parkrun tourism: Birkenhead

parkrun #340 event #92

Reason for visit

Eurovision 2023

It was a real pleasure to stay with a fellow Jog Lisburner who has since moved to the Wirral, and has continued his parkrun journey in the closest event at (and you have to always say the name in the broadest Liverpudlian accent you can muster) Birkenhead.


There is still a boat from Belfast to Liverpool, which handily enough docks at Birkenhead. The parkrun itself takes place in gorgeous Birkenhead Park, the first ever public park. There’s not a lot of car parking near the start, so please park considerately on the side streets. What Three Words for the gate to the park is

pack stem lines


It’s a 2 lapper, all on wide tarmac footpaths. Being so wide there’s bound to be some variation in the distance recorded by your smartwatch. Keep left on the first lap to allow others to overtake, during your 2nd lap you can pick the shortest running line between curves as the crowd thins out. It’s mostly flat, though there’s a long slow incline towards the end of the circuit. The park is quite stunning, with lots of lovely old trees.


It’s a big one, usually around the 500 mark, so seed yourself at the start for a smooth take off. Good age range, with some buggies and doggies as well.


Attendees had been encouraged to show their Eurovision support. Indeed, there was blue and yellow bunting at the finish for Ukraine, with some Euroviz tunes being played. I took my inspiration from last year;s winners, the Kalush Orchestra, in my pink bucket hat and embroidered waistcoat. They were quite hot for running in!


Coffee and toilets in the rugby club, or in the park visitor centre.


I was jog-walking, particularly in my warm outfit, so my time was 43m 18s

Strangely Appropriate Song On Shuffle:

The absolute crowd pleaser in the arena was Finland with the gloriously bonkers Cha Cha Cha


All my parkruns

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

Eurovision 2023

What a blast!

When Ukraine won in 2022, but were unable to host it, the UK, whose Sam Ryder had been runner up, took on the responsibility. The host city was declared as Liverpool, a good choice given its rich musical heritage. Having previously been able to attend the world’s greatest party in EuroViennaSlava, I was very excited to be able to attend this one.

It got off to a worrying start. The plane prices had been extortionate, so I was booked as a foot passenger on the 10.30 ferry from Belfast to Birkenhead. At 7.30 am I tried scheduling a taxi, but was unable to. At 7.45 I tried booking a cab for now, and kept getting automated messages saying “we’ve got your booking, thank you for your patience”. At 8.20 the cab company rang me to say they wouldn’t have anything for at least another 15 minutes, and did I want to cancel. The ferry had a 30 minute delay, which gave me a wee bit more time, but check in was due to close at 9.30. I grabbed my wheely suitcase and set of to speed walk to the train station a mile away, hoping to catch a fast train to Belfast and then pick up a taxi to the docks there. And as luck would have it, there is a taxi rank at the top of the hill, where a vacant cab was waiting. I explained the urgency of our mission, which the driver accepted, and we set off, both anxiously biting our nails in the slow moving rush hour traffic. But as we emerged from the Westlink at 9 o’clock, we knew we were going to make it OK. I’d had visions of me doing a Will Ferrell in Fire Saga and having to swim part of the way!

The boat was remarkably quiet. I’m familiar with the Scottish routes, which are usually packed and noisy, but when I secured a seat in the Hygge lounge I was the only person there! I broke the 8 hour journey up with reading my book, playing Scrabble online, doing a crossword, watching a movie in one of the ship’s 2 cinemas, taking a walk round the whole of the boat, enjoying a GnT from the bar while passing the Isle of Man, and discovering licorice flavoured Haribos in the shop.

As we glided onto the Birkenhead terminal, the familiar Liverpool skyline was clear on the other side of the Mersey, with a big Eurovision welcome banner, and bright lights shining from the Eurovillage stage. Former neighbours of mine, and fellow parkrunner, were to be my hosts for a few days, and they met me at the pick up point. We had a good catch up over a lovely dinner.

