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Wensum – Swum

Those who have been following my efforts with swimming and cycling will know that this year didn’t quite work out as planned.  The Dunwich Dynamo was on a working weekend and I had hoped to do the Suffolk Sunrise Ride instead.  In the end I wasn’t able to do the Sunrise on the official date but had a great time doing it a few weeks later. My other main aim for this year was to do the 2 mile Great East Swim. Then the weather happened; specifically huge gales and the swim was moved to the Sunday, a working day for me again.  Although I have done a few 2 mile swims at Fritton lake it didn’t feel the same as doing an event swim.  So I signed up for the Norwich River Swim with Active Outdoor (who run the Fritton swims).  This morning as Suffolk was being racked with massive thunderstorms I set off for Norwich to swim through the city. It was lovely, well done to all the keen swimmers who went off at a heck of a lick with the joy of going with the flow and the fact that everyone will have recorded a personal best [the swim has not been done before], me I did my more leisurely breast stroke, no wetsuit, to the end and enjoyed the leafy city from river level.

Huge thanks to those who have donated to my charities this year.  The pages will remain open for a few more weeks, then its time to think of challenges for next year….

7th Day of Janathon, 3rd Walk/Run, 2nd swim for China

Spotify Playlist of the Day– Janus Blowing in the Wind

The 12 Days of Christmas Party is over and whilst my good friends are rushing around trying to fill their comments in for the draw I am reflecting whilst looking forwards, starting a New Year with challenges. The first is the weather, after the raw cold of last year it is unseasonally mild and very windy, the catkins are fully out.  I’ve just checked back to last year’s photos and it was 25th January last year when I was taking similar pictures. Whilst it’s great not to have the ice underfoot for learning to run, the very stiff winds have put me off cycling. Hopefully I will do much more on the bike next week.

Yesterday I failed to do a Janathon activity so have made up for it today with two.  This morning I did my final walk/run in my couch to 5K with the Get Running App on the iPhone. Then this evening I went to Framlingham College Pool for a swim and did an 800m swim to help team China on their way to Olympic gold (we are currently ahead!).

Tomorrow I will announce who has won the mystery prize in the #12DCP, which then gives me a week to try and write my Ghost story. The lovely @Jaydubblah has alread written hers and you can read it here.

Today I attended my second local writing group, I’m really enjoying these sessions, the current focus is on dialogue and dialect. We have been discussing the extent to which the text should accurately reflect dialects or just indicate them. We had been set homework, which was to write a piece where the dialogue tells what is going on. I decided to take this both literally and figuratively with a bit of an Argentine Tango, see what you think: –

The Professional 

The tablecloth was tied around her waist to indicate a skirt and his shirt was open to the bottom button.“Lean in to me, your hip should make contact yust here on my pocket,” he said.  “Our noses should be touching – and look at me.”  She looked.  Garlic sweat poured from his forehead.

“What next? I’ve got bloody cramp from these heels.”

“Retht your left leg on the back of your right leg; now as my legs cross I will drag you to the side.  Good, now we rise; your weight transfers back and your right leg is free.  Whip your knee up into my hand and when you drop it back plathe your foot between my feet like a thandwidge. Now giro; turn.”

“Did you have to pinch my knee then?” she winced at her own reflection in the full height mirror, flushed skin and a frizz of hair.  The village hall smelt of damp, there were lumps of soil scattered by the football team’s boots earlier in the day.  She wondered why she had agreed to this ‘treat’ from her boyfriend, who would now be propping up the bar at the Parrot and Punchbowl.

“Lean back, your hair should nearly sweep the floor.”

“It’s covered in crap,” she sighed.

“Just do it, trust me; I’ll support your weight.  As you swing come up and look at me again; fix my eyes.”

“Less of the weight, cheeky. Christ that hurts,” she pulled herself up to her full height and attempted to stretch out her spine.

“Then we walk, figure of eight ocho, at the end, rest, lean and quick flick or your leg around mine, gancho.  Perfetto, then I push you back upright, I stroke your face then lock my eyes on yours.  Now back away.  Thrusting your hands down to the floor like I shewed you. OK, I put the music on now.”  He pressed the iPod in the huge boombox and started the track.

“Ready?” he breathed.

“So; lean on my pocket, look at my eyes.”  She looked, they were deep and dark, with a glint where the light reflected on his contact lens.  He fixed on her eyes, their noses almost touched.

