Parkrun is a network of free 5k timed runs held every Saturday all over the country.  They’re run by volunteers, and runners just turn up on the day, do the run and get their time on the website.  Mr Beet’s volunteered to help set up the Greenwich Parkrun, which confusingly enough, is not in Greenwich Park.  It’s in Avery Hill Park, which is down the road in Eltham.

The inaugural trial run takes place this Saturday.  Mr Beet has set up the facebook page and will also be marshalling on the day.  It will be the first chance for the volunteers to practice so they need lots of runners to be guinea pigs.  So do come along and start your weekend with a bit of exercise in a friendly and fun environment, and then you can be smug for the rest of the weekend.  All the details are on the website.  If you can’t make it, then please become a fan on facebook anyway to help spread the word.

Circus Day

I found the circus space on the internet a couple of years ago and thought that their circus skills day looked amazing fun.  So I put it on my list of things to do before 30.  I wanted to try to improve my upper body strength a bit before I tried it, just because I really am quite puny and I thought I’d get more out of it if I could at least maybe do half a chin up.  I did start going to the acrobatic tumbling class though – which is really good fun, although I can’t go regularly any more.

Anyway, although I am still really weak and half a chin up is still a distant dream, I reckon that I am a maybe a little bit stronger now than this time last year, what with acrobatics, climbing and breaking working my arms a little bit.  And I can’t keep putting it off, so I decided to just go for it.  (Especially because I need the points this quarter – to track my progress on my 30 things I have allocated each task points and set myself quarterly targets.  There’s a spreadsheet and a graph.  Geek?  Moi?).

Jo came with me as my circus buddy – although she did keep referring to it as Clown School – and suggested that we make it a challenge over who is best at each activity.  Bring it on!

First up, the scariest thing of the day – the flying trapeze.  The scariest bit was climbing up the ladder to the platform, where you had to lean right out to grab the bar for the person going before you.  Especially as you weren’t harnessed in at this stage.  So by the time you got clipped in to the harness to have your go at swinging it was fine.  We all had a couple of gos at getting the leg swing right, with an instructor shouting what to do.  Although I felt ok up there, I was obviously more scared than I realised, because when she said “1,2,3 – let go!” I let go of the bar in my mind, but my hands just kept gripping on for dear life.  I did manage to prise myself off eventually.  And Amy the instructor declared me the winner so I was off to a “flying” start in the challenge – hoho!

Good form!

And… dismount (on the third attempt)

Next was stilts, and they were only about 18 inches high so we all could calm down a bit after trapeze.  After practising how to fall, Jo led me round by the hand for a bit until I got confident enough to wobble around on my own for long enough to get a photo.  Then we swapped over – and Jo also managed a solo toddle with no falls.   Amy declared me a very narrow winner in the stilts as well so I was off to a good start – could I finally win a challenge against Jo?  I hardly dared to dream…

I finally find out what it’s like to be tall.

Diabolo was next and I’d had my beady eye on the groups doing this before us and they all seemed to be doing really impressive throws so I had high hopes.  There’s lots of complicated tricks, but the simplest one is the most impressive – throwing it up in the air and catching it.  We started off catching it back on the string, then progressed to catching it on the sticks.  We agreed that whoever got the most catches would be the winner and I got 3 catches on the sticks.  Jo managed to do it on the last throw of the day, so she did it too, but only once so hooray! another narrow victory for me.

Spin spin spin…

and throw…

and catch!  (ok that was staged…but I did catch it like that)

The last activity of the morning session was the static trapeze and it was definitely my favourite.  We had to hook our legs onto the bar and get ourselves in different positions.

The “Bird’s Nest” – I don’t know why

The “Fish” – also no idea

The moment when the instructor waggled the bar to prove how secure I was.  I was forced to whimper “please stop doing that”

Jo hit all the positions, but did need a helping hand from the instructor to get up in the first place. So another point for me!

After a sustaining lunch at the Juggle Cafe, we were back for the afternoon session.  First was tight-rope and we had to roll up our trouser legs and put on these ballet shoe things which for some reason made me feel extra-circusy.  We learnt the technique on the floor and then on a wooden beam, but when we got on the wire we all pretty much abandoned the technique entirely so we did not excel.  We both made it across the whole wire twice, so this was declared a draw.

Wobble wobble wobble

Onto the juggling, which was Jo’s specialist field as she can in fact juggle.  The instructor taught those of us who couldn’t juggle to juggle 3 balls (I think I managed about 8 juggles which is maybe not massively impressive but a PB for me) and Jo and some other good jugglers got to learn some cheeky group tricks and then do a juggle-battle at the end, which Jo sort-of won (there was some slight confusion over the rules).  A clear win for Jo.

This photo makes it look like I’m juggling 4 balls.  I’m not.

Back to the flying trapeze, and one of our group was competent and confident enough to try hooking his legs over like we learnt on the static trapeze.  The instructor asks if I want to try.  I politely decline.  Everyone is complaining that they’ve got blisters on their hands from the bar, but I’m fine – b-girl hands y’see.

