Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Fancy A Swift Half?

Tonight I pulled on my running shoes for the first time in a long long time. It felt good to be out again.

To be honest it was quite tough, there's been too many pies and wine and beer and biscuits for me to be straight back into the level I used to view as 'steady'. A short 2 miler that once served as a warm up and I could feel it. Not in my legs so much as my chest, to be honest I'm not quite sure what to make of this. I pushed myself moderately but not to anything approaching intense levels in either distance or speed (2 miles, 9.5 minute miles), but I guess it's a case of building back up slowly.

And I love the calmness of mind that comes when fitness and exertion balance. My mind is a wonderful/scary/bizarre/hilarious thing at the best of times but when I'm fit enough that legs and lungs just get on with it as the miles pass it tends to amuse itself with all sorts of peculiar stuff. On long runs in the past I have considered an array of stuff from the colour of smurfs to the secret commercial lives of large houses. I love the mental space to sort through a few of my trickier personal issues (yes, there are a few).

So the motivation for running in the dark and blustery rain? There's so many, but of particular interest is my propensity to eat cake and watch the tellybox. That, and I'm thinking I might fancy a half marathon later on this year, but we'll see on that.

In other news my blog is now just over 2 years old now. I really must read through a few old posts at some point, a lot has changed since Post Zero.


Sunday, 20 January 2013


This morning was glorious. We spent the morning in bed, eating toast and drinking coffee and watching the snow fall outside our window. I wrestled with the Sunday Times sudoku, Mrs A trawled t'internet for a new house. After a while we played the 'No Maximum Budget' game on Rightmove.

We've learnt that we're not really aristocratic enough to suffer the stately home decor horror that is a £2m plus house. The £11m pile that we saw was beyond horrific.

Our happy hunting ground appears to be around the £1m to £1.5m properties. Mrs A leans towards the classy Victorian sympathetically restored property, I lean towards the Drug Dealer Chic end of the spectrum.

There was one property that piqued our interest, a large detached place that was on the market for around £500k, clearly worth significantly more, but 'priced to move'. We talked about making an offer based on our finances (which are somewhat adrift from this by a significant margin), briefly laughed like lunatics and had another coffee.

In the afternoon we painted the kitchen which now tone quite nicely in line with most of the rest of the downstairs, had a couple of glasses of wine and a bowl of pasta. 

All of which is a pretty good way to spend your day.

My fuckwit ex also had an input to our day, by way of making my son's life pretty miserable. Mrs A was, quite frankly, incredible but given the system's indifference to fathers being given equal billing, I am struggling to see how I can sort this out for him*


* - This'll probably be deleted soon. I think.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


Back when I was a lad and it was all fields around here, I was a died-in-the-wool petrolhead. Although most of my weekly adrenaline fix was delivered by lairy motorbikes, I also had a penchant for ‘entertaining’ cars too. My garage ran, at various points, from classic convertibles to battered landrovers to the ubiquitous hot hatches of the 80s & 90s. I even owned a Second World War tank recovery truck for a few hours at one point. They were all hugely impractical, often dangerous (at least in my hands), and immensely fun.

As time moved on and baggy jeans & hightops were replaced by business suits and briefcases, my rides became less fun. MPG became more important than MPH, insurance groups more important than power-to-weight ratios and a succession of cars were bought more for reasons of practicality and economic prudence than entertainment value. The advent of The Boy Wonder meant that Cubic Metres in the load area outranked Cubic Centimetres in the engine. All this culminated in my first (and probably only) company car being a Volvo V70. It shifted small children and large children and boxes of safety boots and me and Mrs A all over the shop in great comfort, but it would never be described as ‘exciting’.

All that changed earlier in the  year when I decided to get a job that just needed me to transport myself and a briefcase to the office most days. Encouraged by Mrs A*, back in the spring I bought a car that would have had my teenage self hopping from foot to foot with delight. I bought a 2 seater convertible.

It’s been a hoot through spring, summer and autumn. My 40 mile round trip to the office has been brilliant, careening through the backroads of Leicestershire with the roof down on a warm summer evening is just ace. It even has a ‘Sport’ button on the dashboard, the main function of which appears to be the scaring of shite out of the driver, passenger and oncoming traffic. Lovely.

Yesterday morning however, it snowed.