“Oh. My. God. You’re strong.”

“Good, you should trust me, fix my eyes.  Ok rethst your left leg, I drag, rise; Knee up, I grip.  Thandwich feet, giro, lean back, I pull you up towards me.  Ocho, then rest, lean and now – gancho, flick your leg around mine.”

“Like this?” she asked.

“Si, yes, but firmer, then away quickly like it was too hot not slow like a dodman. Now, upright, I stroke your face, lock your eyes, you back away thrusting your hands towards the floor.”

The damp of the hall was melting away, the music suffused her sinews, the air was slowly being exchanged with the atmosphere of  Plazzo Dorrego, Buenos Aires.

She took a swig from her water bottle and looked across the room at him.  The music restarted and he put out his hand, as she moved towards him, she murmored.

“I lean on your pocket; just here, our noses touch, your eyes are dark, deep chocolate.  I retsht my left leg, you drag me, I rise; knee up, you grip. Giro, I lean back, you pull me up, you are strong, I trust you.  I love your eyes.  Ocho, then rest, lean and gancho, I flick my leg round yours, it’s hot, too hot. You push me upright, you stoke my face, I like it when you stroke my face, your hands are cool.  I lock your eyes, you lock my eyes.  I’m supposed to back away, I can’t back away, I am locked.”  She choked briefly on her words, her voice drying.  He flashed a mischievous grin.

The hall door swung open, Clive staggered in.

“You all right then?  How’s it going Fred me old fox?”

“Pretty good bah, she’s probably in love with me by now!”

“Fred?  What ‘appened to Alfredo?” she asked colouring as she did so.

“Ah, that’s my professional name.  Same time next week?”

Great East Swim 2011, Skyride Ipswich and Little Tractors

One down, one to go [playlist here]. This year’s Great East Swim was excellent.  Once again the event was very well organised and the weather was 100% better. In place of gales and squalls there was relatively little wind and at various times the sun shone creating golden bubbles in the crystal clear water, I swear I saw a huge fish at one point too. I was pleased that my time was about 7 minutes better than last year. I was also thrilled to be able to have Paddy and Scotts coffee and a burger prepared by @gthebutcher from Suffolk Food Hall. The challenge now is next year do I try and improve my mile time again or go for the two mile course?  Huge thanks to those that have donated to my Justgiving Page. Diabetes UK were on hand on the day dishing out Bananas and other goodies.

After the thrill of the swim on Sunday I cycled with a friend into Ipswich to experience the Skyride. They closed streets, stopped traffic with marshals and generally created a fabulous family atmosphere, samba, steel bands, clowns the works. It is thoroughly reassuring that despite what the tabloids might tell you there are still plenty of families, who given half the chance will get out on their bikes and take exercise. The route encompassed the New College site, Waterfront, ITFC ground and the Town Centre creating a great advert for the town.

All good practice for the Dunwich Dynamo the 127 miles overnight on 16/17th July.

On the route back I was brought to a halt by a lady tractor safari that was taking part in aid of charity. A bunch of bedecked tractors in pink balloons coming down the hill. Certainly made me pedal fast to hit the Framlingham co-op before it shut!

Sky blue pink shot with a carrot – #Janathon update 20

This morning I did my 800m test swim session – Session 9 of my taketothestreets plan.  All good, a beautiful full moon shining into the pool as I ploughed up and down.  Once home and out dog walking, I tried to capture the moon setting on camera but missed the moment.  When I turned around though, the sky was full of orange vapour trails.

Can you believe it is day 20 of Janathon already?  It has certainly encouraged me to get up and go when I would otherwise have stayed snug in bed.

Ohh on the detox front – you’ll be pleased to hear the headache has arrived!

Last Night I dreamed of Chickens, but ate duck…


C'est n'est pas un poulet traversé la rue



A lot to pack into one post: Illustration Friday, Janathon and Suffolk 365 including a mini restaurant review, iPhone app review and a local music link; but I’ll be swift.

The topic for Illustration Friday this week is ‘chicken’.  I found a poem by Jack Prelutsky called Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens, follow the link the poem is quite cutesy.

As for Janathon – today I went and did session 7 of my plan.  I had managed to miss it unintentionally so for the Stats: 1,000m done as 5×40 warm up 15×40 (every third set with pull buoy) at speed and 5×40 cool down.  I was the only person in the pool for most of my session so no need to negotiate swimming sides rather than loops in the lanes.



