I did manage to blag a bit of coffee and walnut cake earlier).

One problem that I did face, sitting in the hall, was a lack of sockets for my computer and printer. So I had to compromise …. I plugged the computer in, but every time I needed the printer I had to unplug one of the soup kettles to free up a socket. So, if you were at the prize giving and didn’t think the soup was quite as hot as it should be, you now know who to blame!! There were two soup kettles, so I don’t know what type of soup was involved.

Managed to squeeze in a quick 5 mile run of my own when I got home, before I finished the results. Didn’t really mind only doing a short run yesterday as I’d done some LSD on Saturday – a nice undulating 16 mile circuit that took in Crowhill and Oldhamstocks (one of my “stock” training routes).

Going to try and take it a bit easier this week. Got my number for the Lasswade 10 this coming Sunday, so I want to try and keep the legs fresh for that.



Bit of a problem in the old stately pile. The airing cupboard in the “guest room” in the “west wing” has been visited by a mouse. Not problematic as such – you live in the country….you get mice. Fact. However, when the cupboard is used to store [many, many] shoes…. suede shoes….oh dear.

And “no”, none of the shoes were mine. My shoes don’t get stored. They just get left where I kick them off.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


Ever had one of those days when you really feel that nothings gone right and you should have stayed in bed?
Yes? - Welcome to my life.
The train last night from the Treblinka selection ramp (A.K.A Queens Street, platform 7) back to civilization actually went fairly well. I was joined on my journey by a couple of colleagues who are both almost as disdainful of the state of the Scottish Civil Service than I am - so a major "putting-the-world-to-rights, preferably via the medium of firing squad" was the main topic of conversation (this, despite both of them actually being civil servants!).
But then back in Edinburgh things began to go.., as I believe the vernacular is, "tits-up".
Two of us got on the train to Dunbar - we even got seats.
It pulled out of the station....slowly.
It stopped - in a tunnel and we looked out at darkness.
We looked out again a little later to see if anything had changed. No still darkness.
The state of darkness continued for a good bit longer than it should. And then, oh joy, we began to move - backwards!!
We got back to the station to listen to some nonsense about "blockages on the line", "power failures", "broken dooh-dahs" and other such crap. And then we heard the magic words "... this train is going nowhere for at least an hour".
Now when any rail-type person says "at least an hour" they mean 2-3!
We made a snap decision .... "Quick to the bus station" and bolted off. Only to discover the stairs up to Princess Street were blocked off.
So - a quick dash down to platform 19, through the food court of Princes Mall and up and out to the hurly burly of Edinburgh in the rush hour.... When in the name of hell did they put barriers down half of Princess Street?
As we ran towards the bus station I asked my companion "what time is the bus?", to be told "I don't know".
"So why are we running"???
Got to the station. The buses don't run from there anymore!! Well some do but not ours.
We ran to the stops at St Andrews Square - Nope.
We ran to the stops at York Place - Nope.
We ran to the stops at John Lewis - Yes!!!
"Whens the next bus?"... "Two minutes ago"!
Luckily it was late.
Unluckily there were hardly any seats... I say hardly because "yes" I did get a seat. Oh yes.
I got sat next to Mr Lard Arse, and so spent the next one hour and twenty minutes sat on the razors edge of the seat for fear of sitting on one of the loose folds of butt-cheek that was spilling out all over the place. All the while suffering dark looks from Mr Lard Arse for having the afront to even "deny" him this little section of what he saw as personal space.

So last night I got to the club late and half of them were already away for their run.
I was just about to set off on my own when some more "train refugees" turned up, so I headed out with Brian.
Very pleasant it was too... perhaps, I thought, my luck is looking up. If only.
My downfall came in the shape of two wee boys out kicking a football about the street.
They saw us. I know they saw us because one of them said "Oooh hello joggers". And then they did that sort of was-that-deliberate-you-little-sod thing that only little sods can do. They made out they were trying to avoid us... while getting in the way.
I sort of had to decelerate and side-step at the same time. Didn't work... fell. Less of a "fall" to be honest this time and more a sort of "controlled-crash-landing".
Knocked my elbow, my hip and half of that big muscle located between the base of the spine and top of the leg. Not really a medical man, but "arse" I think it's called.
The wee boys were all "sorry mister. Sorry", but I'm sure I heard them chuckling when I did get up and ran on.
Rest of the run wasn't too bad. Probably the adrenalin keeps you going, but its bloody stiff today and the bruising's coming out a treat. A bit sore for the first part of todays run before it started to wear off a bit.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011



They do seem to like their public “art” through in the DGP.

