September heatwave and virtual run prep

I know that it was forecast, but I didn’t expect it to be as hot as it was last week!

I’m working on the September Red Cross challenge, and am aiming for over 100 miles in September. This was going to be 10 miles on a Sunday, and then 5 miles on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but on Tuesday it was so hot I did 4 and that was enough. I was OK out running but as soon as I stopped I felt so hot, and ended up with a really bad headache all evening and all night. I had looked at running before work, but as the street lights aren’t on until 6am and I have to be home by then, I am not keen on it now that it’s darker. I was regretting that at the time though.  Yoga on Wednesday evening was very much needed to recover from that night of poor sleep.

Thursday’s run was more enjoyable, seeing some beautiful autumn trees and being a more acceptable temperature.

On Friday I had to race home because I had booked my flu jab- I am getting it done early this year after there was such a problem with them last year (I had booked, when I turned up they had no jabs, they said to come back another day, I did, they still had none, ended up being sent to a different pharmacy…). It is lucky that Boots send out a reminder text message because I thought I had booked one pharmacy but in fact had booked another! Anyway, it was OK. I hate needles and have often fainted when I get an injection, although the flu jab last year was fine at the time, just made my arm ache for ages after. The hot cross bun was required for recovery!

On Saturday I did a not parkrun at home- I was meant to be seeing my parents but I felt I could not risk it because we have had children with symptoms at work but the delays to testing etc means we don’t know the result of the test for a while, so potentially I could have been exposed to it. Although I only sit in the garden I just don’t want to risk anything like that. I had breakfast with Andy when I got home from my run- we found some almond croissants in the freezer so heated those up with a few chocolate buttons added inside.

The rest of the day was filled with exciting things like housework, school-work and a teeny bit of gardening. Plus pumpkin spice tea- look at the cute little pumpkin sprinkles in the tea.

On Sunday I headed over to Panshanger for my long run- I decided to do 11 miles this week and so ran there (3 miles), did the parkrun route plus a little out and back (4 miles) and then back home.

Croissants for breakfast again, and then some pottering at home while watching the parkrun Q&A (recorded on Friday).  I made myself some medals because next weekend was meant to be the Disneyland Paris run weekend- Andy has Friday off work as he was going to travel in the day to collect our bibs, and I was going to go there after work, then we were going to do the 10k on the Saturday (if you arrive late Friday night you miss the expo so can’t collect the 10k bib) and I was going to do the half on the Sunday.  So I am going to run the distances next weekend and then have some Disney- themed fun at home (just like in May- I can’t believe it was 4 months ago that I was doing the May run weekend virtual run…).

How did you cope in the heat this week? Do you worry about injections? 

Finally a run with my running club!

This September I’ve signed up to run miles to raise money for the Red Cross- our running club has a team so I was persuaded to join in. Adding in extra miles isn’t as easy now I am back at work (particularly because the traffic has been awful and what was taking me 22 mins in the summer term is now at least double that on a good day), so before meeting my dad and brother for our not parkrun on a Saturday I’ve been doing a 2 mile warm up.

Our socially distanced breakfasts have been going well still- although I am not sure how we will manage for much longer as it’s been a bit chilly on a couple of occasions (I know technically I am allowed inside their house but we don’t want to take any chances).

Gorgeous print from Seashells & Magic on Etsy for my desk at work, Stitch bag, waffles with hummus and avocado and then banana, peanut butter and chocolate chips.

I had been browsing on Ebay and saw this bag- I have been looking for a little rucksack for a while (I was going to maybe treat myself in DLP to one of their Disney Loungefly bags) as the strap broke on my bag plus it seems a rucksack would be better for my shoulders than a cross-body bag. It has pineapples in the lining- so cute!

Last Sunday my running club was meeting in Hatfield and then running “5 ish miles on a route with a view”- as they were meeting around 3 miles from home, I decided I would run and meet them and then do their route together. It was so lovely to run together- there were 4 of us on the run and it was so nice to catch up. At the top of the hill there was indeed the most beautiful view looking across the countryside- peeking out of the trees we could see these white buildings and after looking at them more closely they turned out to be the big Shredded Wheat factory in the centre of WGC (being turned into flats etc at the moment)- it’s crazy that it is so green and looked just like countryside.