Last night I was lucky enough to get a visa to travel over the border to Norfolk.  There is a great town called Diss, one town – so many puns.  There is a little secret in Diss called the Singtong, it is only open in the evenings and Fri and Sat lunch.  As a welcome change from standard Hong Kong Chinese food the Thai style menu is a bit different.  Not sure if it still acts as a coffee-house during the day, it used to.  It is on the first floor and has the air of going to your aunties for supper, small friendly and family run.

Today’s Suffolk 365 picture is a bit of a cheat really.  I found myself listening to twitter on the radio.  Well specifically started with Radio 4 listening to @hen4 who was on Open Country, talking about her yurt and tree growing on Exmoor. Then via Twitter I discovered that @theprofithunter was on Radio Suffolk.  I tried to find it on iPlayer on the iPhone and it appears that Suffolk doesn’t exist – so that will be my Suffolk 365 picture for today.

Never mind  in the end my trusty Tunein Radio App (it has like a gaddzillion channels)  picked up Radio Suffolk, but I only caught Scott’s newspaper reviews.  Then I made a quick trip via the same app to the World Service where Ed Sheeran was being interviewed.  This lad is currently doing amazingly well, having self promoted his tracks and being top of the downloads.  He is from Framlingham and his MySpace is worth a visit if you’ve not heard him before.

First Janathon Swim

A late evening swim for me, I normally swim early morning so this was a change of routine.

I am using the taketothestreets training programme in preparation for the Great East Swim. Because the pool is only 20m long I have to recalculate the plan which is geared to a 25m pool.

Today’s routine was 12x20m warm up with four of the lengths in kick only 15 secs rest between each length. Easy

8x80m every 4th length as catch-up or as I call it controlled drowning with 15secs rest between each set. Moderate

Cool down 8x20m with 30secs rest between each. Easy

Total 960m and feeling good.

Seventh Day – Going Swimmingly

Sorry for the late posting, but I really had to get on with some overdue real work.

Today my true love has sent swans, swimming.  As many of you will already know swimming has become my great love. A twitter message from Stradbroke pool about this time last year led me to enter the Great East Swim and go from being someone who enjoyed swimming in all weathers but head out of the water to a regular open water swimmer and now able to swim crawl face down.  You will have seen on the fifth day that I have committed to do the Great East Swim in 2011 and 2012 as my Olympic pledge.  I am also hoping to do the Dunwich Dynamo for the first time this year. Somehow I need to integrate long distance cycle training with training for an open mile swim.

Time for me to talk a little more about Janathon. The idea behind Janathon is that people take exercise every day and blog about it, throughout January.  One of the things I have learned about myself is that having a target certainly encourages me to take part. I enjoyed the Aspire swim which kept me going through the autumn and early winter. I am hoping that Janathon will help me get into a training pattern for the Great east and the Dynamo, huge thanks to Cathy for coming up with the idea, organising the site and generally enthusing and corralling everybody.  When I last checked there were 170+ participants, which is amazing.  I fully expect the blogs to be brief but hopefully they will help me to keep track of my diary and progress too.

I had originally hoped to go for a New Year dip tomorrow, but the lass I was hoping to go with is poorly – get well soon Mrs Meramid.  Never the less I may go and throw some pebbles in the sea anyway.

A nice safe challenge for you all today (after all if you want to make an exercise commitment go back to Day 5) – take out your crinkle free new 2011 diary and set aside a date to spend time by some water, the sea, a lake, river or waterfall. It is good for the soul.  Come back here when you’ve been on your date out and let us know how you feel.

The clip below was my first effort at swimming in a wet suit, on Dartmoor in May.  The best bit was sitting in the water afterwards whilst the tadpoles nibbled at my toes.

Before your Russian roulette question here is a little game to warm up with – I quite like this one

Your Russian Roulette Question for today:  How did Peder Lykkeberg go about things the wrong way in the 1900 Paris Olympics leaving him with the bronze?


The Playlist for today is here

If you are new to this, a brief explanation.  The #12DCP is a virtual Christmas party.  A post a day will appear on the Grethica.  You respond by way of comments.  Each comment creates an entry into my prize draw, for a money can’t buy prize (because it’s mostly stuff that’s been given away by others).  The Russian Roulette questions are quiz style questions, the comments you leave to those will be posted at the end of the 12 DCP.  However the danger with a Russian roulette quiz is that if you answer a question wrong – all of your answers become null and void.  The good news is though you have time to go back and post answers to previous days, right up to the end of the 12th day.

