At the closing of the year

More than two weeks have passed sans run, yet I am unrepentant… I have all my excuses neatly lined up.

I thought that I would add a little more to these pages before the closing of the year, but now I’m actually here, I can only report that Christmas went in a blur.  

Along with 2008.

May 2009 bring good fortune, health and happiness to you all… along with great running conditions!

And for those of you having parties during the year, especially if you also will be 45, remember to invite us!

Tootle pip!


Based on the temperature forecast for this morning, I had decided last night that I wouldn’t run.  But when it came to it, the lure of a perfectly clear, if pre-dawn, sky was too much for me to pass up.

There certainly was a heavy frost, but I’m guessing the humidity was low as the cold really wasn’t pervasive… and not all the mud & puddles were frozen.  Once I got off the slippery pavements, it was a GLORIOUS morning for a run!

Half way round I stopped for three of four minutes to chat with the Best brothers of Middleton Farm Shop without even starting to feel cold.

The route was the same 5.2 miles as last Friday and I managed it in 48 minutes.  Bearing in mind that I had stopped to chat within this time-frame, I was actually on top form!


What a gorgeous day it was!  Mighty cold mind, but beautiful!

It was a real shame that I was favouring my ankle, as it would have been a great day to have run up on to the Downs.  Still, not one for shirking the fitness regime (which basically involves trying to staying fit), I tagged along with Kim to the pool.

I think that I am right in saying that the last time I went swimming was in a rather exclusive pool in Thailand back in the spring.  2007.  And even then I was more interested in keeping cool, occasionally swimming to the in-pool bar for another G&T.

So I was slightly worried that I would swallow loads of water, get cramp, feel exhausted etc.  Actually it came back easily and I had little trouble breathing the air and though Nick or Cliff might smirk at my style, I had a really positive half hour.  

Even then I wasn’t tired, but I’m now old enough to know that my body is able to do a whole lot of amazing stuff, if I ask it to, but it can be really painful after the event.  Such insight!

I quickly lost count of the laps, so I can’t even give you an approximate distance, but having swum and then also cleaned the insides of all the windows in the house, I do at least feel exercised.

And both Kim and I agree that, even after only one week of doing the chi-kung exercises each day, we really do feel great.  I doubly recommend it!

Friday for a change

I had sat through a talk by John Dodds of BERR (the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) on Thursday night and realised how little common sense the politicians & civil servants, who churn out the policy that affects us and our businesses, appear to have. Quite honestly, it profoundly depressed me and I awoke in the morning with a real desire to curl into a ball and shun the day.

However, Meester Broom, who also didn’t really feel like running, pitched up to save me from my reverie. Despite being woken up by his kids a number of times at strategic points through the night.

We begrudgingly trudged (is that betrudged?) off into a chilly morning (apparently zero degrees by the gauge in Nick’s car) and I was soon warming (in a number of ways) to the theme of government policy incompetence.

Of course, we understand only too well that one of the key reasons that it is just SO frustrating, is that we have no control whatsoever over it. We can elect a political party into or out of office, but the bureaucrats remain in their twenty-two (or so) well-defended silo’s, their names never appearing against the latest piece of legislation to darken our doors.

For example, in the last 11 years, BERR has created 678 new offences – it is my contention that entrepreneurs and people running SME’s either spend a fortune complying with this endless diarrhoea of legislation, with the cost of lost opportunity as an incalculable additional amount, or stick their heads in the sand and ignore it. The latter might not be such a silly strategy after all, as it’ll be changed again tomorrow (admittedly, if you’re incredibly lucky) after the legislators have seen the misery of the side-effects.

I remember Jeremy Clarkson talking about the car maker TVR, of old, which appeared to design, build and sell a new car before getting their customers to do the product testing. Having had an almost new TVR Cerbera (which was off the road for a total of 6 months out of the 16 months I had it), I know exactly what he meant. The 22 Departments seem to have adopted the very same approach and it sucks!

I would be quick to admit that not all civil servants should be tarred with the same brush, but anyone that uses ‘no legislation’ as a frankly cringe-worthy excuse for ‘over regulation’, will find it hard to convince me that they are really part of the solution.

My internal hot air kept the temperature outside at bay very effectively and I hardly even noticed the run itself. We went out to the Royal Oak, up through the woods and back via the magical path. 5.2 miles took us 47 minutes (6.6mph) and was only really notable for the fact that it was a collaborative affair, even down to the final charge to the finish that we ran shoulder to shoulder.

Though I’m guessing that the run, which felt to me like it was over in a flash, probably seemed an eternity to Nick’s ever-patient ears!