It’s right up there among their favourite things – alongside early mortality, obesity, illiteracy and sickness benefit.

Did my usual route today and had a bit of bother getting past the “gawpers” as the path goes along by the “Upper Harbour” district of the majestic Clyde. Took me a wee while to figure out what the gawpers were in fact gawping at.

I can only assume it’s more of that there “installation art”. Between two of the bridges (the A77 bridge and a pedestrian suspension bridge) someone has suspended a large, thick, white ribbon.

It’s from the centre of one bridge and drops to just touch the water before rising again and joining up with the centre of the other bridge. It sort of cuts a couple of hundred metre section of the Clyde in two (along its length). It looks too well done to be a prank, and it’s certainly not the type of ribbon that some wee chav’s just found by lying about and decided to hang off a bridge.

Could a charity “statement”. What does it mean? Who’s it by? How long will it last?

Couldn’t give a stuff to be honest. As long as the gawpers keep out my road. Also. If you really must dip anything in the Clyde probably best not make it white!

Sunday, 20 February 2011


Runners SHOULD see this..
A group of us from the club went down to White Sands yesterday for a last scout round the proposed route of next weeks XC race.
A bit on the flat side compared to some of the other routes in the series - but still a few wee "niggly bits".
Starts on the beach before going over the old lime kilns, round the lighthouse, back onto beach and along a bit before finally heading back through the muddy coastal paths. Just over 4 miles.

Runners SHOULDN'T see this

One obstacle that we saw that I definitely hope isn't there next weekend for the runners was a neat pile of "remains". Horrible looking stuff. Brian was of the opinion that it was probably left over from some fish... but I think I've read too many novels about serial killers - my mind was running riot! Looks like a small set of lungs to me.

Anyway. Because the scout round the route was a bit stop/start I didn't count it as part of my weekly mileage so just went out for a wee run when we got home (I was still pretty much warmed up anyway).

Then today it was off for another dosage of LSD.
Planned to do 16 and headed off down to Biel then off road for a bit through the Chicken Farm before heading home via West Barns and Eweford and the hideous climb up Starvation Brae.
Slightly miscalculated the route I was doing though ...desperately waiting on my GPS to "beep" for the 16th time before I got to the door, but ended up having to run past the house and up the hill at the back for a wee bit just to push myself up the 16 mile mark.

Interested to see that the old political "chestnut" of British Summertime V's GMT has reared its head YET again. With those in favour citing that longer evenings will mean, among other things, an "increase in sport". PISH.
Wheteher you muck about with the clocks or not theres still only a set number of daylight hours in any given day - if you don't want to miss any of it - get out your feckin' bed an hour earlier.
I still remember as a kid going to school in the late 60's and very early 70's in pitch black and having to walk down the road with a torch (the last time they mucked about with the clocks). It was dark till the back of nine some mornings. Awful.
Anyway. It's not the lack of light that puts people off taking part in sport in this country at this time of year ... it's the lack of heat. And there's bugger all the government can do about that.

Thursday, 17 February 2011



What do you have if you have 12 civil servants buried up to their necks in sand?

A shortage of sand!!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011



I KNOW I have an ungainly and awkward style of running. I’ve seen the pictures!

I know I stick my chest out when running (“shoulders back, chest out – lovely boy”).

What I didn’t know – or indeed need to know is that I run like “Foghorn Leghorn”.

I now know this as the fact was brought to my attention loudly by what I assumed to be the matriarch of a large family of weegie benefit scum out for an “alfresco” Greggs picnic along by the banks of the majestic Clyde. Even though I was a bit out of breath (6:30 pace) I did manage to suggest that they may wish to consider the twin pursuits of travel and fornication…..

Oh how I love the weegie banter!

Saturday, 12 February 2011


Off last night to see the Brian Kellock Trio at the Queens Hall.
However, before the "main event" there was support from Cathy Rae.
I am not the world's biggest fan of vocalists (of any genre) so I'm maybe not the best person to comment. But lets just say I just didn't dig it.

