Sunday, 29 September 2013

We Can Be Heroes

I would have gone to see Stewart Lee at the Derngate last night, but I'm absolutely blooming skint. But, I am so glad I didn't pass up the opportunity to go and see the very funny Robin Ince, whose show - The Importance of Being Interested -  was the very first gig at NN Cafe this week. NN is the brand new cafe for the fairly new contemporary art gallery - NN - in Northampton's cultural quarter, and just happens to be run by my friends Tamsyn and Alan. It's very groovy in there! Loads of brilliant stuff going on - and they're showing the film Amelie today (gorgeous!).

Robin Ince - explaining.
I acquired a DVD of Nine Carols and Lessons for Godless People, which I've always wanted to see. I got the one with Alan Moore in it. Keeping it Northampton!

Also this week, I travelled to that there London to go and see m'friend the author Gareth Powell interviewed by his editor, Jonathon Oliver of Solaris for the BSFA meeting at The Artillery Arms (free event).The evening was well attended, and it was lovely to see peeps I've not seen since my birthday - or even before! Quite a high number of people who go to these things are writers (like, ahem, me, Paul Cornell, Gaie Sebold, Rebecca Levine and Lavie Tidhar), so it's a great thing to go to if you would like to meet published authors, editors, publishers and other knowledgable types, drink nice beer, and have a jolly good time.

We got to hear all about Gareth's writing career so far, and the success of his Ack-Ack Macacque series. If you fancy chatting with a monkey then you can reach him on Twitter. Apparently lots of ladies like flirting with the monkey. Alternatively, you can speak to Gareth instead.

Audrey Taylor opens proceedings. There are the raffle prizes!

My view of some of the audience. You can't see Gareth Powell, but Jonathon Oliver is clearly inspired by Paul Cornell's presence and casting a weirlight. Magic.

Ah - now I can see Gareth Powell's face!
Afterwards, I did a bookswap with Jonathon Oliver, so now have more free things to read. Also something else came in the post yesterday - a copy of Tony Ballantyne's Dream London. I get a free copy in exchange for a review.

 How gorgeous does that look? Another beautiful cover by South African artist Joey HiFi.

In frugal news this week:

  • The bread I made last week was fine. I'm sure you're all relieved.
  • I haven't made the pie yet.
  • My dad has given me a load of tomatoes. He has advised me to keep the seeds as they're not F1. That way I can grow my own lovely tomatoes for free next year!
  • Yesterday was my nephew's birthday. Fortunately, I bought his present ages ago (space books), but I made him a card. He was actually pretty impressed  by it - relief!
Honestly, he is impressed. Just distracted by a game of Minecraft.
  •  OH has been given a load of cycling gear for nowt by a mate. It's very bright, but he now has stuff to practice in!
Does not come with bananas.

And today, I am cheering him on as he does HIS VERY FIRST TRIATHLON!!!!. I have cowbells - free present from Chain Reaction bikes! He's just cycled off and I have to get the bus in a minute. We'll be able to see his results here later.

Neil - you are my hero!

This week, I've still been battling my wounded knee, so I took a break from Parkrun to do a bit of volunteering. I handed out the tokens at the end. It was good fun, and I get points as if I won the race! Yay - points! I don't know what they do, but I like getting points anyway. Here's my volunteering face. Proof that not all selfies are necessarily flattering.

And this is me on Unseenn radio this week for those who have been waiting for it.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Pride and Injury

I was doing well on Parkrun this week until....


Something went wrong with my knee. It seems I've done something to a tendon inside my knee so it only hurts when there is downward pressure applied - i.e. when running.  I limped the last third home and still did it in 30 minutes, 30 seconds. I may have ruined my legs and not be able to run anymore, but I'm faster, dammit! Er...

Hopefully some exercises will sort it.

I was also advised to go cycling, so I took my bike over to my brother's and went to help him with his allotment. I say help... I stood and caught some apples he threw down from the tree. And thanks to his generosity, now I have some cooking apples! Pie or chutney...? Chutney or pie??? Mmm...

This weekend, OH also did some cycling for cheridee. 50 miles, in fact, in aid of Cynthia Sylvia Hospice. And to get to the start point, he had to cycle 7 miles too. So, well over 60 miles in total. I am so proud!
Brave, selfless, sweaty...

And in fame, fame, fatal fame corner, I've done an interview for the Northampton Science Fiction Writers Group website, so head over there to read about how I became I writer, and stay to read about the other folks in our happy band. Also, if anyone knows the story I'm on about, please let me know.

