Saturday 29 May 2010

Crazy Cat

Nothing like putting your friends to work when they visit.... either as official cat photographer of the evening,

... or preparing dinner (and trying to keep Rupert out of it)

Thursday 27 May 2010

Poker night

I got together with some of my old colleagues this evening for a game of poker, something that we manage to organize once or twice a year.

Needless to say, I lost, as usual.  My excuse is that I was distracted by the Dutch playing cards... which have the letter H for king, V for Queen, and B for the Jack.  Most disconcerting!

Sunday 9 May 2010

Vancouver Sun Run - 10K

So, the name gives it away... I was planning to run 10K today.  Instead, since the training hasn't exactly been going to plan, I decided to walk the event instead and consider it training for the 4daagse.  And since Mum is out here with me, I dragged her along too for the ride!

The truth of the matter is that despite I always tell everyone that I'm visiting Vancouver, my Grandmother lives in a neighbouring city rather than Vancouver itself, and we very rarely make it downtown.  So, it was actually quite good fun to go into Vancouver, first on Saturday to pick up our start numbers, and then again today for the race itself. 

We were lucky to have fantastic weather, resulting in an amazing turnout of 51,417 participants.  Not for nothing is this billed as Canada's largest 10K.  As walkers, we started in the last group, and didn't manage to get over the starting line until about 10.30.  As the official race start was at 9am, we had a lot of hanging around.

The route took us past the cathedral, and to the tip of Stanley Park, home to the Vancouver Aquarium, which is one of the places we always used to visit when I was a kid, and then primarily along main streets around the edge of town, finishing up at the ice hockey stadium.  I couldn't help but think that if I ever decide to run a marathon, it would be pretty cool to do it in Vancouver.  It's a city that can't help looking good, with the water and the backdrop of snow covered mountains.

Vierdaagse Training Progress:
Total distance: 79.9km / 49.9mi
Longest walk: 25km / 15.6mi

I'm still looking for my first sponsor for the Vierdaagse! You can sponsor me here: 

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Nijmegen Vierdaagse - Asthma UK

Today is World Asthma Day and therefore the perfect moment to unveil my (not very momentous) plans.  I've decided to use the opportunity of taking part in the Nijmegen Vierdaagse to try and raise some money and awareness for asthma research, via the charity Asthma UK.

Some of you know, probably a lot of you don't, that I have asthma myself.  Most people won't have seen me use my inhaler, because I hate using it in public.  My colleagues may have seen me sneak out of a meeting for a quick break, but you probably wouldn't have known that that was the reason why.  Asthma does interfere with my life on a daily basis.  On a good day, it's nothing more than remembering to stop and take my medications, even though I may be running late for work, or exhausted after a long week and a Friday night choir practice.  On other days, I could spend the evening on the coach struggling to breath, and putting my running plans (and everything else) on hold.   And then, after a disrupted night's sleep, having to get up for work again in the morning.  

But on the scale of asthma, I'm one of the lucky ones.  A bad day means I'm struggling, but it doesn't put me in hospital.  Asthma might slow me down sometimes, but for others it can limit even the most basic physical activity.

And that's why I want to fundraise.  Not for the people like me, but for those who can't gain control over the condition with the medications currently available, and who battle constantly, not only the disease itself, but from the side effects of the drugs they need to take.  Deeper understanding of asthma could transform their lives.

So, anyone that wants to offer support, you can do it in the following ways:
  • leave a comment on the post so I know you read it :-)
  • ask me how the training's going, and I'll be glad to bore you about it!
  • take a look at Amy Anaruk's compilation of peoples' stories at A record of breathlessness
  • and best of all, donate something to the cause via my fundraising page

Monday 3 May 2010


It's official, he's had the wire removed from his jaw today, and my big bundle of stripey misbehaviour has been signed off as fully recovered.  So, now that the ordeal is over, some photos of the whole experience:

Day after the accident: just home from the vet's after an overnight stay.  You can't see it, but he has a wire fitted around his jaw.

Two days later, after another overnight stay, this time to have a feeding tube inserted.  As a result, he had to wear the annoying collar.

For a week, feeding involves mixing up formula, and giving it through the tube. After a couple days when he started to become interested in food again, I was able to feed him fancy moussey stuff off a spoon. Either way, it was all messy.

Finally feeling like playing again, despite the annoying collar. By this point he was desperately chasing after the kittens in the hope of a cuddle, but they were terrified of the collar, and ran away faster.

Tube and collar finally removed, he went straight after his favourite toy.  Very relieved to see he can still carry things around in his mouth, despite the missing teeth.

Nearly 6 weeks after the accident, the final visit to the vet's today to get the wire removed. As you can see, he is restored to health, and also to his bad habits! After a day without eating because of the anaesthesia, he's getting into everything try to find more food.

Sunday 2 May 2010

Venlo Bloesemtocht

Second training walk today, this time in the town of Venlo, in the province of Limburg and on the German border.  I had a hard time finding the starting point of the walk (the price you pay for writing down the wrong street name, and not simply printing out the map), which ended up adding almost 5km to the total walking distance.  Getting directions wasn't helped by the fact that I sometimes had a hard time following the Limburgs accent.

It wasn't a great day to be outside, and as a result I got drenched in a couple of heavy rain showers.  Despite that, it was a pleasant walk, which had the novelty of crossing the border and taking me into Germany (meaning that suddenly everyone I came across greeted me with 'Guten Tag' instead of 'Goede Dag').

As with last week's walk, everyone I spoke to along the way was very impressed that I'd traveled from Delft to come to their corner of The Netherlands.  The organizers were so pleased to have someone travel from so far, that they gave me a special memento of the day, and also very kindly gave me a lift back to the train station at the end of the day.

This week's walk certainly felt easier than last week's, helped in part, I imagine, by the fact that it was less hot.  At the end my feet were less sore, and I was pleased to find that I'd also kept up a faster pace.  Still a long way to go before I'm walking 40km, but things are going in the right direction.

Saturday 1 May 2010

Choral Evensong - 1st May 2010

  • Introit: Ave Maria, Stravinsky
  • Responses: Neary
  • Office Hymn: Sermone blande Angelus, Pt. II     
  • Psalm:    119 vv. 33-48
  • Canticles: Short Service, Morley
  • Anthem: O how amiable are Thy dwellings, Vaughan Williams