Thursday was semi-final day, and I had managed to get tickets for the afternoon preview show. I was dressed in tribute to last year’s winners, the Kalush Orchestra, and on the bus journey into town we played “spot the other Euroviz fans”. Liverpool had totally embraced its job as host city, with huge brightly coloured signs everywhere, lots of blue and yellow for the Ukrainian flag, pop up performances, Ukrainian songbirds, and volunteers ready to answer any question or take photos. We spotted radio star and Strictly contestant Ritchie Anderson, who was happy to pose for a picture with us, and said “loving the Kalush pink hat!”

A glass of fizz to get us in the mood by the waterfront, admiring the floating globe, and then we made our way to the queue at the arena. It didn’t take overly long to get through, with plenty of opportunity to admire the great costumes of other audience members.

And then we were in the arena. Gasps of wonder and astonishment at the sheer size of it and the amazing stage, plus pinching ourselves that were actually here! Previous Euro tunes kept the audience’s spirits up, with lots of singing along, and chatting to neighbours. A warm up man came out to go through housekeeping rules, and check that we were able to cheer loudly.

And then, the familiar Charpentier Te Deum began, with a shiver of excitement rippling throughout the hall. The presenters appeared and the dress rehearsal began. Each of the live shows has a number of full run-throughs, to allow all the camera positions to be checked, timing of bits in between songs, any interviews to be fine tuned, and other technical aspects to be tested. The stage was very shiny, with LED lights that could pin point where each artist was to be position. When one song ended, and the TV footage switched to the “postcards”, an army of stage crew appeared and cleared the stage of the previous performer’s props and staging, sweep the floor with at least 3 or 4 wide brooms, and get the next performance ready to go. It was a majorly impressive operation.

I’d already listened to all the of songs, so I knew which one was going to be my “toilet break” song. And after one particular number, (I’ll spare their blushes), I said “If that qualifies I will eat my pink bucket hat!” This semi finished with my own favourite, Australia’s Voyager fulfilling one of their own dreams. “Promise” is a proper stadium rock song with a synth-tastic 80s influence, complete with a keytar, and it proved to be a fittingly rousing way to round off the show

In the preview shows the voting is also rehearsed, with stand in crew in each of the green room pods, and fake results announced. We decided we would avoid the crowds and leave before these were complete, and on exiting the arena we were given a Moroccan Oil tote bag in fetching teal and white, containing a miniature hand cream and hair treatment. They are the main contest sponsors, and the bag will be a very useful beach bag.

Heading to the Eurovillage, there was quite a queue to get in, and as we entered the rain started, and there is nowhere to shelter. I was disappointed by the village – I know it had lots of great live performances throughout the week, but I’d expected more stalls from the participating countries, not just bars and burger vans. We took shelter in Mowgli, a great Indian street food restaurant, before making our way home in time to watch the semi live on TV.

On the Friday we took a break from Euroviz and headed to Chester for a lovely stroll around the walls, through the gardens, before lunch at the new Chester market (highly recommended) and a drink in a sunny beer garden. It was great to hear the Mersey Rail announcements being made by Graham Norton.

Saturday morning is parkrun, and I was delighted to tick off another event in the gorgeous Birkenhead Park. They had a suitable Eurovision them, with blue and yellow bunting at the finish line, and costumes/ blue’n’yellow encouraged. I gave the Kalush outfit another go to dry it out after Thursday’s drenching, but it was quite warm running in a hat and waistcoat.

For the evening Final, I’d brought several possible outfits with me, but eventually chose an all over sparkly sequinned top. We were watching a live screening at the Everyman Theatre, and the buzz walking through the city centre was incredible. A welcome glass of prosecco greeted us, before we took our seats for some pre-show entertainment, emceed by a drag queen. When she found out I’d been to the same ballet school as Dana, she dragged me onstage for an impromptu duet. (“Do you wanna see me dance?”) Other audience members performed karaoke of some Euroviz classics, and did rather well, I thought!

