Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The last couple of days I spent in Manchester, one of my favourite cities. Like Eric Cantona said, "here, there is an insane love of football, of celebration, of music".

I went to
The Quays:

Saw the wrong stadium from a distance...

... went back to the city and saw the right stadium at close range...

This is the civil court building, which Mancunians call "the filing cabinet":

You can just about see the jutting out glass parts on the right that look like open drawers. Apparently, the architects are being sued, because something is not quite right with this building. If this goes to court, the hearing would take place in the building that the dispute is about. How bizarre.

Abraham Lincoln in the back, Manchester bee in the front:

I stayed at the
GJS Hotel, which used to be an old school building. It is very stylish, but has one of the unfriendliest receptionists I have ever come across. And a ghost, but that was a no-show. The rooms are all individually styled. Mine was lilac-burgundy:

Before I went home, I had the hottest ever vegetable korma on
the Curry Mile. Korma is meant to be mild. MILD. Should I have been warned by the triptych of a red chilli pepper on the wall of the restaurant? So, the search for the perfect vegetable korma continues. So far, the best one was served in 1997 in a place that is now called The Blue Mint. But in 13 years time, the chef has probably changed about 10 times.


Walking holiday in Derbyshire (and Staffordshire, really). The White Peaks. Beautiful countryside, quintessentially English, quirky things along the way guaranteed.

Cat & Fiddle claims to be the second-highest pub in England. We started one of our walks from there.

The water in the reservoir is normally so high it reaches the overfall (roundish building in the back). I guess, it's hosepipe ban time again.

The day off was spent at
Chatsworth, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

The family loves art. This is the War Horse by Elisabeth Frink:

This computer portrait of Laura Burlington, the future Duchess of Devonshire (if they don't get divorced, that is), is by Michael Craig-Martin. The colours change randomly and there is millions of permutations, so it is unlikely that these combinations will ever show up again:

The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire is the youngest of the Mitford sisters. She celebrates her 90th birthday this year. There is currently an exhibition about her life.

Of course, the estate has beautiful gardens. They even overgrow wooden chairs and tables.

This is the BBC perparing for the filming of the Antique Roadshow the next day.

After the one day off, we were back walking through the countryside.

It seems that all paths lead to Chatsworth. We passed through the grounds, where the deer were resting as far away from the hunting tower as possible.

The white marquees are where the Antiques Roadshow was filmed. There were zillions of visitors there, lots more than the day before.

At the end of the walking holiday I said good-bye to my boots. They weren't comfortable anymore. I guess the sole deteriorated over the years. I have had them for ages. There was no point bringing them back to Germany and bin them here, so they ended their lives on an English dump.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Fruit Orgy

I am celebrating a fruit orgy this weekend. It didn't look that much in my shopping trolley. I have already eaten half the strawberries. Can you overdose on vitamins? We will know tomorrow evening.

He is not going to help eating this. When he sees the camera, he has to get into the picture, the little media whore.

On the balcony there is a new kid in town. His name is Ilex crenata and apparently he is very very robust:

He will need to be tough. His two predecessors died. Bamboo No. 1 did not survive the winter. Bamboo No. 2 was infected with plant lice. The market garden staff recommended spraying him with something that on closer inspection turned out to be Agent Orange's little brother. I didn't really like the idea of spraying that onto anything, especially with Paulchen and Filou around. So, the bamboo (and zillions of lice living on it) bit the dust and ended up in the compost. The rest of the balcony looks nice, too. Somehow the media whore managed to get into the picture again.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

All is well

After the marathon is before the marathon... or rather before the half-marathon.

This week's training:

Specific: 225 min / 3 h 45 min / 32.9k
Unspecific: 60 min

The new shoes are really good. Today I ran 105 min and the foot was fine. No pain at all.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bye-bye Asics and hello Mizuno

In order to eliminate all potential source for my Achilles' tendon problems during the marathon I went to a Runners Point shop yesterday. They film you running barefooted on a treadmill and then recommend shoes based on their analysis. Conclusion: my Asics, which I have been buying for years, are no longer ideal for my foot. In fact, the shop assistant thought they were completely wrong. And her criticism made a lot of sense. Which brings us back to "stupid is as stupid does". I should have the fit of my running shoes checked regularly. Running can change the shape of your feet. Especially if you do a lot of mileage.
So what's next? My main goal is to keep running and not fall into a "post marathon motivational hole". Then a couple of half-marathons. I have registered for Amsterdam in October, which is sponsored by Mizuno, the makers of my new shoe. Is that a good omen?

Proof that I got to the start

(taken by Uli)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

London marathon report - part 2

Sunday. Race day. The bus leaves from the hotel at 06:50 am. There is no satisfactory answer to the nagging question "why am I doing this?"

At the start the ballons seem to get bigger from one year to another:

Our group spills out of several buses and marches to the blue start:

The equivalent to the lounge chair towel reservation in the start area is a flag:

Of course, we have the biggest one clearly marking our territory:

The media's interest is not in us, but the elite runners, who start from the blue start just like the overseas runners do:

We had to wait a couple of hours, but there was entertainment:

Achim doesn't snap shot. This camera means business:

Runners relax in various ways: standing up, sitting, lying down...

The race itself was as already reported: first half went well, second half was painful. But there was at least one happy finisher: