Phone Box Thursday: A68, Bonjedward

Here’s another phone box that Mum and Dad found in southern Scotland!

Blue phone box
Blue phone box, A68, Bonjedward, 5th September 2021.

(Coordinates 55°50’37.4″N, 2°54’56.6″W.)

If you move up and down the road on the Street View image linked above, you can see the phone box change back and forth from blue to red as the pictures update! I love a repainted phone box, and blue seems to be a very popular colour for them.

Interestingly this one has got a working phone inside, which is unusual for a repainted example!

Another Scottish box next week.

Race Review: Great North Run 2021

It was so great to be back yesterday after last year’s virtual version!

It wasn’t a fully normal GNR. Due to various issues such as the Tyne and Wear Metro not wanting tens of thousands of people crowding onto the Metro in South Shields after the race, the course was changed so that instead of running to South Shields, we all turned back at the halfway point and returned to Newcastle. To avoid the usual crowding, we were also all set off in waves, with the elite wheelchair athletes setting off at 9:15am and the last of the mass runners not starting till after 1pm, so it really was a full-day event (especially for the spectators and volunteers, who all did brilliantly – the charity cheering points were still in full voice when I was going round between 11ish and 2ish!).

The expectation is that things will be fully back to normal next year. However, I am so glad that it was able to go ahead this year, even in an altered form, and in some ways there were a few advantages – due to Geth being allocated a slightly later wave than me, I was able to wave to him when he overtook me at three miles and again when I spotted him going the other way on the out-and-back at about five and a half miles, whereas we don’t see each other en route at all when it’s the normal course. It was also nice to be able to walk home from the finish on the Town Moor rather than having to queue for the Metro!

Red Arrows
It was amazing to see the Red Arrows again while waiting on the start line! They had to miss the 2019 race due to other commitments, so it’s been three years since we last saw them.

There were some tough uphills in the ‘unknown’ section (the last part of the run around central Gateshead and Newcastle), but I had expected that, knowing the area, and due to my slow plodding pace I didn’t really mind them (I’ve been doing a lot of hills in my marathon training so it was fine). I knew as soon as I saw them that Geth wouldn’t have liked them, though, which was confirmed by him complaining about them for the rest of the day!

I was about half an hour slower than my half marathon PB, but that’s just the way it is at the moment – marathon training has slowed my pace right down, and given that getting round London is my main goal for this season, it wasn’t the right time to race a half marathon properly. I’ll stick to spring marathons in the future so that I can tackle the GNR at full speed in future years! However, because of all the postponements from last year, races just had to fall where they fell this year rather than me planning out the season as I usually would. I’m just grateful to have them back at the moment.

Back to South Shields next year, which I’m sure will be just as much of a return party as yesterday was!

And in the meantime, for me, onwards to London…

parkrunday: Jesmond Dene #30

It’s the Great North Run tomorrow so I opted to volunteer at parkrun in order to save my energy. It was a busy one at Jesmond Dene, as expected, as (a) the GNR is setting up on the Town Moor for the special COVID course, meaning that Town Moor parkrun was off today; (b) there are thousands of running tourists in town for the aforementioned GNR, many of whom would be looking for a pre-GNR parkrun; and (c) lots of those tourists would be naturally drawn to Jesmond Dene as it provides a rare opportunity to collect a parkrun beginning with J (yes, alphabet-hunting is a thing in the parkrun universe).

It seemed like it all went okay though! The core team were very well prepared and marshalling at the lap split point was really fun. A few people got confused but everyone ended up on the right path for the lap they were doing at the time!

Geth was marshalling too (also saving energy) and so this morning’s run took the form of a nice slow jog to the volunteer meeting point.

parkrun volunteering

I was also pleased that the weather was nice today, unlike the previous two occasions I’ve volunteered at Jesmond Dene since the restart!

Back to Town Moor next week, hopefully sporting a brand new GNR finisher T-shirt…

Settling into the autumn

The next week or so is quite busy with running events and gigs. I’m excited for all of it! And also for next weekend when I will return to my regularly scheduled dozing. The return to near-normality is nice but it can feel a little overwhelming to be suddenly doing All The Things.

The strange brief heatwave that made its way through the UK this week only showed its face in Newcastle on Wednesday, and that was quite enough for me. I’m done with hot weather now! Looking forward to cooler conditions for autumn running. It’s meant to be 13°C and cloudy on Sunday for the GNR and I really hope the forecast is right.

I made a decision earlier this week that I wouldn’t do the 22-mile run I’d scheduled for this week and would instead treat my 18-miler from a couple of weeks ago as my longest long run for the marathon. My body is telling me very loudly that a five-week taper is more likely to get me to the start line in one piece than a three-week taper, so I’m going to listen to it. I’ve got the GNR (13.1 miles) on Sunday, will do either eight or six miles next Thursday depending on how I’m feeling post-race, and six the week after, then a nice ten-day period of only doing mile-and-a-half streak savers and slow gentle parkruns leading up to the marathon. Fingers crossed it will all go according to plan.

This time next week I am hoping to report back on a slow but enjoyable GNR completion, two very long-awaited concerts, and the bulk of a game coded!

Black cat
Last week’s photo of next door’s cat. He sneaked in as usual while our groceries were being delivered and looked so comfy I let him stay for an hour or so!

This week’s earworm playlists:


Republica – ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’


The Beatles – ‘Hey Jude’
Tom Jones – ‘Delilah’


Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Town’


Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Town’


Boston – ‘More Than A Feeling’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’


Girls Aloud – ‘Something New’*


The Human League – ‘Being Boiled’

*RIP Sarah Harding.

One year, eight months, eight days…

…before I broke my New Decade Resolution 😬

I suppose that’s not horrible.

I said at the start of 2020 that I was going to spend the whole of the decade Not Buying Shoes (other than running shoes, which need to be replaced often due to my daily run habit), as I had more than enough high heels and ballet flats and Reebok Freestyles and I wasn’t getting much wear out of a lot of them.

However, something I did not take into account is that the cheap kind of shoes I used to buy in my teens and twenties when I was usually flat broke are not designed to last for decades, even if you don’t wear them to death. For Jen and Chris’ wedding at the weekend, I was wearing a green outfit, so I dug out a lovely pair of dark green peep toes that I originally bought in Schuh (when Schuh were still doing high heels… like most high street brands, they’ve largely moved to trainers and flat boots in this age of athleisure). However, that Schuh purchase was made in 2008, and it turns out that high street level shoe glue doesn’t stick for thirteen years. By mid-afternoon on Saturday, both of my soles were detaching from my shoes, and I had to switch to my emergency smart flats. (Good thing I brought those or I’d have been there in a dress and trainers all evening!)

So RIP to my emerald peep toes then. But it left me without a green pair of high heels, and I plan to wear that green outfit again many times before 2030! So I succumbed to an ASOS bargain…

Green high heels
Sixteen quid. Bargain! As such, I won’t mind too much if they disintegrate in 2034…

Oh well. The resolution was perhaps a bit ambitious!

I have however been inspired to go through my neglected collection of high heels again though… just in case I can identify any more that are on their last legs!

2020 Pestos #15: Gomo Pesto Alla Genovese

I have never met a pesto alla genovese I didn’t love!

Gomo Pesto Alla Genovese
Gomo Pesto Alla Genovese.

Um, until I tried this Gomo version, that is.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not horrible – but it was just a bit too rich for my palate, and didn’t seem to have that nice sharpness that the best varieties do.

I’ll log another Gomo pesto next week that I enjoyed a bit more!