The class of 23 included some typically bonkers entries, the most outstanding of which was Cha Cha Cha from Finland. This was a HUGE crowd pleaser – the energy in the arena with every one chanting along was electric, and a few of us took to the stage to dance along with the moves during the performance.

We’d agreed to leave after all the songs had been performed, switch off all social media, beat the crowds home and then watch the results on catch-up TV. Much as I loved Finland, I was delighted for Sweden, joining Ireland as the most successful countries, and for Loreen to be the first woman to win the contest twice. Hey, last time I was at the contest in 2015, when Mans won for Sweden – maybe I am their lucky mascot! Do you think if I contacted them they would give me a VIP pass to Stockholm next year?

The boat home on Sunday was just as calm and uncrowded, I even treated myself to the Stena Plus lounge, which has snacks and drinks available all day.

Well done Liverpool, a host city which totally embraced the madness, providing lots of activities, pop up performances and things to enjoy even for those who hadn’t got tickets. You’ll never sing alone.

parkrun tourism: Portobello

parkrun #336 event#91

Reason for visit – celebrating the centenary of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society! The www. is headquartered in Edinburgh, and was holding a fabulous Ball in the Assembly Rooms.


My journey to the city was, as usual, fraught with difficulties. I’d originally booked with FlyBe, about 2 days before they went into administration. So I rebooked with Easyjet going out, and Ryanair coming back. And then Ryanair cancelled THAT flight. So, feeling a bit guilty about my carbon footprint, I booked myself onto the rail-and-sail option. Except there were road closures just north of Cairnryan, and the long diversion meant that my bus was just pulling up to the ferry terminal as the boat was setting off. Note to travellers, there is NOTHING to see or do at Cairnryan, so make sure you have a book or magazine, and a handy snack, just in case.

I was staying at the Premier Hub just behind Waverley Station, which was a good central location. I did take a taxi to the parkrun to make sure I got to the right place on time (not always an infallible plan, see parkrun tourism: Beeston). And I got to Figgate Park in plenty of time to have a wander and try to take some photos, though my phone camera was playing up. Remember that Scottish parkruns start at 9-30! It was simple enough to find a bus to take me back to the city afterwards.


The course is all on tarmac paths, 3 laps of the rather linear shaped park around the lake and burn. No hills to speak of. Volunteers hold up expected finish times at the start line, so that some self seeding takes place as it is quite narrow.


There were 2 other cow cowl wearers, so we had fun comparing stories and adventures. The RD for the day was originally from Belfast – bout ye! A couple of buggies and dogs weaved their way through the youngish crowd.


I didn’t have headphones with me, so I was using a rough guide to “walk a minute, run a minute” by counting to 60 (for the runny bits) and to 30 (for walking), in English, French, Spanish and German. And I skip-changed over the finish line at just over 47 minutes.


It was a dreich morning, so my MVP was my world tourist rainproof jacket, a lovely turquoise layer that handily folds into its own pocket and clips around the waist. It also provides a good talking point. I was very glad I had gloves and a headband, and my winter trousers which have an extra bit at the front of the thighs for warmth. I wore my Saucony trainers – road shoes for this one.


There are NO loos in the park, so make sure you go before you leave. The nearest cafes are on the charming promenade, where I tucked into a haggis roll and an Irish cream latte from the Crumbs kiosk. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see, with dogs cavorting up and down, living their best life.

And the rest:

The whole weekend was rather splendid, travel woes aside. It did mean I could carry home my limited edition centenary bottle of scotch. And my feet have just about recovered from 2 evenings of dancing to some fabulous live music, with friends from all over the world.

All my parkruns:

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

parkrun tourism: Beeston

parkrun#335 event#90

Reason for visit – the fabulous Jemima Brown in the premiere of Surge!

I’d originally hoped to do Wollaton Hall, being walking distance from the hotel where I was staying on the Nottingham University campus. But it was cancelled this week (tourist tip – check the volunteer roster in advance), and Beeston was the next closest.


