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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in deb's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, January 1st, 2009
6:36 pm
The year in review...
1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
I started running.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make them.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Gail to Roselyn in March and Erica in July to Lizzie. Most people seemed to sprog in the previous two years and are expecting again next summer.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. My Auntie Rose died but we weren't close. A close friend had a miscarriage which is sad but she's trying again now.

5. What countries did you visit?
We stayed in the UK. Partly because my passport ran out in the middle of the year.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A better handle on financial project management.

7. What date(s) from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Nothing really significant happened in 2008; Easter Saturday and paddling the Henley Straight with a mammoth head wind with waves breaking over the back cockpit of the boat was pretty unforgettable.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Winning the ladies K2 endurance record for the DW with Jess. Also getting most of the canoe club to the hasler finals in September, appropriately qualified with the right number of boats, paddles and race vests. Being promoted to principal at work and div 7 in marathon.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Staring on the veg patch too late without succession sowing and losing all of the cabbages. And a couple of wobbly projects at work.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Couple of colds which managed to stop Jess and me entering the Royal (which is a fantastic race) in February, stopped me entering my first 10k road race with Kirsty in December and delayed Christmas by 48 hours.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A second hand cougar for £35. It needs some work before its paddleable though.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
America. For not electing the scariest woman in the world, ever.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Sarah Palin. The banks and the government for screwing up the economy and not taking any responsibility.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Savings. Habit from when Andy gave up work and we had NO disposable income forecast.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The olympics. First time I've been interested.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
Summetime... a brilliant session at the Eels Foot in Eastbridge which I hadn't been to for over 18 years.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? about the same. Pretty content really.
ii. thinner or fatter? half a stone lighter and a very different shape - I now own - and fit - a size 8 skirt.
iii. richer or poorer? richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Gardening. Played more music. Gone dancing.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Less time wasted on the internet would allow me to do more music/paddling/gardening.

20. How will/did you spend New Year?
With good friends.

21. Which LJ users did you meet for the first time?
Met a couple of people who comment on my blog - Tracey and Liz from BCCC.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Nope. Did that a decade ago and I don't see it changing.

23. Did you make any new friends?
Lots of paddlers.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Enjoyed survivors and finally discovered spooks, 7 series in...

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone. But there are several people who wind me up more than they did this time last year.

26. What was the best book you read?
Red lots but the one I learned must from was a book on endurance training which I've subsequently lent to a friend.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
That Richard Thompson sucks in big venues (I fell asleep) but Kerfuffle are pretty good.

28. What did you want and get?
Thinner thighs. Better fitness.

29. What did you want and not get?
World peace. A carbon kevlar k1.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
Saw the new Narnia film... did the latest Harry Potter come out in 2008 - or was that the previous year?

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Usually we're on holiday for my birthday but I think this year I went to work and came home again. Birthdays aren't really a big deal.

32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Nothing really.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008.
Again... paddling kit but my best clothing buy of this year was a thermal rash vest from decathlon. But buying a size 8 skirt was pretty neat!

34. What kept you sane?
Andy, paddling and The Cat.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm far too rational to fancy celebrities and public figures. I tend to only fancy real people. Like my husband.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
American election.

37. Who did you miss?
Lots of friends particularly those in Scotland who I haven't spoken to for several years.

38. Did you go anywhere new?
Went to Wells, Abergavenny, and lots of new bits of river and canal to race on.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Working hard does not guarantee success. There are some things where you do actually need to ask for help, or share the responsibility and it makes things much easier.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Thursday, November 27th, 2008
10:53 pm
Indoor training
Trained indoors tonight.
The boys usually wimp out of training about the time the clocks go back and tonight even the girls had better things to do. I went anyway in case anyone changed their minds but they didn't. Maria kindly offered to come down and sit on the bank as safety cover so I could paddle but I did an ergo session instead.

It took me a while to find the non-broken ergo and then to find somewhere I thought I could paddle it without doing damage. On e the first stoke I clobbered my boat. On the second I clobbered the table. More furniture rearranging ensued (why do we have so many chairs?) and I finally managed to get I rigged facing the gallery doors. This as great because it provided a mirror too - utterly narcissistic but useful for checking paddle angle. It does drop when I paddle faster - and my rotation and acceleration is far stronger on the right than the left - you can hear it on the ergo.

Still I faffed and warmed up for a while and then did a 40 minute pyramid which I am pleased with. The best thing is though, having not got cold on the water I've only needed 2 jumpers to stay warm since I came home!

