31 Mar – It’s A Numbers Game


The end of the first quarter of the year, JCR it’s time for a reckoning on the Alzheimer’s Challenge and here are the numbers:-

1 – friends Gerben and Jeanne who started my sponsorship rolling, with the very first donation

2 – hot on their heels, Neil and Angela who kept the impetus going

3, 4 and 5 – lovely Couch to 5K members who also sponsored me

6 – the daily average kms covered since the beginning of the year

7 –  days’ running  – my longest ‘running streak’ in February

8 – days running in Spain, five in Malaga covering 44km, three in Granada covering 31km

12 – individual sponsors so far – the last one being Rosalie from Mr JCR’s cycling club

14 – the first Monopoly run – 14km collecting Old Kent Road, Whitechapel, Bank, Jail & two train stations and funnily enough also my last collecting the ‘coloured’ squares of Mayfair & Park Lane

16 – my longest recorded run on 25 January

25 – Couch To 5K, the whole reason I am doing this challenge. It encouraged me to start running again and now look where I am

25 – yes again – we are 25% of the way through the year

27 – percentage kms run, therefore  I am 2% points ahead

36 – percentage of my fundraising target met to date

43 – kilometres in the bank/ahead of schedule as of today

59 – the numbers of runs I’ve completed

90 – days gone in this running year

168 – the average monthly kilometres, I must run

275  – running days to go

504 – my target kilometres for end of March

547 – my actual kilometres run to the end of March

741 –  £ in sponsorship received

846 – £ in sponsorship received with tax aid

1470 – the kilometres still to run

2018 – the target kilometres for the year and the money raised for Alzheimer’s Research

∞ Infinity and Beyond – the support from Mr JCR for me doing this

and finally, the immeasurable goodwill messages, support, encouragement and general cheering on from all friends and family based here, Holland, Italy, C25Kland, Facebook, USA, New Zealand





19 Mar – Planning vs. Reality

In my head I was running 18km today. In my stomach were the dregs of yesterday’s commute from London to Granada. Namely, red wine, gin and tonic, and a late night gin fizz cocktail, from an un-named bar, where collectively Mr JCR, our friends N&A, and me raised the average age from about 25 to around 60.

In this bar, we also reduced the average tattoo and piercing count, and noticed that most of the punters started paying their bills when we arrived. Clearly we were not their normal clientele. But it was very friendly including the wolf dog on a steel and leather lead – a bit like the circus poster…

I was out at 8.30 am to do the 18km, I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to happen when my first km split was over 8 minutes. Maybe the post dinner gin fizz wasn’t the best prep?

In the distance I could see a couple of runners, so I thought it might be a good idea to follow them. I have no idea if they were warming or cooling down or doing some weird shit exercise routine, but every 10/15 paces they stopped to lunge and stretch various body parts. I do my stretching in the privacy of my own home, no one needs to see my lycra groaning, nor me for that matter. I overtook them and continued to see the world famous sights and sites of Granada. Bus station, Repsol petrol station, Lidl, road closure, primary school, tram lanes.

A quick detour back to the Airbnb to divest hat, gloves and running jacket and I was on my way. Tragically, not to the 18km though. I just wasn’t feeling quite right, coupled with the fact that I seemed to have run most of Granada – bar the hill and that famous palace.

Tomorrow is tourist stuff, visiting the Alhambra and so on. The weather is supposed to be turning a little more beastly, so today with fairly mild weather to take advantage of, we enjoyed very nice free tapas which is a thing in Granada, an interesting afternoon lunch/drink and  lovely evening meal. The red wine Munana is delicious and La Tana wine bar particularly grand.

This may not be the best preparation for serious running, but it’s a lot of fun.


Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex and His Sex-O-Lettes

Girls on Film – Duran Duran

Hungry Like The Wolf – Ditto

New Moon On Monday – Ditto

Notorious – Ditto

Planet Earth – Ditto

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Gold – Spandau Ballet

House Of Fun – Madness

Night Boat To Cairo – Ditto

Our House – Ditto

I Am The Law – Human League

I Can’t Stand Up – Elvis Costello

Oliver’s Army – Ditto

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

Is Vic There? – Department S

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Joan of Arc – OMD

Maid of Orleans – Ditto

The Look Of Love – ABC

Love’s Unkind -Donna Summer

New Life – Dépêche Mode

People are People – Ditto

Personal Jesus – Ditto

Night Fever – Bee Gees

No More I Love Yous – The Lover Speaks

Doesnt Make It Alright – Stiff Little Fingers

Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Temptation – Heaven 17

Every Day I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

I Predict A Riot – Ditto

Modern Way – Ditto

Na Na Na Na Naa – Ditto

China Girl – David Bowie


Distance 12.71 km

Time 1:38:19

Average Pace 7:44 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 106 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms done 467.6

Kms to do 1550.4







The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Eleven

Is This The Migraine Trigger – I Do Hope Not

30 December – 4th Day of Twixtmas

On the eleventh Day of Christmas

We are here in Italy

Eleven pages of planning docs

Ten hours of sleeping

Nine o’clock, our friends left

Eight Dutchmen drinking

Seven laughs a minute

Six Fano Views taken

Five courses eaten

Four stockings readied

Three lots of shopping

Two people cleaning

And the house was only one degree


We have our geometra visiting this morning. He is an architect, cum quantity surveyor, cum lawyer, cum planning permission specialist. We want a garage, this is an epic story. For various umpteen reasons quite specific to Italy, this is not an easy thing. We are now four years into trying to get permission for a garage.

We have committed ‘abusi’ – we have abused the planning system apparently, by having restored a house where the walls are not straight – could be because it is 300 years old maybe? In addition downstairs is 10cm too low and upstairs is 15cm too high. This seems to be a cardinal sin, mainly because historically Italians have seemingly ignored planning restrictions. If our house is more than 2% out on the lodged plans, the Comune can enforce fines, higher taxes and if they wanted to be particularly awkward, insist on us removing the offending extra space. All of this is important because the garage we want is predicated on volume, and we have to know exactly what volume the house is. We now know that when our ‘variation’ to plan was submitted to the Comune and we signed it, that we should actually have measured the height of the house inside and out, everywhere basically.

So far we have had 3 sets of measurements done, taking about six hours in total and it is possible the Comune will ask for more to be done, because our geometra thinks our variance is marginal. Ho hum. Today’s run is scheduled for after the geometra has been – that was pre-migraine.

Another day, another unexplained migraine, where my head is being strangled by a steel band – this lasts despite copious but legal amounts of ibuprofen. Some eight hours after getting up, I still have the thumping and I can’t run when it thumps, as it hurts. Okay what do we do about migraines? – identify triggers – red wine, alcohol generally, chocolate, dairy. Yup I’ve been eating those in abundance over these last few days.

Having decided my kilometre target for 2018, being 2018 km from now until the end of next year, I have to go out tomorrow. So today, cut down on the dairy, avoid the chocolate mountain, and take it easy on the vino. Tomorrow I run, come hell or high water or a headache, the countdown has begun.



The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Ten

29 December – 3rd day of Twixtmas

On the tenth Day of Christmas

We are here in Italy

Ten hours of sleeping

Nine o’clock, our friends left

Eight Dutchmen drinking

Seven laughs a minute

Six Fano Views taken

Five courses eaten

Four stockings readied

Three lots of shopping

Two people cleaning

And the house was only one degree

The house is strangely empty of friends and laughter, we slowly return to a slower, quieter life and get the house tidy and clean, for we are returning back to London soon, and we don’t want to risk another bluebottle infestation!

Routine shopping and a quiet day in, as the weather has been unpredictable – each time it looks as though it is going to improve, the clouds and wind roll by, and it gets freezing cold again. An utterly inactive, lazy day. By now I have finished Jo Pavey’s book and am on Vassos’s – now this is such more my thing.

