Juneathon 2021 Day 3. A run at last

At last – a run! Nothing too adventurous as my running buddy has a sore knee which hurts going uphill. She lives down the valley from me, so we currently start every run with her run/walking up the hill to mine, and then we run round and back down another hill to take her home.

Today we did well, and after I’d dropped her off at home I struggled back up the steep hill (running all the way) and then realised I was trotting along again quite nicely – the hill hadn’t finished me off.

Pleased with this, I ran past my house (we all know how difficult that is!) and added on a little loop across the fields.

In all about 5.5 miles (watch didn’t start at the start), and it was my first run in shorts of the year. Very pleasant!

Buttercup fields

Juneathon 2021 Day 2. Tai chi

After several lockdowns, furloughed, with time to fill, I now have an array of pre-arranges activities throughout the week. In lockdown these were the only things that marked the passing of time, and I was extremely grateful for them. You will see which ones they are over the course of Juneathon’s blogs.

Wednesday is Tai Chi day. Over Zoom still, and as I am working on the days the classes are held in person this will continue for the time being. At least I’m the only person in the house on Wednesday mornings now, and I can have all of the meagre WiFi

Even so, I’ve still never managed to remember the entire form all the way through. Maybe by the end of Juneathon…

Juneathon 2021 Day 1. Cycle commute

And suddenly, it was June! Equally surprisingly, it was Juneathon. After my success in completing the Mad March Mile of course I’m motivated for this year’s Juneathon.

So day 1, which I would have forgotten about, is fortunately covered by cycling to and from work. 5.5 mile round trip is just far enough, thank you, especially on the way home after a day on my feet.

Mad March Mile – March 2021 – here we go

Spiky ball, not a virus

The world is a strange place at the moment. We are currently in our third coronavirus lockdown, although dates have been given for possible easing of restrictions. My children have both flown the nest again so it’s just me, husband and the cats at home. Children have finally gone back to school, so hopefully things are moving back towards normality.

I haven’t wanted to blog over the previous 12 months because it just didn’t seem appropriate to write about jolly japes running through the countryside, whilst all around people were catching the virus and struggling with lockdown. A document of how I coped might have been interesting in future years, but I suspect anything I wrote would have been full of false optimism rather than insightful glimpses into how I was truly feeling behind the mask.

I have been running over this last year though, and walking when I could (no more than one form of exercise a day mind!). Flipping piriformis problems flared up once again after walking in wellies, but I’ve been pretty good with stretching and sitting on a spiky ball and it’s feeling much better. (Spiky ball – it’s a thing – honestly. I would say Google it, but um maybe best not to!)

In line with the current coronavirus restrictions I have been running twice a week with my good friend. We have both been struggling to get “race fit” again without any races to train for (because we are both slackers and need the threat of public humiliation to goad us into lycra and out of the door). As the weather has dried out a little we’ve ventured out along footpaths and into fields, woods and fresh air. We’ve both got ridiculously muddy on occasions but have felt all the better for it ( once we’ve finished).

In lieu of a race, we’ve signed up for the Mad March Mile where the aim is to run a minimum of a mile a day throughout March. The entry fee covers a donation to RMH Bristol which provides free accommodation for families whose children are having to stay in the Bristol Children’s Hospital. Website is here https://www.rmhbristol.com/ – have a look, it’s a very worthwhile cause (and has no ongoing involvement with Ronald Macdonald, despite its name). Obviously we’re very smug about what a good cause we’re supporting, and that would be enough for some saintly people. I cannot lie, we were also persuaded by the personalised handmade mug we’ll receive if we complete the challenge.

With my ongoing piriformis problems I wasn’t keen to run everyday. I was therefore relieved to see you can walk your mile, or do another form of exercise for at least 15-20 minutes. Suddenly this challenge seemed doable, and very much like Janathon/Juneathon. (However I suspect that bar push-ups aren’t allowed as part of my daily ‘mile’, not least because pubs still aren’t open).

I’ll try and keep a note of what I get up to, and maybe this will kickstart my blogging as well as my running.

But I can’t go back to work yet…

But I can’t go back to work yet – I haven’t made a banana loaf or sourdough bread!

So it’s July 2020 and the great lockdown has eased. Shops are reopening, pubs have opened (and 3 have shut again immediately after having a customer test positive for coronavirus), and cafes can reopen within strict guidelines. This means I’m back to work – and I’m both excited and nervous about it.

In exactly the same way as children reach the end of the summer holidays and panic about all the exciting schemes they had planned but hadn’t got around to doing, so I feel about lockdown. I have managed quite a lot of running, and walking, and even some cycling. I have done some tasty cooking and made incredibly healthy salads. I have looked after students going through the strangeness of online university exams and finals. We have all survived, but now it’s time to re emerge into the real world.

It’ll be lovely to see my work colleagues “in 3-d” rather than in a Zoom meeting, and great to be back at The Pound again. But can I remember how to use the till, and the coffee machine, and how to speak to real people again? I guess I’ll find out…

Coffeeneuring 2019 – completed!

Yay! Another Coffeeneuring challenge completed. I love that this challenge gets me out on my bike every year, with no pressure on distance ridden or “ramping up the miles”.

