28 Nov – Friends, Fish and Fantasy

Just occasionally our Italian and London lives coincide, or collide may be a better description, and so it was today. Rewind about a month ago and local Italian friends said they may be coming to London. Stay with us we said, it’ll be a bit tight, it’s only a 2 bed apartment, but we can manage. The only thing is please don’t book the week of the 26th November as we already have friends staying….

Monday morning, WhatsApp starts going a bit crazy ‘hello, we arrived yesterday, we are in Regent Street’. Okay so we don’t have to provide accommodation, but similarly we do have a schedule with our British friends who are arriving that afternoon – booked about 6 months in advance. This is the collision point – Brits organised, Italians a little less so. Our very good friends N&A very graciously, were relaxed at the thought of us leaving them for a couple of hours so we could meet up with our Italian friends for an impromptu breakfast yesterday.

I still wanted to get in a run, so suggested to Mr JCR that I’d wear my running gear for breakfast and run back home afterwards, and do some shopping en route. My usual fish shop challenge. Breakfast just around the corner from the British Museum was fab and it was nice to see G and family, whilst they were here. Then Mr JCR and I parted company. I ran towards Islington and the famous fish shop – well famous in my London running life. I was wearing my super smooth Lululemon running top with kangaroo pouch pocket, perfectly designed for carrying fish. At the shop – half way through my run, I chose the fish with care – a huge bass and two crabs. 

Then followed the dance of the fish pouching. And I had a choice the crabs could be carried in my pouch, or the bass. Just not both. Clearly to paraphrase from Jaws, I needed a bigger pouch. Okay, I’ve run before carrying a baguette, how hard can it be running with crabs in my pouch and a big bass in my hand?

First of all, the crabs despite being cooked crab, had a momentum all of their own, there was a veritable rock pool sloshing around my middle. Okay the waves of crustaceans could be calmed down by me putting my left hand in my pouch to hold them down. Think Napoleon, only female, not French, nor wearing a silly hat. It’s not a great running style with one hand jammed in your pouch holding down Crabby Crab and his mate Crabby McCrabface.

I haven’t forgotten Billy Bass, now he was a beauty and made for 4 people, which meant he was shorter than your average baguette, but about 3 times as heavy. Billy had to be carried in my non crab-calming hand. And there’s another difference between a baguette and Billy. Baguettes are firm and don’t ripple. Billy on the other hand was a combination of perfectly undulating pescatarian muscle. Yup and that means he was equally at home rippling through the air, as he would have been in the ocean. So picture the scene, one hand jammed holding down two crabs in my pouch, in my right hand a Billy bass metronome was flipping and flopping all the way home. Of course I kept on losing my grip with Billy, so I did some hand swapping – right hands holding the crabs and left hand holding Billy. In all the faff, I totally failed to look for Bev’s mojo, although I am certain she probably wasn’t anywhere near my pouch…

I got home, de-crabbed my pouch and placed a rather battered Billy Bass in the fridge. The run was short today – just over 5km, but truthfully being a mobile fish runner is quite hard and I’m not sure it was awfully helpful either to my running or to our dinner later on.

A quick lunch and we whizzed to the theatre to see A Very Very Very Dark Matter – a modern dark parable about colonialism and its effects. This has certainly polarised the critics and the line I did love was Catherine Dickens saying to her husband in a posh voice ‘You’re shitting me’. It was a fantasy performance and very odd, I’m still not sure if I liked it or rated it, but I did enjoy parts of it. And that was exactly like my run, I started off enjoying it, and it got very odd when I was fish pouching/crab managing and bass dancing. It was a complete distraction from the norm, so much so I know I listened to a playlist, and I know it was the Best Covers playlist, but I have no recollection of any of the tracks.

Stats

Distance 5.29km

Time 36:54 including fish and crab handling

Average Pace 6.55

Elevation Gain 34 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1909.73

Kms To Run 108.27

25 Nov – A Tale of Two Drivers

Loving the bling 

Strictly speaking it should be a tale of three drivers. The first driver being my need to make up for yesterday’s laziness and actually get over the 1900km mark on today’s run.

Bad news was a migraine  haze flickering in my right eye, good news was the combination of some nuclear grade tablets, a mug of tea and an hour later, it had gone. And an hour later so had I, out of the door into the City and heading towards Trafalgar Square, which for some reason seems to be a favourite run of mine at the moment. 

Fleet Street was virtually empty and really easy to run down, no breeze today and clear pavements – bliss. I was in a nice stride and heading towards the Strand when driver number two came to my attention.