However, Mr Kellock came out to a [sadly] modest but appreciative crowd and just lept right in with both feet. Starting off with a cover of the Benny Goodman classic Opus 1. But unlike Mr Goodman, the Brian Kellock Trio didn't make this "swing". No, no. They made it bop along at an accelerated pace, threw it in the air, slowed it down to a crawl while stripping it down to its component parts then put it all back together.
It sounded, for all the world, like one tune from the swing era had been taken on a musical journey through time and some of jazz's more popular later styles like bop, hard-bop, modal and free before being returned home to its own era.
Mr Kellock kept his audience interaction down to the bare minimal - no bad thing given the set was only one hour fifteen long and there wasn't a moment to spare on non musical verbiage.
However, when he introduced the band (Kenny Ellis on bass and Stuart Ritchie on drums) and announced that they would be playing a selection of bop numbers it was enough to cheer the cockles of at least one listener.
One particular favourite was their version of the Dexter Gordon classic "Cheesecake". Almost worth the ticket price alone.
Benny Golsons "Stablemates" was again given the treatment of being "deconstructed", at some points to a couple of notes or phrases. There were a few instances during the evening when Kellocks approach was similar (to my mind) of Django Bate's recent tribute to Charlie Parker.
The set flew in too quickly. But after a show of appreciation the trio came out for one more to be joined by Graeme Stephen on electric guitar for a blues that sounded very Kenny Burrell(ish).
Whatever Kellock's reasons are for not getting his new album out, if the music last night was a taster of what to expect, the sooner he gets things sorted out the better.
The music was excellent and the trio were playing in front of a "home crowd". But [sadly] the venue was only about half full. Jazz IS a minority interest these days. I still can't quite get my head round the claim that a "major" label is interested.

Thursday, 10 February 2011


Is there a statute of limitations on when you can joke about something without it being deemed “bad taste”?

Does 70 years sound about right?
All I said was “The last man to enjoy the commute through to Glasgow was probably flying a Junkers-88 at the time”!

Only a joke. Wasn’t me that bombed your granny.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


For the first time in about three weeks I took it fairly steady last night (certainly steadier than the last two weeks). Don't want to get into the habit of making Tuesday club runs "easy" for myself, but at the same time there is probably little to be gained from flat out race pace every week! Plus I did two races at the weekend and the legs needed a rest.
However, the "flip" side is that today I felt better on my Wednesday run than I have for a while. Managed 11 miles (I say "managed" - could have went further, but even when working at home there are SOME time restraints). Pleased too as I finally got round to testing out my new shoes. I'd opted for Brooks Ravenna this time (rather than the Brooks Adrenalin). Two main reasons: "a" I like Brooks and still needed a stability shoe and, more importantly, "b" unlike the adrenalin I managed to track down a pair of Ravenna for half price in a  sale!!
Getting a good shoe is important - but getting a bargain is infinitely more so!
Probably not really able to tell after one 11 mile run, but they seem to be fine. Comfortable, provide the stability to my "left-legged-gangliness" and provided a welcome "bounce" that's been missing from my road runs for a few weeks now!

I'm off to a gig on Friday. The Brian Kellock Trio. Scotland's premier jazz trio led by Scotland's finest spud-faced piano player. It's supposed to be the launch of their new CD. Oh yes indeed. The last one was so successful it's only taken them 10 years to bring another one out!!
"Yes". The money I saved on shoes I can squander on new musc.
But then today I find out from Mr Brown that it isn't a "launch" anymore... apparently, they were going to release it on a small independent label (Thick Skinned). BUT some of the major labels have shown an interest and they are in negotiation. That would be the same major labels who keep our high street shops so well stocked with jazz would it?? Christ! His last album was the bloody jazz album of the year. The "major" labels have had pleanty time to track him down and chap on his door if they were that bloody interested.  Probably be another 10 years before the recording sees the light of day.

An album launch without the album?? Probably be a good gig, but a bit feckin' daft all the same!

Monday, 7 February 2011

XC X 2

Thanks to

Is it just me or does that look like a face??

