Photo of the Week

Okay here’s something a bit different.  When I was tidying up a cupboard today I found my old netbook which died a few years ago.  So of course I thought I’d take it apart to see how it looked inside.

IMG_0622

Aren’t these things amazing?  It’s like a thing of beauty – how all the wire and metal can create such a powerful tool.

Sadly my trusty netbook was past the point of no return so it has gone to computer heaven.  But thanks for the memories!

London Winter Run – Sunday 1st February 2015

I’m just back from a weekend in London taking part in a brand new 10K race called the “London Winter Run”. The race supports the charity Cancer Research UK which raises money and awareness of cancer. It was only the second time I’ve ever run in London so I was very much looking forward to it.

The ran sets off at Victoria Embankment, right in the shadow of Big Ben.

IMG_0595

In order to access the start I had to walk up Whitehall which is really the heart of the political scene in the UK, with Government buildings dominating the area. One particular street which leads off Whitehall is Downing Street, which is the home of the UK Prime Minister.

IMG_0530

As you can imagine, the gates were very well guarded.

Across from the start line was the Millennium Wheel which dominates the skyline.

IMG_0601

Around 15,000 runners were taking part which meant we had to line up inside the barriers and were sent off in ‘waves’ every 8 minutes.

IMG_0605

This was to try and ensure the route did not get too overcrowded as some parts of the course went through streets which were quite narrow. I was there just in time to see the first wave set off.

IMG_0535

My time came and I eventually managed to make my way towards the start. As you can see from these pictures it was as busy behind me as it was in front.

IMG_0538 IMG_0539

Here’s a small video clip I took whilst waiting on the start line.

The clanging noise is from the Swiss cowbells which were used to set the runners off, instead of a starter gun or hooter (they were trying to keep up with the winter theme!)

The route headed east along the River Thames towards the Tower of London, which features in the small video clip here, along with more cowbells and a snow making machine!

After the Tower, the route doubles back beside the Thames then veers off into the City of London, full of narrow winding streets and the famous St Pauls Cathedral which you can see here (along with more false snow!)

After St Pauls it was back down beside the Thames, passing runners who were on the ‘out’ leg of the run and suddenly I realised that the race was nearly over. The support was great, as you can see from this video I took as I rounded the last corner towards the finish. Unfortunately, a matter of yards from the finishing line, my Ipod decided it had run out of power and switched itself off! But I can assure you I did finish!

Considering this was the first running of this race, I think it went very well. It’s a really nice route and incredibly well supported along the way. Yes it was freezing cold but it was 1st February! Entries are already open for next year’s run.

I think I need to check my diary for 2016!

Burns Night – 25th January

The 25th of January is an important date in Scotland as it is the day when Scots celebrate the life of Robert Burns who was the author of many Scottish poems.  I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of Burns’ poetry.  I find it is written in a form of Scots language which is very difficult to understand (but that’s just a personal opinion – Burns is loved by many).

However, what I do like about Burns Night is the fact that the day is marked by eating a traditional Scottish meal called haggis. You may have heard of haggis, indeed you may have even been brave enough to sample it.  Haggis is made from all the parts of a sheep which would normally go to waste, and mixed with oatmeal, onion and spices.  Traditionally, haggis was contained with the sheep’s stomach (delicious, I know!)

haggiswithneepsandta_90856_16x9

Haggis is normally served with neeps (turnip / swede) and tatties (potatoes).

I have to confess I don’t eat traditional haggis anymore, on account of being a vegetarian for the past 13 or so years.  However there is such a thing as vegetarian haggis made from beans, nuts, oatmeal and various spices (highly recommended!)

So if you ever have the chance to sample haggis then I would encourage you to do so.  You might be pleasantly surprised!