I got really warm whilst I was training. I was wearing rather too many clothes -including rubber aquatherm legs, and a light weight, long sleeved fleece (I had packed for a water session so I had the choice between a heavy fleece, a thermal rashie and the light fleece). At one point I rolled the bottom half of the fleece up and tucked it into my bra just to cool off a bit - well nobody was going to see me, were they!

Or, they wouldn't have done had I not forgotten to unroll before it walking back to the car. So as I ambled back to the car park after the session I was wearing high heeled boots, rubber legs, flashing my midriff... and the arse end of shropshire was suddenly busy. oops.
Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
7:59 am
bugger forgot to back date that one. That was 13/11.

Since then we've paddled to the narrow boat and back - didn't run the long portage - got distracted by a cute dog in both directions. It took about 2:20 but we had to mend a hole in Stacey's boat on the way out.

Yesterday we did 60-70-80-max - 7 sets so 7k paddle. I was the lasty one off the water - Ellie vbailed after about 3 because she was hating the dark, Jack did 6 - but he's substantially faster (although I followed him at 80 and he wasn't getting away from me which I was really chuffed about. I wasn't catching him either mind.)

Running this morning. No Kirsty (she's poorly) so I tried some interval training based on last night's session. Minute interals - one slow, one medium and one fast. I can manage 4 speeds in a boat but not on black top - well - I could walk I suppose... Anyway ten reps took me over the Welsh bridge and to the second lamp post from the middle of the English bridge. Thats nearly 4 miles in 30 minutes.

That might be my achievement for the day. I now have to wrestle with a proposal for a project I won'rt be working on and which I don't understand.
7:58 am
Having taken a bunch of people on an 8 mile training paddle on Sunday with 6 portages, Andy and I were the only fools training tonight.

We decided to so long loops - I was trying to time for both of us by creating a million laps with my watch. As far as I can tell the times are something like:

14.27 warm up
12.14 D
13.30 A
12.21 D
13.37 A
12.36 D

I don't suppose either is terribly accurate - by the time I had set the watch - watched it for a few seconds to make sure it was working, put my pogies on, picked up my paddle and set off after Andy, I had certainly lost some time.
Friday, October 31st, 2008
8:15 am
Ran this morning - again in the freezing cold. Kirsty had other things to do so I ran on my own. Once I got used to it, it was quite nice; enjoyed the music on the ipod (not changed the training play list since LAST year's DW so there was stuff I've not heard for a long time!) but it was a bit lonely.

Did the loop to the Welsh bridge but ran up EVERY slope in the quarry and back down. Not sure of the distance, but if I was running at normal speed, it may have been approaching 0.7 of a mile of slope. Whole lot took me 48.34.
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
7:49 am
Oh my goodness its cold!
Snow. In October. What is the world coming to.

Its also pigging cold for training. Soon I'll learn how many layers I OUGHT to put on but for the time being I'm just training and stripping.

Ran a short loop with Kirsty on Monday morning. The river was out so we went through town, down Pride Hill straight though the quarry, over Porthill bridge and home. I ran down Pride Hill peeling off layers... hat... cag... fleece...

Last night I defrosted my car, drove to the shed got on the water and slowly defrosted myself. It was 1 degree when we got on - and freezing when we got off. It took 500m for me to feel my fingers and another 1000 for me to feel my feet. After another loop I took my hat off and on the next one I thought seriously about taking my cag off...

Phil was trying to get me to stop my stoke at the top which I eventually got - it took a while 'cos I had been pausing it just before I took the blade out of the water to give me enough time to think about trying to put in in vertically. With pausing at the top sorted the next thing he wanted was the paddle in vertically.

I struggle with this one. Possibly because I have quite a fat boat or possibly because I can't get my top hand far enough over fast enough. I accept that "don't let your hand go past your nose" may be one of those things that you teach to beginners which you are then supposed to forget later on (like GCSE chemistry which they teach you is wrong at A'level) or that when I rotate my trunk, my head is supposed to turn too (although that way I end up very dizzy and can't see where I'm going resulting in a zig-zagging boat).

I can get it vertical if I lean further over the side of the boat but this results in a kind of c-to-c movement. Fantastic for rolling practice but I'm not sure it's right.

