28 August – Terrible Tuesday

white ceramic figurine of angel illustration
You can look serene when you’ve won the battle…

There’s a battle raging between the devil vs. the angel, both are sitting on my shoulders

The devil’s conversation, more or less as dictated to me…

Tired, oh I am tired, maybe I needn’t run today

Under the bedcovers, it’s so cosy, why run?

Evidently, I don’t need to run today, I’m ahead of plan

So, I could just stay here and mooch awhile

Default position is that I can run tomorrow, and nothing will be lost

And besides which, I haven’t had a cup of tea

Yawn, I do feel a little tired – bed’s a good place to be

The angel’s…

Go and do it

Even if you’re tired, you’ll feel better if you go

That is your running kit on the chest of drawers – it’s winking at you


You’re doing this for a good cause, a very good cause in fact

Only you can do this, there’s no team back up

Until you get out, I’ll continue to nag you

Rise out of your pit and go!


Alrighty, that’s progress, we are clear of the duvet

Running kit is being put on

Setting the Map My Run lady up

Exiting the bedroom


On the way to kicking the devil off my shoulder

Up and down the hills of Le Marche

Ten kilometres done, with a twinge or two, but it is done

Am I the only person to feel this way from time to time? Today was a mental battle to get out, even allowing for the cajoling from Mr JCR. The thing I don’t understand is that this challenge is entirely self-set. There’s no-one forcing me to do it, although I think I’d feel duty bound to return some sponsorship if I didn’t do it.

How do you keep yourself motivated when at times, like today, it feels too hard to contemplate? Thinking of having to write up an admission that I didn’t want to run, stopped me from flaking, but it was close.

If anybody has any great ideas on how I stop these particular devilish gremlins, then I’d love to hear them…, or was it just a case of a terrible Tuesday?


Still rocking the eighties vibe

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

I Ran – A Flock Of Seagulls

Talk Talk – Talk Talk

Shout – Tears For Fears

Every Day Hurts – Sad Cafe

Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder

Hold Me Now, Doctor Doctor – Thompson Twins

Visage – Visage

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

Uptown Girl – Billy Joel

I’m Still Standing – Elton John

I Melt With You – Modern English

Eighties – Killing Joke

Liberator – Spear of Destiny

Cuddly Toy – Roachford

Ride On Time – Black Box

It’s A Sin, West End Girls – Pet Shop Boys

I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists

Don’t Go – Yazoo


Distance 10.59km

Time  1:20:12

Average Pace 7:34

Elevation Gain 98

Alzheimer’s Challenge

This is my mental kick up the arse message to myself

You are running 2018km in 2018 to raise £2018 for Alzheimer’s Research, if you can

Your friends and some strangers too  (although friendly ones), have donated to keep your efforts going.

You are over 2/3rds of the way there to completing the challenge

You will be letting yourself down and others if you don’t do it

Kms Run So Far 1442.62

Kms To Go 575.38











27 August – Monday, Monday


With sincere apologies to the Mamas and the Papas…


Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Bah-da bah-da-da-da
Monday, Monday, so very cool and windy
Monday mornin´, it wasn’t what I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin´, Monday mornin´ couldn´t guarantee
That Monday evenin´ my legs would forgive me
Monday, Monday, with my feet of clay
Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way
Oh Monday mornin´ you gave me no warnin´ in Royston Vasey
Oh Monday, Monday, that today I would run 11k
Every other day, every other day
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
A-you can find me running all of the time
Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin´, it was all I hoped it would be
But Monday mornin´, Monday mornin´ couldn´t guarantee
That Monday
Actually, it wasn’t that bad, weather cool and blowy, pace not fast, but nothing ever seems to happen on a Monday run. However, I did get a welcome lift back to the house from our friend J, as I was walking up the Bitch of a Pitch.
(Yes it’s mainly the 80s – let’s rock those shoulder pads!)
Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder
Doctor, Doctor – Thompson Twins
I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty
Fade To Grey – Visage
Don’t You Want Me – Human League
Cars – Gary Numan
Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds
Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
Shout – Tears For Fears
Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
Living On The Ceiling – Blancmange
Tears Of A Clown – The Beat
Eighties – Killing Joke
It’s My Life – Talk Talk
I Want Your Love – Transvision Vamp
Cuddly Toy – Roachford
Gold – Spandau
Don’t Go – Yazoo
I Only Want To Be With You – The Tourists
Trapped – Colonel Abrams
You Spin Me Round – Dead Or Alive
Distance 11.18km
Time 1:16:22
Average Pace 6:49
Elevation Gain 46 metres
Alzheimer’s Challenge
Kms Run 1432.03
Kms To do 585.97

24 August – Hello, Good Morning, Welcome

healthy beach woman girl
This is how I’d like to look…

It’s Friday and pretty much the last day of the feria here in Italy, most of our Italian friends are back to work on Monday, and the upcoming end of month means we will have some ‘white night’ celebrations too.