My journey had been fraught with difficulties. I’d booked flights to East Midlands with Fly Be, 2 days before they went into administration. So rebooked with Easyjet going via Birmingham, which is a good couple of hours away by in. I asked the hotel to book me a taxi, and watched them write “Weir Fields Playing Grounds” on a post it note, But when I got out where the taxi stopped and looked around I could tell I wasn’t in the right spot. The sign said “Beeston Playing Fields”, which was a very small pitch with little signs of life. I checked google maps which told me the location I wanted was a mile and a half away, estimating a 49 minute walk. And it was already 8.20! I could have cried. But instead I jog-walked in the direction I needed, hoping that at least I could play “catch the tail walker”. As 9 o clock loomed I could see a few other runners, and finally the welcome sight of a marshall, and I managed to join the throng just before the start whistle went.

What Three Words – Quick Flood Fits is the bridge crossing the canal to the car park.

The train station is a bit closer than the tram stop, but both are still a good distance away. The parkrun page gives details of other buses nearby.


Today we ran the alternative course, starting at the pavilion, along the canal and round in a big loop, before a final out and back and a little circuit on grass. The terrain was quite muddy, trail shoes might be an option particularly if it has been raining. No hills to speak of.


There were 300 ish that day – some were surprised it wasn’t more given that there were 2 cancellations of other local events. I fell in with a great bunch of women who scooped me up doing “walk a minute run a minute”, and we chatted our way around, discussing dogs, dancing and touring. I even made the run report!

I saw a couple of other cow buffs, but didn’t get a chance to say hi. There were a few runners with dogs and buggies.


I wore my leggings with pockets (good for holding hotel key), With Me Now top, and cow cowl. Cracker, my squirrel mascot, came attached to my running belt. Blue hokkas – since I would have to wear them on the plane tomorrow I was trying NOT to get them too wet or dirty….


The “jeffing” approach of walk-run resulted in a time of 45 minutes, which I was happy enough with.

Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:

I had an earworm of Angelica singing “I came all this way!” from Hamilton as I made my way to the start. I had my bone conductor headphones with me, and was having a first listen through the songs for this year’s Eurovision. I always try to do this initial hearing without knowing which country they are from. So expect the usual madness with unicorns, watergun, Mama driving a tractor (?), something VERY French (tout le monde, mon sac a main), and a jaunty saxophone. Oh, and Edgar Allen Poe.


The car park gets very busy, particularly if there are other activities taking place.

There’s a toilet block by the pavilion.

And a very cute cafe serving crumpets, toast with marmite, bacon butties and a tempting selection of cakes. I couldn’t resist the cheese scones, just out of the oven.

And the rest:

Well Jemima was just brilliant, I was delighted I could be there from the premiere. I managed to get dancing with Nottingham RSCDS on the Saturday night, and J took me for Mothers Day brunch at Browns on the Sunday morning. Just the perfect weekend!

All my parkruns:

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

parkrun tourism: Salisbury

parkrun#334 event#89

One of the nicest reasons to indulge in a bit of tourism – visiting my first grandchild!

Getting There:

Salisbury itself is not the easiest city to get to from Norn Irn. Bristol airport is a good hour and a half away, with trains about once an hour. Southampton airport is a bit closer, but much more expensive. We stayed in the Qudos hotel in the centre, about 20 minutes walk or 5 minutes by car.

The postcode given on the parkrun site is for the building opposite the park, so be prepared to ignore your sat nav once you can see the car park at Churchill Gardens. There’s a good amount of parking (though I wonder what next week’s event no 333 Nelson number will attract!), but a very narrow height barrier to get through.


There’s a toilet block by the car park. A coffee cart used to be available, maybe it will be there in the summer months. Lots of play areas for family and spectators to amuse themselves.


On the plus side, it’s pretty flat, and good tarmac all the way. On the minus side it’s a spur to the perimeter and then FOUR laps. So keep counting. It is also quite close to running water, and can be prone to flooding, so do check for the latest updates.