A guy in front of me was doing the mobile phone zombie walking thing – looking down at his phone and he stepped out into the road without looking. The Tesco delivery driver slammed on his brakes and instead of hurling abuse at the pedestrian, smiled and gestured for the guy to continue crossing. The pedestrian looked a bit embarrassed and put his hand up, then the driver indicated that I should cross too. What a nice chap. A pleasant delivery driver in London, who would have thought that was possible?

I was thinking how nice that was and up I came to the next junction controlled by traffic lights. It was on green – a number of us started to cross, then a Black Mercedes S Class was being driven around the corner over the crossing. I looked at the driver and indicated the lights were green for us and he mouthed back ‘No, they’re red’ and continued driving. What an arse he was. Now I wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a photo of the car.

I admit London is confusing at junctions, but it’s a Sunday, and (even in London prior to Christmas) the traffic was quite light, therefore no excuse. I wish a plague of diarrhoea on him over the festive season, so he gets caught short in that nice Mercedes of his.

Now that my runner’s cursing was complete, I made my way to Trafalgar Square, where the street artists were doing their thing. The two guys who chalk on flags of the world, Yoda again with his faded green tunic, and this time no man sitting on his shovel, but a gold devil masked man sitting casually. I’m not entirely sure how many people would actually pay to have pictures with him, as he looks quite sinister. Bombing past I made my way up the Mall, hooked a right to Northumberland Avenue and made my way home, via the nice blingy Christmas tree at St James.  This was about 6.5kms in, and now the pedestrian numbers were increasing. Spectators were gathering for the Changing of The Guard ceremony, and my pace slowed to a crawl, trying to get past people.

I came the way I started via the Strand, Fleet Street and St Pauls – no sign of Bev’s mojo today, but I do think she may have stopped via St James and taken heart at the blingy tree.

Today it was a nice cool 11kms, and I’ve just ticked over the 1900kms mark. Next milestone is the 1918 mark, so I’m on the 100 and fewer track. Can’t wait and I have a new pair of trainers on the way, so that will give me an even bigger bounce in my step.

Playlist

Tainted Love – Marilyn Manson

Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart – Almond and Pitney

Girls Just Want To Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

All Along The Watchtower – Afterhere

Hurt – Johnny Cash

I Fought The Law – The Clash

Motorhead – Motorhead

Personal Jesus – Marilyn Manson

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This – ditto

Kids In America – Lawnmower Deth

Feed My Frankenstein – Alice Cooper

Bring Your Daughter… – Iron Maiden

The Lion Sleeps Tonight – Tight Fit

Ever Fallen In Love – FYC

War – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

San Jose – ditto

You’re So Vain – Marilyn Manson

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie and The Banshees

Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards

I Drove All Night – Cyndi Lauper

Small-town Boy – Bronski Beat

Cats In The Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Aint Necessarily So – Bronski Beat

The Sound of Silence – Disturbed

Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm

Come Together – Michael Jackson

Money – The Flying Lizards

Born To Run – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Feeling Good – Muse

I Feel Love – Bronski Beat

Halo – Harper Blynn

Stats

Distance 11.04km

Time 1:13:24

Average Pace 6:38

Elevation Gain 55 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1904.44 – over the 1900 mark!

Kms To Run 113.56

23 Nov – Here Is The News

Voice Over:-And here we are live from BBC Broadcasting House, Central London with Kamal Ahmed, BBC News.

Kamal Ahmed: I’m standing in the courtyard at Broadcasting House in The West End of London, with my guest Jan CanRun. Tell me Jan, CanRun is an unusual surname, where does it come from?

JCR: My imagination.

KA: Ah, and for our audience not familiar with your imagination what does it signify?

JCR: The fact that I can run…

KA: Yes I see. And why are you here today?

JCR: I’m actually on a running mission.

KA: Would you please explain your mission and tell us why you are here at Broadcasting House, specifically?

JCR: Certainly Kamal, I am running to raise £2018 for Alzheimer’s Research, by running 2018kms in 2018. And as part of my year of running, I give myself or take on mini-challenges to keep it interesting and today’s is to help find a friend’s lost mo-jo.

KA: Pardon? 

JCR: Her mojo to run appears to have gone missing for the past couple of weeks and she is desperate to find it. It can normally be found in Yorkshire, I believe is purple and likes shiny, sparkly things. I am here to raise awareness and ask the public’s help to find it. Research tells us that an unfound mojo can suffer from feelings of low self esteem and poor body image. I’ve run to Broadcasting House to ask you to launch the national campaign to find the mojo.

