Greyhound Racing, Wimbledon

    A very good friend of mine decided as a birthday treat, she’d like to spend a night at the races. Not just any races, but the Greyhound races in South London. Now, I’m up for pretty much anything once me, and this sounded like an evening straight out of Only Fools and Horses (oh how I wanted to see someone with a Sheepskin coat!)

    My only reservations about doing this, is the treatment that animals can have at the hands of trainers. Much like animal circuses (which you won’t see me at. Ever.) I don’t like to support any organisation that brutalises animals, even by omission, but I looked into it, and on the surface of things, they appear to be ok, and are heavily regulated to keep owners in check;

    “Whilst welfare standards in decades past have not been as high as they are now, modern-day greyhound racing is well regulated and well run. Greyhounds are identifiable and are trained by licensed trainers whose facilities are regularly inspected. In decades gone by, the sport was perhaps not so welfare conscious and some practices that were acceptable in the past are certainly not acceptable today. That legacy that has led to perceptions of the sport does not represent an accurate picture of greyhound racing as it is today.” Credit

    I volunteered as a youngster at the SPCA in New Zealand, taking the dogs for walks (the only problem was that I was allergic to a large number of cats, and the dogs took ME for walks) so I’ve seen mistreated animals. Still, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy the night.

    The long and short of it is, we had a fun night out that didn’t involve copious amounts of drinking, and the dog from our perspective seem to enjoy it – one particularily enegertic pup getting loose and doing an extra lap!

    An accidental motion capture shot! Enlarge for detail.

    We also caught the 4×100 relay in the Olympics, and carefully followed Tom Daley in the Diving by BBC and live website updates – so close mate!!

    There were a surprising amount of Hen & Stag parties there, and the amount of men in wigs and dresses was staggering. I’m not sure what Del boy & Rodney would have made of them!

    Todays Workout: an hour walking, 30 minutes altogether running up and down 4 flights of stairs.


    Cat Diving

    Our pussy cat has been up to highjinks this week. Case in point, this morning, we were woken at 6am by a woeful mewling.

    She had decided in her infinite wisdom, to clamber to the top of our cupboards, and my lovely hubby panicked thinking she wasn’t able to get down. He rescued her, placed on the ground and went off to work, safe in the knowledge that she had all four paws securely at ground level.

    Well, until I prepared to leave for work and noticed a pair of green eyes peeping over the cupboard edge, about 7inches from the ceiling. I’m a bit meaner, and more used to cats, so instead of pulling out a chair to grab her; popped some cat biscuits in her bowl, at which she managed to get down. I personally think she was holding a Sit-In protest at the lack of treats lately.

    The real reason for her high adventures became apparent when I came home from work and she was up there, again: she was practising her 10m fixed board dives – must be at least a 3 1/2 forward pike?


    Life this week

    This week, life is good;

    And a bit of a naughty family gathering;

     Today’s workout: 60 minute walk through playing fields in the Sunshine.


    The Longest Crawl – Book Review

    Disclaimer: I read a lot. I read almost as much as I breathe. I read everything, and I enjoy almost everything I read. At the moment I am going through a London-phase, a Fantasy/Supernatural Phase and a devour every book in sight phase. This book I picked up on a whim, and loved it – it has kept me going through most of the rainy days we have had the last month or so.

    “According to G. K. Chesteron, the act of getting to and from a pub is central to an understanding of the British life and landscape. With around 60,000 to choose from, he may have had a point.”

    Ian Marchant decided to set off with his mate Perry Venus and document his month-long British pub crawl from the two fartherest apart pubs he could find. Witty, informative and thirst-inducing, this is the authors journey both personal and researched, reflecting an integral part of British Life – the Pub. When I came to England, I was amazed by the role the pub plays in British life, straight out from work, you gather in the pub to moan, cry and laugh at life. A man’s local is his paradise.

    This is a long, slow burning read, perfect for rainy Sunday afternoons (accompanied by a beverage if desired – highly recommended). I loved the sheer enjoyment and whimsy of the author as he meets up with his many friends along the way, but also explores the fantastic history and processes of various pubs, monasteries, breweries and stills around the British countryside. I ran a pub for the first year I was here in England, and witnessed first hand the close relationship that can develop in a friendly local – I met my husband working behind the bar, and one of my (other) favourite regulars even brought in his fiancee to meet me!

    I’ve now bookmarked about a dozen places to check out for ourselves. Road trip here we come! It’s not a great commuting read (in printed format) as it’s a little large, so this baby lived mostly at home. I’ve not yet succumbed to an e-reader as I’m a little dubious.


    The Longest Crawl Ian Marchant


    Definately a must-read, great as a travel read, a rainy day read and a slow-burner read, you feel like you are accompanying the author. Marchant is beautifully, chummily written author, and I am going to be on the look out for further works.

    (Please note any links to Amazon are through my Amazon Associates account, which means I make a little money (less than 5%) from any purchases made after clicking through these links with no added cost to your purchase. This helps support my book addiction, so if you are interested in buying the book, please click through the top link)


    The Olympics – Diving!

    Intially, we were wary about the Olympics coming to the London; the cost, the hassle, winning hardly any medals….


    But as time inched closer, a hubbub began about the Oympics. Signposts went up, flags were hung down Oxford Street, PR campaigns began, and a buzz began. We decided that we’d like to at least sample the atmosphere, and registered for tickets (about the time the 3rd round of balloting began). As for sports, as neither of us are hugely sporty, we were pretty easygoing as to what we would see, but after chatting about it, we decided we’d like to see the Olympic Park (after our disasterous attempt earlier) and hubby would like to experience the Swimming or the Diving. Hearing that more tickets were being released gradually, I kept an eye out, and managed to snag a couple of cheapie tickets to the Men’s 3m Springboard Preliminaries. The session was even an evening one, so no disruption or time off – bonus!

    So after work last night, off we trotted. What a place.

    C’mon GB!!!


    The Aquatics Centre:


    Zahar Hadid’s beautifully undulating roof inside the aquatics centre… though it did block the viewing for anyone watching the high-diving 10m board. Fail.


    Not seats for the height-wary, but armed with binoculars and the kindly provided big screens with updates and slow motion re-takes, we probably had better seats than the judges. Oh, and I was armed with my love, my ‘baby’ Camera – a EXR550. LOOK at that ZOOM!


    The Muscles on these lads are incredible. 

    The athletes are incredible. The sheer elegance of the twists and turns they force their bodies into so sharply is amazing. The atmosphere, which is really what we went for, was something else. The roar of the crowd as their divers lined up for their dives was simply electric, then utter silence – not a cough not a sniffle, then the excited applause was awe inspiring. Especially when the GB boys took the platform.




     Once we saw the Diving, we wandered around the Stratford end of the Park:


    Oh, hello.


    All too soon we were homeward bound, exhilarated and exhausted.