Saturday, October 28, 2006

Emily, the mystery cat

Some lovely jetsam I picked up: meet Emily, the mystery cat (music Paradise by The Lilac Time)

I am off to London tomorrow for a two-day conference. Apart from the plane thing, I am really looking forward to the trip. Back on Wednesday, take care everyone.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Keep on running

My cold is almost gone, but for the last two weeks I didn't train. So the stats of the week are once again pathetic:

Total running time this week: 1 hour 4 minutes

Total distance run: 10 k

Total steps: 74,675 (for the record: last week's total cold infected steps 65,604)

I was late and it was already very busy in the forest. Runners, bikers and the dreaded Nordic walkers. Legions of them.

Swan lake was busy too...

My football club's headquaters are in this forest and this is the team attending their Sunday training unit:

Our manager, Hanspeter Latour from Switzerland, was busy putting up orange makers around the field:

I have a couple of ulcers and lots of grey hair named after this club.

Not quite Indian summer, but some nice colours:

The Cormorant is back and he / she has brought a partner along:

Ah, my close-ups are still crap!


It's autumn...

It made me think of e.e.cummings:


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tune vendor

The first floor of the little shop at decorfilms has been opened and a first selection of fine tunes have gone on sale. Minor "teething problems" have been fixed, Stewart has decorated and redecorated he shelves frantically over the last couple of days and now the "we are open" sign is up, so come on in: decorfilms shop, 1st floor, audios.

And while you are there, why pop into the ground floor for some fine garments:
decorfilms shop, ground floor, t-shirts.

Or watch one of the videos:

Sunday, October 15, 2006


When Norma told me her granddaughter had made scones, I asked her for the recipe. If a 12-year-old can do this, so can I! The recipe arrived, self-rising flour and clotted cream was purchased in English Shop and today I set about making scones under the supervision of Mr Cat:

It's really not that difficult, but I made a couple of mistakes. The dough was rolled out too flat when I cut the pieces out and I left them in the oven slightly too long (who said that women are multi-tasking? today I clearly wasn't; I was doing something else in parallel, so I simply forgot the scones):

But they taste lovely and I am experimenting which way I like better - the Devon cream tea, where you put the cream first and then the jam, or the Cornwall cream tea, where it is the other way round:

Cornwall looks messier, but they both taste great!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I am still here, but I have a cold and don't feel like extensive blogging.

Some sad news... Big Bird is dead and they turned him into socks:

Some good news: I received confirmation today that I have a place in next year's
London marathon. It's six months and seven days away. Let the training beginning.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Stats of the week

Total running time this week: 3 hours 17 minutes

Total distance run: 31 k

I have decided to add another feature to the stats of the week. Even though I am not running a lot at the moment, I am moving. 10,000 steps per day is supposed to be good for you. I have a step counter, so from now on you will see my steps taken per week:

Total steps: 112,631

A half-marathon

Today the 10th Cologne marathon took place. They always have a marathon for inline skaters and for Handbiker (or handcyclists as they are called in English). For the first time there was also a half-marathon race for which I had registered. I woke up this morning feeling bad: sore throat, running nose, muscles aching. I considered not running, especially since I had only trained twice since the last race almost one month ago. But it's Cologne! I would run here even if I was on a drip.

The start was early at 9 a.m. to give a handful of madmen and madwomen a realistic chance to run the half-marathon first, then the inline skater marathon and then the full marathon. Yes, there are people who do that. They are called ultra runners, I call them lunatics. (The fastest of them ran the 105k in 5:58:48.)

I left my kit bag in the hall...

and put on a plastic bin liner (a nice one, with the
"Maus", a children's tv character, printed on it) to keep warm until the race starts. In the morning it was 9 degrees cold, but the sun was already shining bright promising a fine day. And then finally I started running... and I felt fine. OK, the throat was bad and I spare you the jucky details of what I had to do during the race to get rid of the slimey feeling. But I really enjoyed the race and I was grinning widely all the time. Talking about time... that was surprisingly good: 2:12:13, which puts me into 1039th place overall and in 226th place in my age group (both women only).

