Mini Marathon Part 2


We began this dull, overcast, day with two trips to the dump with three bags of clippings. Returning with only a towel rack, this was almost a first. (A first would be coming away empty-handed).


After a little clearing up in the garden, by request, I printed a photograph of Jackie’s great-nephew, Billy, that I had made on 18th February, for his maternal grandparents.

This afternoon I continued scanning the mini marathon negatives I had begun yesterday.

Unhappy child 10.83

I think this child wanted to get back into her pushchair. She was happier later, in her chariot.

Runners and Dads 10.83

The toddler who began the race in his Dad’s arms, then progressed to the shoulders, has now found his feet, and is bearing down on No. 2.

Runners and pushchair 10.83

Another pushchair rider brings up the rear of this particular group.

No. 24 10.83

No. 24 is perfectly composed,

Trio 10.83

while No. 22 took uncomfortable advantage of a lift.

No 19 10.83

No. 19 seems to be disrobing, perhaps having adequately warmed up.

Sam, Mat (and Becky) 10.83

Hang on, Sam. You haven’t finished yet.

Dad and runners 10.83

At least one Dad is flagging;

Sam, Becky, Mat and others 10.83

perhaps the cuddly toy is the camel’s straw. Encouraged by his brother and sister, Sam has realised he has another lap to do,

Various groups 10.83

as have a number of others.

Pushchair in the lead

Double buggy 10.83

The flagging Dad has got a second wind;

Grannie steps it out 10.83

and Granny, determined to stay ahead, has got her first.

Refreshments 10.83

Nos. 1 and 2, held onto their respective positions, earning them first refreshment scoff.

This evening we dined on cheese-centred fish cakes, savoury rice, new potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and baked beans, followed by orange trifle. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I trank Prestige de Calvet Bordeaux 2014.

Mini Marathon Part 1


Today’s rain was heavier, and steady. We drove to the Post Office in Hordle to replenish my stock of stamps and send the French water payment on its way. The next visit was to have been to the dump with our bags of hedge and other clippings. We didn’t fancy that so we went to Molly’s Den to seek out a belated Birthday present for Jackie. We were successful.

Vintage statue

This is it. No, not the lions.

Too much for us to manage, she will be delivered on Monday.

On our way home we pass fields full of sheep. Today we noticed that they had recently been shorn. Although Jackie observed that it was probably kind to remove the fleece from these creatures at this time of the year, I commented that I would not like to be stripped naked and shoved out in the rain.

Should you wish to see what happens when a sheep remains unshorn, you may like to follow this link:

Sam 10.83 1

Towards the end of 1983, Sam participated in a mini marathon organised by his nursery school in South West London’s Furzedown. I had photographed the event. I made an album of prints and presented them to the organisers. I thought I had lost the negatives, until I was delighted to discover them alongside the Devon holiday ones I have featured over the last couple of days.

Becky, Louisa, Jessica 10.83

Even when supported by Becky and Jessica, Louisa didn’t think much of the idea of joining in.

Runner 1 10.83

This little chap seemed determined to live up to his numbering.

Sam, Matthew and others

Matthew, on the left, came along for the encouragement. The gentleman on Sam’s right offered his, too.

Man and two children 10.83

This Dad had his hands full.

Sam 10.83 2

No. Sam was not sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken. I sported his number earlier.

Man and boy 10.83

Some entrants needed a helping hand or two.

Girl in duffle coat 10.83

Despite appearances, I don’t think this young lady was about to go sprawling.

Runners and pushchair 10.83

Hallo. Number 13’s Dad has hoisted the toddler onto his shoulders, as the leader notches up another carefree lap.

Runner 11 etc 10.83

Sam, meanwhile is in hot pursuit of No. 11 as she drifts past No. 7;

Sam, Mat, and Becky 10.83

those two have Mums in support; Sam has Mat and Becky. Six months earlier they had run alongside me as I completed my first London Marathon.

Jessica, supporters, and Louisa 10.83

In a ring of supporters Jessica steadies the tally board. Louisa, on the right, still wonders what could be going on.

Tally Board 10.83

No. 1 retains his lead,

Runners 5, 3, and more 10.83

while the toddler on the grass appears to have wandered off piste.

I featured a photograph taken later at this event in ‘Out On Their Feet Amid The Confetti’. There it is clear that I had forgotten that Sam was the only contestant wearing a genuine marathon number, and that I had saved it from the Farnham Castle Marathon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole, crisp carrots, cauliflower, green beans, and new potatoes, followed by apple pie and custard. She drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the madiran.

Out On Their Feet Amid The Confetti

Yesterday I forgot to mention the outcome of my visit to Simon Richards, the hand surgeon. That can only be a good sign. He has discharged me, but physiotherapy will continue for some time. The middle joint on the little finger remains bent rigid. He has advised me to practice straightening it with brute force from my right hand. That’s painful. And scary. Rather like holding a newborn baby, I don’t want to break it. But it seems to be working.

Wind still gusts around the garden, but we do have sunshine and showers. Rhododendron

A new rhododendron is in bloom;

Ant on allium

an ant perches on the first of our colourful alliums to arrive;

Thyme and erigeron

the thymes I rescued from the blue sinks last year have thrived;

Spiky shrub

as has the heavily Corokia cotoneaster outside the back door;

clematis Niobe

and the clematis Niobe enlivens the kitchen wall.

The rain, reinforced by a fierce fusillade of hailstones, soon returned and watered my charges for me.Mimulas and cosmos

These mimuluses, hosta, heuchera, and cosmos have yet to be planted up.

I returned to the task of identifying and scanning the prints retrieved from Elizabeth.

Michael and Sam 6.83

Here, Michael and Sam are seated in the garden of Gracedale Road in June 1983.

Sam 1983

Later that year, Sam tucks into refreshments after completing the Furzedown mini-marathon.

This was a fund-raising event for the children’s nursery school. Clearly the professional-looking number tags had been donated by the organisers of the Farnham Castle Marathon, sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken. I made a complete black and white portfolio of the occasion for the school. Some parents bought copies. If I ever find the negatives, I think the pictures would warrant their own post.

(I did find the negatives. This post and the next two feature the pictures)

Michael 1984

Sometime in 1984, Michael appears to be watching telly in the lounge of Gracedale Road. Probably an Arsenal football match.

Becky 1984 001

Also in 1984 we attended Tony and Liz’s wedding. Here is a portrait of Becky taken there.

That was the period in which I was converting colour negatives to black and white prints, using an enlarger and chemicals. Goodness knows how, I certainly don’t remember. Now I can do it at the touch of a mouse, so who cares?

Becky 1984 002

This, from the same set, was scanned from a 10″ x 8″ print.

Louisa 1984

Louisa was there too. Here, putting me in mind of the bridesmaid from 1970, she, too, seems to be out on her feet, and contemplating whether the confetti would soften the paving stones sufficiently to provide a feather bed.

There was more than enough of Jackie’s delicious beef stew for my meal this evening. I also finished the Madiran wine.