As I pulled off the drive to go to work and headed down to the main road things were looking bad. Every time I went anywhere near the accelerator, the dashboard would light up like a demented Christmas tree as the car’s various electronic nannies tried to stop it from wheelspinning straight into the nearest lamppost. Once upon a time I'd have thought that such electronic trickery was for wusses, switched it all off and pirouetted my way to work with merry abandon. However, with the benefit of experience and the reaction times of a 42 year old man to work with, I decided to leave everything switched on and approach the accelerator pedal in much the same way as one would approach an unexploded bomb.

Once onto the main roads, things were a lot easier, my journey to work was uneventful and I arrived in one piece at the office carpark, just me and my briefcase. Only my briefcase (complete with laptop) wasn't in the car. Being honest, I was convinced the car would end up in a ditch long before getting to work and I’d been so intent on putting my hiking gear in the boot that I'd forgotten to put my bloody briefcase in too.

There’s a lesson here for us all, kids. The lesson is this:

When you have an inappropriate car, all journeys are entertaining.


* - Although I’m not sure she thought I would actually be daft enough to actually buy the thing.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Warning: This post is a mush-fest. You have been warned.


What a day.

30.12.12 will be a day I remember until I draw my final breath. It was the day I got married.

It was a day of close friends and family, of heartfelt words and glittery eyes, of the start of adventures and a shared story and I loved it all. Every. Single. Minute.

The hotel we were married at in Glasgow was just fantastic from start to finish. They gave us a suite with a bath in the bedroom (just my kind of bonkers) and supplied a steady stream of celebrities for us to gape at over breakfast/dinner. The staff there were brilliant in keeping everyone happy/delivering gifts/keeping surprise kilts under wraps. We told them that my parents were to be referred to at all times as Lord and Lady (insert surname here) at all times, which they stuck to fastidiously despite the initial looks of bewilderment from The Mother and protestations from my stepfather. The Mother loved it.

And on the day of the wedding after walking a mile to Kelvingrove in the pissing rain, walking back in sunshine(ish) and getting dressed in a kilt with the boys despite being English, I wandered down to the the hotel bar, had a whisky and waited for people to arrive.

Friends and family started appearing, warm words and smiles were in abundant supply, various official people asked me lots of questions, to which I often didn't have a clue what the correct answer would be. So I smiled and said 'yes' a lot, which seemed to make the official people happy and move things along quite nicely.

The Girls both looked beautiful - classically elegant in the case of the eldest and edgy and cool in the case of the youngest who wore navy blue Converse trainers with her bridesmaid's dress. Elder daughter did a reading for us that reduced most of the guests, us and to large extent, herself, to tears, such was the warmth with which it was read. This despite having told me on reading the poem a couple of nights before the wedding "Well I'll read it, but you should know that inside I'll be pulling this face." She pulled a fingers-down-the-throat-sicky-face. I laughed and promised not to tell her mum.

The boys both looked ace in their kilts. The eldest liked the cut of the jacket, the youngest loved the Sgian Dubh. They both liked the Jaffa Cakes that I'd put in the sporrans for them. Eldest boy gave his mum away and youngest was my best man. They both did sterling work.

And the bride looked stunning. Properly stop-you-in-your-tracks stunning. As soon as she walked into the room I could only see her. She smiled and everything was right in the world.

So we said our vows (for my part in several different voices, some of which I have ocaasionally used before in emotional moments, but most of which were a surprise even to me), we exchanged our rings, signed the register and got the living bajeezus photographed out of us, before retiring to the bar for a drink or two. Or three.

Dinner came and went in a blur of speeches, fondant this and reduction that, wines and coffees.

Then my real Moment Of Truth. The first dance. I did my best and shuffled around as best I could. My beautiful wife made it easy for me although the pirouettes worried me.

We spent the rest of the evening getting photographed, laughing with friends, getting photographed, chatting with family, getting photographed, dancing, eating bacon sarnies, getting photographed, wondering where the kids were, snatched moments and coruscating smiles with the love of my life.

And all too soon the day was done.

So the woman who came into my life as The Future Mrs Adventures and then became The Imminent Mrs Adventures, is now Mrs Adventures (or am I Mr Auntiegwen?) and I am the happiest man on the face of the Earth.