Wednesday, 31 July 2013


Pree and Baird haven't left the nest yet (that I know of). But they are "growing up". Surely it can't be much longer till they are flying about.
They just seem to spend their day peering out over the top of the nest watching life go by. They are, at least, starting to look like proper house martins now though - they've lost that "fluffy" look.
Turns out that there was, at some point, three chicks. Anne was gardening the other day and found the remains of a tiny chick just under the nest. Ah well.....
Life at the Arsehole Factory is plodding on with its usual dreary, awful, inevitability. My quota of "peace, love and understanding" for Civil Servants still stands at "zero".
Looking forward to the next couple of weeks though. Not for work - but for running. Seem to have hit a bit of a fallow patch of late. I've been training (as ever) but not really had much in the line of races or events. But that should be coming to an end soon. I've got the North Berwick Law race next week, and them I'm planning on giving one of those Park Run thingummies a bit of a try - see what all the fuss is about. I've always been put of by the idea of "commuting" into Edinburgh for 9:00 on a Saturday morning just for a 5k race (do enough of that Monday to Friday). But in a week or so we are in Edinburgh anyway (for a food festival of all things), so may as well give it a go.
Then it's the annual HELP Carfrae Mill to Gifford run. Perhaps my favourite (not a) race that there is.
A beautiful ten mile course with just the right amount of hills and trails in it (for my liking) - and at a perfect time of the year. Late Summer - Autumn's just around the corner !!

Sunday, 28 July 2013


Well. What a relief.
That unseasonable weather has finally given way to a more traditional Scottish "summer".
Pissing it down this morning. Absolute stair rods.
My Sunday LSD today was a bit of long soggy distance. The wise thing to have done would have been to hold off till a bit later in the day when it was forecast to improve a bit. But, as I've never allowed wisdom to play in any part in my decision making - why start now.

Trouble with wet days at this time of year, is that they are also relatively warm. Too warm to wear a jacket.
I decided I was going to be wet in no time anyway - so just set off in a tee shirt and shorts. My only allowances for the weather were an extra thick smearing of vas', and the decision to run without my specs (they'd only get rain splattered and useless by the time I'd been out for two minutes anyway).

Probably not the best run I've ever  had, but the rain did seem to clear the air a bit and it did feel a bit easier than of late (certainly a lot less humid).

Got to one point in the road, just outside Crowhill, where there were a few frogs or toads making their way across the road. I was, as ever, careful to avoid them. Just after Crowhill there is a section of the road that has recently been resurfaced. It's lovely..flat and smooth. It might be my imagination, but running on the new surface just seems so much easier.

Got home soaked through to the skin, but I enjoyed it. Running throughout the recent "heat wave" has been all good and well - but it has been getting a bit tiresome.

I mentioned that I ran without specs. Strange thing; I have loads of different specs. Distance - for seeing [distant] things in general. Reading specs - for reading (obviously) and even specs for computer/vdu work. I also have various bi-focal combo's of these three types.
So.... Why in the name of hell can't I find specs to wear that "work" when I'm cutting my toe nails??
I tried this relatively simple task last night and failed. The reading ones were no good - nails were not close enough and blurred (sadly my spine/legs aren't supple enough either to bring the foot closer). I tried the distance ones - my feet were blurry because they were too close! If I straightened myself out completely they were just in focus - but my arms were too short to reach. And for some reason the computer/vdu ones didn't work either way! Managed it eventually, but now my nails have a sort of serrated quality to them. Not the best of looks.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


