Monday, 26 December 2011

Wedding bells, Christmas Bells, picture frames and all!

The last couple of weeks have been fact it's all a bit of a blur now it's all over. In amongst it all though the highlight has to be the wedding of fellow ERR member Sophie to James, simply beautiful! Alas after the celebrations though it was back to work. Just why people think we have picture frames under the counter in which to fit their football shirts, drum sticks and jeggings (yes I did say jeggings!) I really don't know. Now though, after two weeks of madness, including late nights, even managing to leave work and go to run club and then go back to work some nights, I can proudly say we didn't turn one customer away. Here's hoping those who received something in one of our frames this year were pleased with it. It's sure been a hard slog for the both of us. Arriving at our Gallery though on Christmas eve eve morning to find the door kicked in was unpleasant to say the least. Thankful that the hooligans hadn't managed to actually get inside, Martin managed to raise a smile as he popped his head out through the gaping hole as I took a photograph for nostalgic reasons, one to show the grandchildren in a few years.

One of the evenings I strived to get to club was the Christmas lights run - our route took us up to the very top of Idle and through Swaine House, stopping momentarily outside numerous houses to adore their decorations, it was apparent on some streets Mrs Smith was clearly trying to out do Mrs Jones. Arriving back at the clubhouse we proceeded to kick off the festive season with mince pies, amazing Nigella chocolate hazelnut cake and mulled wine.

I've managed to fill the gap of the first holiday from run club with a race. Today (Boxing Day) saw my first ever attempt at the Chevin Chase 7 mile, I've so far avoided entering the race in the knowledge that it would put a damper on Christmas day as I would be sure to avoid over indulgence. The last couple of years though I have regretted not taking part after no signs of over indulgence anyway! So I decided this year would be my first attempt. I was relieved when Lisa suggested that she, Gill and I should run together and treat it as a training run. We did just that. It was extremely windy up on that there Chevin, coupled with copious amounts of mud - we had a brilliant run. Rather hilly though it was, I'm now looking forward to next year's race already.

Due to yet another family party I'm unable to get to club on Wednesday so I'm now off to plot a route for a morning run - working towards the Brass Monkey next month I need to make sure I keep my mileage up.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Medal Envy!

With our first snow run out of the way last Monday and our monthly time trial well and truly scuppered I fully expected the weather to deteriorate further as the week went along but despite being cold and occasionally frosty we weren't prevented from following our usual Calendar of events in the running stakes. Undercliffe Cricket Club have decided to shut down the changing block completely for the winter in light of last year's burst pipe issues and asked us to move into the cosy club house and provided us with a hot water boiler and cups and saucers, add to that the occasional cake and who wouldn't want to turn out on even the most wintry of evenings? It feels like we are being 'put up' in a hotel!

Friday though, was a different story. As we got out into the car park to warm up it began snowing, flakes as big as old pennies (if you're old enough to remember the size you'll know, if not, trust me, they were big!) I was quite giddy, the flakes swirling round in the wind made the car park look picture postcard beautiful! As we set off the fair weather runners amongst us bid a hasty retreat and those of us prepared to tolerate the inclement weather conditions pushed onwards. It didn't last too long and although bitterly cold it wasn't unpleasant to run. Cosiness was soon back with us as in no time at all we filed into the club house afterwards to brew up!

The weekend turned quite mild which inevitably brought us some rain. On Sunday I had volunteered to marshal at the Epilepsy Action Reindeer Stampede in Robert's Park at Saltaire. It began to rain soon after we had set off. Gradually got worse and really didn't let up for the whole of the race. Considering the year before the same race had had to be postponed until well into the New Year due to ice and snow the conditions were completely different, unpleasant though it was for us marshals, the youngsters in the race seemed undeterred for the most part and even some of the adults seemed to be able to enter into the spirit of it all despite the soggy conditions. A chap strapped by reins to his female partner formed Santa and his sleigh pulled by the one reindeer much ot our amusement, there were also people running round the course with inflatable reindeer of varying sizes!

Our ERR loan ranger was Dawn, a casualty of last year's postponement she had deferred her entry to this year as when the race was rescheduled it clashed with another race. No less than a dozen of her team mates were there in a voluntary capacity to cheer her on though. Dawn joined Tom and I ( Lisa and Steve had also joined us) at our marshalling post after the race to off load her reward for running, a mince pie which she didn't like! I noticed the medal around Dawn's neck and turned it over, oh how cute, a cartoon reindeer was peering back at me! At that point I so wished I had been running to earn a medal, suitable for hanging on the Christmas tree I thought! Next year for sure!

Post race coffee and cake at the Half Moon Cafe in Robert's Park made up for the miserable weather and off home I went to make preparations for putting my Christmas tree up, before that though I managed to convince my family to go back to Saltaire and visit Salts Mill to get into the Christmas spirit!

Tree now suitably installed it'll be a pleasure to return home each day after work to the cosy festiveness of my living room, the test is going to be getting myself out of the door and leaving it all behind!