KA: Where was the mojo last seen?

JCR: Yorkshire for certain, but this mojo does like the bright lights of the City, so it’s possible she is hiding anywhere from Leeds to London.

KA: I see and how do we approach the mojo if seen? What do the professionals recommend?

JCR: Fortunately Kamal, the mojo is friendly and unlikely to cause a scene. The advice we have from the mojo support group ‘Mojos a go-go’ is to take it gently by the hand, offer it a cup of Yorkshire tea with a slice of parkin, and all will be well. Mojos are bred to be homing mojos and always return home, especially if well fed and watered.

KA: Good advice there from the professionals, is there anything else you’d like to add for the benefit of our viewers?

JCR: Just that mojos are frail creatures and can be sent off course by bad weather especially in these cold hard winter months. And whilst today we are looking for one mojo in particular, anybody can lose their mojo and not just for running. But again to all members of the public, if you see a weeping purple mojo, please text Mojo Found to 12345, and we can reunite the mojo with her owner.

KA: Thanks very much JanCanRun, and now back to the news. Theresa May is at a press conference in Downing Street talking about Brexit again…

Summary – a 12km run done, no mojos to be found, but there weren’t many bright lights to be seen on a murky day in London with a fruit based phone that decided to lose all battery power in one hour at the 10km stage. But I am confident the impromptu news appearance at Broadcasting House will pay off.

Playlist

Best Covers Ever….

Kiss – Art of Noise and Tom Jones

Tainted Love –  Soft Cell & Marilyn Manson’s Version

Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart – Almond and Pitney

Good Year For The Roses – Elvis Costello and The Attractions

All Along The Watchtower -Jimi Hendrix and Afterhere Versions

Hurt – Johnny Cash

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Marilyn Manson

Whiskey In The Jar – Thin Lizzy

Kids in America – Foo Fighters and Lawnmower Deth

Twist and Shout – The Beatles

Welcome To The Jungle – Richard Cheese

Amish Paradise – Weird Al Yankovic

911 is a Joke – Duran Duran

Venus – Bananarama

Echo Beach – Toyah

Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards

China Girl – David Bowie

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads

Live and Let Die – Guns ’n’ Roses

Mrs Robinson – The Lemonheads

Battleship Chains – Volbeat

Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm

My Prerogative – Britney Spears

Halo – Harper Blynn

Stats

Distance 12.33km

Time 1:32:00

Average Pace 7:27

Elevation Gain 47 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1893.40 – tomorrow I hope to break the 1900km barrier!

Kms To Run 124.60

21 Nov – Superheroes

Maybe a mojo visited here, it’s pretty enough…

Yesterday I was a wimp, I could have gone for a run, but looked at the very wet rain and the very windy wind and decided I was going to be a very wimpy wimp.

Today wimpdom is not on the cards. I have a run to do, not a big one, but I mustn’t get into the habit of wimping out on a run, not when the prize of 2018km is within touching distance.

Mr JCR was off out to his Italian lesson, I was teaching myself duvet management – basically snuggling down and imagining the run will do itself. After an hour of duvet management, it didn’t seem as though the run was happening, so I put on my trainers and got out in the wintery sun of London.

It had to be a shortish run as we were visiting The Alzheimer’s Research facility at UCL London, to get an update on their research programme. I managed a mini-loop of just over 7kms, through the City and up towards Holborn. The challenge was to run some virtual kms for my running mentor Ju-Ju who is still crocked and whilst doing that see if I could find my running mate’s missing mojo. Adding in the fact that I needed to buy some food too, this was an all-singing and all-dancing, multi-tasking run.

The superhero element didn’t occur in my run, in fact today’s was just a run, I clocked up the kms, bought the food, but didn’t find any sign of a mojo. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad though. The superhero bit came later. We assembled at UCL in Gower Street and met with the scientists headed up by Dr Paul Whiting. There we learnt about the progress being made to date and their plans for the future. It was fascinating, encouraging and depressing all at the same time.

In summary, they are ‘copying’ the Cancer Research UK’s model of ‘Centres of Research Excellence’. Given the pharma industry have been pulling back in this area of research, they are focussing on the front end of the research piece, trying to identify suitable areas of focus, including but not limited to synapse messaging protection/mending. (There was lots of other stuff, but frankly my science and memory recall are both far too poor to adequately describe their magic here!) 

