Saturday ’80s Photo: Snow Wear, February 1989

The UK winter preferring to save most of its snow for February and March when people are already sick of winter is not a new phenomenon, judging by our family photo archives. My February 1989 wardrobe heavily featured this, um, dashing snow suit, something I have most definitely not seen on any of the small children dragging sledges around the snow-laden streets of Newcastle this winter. ’80s fashion: nothing if not careful.

Snow suit, February 1989
At least the boots looked vaguely cool?

I am a lot more cavalier about snow in 2021 and have been going out in Doc Martens, leggings and a light trenchcoat this week. I love a bit of ’80s retro, but I’m not quite ready to do one-piece snow wear again.

A week of feeling behind

It’s been a week of snow and power cuts and hence a week that has not really gone to plan. Other than the long-awaited outdoor 10k I managed last Saturday, the snow has derailed pretty much all my running this week. However, to be honest I’m kind of used to that after this long, bleak winter, and Geth and I have been looking into ways to make treadmill running less boring. I’ve ordered a Zwift Runn sensor, which you attach to the side of your treadmill in order to connect it to Zwift. I’ve been interested in trying Zwift for a while and a prolonged period of snow seems like as good an opportunity as ever… Of course, I thoroughly expect that as soon as it arrives, the snow and ice will clear up and I won’t need to use the treadmill again until next winter. Still, it’s a win either way!

In the meantime, Geth has discovered the RunDisney YouTube channel, which provides lots of nice video tours around Disneyland that enable you to watch the screen while on the treadmill and pretend you’re running round a theme park on a hot day in Florida (something that feels like a total fantasy at the moment). I watched one of the videos during my treadmill run this morning and it felt a lot less tedious than usual! Geth originally wanted to do a real-life RunDisney event for his 40th birthday last year, but obviously that has had to be put on hold for now. We’re determined that it will happen eventually, though.

The power cuts we had earlier this week, meanwhile, meant that work was disrupted quite a bit and I’ve not really been able to catch up. As such, I’m going to have to do a bit of work at the weekend, which is something I’ve been trying to avoid 🙁 Hopefully things will go a bit more smoothly next week.

Snow, February 2021
The world is endlessly white at the moment.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Cast of The Sound Of Music – ‘So Long, Farewell’*
Kate Bush – ‘Wuthering Heights’
Barenaked Ladies – ‘One Week’

*RIP Christopher Plummer.

Sunday

The Bangles – ‘Hazy Shade Of Winter’
Lindisfarne – ‘Meet Me On The Corner’

Monday

Lindisfarne – ‘Meet Me On The Corner’
Duran Duran – ‘Friends Of Mine’

Tuesday

Cast of The Sound Of Music – ‘Edelweiss’
Cast of Mary Poppins – ‘Let’s Go Fly A Kite’
Queen – ‘Flash’
Ladytron – ‘Destroy Everything You Touch’
Duran Duran – ‘Ball Of Confusion’
The Weeknd and Daft Punk – ‘Starboy’
Duran Duran – ‘Five Years’

Wednesday

The Weeknd – ‘Blinding Lights’
Lil’ Dicky, Chris Brown, Ed Sheeran, DJ Khaled and Kendall Jenner – ‘Freaky Friday’
Queen – ‘One Vision’
Duran Duran – ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’
Robson & Jerome – ‘Unchained Melody’

Thursday

Adam & The Ants – ‘Prince Charming’
Randy Newman – ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’

Friday

The Bangles – ‘Hazy Shade Of Winter’
Revo – ‘Sylvan Tranquility’
Duran Duran – ‘Winter Marches On’
Traditional – ‘Bonnie Ship The Diamond’

The long march out of winter

I am really glad it’s February now.

I don’t usually say that. I normally find February to be a fairly dismal month – there’s still no end in sight to the cold winter weather, and by now I’m a lot more fed up of it than I was at the start of January. It’s also still a long time before anything exciting or fun will happen in the year. Race season normally starts in March at the earliest, Easter break usually isn’t till April, and it’s generally May before the weather gets properly nice and Geth and I start going on all our small summer mini-breaks.

Of course, this year is different in many ways. All the races and gigs and trips we’ve got booked for the spring and summer – all holdovers from the cancelled year that was 2020 – are still up in the air. As ever with this pandemic, massive amounts of conflicting information and predictions are flying around, and it’s just not possible to make plans. I’ll be delighted if things are normal enough by the summer that I can sit or stand at a concert with thousands of other people, but I can’t see it happening. Races might be a different matter, as it’s easier to make them COVID-secure, but I still don’t see the ones I’ve got booked for late spring going ahead.