Having given myself a new running plan, today was meant to be a 10km run, starting early to take advantage of the cooler weather. It didn’t happen, although I was out just after 8am. In my mind, I’d like to look like the pic above, all perky and healthy and smiley. However, after an interrupted sleep due to heat and a fighting bird at 3am (who the hell picks fights at 3am in birdland?) I looked little more like Waynetta Slob.


I trotted out towards the usual route Mill Lane – Bendy Scary Road – Royston Vasey – Fish Shop Village – Cafe. I wanted to do the same run as yesterday, just to make sure I hadn’t cheated on recording my distance. I felt I ran really quickly yesterday but I could only approximate my distance because of the GPS failure of Map My Run – more of that later. All was quiet and sleepy as usual, I didn’t see a soul until the bendy, scary road. First up two older cyclists, dressed in matching kit – they were wearing fluoro green and black shorts, and so was I. They were very pleasant and waved and said Buongiorno.

A bit further on, three more cyclists this time in blue tops and I got a Salve, Buongiorno and Buon Di (which is local dialect for good day). Never has one of my runs been so friendly, and my pace was nice and tidy, given it’s a bit cooler here, I could actually respond to them all, whereas often I can only wave feebly, due to my lungs bursting with exertion. On my way down towards Royston Vasey, I’d crossed the road to run-on one of the very rare pavements, which also was benefitting from shade – that’s a big win in my book – no sun and no traffic to be scared of. On the pavement a little old nonna, with her shopping trolley – she looked at me, smiled and also said Buon Di.

So far so friendly, I’m about 6 km into the run and I see I have made a better pace than yesterday, which is somewhat strange as I was definitely running faster yesterday. Through Royston Vasey and a lone cyclist struggles up the hill – he was a ‘comfort not speed’ man and he smiled weakly as he went past. On the way to fish shop village, I stop to change my water bottles over and re-start and I get overtaken by my bodyguards, they are in their car. I did think briefly that it might be nice to hitch a lift, but opportunity lost as they pootle off in the distance, leaving me to plod on.

At fish shop village, all is deserted and I make my way to Bin Lane and past the local kids club, which appears to be doing an Italian version of ‘musical chairs’ only using very loud and rather aggressive rap music. I hit the 9km mark and realise that I must have slightly undercounted yesterday’s run. On I go, although my pace is slackening a bit, out of Bin Lane, when a fellow runner came the other way wearing a cap and rather natty and orange and taupe running kit – all nicely co-ordinated. he also said Buongiorno.

At the cafe, I couldn’t see Mr JCR and registered that this run was actually a touch over 11km, which lends credence to my thought that yesterday’s run was faster. I did a mini loop of the car park – always embarrassing doing that, as people look at me as though I am slightly stupid – which of course, yes I am…

Run done 11.55km. Based on my ‘fag packet’ calculations yesterday I thought I’d run 10.77kms – at an average pace of 6:50, when in fact the distance was 11.21kms and my pace was 6 minutes 35 seconds – I’m really happy with that, the scorchio days are coming to an end and so my pace improves.

A nice realisation, after a lovely run, meeting (even though briefly) some very nice strangers along the way.

Playlist  – Country/Places on my Spotify, (but no Italian place oriented songs)

Lost In France – Bonnie Tyler

Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc

Strong – London Grammar

Penny Lane – The Beatles

Boston Tea Party – SAHB

Rio – Duran Duran

Vienna – Ultravox

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Massachusetts – Bee Gees

Grease – Frank Valli

Big In Japan – Alphaville

Africa – Toto

Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight & The Pips

New York Minute – Don Henley

Streets Of Philadelphia – The Boss

Pleasant Valley Sunday – The Monkees

Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Japanese Boy – Aneka

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

California Dreamin’ – Mamas and Papas


Distance 11:55

Time 1:17:29

Average Pace 6:42 mins/km

Elevation Gain 48 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1420.85

Kms To Run 597.15 – yes below the 600 marker!





23 Aug – Swiping Right For Mr Smooth


About 14 months ago, in fact 1 year 9 weeks ago to be precise, I realised my life quality needed to change. As a woman of a certain age, I needed to take some action; thus was drawn to Tinder. I know the app has a reputation for casual hook ups, but this was going to be different. I’d joined the C25K group and was looking at their dating app, to see who I fancied. Now there was an eclectic mix of dates available to me:-

Sanjeev Kohli – Sorry Sanjeev I had no idea who you were and if I was going to hook up with someone, I had to know something about them and despite looking at your wiki page, I was none the wiser

Sarah Millican – love her accent and jokes, just not sure she and I would have the right chemistry, and to be frank I’m not sure she has ever done what I was about to

Jo Whiley – achingly cool, tall, slender, blonde, fit, sexy voice – I’ve never been/had any of those attributes, so somehow we weren’t destined to date

Michel Johnson – okay, tall, dark, handsome, fit, credible, Olympic gold medallist, world record holder. What’s not to like? Oh and a voice that could coax blood out of a stone – I was sold. Mr Smooth it was.