In other frugal news, I made some bread. Looks okay, haven't tried it yet.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Sometimes it's Good to Meet Your Heroes

This weekend we went to my good friend the poet and editor Jamie Spracklen's birthday party to celebrate him being a couple of weeks younger than me. Much fun was had!

Here are the birthday band, the Trans-Siberian March Band, who were jolly good.

Unfortunately, I ran out of battery so couldn't take many photos.

The next day, OH and I took advantage of the fact that we were passing through anyway to stop off at Hyde Park for the World Triathlon Grand Final. What a brilliant day! Yes, the weather was miserable, but I was surprised the place wasn't packed out. After all - it was totally free to go and watch!

On the way, we passed through the Italian Gardens in Kensington - so pretty!

The first thing we saw when we went through were some of the age-groupers finishing their race... next year, OH hopes this will be him. His first triathlon is in 2 weeks, and is just a bit shorter.

And here are some of our other pictures from the day... we found a good spot just by the penalty box so we could see the swimming and the cycling/running fairly close to the finish line.

So pleased with this one - first lap in of the cycling Johnny Brownlee was in the lead, Alastair was third. Alas it didn't stay that way.

is it raining?

It was a shame Alastair got injured (but he bravely kept on running).
Afterwards we got to meet him and his brother, who got beaten into second place by Gomez... but they seemed fine and very stoic. Lovely lads!

And this is what happy looks like... OH gets to meet World Triathlon Champion 2013 - Non Stanford!

Neil loves Non! I think the term is 'squee!'

All in all a fantastic day... However, I am pretty convinced that standing that long watching may be slightly more exhausting than taking part in an actual triathlon???
Mmm... maybe not. But maybe I was tired after getting my new PB at Parkrun on Saturday. Oh yes, I've gone sub 30 at 29 minutes, 52 seconds! Watch out Brownlees, might just chick you!
Mmm... again, maybe not...

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Sorry for the absence...

I've been extremely busy lately. I had a birthday, went away for a brief explore of the south coast... which was the fun stuff. Then I got a bit morbid and depressed: my nan died, other people I liked very much died, and a health check from Diabetes UK was a bit of a wake up call. I'm healthy and well, but apparently if I don't make drastic and permanent changes, belly really is going to get me...

Don't worry, I think they give a lot of slightly overweight thick-middled women that news, but if I do try to get a bit healthier, it's not going to, er, kill me.

Another reason I have been absent is probably guilt. I've not been terribly frugal of late. I feel like an addict who's been on a bit of a binge. I have new clothes... from a clothes shop!! That's right - not given to me, or bought second-hand. What's got into me?

So, here's my plan to rectify my sorry life...

  • Run 10km. I've signed up to Mud & Mayhem at Delapre this November - eek!
  • Face my fears more often: This is me at Adrenalin Quarry in Liskeard last week. Half a mile of quarry over water zipping down a wire at 40mph. I'm petrified of heights, which it very spacey...
  • Challenge myself. I climbed this tor on Dartmoor - Sheeps Tor. I was cursing the whole way up the 369m above sea level. I was the Englishwoman who went up a hill and came down an "effing mountain."
It's a panorama from the top of the tor... and yes, you can see my OH twice if you look carefully.

I also went swimming here... Bournemouth beach.

It wasn't quite as calm or sunny as that though. In fact it was not long after all these ships had gone that had come to watch the Air Festival.

... which was a jolly good festival.

 I managed to get on my bike too!
Last Saturday, OH and I watched a race between members of a cycling group who had built their own bikes for a scramble race around the fields, and afterwards joined them for an immensely cool party. I may have had too much cider... I thought I might have worked some of it off with vigorous and stupid dancing and also having a go on the turbo bikes powering the disco... but apparently not. My cycling there though was adequate, which I was pleased with. I pushed my bike home...

I also put my walking boots on last week and walked to the Windhover - a walk which takes us down National Cycle Route 6, and loads of blackberries. So I did manage to do something frugal after all.

 Also in the way of sport, I did some more conventional swimming in the pool this week, shortly before doing a review show for Unseenn radio. I'll put a link up for that next week when it goes out.

  • Make good decisions that will benefit me. Learn the power of 'no'.
Yes, I've been taking the advice of Jessie Pavelka on board. I must say, he is rather nice... :-)

Right, back to the grindstone!