Except he does ultra running and marathons, and Iron Men challenges, not my kind of fun at all. But my first skim read tells me this is going to be much more my cup of tea. Thank goodness JCR, I thought your running mojo had taken a tumble. So I read his book, which is nicely divided into 26.2 stories about his running and has contributions from other famous runners – including Jo Pavey. In fact I find her contribution to his book, more interesting than her book…

I think I have decided on my running challenge for Alzheimers – and I am committing to it here. By the end of 2018, I will have run 2018 kilometres as a minimum. That means I better get out there then. I have just two days of allowable inactivity to go….



The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Nine


BackToBasics 28Dec
Back To Basics!

28 December – 2nd Day of Twixtmas

On the Ninth Day of Christmas

We are here in Italy

Nine o’clock, our friends left

Eight Dutchmen drinking

Seven laughs a minute

Six Fano Views taken

Five courses eaten

Four stockings readied

Three lots of shopping

Two people cleaning

And the house was only one degree

We say goodbye to G&J after five days of non-stop giggling, eating, drinking and having fun. It’s been a blast and now they are going home for New Year with family, and we are going home back to bed….

We set the alarm to make sure we are up before the maintenance guy is coming round to finish off a job.

So what happens today? – pretty much nothing. The weather is awful, cold and wet and windy. We stay at home, and have fridge surprise for dinner. An early night to  regroup and get back to a normal non indulgent routine…

Still no running, but I am reading Jo Pavey’s book for inspiration. It has to be said it’s not really working, I don’t like the writing style… the story in itself is one of someone who held onto a dream and despite many setbacks, kept on coming back to have another bite of the running cherry. What’s not to like – setbacks and glory they are a standard novel outline. Except it’s not a novel, it’s real-life and yet I find there’s something missing.

Mr JCR asks me if I like the book and I am honest and tell him no, I will re-read it, that often helps, but she is not inspiring me to get my kit on. Although the weather has been rough and I’ve had a few migraines type headaches.

I busy myself with looking up virtual run challenges for Alzheimers again, to get me back in the swing. This is not my best effort at all – I just can’t find much on Dr Google. I now think I am going to change the challenge – rather than try and find a number of virtual and real runs, I think it is better to give myself a running kilometre challenge for 2018 instead and use that as a fund raising idea.

I just have to work out a stretching target and set up a fundraising page to get this done. 20km a week doesn’t seem enough that’s just 4 x 5km runs a week. JCR you need to up your game. The thing I need to know is can I?

The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Eight

AnotherDayAnotherMeal27 December – First Day of Twixtmas

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

We are here in Italy

Eight Dutchmen drinking

Seven laughs a minute

Six Fano Views taken

Five courses eaten

Four stockings readied

Three lots of shopping

Two people cleaning

And the house was only one degree

Today we are four friends on a mission, we have to go to the local winery to stock up with our friends. they have carefully worked out the van capacity and think 16 cases will do it!

We have quite a day ahead of us, winery visit, lunch, afternoon drinks with some nearby old neighbours and a meal out with M&G at a new trendy fish restaurant.

The winery visit goes off without a hitch, they don’t have the acacia honey we like, but everything else ticked off the list. Lunch – done, coffee done – now it’s time for an aperitivo at some old neighbours of J&G.

J&G used to have a house nearby and sold it this summer. Their old neighbours have invited the four of us and the new purchasers of J&G’s house for drinks at their house in Mombaroccio. What a lovely afternoon it was, seated around a comfortable big old farmhouse table in a roasty, toasty kitchen. We were treated to a tour of the house which has been restored magnificently, with immaculate taste – it felt like a boutique hotel, but had the warmth of a true family home. We were in the minority surrounded by tall Dutch people (well as a little one, I was in the minority height wise), but needless to say their language expertise put us to shame – even the young children can speak English well.

