First 5k Race

I took up running (again) in January. This time properly by joining the Didcot Runners club’s improvers group which has helped me enormously with pacing, increasing my endurance etc. The “reward” for finishing the course was participating in the Abingdon Parkrun, my first timed 5k race. I had run 5k on my own and with the club a few times and got close to beating 30 minutes so that was my target for Saturday.

I set off aiming to run the first three km at around 6min/km pace and then I would up that to around 5m20s/km for the final two km. In the end that is pretty much exactly what I did, thanks to having a Garmin Forerunner which meant I could keep an eye on my time and pace!

I finished 85th from 146 starters (I was the 57th male to finish) in a time of 28m50s which was very pleasing. I deliberately didn’t push myself too hard and was keeping it comfortable throughout so I know there’s a bit more to be had still. I have to say how excellent the Parkrun system is, very friendly and very well organised, I’ll be there again for sure!

My first 10k race is in May, I’ve not actually run that far yet so I will be looking to up the distances I go out for over the next month!


All this cycling is doing me some good I think! Feeling fitter than ever at the moment, 80-odd miles cycling a week plus usually two table tennis matches is doing me good. I finished 5th on the cycling hall of fame on GPS-Sport in November. Burnt a total of 14,731 kcal (apparently), cycled 284.78 mi (458.30 km), and cycled for 20h26m31s. Not too bad I think!

The weight has been falling off me too, it’s really nice when people I’ve not seen for a while notice in surprise how much weight I’ve lost. I’ve lost over 1.5 stone since September now (~10kg) by eating more sensibly and doing more exercise. I’m looking forward to when Wii Fit tells me I’m in the ideal weight bracket for my height, not far to go now!

Trophy #2

I know you’ve been waiting for it eagerly since I posted Trophy #1 and here it is.

This one was awarded for being runners up in the Pembroke Cup competition in the Newbury league. Don’t worry, there isn’t going to be a Trophy #3 entry.

Trophy #1

This is the first table tennis trophy awarded to me for the past season. Best player in Division 3.

Best player means the player with most wins and not necessarily the ‘best’. There were at least three players in the Division were better than me but didn’t win as many matches. This has been the traditional method of working out who wins the best player award for many years.


My first table tennis final for many years! Last night my West Ilsley team took on a 1st Division team in the semi-final of the Pembroke Cup handicap competition. And we played out of our skins, the best table tennis I’ve ever played at times. I actually beat two of the 1st Division players from scratch!

The final is in a few weeks and might be played during the closed championships, which means we will have an audience. Next Tuesday I’m playing in the semi-final of the Bidmead Cup in the Didcot league, could it be two finals in one season?

The annoying thing is I’m playing a Division 3 league match tonight and I know I will revert to defensive mode as it’ll work against the opponents, instead of the exciting free-flowing table tennis I played last night.

No pictures of the lunar eclipse last night, it was mostly cloudy although I did glimpse the eclipsed Moon very briefly.

So Behind

Why am I so behind in my life? I’m really going through a can’t be arsed phase of my life at the moment. I’m convinced I’ve got the first symptoms of mid-life crisis. I really need to get on top of some things, my life is just drifting and I’m wasting it.

The Album: Part 4

This is it the final part….

16 – The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry

Well we don’t do we? Or we’re not supposed to anyway.

17. Hazel O’Connor – Will You?

From one of my favourite films, Breaking Glass. This is a lovely moment in a traumatic film and I’m a softie for a good saxophone solo and there is a cracker in this song.

18. Roy Orbison – I Drove All Night

This belongs to the 7” single days again. The lyrics are quite funny, I drove all night to make love to you, is that all right? No, I’m tired, now bugger off!

19. The Pretenders – I Go To Sleep

I used to go out with a girl who looked exactly like Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders were one of my favourite bands (still are) at the time! Chrissie was and still is gorgeous.

20. Radiohead – Motion Picture Soundtrack

The song I want played at my funeral! I will see you on the other side, maybe a bit maudlin but it will be my funeral, so tough!

The Album: Part 3

Here comes tracks 11 through 15….

11. Scaffold – Buttons Of Your Mind

The Scaffold were famous for several 2 minute ditties, silly songs. Many people will know many of them, Lily The Pink, Thank You Very Much, Ging Gang Goolie, Liver Birds etc. but might not know the name of the band who wrote them. This track was on the B-side to Lily The Pink which was coincidentally #1 in the singles chart on the day I was born. Another two minute piece of fluff it has my all time favourite lyric.