And finally we have a go at acrobatic balancing and make a human pyramid.  When I got on the top there was a big groan from the people underneath me, which I’m trying not to take too personally.  Another draw.

Smiling through the pain.

And then the big finale as all the groups got together for a big human pyramid.  There’s me at the top right, and Jo second from right.

Yay!  I’ve finally won a challenge!  And what’s more I LOVED circus day – especially static trapeze which I now want to sign up for a whole course in and I also want to buy a diabolo and juggling balls.  I’d highly recommend that everyone gives it a go.  And if you do go – tell me because I want to go back!

Sugar Rush

I don’t drink or smoke, I don’t drink coffee and I can take or leave a cup of tea so no caffeine addiction and I gave up meat for a month a while ago and that was pretty doable.  So the only thing I am really, properly addicted to is sugar.  I have a really sweet tooth.  I love making puddings – here’s the key lime pie I made recently.

and here is a visual representation of how sweet it was.

I’m giving up sugar for a month as an experiment.  It will interesting to see if it makes me feel healthier / more energetic etc (I feel fairly well already to be honest) although I’m going to have to feel pretty bloody amazing to consider giving up cake on a permanent basis.

OK, so obviously no sugar in tea (don’t anyway), no chocolate, no cakes, no puddings.  But also no cereals (apart from shredded wheat I think, maybe some others), no ready meals, no sauces (ketchup or ready-made pasta sauce etc), and apparently no processed meat like ham or sausages.  I’m allowing myself fruit and veg, but no dried fruit or fruit juice (with a loophole for the half a carton of juice already in the fridge, otherwise it will go to waste). I still have a massive box of chocolate goodies left over from Christmas.  So if I fall off the wagon, then that’s there to cushion my fall!

This wasn’t particularly meant coincide with Lent, but rather I was waiting until after V day when Mr Beet was cooking me a nice meal (and it was delish).  I’m only going for one month max – not the whole of Lent.  Can you imagine no sugar for 6 weeks then a load of Easter Eggs?  I’d be like a hyperactive toddler.

Day 1 – Vaguely wonder if there is any sugar in bread.  Decide there probably is, but that I’m not going to go too crazy strict or I’ll never eat anything.

Day 2 – Eat two polos.  Had just eaten garlicky couscous so it was for the benefit of the general public.

Day 3 – Put some cherry flavoured lip balm on and go “ooooh!”.  So sensitivity to sweetness definitely increased (it’s never made me go oooooh before).

Day 4  – Nothing much to report.  I don’t feel particularly amazing.  Nor am I having withdrawal symptoms beyond “quite fancying a jaffa cake”.

Day 5 – Start wanting to do physical harm to people eating chocolate in public.

Day 6 (today) – Have a smoothie made with plain yoghurt, frozen berries and a bit of juice.  So not a massive cheat, but the sweetest thing that I can get away with at the moment.  I enjoy it, but not more so than usual.  I had a chocolate-based dream last night!

Book 58 of 100

The Wind in the Willows – rather embarrassing to read on public transport since the copy I’ve got is a big hard back with lots of pictures.  It’s very charming.  I think if I were reading it to a child I’d just read the stories about Mr Toad, some of the other episodes are really quite melancholic.  Poop-poop!


Ahh… pancakes…ommnomnomnom…

I was busy on Shrove Tuesday so I bought forward pancake day to Monday, and to add some excitement to proceedings, I challenged Mr Beet to a flip-off!

The challenges were threefold.  Round one – the flip test. Round two – the taste test.  Three pancakes each.  One must be classic lemon and sugar, two to be fillings of your choice.  Round three – the portrait test.  One pancake each, to be decorated to make a portrait of the other person.

Round one

I did quite well, with a couple of 360s, but I did end up with one on the floor (I still ate it, naturally) so Mr Beet took this round.

Round two

Mr Beet did one with raspberry jam and blueberry ummm…. if I were being generous I’d call it a coulis, and one with nutella.  I did a raspberry pancake (with raspberries in the batter) with starwberry ice cream and whipped cream, then one with hot chocolate sauce and whipped cream.  The best one of the day was the nutella – you just can’t beat a nutella pancake – but over all 3 pancakes I edged in front.

Round three

um… well what do you think?  Mr Beet seems to have imagined me as June Whitfield.

I’ve made him look a cross between Edd the Duck and that senator from X men who gets mutantised by Magneto and turns into a jellyfish.

WTF? 4

Someone called me on my mobile today:

“Hello, can I speak to Lawrence?”

“Speaking” [assuming I’ve misheard or they mean Lauren]

“You don’t sound like a Lawrence”

“I’m Lauren”

“Is Lawrence there?”

“No – this is my phone – are you sure you don’t mean Lauren?”

“No I’m after Lawrence.”

“That seems a bit of a coincidence – do you have a surname for this Lawrence?”

[Other side hangs up]

Hmmmm…genuine coincidence or telemarketing fuckwittery?  Or, maybe I have a split personality and have developed a masculine alter ego that my regular personality knows nothing about.