Now I’ve said it…..

…….I’ll have to do it. Our boys got promotion yesterday and so I will have to walk to Ventnor. Already making plans, 15 miles to Pompey on the Thursday, ferry to Ryde on Friday morning, then around 14 miles to somewhere near Ventnor on the Friday, before the match on the Saturday. Cunning plan this one, so that I won’t have to get up so early on the Saturday morning. Early mornings are certainly not me since my Home Office commuting to London days where I usually took the 6:50 train from Southampton Parkway (occasionally the 5:58!).

So not quite the challenge that I had earlier this year, but it will certainly evoke memories. Wondering whether to walk back as well, staying in Ventnor on the Saturday, walk to Ryde on the Sunday and then ferry and walk back from Pompey on the Monday. Determined not to become the millionth person to cite the Beatles number one hit that a number of wags seem to think is the most original joke to wheel out every time they travel to that certain place on the Isle of Wight. Or probably the two millionth by now.

So I’d better at least try to get a little bit fit again and so had an afternoon and early evening 13 miles today. No ill effects (yet) but I am gradually feeling the strength coming back into my legs. Of course, I had yesterday’s very fresh in the mind memories to provide a real spring in the step, and a very good workout on a warm afternoon, proudly wearing my Sarisbury fleece, and there was plenty of sweat to be had out there. I just hope that when the time comes for the Ventnor Adventure (which has a sort of a ring to it), it’s neither during a heatwave, nor a monsoon that will have the match called off, given I will book accommodation very much in advance in order to cut down costs. The fixtures don’t come out for a wee while yet, but as soon as they do…………..

Are there any Antarcticans out there?

As I said in a previous post, I can get stats on country of origin, i.e. from which country views come. No surprise to see UK in 1st! But I would like to cover the whole world. So if you do travel abroad, please have a view, especially if you visit a country that is not on this list. I will endeavour to view from Luxembourg when I visit during September and when we are cruising in the Mediterranean in late September / early October.

I would just love views from the following in particular: China, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Greenland and, especially, Antarctica. That would just be the pinnacle. Thanks, guys. Here’s the current table:

Country Views
United Kingdom 21,861
New Zealand 258
United States 227
France 87
Switzerland 75
Australia 70
Ireland 68
Saint Helena 38
Canada 31
Malta 12
Ukraine 12
Zambia 11
Italy 11
India 8
Bulgaria 8
Germany 8
Greece 6
Spain 6
United Arab Emirates 5
Czech Republic 5
Guernsey 5
Georgia 5
Portugal 4
Netherlands 3
Japan 3
Croatia 3
Brazil 3
Belgium 3
Bermuda 2
South Africa 2
Jersey 2
Thailand 2
Viet Nam 1
Venezuela 1
Argentina 1
Oman 1
Egypt 1
Tunisia 1
Mexico 1
Russian Federation 1
Norway 1
Indonesia 1
Isle of Man 1
Turkey 1
Pakistan 1
Israel 1
Republic of Korea 1
Sweden 1
Singapore 1
Serbia 1
Malaysia 1
Ecuador 1
Saudi Arabia 1
Algeria 1
Armenia 1
Poland 1

 

Search terms shocker!

A stop at the normal coffee shop and a normal large skinny latte. I’ve had that before with vanilla, and with caramel, and with cinnamon, and today I tried with gingerbread. Horrible, back to vanilla or caramel next time.

Some interesting stats from my blog in that I am still getting around 10 views per day, and this rises to 20 or 25 on the days I do post. I can also get other facts, and the ones I am interested in are the countries of origin for views and, in particular, if viewers have used internet search terms and come across my blog. Months ago, there were plenty of ones like “spiceboy lands end to John o groats” and “Keith Spicer long walk” clearly from people searching for this blog. However, as there are now almost 300 posts, slightly less predictable search terms are being employed. “50 sex” and “girl lapdancer in Southampton” were both listed quite recently as search terms that found my blog, hitting a much different target than the viewer maybe anticipated. But at least they did read at least one post. I could see which post titles they found!

Anyway, tonight, another 7 miles. Normal sort of road route. Starting to feel a bit fit again. I will never be as fit as I was in March and April, but that was a once in a lifetime experience, a once in a lifetime feeling.

Is that a Mr Knight-Swain-Hardyman-Dillon-Blake-Gilbert-O’Callaghan-Kennedy-Mariner-Quinn-Hilaire out there? Give it time.

Back to Sunday afternoon walking and a step up, no pun intended, well actually it was very intended, to double figures again. You notice that when people do use that phrase – no pun intended – it is very rarely true, and that they are just saying it to make sure that you did notice the pun. I’m struggling with my walking boots, since they feel a bit tight, and I wasn’t comfortable in setting out for a medium distance walk with them, nervous about getting blisters or sore toes. So the running shoes again – and about the limit I set for those is not much more than the 12 miles I put in today.

A stop at a coffee house and a read of one of the Sunday papers. The sports section, naturally. One thing I noticed, and I have noticed this before, is the growth in the number of players with double-barrelled names. Mendez-Laing, Wright-Phillips, Taylor-Fletcher, John-Lewis, Mackail-Smith, even without thinking for more than a minute after returning home. This certainly also reflects society, partly a rise in divorce but also a trend for married women to keep their maiden name as well as taking their married name. There have always been double-barrelled names in cricket at all levels for years even before an even newer trend of men now taking their wife’s maiden name.