Enjoy – thanks to those that have taken part so far… keep up the good work

Stig Bird – Racing, Zoggs Goggles and Sport Count – Aspire Update


Sorry, can't divulge who it is, under contract; wait for the biography


The topic for Illustration Friday this week is ‘Racing’, I haven’t attempted one for a long time but suddenly had an image of a Stig racing pigeon – admittedly it’s turned out more like a chicken, but that could just be a clever disguise.

Time for an update on the Aspire channel swim. I am about half way now to completing my 22 miles in 12 weeks.  One of the problems I was having early on is that I can’t count. I discovered I am not alone in this, some people are counters and others like me have problems. I really knew I was struggling when I couldn’t remember if I was on lap two or four – pathetic! So I invested in a SportCount length counter, this is worn on the finger and at the start of each lap you click the button to start the next lap count. It has definitely been a worthwhile investment, to be honest the pale blue version that just counts laps would have been fine as I am never going to be worrying about split times.

I have also been really lucky with winning on-line competitions recently. One of my winnings was the Zogg goggles, not due to be released to the public until 2011. These are designed to cause less marking around the eyes than traditional goggles. The rim is very thin and extremely comfortable. On one occasion I had leakage but had rolled the thin edge as I put them on, once repositioned all was well. The only marking I get is on the bump of my nose, although the nose bridge is very comfortable I do end up with a line there. They also don’t steam up and look super cool in their BBC iplayer colours.

So I am plugging away up and down Framlingham College pool; very lucky to have such a fantastic facility close by. I still have a long way to go.  If you feel able to sponsor me, my charity page is HERE.  The swim is for Aspire, a charity which works with people who have spinal cord injuries.


Status at 23rd October




There is a new craze doing the rounds of Twitter; daily papers created from the links people tweet to your account.  You create the paper at a site called  At first I wasn’t very inspired by the concept, but then I received a link to Nick Shore’s Suffolk paper and quite liked the idea.  So turn on your Spotify, turn up the sounds on the playlist and sit down to my version of the Sundailies.  The Sundailies are all the Sunday supplements in one place, updated daily.  For me an easy was to summarise hat has been going on in my bit of the Twitterverse whilst my back has been turned.  As these are links they will update each day.

First the Vivia daily – the top news stories across the whole of my timeline today

Then local news in the Suffolk Daily – I hold great hope that one day Felixstowe Port will tweet ”

QUINQUIREME of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine


A little sports news from the Swimmy-types and the Cyclists

Then on to lighter topics The clebs are all in the-A-Z-list section

A bit from the arty-crafty and foodie types

News from abroad in the Italy section and then the mostly-green-gardens

For the moment I can not create; news-sport-tech, maps-and-that, writerly or news from the librarians as the limit is 10 papers, but I will as soon as the limit is increased.

In the meantime I leave you with the dfaolbilts section – it is likely to be quite random -dfaolbilts stands for “don’t fit any other lists but I like their style”- enjoy


Puglia by Train – Water Sports

Puglia is the recipient of long dry summers and although intensely hot, the heat is often kept under control by the sirocco and mistral winds.  The nature of the beach changes.  The Italian’s themselves don’t tend to play in the waves as Brits do at the seaside.  Once the waves are of above a gentle roll the local holiday makers seem to loose interest in swimming, standing or sitting in the waves.  However, a few hardy souls, the windsurfers start to appear and the sky is filled with what appear at first to be coloured crows, but are actually the kites of the boarders turning pirouettes as they turn.

On the water-sports front though the thing I enjoyed most works best once the winds have dropped.  This holiday I  learnt to snorkel.  I have never done it before; seeing shoals tiny silvery fish that were like meteor showers, larger fish with dark eyes that followed me around and the thrill of watching a cuttle fish making its way around a artificial reef. Now that I am confident swimming out of my depth and feel strong enough not to panic when I wander off away from the crowd, snorkelling is a real pleasure.  In addition to as snorkelling at Contrada Cipolla we also took a trip to the Torre Guaceto nature reserve.  Here you can snorkel in protected water and the range of fish and the number of sea urchins, sponges and other creatures is greater than ever.

Next time I could do with a waterproof camera – any recommendations?

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