The Tinder in question was the NHS Couch to 5k app, which takes you from the couch to running for 30 minutes/5km non stop in/around a nine week timeframe. Why so much attention on choosing my running coach? Well to be frank, I can be both bloodyminded and incredibly flaky at the same time, so if I was going to make a commitment to running, it had to be with someone I wanted to be with and that someone had to have credibility. And that was why I chose Mr Smooth, because as much as I love Sarah Millican’s humour, I couldn’t see me training hard alongside a lass who loves her chips and biscuits a little more than she likes exercise.

Thus started a 9 and half weeks affair, with the dashing Mr Smooth. It should have been just nine weeks, but I had to repeat a failed run, so it took just a touch longer, but 9 and a half weeks was the name of a very steamy film I recall, and it seems apt that my affair with Mr Smooth lasted that distance. Especially so, as we got together in one of the hottest summers in Italy’s history – with the Lucifero heatwave being an unwelcome ’three in a bed’ alongside me and Mr Smooth.

A year ago, yesterday my time with Mr Smooth came to an end, as I graduated the programme, having committed to him, that I would continue our affair, even if he wasn’t around. I made a promise to keep running at least 3 times a week, for no less than 30 minutes each time. How on earth was I going to keep that up, without my silken voiced coach egging me on? A combination of psychological kidology, treats, and habit, seemed to do the trick.

I sent myself ‘date invitations’ from Mr Smooth, which appeared 3 times a week, telling me to get out and run. I also got my running kit out the night before, in view of the bed, so there was no excuse not to see it. I take my running kit with me when on holiday.

I bought posh shower gel which I am only allowed to use if I have been running. I treated myself to new music downloads on iTunes, once my week’s running schedule had been met.

A year on, which of these still stick? Well the date invitation is still sent, but now I have the Alzheimer’s Challenge, the 3 x a week, is actually overridden by my new schedule. Similarly the running kit trick is used occasionally, but again the Alzheimer’s Challenge makes me get out anyway. Holiday running – yup that has happened, ask my long-suffering friends N&A who had their ‘cultural’ weekend in Granada, punctuated by the departure and arrival of a middle aged ball of sweat, at the apartment. Oh and they never signed up for the challenge…

The shower gel treat is still working – except now I only use it if I’ve met my target km for the run. The downloads have been superceded because of lack of storage space on my phone and the cost, which I was getting miffed about, so I create playlists on Spotify instead.

Overall I stuck with Mr Smooth through thick and thin, even though he told me a year ago, that our time was at an end and he’d enjoyed partnering me. In week 6 of the programme, Mr Smooth told me I was runner and I hope a year on, he’d agree that I am most definitely a runner, not a fast one, not a record breaking one, but a runner nonetheless, and so today in recognition of all he has done for me, we went running together again. Week 9, Run 3 on a repeat play.

Ooh, I’d forgotten just how delicious his voice is, he guided me through all the usual places, Slope of Hope, Mill Lane, Lovers’ Lane, The Hill That Kills, The Bendy, Scary Road, Fish Shop Corner, Bin Lane and All Roads Lead to Rome road – actually he didn’t manage all of them, because I no longer run just for 30 minutes or 5km, my runs are usually over an hour and over 10km.  I actually outlasted Mr Smooth!

And when he had said his final goodbye, I didn’t shed a tear, which would have been a bit too Hollywood, but I did allow myself a secret smile, because Mr Smooth, I kept at it, just like you knew I would. And yesterday, on my runniversary, the other Mr Smooth in my life (Mr JCR, with his shaved cyclist’s legs) took me out for a lovely lunch to celebrate our first date anniversary from 25 years ago.

There are two Mr Smooths in my life, to one I am a lover, the other I’m a wife. Let’s be honest JCR – Mr Smooth doesn’t even know you exist, and he’s got another 24 years of sticking around to do, to meet Mr JCR’s commitment…


Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – The Animals

I Saw Her Standing There – The Beatles

Stand And Deliver – Adam And The Ants

Money – Flying Lizards

Dirty Harry – Gorillaz

Whatever It Takes – Imagine Dragons

Hippy Hippy Shake – Rockin’ Robin and The Blue Jays

Everybody’s Got To Learn Some Time – The Korgis

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Crying In the Chapel – Sonny Til and The Orioles

Who Let the Dogs Out – Baha Men

Black Betty – Ram Jam

Crazy – Seal

Can You Dig It – The Mock Turtles

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

For Your Love – The Yardbirds

Eye Of The Tiger – Survivor

Papas Got A Brand New Pigbag (twice) – Pigbag

S-S-S single Bed – Fox

Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

5 Years Time – Noah And The Whale

I’m Free – The Soup Dragons


Distance 10.77km

Time 1:13:41

Average Pace 6:50

Elevation gain – 225 metres ( think that is wrong but the GPRS was awry again)

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1409.30 (yes I’ve consigned the terrible 1300s to history)

Kms to Run 608.70



21 August – Figging Hell

It’s a late start and yes I know I should have got my lazy arse out earlier in the day but I didn’t. After customary faffing, I had in my plan to do about 12km today, mainly to get the terrible 13s out of the way. This month has been punctuated by migraines to an extent that I’ve lost a lot of my banked progress and so it would be quite nice to say Ciao to the terrible 1300km range and start on the 14s, with fresh impetus.