Got home. went to bed (3 fleeces and 3 duvets) got up de-iced the car and went for a run. Kirsty and I decided we needed to do some interval training. 4 miles with a 20 minute pyramid in the middle. We were going to go for a 5-1-4-1-3-1-2-1 pyramid but got to 3 minutes on the first one and decided that starting at 3 was much more sensible. It was really hard work - even though the active recovery was a walk not a run. Talking - except on the recovery - was not an option! It was good though - and something to work on. next we need to find a hill for some hill training!
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008
8:23 am
winter is coming... and that means training
I finally relented last night and binned the shorts for my reed rubber legs for training. Also wore my thermal rash vest (this year's BEST PURCHASE), a cag and a woolly hat. The cag and hat lasted one JTT but the legs and long sleeves were both welcome.

Did 4 JTTs - Phil's aim is to increase endurance so we can eventually get to 8 which would be good. Equaled Stacey on the first one - 6 mins each but her time trailled off more than mine -

6:05 (badly wonky seat)

A long way off a pb but only 8 seconds drop off from start to finish. That's something I can improve on.

Going out with Andy tonight to do the race distance. This is the beginning of his training for the Ross Warland race at the end of Nov after having been off sick for a couple of months.
Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
9:33 pm
More loops.

Double long loop 23.08
Long loop 11.20
JTT 5.35 (short)

Compared to previous PBs
JTT 5.19
LL 11.29
STT 17.20

That's a new PB for a long loop (and after two LLs; that's pretty good - and the first two weren't far off - dropping 28 secs when doubling the distance. I'm sure I can do it with less reduction than that.

I'm pleased with the JTT too - its a long time since its been anywhere near that fast; and the 5.19 involved hanging off Marcus' wash for most of the return trip. No Marcus, no Joseph, no Holly, no Stacey... nobody with a wash to hang off. Beat Ellie and Connor on the JTT too - with two of them in a div 7 bot with a div 7 paddler! They were 40 seconds faster than me on the single long loop though.
9:33 pm
look... not paddling...

I have realised one great benefit about veggie gardening. When it all goes belly up you can rake everything out of the beds and very quickly you are left with several perfect heaps of soil, ready for starting again.

I know this - I have just done it.

What precipitated this event?

Bloody cabbage whites.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008
7:42 am
Long loops training
Did long loops last night for the first time in ages. It was interesting to see how the boat performed now that Joe has fixed it up - mended its broken nose, regelled in the seat pin which had a 3mm lip on the underside of the boat and generally cleaned it up. We did discover that now that the boat runs smoothly in the water the trim has been entirely wrong. I sit too far back and the rudder fixings were dragging in the water and the nose was in the air. I shifted the seat forward a couple or three notches but could only move the footrest one without taking off the extenders - which run through the rudder to the far front of the boat.

I tried the lazy approach and sat cramped up but I've largely lost the use of my legs doing that. My times were 11.33, 11.44. 12.41 (major pile up at the turn) and 11.55. I see a certain pattern developing there. I was beaten hansomly by Stacey on all but the first, by Holly on a couple but beat jess who only did one since she spent the firth part of the session coaching Jake in the lightning.

Not brilliant; not bad but I really need to be less lazy and sort my boat out properly.

Oh, but I have just been for a run with Kirsty. 3.5 miles; 36.5 minutes.
Wednesday, August 6th, 2008
6:32 am
Had a conversation with Phil Russ last night about the DW. I asked if he thought I should do it with Emlyn. His response was to ask me whether I wanted to run.

So I have been for a run this morning. It is now 6.34; I have already run 2.7 miles in 27 minutes. Ran 5, walked 1, ran 5 walked 1, ran 5 walked 1 and then ran almost all of the last 9 minutes - although there was about 30 secs of walking in that last stint to get rid of a stitch. Better go and get less smelly now I guess.
Saturday, August 2nd, 2008
7:29 pm
In response to Phil's instruction last Tuesday to increase my training, I made a start this morning. We weren't coaching so I had the chance to do a 5 mile time trial. Completed it in approx 51 minutes which is 4 minutes less than the last time I did it. Had a cracking start to the race turn since I was being chased by and then chasing Joseph. Coming back was harder because by then I knew how far behind me Andy was and there was a head wind too. Still its not a bad time and my technique wasn't too bad.

Followed that with 2 JTTS. Finished in 6.03 and 6.07 which were pretty consistent. Second one certainly came with better technique.

