Thursday, 31 May 2012

Happy Day

Spent a thoroughly enjoyable 24 hours with my buddy friend, John at his patch in West Sussex!

I was somewhat apprehensive but excited about getting in contact as meeting people through the internet can be a risky business. To my great surprise John was quite the host and made me feel extremely comfortable. Especially since he generously let me have his bed.

After being picked up from the Barnham station he took me to his spacious property that he shared with Sadie, Sonny Jim and a few other family members.

I got to share a lager with Tricia and met his extremely handsome son, George.

John and Tricia enjoying the sunshine and my rivetting company

We then took Sadie for a walk to the local village to buy some provisions for dinner and some beer to accompany our music sessions. Mainly drunk by me or was it all I can't remember!

John cooked up a wonderful roast chicken meal and following dinner we headed to an open mic night. John and I managed to perform a number of tracks to a small but knowledgable and appreciative audience.

John trying to work out why he is on stage with me

John looking on admiringly at my immense musical talent

Opem Mic night at Bognor Regis featuring John and Paul

The following day John kindly took a 5 minute sketch of me that lasted half an hour. He did a great job but confessed he was a little nervous as he wanted to get it right for me having spent all this money to come over and see him. He did really well. Will include a better view on another post.

John outside his wagon holding my sketch

Thank you John for being such easy company and sharing your home with me. It was a most enjoyable and relaxing excursion out of London. Look forward to catching up again in a couple of years. I hope the open invitation will be still valid. I better be careful what I say about him in my posts as he is an extremely sensitive young man!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Hold Me

Still no photos sadly! Most frustrating as they are really good! The connection will not fit into my camera so can't download at this time. Will consult someone about this as I really do want to share with you all as I know you are waiting with great anticipation. Have some good ones of John with his wonderfully athletic side profile! For now you will just have to put up with John trying to keep up with my song on the penny whistle. However you will be able to see a most polished performance by me singing an original accompanied by guitar and harmonica.

Here is John and me performing Hold Me! Have a listen for some unexpected vocals!
Thanks John for down and up loading this song of mine. Really enjoyed performing it with you!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Love's Song

Can't access the photos at the moment of my trip to Germany and London. Instead John has prepared a special treat for you of us performing my newly written song called Love's Song! It was great fun recording it. Hope you like it!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Sad Farewell

Well sadly all good things come to an end and fast approaches the time I must return to my homeland. I've had lots of great experiences!

Competing in Germany in the World Masters Mountain Running was the biggest challenge but we got through with a reasonable performance. The competition proved tougher than I could have imagined. Spending a few days in the Black Forest was special with the marvellous scenery.

Have been in London since Sunday and it has been wonderful to catch up with friends.

Staying with John in Yapton was one of the highlights. Don't want you to get too big headed!

Due to the long distance I need to travel home I will not be accessing my blog for a few days. I have a lot of great memories and these will be shared through photos next week.

Don't worry Valerie I will come up with some interesting anecdotes about John. He has given me permission to bare all. At least that was my interpretation of what he said.

Dear John

Having been entertained in New Zealand for a while now reading John's blog I thought I would be brave and front him in real person. You are all probably wondering about the sanity of this since you all know that John has tendencies to overdramatise and his ramblings are well known. I draw attention to his latest post.

I feel I need to clear my name somewhat. Yes I was cheeky enough to ask for a roof over my head especially as John said I had travelled a considerable distance to come and visit him. I knew that John would be great company as proved the case. Staying with him seemed the best way for him to get to spend more time with a dynamic and talented singer / song-writer. As it eventuated I'm sure he got more from my visit than he could have possibly dreamed of.

John was a wonderful host and it was wonderful spending our one day together although it seemed we had known each other forever.

We enjoyed walks in the lovely summer weather, dined like kings under John's gourmet culinary skills and sang originals and covers in his homemade wagon and at an open mic night.

Thank you John for graciously allowing me to stay with you and entertaining me with your stories, music and life experiences. Your secrets are safe!

Photos will have to wait until I'm back home. I'm sure though that John will be posting more over the next few days.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Holiday Update

Survived my Mountain Race in Germany. A lovely location perched at the foot of the Black Forest in a place called Buhlertal.