Paul mentioned that in his opinion, finding a cure is probably not possible but delaying the onset and effects, probably is. This is where the depressing bit came in, realistically we are looking at maybe 50 years. And that is with all of today’s great supercomputing powers, and the fantastically able students and scientists working on this thorny problem. In the lab tour, we saw some of their kit, 3-D modelling at the nano level as one example. They are focussing on creating new molecules, which will form critical parts of the drugs. These can then be patented and future revenues poured back into the research. They run with a lot of serious equipment that costs many thousands of pounds – and who knew there was an eBay for scientists?

My big takeout is that these scientists are absolute superheroes, they have brains I can’t even imagine and are focussing them on helping to cure one of society’s biggest threats to our ageing population.  But 50 years…., that means for the majority of the lab team working there, that a ‘cure’ probably won’t be around for them, if any are so unlucky as to get Alzheimer’s  or similar related conditions.

I am determined however to end this post on a high –  we met other invitees who have donated to Alzheimer’s, run dementia workshops etc., and there is a great sense of determination from the research teams. I started the day as a wimp under the duvet, avoiding the weather but then met some superheroes, real-life superheroes who are not wimping out on one of life’s toughest challenges. They have the brains, and I can bring the brawn into my running, to help raise as much cash as possible. On that note, a big vote of thanks to our friend M who has very generously added to the sponsorship pot today. It really brings it home, having seen the research.

And to my running mate (mojoless)  – after the tour we made our way back home and these two lovely places were en route pic above and below. I have a feeling the mojo may well have passed this way…

Playlist

Breakfast In America – Supertramp

Belfast Child – Simple Minds

Going Down To Liverpool – The Bangles

Black Eyed Boy – Texas

Grease – Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Africa – Toto

New York Minute – Don Henley

San Francisco – Scott MacKenzie

Xanadu – Olivia Newton John

Downtown – Petula Clark

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Vienna – Ultravox

Romeo and Juliet – Dire Straits

Lost In France – Bonnie Tyler

Stats

Distance7.30km

Time 50:38

Average Pace 6:56

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1881.07

Kms To Run 136.93

19 Nov – Wake Me Up Before A MoJo

Still on the hunt for this missing mojo. After a very restful and indulgent Sunday with our friends M, I and E, together with P, L J and their newest family member J2, I did wonder whether I’d be able to go out as I’ve learnt to my cost that hangover running is never to be recommended.

But great joy, no hangover, even though I indulged in bubbles, white and red wine yesterday. With this astoundingly good news I set out on the look for this mojo, which is remaining out of sight for my running mate in Yorkshire.

I decided that I’d do City running, but changed my mind and veered towards South Bank. The wobbly bridge was a bit scary, wet trainers on a wet metal bridge didn’t make me that stable, so I decided to hang onto the outside edge. South Bank on a cold wet Monday morning was quite a joy, mainly because not so many tourists are out and about and you can run without ninja dodging exploits. I arrived at the South Bank fake German market, which is a bit tragic in my opinion. Mainly fast food and although they had twinkly lights, I wasn’t convinced that a mojo would hang out there. Too cold, too wet and just nowhere near jolly enough.

Obviously, I had to continue and then the very cold rain and wind arrived – it was just on the 5km mark and I was sorely tempted to give in and go home. I took shelter in an underpass to avoid the rain, it wasn’t that pleasant and stank of a well known human substance. No mojo worth her salt would stay there, so on I trotted, past Westminster bridge and onto Lambeth.

I had to loop back at this point, because I was getting cool, past Parliament Square and the media circus, presumably waiting for another ‘no-news’ up date on Brexit. There were anti-Brexit protesters waving EU flags around – this is when I needed ninja manoeuvres. Random swinging of your flag is quite problematical for a middle aged runner hunting a mojo, to avoid. I didn’t think the mojo would be there, with the nasty weather she’d be searching for a giggle, or maybe something pretty to lighten the mood. Where could I go, that the mojo may have visited? Then inspiration struck, along Fleet Street is the publisher for the Beano comic, including the Dennis the Menace Fan Club, (just in case anyone fancies joining up). There I saw the picture of Plug – he made me smile on a cold, wet day. Maybe our missing mojo, had a smile before she continued  on her journey back to Yorkshire. I have a feeling she may have had enough of the sights of London, but I can’t tell for sure , the mojo owner has to keep me informed…

I used the Country and Places playlist, to give me some ‘mojo finding’ inspiration, but my runs are going to be very long if she’s hanging out in any of the following destinations

