The Saga of Cat Brown 7: Cat Borstal

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The view from my room at sunrise. I KNOW!

Weeks without a mention of running – not a whisper, not a complaint, nothing.

No, I haven’t dropped out of the Marathon and yes! The banging on about running will continue ALMOST IMMINENTLY! But really it’s because, for the last fortnight, I have been in Thailand with my family. As holidays go, it was a good one. Chat, horrible jokes, gin and tonics, games of Snatch It and Bananagrams, new places (for me, at least) to eat and watch the sun set, and the inestimable luxury of stepping outside and it feeling as though you were stepping into a warm bath, only without the humidity.

I read more books than I have in ages, stuffed myself with everything, and got to spend time with my brother and his utterly fabulous girlfriend who has just moved out to Singapore to live with him. From the sounds of their first dinner party this weekend just gone, they will either be high society by March, or dead.

And what of Cat Brown? My neighbours, and friends, very kindly offered to watch her or have her at their houses, but whether I was worried for Ambridge, my flat, or her running off/destroying things and never coming back, I decided to put her in prison for the duration so at least I’d know where she was. Continue reading

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Everyday I’m shuffalin (supposedly Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends)

To be blunt, I’d been having a bloody awful time running of late. I went out last Saturday, managed a mile and then had to walk, drowning in my own sweat and wishing that humans had evolved to wield windscreen wipers. The heat, the sun, the call of cold, cold beers and ice lollies were nixing my previously euphoric and obviously unbearable running buzz.

Also to blame was my holiday to Canadamerica. I’ve restrained myself from spilling holiday purple prose here so far, not least because it was such a good, magical holiday, that I worry that my writing it down I will kill it dead. I hope to get over this obstacle before I have to file my feature on it, or my editor will give me bad looks.

Sun, sea and battlements

Sun, sea and battlements

The whole park was littered with cannons. Of course.

The whole park was littered with cannons. Of course.

BUT! I went running in Canada! I had nothing to do when I landed in Quebec, so put together a vague route – best thing about Canada for digital types? Free wi-fi bloody everywhere – and trotted off for a jog through the  Parc de Champs-de-Bataille, or Battlefield Park. It was boiling hot, I was repeatedly lapped by bronzed gorgeous things in tiny shorts, there were roller bladers everywhere, and I was in heaven.

Gorgeous Quebec at night

Gorgeous Quebec at night (#nofilter in Instagram speak)

More lovely Quebec - all hills, sunset streaks and warmth

More lovely Quebec – all hills, sunset streaks and warmth

On the ship it was a different matter. I’d had a vague idea that I might get up early and go for a jog on the mainland whenever we stopped on one of my running days, but given we had to be back on board by 4 or 5 most days and there was a lot to explore, it didn’t really happen. As jogging was forbidden on our deck (Oh…oh what a…shame *eats seven types of eggs benedict instead*) I had a go on the treadmill.

Treadmills are the worst things ever. They are so boring I’m amazed gyms aren’t filled with more people going “FOR FUCKINGTON’S SAKE HAVE I ONLY DONE 2K THIS IS ALL TERRIBLE.” I was supposed to do 8, managed 3, and blissfully avoided the gym for the rest of the trip in favour of the on-deck hot tubs, modelled here by my partner-in-crime Elizabeth, with whom, a few days into the trip, my mind had synched and we ended up playing the surrreal “What are you thinking/going to order/wanting to do because it will be what I want” game.

Our second home on board - complete with Saturday morning cartoons drinks

Our second home on board – complete with Saturday morning cartoons drinks

Things went better this week, in that I went out at all. Admittedly, this was only managed by going to Pop-Up Choir’s gig by the Bowie mural in Brixton in my running kit, and actually running there, but afterwards I did my longest run ever – 6.7 miles! – without dying so it was all worthwhile. Particularly so because we had a massive amount of cake in the Duke of Edinburgh, which is a really nice pub in Brixton I’d never been too before, and definitely plan to go back to.

However, I realised that the pains in my hips and right foot weren’t going away any time soon, so I went to Runners Need in Monument to treat myself to the ultimate gift as L’Oreal intended: a gait analysis and new trainers. They are pristine, beautiful and I am absolutely doing the Olympics Run in them provided I break them in a bit this week.

The 10k that I ran for Special Effect on Sunday though, that made it all worthwhile. That’s going in a separate blog post because it’s all rather happy, and reading about how crap I’ve been at running recently would have destroyed the mood somewhat.

Dreamy times at Totleigh Barton *insert custard pun about Devon here*

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The view from my window! Falling about with daisies and buttercups

I didn’t really like my 30th birthday for Reasons, none of which actually had to do with turning 30. Once I realised you don’t burst into flames and life continues pretty much as usual, that was all fine. Still, I was greatly soothed by a wonderful present from Charlotte and Chris, university friends and parents to the Prettiest And Best Baby Of All Time, who coincidentally happens to be my god daughter, Evie.

Charlotte is a writer, and knowing my yearning to actually write and finish a book, gave me a voucher towards an Arvon course, where you basically end up in the middle of nowhere somewhere disgustingly idyllic for a week of writing, eating and learning. Having mooned over various novel ideas for the last year or so, but failed to really get much down beyond sketches, I went off to the twee-est named of them all: Totleigh Barton in Devon, for their Starting To Write a Novel course. Continue reading