Friday, 31 October 2008

Something scary for All Souls

Radio 2 is going for Halloween type music today: 'The Monster Mash' followed shortly by Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. This reminds me of something sure to make you shudder. Now, I'm not sure I'm getting my facts straight, it could have been that the dance costume I have in mind was worn to 'Dancing in the Street' rather than 'Thriller', but as I did routines to both in my teenage years, I feel I can let this pass. Picture this: turquoise catsuit, gold belt, gold glitter wig and, the piece de resistance, pale pink leg warmers. Definitely not a treat.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Artefacts of the week

Any Anglo-Saxon coins. Real ones though, not the (actually not so cheap) replicas I bought from the FitzWilliam Museum yesterday to show my class. Go, for example, here.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Things I am not fed up of (1)

It's hardly a startling observation to note that many blogs are occupied with the moans and groans of their writers. It occurred to me the other day that some of these bloggers could be moaning on for decades. This feature is my own small antidote to that culture, in which I present some of the things I am not fed up with, starting with the view of the tree across the road from my office (spare bedroom) window:

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Today I was brave, if lacklustre

This is not bravery on the heroic scale for most people, but for me definitely "A Brave Thing". What could constitute such a description? Nothing less than actually asking the lady at "The Stroke Clinic" for some advice on my swimming technique. Did she mock me for my size, fitness or technique, or generally make me feel like a little squished ant? No, of course not. She was perfectly nice. But I have been putting off approaching her for months now, hence the claim to bravery. Swimming, and in particular the breaststroke, is one of the few things that come quite naturally to me and which I feel confident I'm OK at, so to invite criticism is not an easy path. In other sporting news it looks as though I may still be trying to complete the Vets Head in December as this week's erg was considerably slower than last week. And before you suggest it, clearly the intervening week of lardy-arse-ed-ness has no bearning on this result whatsoever.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

I seem to be failing quite miserably

Coxing on Saturday seems to have set the tone for the last five days - viz. I have sat down overly much and not even began to fulfil the exercise quota for a very sedentary person. This bodes well neither for the Channel Swim nor for the Vets Fours Head. I fear tomorrow will have to see a visit to the swimming pool and an erg session.

On the other hand if this week's criteria for success were consumption of chocolate and catching up on episodes of the The Archers and Strictly Come Dancing etc., I'd probably be in with a chance of scoring a medal. Ca plus change.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

My afternoon of coxing...

Today was the Cambridge Autumn Head. This meant:
  1. a little bit of rowing (in division 1)
  2. quite a lot of coxing (divisions 3 and 4)
My prediction is that the crew from division 3 will have been the fastest, having had the benefit of having been chased most of the way by a college crew. Other rowing news is that I have exchanged the 'Shed of Doom' (Graduate Society erg room) with the 'Attic of Pain' (Christs' erg room). Having not sat on an erg for over three years (and over four with any determination), it was a shock to the system to have to use one of those aptly named machines. So you might be wondering why I subjected myself to this? The Vets Fours Head. It's in three weeks time. And I'm supposed to be doing it. What else can I say but 'erg(h)'.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Another week, another century

Gosh, that went quickly. Mainly due to panics about the 10th century I fear. Forget Aethelred being "Unready" though; I'll reserve that epithet for others. There were no pretty pictures this week, so instead I refer you to this website where you can see lots of lovely Anglo-Saxon sculpture.

This trip to London would have seen some much needed Channel swimming too, but my swimming buddy forgot their costume.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Artefact of the week

As I'm teaching this year, I thought I'd share some of the interesting sources and artefacts I come across in the course of my preparation. This week was Alfredian Wessex, the artefact of choice The Alfred Jewel.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

My weekend with fire engines

Two things characterized this weekend:

  1. Waiting outside in windy and/or wet weather

  2. Fire engines

Sadly I did not see the fire engine on Saturday, although I'm told that one was called and resolved the incident. Location: the Cam. Incident: horse in river holding up sculling event for over an hour. Lots of fun trying to stay still in windy weather.

I did see the fire engine today though, for about four seconds. Location: Parkside Pool. Incident: who knows, a false alarm one can only presume. Best bit: standing outside in swimming costume in very cheap space blanket without glasses and feeling like an extra for a very poorly budgeted episode of Dr. Who from the earliest of early days. Needless to say this didn't do much to help me cross the Channel...

Friday, 3 October 2008

I'm supposed to be swimming

I'm supposed to be swimming the English Channel for Aspire but am finding it hard to find the time (or is that the motivation?)

The first week went quite well. The challenge requires an average of 118 lengths per week and I did 180. But then I didn't go at all for almost two weeks until yesterday. Let me tell you it hurts when you haven't been for two weeks.

As per usual with me, I sign up for a challenge thinking 'this will force me to do exercise' and mostly don't train and then have to pull a ragged performance out of the hat on the day. Can't do this with this challenge though, not unless I want to try and swim 19 miles in one day (which I don't and couldn't).

There was also an equipment failure. Another pair of goggles bit the dust, or rather got eaten by the chlorine. Swimming with one eye shut is harder than you'd think, so I should probably buy (yet another) new pair. They just don't seem to last very long at all, even with my infrequent pool schedule.

Clearly I ought to be in the pool today, but am on 'awaiting DHL delivery duty'. Although some might say that's just looking for an excuse...