We’re getting work done this week. New “fitted” wardrobes in the master bedroom. We had drawers and a wardrobe that fitted …. But they weren’t “fitted”. Apparently.
It seems that there was insufficient space for my collection of Armani suits
Anyhoo. We had to move the old furniture at the weekend all the way along the corridor and down the hall to the spare room in the west wing.
This meant I had to shift all my indeterminate “stuff” from the top of the old wardrobe prior to it being shifted.
That’s the problem with these new-fangled fitted things – there’s no place on top to fit your “stuff”. “Stuff” that doesn’t really lend itself to being placed elsewhere is all too easily just chucked to the top of wardrobes – that’s what it’s there for. What’s the point of having an 18” gap between the top of your wardrobe and the ceiling if you don’t then fill it with “stuff”??
So it was an opportunity to clear out some “stuff” – like my old Monopoly set that was last played when property actually was worth something. My old trophies for being “Third Local Who Could Be Arsed Turning Up” and that sort of thing. “Sponge  bags” (I don’t even have a sponge for gods sake), Head Torches and Bum Bags. I found a ten year old 4gb mp3 player up there, and a bit of piping from a septic tank (unused)!!
It’s the nature of “stuff” on top of wardrobes that it “settles”.
But the strange thing is … it “settles” in some sort of order to the likelihood of you wanting to use it again. You might only use your bum bag once or twice a year (well. If hill running and ultras aren’t really your thing you might). You will use it, then put it on top of the pile of stuff. But when you do come round to trying to get at it again? It’s somehow worked and wriggled its way down below the Monopoly, sponge bags and general other crap.

Anyway. Enough about the “old”. What about the “new”?. What a great day yesterday for a new arrival!! Couldn’t be happier. Oh yes indeed … my new pair of Saucony Guide 4s arrived yesterday.

Saturday, 20 July 2013


Noticed today that there was a little bit of activity going on around "Birdland" ( the nest belonging to Charlie and Chan the house martins).
Looks like they've gone and got themselves a couple of young un's. So keeping true to the theme ... I'm calling them Pree and Baird.
Don't want to bother them (or the parents) too much but I did try to get a photo. Not the easiest place to get a camera at (under the guttering), so its not the best of shots.

Thursday, 18 July 2013


The worlds cameras are presently turned towards Muirfield as millions of middle aged, badly dressed men sit affront their tv sets to watch *ahem* “sport”.

The cameras were in the wrong place. Yesterday the real sporting action was taking place at the oldest golf club in the world  in Musselburgh as twenty-odd athletes set forth on the second leg of the East Lothian Summer Series 5k races (or should that be twenty “odd” athletes.)

Something funny about that boy third from the right.....
It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the old course in Musselburgh and it was the first time I’ve seen the new “clubhouse”. The changing and showering facilities that we got to use were excellent. AND they had changing and showering for women too!! A golf course that even our beloved First Minister would approve of.

The route for the course was a beautiful, flat, loop of the ash lagoons that also took in a wee “mini-loop” of a nice nature reserve pond, where some folks were out kayaking. It was a perfect summers scene.

As for the race? Well the heat took its toll (on me at least). I felt like I was struggling from the word “go” (although to be fair that should be how a 5k is run). Rab Watson was on great form and I just dug as deep as I could in an effort to keep the gap “reasonable”. Despite my efforts though the gap just kept getting bigger and bigger.

Time was 18:35, so not too bad. The times are then given to Sandy Wallace who put them through some sort of number crunching spread sheet that spits out a %age rating based on your age.

This morning’s daft o’clock run was a sorry, heavy legged affair and by the time I go out with the club tonight I will have done six runs in three days – roll on tomorrows rest day!

On a non running, but slightly golf related topic… I’ll be over the moon when the Open is over. I’ve got tokens for Falco’s bakery that I’m itching to use – but Gullane is a no-go zone at the moment.

Sunday, 14 July 2013


Our stately home is set among the [normally] tranquil grounds of the greater Woodhall estate.
Sadly, of late, it has been less than peaceful. At the crack of dawn we get a mentally deficient partridge who thinks it's a cockerel outside our back window.
We've also got Woodhall's answer to Romeo and Juliet wandering about the grass at the back of our house bellowing out words of eternal love to each other. The noise of these calls is only worsened by the noise they make when they finally do get together!!

But yesterday just took the biscuit. We've been invaded by a gang of skinheads!!
A newly shorn flock of sheep are at the back of us....most of the time.
I say "most of the time" as their new "hairdo" has obviously given them a sense of youth and rebellion and they have taken to coming over the cattle grid and digging up Anne's plants under our windows as well as eat the ivy that grows on our fence.
I thought, by the way, that my skills with a razor were sadly lacking - I'm always cutting myself. But I'd hate to see the face of the bloke that sheared these poor buggers. Bloody hell, there's cuts and gashes all over them.
Normally very timid creatures - but for some reason they are simply not budging! It even got to the point where we were physically manhandling the things to try and "herd" them back over into their own field.
Three times yesterday we had to shift them.