Currently trying to find some club kit. We have to race in club colours from 1st September and the muppet who is supposed to be organising club kit has been fannying around trying to redesign the club logo. At the last meeting he was told to pull his finger out and he appears to have done sod all about it. It wouldn't be a problem but the kit has to be ordered by us, and then made and the lead time is generally 4-6 weeks apparently. Our first race for which we need it is 7 weeks (otherwise we don't get any points so there is no point in going.) I wouldn't mind so much but Andy and I tried to do this in May and we were told not to because the muppet was already acting on it and had it all under control.

grumble grumble grumble
Thursday, July 31st, 2008
11:41 pm
Maybe I'm a masochist but I quite like pyramids. I hate th sprints but I'm bad at them so wrapping them around something something I prefer makes them far more palatable.

Tonight did 100m, 500m 200m and back up.


1000m 5.30 5.33 (3 seconds slower)
500m 2.38 2.43 (5 seconds slower) the second had much better technique though...
200m 1.29 1.36 (7 seconds slower)

Not too inconsistent, but not great. I forgot to record last weeks efforts so they are:

1000m 5.47 5.28 (19 second improvement; clearly didn't try hard enough the first time!)
500m 2.40 2.36 (3 second improvement)
200m 1.22 1.22 (dead on)

Last weeks were better in that they showed an improvement from the first to the second whilst this weeks deteriorated but apart from the short sprint they were generally quicker to start. Be interesting to watch this trend. Next week I'll try for quicker starts and less drop off!
Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
8:10 am
We have a kitty
Driving back from Jess's 18th last night, through the morass of little lanes between Ruyton-XI-Towns and the A5 we came across two kittens in the road. They were not very big - maybe 10 weeks or so (I'm not very good at aging kittens). One hovered for a while but when I got out of thew car dashed into the verge. The other tried to run but its back legs gave way. As I approached there was a certain amount of hissing and random waving of front paw in a kind of swiping motion (but so badly done it made it look exceptionally cute. I took my fleece off, chucked it on the kitty, swept up the bundle and got back into the car. Andy went hunting the one in the hedge but with no luck.

So we brought the kitten home. It trembled all the way as I stroked it. It is very soft. Its a small grey kitty; about 15cm long with a limp looking tail, very round yellow eyes, a matted bloody streak on its right hand side (I think there is a scratch at the bottom of it, but its quite narrow and I couldn't investigate without upsetting the cat)and largely dysfunctional back legs.

We did discuss the prospect of trying to find a 24 hour vet but decided against it. Kitten was settled in the corner of our bedroom on my fleece and given access to milk, water and a litter tray although we weren't sure it could make use of any of them. We tried dipping fingers in mile and water to see if it would suckle but no way was it opening its mouth. Possibly just as well - it has truly appalling breath.

I'm not sure either of us slept very well; three times in the night we heard it move and put the light on to check it was OK; not that there was much we could do if it wasn't.

Andy is taking it to the vet in the village when they open. It was looking more poorly when I left this morning but trying to attack more. I guess that means either it has more fight than it did last night, or it is more desperate.

I don't know whether it will survive but we're prepared to try. If it can be fixed, and Spiff will tolerate it, we'll keep it. If Spiff won't tolerate it, we'll fix it up and pass it on. If it's too badly injured
then we'll have it put down. Whatever happens, it has a better chance of survival right now that it would have done had it been left in the lane last night.
Monday, July 14th, 2008
9:38 pm
In your parallel universe...
A friend of mine over on blogger has just come up with an inspirational post.

"I doubt you need a refresher on quantum mechanics, but here's one. Nils Bohr's quantum theory suggested that as matter behaves differently at the quantum level that we had to 'look' at the matter for it to behave as expected in our world. Hugh Everett III's many-world theory gets around the idea that it appears that at the quantum level matter behaves oddly (it exists in two places at once; freaky) and he suggested the many-worlds interpretation. Basically, Everett suggests that whenever we come to an important decision another parallel universe is created where the choice we chose not to take is followed. So, you go to Dorothy Perkins, remember your bank balance and don't buy the gorgeous frock. Everett would suggest in a parallel Universe another you buys the frock, goes out, parties and maybe ends up marrying the lead singer of a major 80s band such as Duran Duran. Bet you wish you'd bought the frock now, don't you?"

The rest of her post is here

The question is, what decision did YOU not make and what are you doing now in a parallel universe?
Tuesday, July 1st, 2008
9:51 pm
Tonight's training
2 long loops. Not good times;

First one I started second from last, got over taken by Marcus at the first bridge and then Ellie waited for me to catch her up. I kept paddling and went theough the top narros just after Phil & Alice and Dave & Mike which made it very choppy. Ellie, in Stanley decided to wait for the chop to die down before she attempted it so I waited for her to ensure she was OK.