How long until one of their children marries and then has a triple-barrelled name, or if there is a marriage between two people both with double-barrelled names that spawn a quadruple-barrelled name? Where could this all stop? It would be great if a family could take this on as a project, selecting marriage partners on the basis of their name so as to try and make up a sentence, or even a whole story. In a hundred million years time, as long as the sun doesn’t crash into the Earth in the meantime, there may be someone out there with the entire text of War and Peace as their surname. As a start though, why couldn’t football fans of a club get together to build an iconic team? This would obviously start with Mr Jennings marrying Miss Kinnear, Mr Clemence marrying Miss Neal, Mr Seaman marrying Miss Dixon. A bit more tricky if you’re looking toward more modern teams, and you need a Mr Cech and a Miss Azpilicueta, or a Miss Zabaletta to go with your Mr Hart. Ok, it’s a rubbish idea, but it’s a bit more genuine than naming your (future long-suffering) child after the whole of your favourite team.

So 12 miles. That provided sufficient thinking time for me to come up with that stuff. Hopefully a regular sort of Sunday distance from now on.

7 going on 7 and a bit

Another 7 miles, just over 7 actually, even though I had forgotten to change into walking socks after rushing home from work at 5pm. The socks are important, don’t laugh, since they support and protect those parts of the feet that are most vulnerable to blisters. I certainly wouldn’t be wanting to walk more than about 10 miles in ‘normal’ socks. The weather was just right for an evening stroll, at a reasonable pace, quicker than a stroll actually, through a route through the back streets of Sarisbury, Locks Heath and then Segensworth. Cool enough for me to don a thin hoodie and build up a decent sweat.

Spent a long time last night reading posts from my long walk. I could really put myself back in that time, amazed that I could keep going at 15-20 miles day after day after day. This week, I did finally have that day at work when nobody mentioned my walk! But it was back to normal today with three people mentioning it, one only seconds after I was getting out of my car. I do wonder sometimes whether people at work will ultimately remember me for walking rather than disclosure control!

Considering a walk on Sunday, perhaps slightly longer. Might even get back into double figures. Depends on how I feel – I’ve had a slight cold for most of this week and pretty much lost my voice on Wednesday / Thursday. Back now to about 80% and ready for cricket tomorrow. Lucky that I’m scoring and not commentating.

 

Purposeful

Purposeful. Yes, that’s the word. 7 miles. And I was in the zone. All I could think about the whole way was cricket. Sometimes football.

I really did need this walk. Have felt under the weather for a couple of days and have a bit of a sore throat. I started walking just before 6pm and it immediately started spitting, then drizzling, then raining a bit. Never too heavy but sufficient for me to put my hood up on my waterproof jacket. Once the rain ceased, I kept the jacket on and built up a bit of a sweat, but really kept up a decent stride for the entire walk, except for the 20 minutes when I stopped for a, yes you guessed it, a skinny latte with vanilla, no, caramel it was this time. So a finish at about 8:10 having skirted round Locks Heath, Holiday Inn roundabout, Segensworth Road and then close to Swanwick Station before shifting back up to Sarisbury was pretty good and, er, sweaty. I know, I know, it wasn’t exactly scenic for a lot of the time, it wasn’t the New Forest, the Serengetti, Michu Pachu or even Machu Pichu, but it’s difficult to go too far after work without leaving unreasonably early. 7 miles on the road will do for me at the moment.

The cricket, yes, ok. A dramatic Saturday was like that time when you’ve given up on anything interesting happening and then the terrace rumour sweeps around the ground that your rivals are losing, and suddenly winning that game became the most important thing in the world, just for an hour or so. Let the drama continue on the next two Saturdays. Liphook away this week – need a routine win there with, actually, no more drama.

That still don’t impress me much, but it made me laugh

A day of two halves, to coin a phrase. For most of the working day, I was as grumpy as Grumpy on a trip to Grumpyville while the other six dwarfs went out clubbing with Snow White. Without naming names, there are just a couple of people making some of my working life a bit difficult for me. The chances are, if you are reading this, that it isn’t you because neither of them are on Facebook, as far as I am aware, and I don’t believe they see my blog. But I shan’t risk getting into trouble by naming them. It’s not just that, though – I’ve barely had a day off since my long walk and even an afternoon off to go to cricket a few weeks back led to a not altogether enjoyable match.

Looking out of the window during the afternoon and seeing slate grey skies and the rain pouring down, my plans for an evening walk appeared to be scuppered. But by 5pm it looked a little clearer and I set off at about 5:45 and, even with a stop of almost half an hour in Locks Heath Centre, managed a Google Maps estimated 6.6 miles by just after 8pm. It felt great to walk in conditions that were not at all close and with no significant threat of rain, though there a few spots from what appeared to be an absolutely clear sky. It was a real purposeful pace too that felt like it was doing me some good.

It might not be so exhilarating tomorrow evening when I travel up to Bristol to deliver one of our famed disclosure control courses on the Wednesday. Hopefully there won’t be hoards of Oxford United fans milling about when I reach Bristol Temple Meads at 18:49. Hopefully just bunches, because bunches are surely smaller than hoards.

Finally, I noticed that I had had 9 views of my blog today, from 5 different countries. Amusingly, at least one of those had emanated from the search term “where is there bad grammar in “that don’t impress me much” “, and clearly had found a very old entry that related to the Shania Twain song getting stuck in my head. See https://spiceboy80.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/that-dont-impress-me-much/. Made me laugh a lot inside, if only not to hear that song again.