Great friendly bunch of volunteers! The tailwalkers were wearing dinosaur tails, and one marshall had a selection of running music to keep us all motivated.


I was in my new leggings wot have pocketses, so I carried my phone in there, and listened to the latest “With Me Now” podcast on my bone conductor headphones. I wore my WMN top and cow cowl, but didn’t see any other obvious tourists. I wasn’t wearing a smart watch, so I wasn’t keeping an eye on my time.


I’m still not managing to get to training sessions, so this is the only running I do, and a time of 41-49 was what I was expecting. Hey, I could well be back in the future, so always leave yourself the chance to get a PB on a repeat visit!

Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:

I am now a fan of listening to podcasts while I run, as it can really take your mind off the pain of running. WMN is of course a great soundtrack, but I’ve also been enjoying Dr Xand’s investigation into ultra processed foods (UPFs).

Post run:

We enjoyed a fabulous full fry at Carwardrine’s cafe in town. Great friendly service, highly recommended.

And the rest:

It’s a beautiful part of the world to spend a few days.

Thatched roofs decorated with animals, and I managed to achieve a bucket list item of seeing Stonehenge. Salisbury cathedral is definitely worth a visit too, highest spire in GB, for useful quiz knowledge!

All my parkruns

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

The year in parkrun – 2022

After “The Great Pause” it took a while for running events including parkrun to get back up again. And after I’d done The London Marathon last year as part of my 60th birthday celebrations, I half-jokingly said I was never running again. Aditionally, as part of the team getting Hillsborough Forest parkrun started, I felt committed to giving a good percentage of my time and energy to volunteering. Given all that, my stats for the year are not too shabby!

I managed 29 parkruns (including quite a few as tailwalker)

I volunteered 47 times (that includes Juniors). And one memorable Junior day when the locks on the shed containing all the equipment had been changed, I made sure the event could go ahead by cunningly fashioning position tokens out of scraps of paper.

I tourist volunteered at Crystal Palace Juniors.

I ran my 300th parkrun (arbitrary), and gave the pre-run brief in the style of Baby Shark (sorry notsorry ’bout the earworm)

I regained Norn Irn Regionnaire status completing Derrynoid Forest parkrun, Dunleath Playing Fields parkrun and parkrun tourism: Limepark Playing Fields

I also touristed at parkrun tourism: Lymington Woodside where I got to run with my son,

parkrun tourism: Eastbourne, the new must-do in Edinburgh, parkrun tourism: Holyrood, and the 5 lapper in London that’s relatively easy to get to, one stop from Kings Cross, parkrun tourism: Highbury Fields

And of course completed the alphabet at Zuiderpark parkrun

This takes me to 88 venues, so one big aim for 2023 will be to attain full Cowell of 100.

I co-ordinated the NI leg of UK parkrun tourist day at Knockbracken Reservoir.

I tail-walked on Christmas Day as Mrs Claus

My fastest time this year was 38-50, one of my slowest years ever. But y’know what? There’s more to parkrun than running.

Here’s to 2023!

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

The King and I

The passing of Her Majesty Elizabeth II shook us all, even though we knew she was 96 and had been looking frail for some time. “London Bridge” was the code name for the various protocols and actions that were to begin on her passing, but as she was in Scotland it was “Operation Unicorn”. And as I was to find out, in Northern Ireland we had “Operation Shamrock”.

She died on a Thursday, and I was already planning to travel to London on the Friday, having got tickets for 2 shows including one starring my daughter. Lots of events were being postponed or cancelled, such as the football, so I wasn’t totally sure whether theatres would be affected. But I went to the capital anyway.

I managed to run a parkrun parkrun tourism: Highbury Fields on the Saturday morning, though some parkruns were cancelled either as a mark of respect or because geographically there would be traffic and parking issues. But as I was chatting to some other parkrunners we agreed it was important to keep some semblance of routine and normality, in this strangest of weeks. Over lunch with my daughter, I asked what changes they had made to her show. “Oh” she said, “we had a 2 minute silence and then sang The Song.”