And I wonder if I ever knew the more elusive inner you,
For the buttons of your mind were difficult to find and my fingers far too clumsy

I sometimes give off the wrong impression of myself to people, which is somewhat deliberate it has to be said. Stand offish, non-approachable, scary, grumpy, taciturn are all words that colleagues have used to describe me! Ah, if only they knew the more elusive inner me smile

This is one of two tracks on the The Album that I had to buy as I only had a vinyl version of the song.

12. Melanie C – Never Be The Same Again

Am I going to get stick for liking ex-Spice Girl Melanie C’s solo stuff? I don’t care, I like it and I love this song.

13. The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty In Pink

My all-time favourite song by any artist. This is the original version but the version used in the film of the same name (which I have never seen) is just as good. Love it, love it, love it.

14. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Boston Tea Party

Does anybody remember this being played on Top Of The Pops back when it was a hit? The guitarist dressed as a clown etc.? I do and this song is another summer holiday driving around the country track. It reminds me of warm summer days on holiday with the family.

15. Elvis Presley – Always On My Mind

I could take or leave Elvis until my wife to be house shared with a total Elvis nut. He had everything and I could still take or leave his early rock-n-roll stuff. But I like his later material and I could put one of a few tracks on here. I chose this one.

The Album: Part 2

Tracks 6 through 10…

6. Ginger – The Man Who Cheated Death

I wanted something bang up to date on The Album and this fitted the bill nicely. Ginger was the singer, guitar player & song writer in The Wildhearts. I particularly like the lyrics in this song.

When the Devil had tried to tempt me,
When there was not a single angel around,
When the Demons they sent me were guaranteed to put me down,
What in Heaven or Hell is ever going to kill me now?

7. John Otway – Josephine

The album wouldn’t be complete without some Otway! Famous for having a hit back in the 70s (Really Free) and then totally flopping this guy has toured the pubs and clubs ever since. An Otway show is an absolute must and if you see one near by make sure you go to see him. I could have put several songs on here, in fact I originally had Poetry & Jazz from one of his newer albums, but I chose this one. I was introduced to Otway by my late sister and her husband and this is a beautiful track from his early days and proves that he is a superb songwriter. This is with Wild Willy Barrett.

8. Hans Zimmer – Vide Cor Meum

An operatic number from the OST to the movie Hannibal. Why is this on here? Well, I was listening to this shortly after my sister died, it holds a strong emotion for me.

9. Kow Otani – The Opened Way

Another OST track this time from a video game! This is taken from the PS2 game Shadow of the Colossus. Gaming has been an important part of my life and this game was one of the most moving experiences I have encountered in a video game. This track plays as you fight with the giant Colossi, imagine a huge beast stomping around as you cling on for dear life, and the tragedy as you kill the mighty and beautiful beast just so you can save the girl.

10. Masters Of Reality – Rolling Green

My second bluesy number. A summer holiday track, laid back on a warm summers day in the countryside. Ginger Baker of Cream fame is playing drums.

The Album

A friend of mine compiled a CD of music and challenged me to do the same without including any heavy metal or rock (no Maiden? Gasp!). So I accepted the challenge and started selecting songs I wanted to include. As I was doing this it was clear I was choosing songs that meant something to me, so the final product contains all the songs that have meant something to me at some point or other in my life. It also includes a few modern tracks and a couple that I just like. Over the next few entries I will detail what is on there.

The rules were a) No heavy metal or rock, b) Had to fit on one CD, c) A maximum of one track per artist.

Here are tracks 1 through 5….

1. Led Zeppelin – Bron-Yr-Aur

From the Physical Graffiti album, it’s a shame I couldn’t include the next track Down By The Seaside as well as these two belong together. This album always reminds me of being a teenager listening to this with my best mate and just chilling. Thought it works well as an album opener.

2. Cake – It’s Coming Down

One of two bluesy tracks included on The Album. I like Cake and this is one of my favourite tracks by them.

3. Mike Park – Kiss Me Baby, I’m Always Here For You

My wife and I saw him support Alkaline Trio last year. A self supporting artist, he didn’t get a great reception from the crowd, but he put on a great performance. We bought his CD after the gig, one of 9 he sold that evening. A nice track.

4. Procol Harum – Homburg

Before my wife and I married she lived in a house share. We had a load of 7” vinyl singles that we would play, this track was on the B-Side to A Whiter Shade Of Pale, it always reminds me of those happy times.

5. Cat Stevens – Father And Son

This song was somewhat ruined for me by recent cover versions but I still find the lyrics touching and makes me think of my father and I and my son and I.