First run: 20:38

Second one was better - the fastest time of all of us (Marcus was doing technique).
Second run: 18:49.

Its not the best I can do, but its something to work on. Stacey wasn't far behind me.

I also got collared by Joe at the end about my kerplunking paddle. Phil has always said drive it down and round, but then it kerplunks so he told me to pause between the down and the round; I keep trying but I mostly can't do it - especially not if I'm sprinting. Joe pointed out that if you drop the paddle in and THEN accelerate it should work better since the paddle isn't stopping dead in the water and acting as a brake so I'll try that.
Sunday, June 29th, 2008
7:25 pm
That book meme thingy

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicise those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE, add an strikeout the books you read but didn't like.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read only 6 or less and make them read.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen read for school I think. 
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
(Didn’t exactly dislike them but struggled to get to the end.  Not very good with fantasy – epic or otherwise)
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (started it a number of times – never got very far with it).
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (despite comment about fantasy above – loved these)
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
(One of my favourite books of all time and one of only 2 works of fiction I took to uni with me).
6. The Bible. (Not all of it)
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (Loved it.)
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman  
Again – fantastic trilogy)
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (Not all of them!)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (started it several times.  Really didn’t enjoy it)
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (Started it; couldn’t get beyond the first chapter of simpering  wimmin.  I know its of its time bit even so…)
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens.
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (Read some of them.  The Dawn Treader made me cringe with its moralising.)
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis  (Found this the most tolerable of the Narnia books)

37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (Started reading this when mum was in hospital and had wandered off somewhere when we went to visit.  Must borrow it from her to finish it!)
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
This was the second work of fiction I took to uni with me.
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
(Gosh, two Orwell on the list.  Like his stuff though.)
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (Loved this when I read it.  Vey spooky)
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
(I certainly started it; I can’t remember if I finished it.  I now I finished Dublinners but this may have been one step too close to insanity for completion)
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (Was given a copy anonymously one valantines when I lived in Reading.  Think I know where who came from – had the quote about “a most peculiar small person” printed in the front).
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
(Like Iain Banks. Iain M Banks on the other hand….)
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas.
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (Kate bought it for me - both vols from the cheap bookshop below our flat in Church Street.  She wanted to borrow it  when I'd read it.  If I start now she might get it when she comes up in a couple of weeks... )

Nearly half.  Or slightly less if you include the books I started and lost the will to finish. Some of the books on this list I've not even heard of so will have to track down.
Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
11:56 pm
current PBs
for my own record rather than anything else.

JTT 5.19
LL 11.29
STT 17.20

Some of these may have been slightly short courses.
Sunday, June 15th, 2008
8:58 pm
Burton hasler
What a race.
Beautiful day - sunny, but the wind before the race was a killer - wished I didn't have shorts on. Wore two fleeces and didn't freeze to death.. quite.

I had two goals in mind since I was racing with Ellie. One was to beat the mopheads which didn't seem to onerous since Connor had walked 18 miles for DofE the previous day. The second goal was to beat Geff Barber and Orlando Elmhirst from Solihull. They are a strong K2 team who sat on our wash at Gailey to the turn and forced us onto their wash on the way back. Gill and I couldn;t get past them and we finished fourth eight seconds behind them. I bounced up to Geff this morning to tell him it was war only to discover he'd been promoted and was now racing in div 7. I resolved to try to beat their time instead.

We nearly missed the start of the race... Ellie and I had gone to warm up and were about half way back through the crowd of boats on the water when Ellie suddenly looked up and said "that's the div 8 start line..." we sprinted though the crowd of boats, and were halfway between the marshalling area and the start line (apparently generating a a fan club in the process) when one of the officials clocked us, told us to slow down, save our energy for the race and they'd wait for us. We cruised the last 50m to the start line and were shortly off.

The start was fast. Mopheads river left - nicely positioned for the first left hand bend, then a blue boat, Kath Nadal and partner from Nottingham me and Ellie fourth across and a number of boats to our right. First away were the four boats on the left. The blue boat slightly out in front, then Mopheads. We moved left to wash hang on the blue boat, inadvertently squeezing Kath out. She quickly came from the rear on the inside of the bend and slowly drew ahead of the mopheads. Meanwhile, we were washhanging the blue boat, getting a little tow close sometimes and there was much clashing of paddles but we slowly drew ahead. As we rounded the first bend we could see the back of the div 7 field. Kath was a couple of boats lengths behind us with the other two somewhere behind them.
Ellie took some cracking lines as we followed the end of the Div 7 filed, round the bends, under the bridges through a pack of a few dozen swans... As we got to the turn we were able to overtake the last div 7 boat from Newark and set out sights on the Russells.
We paddled steadily and slowly began to gain on them. As we drew level, Phil tried to wash hang but in driving forward the nose of his boat disappeared under water. I think maybe next time he should go in the back. Its how they normally train but the trim was such on that boat it must have been a git to paddle. We cruised past them without trying too hard.