I saw lots of blackberries too- I need to take a little sandwich bag with me on my runs in case I find a good patch (I used to know a few patches where we lived before). Croissants for breakfast, some work and a walk and then watching a film in the afternoon. I chose Mulan, which I think I saw on a plane but it was so long ago. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than the other older ones I’ve seen (Peter Pan I’m looking at you) and I am now looking forward to watching the live action remake.

Of course I had to have tea in my Olaf mug when watching a Disney film. And I wore my monorail t-shirt. Since the first time we went to Florida I loved seeing all the families and groups in their matching t-shirts. Anywhere else it would seem strange but I think it is just great seeing the designs. Anyway, Andy has never agreed to matching tops (not even when we got married!) but he really liked this design too, so got one in a different colour so we don’t totally match. I wonder when we will actually get to wear them at Disney…

Gingerbread almond butter- not quite as good as their pumpkin spice one but really delicious.

The week just gone flew by, and despite lots of traffic I managed a run on Tuesday and Thursday, and yoga (on Zoom) was back on Wednesday. There have been some beautiful sunrises, and the flowers in our garden seem to be having a bit of a second wind.

My September tea club arrived, including Spiced pumpkin pie tea- it’s so pretty with little pumpkin sprinkles in it!

This week we have had the news that parkrun is aiming to return in England at the end of October. With Me Now has held some excellent live discussions via their facebook page, including having Tom Williams on (parkrun COO). As someone who has been quite risk averse and quite cautious about being exposed to people during the pandemic, I felt really reassured after hearing the research they commissioned (regarding the risk of transmission in outdoor spaces) and also all of the procedures they are putting into place. I think we are lucky here to have a choice of local runs in large spaces (eg no 5 lap routes around cricket pitches), and on Saturday when running our not parkrun we discussed the merits of our most local runs. Panshanger is one big lap but the start can be congested as it is narrow (but then teams can adapt routes if they need to, so I wonder if they are able to there). Ellenbrook Fields is pretty much one lap and JF is two but you don’t have too much lapping.  For either I could easily wait at the back at the start, and then of course when running to the funnel you can just slow down if someone is near by and you don’t want to be too close to them. The new virtual volunteer app sounds amazing (Danny Norman did try to screen share this on a facebook live and I think will have another go at some point) because then if you have it (from how I understand it) you could then scan your own barcode using your own phone, which would reduce contact even further. I would recommend watching their videos if you have any questions because they were so informative and really helpful. I suppose if you are working at home and not going out then it might seem like a big step, but as I am in a room with 30 people each day, an outside setting seems safer than work does to me right now.

Bottom right new final km path

On Sunday I fancied heading back to Panshanger for my long run- I’ve not been for ages because towards the end of the mot severe part of lockdown it had got very busy with dog walkers and cyclists and groups of people, but as the streets around here have calmed down I wondered if it would be quieter.

Although I came across a few people, particularly on my way back (including one person with a little yappy dog who came and chased me in a part of the park that says on all the signs to have dogs on a short lead because of the livestock…) it was much emptier than before, and I loved the run. They have even resurfaced the final km of the parkrun course- normally a narrow muddy path with loads of huge puddles, now it’s wider as they have cut back the undergrowth, and covered in hard packed gravel- what joy! I also found the long horned cattle (including a calf) so of course had to have a selfie with one of the cows.

It should have been the Great North Run, and although I wasn’t signed up this year, I am still in the family whatsapp group from our run last year (we ran it for my uncle as he wanted to do 20 GNR’s but died before he could do the last one)- one of my dad’s cousin’s (Brian, who we introduced to parkrun and is now on 97 parkruns!) went out to run a half marathon and sent us all a photo of him at the end. Very impressive.

I’d managed to finish all of my work (and nearly all of the housework) on Saturday afternoon (in between helping Andy to begin the decorating of our spare room- he moved out all the furniture, took down the wallpaper and then put it all back rearranged) so on Sunday I could watch a film. My choice for this week was Lilo and Stitch. It’s so warm outside so I knew I needed a warm film (can’t watch Frozen when it’s hot) and I fancied something I knew was good. Watercolour artwork, scenes of Hawaii and an Elvis soundtrack- it’s all good with me.