“The Song?” I queried, “Do you mean the national anthem?”

“Yes, the one about the king!” she replied. To be fair, we are all still trying to get used to the unfamiliar words.

I flew home on the Sunday, and early on Monday morning I was checking up on emails, including the account for Chairman of RSCDS Belfast. And I let out a cry of horror, as I had missed a number of important messages from the Northern Ireland Office, inviting me to a special service of reflection on the Tuesday, but replies had been due by 9pm on the Sunday. I cried even louder when my husband reminded me that Tuesday was the day that the new King Charles III would be in town. But I submitted an apologetic email requesting if possible to be added to the guest list. And to my delight I received an acceptance a few hours later! I fair skipped around the kitchen whooping with delight.

But what to wear? My work colleagues always used to joke that I had a frock for every occasion – so here was a real test of my wardrobe. I tried on an asymmetric hemmed black dress – too tight. Navy drawstring waist from White Stuff? Too casual. Dark blue twist waist? Too short. And then at the back of the cupboard I spotted one I’d bought from Joe Browns a while back, but had never worn. Black tafetta with just a hint of red tartan, and long sleeves. (Probably why I hadn’t worn it as I don’t like dancing in long sleeves). Black jacket with little RSCDS brooch, and we were nearly there. Then I discovered I had no black handbag, and all my black shoes were very casual. So I made a quick last minute dash to M&S for a neat bag that I could tuck under an arm, and flat shoes with a little bow.

On the Tuesday morning I pressed the frock, and took my time doing my makeup before heading to the Eikon centre, where we would collect our invitations before being bussed into Belfast.

There were a large number of invited guests, many wearing medals or chains of office. There was tea, coffee, sandwiches and shortbread. I chatted to chef Paula MacIntyre, who is a regular customer at my sister’s farm shop, and to a former Head of the Civil Service. We shared tales about our dogs and how much we are enjoying retirement. I said hello to former colleagues from the field of integrated education, and to representatives of the girl guides.

Around the table I asked who else had made that dash to Marksies for a bag, and many hands went up. We checked we had all the essentials in the bags – spare tights, sucky sweets, tissues.

Then we formed a good-natured queue to get on the bus, where I met some folk from the dental association. Once off the bus there was a serious level of security check to pass through, understandably.

At St Annes Cathedral, there was a crowd forming behind the barriers, and television crews everywhere.

Inside the cathedral, staff with “shamrock” lanyards showed us to our seats, where there was an order of service, decorated with a black ribbon. I watched the other dignitaries entering. There’s Dame Mary Peters (very tall), and health minister Robin Swan (very short). Oh there’s Irish President Michael D Higgins (even shorter), and our new PM Liz Truss.

Cameras on booms glided overhead as the TV teams worked out the best angles.

We were asked to switch off our mobile phones, and no photos to be taken during the service. I knew the King had already had a busy schedule this morning, and I wasn’t expecting things to begin on schedule. But at about 5 to 3 we heard a loud cheer from the crowd outside, indicating their majesties’ arrival, and bang on 3 pm the buglers sounded their heralding welcome. A procession of church dignitaries began their slow march up the centre, and then our first glimpse of the King and Queen consort.

The service was beautifully crafted, with readings and prayers shared between leaders of the main faiths, the Duke of Edinburgh youth ambassador, and the Assembly speaker. The sermon was very poignant, highlighting her late Majesty’s important role in reconciliation on this island. I wiped away a tear during the Nunc Dimittis, and found the final hymn to the tune of The Londonderry Air very moving. But singing God Save The King, while he was there in the same building, was a really special moment that I will treasure for years to come. At least the words were printed in the booklet, so we all managed to get the correct he/him/his/King.

As they walked out of the cathedral, the King was on my side of the aisle, and he caught my eye as he passed, and I smiled and bowed my head.