Next target was Geff and Orlando who were battling it out for third and fourth place with a crew from Gailey. The course at this point went behind a large island and along the top of a low weir to an old mill. Just passed the mill the div 7 teams got entangled. There was wobbling and low bracing and swearing and time lost as Ellie and I cruised up to sit right behind them. Once again we couldn't get over the Solihull wash and we crossed the finish line right on their tails. Geff and Orlando stopped to catch their breath as Ellie and I arrived at their side cursing their wash. Geff, bless him, looked slightly surprised to see us as I moaned gently about not being able to overtake, AND we'd given them a head start... Unable to talk, he splashed water gently in our direction as we paddled off, torn between watching the rest of the finishers and cooling down.
Mopheads came in fourth looking utterly trashed, Connor with a knackered shoulder and tired from DofE.

The club did well for fourths. Andy came fourth in Div 9, but got promoted, which he's not terribly happy about, Cam came fourth in U12 boys, Kate & Dave came fourth... Rose and Grace did us proud with Grace coming second in U12 girls and Rose winning U10s (she was the only entry), but still beating one of the U12s.

In terms of points we still came um... fourth. Six points to us, 5 to Gailey (so we're now 2 points up on them), and Anker valley 7th - 3 points so we're 6 points up on them. We may be back at Burton yet for the finals...

It really was a perfect race. The course was shallow in places but Ellie was great to paddle with - all I had to do was match her paddle stroke and we pulled along quite happily - not working too hard but still slipping by everyone else. Kath pointed out that we were light enough to go OVER the really weedy bits whilst everyone else had to go through them... Maybe... but it was still good!
Sunday, May 11th, 2008
9:09 pm
Chester hasler
What a stunning day. Warm and sunny - almost like proper summer!

A section of the club went and raced at Chester today and had a great day out. It was an assessment race so there were folk there from all over - including a number of folk I recognise from the watersides and thamsides. The Stones were up from Banbury - so I had the pleasure of racing Kathryn again. She snook up from behind at Worcester and trampled all over my anticipated 5th place.

The only draw back was that they were trying to get so many races in that the lightnings took place at the same time as the div 4-9 races so we didn't get to see any of it.

Anyway there were 5 of us in the div 8 race. The guy who won took off at the start and we only saw him at the turns. Kathryn and I followed him, some distance behind and two guys from Macc were well behind us. We paddled together the entire race which was great - ocassionally passing comment - especially as we came passed the start on the figure of 8 course and heard Derek shouting. he has such a loud voice but it really stood out; could hear Phil Rob shouting too - and the remaining kids!!! Kathryn beat me by 1 second. She gets an adrenelin rush at the end whilst I get a knackered rush at the end but unlike Worcester, I stayed with her and came in less than half a boat behind her which is progress on my part. She got a second, I got a third.

The div 9 race was even better. Shropshire paddlesport took the first 3 places - Stacey well out in front for most of the way; Holly gaining on her manfully, but didn't quite take her and Andy bringing up the rear. About 500 yards from the end, Holl was several boat lengths behind him but somehow at the turn (despite his cheating because he didn't realise you were supposed to go round all three buoys) she powered ahead and finished about a boat length behind him.

Everyone was placed except Kate and Dave; mopheads 2nd in div8 k2 and Will and Marcus 3rd - Will's first race too; anyone who starts in Div 8 deserves respect - especially if they come away with prizes! Ellie and Matt won Div 9 - and this time (bribed by Jan) put in enough effort to beat Will and Marcus which is excellent. I don't think they beat my K2 time from last year though but they did beat me today - and so they bloody should - there are two of them!

Kate and Dave had a lousy day. they were the only folk to warm up properly but in doing so got swamped by the princess diana ferry which largely capsized them - or at least it sunk their boat so they had to swim out. I think that just ruined their confidence and their day but - and I don't think they've realised this yet - they were faster than last year; unlike the mopheads who I think were slower but I'll have to wait until the results are published to confirm.
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