I made my way to Mill Lane and straight off the bat, Map My Run confirmed I hadn’t moved an inch despite taking 5 minutes of walking to get there. Okay, restart the app, it’s not a big deal, as the first 5 minutes walking warm-up never count anyway. On I ambled to Lovers’ Lane, aha it is a bit scorchio today and I think I may have made a strategic error being so late. Okay JCR, make up your mind – choice (a) wimp out and walk back home (b) continue and see what you can do (c) stick it out and do the 12km. Choice (a) not really a choice at all, considering I only committed to a new running plan yesterday. That left b and c. Either would be fine. In Lovers’ Lane I was all alone and I realised I was very thirsty, mmm today’s run not going to plan at all. I also spotted some dropped figs, which are slightly squishy underfoot, not an ideal running surface – better keep your eyes peeled JCR. The run continued without incident, I was running along the bendy, scary road, and spotted more figs ahead. No worries I ran around them, no problem at all and in the distance I could see a cyclist coming towards me – all in white, head down and coming up the hill.

As Mr JCR is a cyclist and has many cyclist friends, I always look out for them in case I recognise any. On my way down the hill – totally free of traffic, this arsehole on a bike, kept his head down, didn’t give way and I was forced onto the verge, as he passed he caught my eye and didn’t say thanks. An arsehole truly – given he was wearing  ridiculous white bib shorts – you could see his arsehole from behind too. I cursed him, using ‘figging hell’ or similar.

Normal service was resumed when a little later, an older group of cyclists went past me and shouted Brava Signora – an altogether nicer experience. I am going to be totally ageist here – the arsehole on a bike, was I estimate in his mid-twenties – clearly manners played no part in his education. And so it was with a great sense of schadenfreude, when later on in my run, I saw him again with a problem trying to fix his chain. I sincerely wish him more chain breaks, and a few near misses too.

That’s the arsehole rant over… 🙂

There were a couple more fig puddles to work around, on the way into fish shop village, but I must admit that at just over 8km in, my plan for today was undergoing a rapid recalculation. My average pace was atrocious, the heat playing its part, my legs felt like lead and I wasn’t really enjoying the run. Okay JCR you’re at a crossroads literally and metaphorically, do you continue the run or call it quits and walk. Well my bloodyminded gene kicked in and I decided to continue running, but accepted the pace would be slow.

In Bin Lane, it was not so shady, and the heat was catching up with me, I glanced at the app and I was just over 9km – okay let’s make it 10km and I’ll call it a day. Onto the all roads lead to Rome road and I clicked over the 10km mark. Job done, I’m a bit miffed that I didn’t get to 12km and get into the 1400s, but it will happen next time out.


Blasphemous Rumours, People Are People and It’s Called A Heart – Depeche Mode

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Rehab, Back To Black – Amy Winehouse

Enola Gay, Talking Loud and Clear – OMD

Mony Mony – Billy Idol

Mulder and Scully – Catatonia

Runnin’ Down A Dream – Tom Petty

Mercy – Duffy

Is She Really Going Out With Him – Joe Jackson

Creep – Radiohead

I Won’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw

Rock the Casbah – The Clash

Is Vic There? – Department S

Everyday I Love You Less and Less, Modern Way – Kaiser Chiefs

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Strong – London Grammar

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Jenny Was A Friend of Mine – The Killers


Distance 10.40km

Time 1:24:07

Average Pace 8:05 (snails can go faster…)

Elevation Gain  43 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1398.53 – not happy!!!

Kms to Do 619.47






23 Aug – Disco Diva Playlist


It’s been a week since we lost Aretha,  and so it seems a little too late to be celebrating the Disco Divas with my latest playlist. Aretha’s Respect – was the first song I chose for this list. Thanks to all, for the suggestions. Please enjoy it and perhaps ‘Say A Little Prayer’ for the ultimate diva of Soul Music, who will be sadly missed.


