Thursday, 18 September 2014

Running a Zoo

On Sunday, I ran the London Zoo 10k as the 8th fastest female! 

I run like a girl
I actually ran in Holly’s place as she has a crocked ankle, perhaps I should have told them, but hey.  Results were both encouraging and alarming – I was 48th overall, perhaps the highest I have ever placed in a race, with a time of 47min50.  That, however, is quite a slow time, which says a lot about the field.  Running on no breakfast, no coffee and no night off the booze, I guess it wasn’t so bad.  I look set for a long and gruelling Spartan in four weeks though.

We then went round the Zoo.  Some of it looks a bit tired, but it was good fun with a baby, and Willow seemed to really enjoy it – even spotting the pygmy hippo that I missed.  In the Bugs section, I made a point of noting the Black Widow and False Widow spiders – to my knowledge, never having seen a False Widow before and being curious about Britain’s only venomous spider.  Then, Monday morning, sitting on the floor by the door (my back just about allows that these days), what crawls up my leg? I shit you not, without a word of a lie, it was a chuffing False Widow!  I am ashamed to confess that it got squished in my panic, and to save my daughter from terrible peril, yes, that.  It was a small one, but I am pretty sure it was one.  My eyes are now constantly peeled.

Be spider-safe people!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Willow is one

This weekend, The Moose turned one year old.  The year has absolutely flown by, yet I can scarcely remember a time when our growling Lady Baby wasn’t around.  I think I am simultaneously the most stressed I have ever been and also the happiest and having the most fun, the most tired yet really not that sleep deprived.  I feel old and ache more than I did a year ago, but hey, we have Willow!

To celebrate, we had our first kids party, which had us up until 1am the night before preparing.  Holly worked her magic with flour and stuff to make three fantastic cakes and I tidied and cleaned – I saw the future of the outhouse as it became the babies playroom for the day.  Balloons were inflated and presents wrapped.  Thank the party-gods it was dry so the fully buntinged garden meant we could actually accommodate all the people we invited.  The final count was 26 adults and 7 babies.  A very good time was had by all (I hope).

Thanks to everyone who came and for all your kind gifts.  Some of the best photos are below.

The Rocking Moose is unveiled

‘Now I am one, I shall only be eating using my feet’

Isaac and Willow

Julie, Jerry, BabyMomma, and Jane

The NCT crowd

Lani and Willow in the playden

Babies: Arthur, Thomas, Lani, Willow

Lani still obsessing over bubles

Jane, Arthur and Gavin

Matt and Lani

Willow is impressed at Mummy's cake making

A busy garden

Quote of the Day

I suppose I should drink tonight
...although I do feel terrible.

Friday, 29 August 2014

A week in the Lakes

This was my first trip to the Lakes with the whole family, and our friends Michelle and James were kind enough to put us up (many thanks to our excellent hosts).  This did mean we were in Windermere, some miles from the cadets who’s expeditions I was notionally assessing in Glenridding, and The Moose did get a bit sick of the car I think, but thems the price of free accommodation!  It didn’t help we had a very slow journey up; we averaged 41mph as opposed to 62mph on the way home, driven at night which will definitely be the new long-drive-with-kids protocol.

On the first day, James and I went out in his wee ‘beastie’ – an old-for-a-car-but-young-for-a-landy Land Rover Defender 90 at a mere 18 years. We did a couple of hours of touring the greenlanes of the Langdales which was good, if quite sedate, fun.  James was kind enough to let me have a go and I managed not to break anything, though James did have to take over on one rocky section as I didn’t want to ‘attack with speed and momentum’ as I had been telling him to do all morning. ‘Speed is safety’ I said, but speed seems an alien concept to these beardy greenlaners. The compressed air powered diff lock was deployed a few times on trails that, by all accounts, are amongst the best in the country.  So that was a bit of a bonus jaunt I didn’t expect!

Then the cadets arrived so Mike and I took a pretty fit bunch up Sharp Edge on Blencathra.  For the sake of giving them a linear walk, and a little independence, Mike and I ran back down to pick up the bus and meet them at the finish.  45mins of running downhill perhaps was not such a good idea.  Having recovered a bit after the drive back to base, we went for a second run, which was definitely not a good idea.  I spent the rest of the week hobbling and walking down stairs sideways.  My quads were way beyond any DOMS and into actual muscle strain territory.  A bit embarrassing really.  So that was it for my planned week of exercise.

We stayed at the bunkhouse one night while the cadets were on their expeditions so we could partake in the Julie’s annual roast dinner extravaganza (and so we could booze) and Willow, after trying and giving up once, slept pretty well given the drunken racket going on outside her door.  In fact, it was quite a boozy week, all told.
'Daddy, why does this lady have no face?'

On the last day we had a picnic overlooking Langdales which was very nice.  I would have liked to take Willow up more hills, but a trifecta of her recovering from a cold, my legs and Holly’s busted ankle meant she didn’t actually get in the papoose once. Nonetheless, she was mostly her smiley self.