The catering area for the runners was the best I have ever seen in my life! There was water, juice, beer, cola, tea, bananas, sausages, power bars, soup... and almost no queueing. Apart, of course, from the beer tent. There was a queue and when it was my turn, they gave me two instead of just one. I gave one away to a guy who looked thirsty and he almost kissed my feet.

After I had eaten more than is good for me, I retrieved my kit bag...

... and rested for a couple of minutes...

Then I went to watch the start of the marathon. It got slighlty more tv coverage then the half-marathon:

The building you see here is the old trade fair centre. The whole of the inside has been torn down, only the facade remains, because it is listed. They are rebuilding the inside structure and when it's all done, the television company RTL will move in.

The half-marathon finishers are easily recongisable by the plastic cover they are wearing:

This is one of the bin liners with the "Maus" on them, by the way:

When I reached the start area for the second time today, it was 12:10 and the top athletes marathon had already been started.

By now it was warmer, almost 16 degress, and the sky was a beautiful blue:

The marathon race is started in several groups. First it's of course the top athletes. Then the main field is separated into several groups according to estimated finish time. To the left of me, there was the first line of the first main field.

To the right of me was the last line of the school children's relay marathon group.

The start takes forever. From where I was standing, the runners still had to walk for about 4 minutes to the actual starting point of the race. And then it's 42.195k to the finish line.

There was a bride and groom running too:

Ford is the main sponsor of the marathon. They had also sponsored a huge ball to entertain the runners while they were still waiting:

It was big!

I walked to the train station past banana peel pyramids...

and discarded "Maus" bin liners:

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A lilac lunch

Markus and Carola have come Wiesbaden to Cologne for some shopping and a lilac lunch. We met at 12:30 and they were already carrying a couple of plastic bags. So was I. I had picked up my new trouser suit for the office (everything I buy has to be shortened by a dressmaker) and I had not been able to resist the Alprausch shop. I bought a new t-shirt from their basics collection: it's red and has Bambi printed on the front. Will I ever grow up?

One of Markus' bags was for me. It contained Astronauts on vinyl (which I did not have) and the original Ups & Downs magazines, which I will scan for the publications part of
duffypedia. I didn't want him to send them by post, because if they'd got lost, I would never forgive myself. Thanks again for letting me borrow them!

We had a nice lunch and chatted for a couple of hours. Markus is the kind of person, you end up telling your life story too after minutes. But Carola assured me that everyone does that and that he is able to cope with it.

We said good-bye in the afternoon. They wanted to continue with their shopping and I headed for the marathon fair on the other side of the Rhine (tomorrow: the 10th Cologne marathon, I am running the half distance). My intention was to buy one pair of shoes, I bought two. But Uli once said, that a runner needs a lot of shoes. At least I think he did. He is in Nepal now, so he cannot complain if I quote him incorrectly.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Change of course

Things are not going well. Only one week after the return of the "stats of the week", they are gone again. "Why, oh why?" do you ask. Well, my %$&ยง Polar pulse watch died and normal watch maker shops don't fix them. Even if it is just the battery that has gone flat, you have to send the watch to Polar. Argh! I haven't done that yet, because I thing it's a stupid arrangement. I will find a watch maker that is brave enough to open this Pandora's box.

But for the stats of the week it means that I don't really know for how long I ran. Today it was the usual 10k and my guess is that it took me about 60 min. That's the best I can do.

I felt like doing something different today, so for the first time ever I ran the 10k round... THE OTHER WAY AROUND! Hah, you didn't think I could be such a dare devil, right?!

I was hoping that I would see some good photo opportunities that I normally mis, because they are in my back. Unfortunately I have to report, there aren't any. So, next week I will run the right way around again.

*begin bitch mode* And when summer is over, the trainer drives his herd of Nordic Walkers from the mountain pastures to their stables in the valley (in German we call this
Almabtrieb (Wikipedia - English explanation)) *end bitch mode*

My mantra for the rest of the day: Nordic Walkers are lovely people, I love Nordic Walkers, Nordic Walkers are lovely people, I...