Monday 1 January 2018

A Happy New Year to runners and readers......

"Just sign this form to say you realise the risks associated with this procedure and are prepared to go ahead with it".  It was the nurse speaking before injecting two different dyes into my arm, a green one and a fluorescein one she said might make me sick.  Then we talked about running while both eyes were examined deeply to determine what the hell is going on at the back of them. An hour later I used a loo in Sainsbury's and stained it a brilliant shade of deep orange.  Fascinated, I was reluctant to flush it away - wondering if the next user might be interested?
Jaws  (Click pictures to enlarge)
On a more cheerful subject my globe trotting son, Alasdair, brought his lovely young lady along for a meal one evening and entertained us with stories of close encounters with exotic birds, mammals and reptiles.
Close encounter with a male Orang-utan in Borneo.  
For the past four months he's been on a natural history tour of Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius and Borneo.  He's home for a few day rest before flying to Bangkok for an exploration of Thailand, then to various parts of India and foothills of the Himalayas. 
Close, but staying at the right end of this snake
My wonderful partner joined me for a final run of 2017 on New Year's Eve.  It was cloudy, cold and blowing a gale as we set off in darkness up the road to Castle Hill.  Turning up the steepest part the wind was fortunately behind us and virtually blew us to the top.
Being chased by the wind round Castle Hill
 It was one of those sneaky winds that allowed no shelter.  Not even on the usual leeward side where we attempted one or two hill reps.  Stinging earache sent us scurrying home prematurely, back to a warm kitchen, hot coffee and breakfast.
Running high - and cold
A light lunch was followed by a short nap, knowing we were going to be awake well into the wee small hours of 2018.  Sticking a CD into the computer I lapsed into semi-dreamland listening to waves lapping far off shores, gulls crying in the Hebridean blue and the haunting sound of a clarsach that made a fitting background to all the wonderful poems Kenneth Stevens was inspired to write on his visits to Iona. Here's one of them....
The Small Giant
The otter is ninety percent water
Ten percent God.
This is a mastery
We have not fathomed in a million years.
I saw one once, off the teeth of western Scotland,
Playing games with the Atlantic-
Three feet of gymnastics
Taking on an ocean.
 Karen Matheson - Gaelic singer extraordinaire
For a breath of Scotland we slotted Capercaillie into the DVD player and relaxed to the dulcet tones of Karen Matheson lilting through a choice selection of her Gaelic repertoire.
A haggis we'd bought from a butcher in Threshfield was the worst we'd ever tasted, a thick, disgusting, glutinous, greasy paste we'd great difficulty in swallowing - no matter how much whisky we marinaded it with.  "It's from Scotland" the butcher had said, by way of recommendation, and we thought "Aye, and they'd be damn glad to get rid of it".  It elevated the accompanying tatties and neeps to the food of the Gods.
Running Bear says he'd like a sip of bubbly...
We cracked open a bottle of fizz to freshen our mouths and drink to the New Year as Big Ben counted up to twelve.
Goodbye 2017, welcome 2018
On the chimes, London once again put on the most incredible firework display that had us spellbound for a whole 11 minutes while crowds of sightseers by the Thames whooped with joy.
Great fire of London
It was going up 2am when we crawled up to bed. Having failed to get the cork back into the bubbly, and finding certain chocolates irresistible (thanks Linda and Terese), we (mainly me) felt compelled to do justice to such celebratory items before retiring.
A Happy New Year to all fellow bloggers and anonymous readers throughout the world. 
Don't be afraid to comment.
May 2018 be the year all your precious dreams are fulfilled.


  1. Yes, we watched those fireworks too and they were amazing.
    Sending my good wishes for 2018.

    All the best Jan

  2. The fireworks get better every year don't they. It's amazing how they synchronize it all.
    Have a wonderful 2018 Jan. Cheers!

  3. Happy 2018
    maybe we both be running more days than not!

    With the cold still settled in are you thinking about your next little holiday in search of sun?

    Then with the drought here in Cape Town and water fast running out (day zero looking like the end of April and the winter rains, which haven't really fallen well the last 3 years only due in May!) flushing of toilets doesn't always happen!

  4. I'm happy to run three days a week now Coach, but try to do four, and every day when on holiday. We'll be in Tenerife next month, running in the sun, then celebrating my 86th in May down in Menorca.
    A Happy New Year to you. Hope you're soon hitting the trail again - and no more injuries.... Cheers!

  5. A Happy 2018 to you Old Runningfox of 61 of age. Antonio from Otley AC.

    1. Thanks Antonio, and a Very Happy New Year to you too. Keep on running. Cheers!

  6. I wish you a happy and healthy New Year.
    At least the wind pushed you up the hill. : ) Sometimes the wind makes me take a step backward!!

    1. We have Storm Eleanor with us at the moment Karen, 100mph gusts causing disruption to transport, power cuts, blowing trees down, etc.. I'm not venturing out in case it blows me away!
      May 2018 bring you all that you dream about and wish for.... Cheers!