Not the only problem I've had with wildlife this weekend. Today's "quality LSD" was a nice 18 miler, through the wind farms, over the Lammermuirs to the Duns to Gifford road then back through the hills and down towards Elmscleuch. A beautiful run. The sun was out, but thankfully we didn't have the oppressive heat of the last few days.
As I ran through the valley at Bothwell I was struck by how "normal" the sheep were - as they saw me coming they would run away en mass. It's only our farm that has delinquents!

Anyway. The run was going well and I was on the final leg when  a bee (or maybe a wasp) for some reason, took offence at my left hand and stung me on the finger. Bloody agony!
It was my ring finger - and I quickly removed the ring as it started to swell and turn black (the finger - not the ring).
At least the pain took my mind of my tired legs and the desire to get my hand under a cold tap probably made the last two miles a bit quicker than any other. Running along for two miles with a finger that was ballooning up before my eyes.
Got back to Woodhall just in time to see the shepherdess on her quad bike chasing the skins out of our garden again!!

Friday, 12 July 2013


Made cheesy gnocchi for tea last night.
Put some lovely Italian “blue” cheese into the sauce. It was lovely.
Anne asked me this morning where the blue cheese came from and what it was called.
“I don’t know. You bought it in V&C”.

Oooh… turns out it wasn’t “blue” when she bought it a while back.

Ah well. Can never have too much penicillin in your system. Stave off those summer infections. L

I’m not really au fait with culinary terminology. Bit apparently “blue” and “fekin’ furry” are different.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Oh lordy the weather!!

I don’t know about anyone else – but how the feck are you supposed to sleep when it’s this hot?
I think in the last four nights I’ve had about 8 hours sleep in total. If it isn’t the heat that gets to me it’s the little midge’s that swarm in through the, necessarily, open windows (the joys of living in the country next to a pond). Ended up the other night pulling everything out of a drawer trying to find my midge net hat that I got when I was supporting at the WHW. Could I find it? Could I f***. Ended up trying to sleep, lying on top of the covers with a buff pulled over my head. Middle of a heat wave in July and I must have looked like I had a balaclava on!!
Absolutely knackered.
I was up and about at about 2:30 this morning wiring up an external USB hard drive to my music system to start a backup of all my music – I thought I might as well spend my time productively.
Then when I did go back to bed and finally doze off – it was time for the alarm to go off!
Net result? I’m like a bloody zombie just now. I went out for a quick(ish) 7 miler this morning at daft o’clock and the temperature was already getting into the high teens.
I don’t know if it’s the net accumulation of all the sleep deprivation, the [relative] heat, or whatever….but my run pushed the old heart rate way over where it should have been for the pace I was doing.
I really shouldn’t complain though… at least I’ve “got my health” as they say. Unlike quite a few of my *cough* civil-service “colleagues” in the arse-hole factory. Quite a sickly bunch them. Never ceases to amaze me how many of the poor souls fall “poorly” when it’s sunny. It’s also amazing how many of them get sickly when it’s the school holidays as well. Shame.


For all those out there currently enjoying the mini heat wave “Sorry” but roll on Autumn.

Thursday, 4 July 2013


I’ve tried a little “preventative maintenance” on my road shoes. I’ve been getting a hole in the upper of my right shoe for about the last four pairs. It always appears just where my little toe sits… (do toes “sit” ??)

To be honest, it usually occurs around the same time as the shoes are probably needing replaced anyway. Normally within about three months.

But in an attempt to try and prolong the life of my shoes I’ve tried spreading a coating of “shoe goo” into the material where the hole usually appears (it’s already showing signs of wear on this pair).

It sort of “vulcanizes” the material. I’m hoping that even if it does wear through, the rubber solution will stop any hole from spreading too quickly.

First impressions are favourable. The solution is obviously flexible enough and it doesn’t seem to have any adverse effect of the “feel” of the shoe while I’m running in it.

Makes it look a bit daft mind. Looks like I’ve got an oil or tar stain on it.

I’ve had the same tube of “goo” for about a year now and it’s been used for quite a few repairs. Money well spent.