The race was held on Saturday and my race started at 12:40. The distance was 9.6 km [6 miles] and there were 153 runners in my age group taking on the testing all uphill course.

One of the toughest races I have ever done and at 3 km I had thoughts of giving up though that is not my style. At that point I was in 30th place but battled through the field to get up to 19th at the finish line.

Had a rather worrying conclusion to my race where I picked up a chill afterwards and couldn't stop shaking. It wasn't even cold. Anyway all is well that ends well!

I'm now in London staying with friends for a few days. Looking forward to travelling down to see our blogging buddy, John in Barnham. There is an open mic night tomorrow so hope to do a number or two. Will have to borrow John's guitar if he is willing to loan his prized homemade possession. Will get some pics.

Be in touch later but pics will have to wait until I get back home to New Zealand on Sunday.

Bye for now! Until next time!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Weekend Follow Up

Our lovely girls kindly took photos of my race on Saturday!

In the evening we were entertained by our good friends Alison and Oki. They treated us to a lovely dinner and Oki and I watched the Warriors have another win in the NRL!

Sunday was a short run in the morning and a cycle up to school to have a little tidy up before leaving for Germany. 

We celebrated Mothers' Day at the Amigos Mexican Restaurant with Lisa, Brian, Brogan and Hollie!

Certainly an action packed weekend!

Off to Germany early tomorrow morning for the World Masters Mountain Running Champs!

Will be in London on Sunday and will be taking the trip south to visit John. Well I think it's south! Have his contact number if I get stuck!

Hope to give a report in London at some point with lots of photos!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Busy Weekend

Had a relay race on Saturday of 4 km [2.5 miles] and took out the fastest time for our team. I ran 16 seconds quicker than last year so I'm really happy. Must be improved fitness from all that hard cycle training and racing transferring over.

Mothers' Day and Jo was treated to chocolate, liquorice, red wine and dinner at Amigos, our local Mexican restaurant. The meal was great and it has been special this weekend as Kate has been home.
Here are some earlier photos of the girls that you might have seen.

Start of Alice's running career




Death Valley

Photos from the weekend I hope to sort by tomorrow!

Friday, 11 May 2012


John's post has spurred me in to action after a couple of days of slackness on the blogging front!

Lea today recorded 3 of my favourite songs I like to play at school. It was fun to sing these songs and I hope you like my version of Thirteen that Elliott Smith liked to cover in his concerts.

It tells of a High School scenario of young love that all of us I'm sure can identify with. It brings back memories of innocence and the excitement of setting out on love's pathways that we all have different tales to tell.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Hard Rode

Thought I would give a brief report on last weekend's National Road Cycling Champs.

Drove up to Hastings after school on Friday. Members of the Kapiti Cycling Club were staying in a most comfortable house that most importantly had Sky Sport. Had a quiet evening relaxing in front of the Box as some of the team were competing the next day.

Saturday dawned somewhat chilly but a pleasant day greeted our cyclists!

Bryan Perkins and Joe Clarkson commenced their race in the 45 - 49 age group at 9:00 with Perky taking out 2nd in the mass sprint. Bob, our coach uttered with delight "that's added 5 years on to my life." It was the club's first national medal for 8 years when Bob himself had won his silver in the 60+ age group.

Bryan proudly standing on the podium

There was more excitement for Bob as another of his proteges Dianna Borman dug deep to win silver in the mass sprint in the 50 - 54 age group.

Dianna on the left having received her silver

Perky and the rest of the team headed out to celebrate on Saturday night while Neil Harwood and myself watched the Warriors league team win. Neil and I discussed tactics for our next day's racing.

 However all our talk didn't quite measure up in our race though both of us gave our all. Our race was 3 x 28 km with several tough climbs each lap. My goal was to do better than a few weeks ago and keep with the group throughout the first lap and hopefully a lot longer. I achieved my initial goal but half way through the second lap the pace became a bit hot. Neil managed to stay with the bunch a bit longer than me but struggled on the hills on the second lap. Neil finished in 2:26 and my time was 2:32.

Neil and I after our race

I had to shoot off straight after my race to drive home. Our top club cyclist Finlay Brazier had to ride 3 more laps than me and finished a most creditable 6th place, only splits from the win.