Knock on Wood – Amii Stewart

Ring My Bell – Anita Ward

Respect – Aretha

Think – Aretha

I Say A Little Prayer – Aretha

Yes Sir, I Can Boogie – Baccara

Cruel Summer – Bananarama

Really Sayin’ Something – ditto with Fun Boy Three

Ma Baker, Sunny, Gotta Go Home – Boney M

Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton

I Feel For You, I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan

Let’s Hear It For The Boy – Deniece Williams

Upside Down/Chain Reaction – Diana Ross

I Say A Little Prayer – Dionne Warwick

I Feel Love, Hot Stuff, Love To Love You Baby – Donna Summer

Love Come Down – Evelyn Champagne King

Rescue Me – Fontella Bass

Rhythm Is Gonna Get You – Gloria Estefan

Never Can Say Goodbye – Gloria Gaynor

Pull Up To the Bumper – Grace Jones

Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent – Gwen Guthrie

Somebody Else’s Guy – Jocelyn Brown

Funkytown – Lipps Inc

Borderline – Madonna

Heatwave – Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Terrell and Gaye

Forget Me Nots – Patrice Rushen

Lady Marmalade/ Stir It Up – Patti LaBelle

Jump, Automatic, I’m So Excited – The Pointer Sisters

Street Life – Randy Crawford

Car Wash – Rose Royce

Ain’t Nobody – Rufus and Chaka Khan

Let the Music Play – Shannon

He’s The Greatest Dancer, Lost in Music – Sister Sledge

Object Of My Desire – Starpoint

Boogie Oogie Oogie – Taste Of Honey

Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne

Don’t Leave Me This Way – Thelma Houston

What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

I Wanna Dance With Somebody, How Will I Know  – Whitney Houston






20 Aug – Baldrick For A Day


With apologies to my dear friend and very capable accountant G – this is as good as my Excel gets! This is my cunning plan to run the year. August has been a particularly crap month for running – a combination of heat, migraines, social events and a basic lack of get up and go. By now I should have run approx 120km in the month, and am down quite substantially.

But I have channelled my inner Baldrick and come up with a new plan. Rather than running for three days and resting, I’ve calculated that I can actually now afford to run for two consecutive days and then rest. This will still get me easily to my target for Christmas Eve.

Not sure I’ve ever publicised that bit of my target, I started just on a week late into the year and I want to finish a week early, so I can have a ‘non running’ Christmas break. After many machinations and sophisticated excel modelling which took at least 20 minutes, my new plan is set.

Like Baldrick’s it probably may come a cropper, but as of today I am on course.

What to say about the run – nothing really, it was hot, so was I, nothing to see, nothing to talk or write about.


Chain Reaction – Diana Ross

I’m So Excited – The Pointer Sisters

Jump ( For My Love) – ditto

Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton

Don’t Leave Me The Way – Thelma Houston

Forget Me Nots – Patrice Rushen

Ring My Bell – Anita Ward

Knock on Wood – Amii Stewart

Car Wash – Rose Royce

Somebody Else’s Guy – Jocelyn Brown

Love Come Down – Evelyn Champagne King

Object Of My Desire – Starpoint

Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne

I Say A Little Prayer – Dionne Warwick

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Gaye and Terrell

Rescue Me – Fontella Bass

Heatwave -Martha Reeves and The Vandellas

How Will I Know – Whitney Houston

Funkytown – Lipps Inc

Never Can Say Goodbye -Gloria Gaynor

Yes Sir I Can Boogie – Baccara

Sunny – Boney M

Ma Baker – ditto

Gotta Go Home – ditto


Distance 10.67km

Time 1:23:20

Average Pace 7:48

Elevation Gain – it says 300m but that’s tosh, Map My Run and GPRS failed once more

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1388.13

Kms To Do 629.87





18 August – Le Marche Safari



Tonight Mr JCR and I are going to a fancy dress party – themed jungle and safari, hence the title of my run today. Having been to Africa on safari and also lucky enough to see the Big 5, the thought of outfits for tonight both tantalised and teased. Except in reality they didn’t, who in their right mind would wear a plush, fake fur leopard or lion outfit to a party? Especially in Italy, in summer when it is still 28+ degrees of an evening. I had spotted some of the other attendees looking at hiring animal costumes and I decided it wasn’t for me. I’m hot and bothered every day I run, it’s not a look I need to replicate socially!

Cue the leopard skin lycra frock – better than it sounds I promise and matching Jimmy Choos. If I’m going as a big cat, I’m rocking the Bet Lynch look and despite an ironically raised eyebrow from Mr JCR when he wondered whether I’d be going for the cat face paint option, I shall be going au naturel, well as au naturel as Mr Yves Saint Laurent and Mr Christian Dior cosmetics will allow.

Mr JCR is going as a safari-suited hunter, resplendent with toy pistol, hastily borrowed from our friends’ son.

So to my run today with its safari theme too. First off, I am up early actually having taken Mr JCR’s advice to haul my arse out (my words not his!). I am out of the house by 7.20am, and I see straightaway, that we have been visited by the first of the Le Marche Big 5. That is the rarely seen, tip monkey/dumpster monkey/skip monkey/trash monkey depending on your English preference. I don’t know the Italian for this beast, but here is a helpful description, just so you may recognise the beast if ever it frequents your neighbourhood.