Are you excited about the prospect of parkrun returning?  Do you tend to run with a club or run alone?

The final week of freedom (sort of) and autumn is settling in

Andy had some time off work after we were back from Scotland, so we had some relaxing days, although the weather didn’t really play ball for some of it. We got a takeaway from the Waffle House and ended up sitting in my car in the rain and eating it!

We also played this National Parks game which was fun (easier to play than the Disney Villains game) and had the most gorgeous pieces; carved wooden animals and amazing artwork for all of the USA National Parks.

Of course there were some runs (this one was a few hours after lunch and reminded me how much I prefer morning runs, but they are soon to be for weekends only), and then of course afternoon Disney movies. Big Hero 6 seemed like a great option- couldn’t we all do with a healthcare companion right now?

We had a bit of time in Brighton- often we go down for the final weekend of the holidays, but I didn’t fancy a weekend as I thought it would be super busy (and then we cut it short because it rained and then was super windy before and after…). Anyway, we fit in some things- mainly takeaway iced drinks from Bird&Blend, takeaway cake from Cloud9, takeaway acai bowl from Wolfox cafe (takeaway is the theme here).

The waves were crazily high on the beach and we watched the poor life guard traipse backwards and forwards telling people again and again to get back or get out of the water …

On Saturdays I’ve been going over to my parents and running a 5k with my dad and brother, and then doing a longer run on Sunday (above are some pics from a run through Brocket Hall, plus the most delicious vegan chocolate almond coconut croissant from the Flowerpot Bakery in Brighton).

I’ve been getting into the back to work vibe, sorting out my new diary (and getting this cute diary clip to save the right page from Enchanted Cozy Co), and sorting out my desk. Also, my cheese plant got it’s first leaf with holes!

We did have some good weather for iced drinks in the garden.

I actually went to eat at a restaurant with a couple of friends (my best work pals)- we booked an outside table and thankfully it didn’t rain. I also got a few more waffles- another lot for lunch (collected on my way home from when I went into work) and another time meeting a friend so we sat in the park and ate them. The Trussell Trust did quite well out of us, because we donated the money we had saved each time.

On a side note, the eating out did worry me with regards to the quarantine- eg we couldn’t go to France because we would have to self isolate for 14 days, but if you go out to eat and then are contacted by track and trace, you have to have a test but even if that’s negative you still have to isolate for 14 days because symptoms can take that long to appear. I am not sure going out to eat is worth it, but there doesn’t seem to be that much made of it.

Also got this cute coconut print from Seashells and Magic on Etsy for our hallway.

I’ve been watching a few older Disney films- after listening to a recent Judge John Hodgman podcast where Peter Pan was discussed, I decided to give it a go. I didn’t remember much from watching it as a child- I loved the mermaids and Tiger Lily- but it was really inappropriate (eg all the songs etc around the natives) and Tinkerbell was just horrible. Why is the queue for that ride so long???

As I didn’t run in Scotland (well, on Skye) my August miles were a bit slack, and I fancied a run around Ellenbrook, so once day ran there, did the parkrun course and ran home to make it a half marathon. I had joined a challenge on Strava but didn’t get a badge because they now have to be visible to all whereas I keep my runs only viewable to followers. Ah well.  I think I watched Pocahontas that afternoon- it was OK but Disney needed to up their catchy song game!

Instead of going to Brighton for the Bank Holiday weekend, we got a skip, so after a breakfast of french toast, we loaded the skip up in the rain. A hot chocolate was needed after that, and some evenings I’ve even got out the blanket!

After some less than successful Disney films, I treated myself to Frozen 2 last weekend (if Andy is watching the Grand Prix it means I can watch a Disney movie in the afternoon).

I keep seeing so many mushrooms and fairy circles on my runs now too, and some of the trees have a hint of change about them. I’ve been busy in the garden too and there are lots of autumnal colours appearing there too.

Cinnamon bun with cream cheese and marmalade to imitate a Starbucks one! Plus I harvested our pumpkins.

On the final day of the holidays I’d booked a massage, so walked into town. The weather was beautiful and I was there a bit early (I had to pick up a prescription too, and they were ready straight away whereas sometimes you have to wait or some back later, so I’d left lots of time) so I sat in the park.

A lovely end to a different but still mostly relaxing summer.