Then there’s the weather. What kept me fairly cheerful through lockdown 1 last spring – other than the novelty of it – was the fact that we were having the most glorious spring we’d had for years, and every day I was able to go out and run in the warm sunshine, with beautiful cherry-blossom trees everywhere I went. Lockdown 3, in contrast, has been BLEAK. The weather has been constant ice, snow and sleet, meaning that I’ve had to alternate between tedious treadmill runs and grim, slippery, wet runs outside (neither of which are conducive to speed training in the slightest).

As such, while I don’t expect things to change much in February – the weather, certainly, is showing no signs of becoming less awful – it does mean that we’re one month closer to warmer weather, and hopefully looser restrictions, even if things won’t quite return to normal this year in the way that we would like.

On a day-to-day basis, things are trucking on. I’ve had a fairly steady trickle of day job work over the last couple of weeks, and having my new daily schedule has meant that I’ve also been able to fit in a decent amount of time on my own projects. I’ve also been enjoying my evening downtime and making a lot of progress in my videogames. I’m nearly finished with Bravely Second, which should mean I’ll have a couple of weeks’ break from the series to make some more progress on Final Fantasy I before Bravely Default II comes out (already pre-ordered!). Following BDII I may then spend a bit of time playing non-JRPGs as there are quite a lot on my to-play list. I did this last summer (many happy hours spent on the armchair in the living room playing adventure games on the big screen) and am keen to repeat the experience.

There’s also another Adventuron jam coming up this month, so that will doubtless be a fun project for my spare hours!

On the whole, I’m not short of ways to spend my time. I just wish this particular chapter of life didn’t feel so endless at the moment.

Snowdrops
My favourite snowdrops have appeared in their usual place along my run route. I first noticed them when Geth and I had to move house during the Beast from the East three years ago, and since then I’ve always seen them as a reminder that winter won’t last forever.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Nintendo 3DS eShop – ‘Main Theme’
Duran Duran – ‘Five Years’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’

Sunday

The Bangles – ‘Hazy Shade Of Winter’
Duran Duran – ‘Save A Prayer’

Monday

Revo – ‘Fighting To The End’
The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar – ‘Pray For Me’
Chuck Berry – ‘You Never Can Tell’
Ed Sheeran – ‘Don’t’
Men Without Hats – ‘Safety Dance’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’

Tuesday

Men Without Hats – ‘Safety Dance’
Nintendo 3DS eShop – ‘Main Theme’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’
Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Three Little Birds’

Wednesday

Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Three Little Birds’
Queen – ‘Flash’
Sebastian Gampl and Tommy Reeve – ‘Under Control’ 

Thursday

Yuzo Koshiro – ‘Labyrinth I: Emerald Grove’
Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Three Little Birds’
Beyoncé – ‘If I Were A Boy’
Elton John – ‘Step Into Christmas’
Men Without Hats – ‘Safety Dance’
Blondie – ‘One Way Or Another’

Friday

The Bangles – ‘Hazy Shade Of Winter’ 

Getting cosy

I was awake about three hours earlier this morning than I have been recently, as I wanted to get a treadmill run in before my hair appointment. It’s nice to have my hair in check again (it was getting unwieldy), but I find that if I don’t get a lot of sleep then I’m really hungry the next day! Currently trying to resist the mince pies in the cupboard, though I don’t expect I’ll last out for the whole afternoon.

Since I got back, I’ve just been working on my game for the current Adventuron jam. It’s a fairly short game but I’m really enjoying making it!

I’ve made the sofa a bit cosier and comfier (and wintry-looking!) by putting on a big faux-mink blanket that had been sitting at the back of a cupboard for years until I pulled it out last week. Now looking forward to a properly relaxing evening of not doing very much. Tomorrow should be fairly quiet as well!

New hair
I’ve had my hair done in the same style every time for a few years now, but it still always takes me a few days to get used to its newly short length!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Sebastian Gampl and Tommy Reeve – ‘Under Control’
Duran Duran – ‘Winter Marches On’
Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – ‘I Don’t Care’

parkrun tourism: Oriam

I’m a bit behind with my parkrun tourism blogs, but seeing as we won’t be parkrunning again any time soon due to the coronavirus lockdown, it’s a good time for me to catch up with them!

Oriam parkrun
I love those pop-up signs and am always really disappointed if I’m visiting a parkrun and they don’t have one out! Geth had to ask the volunteers to put this one out again specially for the photo as they’d already packed it away by the time I finished. Sorry, volunteers, but one’s 100th parkrun only happens once!

On the 28th of December, while visiting Edinburgh for the Christmas period, Geth and I got in the car and drove to the new local parkrun at the Heriot-Watt University campus in Riccarton. The parkrun takes place in the woodland trail behind the Oriam sports facility (hence the name), which is a much nicer setting than I’d originally assumed – I’d thought we’d be doing laps of a football pitch or something!