It is nocturnal, although generally preferring to hunt dusk/dawn/twilight when there is still some light available, but their appearance can be hidden from passers-by. Always found near a rubbish dump, builders’ skip etc., in fact anywhere where you have left your ‘rubbish/unwanted goods’. The tip monkey is possessed of cunning, speed and a remarkable talent for as we say ‘mooching’ items away. Hence I spotted that having put out some old garden furniture for removal by the official registered tip monkey company, two of the seats had already been mooched by a local tip monkey. Now what this tip monkey doesn’t know is that whilst the two seats in question looked perfectly good, in fact the polyurethane weaving has been rotted by the high levels of UV here. Any attempt by something heavier than a feather, to sit on said seats, will result in being painfully entrapped by the buttocks impaled on rotten, sharp wicker like netting. As I was musing on the thought of an injured tip monkey, Lord Kitchener walked past me – he didn’t have a guilty look, so I am guessing he is not the tip monkey.

Onto Mill Lane for the more humdrum run and as I enter the lane a rather gorgeous black squirrel crossed the road in front of me. Much smaller than an American grey squirrel, he was fast and sleek and I couldn’t capture him on camera unfortunately – my second of the Le Marche Big 5 beasts. Up towards Lovers’ Lane and I am very early so no sign of Anouska or Albino, just a lady collecting berries from the hedgerows. I do a double loop of Villa Bali’s grounds and take the Mark Cavendish Hill to Royston Vasey.

It’s nice and shady here, no sign of any further beasts, and in the relative cool, I am making a good pace. I run through Royston Vasey without stopping, and continue to the bendy, scary road. It’s quiet here too, just some older cyclists taking a cruise, but still no wildlife. Past the fish shop village and onto Bin Lane, again in shade and I enjoy the feeling of running without being totally sweaty and red faced. Onto the all roads lead to Rome road, again it’s snoozeville here, I make a stop for a rapid coffee and brioche, because I want to tackle War of The Worlds Lane, before the sun is too high in the sky and shade is lost. I continue my run and see ‘eek/yuck/ugh’ a rat scooting across the lane, I guess as the cereal harvesting is in full swing here, it is like a rat’s personal supermarket sweep. Bad enough to have seen one, I had no chance of taking a pic, but I’m glad of that. That is Le Marche beast number three.

Further on in the distance, I see a new road marking with a figure 5 newly painted. Hmm, someone just knew I was searching for the Big 5 today. I had thought the Big 5 might include Hairy Biker Man’s dog  Arturo, but he was nowhere to be seen. Although today there were quite a few of what I call the cosmetic camminatore – the fully made up ladies who go for a walk, to get exercise but never actually break a sweat. Wearing glamorous shorts, teeny tiny tee shirts and always blinged up trainers, I always have a pang of envy -after this challenge is done, I am determined just once to look like them, although I accept age and cellulite may spoil the illusion.

On my final part of WOTW lane, I saw a host of butterflies in the hedgerow – does a host count as a beast? Maybe not JCR, you can’t always fix your runs to get exactly the result you want.

I stopped the app when I’d completed just over 12km, and made my way home, to be greeted at the front door, by a rather shy lizard. That’s my Le Marche Big 4 done. I don’t know which animal will make up the 5, but that’s probably going to happen on another run.


Map My Run integration with iTunes didn’t work, so no record this time.


Distance 12.12km

Time 1:21:39

Average Pace 6:44

Elevation Gain 118 metres but the GPRS was all over the place so I am not sure this is correct at all.

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1377.46

Kms To Do 640.54

16 Aug – The Top Five

Yet another sock lost in the bowels of a washer/dryer
Thanks to Pexels.com, for the photo explaining my number one hate


things I hate about running:-

  1. The laundry – see pic above, my life seems to have shifted location to a dystopian nightmare of a laundromat, where my every waking moment is consumed by washing, doing, folding, putting away running kit. Six times a week people! I can say no more, as the washing machine has just beeped at me, telling me to put this morning’s running kit on the line.
  2. The trainer fug – there is no treatment known to man that can remove the pong of well-worn trainers. I have my own treatment which is to Febreze each pair after wearing and to alternate pairs, so the whiff isn’t too overpowering.  I often collect my own little posse of flies after a long run,  and I’m convinced it’s the trainer fug that is to blame for me looking like Pig Pen from Snoopy. I need a containment room akin to the concrete jacket put around Chernobyl, otherwise all my clothes whiff too.
  3. Little old nonnas driving ancient cinquecentos – to a woman they aim their cinqs at me. Even if the road is empty except for me, I can guarantee they will turn the steering wheel towards me. Do I have nonna magnetism perhaps? Are my running shorts some kind of homing device for them? I don’t know, but I do wish they’d stop driving directly towards me, it’s scary.
  4. The post run glow. Or in my case, the beacon of red, suffused with essence of sweat and a halo of unruly, untameable frizzy hair. At no point in or at the end of a run, do I look anything other than completely knackered. It doesn’t matter whether its 5k, 10k, or 15k – the end result is always the same, a shrieking banshee like mess. Oh to look faintly glowing, with the swooshy ponytail…. in your dreams JCR.
  5. The fact that it doesn’t matter how much I run, I don’t seem to be getting any better at it. My times have stayed more or less the same, in fact have worsened a bit. My stride length is too short really to be called a stride. And I really, really thought that after more or less 8 months of running 40+km a week, I’d start to find knocking these runs out to become a bit of a breeze. How wrong and deluded can one be? But I do have a running analysis session – a present from Mr JCR – to undertake when we return to London, so that may uncover the reason why.