Playlist

Une Nuit A Paris – 10cc

Amarillo – Tony Christie

London Calling – The Clash

Maid of Orleans – OMD

Strawberry Fields Forever -The Beatles

Penny Lane -The Beatles

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry  (this lasted one km, as Spotify was being tetchy)

Boston Tea Party – SAHB

Massachussetts – Bee Gees (another long playing one about one km and a half)

California Dreamin’  – Mamas and Papas

Big In Japan – Alphaville

Wonderful World – Sam Cooke

Streets of Philadelphia – The Boss

Midnight Train To Georgia – Gladys Knight and The Pips

Stats

Distance 11. 10

Time 1:16:53

Average Pace 6:55

Elevation Gain 91metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1873.77

Kms To Run 144.23

17 Nov – Soldiering On

I didn’t actually have to soldier on at all, it was a glorious short run out. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and my runnerchondria hip wasn’t aching. Perfect conditions for a Saturday pootle. 

So I pootled, through Clerkenwell to Holborn and the arse end of Oxford Street and back again via Hatton Garden.  Short, sweet and satisfying.

Playlist

Mrs T’s playlist – Time and Distance

7 Seconds – Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry

Have A Nice Day – Stereophonics

Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day

What About Us -The Saturdays

Night Fever – Bee Gees

Hazy Shade of Winter -The Bangles

Right Here, Right Now – High Street Musical Cast

1999 – His Purple Highness

Disco 2000 – Pulp

Sunday Girl – Blondie

8 Mile Soundtrack – Eminem

Step On – Happy Mondays

I Don’t Like Mondays -The Boomtown Rats

Rise -Thea Gilmore

Sunday Morning – Velvet Underground

Stats

Distance 7.41km

Time 51:40

Average Pace 6:58

Elevation Gain 26 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1862.67

Kms To Run 155.33

16 Nov – Mojo Safari

 

Today I went mojo hunting for my running mate who has lost hers. I didn’t find it in Islington yesterday, but I’m not sure the fish shop was ever a likely location.  This morning however, the stars were aligned, I was wombling my way towards Trafalgar Square and running along Fleet Street, when I saw Shoe Lane – if ever there was a place for a running mojo to be hiding, I am guessing it could be here. And then of course I was actually on Fleet Street – another hint perhaps as to the whereabouts of the missing mojo.

I continued on to the Strand, where even though it was morning the Christmas lights were twinkling away merrily. This particular mojo is purple I believe and likes sparkly things so of course I had to stay with it and I was only about 3.5kms into my run.

I was convinced the mojo may have visited Trafalgar Square, thinking that a bit of Nelson’s courage may have rubbed off and she would have decided to go back to Yorkshire. Despite some impressive lions, Nelson himself, there was a Yoda, a man sitting on a spade and ‘Death’ with his scythe – the last three were hardly good luck portents, and frankly pretty rubbish frozen statues. No sign of a mojo here, we need something a little more in keeping.

And so it was, I ended up in Covent Garden, a humungous Christmas tree outside, twinkly lights on the inside and the most glorious mistletoe and baubles hanging from the ceiling. This definitely felt like the place a mojo would visit, then I saw some mojo confetti lying around. She’d left a trail obviously. Without further ado I picked up some of the confetti and sent it back to Yorkshire, because I think the mojo might be missing it.

The street artist outside Covent Garden was telling everyone they were having a good time and I was. I enjoy looking for mojos, even though when mine goes awol, it seems a lot harder to find.

Dear running mate, when your parcel of mojo dust arrives, I am sure your mojo won’t be that far behind.

Playlist

The numbers playlist

Lucky Number – Lena Lovich

5705 – City Boy

One Day Like This – Elbow

One More Time – Daft Punk

Five Years – David Bowie

She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5

Nine To Five – Sheena Easton

Perfect 10 – The Beautiful South

10 Lovers – The Black Keys

Swords Of A Thousand Men – Tenpole Tudor

People in Love – 10cc

The Eleven Rap – Dark Punk

21 Seconds – So Solid Crew

Thirteen Sad Farewells – Stu Larsson

Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods – Beck

Fifteen – Taylor Swift

Edge of Seventeen (twice) – Stevie Nicks

19 – Paul Hardcastle

21 Guns – Green Day

I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles – The Proclaimers

When I’m 64 – The Beatles

Disco 2000 – Pulp

80s Joint – Kelis

Love Shack – B52s

96 Tears – ? And The Mysterons

Stats

Distance 10.01km

Time 1:15:30

Average Pace 7:32

Elevation Gain 53 metres

Mojo – dust found and sent back home

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Run 1855.26

Kms To Run 162.74