To sum up:-

  1. 16th October 2019. Ride to tai chi, calling in at Allington Farm Shop cafe in my way home. 7 miles ridden.
  2. 17th October 2019. Riding back from Chippenham after dropping my car at the garage, via Coffee #1. 4.5 miles ridden.
  3. 29th October 2019. Grounded in Corsham for their excellent dark chocolate brownie. 5.5 miles cycled.
  4. 5th November 2019. Ride in Berlin sightseeing. 11.5 miles ridden.
  5. 7th November 2019. “Bowie” tour of Berlin by bicycle. 8.5 miles ridden.
  6. 12th November 2019. Double win! Coffee with friend in Corsham at Grounded, and then qualifying drink in Previous. 5 miles cycled.
  7. 18th November 2019. Pound Arts Centre Cafe, Corsham. 5.5 miles ridden.

I started this year’s challenge having just been extremely unexpectedly made redundant. I was really upset and down about this, and the couple of jobs I found that I was perfect for (in my mind!) I wasn’t even invited for interview. These rides, along with the runs that I slowly started taking (physio permitting!) gave me a chance to think about what I wanted from a job, and how I could earn some money.

By the end of Coffeeneuring I had remembered a long held dream to run a vegan cafe. I was considering taking some “food hygiene” courses as an introduction when a good friend of mine told me that the Pound Arts Centre cafe needed someone to work a couple of days a week. It’s a veggie / vegan cafe and so sounded ideal, but with my confidence pretty low I had no idea if I could actually do it.

My final Coffeeneuring ride was to go and have a good look at the cafe, to see what was on the menu, to see how it was run, and to see if the people working there seemed nice* (an important consideration!) I ended up going in for a chat with the manager, and extremely quickly was signed up for a couple of sessions to see how it went. I then found myself dropped in the deep end and was working there by myself on two very busy days just before Christmas.

I’m going back again on Monday, hopefully when it’s quieter, for some more training. I’m still unsure whether this is the new career for me, but being stubborn I’ll stick it out for a bit longer. In the meantime, all cyclists are welcome! The Arts Centre has bike racks outside, very good coffee with a great selection of cakes. (How am I doing on drumming up trade??!)

*The people working in the Art centre are all lovely, and have been soooo tolerant of my mistakes. Thankfully.

Coffeeneuring 2019 #7

Final ride of the Coffeeneur challenge 2019, unless I wanted to go for “8 is great”. Spoiler alert – I wanted to, but it was raining, so I didn’t.

The short story is that I rode back into Corsham on 18th November 2019, and had a really good coffee and vegan apricot flapjack at the Pound Arts Centre Cafe.

Pound Arts Centre, in an old Victorian school building

5.6 miles ridden, finally felt more confident on the road, although I still made the wrong glove choice. Also – a decision was made, which I will explain in my summing up post …

Yum

Coffeeneuring 2019 #6

Back in the UK, my 6th Coffeeneuring ride still had an International feel, as I rode to meet my Canadian friend. (I should point out, obviously I didn’t ride to Canada, she was over visiting her family). We met at “Grounded” in Corsham, which eagle-eyed readers will remember I visited as ride number 3 this year.

We had a lovely chat, and I again treated myself to the vegan dark chocolate brownie. This brownie is so good, as we ordered I said if they didn’t have any we’d go somewhere else and I wasn’t joking.

As we said goodbye, I realised that if I popped in somewhere for another drink, then this ride could still count as a Coffeeneuring trip.

Heading on down the High Street, I parked my bike up and walked back to Previous. This is a lovely little shop, with a tiny cafe upstairs.

I bought a birthday present for a friend and then hopped upstairs for an Almond milk latte. This was very good, and almost kept me warm when I got soaked on my ride back home.

Almond Milk Latte

5 miles cycled, 2 hot drinks drunk, 1 lovely catch up, and 1 Coffeeneur drenched on the ride home.

Coffeeneuring 2019 #5

Still in Berlin, I had promised my husband we could go on a “Bowie” tour of Berlin (as he is such an avid fan). We hired Donkey bikes again, and accidentally ended up with the exact same bikes as the day before (they all have names!) Much hilarity was caused when I finally realised my bike had gears – no wonder yesterday’s ride felt like hard work!

Donkey bike (with gears!)

Husband had done his research, and expertly piloted us around areas of the city from Bowie’s time of living there in the 1970s with Iggy Pop. Some of these places are mentioned in the lyrics of his later song “Where are we now”, such as Potzdammer Platz and the biggest department store in Europe, KaDeWe. We found the recording studios “Hansa Records” in the pouring rain, which was rather a low point for me (but the opposite for Mr B&T!)

Outside the apartment that Bowie shared with Iggy Pop

I insisted on an early coffee stop (just to make sure it would be a Coffeeneuring ride – priorities, right?) at a denns biomarkt for an organic coffee and a snack that was marked as Vegan but I’m still not really sure what it was (slightly sweet, flaky pastry ish).

Hansa Studios
Organic soya latte and “Splitterbrotchen”

I had been worried about cycling around a city, and an unfamiliar foreign city at that, but I was surprised to find that drivers were very aware of cyclists and no one seemed to mind if you hopped onto the pavement for a short section if it was safer. I just wish such tolerance could be exported back to the UK!

Rather a soggy day, but 8.5 miles ridden around Berlin, a strong coffee with an unidentifiable snack, and one happy husband!