Today’s run encapsulated some of these pet hates, the laundry – tick. The trainer fug – tick. The ancient nonna was conspicuous by her absence but in contrast I experienced, what for me, has been the unique occasion of the year. An Italian car stopped to let me cross a junction, even though strictly speaking it was his priority. I almost fainted – how utterly amazing, an Italian stallion stopped his car on the main road to let a red faced banshee run across his access point. I’m still in shock.

The post run glow, was its usual state, necessitating a swab down with half of the café’s paper towels, and I finished my run, with a slight hamstring twinge – maybe I need that analysis sooner rather than later.

But after all the pet hates, there is one undeniable truth, I can and did walk the 4km back up the Bitch of a Pitch (to our house which is approximately 230m above sea level), without hesitation or becoming short of breath and that wasn’t true just over a year ago.  Result. Oh and I am developing a Kardashian Kulo, which could be my route to a fortune, I’m not sure on social media’s appetite for a geriatric Kardashian butt, I could photoshop the wrinkles out?


My Coo Ca Choo – Alvin Stardust

Devil Gate Drive – Suzi Quatro

Blockbuster – Sweet

Shang A Lang – Bay City Rollers

Band On the Run – Wings

Everybody Dance – Chic

See My Baby Jive – Wizzard

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Roll Over Beethoven -ELO

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate

Freeze-Frame – J Geils Band

Boogie Shoes – KC And The Sunshine Band

Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed

Lady Marmalade – Patti LaBelle

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey

Silver Lady – David Soul

I Love To Love – Tina Charles

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Amarillo – Tony Christie

Killer Queen – Queen

Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers


Distance 10.16

Time 1:13:35

Average Pace 7:14 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1365.34

Kms to Go 652.66

(24 kms behind the August plan, but I have made up some of the migraine missing kms)


15 August – The Dirty Dozen


I’d more or less decided that August was a write-off after the migraine issue, but I think I can slowly pull back some of the lost kms. We’ve had two days of changeable weather, so the mercury has been dropping for a change. Therefore I had absolutely no excuse for not running today. Okay, get your arse in gear Mrs JCR – ah but I must faff first of all. First delaying tactic – a mug of tea, followed by The Times, clearing out the bins, loading the washing machine, sorting out my water bottles – you get the picture. Me, I’m a veritable genius of prevarication.

The requisite hour of faffing has passed, and I had to go for my run. Usual route, with maybe an extra loop here or there, to get me to a 12km run, if I could. Today’s theme being the film “The Dirty Dozen”, purely and simply because the numbers match.

According to Wikipedia, these are they:-

Name Number Portrayed by Sentence
Posey, S. 1 Clint Walker Death by hanging
Pinkley, V. L. 2 Donald Sutherland 30 years’ imprisonment
Jefferson, R. T. 3 Jim Brown Death by hanging
Gilpin, S. 4 Ben Carruthers 30 years’ hard labor
Lever, R. 5 Stuart Cooper 20 years’ imprisonment
Vladek, M. 6 Tom Busby 30 years’ hard labor
Sawyer, S. K. 7 Colin Maitland 20 years’ hard labor
Maggott, A. J 8 Telly Savalas Death by hanging
Wladislaw, J. 9 Charles Bronson Death by hanging
Jiminez, J. P. 10 Trini Lopez 20 years’ hard labor
Franko, V. R. 11 John Cassavetes Death by hanging
Bravos, T. R. 12 Al Mancini 20 years’ hard labor

Kilometre 1 – aka S Posey

This character was a gentle giant, who apparently killed someone by accident, hence his death sentence. My first kilometre takes in Mill Lane – which has a gentle slope, followed by half of Lovers’ Lane. Absolutely no chance of either of them killing me, as it’s too early in the run and I go very slow at this point. S Posey’s fate in the film isn’t clear – Missing in Action is the best guess. And that’s a good summary of my run, no records being set, nothing interesting somewhat Missing In Action too.

Kilometre 2 – VL Pinkley

Stupid and the dumbest member of the team, he dies on the drive of the mansion. Well the second kilometre takes me past the barking beagle house, but the beagles were asleep, so I wasn’t rumbled as I ran past their drive. But just arriving at the peak of the hill that kills, the owner of a local olive oil farm was standing in his drive, saw me and wished me a good run on a good day. Luckily my Italian is sufficiently okay for me to respond to him, so I didn’t look quite as dumb as Pinkley.

