i probably asked for that…

By amy ~ December 1st, 2017 @ 12:11 am No Comments »

 

Well not intentionally, but I suspect my cheerful eschewing of the treadmill in favour of blue skies and fresh air well and truly backfired on me yesterday. Whilst the plummeting temperatures don’t bother me unduly (being made of sturdier stuff than it might at first appear) my trusty Brooks running shoes were not designed for Arctic expeditions. Nor are they suitable for paddling through the mucky slush at the side of the road, which is grim enough even in wellies.

My joy at having good reason to wear my beloved Sorel snowboots and big down-filled coat more than made up for my Thursday morning clifftop 6K intentions being curtailed, but given the weather I decided on an early finish and hometime for lamb chops and cauliflower cheese; apologies to those who called a bit too late, but it’s all gone now and normal service has been resumed for the weekend – yay!

And it was very pretty, as you can see above.

friday i’m in love…

By amy ~ November 29th, 2017 @ 9:59 pm No Comments »

Black Friday, that is. As deep rooted and complete as my loathing for the wholesale hijacking of other nations’ customs and traditions undoubtedly is, any event that allows me to both spend and save money at the same time by providing exuberant discounts on things I had already planned to buy gets my vote, and as with last year’s bargain-fest I managed a sterling effort, not least the shiny new Samsung tablet I’m typing on right now as well as most of the Christmas shopping, more (you can never have too much) wireless audio kit and finally some lingerie that fits – yay!

The tablet took two attempts thanks to Curry’s Reserve & Collect service falling at the first hurdle by not Reserving anything so there were none left by the time I arrived – well done, Curry’s! The requirements on the Collect side were met with predictable efficiency and entirely devoid of mishap, but since these were all at my end and involved no input at all from Curry’s it hardly counts, does it? It’s fair to say that I expressed my disappointment robustly and with vigour (at least all the vigour I could muster after a lengthy walk in the freezing cold) and left with a specially ordered replacement (necessitating a second trip and another long walk, but it didn’t do my step count any harm) plus an extra discount that I spent on a consolation bottle of cherry brandy – a perennial favourite of mine not least because it tastes exactly like Benylin used to way back when before they took out all the good stuff – and an unfeasibly huge Tomahawk steak from the Lidl over the road, so all’s well that ends well and thankfully the rest, bar a quick pickup from the strange and unsettling new Argos above the big Sainsbury’s, is home delivery. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

As the eagle eyed will have already noticed, further festive preparations are underway with the annual reappearance of the Christmas page which this year began – as is also the tradition – with the related ritual of me swearing I couldn’t put it up again until I’d swapped the old picture for a newer one – definitely next year! The main gist is all there; a change of plan from the last couple of years with London back to it’s original pre-Christmas slot (not least because spending Boxing Day packing a suitcase and organising turkey into tupperwares prior to an early night is no way to live), I’ll be back for the Friday and all the rest fits in nicely either side. In addition, and since yet another handy feature of the Black Friday sales is the availability of heavily-discounted hotel rooms, I now not only know but have pretty much planned, booked and organised every trip until mid-April and I’ll be adding these bit by bit to the usual page – woohoo!

One place to which I will certainly be returning is my newly discovered Aldgate residence, being not just tremendously busy, well located and very comfortable, but which thanks to the nearby Pret was also the scene of this years’ inaugural mince pie (pictured above for posterity) and thus the unofficial start of Christmas. There was very little time for exploring but it’s pencilled in for a few weeks’ hence and meanwhile Victoria beckons in two and half weeks for the first time since August; I promise that plenty of goodwill will be on offer, if not quite to all men. There aren’t that many hours in the day.

As far as sunlight goes, there haven’t been many hours in the day full stop; when you know you’ll be running home in the dark if you haven’t got your shoes (and several layers of ‘technical fabric’ plus hat and gloves) on by 2pm it’s far too tempting to give it up as a bad job and remain staunchly indoors with Netflix, the cherry brandy and a packet of chocolate digestives providing ballast. The temperature will apparently continue to drop over the weekend and whilst the prospect of pre-Christmas special food shopping (After Eights, Pringles, marzipan – check) is usually more than enough to drag me from the central heating and have me pulling on the UGGs, even I might take some convincing at the moment.

Song of the week might help! Or more likely not.

More soon…

I’ll be your treasure…

By amy ~ November 7th, 2017 @ 3:54 pm No Comments »

A very quick update not just to confirm that the bags are packed, Scarborough is done with until next week and everything is on schedule for London (and availability is dwindling faster than usual which I’m wondering about, since I cannot imagine it’s as cold at Aldgate East as it is here), but to relay possibly the most important news of the week or indeed the year; Series 3 of my very favourite programme Detectorists debuts on Wednesday evening at 10pm on BBC4. Not that my phone wouldn’t be off at that hour anyway, but in this situation everything will be off bar the television for the return of the TV equivalent of a big hug, only funnier.

Since we’re here and this is getting copied and pasted to AW shortly, a reminder to all that for same day bookings please call or text me; sending an email – especially via a time-consuming third party messaging system that requires a log in to get to it in the first place – at 11.14am asking if I’m available ‘this morning’ is optimistic if we’re being polite, and a virtual plethora of other useful words (none of them polite) if we’re not. Pick. Up. The. Phone.

Also since I’m here (and the bath is still running), for the purposes of emphasis regarding last weeks’ Outdoor Running vs Treadmill, the upper photo is what the former looks like where I live (almost literally, given that the bit of scrub where I took the picture one morning last week is no further than ten minutes’ walk from my door). No contest, even in the plummeting temperatures and winds that can best be described as bracing even to those of us who are used to it. Brrr.