Are you worried about having to potentially isolate if you go out to eat or somewhere?

Favourite and least favourite Disney films? I am definitely never watching Pinocchio because it absolutely terrified me when I was little.

Is it feeling autumnal where you are? 

A little longer in Edinburgh and finishing the Disney castle

I had to google “peely-wally”- it means pale and sickly in appearance, and if you say a hot chocolate will help then I guess I’ll get one. Also, how cute is my new cup cozy? You could choose the colours and even have your initials on it….. from the fab Enchanted Coy co on Etsy.

Ah, Scotland is so lovely. After out trip to DLP had to be cancelled (again….) we decided to add another night in Edinburgh- Andy had the week off anyway as we were due to get the train to Paris on the Wednesday, and it was a lot of driving, so it made sense to have Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday in Edinburgh and drive home on Monday.

There is a Hotel Chocolat cafe there and we managed a visit on both days. After being very cautious at home (the shop I went to before we drove up was the first shop I’d been in since March) and then things were all very wide open and empty in Skye, it felt weird being in a busy city centre. I am sure it doesn’t compare to a usual August in Edinburgh as there was no festival or anything like that. I didn’t fancy eating in a restaurant, so we got with the times and got Deliveroo (we are not really ones for getting a takeaway)- the hotel even had an area for the delivery people to wait, so one night we got a Wagamama’s, and then the other night a burger.

Andy had found Hula Juice Bar via the magic of the internet- they did beautiful acai bowls and it was actually fairly warm, so we got a takeaway for breakfast from there and sat outside. We had booked to go to the botanical gardens as we had been there before and knew they would be good for a walk. I much preferred walking around there to the busier city centre.

I also got rather excited when I found a few VR postboxes and also a gold one for the Olympics. Hooray for visiting old cities.

Before we left on the Monday I went out for a run. I’d packed a set of running gear but where we stayed on Skye wasn’t suitable- twisty one track roads with passing place and no pavements- it just didn’t seem worth it, but before the long drive I quite like to stretch my legs. I was going to run to Holyrood, and that was fine although some of the paths were closed due to rock fall,  but I managed to get a bit lost on the way back.

While I was out running Andy had sorted us lunch (ah how I have missed Pret) and then we headed back- driving through torrential rain, thankfully having no rain (and getting our time slot this time) at Fountain’s Abbey for a good 3 mile walk to stretch the legs, and even seeing some double rainbows as we neared home.

Andy had originally said that we should finish our Disney castle before we went away, but we didn’t have time and had one more stage to get through, so once home we added the finishing touches. It’s been quite fun working through it together, although it is massive and at the moment just living on our dining room table- not quite sure where it’s going to go…

Do you get takeaways very often? I was watching a TV show where a family spent £200 per month on takeaways, that much again on eating out and that much again on groceries….

A week (and a bit) in Scotland (holidays week 4)

On the Friday we drove up to Edinburgh, and had booked a slot at Fountain’s Abbey for a walk, but we got stuck in a lot of traffic due to a road closure, so that didn’t happen, stopping once at the services and once to stretch our legs, and finally getting to our hotel at around 8.30pm. I wasn’t sure how it would feel in the hotel but it felt very safe- you had to wear a mask in the lobby and communal areas, there were hand sanitiser stations everywhere (although I use my own- especially if they are pump ones I always wonder about how many people have touched the pump…) and it was all super clean.

We had brought breakfast with us so we were up early for our drive over to Skye. We chose to take the longer route through the park as it was more scenic.

We had booked an Air BnB (which was wonderful) as we liked the idea of self catering- we took a lot of food with us and only had to stop in a Co-op for a few fresh bits (thankfully small but also very organised with one in, one out and one way policies). The cottage (it was newer build but that’s what I am calling it) sat on the hillside with views across a loch, with sheep wandering past and birds flying by.

We had prepared for rain (we packed rain gear, books and games), but in fact were so lucky with the weather that we were either out for the whole day, or would come back for lunch and then head out again in the afternoon.

On the Sunday we drove down to Plockton and met up with my friend who lived in Inverness- we ended up spending the day there, having a walk along the coast to a castle, finding a place by the sea for a picnic and then heading back in the evening.

Holiday essentials of bug spray, hand sanitiser and wind balm.