After a little wait for the buses to return we all piled back on. I seemed to end up in a bus with most of the DUP on board, but we were all in jovial spirits, passing polo mints around and waving out the window to the crowds.

Once back home, I was able to re-watch some of the footage, and shout “there’s me!” at intervals, and one of my very sharp-eyed friends even managed to get a few pictures of me. Apparently I looked deep in thought during the sermon, and was spotted singing in the final hymn.

It was a real honour to represent the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, of which the late Queen was patron, at such a moving and respectful service.

parkrun tourism: Highbury Fields

parkrun #319 event #88

Reason for visit – Jemima starring at Sadlers Wells! Oh, and I got to see Hamilton while I was there also….


Normally when I’m visiting Jem we sit on Friday nights trying to match nearby parkruns with route maps, and they can be quite lengthy and complicated. This time I was staying in the Travelodge Royal Scot, where I could see St Pancras out my hotel window.

Highbury and Islington is one stop on the Victoria line, and the course is only 200m from the station! Definitely one of the easiest London ones to get to by public transport.


No gonna lie, it’s 5 laps. Mostly on tarmac footpaths, with any obstacles such as “mud corner” marshalled or coloured coned. Starts and finishes on grass, and there’s a designated baggage area. It does go up a slight hill (I was tempted to do a Crocodile Dundee-esque “Call that a hill?”), before a slight meandering path at the top of the park, (no short cuts across the grass!) and then a delightful gentle downhill section. For those at the back of the pack like me, you will be lapped a few times, but the last couple of laps will be quieter and less crowded.


Start and finish is at the same spot, so there’s always someone around near the bag drop. There is a 20p public loo, I asked politely and was allowed to use the ones in the little leisure centre. Plenty of cafes around for parkfaffing – I had to get back and changed as I had a whole day of theatre-going ahead of me. And a snigger-worthy pub.


It was just after the death of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, so I wore my black 100 volunteer shirt. (I did see someone in a rarely spotted 250 vol one). Skirty leggings, cow cowl, and zippy belt. Sadly, when I got back to the tube station, my debit card was missing, must have fallen out of the zippy belt while I was taking photos. I was quite glad of the short lap, as I retraced my steps, but to no avail. I wore my Saucony shoes – the What Shoes spreadsheet does suggest road shoes, though the wet grass bits can be slippy.


Having beaten the slugs at (S)Limefield and Knockbraken, this time the slugs beat me!

A few tourists chatted to me having spotted the cowl, and there plenty of cheery volunteers.


My reported time was 38 minutes, which frankly I don’t believe. But the official result is the official one, so I’ll take it! I wasn’t wearing a sports watch so I can’t corroborate, but it would be the first sub 40 in quite some time if it’s correct.

Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:

I wasn’t listening to any music or podcasts- running on busy public footpaths I like to be fully aware of my surroundings. Over the weekend, though, we had several renditions of God Save The King, which we are all trying to get used to.

And the Rest:

Jemima was – of course – amazing! And I got to meet up with my best friend and her husband, and my cousin and his wife, so we had quite a fan club for her.

Hamilton was just mind blowing, so much happens on stage that it’s hard to take it all in.

All my parkruns:

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list

Fast 800-4-1 Week 6

A weeks worth of recipes for those following the Fast 800 plan, but just cooking for one.

Note: I don’t eat meat, but I do eat fish, eggs and dairy. Recipes from the Fast 800 books referenced if appropriate.


Out for lunch so I had no breakfast. Made a good choice and had the tomato and burrata salad, which was delcious.

Lighter meal for dinner, courgette soup based on Blue p53, but I used chilli instead of curry powder, and also added some peas and spinach.


Small piece of cheese mid morning.

Lunch was mackerel pate on cucumber slices (red p97). Rest of the Pate kept over for another day.

Dinner Mediterranean fish (sea bass) bake (red 117, I did the quantity for 2, but just one fish, and kept the leftover veg for later.