London is under twenty four hours away and I’ll be back in Scarborough in six days time – watch this space! Time to get warmed up with the Doors. I can at least pretend I’m in the desert.

Back soon!

it was supposed to be so easy…

By amy ~ October 28th, 2017 @ 10:40 pm No Comments »

And I can’t lie as for me it was, the first time anyway. My Streets ticket for Brixton in April was booked, paid for – including the obligatory almost-20% mark up for ‘service charges’, a ‘facility fee’ and delivery (How would you like your tickets delivered? You can have E-tickets for £2.75 or posted tickets for £2.75. We cannot guarantee delivery of your tickets. Would you like to insure your tickets for £3.75?) and has already made its way to me from our favourite online touts at Ticketmaster without fuss or incident barely two weeks later. Gosh.

Upon trying again immediately in order to get a couple more for Leeds earlier in the week however, meltdown. As experienced by an awful lot of other people who didn’t quite managed to get sorted before they sold out in under a minute – we’ve all been there (Prodigy, Led Zeppelin) but for them to mysteriously turn up five minutes later for resale on – guess where – Ticketmasters’ sister sites at quadruple the face value is deeply, deeply shitty. Sort it out, Ticketmaster.

Time continues to fly by, with the clocks going back later tonight and the corresponding Big Lie In (which admittedly takes place every Sunday, but this week is smugly legitimised by the bonus sixty minutes available to curl up in the warm with Cerys Matthews and a pre-breakfast pikelet or two) that will be followed by this years’ Stir Up Sunday -yay! The requisite kilo of Cake Fruit is soaking in Captain Morgan’s and Pedro Ximénez – as will I be if I don’t leave it alone – the tins are lined, everything is weighed out and I’m crossing my fingers that my vastly improved exercise regime will help with the mixing process which last year left me with two numb arms and in dire need of a nap on the settee, although that was more to do with starting on the sherry in my pyjamas at 11am.

The Black Friday weekend and accompanying bargain grab is also fast approaching which has brought on a fit of military-style trip planning for the next six months or so – cast iron commitment number one is (as always) April’s Dead By Dawn in Edinburgh for which I’ve just bought an Early Bird pass, and in a change to previous years I’m bowing to popular demand (if that’s the right expression) and wandering up a couple of days early to catch up with some of the folks who email me regularly to ask when I’m coming back; they won’t actually book, but somebody hopefully will and if not I’ll hardly go short of things to do for as long as haggis exists.

Second of the nailed-on 2018 events will be the London Winter Run in February, on which I and a few thousand others get to run 10K through some of the cities landmarks on the promise of a medal and a hug from a polar bear. It’ll do for me, and naturally any money raised for Cancer Research in the process is by the by – a JustGiving page is provided if I ever get round to looking at it and the route can be seen above (complete with penguin party and snow zone – yay!) It will go without saying that a breakfast so huge it may knock me out cold for the rest of the day is being sourced for immediately afterwards, and possibly more than one.

Being a Northerner a few hundred miles south of home, outdoors in February is possibly my optimum running climate so a fine time will definitely be had, and the joy of an organised course and a bit of space will be a very welcome change from being blocked off the path and forced into the road by pig-ignorant fuckers shuffling along the foreshore four abreast, caring not a jot that not only might other people want to use the pavement too but that not all of those people will be moving at the same glacial pace. Such is running along Scarborough seafront at weekends for anybody who doesn’t want to get up at 6am; I know I digress but have they never wondered why cars are encouraged to move in single file rather than side by side? And the treadmills at the gym are not the answer – have you ever ached to jog on the spot at a constant, monotonous pace indoors with half a dozen large screen TVs each showing something different flickering in your face and no possibility of happening across anywhere that sells chips or donuts? Nor have I. Spinning, on the other hand…

Anyway, before all the above-mentioned excitement, I will be returning to my newest London stomping ground for a while in ten days or so (not to mention the German Gym, which fed me so well on my way home the other week I forgot to catch my booked train home and had to get the next one) for a quick livener before the lousy weather and dark nights really kick in and the suet recipes start putting in regular appearances. There will be one more trip before Christmas, but this is it for six weeks – I had a lot of fun on my trial day in Whitechapel and am planning to have a lot more, company permitting! An outing to the Prince Charles Cinema is planned which is nothing out of the ordinary, but mentioning it does give me the chance to get a plug in for their Christmas programme – I will be crowbarring a few of these in on my December trip and I never mind anybody wanting to come with.

Back to the top of the page for Song Of The Week and where it all began, for me at least some fifteen years ago when I bought Original Pirate Material, listened to it constantly for weeks and have still never tired of it (or A Grand Don’t Come For Free, for that matter) in all the time since then where many an album has been bought and been played to death for a few days and that’s it. I’m still not entirely sure what UK garage is, but at my age I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. I may not be getting any sleep at all on April the 27th, and I won’t mind that either.

More soon! Scarborough this week and with a few things on at home, a bit of notice please – an hour or so should be fine but more would be better. Time to feed the fishes, dig some sausages and black pudding out of the freezer and go and change the wall clocks…

Further Reading

i probably asked for that…

friday i’m in love…

I’ll be your treasure…

it was supposed to be so easy…

all packed for Pimlico!

Pictures! Grimmfest! That London!

back to the back end…

the good, the bad and the sleepy…

the boys are back in town!

summertime!

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