Oriam parkrun was only a few weeks old when we attended, and the Scottish winter weather had resulted in a lot of mud. Like, a LOT of mud. More mud than I had ever seen on a parkrun course, by quite a considerable margin. The trail is not at all flat, either, so you’re basically staggering uphill through a quagmire at various points. Not one for your PB. (Apparently the mud was more manageable by the end of the winter – whether this was due to weather or land management I’m not sure – but I still don’t see this ever being a fast course!)

It also happened to be my 100th parkrun. I had hoped to do my 100th at home, either at Newcastle or Jesmond Dene, but a really nasty cold took me out of the game for most of December and so the date for my 100th ended up coinciding with my Christmas visit to my hometown. (I could have done it on Christmas Day… but I’ve never yet made a Christmas Day parkrun, as Christmas morning with the family is fairly sacrosanct, and 2019 was no exception!)

As such, while it was too busy and disorganised a time of year to organise any real celebration, I did wear my red 50 shirt for the very last time, and after the parkrun, Geth and I drove back to Mum and Dad’s and ate lots of the cake that we already had in due to it being Christmas. You can’t have a parkrun milestone without cake!

I will return to Oriam at some point… but it will almost certainly be in the summer!

Redirecting

I did my run on the treadmill this morning…

…because we woke up to snow. While it melted quite quickly, I didn’t fancy wading around in the slush!

I’ve been having a bit of a think about my blog structure today, as I’ve been finding that I’ve not had much time to get my review posts done. There may be a bit of a change in direction soon, but it’ll take a bit more time for me to work out the details.

Snow
The world is still very wintry. All melted now so hoping to get outside again for tomorrow’s run.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Paula Abdul – ‘Straight Up’
Janet Jackson – ‘Together Again’
The Lancashire Hotpots – ‘Shopmobility Scooter’
Brotherhood Of Man – ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’
Calvin Harris and Rihanna – ‘This Is What You Came For’
VNV Nation – ‘Beloved’

Sunday afternoons hibernating

A speedier-than-expected long run this morning…

…and since then I’ve just been dozing and browsing on the sofa. Love Sundays! I’ve got lots to do tomorrow so I’m glad to be able to have a break today.

France, July 1995
Yup, it’s another summer holiday flashback, this time to France in July 1995. While winter can be beautiful in its own way, I’m looking forward to seeing some colour in the world again.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – ‘Crystalline’
The Midnight and Nikki Flores – ‘Jason’
Scandroid – ‘Aphelion’
Traditional – ‘The Blaydon Races’
Del Amitri – ‘Nothing Ever Happens’
Lindisfarne – ‘Fog On The Tyne’

A dreary Thursday

Short run today…

…and a bit of a disappointing result at Slimming World – only half a pound off despite working really hard for it this week 🙁 Still six pounds away from target range. I really had hoped to get there by the end of February but it’s looking unlikely now.

I’ve spent the afternoon working on house stuff and admin. Other than my counselling appointment, it’s looking like tomorrow will be similar.

Snowdrops
At least the snowdrops are out now! Always appreciate these early signs of spring when the weather is still miserable.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – ‘Jason’
The Midnight – ‘Collateral’
The Midnight – ‘Vampires’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’
FM-84 and Ollie Wride – ‘Running In The Night’

A quiet Wednesday

A midweek-length run today…

…and a fairly good afternoon of admin before I headed off to ukulele class this evening. We learnt (-ish) a new song, so I’ve got lots to practise over the half term break.

It’s weigh-in tomorrow, and I’ve had another good week, so fingers crossed…

Keeping warm, 1985
Winter layers in 1985! I wasn’t quite as wrapped up as this today, but it wouldn’t have been a bad idea – it’s really nippy out there at the moment.

Del Amitri – ‘Nothing Ever Happens’
Frankie Miller – ‘Caledonia’
Sacre – ‘The London Marathon’
Carl Orff – ‘Gassenhauer’
Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’
The Midnight – ‘Collateral’
Justin Bieber – ‘Love Yourself’

Pre-resting

I drove out to a parkrun I hadn’t done before this morning…

…but other than that, I’ve just been resting in preparation for a long run tomorrow. I’m meant to be doing thirteen miles, and Storm Ciara is meant to hit Newcastle at about 7am. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I’ll manage to get it over and done with sooner rather than later!

Gibside National Trust
The National Trust at Gibside is really lovely – I’d like to go back for non-parkrun purposes at some point.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Del Amitri – ‘Nothing Ever Happens’
Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’
Timecop1983 – ‘Tokyo’