It was a wonderful weekend away and great experience for me in the art of top cycle racing that I'm slowly coming to terms with. It is extremely difficult I'm finding to compete in cycling while my main sport is running. I am enjoying the challenge and learning a lot. 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

National Cycling Champs

Have just come back from the National Cycling Champs that were held near Hastings! My race was 85 km [54 miles] and was a huge challenge.

I managed to stay with the leading group for almost half of the race but once again struggled when the pace was increased and fell off the back of the bunch.

Competitive Cycling is so more demanding for me than Running. There are a lot more tactics involved in cycling and due to the speed radical changing can occur. If you lose your group it is a lonely ride without the benefits of working together and getting assistance from others.

So another day of learning for me today and now I'm moving on to the Harrier / Running season which I'm greatly looking forward to.

With Neil Harwood who was in my race

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Division Day

Lea and I share a passion for Elliott Smith who I introduced her to late last year. His lyrics reflect his sad life. He was brought up by his step dad that apparently used to beat him up and he never seemed to come to terms with it. Sadly he ended his life at the age of 34.

I absolutely love his music that I first heard about 6 years ago and have constantly listened to since.

Not sure if I have posted this song before but here is one of my favourite Elliott Smith songs I had a go at recently that Lea recorded for me called Division Day:-

Here are the lyrics followed by my You Tube recording that Lea recorded! Hope you like it!

Division Day

There was a grown man dying from fright
So surprised by the things he'd say
With a giant fantasy life
Running 'round on feet of clay

Naked except for a perpetual debt
That couldn't be stripped away
An unrightable wrong that moved him
Along closer to division day

Spent a long time living with that
Never could give it a name
And when you don't know what you're looking at it
makes it much harder to take

Mostly they'd meet when he was asleep
and have some sick exchange
That stuck him as wrong and moved him along
closer to division day

I can't make an exception for a bad connection
that only goes one way
Sell out for a song where I don't belong
With you on division day

The moon stood up on the ridge
Looking down where the water shines
And a man looking over the bridge
Like he done so many times

Thinking about how to stay out
Out of troubles way
Flying to fall away from you all
It's over division day
Beautiful division day

Will be away for a few days at the National Cycling Champs so will contact when I get back hopefully with some choice pics! Happy blogging!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Spooky Shadows

Have been flicking through the lyrics of my 300 songs I've written that Lea has kindly typed up for me.

I came across Spooky Shadows that I wrote when the children were early school age. The lyrics express the comfort and reassurance you give your children to settle them down when they are anxious or upset. It is wonderful to have that parental role and to be there for them when they especially need you.
As adults, or is it mainly men, we generally are not so able to be there for others as we get caught up in our busy worlds. I'm sure women are far better at relating to each other and us males put up barriers in fear of being regarded as weak. Of course women like their men to be strong but I know they also like to see the softer side.

What softer side of a male would my female readers like to see or do see in their man?

Here are the lyrics of my poem / song Spooky Shadows that the children in my class like to sing.

Spooky Shadows

Spooky shadows creep across the walls
Can I have the light on in the hall?
It's too dark and scary...can't see at all
If any night creatures are coming to call

Please can I come in your bed?
Hiding under covers...I'm so scared

A howling wind outside blows loud
Branches on my window make creeking sounds
Rain pours down...pounding the ground
Strange noises and voices are all around


I'll be no trouble...go straight to sleep
Out of me...won't hear a peep
Drifting deep while counting sheep
As over meadows I watch them leap


Will be so still...won't know I'm there
Not a sound will you hear
As quiet as a mouse...a slumbering bear
Out like a light as a tired deer


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Long Days

Have had a couple of long busy days so have not had the time to spend on the blogging!
Had a hilly run yesterday and a hilly bike and 2 runs today though I feel I might be coming down with a cold.
Not overly convenient as I am supposed to be riding the National Road Cycling Champs on the weekend.
As a result I enclose some more random photos that you may or may not have seen before.
Hope all is well for those who read my posts.
Getting in some hills on my racing bike.

Running bare-foot on one of my favourite mountain courses.

On a recent cycling trip.

It's great getting out on the forest roads and trails!