A couple of cross countries at the weekend. Both pretty tough going and both very, very muddy.
Saturday saw us going through to Kirkcaldy for the National Masters XC. I’ve done the masters before, but I’ve never run a XC at Kirkcaldy, so I didn’t really know what to expect. However, given the relentless rain the couple of days before the event, I had a fairly good idea that it was going to be wet – and muddy. I wasn’t disappointed.
Registered in a nearby school then walked off to the start in a nearby field. A field that was partly flooded. Anne went off for her warm up, while I went off to try and find the rest of the Dunbar team….
And I found him. Turned out that me and Ian were the only runners daft enough to give this a go. By the time we met and started our warm up we had missed the start of the women’s race, but managed to catch a bit of the action “en route”.
Didn’t get much of a chance to talk to Anne after her race as we were soon called to the start line. The course was excellent! A really good mixture of track, field, path and disused railway. And unlike a lot of XC you actually did get out into the country – it wasn’t just half a dozen laps of a municipal park.
The rain that had been threatening all day came on with a vengeance just before I got to the finish line and, as I was already soaked through to the bone, I followed the example of a lot of other runners and used the flooded section of the field as an impromptu public bathing facility and got the worst of the mud off my legs. It’s hard to judge your performance by time on these XC races, but I was about a quarter of the way down the results list – so not too bad!
And then there was yesterday. If Saturday had been “proper” XC then yesterday was “extreme” XC. The third leg of the Borders XC series at Norham and my last chance to run a leg and get enough races to “count” for a final result.
The rain was already hammering down by the time we met in the field close to the village hall for the start. Went out again with Ian for a bit of a warm up, but yesterday we were joined by Brian. Noticed that there seemed to be a few changes to the course – including the perimeter of a ploughed field that I couldn’t quite remember from before. The whole field was well ploughed up, except for a very narrow strip along the side (not many chances for passing there).
Got back to the start and got lined up with the other runners to listen to Les deliver the course instructions. Did I hear correctly? Did he really say there were NINE river crossings??
Yes I did! And they were all crammed into one half mile section! Bliddy hell… talk about knackered. Just too wide to jump, and too murky to see the bottom, so even running through was a non starter. It was more a case of run up – step down and through, climb out the other side (often up steep muddy banks) and then get started again. I sort of lost count of the actual crossing, most times the icy water was just above the knees but at one point I actually went in up to my waist! It was the relentless breaking of the rhythm that made it so tiring.
Anyway, my old friend, from last year, the wire fence was there but happily didn’t pose a problem this time (Les had painted the wires yellow to make them stand out ). However, I did have a wee bit of a problem with my heart rate monitor on Sunday – at one point running through the glen (over the river) I was aware that the chest strap was slipping. I ended up having to run along while trying to haul it back up and tighten it (maybe stop wearing it for races).
Throwing in the part where we went up, over, and under the bridge twice was a wee bit of evil that just sapped the energy even more.
Got back in 11th place wet, muddy and happy.
Happy too as that’s the last XC for me for about 8 months or so now.. no more short sharp Sunday morning shocks for me ..time to get the miles in.
The photo above probably makes me look a bit better than I actually felt on Saturday. The photo comes from (thanks for letting us use your photos) where more pictures of Saturday’s race can be found. That’s the photo with the running in it ….obviously.

Thinking about my HRM strap problem… Looking at some of the blokes I see walking about, perhaps it’s my body shape that’s to blame. I’m too much straight up and down.. The modern trend appears to be towards having a pair of pendulous “moobs”. Maybe if I upped the cake consumption a bit I could grow myself a pair of these and then just sort of “tuck” the monitor strap underneath for a bit more support??
Maybe not.

Friday, 4 February 2011



Looks like Malawi may be out of bounds for vegetarian runners then…

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


My Wednesday lunchtime runs are turning into a bit of a nightmare.
Last weeks run was crap due to "shagged-legs-syndrome" brought about by excessive speed on the Tuesday.
Today the legs were feeling a bit the same to be honest after yet another two-run-Tuesday that culminated in an eyeballs-out run last night.
So, I'd already decided... "nice and easy, old son. Nice and easy".
Well today, sadly the howling gale of a wind had other ideas, and it ended up neither nice or easy! What it most certainly was is slow... bloody slow. I never realised until today that my GPS actually had an "are you actually moving?" alarm message on it!

But even in the face of such bleak conditions we can still benefit in some way. For example I had an important lesson reinforced.......
Running head first into a howling gale? Turn head ... then spit. Glasses needed a wash anyway.