On the Monday we headed to the fairy pools and had a walk up alongside the river and all the waterfalls (those stepping stones were big steps for someone with little legs!), and then in the afternoon went to Talisker Bay, which has black sand and black rocks and reminded me of a sunnier version of Vik in Iceland (I mean, we did go to Iceland in October but then we had snow and sideways rain…).

Talisker Bay

Tuesday was the only time we had rain (hence the mermaid t-shirt), but by the time we headed out it had cleared up. As we were taking most of our food with us I’d mixed up some oats and seeds so we could soak them overnight- are you even in Scotland if you don’t have oats for breakfast?

We drove over to Neist Point Lighthouse- a rather steep path up and down to the end. Once at the lighthouse and looking out to sea we could see movement in the water and realised we could see some whales, so we wandered closer to the shore. We also saw dolphins later on. We heard that other people had seen seals and ferrets (?) but we didn’t see those.

We could walk down to the village (Carbost) close to where we stayed and there was a very cute little coffee shop that sold rather nice baked goods, so we shared a few goodies from there (that is half the caramel shortbread as we shared and it was an enormous slice).

Yes we packed a jar of peanut butter.

I was keen to see some otters, so on Wednesday we drove over to an otter hide at Kylerhea (along around a 6 mile road of narrow single track with infrequent passing places- I was glad Andy was driving!). The actual hide was closed but you could still do the walk by the coast and up to the building, and we spotted lots of seals along the shore.

There was a walk fairly close by that ended up in Armadale Castle, so we parked there and paid to go into the grounds and then did the walk from there.

It was really hot so we were glad to walk in the shade of the woods for most of the walk, and the grounds of the castle had really pretty gardens with so many tropical looking flowers.

As we got home in the afternoon we decided to give one of our games a go- this one was a Disney villains game and it seemed rather complicated (it did have cool playing pieces). I chose Ursula from The Little Mermaid, but that turned out to be a mistake because her challenge in the game was harder than the other villains. I think if we play it a few times we will get the hang of it.

On Thursday we drove over to the Old Man of Storr to see the rock formations. The car park was being expanded and the path was being worked on too, so it was closed in places. It was very windy and felt very dramatic as the clouds swirled around the rocks, so you could see them for a moment and then they would disappear. Some of the walk was very steep, and although we could have walked further (the main path was closed but people were scrambling up the side and it seemed to be allowed) I didn’t fancy it, plus I wanted to try and see some otters so we headed down to the coast.

At An Corran Beach we looked for (and found) some dinosaur footprints, but sadly no otters.

On Friday we drove over to a causeway (well we parked on the island and then walked across to the causeway) via the Tattie Bogle (a sort of friendly scarecrow to welcome people into the village).

The walk was very boggy and there were midgies everywhere. I’d put my lovely Wideye spray on and by the end my legs were covered in bugs that had stuck to the spray (it’s a bit oily).  We saw plenty of sheep, and a rabbit, but no otters. Ah well.

I had read about a coral beach and we were not too far (Claigan), so I persuaded Andy to go there before heading back. It was another single track road to get there, and then the car park was totally full and also full of gigantic pot holes. While we were waiting someone was leaving, but I was worried the car would get stuck in one of the holes and the car was making all sorts of banging sounds as it drove into the holes.

Once parked we had a good walk along the path, first next to beaches with black pebbles and finally to the “coral” one (actually made up of fossilised sun-bleached skeletons of seaweed).

Once back we wandered down to the village, because Andy wanted to look in the distillery shop and it had been closed all week, but the queue was so long he couldn’t go in.

As we were checking out on the Saturday we had the usual packing and sorting to do. We also had to cancel our Disneyland Paris trip, as they announced a 14 day quarantine (and I would only have 10 days when we got back before starting work), so we decided to add another day in Edinburgh on our way home.

On Saturday morning it was so misty that we could not even see the other side of the loch! It did burn off as we were driving back to the mainland. We stopped at Manuela`s Wee Bakery because they had amazing looking pastries but also the buildings looked like a fairy village! They did a marzipan croissant which was as delicious as it sounds.

The drive to Edinburgh was around 5 hours, so we stopped part of the way to have the croissant. I shall save Edinburgh for a separate post as this is quite long already!

Have you been to Scotland or Skye?