Somewhat reluctantly we tore ourselves away to go out to dinner in Fano in the new restaurant ‘Al Mare’. we were fortunate to secure a parking space close to the entrance, but noted wryly that although disabled access was okay, there were still some bumps and lumps to navigate. We had a fabulous last night meal with J&G, and retired home sated and happy after another contretemps over parking, when someone ‘helpfully’ had parked so that G’s wheel chair couldn’t get to the side entrance of the van.

Another day of no running – JCR get a grip!


The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Seven


Boxing Day

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

We are here in Italy

Seven laughs a minute

Six Fano Views taken

Five courses eaten

Four stockings readied

Three lots of shopping

Two people cleaning

And the house was only one degree


Today is Boxing Day and another late start for the JCR family and friends. This is becoming quite a habit… 🙂

Another late breakfast/brunch, a bit of mooching around and then our good friends M&G join us for the shit-present gifting session. The deal is this:

Each couple gift the other either a joint or individual gift, which must cost as little as possible – we have a £10 or €10 limit and make us laugh. It has to be rubbish and serve no useful purpose whatsoever.

M&G, G&J and the JCRs swap presents. I get a pair of mittens on a string, baby-sized as I always complain about running and having nowhere to keep my gloves…. Mr JCR gets a Star Wars light sabre to help him be visible and fight off thugs when cycling in London. M&G get a Mummy Christmas tacky outfit and a tinkly sweater. Mr JCR then  gets a bum bag, flesh coloured with hairs painted on it and a hairy belly button , for when he cycles with his club the Pansers (play on the word stomach) – this is perfectly revolting. I get a face exercising sets of lips – think plastic Lesley Ash type to insert and use as a face exerciser. J&G then get a basket of awful items which have stupid meaningless brand descriptions – this harks back to a famous whisky they had called ‘Old and Rare’ . Their goodies basket included such wonderful items as ‘Crock and Soft’ ‘Chip and Gadget’ ‘Long and Shine’. M&G then receive a full set of Santa themed Christmas toilet set covers, including a home made bucket toilet and chocolate poo. We laughed for ages and M&G’s children were generally horrified at all the presents. Job done – what a hoot.

Dinner is cottage pie and veggies and it is quite nice to be eating ‘normal’ food again, after all Christmas’s excesses.

I flip through my two running books and decide Jo Pavey comes first – after all she is an Olympian and an older lady who runs – yes not as old as me but still…

Oh yes, JCR when exactly are you going for a run?



The Twelve Days Of Christmas – Day Six


Christmas Day

On the Sixth Day of Christmas

We are here in Italy

Six Fano Views taken

Five courses eaten

Four stockings readied

Three lots of shopping

Two people cleaning

And the house was only one degree

We did have aspirations of getting up early to enjoy a walk by The Adriatic with our friends G and J. G has this fantastic Segway wheelchair, which has a gyro for balance and he can move around by tilting his body forward and back and the wheelchair has an amazing top speed, which he delights in showing off at every available opportunity.

So whilst we were a little later out for our walk, the sun was shining. Miraculously we got a car parking space near to the harbour, even more miraculously it was the Disabled Space – which to be honest is usually filled with either an ‘able bodied’ car or worse rubbish bins.

We wheeled and walked our way towards the harbour point, out along the pier past the fishing huts and to the mini lighthouse point, and its commemorative statue to the those lost at sea. Lots of stupid selfies later, we wheeled and walked towards the Pesaro end of Fano, over the new canal bridge and towards the now closed restaurants. The Segway gets lots of admiring looks, as G pirouettes on the spot and zooms up and down ramps. He goes out on a recce to have a look at an area we haven’t seen before and reports that now he has seen it, there is no point in us looking at it, as it was rubbish. The sun is setting, and here it happens quite fast, so we make our way to the Cafe al Porto – a Fano tradition. In about 30 minutes it has gone from closed to full, with Fanese families who had completed their post Christmas walk, we see kids playing on their new hover boards, taking tentative rolls forward. No such tentative rolling on G’s part – he bombs forward on his Segway and we sequester a table.