Kilometre 3 – R T Jefferson

Played by an American NFL footballer – the only African American of the dozen. He enables the destruction of the mansion by throwing a grenade into the general’s shelter, later mown down by a Nazi gunner. It’s fair to say my third kilometre was not so full of action, a gentle run down the Hill That Kills onto the bendy, scary road, where I didn’t encounter any grenades or similar weaponry. There was an old lady driving a car who seemed to steer towards me, but I think that was just bad driving, not her motorised attempt at being a hand grenade.

Kilometre 4 – S Gilpin

A grinning sociopath, who tackled and climbed onto the roof, fell through and was presumed to have been blown up within the mansion’s explosion. Now I didn’t meet any grinning sociopaths, although I did pass two people picking fruit, one carrying a rather nasty looking hooked stick thing and his wife/partner/whatever was wearing rubber gloves. So maybe I had a lucky escape?

Kilometre 5 – R Lever

A basic felon, who ended up taking the grenades to the chateau , and subsequently fled by motor boat once the dozen had been discovered. He was shot in the chest and fell into the water. No motorboats in sight for me, although I did stop at Royston Vasey for my traditional water stop and although the awkward fridge played up and wobbled a bit, I did escape from there with my life.

Kilometre 6 – M Vladek

His crime unknown; in the film he was ordered to kill the Germans and release the French and appeared to be reluctant to do that – he was eventually killed by a Nazi sniper. My sixth kilometre was a lonesome affair, I only met one cyclist who overtook me and I think he said we were cousins…, but he was talking in dialect, so I must have got that wrong! I was nicely in my stride at this point, no reluctance to continue marred my run. I didn’t need a commanding office to give me my orders, I kept going and it was fine.

Kilometre 7 – SK Sawyer

Another ‘crime unknown’ character, he performed the same duties as R Lever, but was shot first in the motorboat, when fleeing the scene. Kilometre number seven, saw me well on my way to fish shop village, at this point I’d guzzled down my bottle of water so had to stop for a water refill, as most of my water had trickled out of my ill-sealed spare bottle. Basic stupidity cost me my water, whilst basic bad luck cost Sawyer his life.

Kilometre 8 – A J Maggott

Played by Telly Savalas, a supposedly religious man who rids the world of evil. He gets rumbled when hiding in a bedroom, turns on the rest of the ‘dozen’ and is subsequently killed by R T Jefferson. Now going through fish shop village, I had no need to hide from anyone, as there’s hardly a soul around, and I feel no pressing need to rid the world of evil – although I’m not awfully keen on Donald Trump… 😉

Kilometre 9 – J Wladislaw

Charles Bronson – playing a guy who had killed a medic (who was running off with much needed supplies); he is one of the few characters that made it to the end of the film alive, although he did get shot in the leg. At this point, I was on Bin Lane, nicely in shade and both my legs were working fine thanks. No hospital treatment required.

Kilometre 10 – J P Jiminez

Not a character who lasted very long, he made his parachute jump in Brittany and broke his neck in an apple tree. His death was the catalyst for a number of significant role changes by each of the remaining ‘dozen’.  Bin Lane doesn’t have any apple trees as far as I can see, so I had no need to change my running plans.

Kilometre 11 – V R Franko

In the film he refuses to shave in cold water and hence he and the rest of the dozen were refused shaving and washing supplies, leading to their nickname. At the eleventh kilometre I was on the all roads lead to Rome road, which given the traffic often leads to a close shave. However, today is Ferragosto and a national holiday, therefore not much traffic, and so I wasn’t in a cold sweat wondering if today is the day a car/bus/lorry/bike/coach hits me.

Kilometre 12 – T R Bravos

Standing a little over 5 feet, he was the shortest character in the film. Standing a touch more over 5 feet I am the lead character in today’s run. At this stage, I was close to the cafe stop and in need of some sustenance. Bravos dies in a foxhole, I was just dying of thirst. Job done – the dirty dozen completed.


Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas

Shang A Lang – Bay City Rollers

Sugar Baby Love – The Rubettes

War – Edwin Starr

Gonna Make You A Star – David Essex

Everybody Dance – Chic

All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople

Sylvia’s Mother – Dr Hook

I Feel Love – Donna Summer

So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate

Freeze-Frame – J Geils Band

You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me – The New Seekers

Lady Marmalade – Patti LaBelle

Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste Of Honey

Silver Lady – David Soul

You To Me Are Everything – The Real Thing

Night Fever – Bee Gees

You’re The One That I Want – Travolta and Newton-John

Metal Guru – T.Rex

D.I.S.C.O – Ottawan

Blockbuster – Sweet

See My Baby Jive – Wizzard

Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers


Distance 12.06km

Time 1:23:11

Average Pace 6:53

Elevation Gain 55 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1355.18 (it took a little while, but now I am more than 2/3rds of the distance done, approximately 2 weeks before being 2/3rds through the year)

Kms to Do 662.82