Scrambled eggs in large mushrooms. I did 2 large eggs and 2 small mushrooms, so the proportions were a bit off! I added a splodge of creme fraiche for added creaminess. I also did these in the microwave, as I’m trying to avoid using the oven for just one item. Do the mushrooms first for about 90 seconds, then do the eggs before piling them into the mushrooms.

Lunch down town – Yo Sushi is a good choice, I had miso soup, seaweed salad and salmon nigiri.

Dinner – steamed sea bass with ginger and lime. Based on the recipe in the original small book ( p226) which uses haddock. Very easy to do this for one, I served it with steamed green beans and broccoli rice.


Boiled egg for breakfast, did a couple of extras to have to hand. Lunch courgette soup with pepper mackerel pate on cucumber rounds.

Dinner – Prawn nasi goreng, red book p129, no picture in book. This is one of my favourites, a huge plate of food for 350 calories.


Breakfast – overnight chia pot with kefir yoghurt, blackberries and walnuts. I make up a double portion to do 2 days.

Lunch – quorn pieces with the leftover Med Veg from Monday as a cold salad, which worked really well.

Dinner – Japanese omelette (BSD p55), a lovely and simple omelette variations with pickled sushi ginger and spring onions.


Rest of the chia pot for breakfast.

For lunch I made smoked mackerel and mushroom fritatta from the BSD book. Recipe serves 2 so I ate half, and then kept 2 quarters for upcoming breakfasts.

Dinner – fish curry, blue p111, no picture. Recipe serves 4, I halved it, did one fish, and kept the leftover curry sauce for another day.


Smoked mackerel fritatta 1/4 for breakfast, then the mini portobello pizzas (blue 78) for lunch.

Dinner was a huge stirfry with quorn pieces, onion, pepper, courgette, and bean sprouts, always a good way to add in more protein and crunch.

Previous weeks menus:

Fast 800-4-1 week 5

Fast 800-4-1: Week 1

Fast800-4-1 week 2

F800-4-1 week 3

Fast 800-4-1 week 4

parkrun tourism: Lymington Woodside

parkrun #317 event #87

Reason for visit – meeting my new grand-dog, the bestest boy, Apollo!


In the lovely village of Lymington, Woodside Gardens in a short walk from the centre. Nearest train station is 2km away. I was staying in the New Wheel Inn, about 3 km away, and took a taxi. There are a couple of car parks, though they fill up quickly, and one has a height barrier.


Runners meet at the pavilion, where there are loos, and also a café that opens at 9.


The terrain is quite mixed, partly grass, partly tarmac. around the playing fields and the gorgeous gardens. It’s one small and two larger laps, and a bit confusing, but well signposted and marshalled at all corners. My only problem was that after getting scanned, the faster runners congregate on the path in front of the pavilion…..while slower runners are still trying to get through on their last lap.


I saw a couple of other cow cowls, but didn’t get a chance to say Hi. The tail-walker caught up with me after the previous slowest person dropped out, and he and I just chatted as we walked the last wee bit. But of course the most important for me was my son, who I rarely get a chance to run with, and newest family addition, Apollo. He’s too young to run just yet, but I’ve no doubt he will be a great canine competitor in time.


Since I’d stopped to take photos, and then walked with the tail, I knew it would be slow, and I was happy enough with a 46 mins.


Sauconys, skirty leggings, WMN top, cow cowl and headband. Cracker came with me for the ride.

Strangely Appropriate Song on Shuffle:

I was listening to the With Me Now podcast, which was describing the idyllic sounding North Yorkshire Waterpark – definitely one for the bucket list!

And the rest:

I had a great time catching up with family, Lymington is a lovely sport with a busy harbour, and a market on on Saturdays. We had really nice coffee and brunch the dog-friendly Bohemia cafe. Later we visited Bournemouth and took a boat trip, I went on the helter skelter, we had ice creams and then went to Poole for fish and chips.

All my parkruns:

NI (and other) parkruns: summary list