We have the rather boozy local coffee cum liqueur drink called Moretta and howl with laughter as one man tries to leave the welcoming, warm bar, but his dog refuses point blank to play ball. The dog is sitting down, bum firmly planted and his front paws are dug into the floor. I don’t know what breed he was, but a kind of St Bernard type. The whole bar is fixated on the unfortunate man trying to haul his dog’s ass out to the cold. Eventually he managed it, but with the aid of a lady dog outside…

We make our way back to the van and load up to go home. A small contretemps with a lady trying to get into our space, before we’d actually vacated it and we were on our way, towards a very long Christmas dinner and pressies.

Pressies opened – lucky, lucky,  JCR two books on running – Jo Pavey and Vassos Alexander, and one session for a sports massage. So better haul my ass out there then and do some running!

Not on Christmas Day though…



Retro Runners – Colours Playlist


As we near the end of 2017, I have created another playlist on Spotify.

This is in honour of RunningRaspberryDiva and Cornet-Carolyn on Health Unlocked C25K. It is called Retro Runners Raspberry Cornet.

Running Raspberry Diva because she changed her name after I described the Runner’s Colours found on Dulux’s Colour Chart.

And Cornet-Carolyn, because she has spanned more or less every red/pink/magenta known to man in her running quest.

The list is all of these fab colour oriented songs:-

The Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes – Elvis Costello and The Attractions

Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Blue Monday ’88 – New Order

Golden Brown – The Stranglers

Golden Years – David Bowie

Raspberry Beret – His Purple Highness

Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis

White Wedding – Billy Idol

Cream – His Purple Highness

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse

Being Beige – Smashing Pumpkins

Brown Sugar – D’Angelo

Forever in Blue Jeans – Neil Diamond

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

Yellow River – Christie

Green Eyes – Coldplay

Green Garden – Laura Mvula

Grey Day – Madness

Lavender – Marillion

Little Red Corvette – His Purple Highness

Misty Blue – Dorothy Moore

Mr Blue Sky – ELO

My White Bicycle – Nazareth

Pretty in Pink – The Psychedelic Furs

Pretty Fly For a White Guy – The Offspring

99 Red Balloons – Nena

True Colors – Cyndi Lauper

Ruby – Kaiser Chiefs

Suicide Blonde – INXS

White Riot – The Clash

Yellow Pearl – Phil Lynott and Midge Ure

Fade to Grey – Visage


The Spotify Pic takes you to the list. I hope you enjoy it.



The Twelve Days of Christmas – Day Two

21 December

On the Second Day of Christmas

We are here in Italy

Two people cleaning

And the house was only one degree

The problem with closing up a house is that you never quite know what you will find when you open it back up again. We are in rural terrain and have come home to many ‘visitors’ –  last March – burglars, previous years have included dead lizards, moths and the smelly bugs which emit a foul smell when you touch them.

This year, bluebottles had taken nest in our front bedroom windows, we had wondered why our bedroom was littered with dead bodies, and wow we found out when opening the windows and shutters. Cue emergency vacuuming and generous use of the flykiller. All of which would be fine, but we are in an organic farming area and I’m not entirely sure how much damage a flykiller spray does to our ‘organic’ credentials.

Further time spent with Dr Google looking up ‘real runs’ rather than virtual runs for Alzheimers – this is a tad more difficult than I imagined, as I have to allow for the fact that I am in Italy for most of the year and so these runs aren’t quite so numerous here in my Region. Possibly it is time for a re-think on my plan and activity. One helpful person has suggested Running Down Dementia via the Park Run efforts – so that is worth me checking out.

So far I’ve done lots of research, but no actual running or signing up. Mmm JCR – you could do better.